Monday, December 31, 2007

[THO] Pornography


I am totally impressed with Robert Jensen's Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity. I heard him speak on the CBC, caught the tail end of an interview. Then I tried to order the book, only to be told it was not in stock. My dear wife found a way to get it for me, although it arrived just after Christmas. I'm nearly done (just half a chapter and a post-script left). This is the book I have been wishing would be written by Christians, but I fear never will. This book took serious bravery to write. From what I have read on the topics of pornography addiction and masturbation coming out of the Christian world has always left me feeling like they missed the point. Jensen resonated so loud I was going aha all the way through. In fact he unpacks stuff about the domination embedded in pornography that I had intuited a ways back. This is a matter of justice, plain and simple.

I have yet to see Christians responding to pornography as they should. If they are please point that out to me as I'm not sure I can not act now that I've read this book. The typical Christian response is twofold: 1) pornography is indicative of the decline of this world and 2) the Christian should simply flee from pornography. Jensen isn't trying to mitigate his risk in a fallen world, no he is saying we need to face this head on. And his book does this (sometimes with quite explicit descriptions), it calls the reader to save themselves by taking on pornography.

Core to Jensen's message is a feminist critique of masculinity. Jensen is convinced that masculinity is not a helpful social construct in that anything we could ascribe as a good trait of masculinity is really a good trait of humanity. So Jensen argues that masculinity and even femininity should be replaced entirely with a call to humanity. I find this rich.

I dare you to read this book. I dare you to write this book for a Christian market, God knows we need something real on this subject.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

[LIF] Kicking Back

The kids are gloriously occupied with their new Barbies and puzzles. Ahhhh. We had a lot of fun wrapping presents and setting the stage for Christmas morning, it was well worth it. I scored some nice bling too. Yoder's The Politics of Jesus and Newbigen's The Gospel in a Pluralist Society were my more serious additions. Sharon also ordered me Getting Off:Pornography and the End of Masculinity (Robert Jensen) but it did not arrive in time. I heard his interview on CBC and am excited to read a male doing a feminist critique on pornography.

I also scored a new guitar case, I nice light gator case. My old one had served me well, but there is only so many times you can repair a case with duct tape! I will miss my Frosted Frog sticker. :-( But the new case is lighter and stronger! We also got a few movies, the latest Harry Potter DVD (me), Moulon Rouge (Sharon), Ella Enchanted (Elyssa) and our dear friends Brad and Mary sent us Brother Sun, Sister Moon and finally Barbie's The Princess and the Pauper (Chelsea). We all really enjoy movies.

Other than that Sharon gave me some gaming gear (Dungeons and Dragons) that I had picked out. A few boosters of miniatures, the Rules Compendium and the latest Tile Set. We are pooling the money we got from our parents to put towards a new camera, we have been eyeing SLRs for a year now. We just have to go and try them out. We'll have to see though, life will soon kick back into full throttle.

Oops, Elyssa needs help with her new Barbie computer thing, have a great day all!

Monday, December 24, 2007

[LIF] Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas this year.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
-- Matthew 7:11
May Christ be incarnated anew in each of us this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[LIF] Finally done!

I handed in my last paper (exam) and went to my last meeting of the semester. It sure feels good to be done. I am really confident that two of my courses are A+ and the others should be some sort of As. We'll have to see though. I was writing my exam until 5AM this morning, life just kept throwing curve balls at me. I spent about 12 hours plus a study group on the exam and I still think I could have done better. The more I wrote the more I realized how much deeper my analysis needed to go. At some point you have to say enough and trust that you answered the questions the prof. is looking for.

I'm taking it easy over the Christmas break, well if by easy you mean clearing out that incredible backlog of chores and reading a text that my director assigned before our next chat. Oh and that is not to mention the snow that just won't stop falling on my driveway!!!! At least it is pretty.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

[LIF] Almost There With Some Fun On the Journey

We had our first Christmas potluck last night, it was pretty laid back despite the multitude of kids. When I broke out the guitar my girls started dancing with all four of Sarah's boys. It was quite fun to watch the kids all twirl around like that. Greg snapped a lot of pics, of course I put the one of me up. ;-)

Had a great study group today, I'm pretty confident going into my Biblical Interpretation exam Monday. BTW this was a course on the history of interpretation, very cool course. If you want to know how things have shifted throughout the history of Christianity grab "A Short History of the Interpretation of THE BIBLE" (Robert Grant and David Tracy), our course covered more than this book, but I've been reading it as a sort of review and really enjoying it. This is the last scripture course I will ever _have_ to take on my road to a PhD at St. Paul. But I'm thinking I'll take the advanced NT Greek course at some point for kicks and giggles.

I also had a study group on Tuesday for my Spirituality and the Human Sciences course. I just have to carve out some time to write the paper. That one should be fun to write. I'm thinking of getting it done this weekend so that I will wrap everything up by Monday. That is if I can get my exit interview for the Methodologies course in on that day. I have done zero Christmas shopping!

Tomorrow I have some pastoral visitation to do, a lunch party at the Lonergan Centre and try to get the oil changed in the car. If I have any time left I'll get some shopping done, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

[THO] Assessing Blog Posts

One of the big road blocks I'm hitting in my research is if and how I can use blog content. I am living proof that pretty much anyone with a computer and the requisite time can put up a blog and begin posting. Obviously some blogs are more useful than others and Matthew Hindman did his dissertation (Princeton, 2005) on the state of political blogs. I am about to tackle this, but my issue is that political blogs are a whole different demographic than what I am after - at least I hope so. Karen Ward mentions, in Gibbs and Bolger's EMERGING CHURCHES, how her community all read each others blogs as a means of staying connected, Freedom does this through Facebook and in the past we did it through Yahoo!Groups. It really shouldn't be a problem as I'm doing my critical work mostly with the published corpus. Any thoughts?

Sunday, December 02, 2007