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June 30, 2005


In many ways I'm as mainstream as they come. When it comes to religion, I'm a struggling but committed member of a mainline (liberal) Protestant church, and am raising my son in that faith. (He's free to reject that faith when he's older, but I want to be sure that he starts with a moral foundation in life so he'll have a basis of comparison. I think it's important for a child to grow up rooted rather than rootless, so I'm starting with The Universe As I Understand It.) I have quite a few friends -- my two closest friends, in fact -- who don't agree. One's nonspecifically spiritual, the other atheist. Somehow, we all get along. Somehow, we look at each other as equally worthwhile and a part of the great American society.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seems to disagree: "[I]t is entirely clear from our Nation's historical practices that the Establishment Clause permits this disregard of polytheists and believers in unconcerned deities, just as it permits the disregard of devout atheists."

I really ought to read his whole dissent, but I'm not sure I could stomach it.

June 25, 2005

A Deeply Affecting Story

One of the best things I've ever read. (Be warned, some heavy stuff here. Via RLP.)

Angels dancing on the head of a pin dissolve into nothingness at the bedside of a dying child.

When looking death in the face things get very real very quickly......

I'm twenty one and doing a stint as a chaplain's aide in a large gritty urban hospital.

June 13, 2005


Via Lex: Triangle blogger DrFrankLives takes down Jesse Helms's new memoir with style and panache:

Now, let's not be ungrateful for small miracles. At least Helms admits he was wrong to oppose AIDS treatment and education programs, but look at that paragraph. Implicit in that statement, despite the claim of having learned his lesson, is the reprehensible argument that had AIDS remained confined to a population of homosexuals and intraveneous drug users, it would have been nothing to worry about. Evidently, in his estimation such people deserve to suffer and die.

I don't think the old guy has learned that much at all.

June 11, 2005

Tweetsie. Yes, Tweetsie.

A quick note from the free terminal (An old school iMac! R0xx0rs!) at an independent coffeeshop on King Street in Boone. I'm decompressing from having taken Will on his first visit to Tweetsie Railroad. I lived near Boone (Newland) until I was ten years old. Thanks especially to my grandmother Myra, Tweetsie was an at-least annual rite of my childhood. I admit to having had more than a few sweet moments of nostalgia as I walked in front of the General Store and along the rail lines with my family in tow. It's been a very, very good day.

It didn't start off quite so well for Will. We came today because "Thomas the Tank Engine" was here as well, and Will is a fiend for his Thomas trains. We arrived at the themepark in the middle of pudding-thick fog, and as we swung into our parking space I saw "Thomas" up the hill. "Will! Hurry, look! It's Thomas!" Now, I'll update this entry with a photo when I have the time, but imagine a life size railroad train, bright blue, with a giant smiling moon-face plastered on the front. Barely emerging from the fog. Now imagine a three-year-old having only vaguely appreciated the fact that he would be seeing one of his toys blown up to life size.

The boy was a basket case for about 15 minutes. Especially when we got much closer to the train, and he became acquainted with the true volume level of steam engine whistles.

He recovered, and we had one of those happy nuclear family experiences that would likely nauseate many of my readers. Both of you. Fortunately, you are spared any further attempts at a coherent blog entry. In addition to our morning activities, I'm operating on about three hours sleep. For whatever reason, I could not sleep in the old mountain house in Newland -- it felt like I was being roasted from below in the bed while simultaneously shivering from the cold air above. Highly untenable. Absolutely not restful.

Hence, my latte. Have a good rest-of-the-weekend.

June 5, 2005

After the Cross Burnings in Durham

Nikole Hannah-Jones at the News and Observer points out the divide in the reaction of Durham's white and black communities to the recent cross burnings.

And Rev. Carl W. Kenney in the Independent Weekly thinks that divided reaction highlights the need for healing and renewed trust on all sides:

Something is in the air, and it smells real bad. We have two options. The first is to keep doing business as before. That won't work. The second is to come to grips with how race hinders the progress of Durham. It is time for Durham to heal from within.

Sorry I've been gone so long...

It's been a very stressful few weeks.