Rita Emmett

We had Rita Emmett speak at our church tonight. Rita is a delight. She's funny and helpful, very down to earth. In case you don't know her, her books The Procrastinator's Handbook and The Procrastinating Child are worth getting. One of the best stories she told was about an e-mail she received from someone who did not speak English as a first language. The e-mail concluded with this line: "Rita, you are a blessing to procreators everywhere." Procreators, procrastinators, whatever.

Nationalism and Self-criticism

One of the reasons I sometimes struggle with nationalism is because I've been influenced by the thinking of Rosemary Radford Ruether. She says that all ideologies, regardless of how good they are, are at best partial, motivated by self-interest, and potentially dangerous. I agree. We're all products of ideologies. My own worldview is like everyone's - partial and limited. Her solution isn't to disavow oneself from an ideology, even if that were possible. Instead, she says that we should root ourselves in a tradition/ideology, while at the same time recognizing the limits of that tradition. But then it means that I adopt self-criticism. The place to start in criticizing worldviews is not with others, but my own. That means as a Christian, before I attack Islam or any other religion, I mourn the shortcomings of Christianity and the church, which have been many. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised when Americans are proud and patriotic. I welcome the debate that Josh will start. I just sometimes wonder if we would be better off looking for the plank in our own eye rather than extolling our virtues.


From Mark Riddle:
If you are completely fascinated with the word Postmodern or your primary source of research material on Postmodernism is a book by Len Sweet then you are probably not a Postmodern. Just because you can use the term Postmodernity in a sentence doesn't mean you are an expert. My wife, however, says I sound "dirty" when I use it. I'm not sure what that means. The same goes for "Chip pastor" slang. For instance. Pomo. Or the initials PM.
Some good comments.

The Greatness of America

Joshua Claybourn writes:
Update: I've decided to start a new feature. At least once a week I'll have a post that demonstrates the greatness of America. My inspiration came from hours of perusing international blogs that make it their business to beat up on the U.S. and tout their own country. I won't, for the most part, be demeaning other nations, just highlighting things the international community seems not to appreciate in the U.S. Expect the first one tomorrow.
As one who greatly admires the US, I don't see the point of this. Americans don't need to be convinced of their greatness. Those outside the US won't be won over by more rhetoric on the greatness of the States. In fact, those of us outside of the States - even American supporters - already find it a little nauseating. Josh, you're a smart guy. Please don't do this. Update: Joshua has posted an update, which has caused me to reconsider. I backtrack completely, and not just because he seems to have called me intelligent (although that may have helped). Here's what he said:
Of course those that love the States don't need more convincing, but I think he 1) underestimates the number of unfair American critics and 2) shouldn't doubt the ability for such posts to create good debate and discussion. Clearly and undeniably many people/bloggers find the United States inherently rude and irrational. That, my friend, is nauseating. I'd just suggest that you wait to see the manner and results of such posts before jumping to conclusions. I have a number of international readers and most, if not all, of both American and international readers including Darryl are bright and intelligent, leading to nice discussions. I think it's both necessary and worthwhile.
Fair enough. This should be interesting.