Current Reading: 19 June

A smattering of online ideas, opinions, images that are intriguing, amusing, perplexing, and inspiring me right now:
1. America Assimilates Terrorists. Source: Onion: “After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack.” TV addiction, weight gain, and debt has done ’em in.
2. Sorted Books Project. (via Blog on a Toothpick.) Fabulous. Books and journals shelved to tell a story. Example: A Day at the Beach. The Bathers. Shark 1. Shark 2. Shark 3. Sudden Violence. Silence. Also: Genealogy of the Supermarket.
3. Eye contact and shame as invitation to violence at Preaching Peace: “Using shame to keep order will ultimately result in violent chaos and death as the citizens and community become each others’ police. While there are laws and agencies to prevent this, the fact that the leadership has resorted to invoking shame suggests that they’re not working…”
4. Sex and death, reminders of mortality, from Experimental Theology: “[I]t appears that there are good theoretical, observational, and scientific reasons to believe that religious faith is operating as an existential buffer, as a defense-mechanism to repress death anxiety. This will not prove to be the final story about faith. But it is the beginning of all faith.” Believers who remain in “this ‘defensive stage’ of faith … never fully confront the anxiety that necessarily accompanies an existential sifting of faith. This adventure is, simply, too scary a prospect. Thus, most retreat from this work and remain, keeping with Freud’s metaphor, intoxicated.” Hence, bodily sins (sex and drug use) are most shameful in American society and in Christian (among other faiths) culture. Hence, our ‘animal-reminder disgust’ triggers: Body products (e.g., feces, vomit), Animals (e.g., insects, rats), Sexual behaviors (e.g., incest, homosexuality), Contact with the dead or corpses, Violations of the exterior envelope of the body (e.g., gore, deformity), and poor hygiene.
5. Photo of a Royal Poinciana in bloom in Miami in June. Mmmm.
6. How to keep lettuce and other greens ‘bright, firm and flavorful’ for a week.
7. In Seattle, 31 church-goers report their experiences at (or almost at) 31 faith community worship services, including the Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, Episcopals, a mosque, a synagogue, Sea-Tac’s (airport) meditation room. church on TV, and ‘the Jesus freaks at Mars Hill.’ (The prospective attender couldn’t find the Baha’i worship space and no one would answer the phone.) They weren’t that chuffed with what they found. (If you’re skimming, read #10, #13, #15, #18, #19.)


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