You Should Be Listening

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The Politics of Food

Ezra Klein has a couple of interesting posts about the price of meat in America. What might happen to our diets if we had to pay a true market price for meat? What if the government subsidized broccolli and beans instead of beef and the corn feed needed to fatten cattle?

There has been a tremdous amount of books published recently on the politics of food; hopefully this increase in awareness will cause people to think more about what they and their families ingest. For starters, I recommend the works Wendell Berry and Michael Pollian.

Village Theater Update

As was reported in the Indy Star and subsequently passed on through this website, the long “closed for renovation” Village Theater in downtown Plainfield was tentatively scheduled to reopen earlier this month. No signage on the building itself gave any indication to this, but after some internet searches, I found this link to a concert scheduled for 18 March. So last night I walked over to the Theater hopeful to check out the refinished interior – not caring at all for the live music. But no! The place was empty! Doors locked, lights out, nothing!

Given the competition from several local multiplexes, it seems unlikely that the Village can successfully return as a movie-house. However, the historically significant building is an ideal venue for small concerts, community theater and such. I just wish the owner would get his act together and finish the renovations!!

Two More Cents

A while back, I made some comments about John McCain and his pursuit of the endorsements of ministers like John Hagee and Rod Parsely. I feel I should also take a moment and comment on the broohaha over Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

First, I think it’s generally more insidious and theologically problematic for a church to wrap itself in the American flag than to be cautious towards, if not out-right critical of, “the powers of this world.” So, on the charge that the church in question doesn’t love America, I’m dubious. I think it’s better to say the church in question challenges the actions of the government of the United States when it believes the government acts in ways contrary to the gospel. Frankly, that’s perfectly reasonable.

However, Jeremiah Wright has certainly said some things that fall into the category of unreasonable, i.e. that AIDS was invented by the government or that the government gives illegal drugs to black people so it can throw them in jail. I can only assume that the level of distrust and anger that emanates from such statements is beyond my ability as a child of relative privilege, security and comfort to fully comprehend. Still, his comments are wrong and should be called as such.

On the issue of 9/11, Wright’s comments bear examining. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, you had people on the extreme religious right saying the attacks were a judgment from God on America for having too many gay people and abortions, a line of reasoning that is, on many levels, ridiculous. On the other hand, you have those like Wright saying the attacks were a response to years of heavy-handed US foreign policy, a charge that bears a somewhat tighter grasp of reality than the former. The terror attacks didn’t happen in a vacuum. Many people have grievances against our government; it’s neither unpatriotic nor a symptom of the so-called “blame America first” mentality to examine those grievances and ask some honestly tough questions concerning the foreign policy of this nation. Doing this in no way excuses the violence of that September morning.

Now, there are those suggesting (or saying outright) that because Jeremiah Wright holds these views, Barack Obama must as well. This is, of course, nonsense. If you look back at Sen. Obama’s years of public service, can you find any speeches, interviews, casual conversations, etc. that suggest that the Senator from Illinois is anything other than a man who works very hard to bring together people from all walks of life? Concerning Sen. Obama’s repudiation of Wright’s comments, Andrew Sullivan sums it up well: “[you can] believe that this is a sincere message given by a sincere person; or a phony message delivered by a fraud. The only way to really know which is to look at his record. It seems to me that Obama has been motivated by the same themes from the very start, and still offers the same hope of unity that has been the core of his campaign for president from the beginning.”

I should also add that my criticism of Sen. McCain is not because I fear he might buy into the bologna John Hagee sells; I’m sure he won’t. I just find it disappointing that in order to be a successful Republican, one must pay lip service to these people who are, frankly, very well suited for their 2 AM time slot.

Ok, that’s my two cents. That and 5 bucks will buy you a venti, breve, half-caff latte.

A Perspective

In advance of Easter, the local paper here in central Indiana is soliciting readers’ views on their relationship with local churches. Since Easter ’06 was my first Anglican experience, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect.

Two years ago, I attended the Great Vigil of Easter at Christ Church Cathedral. I was in the midst of seeking out a new church with which to worship and a friend invited me. He and I were both raised in churches of the Stone-Campbell heritage and he thought I might appreciate the Anglican liturgy. “Appreciate” is an understatement. After becoming extremely disgusted with the “our way or go to Hell, literally” mentality of the CoC, I had moved on to a large, praise-Jesus-0n-the-electric-guitar-and-with-a-rocking-drum-solo variety of church. It annoyed me quite a lot; I think it might annoy God too. :) So, anyway, I was open to the idea visiting an Episcopal service.

From the moment the service began with the lighting of the Paschal candle to its end with an admonition to “go and serve the Risen Lord”, I was in awe. In awe of the deep, deep reverence for the story of God and his people; in awe of the respect for history and tradition – the feeling that we are but a small part in a grand movement that began 2000 years ago; but mostly, I was in awe of God – for leading me to that place at that time in my life. After I the service, I went home and began reading everything I could find on the liturgy, the Christian Year, the Church fathers, the Creed, the whole expanse of Church history that falls between the Apostles and Alexander Campbell – in short, everything that had been verboten as a member of the Church of Christ.

I’ve grown immensely since that first visit. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ‘arrived’. However, I have to say that what I have found is a group that maintains the great Traditions of the Church, encourages questions, and takes very seriously it’s responsibility as a church to act as the Body of Christ to the community. To any out there actively looking or merely curious, here’s the calender of events for Holy Week at the Cathedral.