May 29 - May 31, 2002
Friday 31st May, 2002
Martin Roth posts:
New Kids on the Blog
Of course I’m going to give a plug to
Joshua Claybourn. In his blog he has called this site “the New York
Times of Christian bloggers”. Thank you. (Now if only the New York
Times itself would say something.)
Thank you too for the mention from Hernan
Gonzalez of Buenos Aires, although I can’t read it, because it’s in Spanish.
Hernan’s extremely attractive blog,
fotos del apocalipsis, is worth visiting for the beautiful pictures,
even if, like me, you don’t know the language. It’s the first Spanish blog
on the Christian bloglist, and Hernan asks if I know of others. “Surely I’m
not the only one, am I?” he asks. I doubt it, though I don’t know any
others. Can anyone help?
Welcome too, to Francis Mooney and his
Xavier+. An initial inspection indicates this to be another fine
addition to the growing list of high-class Catholic blogs.
And, as noted already a couple of days
ago by Bene Diction, Touchstone magazine has a new blog, called
Mere Comments. It looks pretty high-class too. Indeed, Francis Mooney
says, “Touchstone magazine editors are too classy to call it
-posted 5:30pm, by Martin Roth
Bene Diction posts:
Dissent, Discussion and Disagreement
This post by Steven Den Beste of
USS Clueless has been in my thoughts. I’ve been thinking about this
since I read Tim Blair’s
post Thursday, about the fraud and hate mail generated by a man who
doesn’t even know him.
You've all encountered it: the guy who thinks that his
point of view is the only one that can possibly exist. He will patiently
explain it to you, making sure you understand it, confident that once you
understand it you will come to agree with him since his logic is
overwhelming and irrefutable and his evidence comprehensive. He doesn't
accept the possibility that you might well fully understand his point of
view and still disagree with it; that isn't possible since his position is
the only one which makes sense. So if, when he is done, you still refuse to
grant his point of view, then he'll explain it again only he'll do it more
It's not possible to get across to such a person that you
actually fully understand his point of view and still are not convinced.
Since you haven't come to agree with him, it's clear that you don't
understand it, because if you really, truly understood it you would agree
with him. No flaws exist in his argument, thus the only flaw can be in your
understanding of the argument.
Unless you're willing to lie to him and pretend to agree,
about the only thing you can do with a guy like this is to walk away.
You would think that well-educated people, especially
political leaders, would not fall in this trap and would understand that
it's actually possible for people of good faith to operate from the same
information and still have different opinions, if for no other reason than
because they have different values.
(In Blair’s case, this reader who disagrees or just likes
causing trouble, generated more hate toward an innocent person. His words
and actions were very loud. Blair was sideswiped. There was no discussion,
just hateful talk and actions).
As I look over at the Christian Blogging list at the left
of this page, I wonder how many of these bloggers have run up against people
like Den Beste has described. I think it is a spiritual issue.
Ted Esler of
EslerFried wants to find cross-cultural bloggers. Hey Ted. Check out
the links at the side. We have a couple. And if you find more, please let
Martin know, eh? Meantime, does this Australian-Canadian thing @
Praying the Post has good perspective on
his anti-Catholic definition. I have a question from an ignorant Protestant.
(moi). Do Catholics worship Mary? Doesn’t ‘anti’ mean “opposed to” or
“preventing”? Those are active verbs. That’s also two questions. Good post.
Bloggedy Blog. You know that question you posted May 29th?
Check your comments section.
Cut on the Bias has a sensible look at how
women handle fear, after going on her first flight since September. Men can
learn from this post.
In the micro climate of the evangelical blogsphere, two
Ph D’s and a Master’s degree,
David Heddle of He Lives,
Mark Byron and
Kevin Holtsberry enter into a, uh, forceful debate about September
2001 and God’s judgment.
Joyful Christian juggles all the views.
Blithering Idiot had a busy day. He helped
catch a thief.
Midwest Conservative Journal says FBI
agents are now allowed to surf the web.
Haaretzdaily reports a 23-year-old
Palestinian woman decided not to carry out her suicide bombing.
forces arrested a woman in Bethlehem on Tuesday night who was allegedly
planning to carry out a suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion, but then changed
Ahmed, 23, from Beit Sahour, was planning to carry out the attack in Rishon
Letzion's pedestrian mall last week.
World Net Daily has the gruesome details
about what injured survivors go through when a suicide bomber decides to
die. The security incident map is
The nation of Nepal is known to most
Westerners for its tourist industry. Nepal made headlines around the world
in June 2001 when most of the Royal Family was murdered by a suicidal crown
Debka has a history of this strategic and troubled country, and an
overview of on-going Chinese intelligence infiltration in the Maoist
Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat
Christianity Today reports on the five
month rioting and slaughter in India.
US military scientists are hard at work inventing stink
bombs, trance gas and little bugs that eat clothing. In the future, enemy
troops could be grossed out, stoned and naked. But what if the wind shifts?
It appears the military is taking cues from the civilian population. Link
by Bene Diction
Thursday 30th May, 2002
Bene Diction posts:
Post-September Baby Boom
It appears that a
this summer is related to the September 2001 attacks.
"This was kind of a wake-up call for people," said Dr. Paul Kastell, an
obstetrician and professor at Long Island College Hospital in New York City.
"They saw the towers burning. And when they got home they said, 'You know,
it's never going to be the right time. We should start now.' "
New York, which took the biggest hit in the terrorist attacks, is expected
to be the boom's epicentre.
Deliveries will be up from about 15 to 25 percent in different hospitals in
However it take demographers months to collect data, so for now information
is anecdotal. However sales in baby gear are up.
When asked why they want to have a child in such turbulent times, many new
parents cite a need for togetherness, healing and even patriotism.
"Maybe our child can help in some small way to make the
world a better place," says Missy Acosta, who is due in July and lives in
Mt. Juliet, Tenn., just outside Nashville.
Can Lawsuits Dismantle Church?
There is a thoughtful
in US Today on lawsuits brought against the US Catholic church by
31 Ugandan prisoners in jail for arms possession escaped
after their guards chased a rabbit.
The prisoners were digging in a garden near their prison
in northeastern Uganda when a rabbit shot out of a nearby bush. All five
guards set off in pursuit.
No word on whether the prisoners or the rabbit were caught. Thanks to
Best of the Web Today
for the link.
Tim Blair takes on a Canadian who is apparently being an idiot. Nail the
dude. If it would help, I’d send you a friendly email from Canada saying how
much I like your work, but it sounds like you have enough email these days.
So, I’m saying it here. Blog power! He also has an update on the Nancy Crick
Heal Your Church has almost completed his move. The new link
Canadians can be nice.
Holy Weblog has permission from
Relapsed Catholic to call the new tip jar the ‘collection plate’. Good
posts from both today.
Bloggedy Blog is confused about where the term blogosphere originated.
Can someone help him out?
-posted 10:55am, by Bene Diction
Wednesday 29th May, 2002
Martin Roth posts:
The True Power of Chanting
Sunday night’s “Compass” documentary, on
the Japanese Buddhist sect Soka Gakkai, titled “The
Power of Chanting”, was bland. It only touched briefly on some of the controversies swirling
around the sect, such as the manner in which its tentacles in Japan extend
into politics, the media, schools, universities and the arts.
And the programme did not even ask what
purpose such an exceedingly rich and powerful organisation has in building a
multi-million dollar complex at Homebush Bay, when it has only 2,000 members
in the whole of Australia.
Never mind. The sect’s local adherents
all came across as exceedingly nice. All seemed to feel they benefited from
the emphasis on chanting.
As one local member said:
When I don't chant I find that the wheels fall off the cart a little bit, I
lose direction. When I'm chanting I find it easy to get up in the morning
and spend lots of hours working on stuff. When I’m chanting I focus on
what’s important in my life all the time, and when I’m not, I sometimes lose
“Compass” might have considered
interviewing my friend
Michael Graham. He spent 28 years in Eastern religions – for a time he
was one of the leading Western disciples of the famous Indian Siddha yoga
guru Muktananda – before becoming a Christian.
In his book
The Experience of Ultimate Truth Michael has some fascinating
reflections on the true power of chanting:
Chanting was an interesting subject. I hated it when first introduced to it
in India. I thought it silly and religious; a superstitious practice. Being
required to conform to the ashram routine over the years I grew to enjoy it.
But I found further benefits when I disciplined myself to practise it in
measured doses each day….I noticed that 45 minutes of chanting each day
created an invigoration that lasted for hours. It was a great tonic.
Years later I was fascinated to discover the research of Dr Alfred M.
Tomatis. He was a French Ear-Nose-and-Throat specialist who had become the
world authority on the beneficial effects of chanting and sound on the
psycho-physical system. His discoveries began with measuring the vitalising
effects of chanting among the monks in a Benedictine monastery. The more
they chanted, the more vitality and buoyancy they displayed.
In the 1960s, the Church Council of Vatican II…watered down the monastic
life and drastically reduced the number of hours chanting in the
monasteries. Tomatis had been called in to find out why the monks were
sitting around like limp rags, instead of displaying their characteristic
energy levels typical of the monks for the last 1,100 years. Chanting, it
turned out, was the vital ingredient.
From this base he discovered that there were certain tones, rhythms and
inflections of music that stimulated the brain directly, independent of
religious considerations or beliefs. It turned out that the ear was a
channel for brain stimulation independent of its function for hearing alone,
and thus further stimulated the entire nervous system. It was interesting to
have corroborated these effects in my own experience.
-posted 10:20am, by
Bene Diction posts:
As promised, Christianity Today continues coverage on the kidnapping
of Martin and Gracia Burnham in its
is back from his 21st wedding anniversary trip and is blogging
The Wall Street Journal’s
Best of the Web Today
has, well, the best of the web. The story that caught my attention was a
report that Palestinians refused blood for their wounded during the Jenin
incursion. Why? It was ‘Jewish blood’. Israel responded by flying 2,000
units of ‘Arab blood’ in from Jordan.
takes on an Australian ‘fundi-basher’ blogger about whom Jesus really
would be seen with. Is Spotty Herbert an Australian colloquialism for loser?
Sand in the Gears has a vigorous
of Veggie Tales.
A Literary Genius Honored by
is being honoured by his hometown of Springfield Massachusetts in a very
fitting way. The celebrations at the newest U.S. national memorial start
The opening of the $6.2 million sculpture garden will launch a weekend of
Seussian celebrations for young and old, including a read-a-thon and a
parade down Mulberry Street, whose whimsical Victorian homes were the
setting for Geisel's first book, "And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry
Street," published in 1937.
Every child knows a staid, bronze bust just wouldn't do for the author of
"Green Eggs and Ham.”
So, in keeping with his special magic, Geisel is being remembered with a
sculpture garden of the fantastical creatures he brought to life in his
Mutually Symbiotic Relationship
John Hiler does a fine job in his
of the ‘blogosphere’ in this article at Microcontent News.
Like any ecosystem, the Blogosphere demonstrates all the
classic ecological patterns: predators and prey, evolution and emergence,
natural selection and adaptation. I've often thought that anthropologists
were best equipped to deconstruct the emerging blogging sub-culture, but now
I'm convinced I got it wrong: the greater mysteries of the Blogosphere will
be unlocked instead by evolutionary biologists.
If you are struggling to understand what web logs are all about and how they
relate to news and content delivery, community and collaboration, this is a
great place to start.
Are MartinRothOnline.com and his Christian counterparts thematic? Hiler is
right about why this form of communication matters.
Anti-Abortionists Go Digital
CNBC and the Wall Street Journal look at the
implications of the latest tactics on the front lines at abortion clinics.
comments on the tactics of stigma and shame.
Or We Could Just Explode
Three Palestinian terrorists who participated in the Bethlehem Nativity
church takeover are
about being too closely monitored in their new life in Italy.
"When we arrived in Italy I asked the head of the Italian
security service responsible for us not to track us too closely. I told him,
“at least give us some personal space and autonomy or we could just
explode”, Khaled Abu Nejmeh told the daily.
Uh, does he mean that literally?
by Bene Diction