Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Mountaintop Removal
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Father Neo has put up a post asking what is the nature of evil - how is and should it be defined and who should do the defining?

I think this might generate an interesting discussion and thought I'd point people his way. The post and discussion can be found here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Country Church

Country Church
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

NOW Will You Repent?

And turn from your wicked, wicked ways?

From the New York Times today:

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The complete story from CNN.

This report, the National Intelligence Estimate, is the most comprehensive assessment yet of the war in Iraq and is based upon analyses from all of the US intelligence agencies. In other words, this is not more of the same stuff that so-called "liberal" and otherwise sensible folk have been saying since 2003 (when, in fact, intelligence agencies were already saying that increased support for terrorism would result in Bush's planned invasion of Iraq). This is from Bush's own intelligence people.

For most of us, it was obvious that if you invade a country unprovoked and take actions that will result in the loss of thousands of innocent lives, that you would not do anything but throw gasoline on an existing fire.

Will this be the straw that breaks the camel's back? Will the US citizenry finally say, "Ya know, this guy just doesn't know what he's doing? I'm sure he WANTS to stop terrorism - we all do - but his actions are just doing the opposite of that. He has failed miserably."?

Or will the hardcore supporters of the Bush administration write off this report from ALL of the US intelligence agencies as part of the Vast LW Conspiracy (TM)? And even if the hardcore supporters remain behind him (I don't really expect much else), will the rest of the nation finally say, No more.

Lord God, may it be so.


On a sort of related note:

"What's human sacrifice," he asked, "if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?"

-Mel Gibson on the Iraq War

I don't reckon Gibson will remain in the good favor of his Right-ish supporters with comments like this. The question now is, just how harsh a backlash will there be against Gibson from the Right now? I mean, he can make questionably anti-semitic comments and be forgiven, get drunk and be forgiven, but no way does he get a pass on criticizing the invasion.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Graveyard Exit

Graveyard Exit
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Jane Addams

It was 75 years ago that Jane Addams was the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – the first American woman to win the prize – and coming up on the 100th anniversary of the publishing of her book, Newer Ideals of Peace. She shared the Nobel with Nicholas Murray Butler for her courageous, outspoken promotion of peace during World War I – a particularly unpopular stance at the time.

She’s also known as the Mother of Modern Social Work. She is a fascinating woman worthy of reading more about. I offer a few quotes from her below.

I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.

For ten years I have lived in a neighborhood which is by no means criminal, and yet during last October and November we were startled by seven murders within a radius of ten blocks. A little investigation of details and motives, the accident of a personal acquaintance with two of the criminals, made it not in the least difficult to trace the murders back to the influence of war. Simple people who read of carnage and bloodshed easily receive its suggestions. Habits of self-control which have been but slowly and imperfectly acquired quickly break down under the stress.

Hundreds of poor laboring men and women are being thrown into jails and police stations because of their political beliefs. In fact, an attempt is being made to deport an entire political party.

And, this one is a favorite of mine, one that I think resounds loudly these days.

The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.

I encourage anyone to look up more information on this inspiring lady. You could begin with the Nobel site:

(Has anyone read her book on peacemaking?)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ishmael and Whorled Leaves

Bike Shirt
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

The crew over at Whorled Leaves is currently reading the book, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Ishmael is fiction, but it's more philosophy than anything else.

The bulk of the book involves a series of socratic dialogs between the Teacher (Ishmael) and the Student. The Student has come to the Teacher because he wants to Save the World (fairly grand, that), and the Teacher wants to teach just that.

The Teacher is trying to get the Student to question the Story that we've told ourselves, the assumptions we make about how we MUST live and whether or not the Story that we've been told is a lie and if there isn't a better Story.

In other words, the book is suggesting that our ways as we've built civilization are unsustainable and that we must learn new ways or die. I found it an interesting book although I'm not sure if I accept all of Ishmael's conclusions, and suggested it to the Whorled Leaves group for a book study (we have books we read and discuss each month at WL).

I suggest you may want to visit WL and read the discussions - even get involved and offer your insight, if you'd like. About this particular book, but about all the books we read there. They never fail to be fascinating.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fall Chives

Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

New Book on Peacemaking

David Cortright has a new book out, Nonviolence and the strategy against terrorism, which sounds very promising. As ALL of us are desirous of not engaging in war unnecessarily (and all the awful destruction that accompanies war), we owe it to ourselves to research the alternatives. If we can stop terrorism by means other than war, then surely this is a cause we can all rally around - pacifist and warrior, left and right.

An excerpt from an essay by Cortright at Sojourners:

"Bush administration officials and many political leaders in Washington view terrorism primarily through the prism of war. Kill enough militants, they believe, and the threat will go away. The opposite approach is more effective and less costly in lives. Some limited use of force to apprehend militants and destroy training camps is legitimate, but unilateral war is not. In the three years since the invasion of Iraq, the number of major terrorist incidents in the world has increased sharply. War itself is a form of terrorism. Using military force to counter terrorism is like pouring gasoline on a fire. It ignites hatred and vengeance and creates a cycle of violence that can spin out of control. A better strategy is to take away the fuel that sustains the fire. Only nonviolent methods can do that, by attempting to resolve the underlying political and social factors that give rise to armed violence."

It would seem hard to argue against such sound logic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Banjo Feller

Banjo Feller
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

God is Out of Business?

I've incorporated some changes, whittled down a few verses (sorry, I didn't include them all, even though there was a lot of great stuff there - I was trying to keep it a manageable size) and reposted it below.

Whaddya think? I think it could still use some refining, so, feel free to make further suggestions.

God is Out of Business
(Since Walmart Set up Shop)
by committee (Daddio, Dan, Deb, Eleutheros & GreenmanTim - doesn't have the same ring as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, does it?)

1. Well Ol' Sam has passed away
But Walmart grows and grows
Economic prosperity
Except for the stores they close
And now that Sam has gone
To Heaven's golden shore
He's found the perfect location
For a brand new SuperStore (TM)

CH: Oh God is out of business
Since Walmart set up shop
St Pete just couldn't compete
Heaven was just a mom and pop
Eternity's been outsourced
There's no money in Grace
They tore down Heaven
And put a Walmart in its place

2. There've been changes up in heaven,
It's not what you've been told
Sam Walton's rearranged things
He won't be undersold.
He's gone and built a Walmart
Where the check outs all check in
And stocked with cleaning products
That will wash away your sin


3. Our Savior takes you by the hand
And leads you through the aisles
Piled high with bargain merchandise
For miles and miles and miles
Those tiles in the produce aisle
Look like they're made of gold
Right up to the Golden Arches
Where McWater-of-Life is sold.


4. There's profit now in Paradise
With Walmart running things
Your halo comes from China,
Likewise your robe and wings.
The cherubim and seraphim
They work all day for free
And Satan's got a sweatshop
where Heaven used to be.

And I thought we could squeeze in a little Hymn Singing:

In the sweet Buy and Buy
Now that Walmart's there,
you can buy and buy (Lots of stuff!)
In the sweet Buy and Buy
You can shop at the beautiful store


Sunday, September 10, 2006

What if...?

Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

I can't remember if I've mentioned it here or not, but my teenage son said it would be a fun "reality" show to find a racist or homophobe or some other troubled person, make them think they're dying, then, while they're asleep, change the room to something sorta "heavenly"-looking and when they wake up, they're told that they're dead and in heaven but it is populated by the folk they hate (ie, heaven's full of gays for the homophobe, full of Muslims - and God prefers to be called Allah! - for the religious elitist, full of unrepentant warriors to the pacifist, etc).

A little sick perhaps, but fun and educational to be sure. (How many would choose to stay, I wonder?)

In fact, that's my question of the day: What if you got to heaven and it was populated with folk that you thought no-way-in-hell would be there? Would you stay or request a transfer?

Thursday, September 7, 2006

My Church, Jeff Street

My church, Jeff Street
Original artwork by Jeff Streeter, Charlie Merrill

It occurred to me that, while I’ve talked about my faith, I’ve never really talked about my church here. That’s a shame because I have the privilege of attending a truly fantastic church.

I probably hesitate because I’m not of that school of Christianity that actively proselytizes, trying to recruit folk in to the dipping pond. For us, sharing the Good News has a lot more to do with actual good news than any particular brand of religion.

We’ve been attending Jeff Street Baptist Community at Liberty for ten years now. We are a different sort of church.

Jeff Street, cont'd...

Kids In Leaves
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

We’re nominally Baptists but rejected by the Southern Baptists. We’ve been called the Church of the Last Resort by those ready to leave the established church altogether. We’re a rowdy and fun-loving collection of (often recovering) Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Anabaptists and probably not a few Others.

We’re a Peace Church. We’re an Open and Affirming Church. We’ve the greatest preacher – Pastor Cindy – in Louisville, in Kentucky (so far as I know), and quite likely, in all of these United States of America.

We’re urban and gritty in our location and commitments but rural and free in spirit. We were formed by a reformed riverboat gambler and murderer in the 1800s as a mission with and to the outcasts of society and have remained much the same through our history.

Jeff Street, cont'd...

Men In Tights
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

We are (or have been) the home of the Urban Goatwalker, the Grueling Toadsuckers (aka the Sabbath Economics group), the Jeff Street Left-leaning Men’s Ballet Club (aka, the Men in Tights), the Endangered Animals Club, Firedoor Man, Captain Mellow, Cindy the Hoer, Father Roberto, the Peacemakers Group, the Women’s Spirituality Group, the Reclaiming Christmas Project, storytellers, singers, cyclists, salty saints, poets, prophets, priests, rabble rousers and troublemakers of all shapes and sizes.

That is who we are in a very big nutshell (and I’d love to tell you the story of some of those names and titles sometime…)

Perhaps, most of all, I love my church because we love each other. We’re not always in agreement on every topic (we retain too many Baptists to be that), but we get along famously just the same. We have fun together. We mourn together. We do great stuff together. For instance:

Each fall, we have a church retreat where we play games, pray, sing and have silly skits together.

Jeff Street, cont'd...

So Happy Together
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Each spring, we have an Earth Day service where we thank God for this blessed creation and challenge one another to be true stewards thereof.

Each Christmas, we celebrate the Reclaiming Christmas Project, in which we encourage one another and family to not give to us – because we have so much already – but rather give to a project to build a well in Nicaragua, or help teach shepherds in Morocco to read, or some similar project.

Each month we host the Urban Goatwalker, a coffeehouse for all, but especially for our homeless and mentally-challenged friends who don’t often get to be out at a restaurant enjoying coffee and snacks and listening to (and performing) live music and poetry.

Each Easter morning, we party like a buncha loons.

Jeff Street, cont'd...

Easter 2003 Celebration
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

In addition to the regular holidays, we also like to celebrate Turn Off Your TV week, Buy Nothing Day, Bicycle Month and enjoy at least a few potlucks during the year. What other church would have Supertramp and Abba quoted in sermons? Or sing Yellow Submarine as an invitational? Or Blow Up Your TV as special music?

We regularly do stuff together in small groups – eating lunch or dinner, going to see a midnight showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, going to concerts or dances or having our own stringed hootenannies.

Jeff Street, cont'd...

Jeff Street String Band

Every Sunday, you can expect to see bicyclists and walkers coming to church, in addition to those in autos. Every Sunday, you can expect to be moved by the music, challenged by the sermon, hugged and greeted by your friends. We are ever dared to promote peace, to oppose injustice, to love God’s good earth, to take the Bible seriously and ourselves less so, to love one another, to love our enemies and work on creative ways to subvert the destructive paradigms of our day and overcome evil with good.

I feel that words fail me when I try to talk about Jeff Street. It is such a blessed place. A radical place. A place where ALL are welcomed and encouraged and truly nifty and subversive stuff takes place.

One of my favorite descriptors for Jeff Street came from a visitor who, upon observing the many children wandering around, playing with and being hugged by various adults, said, “I can’t tell which children belong to which adults – they seemed to be so loved by everyone.”

Lord, may that always be the case for us all.

Pastor Cindy and Carol

Pastor Cindy and Carol
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

An earlier conversation continued...

In the Horns of a Dilemma post earlier, Michael and Eleutheros were engaging in some interesting conversation and I've carried Eleutheros' last comment up here, as I think it is an interesting point.

I will say that I'm with Michael in thinking that there is more than one way that we need to attack our problems, but I'm also agreeing with Eleutheros that how we manage our personal lives - what we eat, where we live, how we live - is perhaps the most important. (Or, as I believe E would put it, if we're not managing our personal lives aright, then nothing else we do is important.)

Eleutheros said:

Michael:"But people aren't going to drop everything and massively run to start subsistance farms--and there wouldn't be enough land if they were."

All parts of this statment are true, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think. No, there' wouldn't be enough land, nor enough biomass and fertility, not enough nitrogen (in useable form), ditto phosphorous and a number of other things. Not enough water either, not where it needs to be in the quantities there need be.

This fact should send a chill down you spine because the difference between what can be produced by substainable and subsistence farming and what the world needs to be fed ... is what is produced by oil. Modern farming is nothing more than a method of turning fossil oil into food.

And we are rapidly running out of oil. Does the slogan "Ghawar is dying" mean anything to you? It should, it is the world's largest oil field and it is in rather rapid decline as are ALL major oil fields in the world.

No, people aren't going to drop everything ....
People are just going to drop.

With a focus on what government is doing what and who is saying what from what pulpit, it might be that the great movements of our time have escaped the activist's view.

We are at, soon at, or just past Peak Oil where the cost of energy is going to become astronomically more expensive.

We have been eating down our reserves of stored food for six out of seven years and this year's harvests are badly plagued with droughts and heat.

The unbelieveably massive debt the US (and other parts of the world) are carrying as a result of the housing bubble (now bursting) bids fair to bring about the worst depression in history.

No, and more's the pity, you are right. People won't be dropping what they are doing and rushing to subsistence farms. Not even if they eventually come to want to.

Like the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island, some activist will fill up their tank en route to the next protest or conference with the last gallon of fossil fuel.

Sustainable agriculture is only ONE aspect of promoting peace so long as we can continue to plunder the world for the rest. See how peaceful people are when they are hungry. Coming soon to a civilization near you.


Eleutheros has an interesting series on subsistence living going on at his place:

And Michael is in the middle of some fascinating thoughts on Just Peacemaking at his place:


I had asked Rick at ricklibrarian to post his list of ten great books and he has done so. No one recommends books like librarians! And not only did he do so, but he posted a link where other librarians post their lists.

Check it out:

Friday, September 1, 2006

Dressing Up

Dressing Up
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

More Empty-headed Canoodling...

What's new with that, you say?

Thanks all for sharing your favorite comedies and some thoughts along those lines. Just for fun, let me add some of my all-time favorite fun movies. Not my favorite movies necessarily (although many of them are) - I'm not talking about The Mission, Dead Poets' Society, A River Ran Through It, those sorts of great films.

I'm talking about the movies I had the most fun at - which is a different list than my comedies.

Perhaps it's an arbitrary split, but there you have it anyway. I'll just offer three, for now, I may expand upon it later.

1. A Princess Bride, loved it then, loved the book, love it now. I could watch it over and over. A perfect movie.

A sampling of favorite lines:

Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] "As you wish" was all he ever said to her.
Buttercup: Farm boy, fill these with water - please.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back...

The Poetry Corner:
That Vizzini, he can fuss.
Fuss, fuss... I think he like to scream at us.
Probably he means no harm.
He's really very short on charm.
You have a great gift for rhyme.
Yes, yes, some of the time.
Enough of that!
Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
If there are, we all be dead.
No more rhymes now, I mean it!
Anybody want a peanut?

Inigo: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Vizzini: Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!

The Clergyman (with an unusual speech impediment): Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam... And wuv, twue wuv, will fowow you foweva...

'ello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die.

Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow.
Grandpa: As you wish.

2. O Brother, Where Art Thou? An old-timey bluegrass take (loosely) on Homer's Odyssey, what could be better? And a great soundtrack, to boot. Made me a fan out of George Clooney (no mean feat) who delivered his well-wrought lines impeccably.

A sampling of favorite lines:
Ulysses: Pete, the personal rancor reflected in that remark I don't intend to dignify with comment. But I would like to address your general attitude of hopeless negativism. Consider the lilies of the goddamn field or... hell! Take at look at Delmar here as your paradigm of hope...

Delmar: Care for some gopher?
Ulysses: No thank you, Delmar. One third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without bedding it down...

Tommy: I had to be up at that there crossroads last midnight, to sell my soul to the devil.
Ulysses: Well, ain't it a small world, spiritually speaking. Pete and Delmar just been baptized and saved. I guess I'm the only one that remains unaffiliated.

3. A Prairie Home Companion. I've already sung its praises earlier this year. My favorite film of the year, but that's probably just because I enjoy the radio show so much...although it's not just that. Woody Harrelson was fantastic in it. Can't wait to watch it again.

I just have one quote, for now. Dusty and Lefty had a great number of great lines.

Dusty: What did the elephant say to the naked man?
Lefty: What?
Dusty: That's cute, but can you breath through it?

Your favorite fun movies? Your favorite lines from the above or others?