Archive for October, 2007

Contraception no longer a “non-negotiable” for Catholic bishops

October 31, 2007

This is what one Jerome Donnelly claims in a letter written to the NY Times. He is commenting on an article by Peter Steinfels that talks about the upcoming voter guide being prepared by the US Catholic Bishops.

Donnelly writes that contraception used to be denounced from pulpits as a non-negotiable, but now the bishops seem fixated on abortion:

Catholic practices have apparently led the bishops to become more reticent in denouncing artificial birth control; perhaps a comparable prudence should now be exercised in the case of abortion.

Two problems here: (more…)


Willow Creek Church planted in rocky soil?

October 30, 2007

Seems like big, big news on the evangelical megachurch scene:

Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Church in Illinois, claims (Hybels’ words in italics; article author’s commentary follows):

We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.

[. . .] the error of the seeker sensitive movement is monumental in its scope. The foundation of thousands of American churches is now discovered to be mere sand. The one individual who has had perhaps the greatest influence on the American church in our generation has now admitted his philosophy of ministry, in large part, was a “mistake.” The extent of this error defies measurement.

But hey, look at the bright side: errors can be corrected. That’s what God gave us reason for.

More at

Job search update for CA residents

October 29, 2007

I have applied for the only open position in my field in California . . . it would be cool to work there (it’s in Irvine) but it’s not at the top of my list of desirable jobs, and new jobs get posted every week. So you never know what else might open up.

Just to let you know.

Affirmative Action: when “voluntary” means “mandatory”

October 25, 2007

It’s also when “non-discrimination” means “discrimination”.

Colorado State U at Pueblo is but one of many universities currently recruiting faculty for the Fall 2008 school year. CSUP’s application instructions tell the applicant what documents to submit to be considered for the position. Among these is a “voluntary” demographics sheet. So, you “must” include the “voluntary” sheet that tells what race you claim to be.

The choices are illuminating: (there is a check space next to each option)

1. American Indian OR Alaska Native
2. Black OR African American

Job search stats

October 23, 2007

As a few of you know, I am applying for jobs. Here is a summary of the various locations of the places I’m applying to, grouped by state.

AL: 2
CA: 1
IA: 1

Bobby Jindal: “born-again Roman Catholic”

October 21, 2007

Thus is he dubbed by Adam Nossiter of the NY Times.

I am wondering what exactly a “born-again Roman Catholic” is, since I’ve not heard that term applied to Catholics. In my experience, it’s most strongly associated with Baptists. Does he mean he’s a Baptist-like Catholic? And if so, what does that mean? That he disobeys his bishop, and calls his own shots? (A Baptist friend tells me that this is an accurate description of Baptist thinking: the individual is best suited to determine and work toward his/her own spiritual good, and is thus not likely to listen to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Baptist readers can correct her if this is wrong.)

For those who don’t click the link (i.e., everybody reading this), Jindal is the new governor of Louisiana. He’s a Republican and a Catholic convert, so hey, he’s okay in my book.

War and Peace: “original edition” worth my time?

October 18, 2007

A few days ago I found a brand-new hardcover with dustjacket of War and Peace. Inside was a publisher’s letter. It began:

Dear Professor:

I hope that you will take a minute to look over this complimentary copy of War and Peace.

A minute? To look over one of the longest novels ever written? I am amused. The letter continues:

Now available for the first time in English, here is the original edition of Russia’s most famous novel. Tolstoy completed this version of his materpiece in 1866, but it was never published. He later returned to this draft to add the brilliant philosophical and historical meditations that would ultimately double the book’s length and give us the familiar, canonical text. Translated by Andrew Bromfield, this shorter and more narrative edition in its initial incarnation, and with several intriguing differences in plot, will both open this remarkable work of literature to new readers and engage devoted fans with a fresh look at an important classic.

My pleasure at having scored a brand new book for free gave way to disappointment that I hadn’t gotten the “genuine article” that everyone knows and loves, but some book that nobody ever read until the day before yesterday. Same name as the real deal, but minus a lot of “brilliant” passages. It’s like collecting film scraps from the cutting room floor, putting them together, and marketing them as an “important” version of the classic film, somehow worthy of our attention.

In my opinion, Tolstoy likely revised his book for a reason. Why would anyone but the most devoted Tolstoyista bother with this book? And what am I going to do with my copy?

Happy Black Poetry Day

October 17, 2007

Yep, it’s October 17th again!

Go read about Jupiter Hammon, born on this day in 1711.

Traditional Anglicans to join Rome?

October 16, 2007

I don’t know how these things work, and don’t know anything about the Traditional Anglican Communion. Does it mean that the Roman Catholic Church may gain 400,000 new converts overnight? (Overnight being, of course, a relative term, not a literal one.)

16th October 2007
Statement authorised by the TAC Primate

” The College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met in Plenary Session in Portsmouth, England, in the first week of October 2007. The Bishops and Vicars-General unanimously agreed to the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union. The letter was signed solemnly by all the College and entrusted to the Primate and two bishops chosen by the College to be presented to the Holy See.
The letter was cordially received at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primate of the TAC has agreed that no member of the College will give interviews until the Holy See has considered the letter and responded.”
+ John

First digital prints

October 16, 2007

This week I made the first prints from my Canon 5D, all of them 8x10s. The first four I did on an HP plotter, on 42″ wide glossy paper. They turned out terrible! Probably they were ruined by a number of factors: wrong printer for photos, didn’t use the printer’s own color profile, etc.

Took my laptop to the nearest photo processor this afternoon and had one of the photos reprinted, using their specific printer color profile and the proper “Proof Setup” settings. Much, much better.

I find it funny that I’ve only printed four of the 2,900 pictures I’ve taken since getting the camera on June 15th. But now that my photography skills are improving, alongside my color-correction and other Photoshop skills, I will be printing many more in the months to come.