Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 1st, 2007

Interesting comment by John Shelby Spong

with 2 comments

From Newsweek/Washington Post:

“On Faith” panelist John Shelby Spong served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2000. His books, seeking to make contemporary theology accessible to lay readers, have sold over a million copies. His latest book, The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Discover the God of Love (2005), examines the holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition. A committed Christian who has spent a lifetime studying the Bible and whose life has been deeply shaped by it, Spong has been a visiting lecturer at universities, Including Harvard, and churches worldwide, delivering more than 200 public lectures each year to standing-room only crowds. His best-selling books include Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand.

Spong’s comment:

I welcome the attention that serious atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are offering the world at this moment through their books. They are bringing what I regard as a deserved criticism and a necessary correction to what Christianity has become in our generation.

I, for one, have no desire to worship a God who is thought to favor the war in the Middle East in order to accomplish some obscure prediction found in the late first century book of Revelation, who suppresses women in the name of ancient patriarchy, or who is so deeply homophobic that oppressing homosexuals becomes the defining issue of church life.

Such an irrational, superstitious deity has no appeal to me and the attack of atheists against this kind of God is welcome. I also do not want to be told that the “true God” can be found either in the inerrancy of the Bible or in the infallibility of a Pope. Both are absurd religious claims designed not to discover truth but to enforce religious authority and conformity.

I believe, therefore, that atheism as a challenge to organized religion has a worthy vocation to fulfill. The real atheists are saying that the God they have encountered inside the life of the church is too small and too compromised to be God for their lives. If the church is dedicated to such an unbelievable, magical and miracle-working deity that it cannot admit to any genuine probing of the divine, then the atheist speaks a powerful truth.

Atheism, technically, does not mean a denial of the existence of God. It means literally a denial of the theistic definition of God. That is to say, theism is not what God is; it is what human beings have decided that God is. Human definitions of God can die without God dying. Theism means that we perceive of God as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to this world (usually conceived of as above the sky), who periodically invades this world in miraculous ways.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Religion

Collard greens and lentils

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From The Wednesday Chef. I’m definitely going to make this soon:

Collard Greens and Lentils
Serves 2 as a main course

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 pound bacon, cut in thin strips
1 pound collard greens or mixed collard and mustard greens, ribs removed, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup green Le Puy lentils or other lentils
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar

1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot and sauté the onion over medium heat until it becomes translucent and begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and remove any excess oil by patting the bacon with a paper towel.

2. Return the pot to the heat and add half the greens. This will fill the pot, but as you cook, stirring frequently, the leaves will wilt and shrink. When there is enough room, add the remaining greens and the chicken stock. Stir to mix evenly.

3. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to cook until the greens are well stewed and deeply fragrant, about 1 and 1/2 hours.

4. Add the lentils, stir, cover and return the pot to the oven until the lentils are tender but still a little chewy, about 40 to 45 minutes.

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Serve immediately.

As it happens, I made up a similar recipe today, which turned out very tasty. This one is done entirely on the stovetop in a 3-qt sauté pan. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Recipes

Cool paintings

with 2 comments

A blog of paintings.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Art

More superfoods and eating by color

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The various superfoods lists have a lot of overlap. Here’s another that includes these foods:

  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

When incorporated into your regular daily diet, these foods, says Pratt, can stop some of the changes that lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers. “I picked them out after researching all of the world’s healthiest diets: for example, Japanese diets, Mediterranean diets, and even some of the healthier dietary patterns in the United States,” he says. “I noticed that it’s the same food groups wherever you live.”

This reminded me of the interesting and useful book What Color Is Your Diet?, by David Heber. He recommends eating at least one serving daily of each of seven groups of foods, each group labeled by the predominant color of the foods in the group. The color of vegetables and fruits, it turns out, offers some fairly good guidance to the food values.

I created a little chart (PDF file) to track my own eating. I took it to Staples and had it laminated, and used a grease pencil to check off each group as I ate a serving from that group. By the end of the day, all seven groups should have a check, and I rubbed out the checks to begin again the next day. The version at the link has columns for up to four people, so it can be used as a family thing. Give it a go—you’ll find that it encourages some new directions in your diet.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 10:58 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Science

Kindergarten at the beginning

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Look through the pages of this exhibit.

Most of us today experienced kindergarten as a loose assortment of playful activities – a kind of preparatory ground for school proper. But in its original incarnation kindergarten was a formalized system that drew its inspiration from the science of crystallography. During its early years in the nineteenth century, kindergarten was based around a system of abstract exercises that aimed to instill in young children an understanding of the mathematically generated logic underlying the ebb and flow of creation. This revolutionary system was developed by the German scientist Friedrich Froebel whose vision of childhood education changed the course of our culture laying the grounds for modernist art, architecture and design. Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller are all documented attendees of kindergarten. Other “form-givers” of the modern era – including Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Georges Braque – were educated in an environment permeated with Frobelian influence.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 9:06 am

Posted in Art, Books, Daily life, Education

A beautiful nebula

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Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 8:58 am

Posted in Science

Panda sneeze

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Written by LeisureGuy

1 January 2007 at 8:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Video

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