Thursday, October 27, 2005

separation of church and state

Why, oh why can't Matt Santos be president. I suppose the fact that he's a fictional character on The West Wing could be a problem. I just watched the episode (Mr. Frost) where he talks about his stance on the separation of church and state and I just wish real politicians could sound so reasonable.

Here's an excerpt from a scene of Matt Santos on his views of the separation of church and state from

Santos is speaking about education to a classroom full of parents and teachers. He finishes his speech and starts to take questions. The first one comes from a tenth-grade science teacher, who asks him bluntly, "Do you believe in the theory of intelligent design?" Santos tells her, "As a Catholic who attends church every Sunday, I do believe in God, and my faith tells me that there was a designer
behind it all." The next question comes from an English teacher at the school, who asks Santos whether he believes in the theory of evolution. Santos tells him that he thinks it would be pretty hard to teach much of science without evolution, and that he does believe in it. He continues, "I don't think it's contradictory to believe in science and believe in God." The English teacher goes on to ask whether Santos thinks that intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in public schools. Santos: "Absolutely not. One is based on science, and one is based on faith. Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. It's a religious belief."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Listened to interview on Fresh Air with Peter Manseau, the author of Vows. Liked some of the things I heard:

  • celibacy is about the way the church thinks about sex, the body and women

  • there is nothing defensible that women cannot be priests

  • his practice of faith is to learn other people's stories of faith

NPR interview - A Family of 'Vows': The Son of a Priest and a Nun
Peter Manseau's website -

searching for God knows what - part I

My husband and I recently watched In Good Company. The film is about a young executive on the fast track. In a corporate merger, he takes over the management job of someone much older and more experienced and that older person is demoted and has to work for the young guy. The young guy is all about his career, his house, his car, and his status to the detriment of his marriage, his social life, and his health. The young guy is not as ruthless in pursuit of the bottom-line as his superiors, but he feels the pressure and does what he feels has to be done (firing employees and having his team work longer hours). Through a relationship with the older man's daughter, the young man begins to understand the goals he has set for his life may not bring true fulfillment.

I didn't get it while I was watching, but I realize my career at IBM mirrored many aspects of the young man's career. I was on the fast track. When I became a manager, I was younger than any of my employees. I was all about making it in a man's world, high performance appraisals, being respected, and a strong work ethic. I thought I was fair, but in retrospect I think I was pretty ruthless. I didn't understand people who didn't put career first. If I didn't respect the ideas of someone else, I would railroad over them if they were in my way or I would simply ignore them. The rewards were promotions, praise, and travel, but the drawbacks were a failed marriage, lack of social skills, and an unhealthy lifestyle.

I'm lucky; I'm living my second chance. But I sometimes miss the rewards of my previous life. I wonder why it is so difficult to be satisfied doing good work without desiring praise and to make sacrifices instead of wanting more. I've started reading Donald Miller's Searching for God Knows What and his interpretation of the fall from Genesis blew me away.

Reading Genesis has always been a problem for me. I can believe in the science of evolution. I have problems with a universe created in 6 days, a Garden of Eden, Eve created from Adam, a tree of life, a serpent that speaks, the fall of humankind. And, of course, it irks me that Eve bears so much of the burden for this fall. So, I have been categorizing this story as a myth devised to explain creation in ancient times and ignoring it. Donald Miller has me thinking about it again.

Man is wired so he gets his glory (his security, his understanding of value, his feeling of purpose, his feeling of rightness with his Maker, his security for eternity) from God and this relationship is so strong, and God's love so pure, that Adam and Eve felt no insecurity at all… But when that relationship was broken, they knew it instantly. All of their glory, the glory that came from God, was gone… All of the insecurity rises the instant you realize you are alone.

If man was wired so that something outside himself told him who he was, and if God's presence was giving him a feeling of fulfillment, then when that relationship was broken, a man would be pining for other people to tell him that he was good, right, okay with the world, and eternally secure. - Searching for God Knows What, pgs. 70-71

I do believe there is something missing in our make-up that we are looking for to make us whole. It's the basis of religion. Scientists have puzzled over it. B.F. Skinner thought it could be generated with behavior modification. Maslow put it at the top of his human needs hierarchy and labeled it self-transcendence. Sigmund Freud described it as our unconscious mind. All these explanations provide insight into this missing element, but none have thoroughly explained or fixed it.

So I can appreciate the idea that we're wired to know our creator, to understand our creator's will for us, and to find fulfillment in this relationship. I get that somehow our connection to our creator got damaged or broken. I don't understand how this happened, but I see that it causes us to not feel whole. It's obvious to me that we spend our lives looking for wholeness, fulfillment, and security to fill this void. It explains a lot of stupidity in the world.

I'll leave you with Donald Miller's synopsis of this stupidity in the form of a visiting alien's report on humans.

Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human's social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and sadly their greatest tragedies. It is as though something that helped them function and live well has gone missing, and they are pining for that missing thing in all sorts of odd methods, none of which are working. The greater tragedy is that very few people understand they have the disease. This seems strange as well because it is obvious. To be sure, it is killing them, and yet sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem. - Searching for God Knows What, pg. 92

Thursday, October 20, 2005

embracing diversity

I went to a same-sex wedding celebration at a Unitarian Church this past weekend and it was amazing. The diversity represented at this church and at the ceremony was awesome. There were different ages, different races, different couples and family types, all experiencing a religious ceremony in an encouraging and non-judgemental way.

I have been to a few Unitarian services in the past and found the lack of a single theological foundation uncomfortable for me (they pull pieces and parts from a range of theological and philisophical thoughts). However, their commitment to embracing diversity is solid and something my church, my denomination and well, practically ever other denomination out there needs to learn from.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Honduras mission trip

I think I found the message I was searching for in "Heaven's Here On Earth". The video is my interpretation based on video footage and images from a recent Honduras mission trip (no I wasn't there).

Thursday, October 06, 2005

is this real?

My hubby showed me this link this morning and at first I thought it must be an internet spoof, but maybe not. Anyway, interesting read.

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible