Thursday, April 12, 2007

Environmentalism in the inbox

Received this today from a friend and verified it at Snopes.com and several other blogs (including Canada's own Treehugger.com).

LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.

HOUSE # 1:

A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.

HOUSE # 2:

Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas,and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1

(20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville,Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2
(model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the
United States, George W. Bush.

So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON'T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."

Any guesses as to whether or not this will make a difference to the lefties?

Didn't think so....

Something Truly Indifferent

Alright. Adiaphora are supposed to be truly indifferent, and I haven't blogged much on inessential things (or much of anything). To that end, I offer this post:

Where is the Red Dawn equivalent of the War on Terror? I mean, there have been a few movies that obliquely reference the Iraq War (normally posing as generic middle east conflict/conspiracy or - following the M*A*S*H route - are set in a different conflict or a parallel reality). But this is not high schoolers taking up arms against the enemy.

(This was prompted because I just found Red Dawn at Wal-Mart for $5.50! What a bargain!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unmistakable Truths

Hmmm... dig up the corpse of Jesus and you get to claim that your faith is not beholden to fact because you can make it a metaphor or just dump the whole "realism" project. (Not to mention that everyone else who disagrees with your interpretation does so from intellectual dishonesty or, worse, moral bankruptcy.)

Dig up something an anthropologist claims is a human ancestor and you demand that everyone's faith claims have to change in accordance with that "fact."

Anyone else smell inconsistency? (Hint: it smells kind of lemony.)

Evolution and relativism = "unmistakable truth" over which only the mentally deficient can disagree.

orthodox Christianity = misogynistic powerplay for privileging a narrow "western" view.

A most fascinating hermeneutic....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Baby and the Bathwater

At the dawn of the Middle Ages, Western Christendom began to teach that it was immoral to bathe. This has a long history in the ascetic branches of the church (and its predecessors in Judaism - cf. John the Baptizer). In fact, two of the Seven Ecumenical Councils actually wrote Canons (laws) against public baths (Laodicea and Trullo). In practice, it was far from uniform. One bishop is remembered for two things: his wit and the fact that he bathed twice daily (Sisinius, the first sissy?). Meanwhile, St. Augustine was asked if it was okay to use baths that had cultic connections (cf. 1 Cor. 8).

The real reason, as Clement of Alexandria (2nd c. AD) demonstrates, was a condemnation of licentiousness. Baths were seen as lusty both to the senses and to the sex. They were indulgent, and thus to be avoided (even though some room was left for acknowledging their benefits). Avoiding baths became rather extreme (such that in the Arabian Nights, a Muslim suggested that once Christians were doused with baptismal water they felt entitled to avoid bathing for the rest of their lives).

What we need is an encyclical or ecumenical council or something that says it's pious to bathe. That way, the French can claim they don't wash because they like staying secular.