Living And Loving With Difference And Disagreement

From The Washington Post:

It was so Washington, the way they met. She was on the dais at a panel discussion on media and politics, holding forth knowledgeably; he was in the audience, smitten. At the steakhouse dinner that followed, Jake Brewer got the courage to walk up to Mary Katharine Ham and give her the hopeful, ambiguous let’s get a drink sometime line.

Then he e-mailed her an invitation to a tech policy luncheon. She never replied.

Soon after, he was sitting at El Tamarindo in Adams Morgan with a friend, and she was beelining for their table. She greeted the mutual friend at his table — and only then turned to him with a friendly stare of non-recognition.

“Hi,” she told Jake. “I’m Mary Katharine Ham.”

It was all so very Washington, for a couple who would become anything but: a conservative pundit married to an Obama White House staffer.

When Jake died Sept. 19 — after he collided with a car during a cancer charity bike ride in Mount Airy, Md. — the 34-year-old technology advocate was mourned on both MSNBC and Fox. His boss, President Obama, released a statement: Jake was proof, he said, that this generation is “capable of making a difference.”

Read the rest of this heartbreaking yet inspiring story.

‘He would use the word of God to influence’

From in Milwaukee:

MILWAUKEE — Four people are behind bars — convicted of preaching a lie. The group took tens of millions of dollars from churchgoers who never saw it coming.

“He would use the word of God to influence. He was greeting people and meeting people at church functions,” said David Oakley, U.S. postal inspector.

“He” is Thomas Kimmel, and he would hold seminars on personal finances at various churches.

Read the rest here.


Who watches the watchers?

Narcissistic and/or Psychopathic Church Leadership |

From the news and from first-hand experience, I’ve witnessed this problem. It has hurt me, too.

Bill Kinnon, remaining charitable toward Christianity, writes,

‘We need to acknowledge that narcissistic & yes, psychopathic leadership is a problem in the Church — and figure out how to deal with it. This requires educating ourselves to the realities of psychopathy and NPD. Books by Robert Hare & Kevin Dutton are good places to start. If you’ve been an unintentional co-conspirator with an NPD/psychopath or a “commender” as my friend Futuristguy Brad Sargent puts it — admit it, apologize & make restitution — learn from your mistakes. If you aren’t a book reader, then at least read this on NPD and this on psychopathy. Too many Christians are now “dones” because of the actions of leaders with NPD &/or psychopathic traits. This needs to change. Too many NPD/psychopathic leaders have been protected because of the size of “their ministries”. A trail of broken bodies is NOT the Church. Too many narcissistic/psychopathic theologians have been protected because of their supposed “insights”. Victims be damned.’

Source: Narcissistic and/or Psychopathic Church Leadership |


I strongly suspect this previous post upset some people.

If you felt personally insulted by my use of “unaffiliated, entrepreneurial Protestants,” let me explain.

No, there is no time. Let me sum up.

First-hand experience and ample observation have proven to me that crazy men can establish independent churches with little or no significant accountability beyond the leader himself.

Like I said, “If I really thought the Driscoll-Mars Hill Church disaster was an aberration, I would not have written so many blog posts about it.”

Some might say Driscoll had accountability and affiliation with outside churches. Now we all know how successful and meaningful that accountability and affiliation was — it was not, at all. It was like the government that investigates itself.

I also said, “Read Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. It’s well-worth your time, and you’ll discover some [historical!] similarities and parallels between some of the Latter Day Saints described in the book and many of America’s unaffiliated, entrepreneurial Protestants.”

Notice many intentional qualifiers in the original. And a new contextual word in brackets.



The Indian Advocate, Nov. 1, 1905, Critiques Puritan Treatment of Native Americans

…thirty-two exterminated native tribes…

I’ve been trying to understand the possibility that someone could be “spiritually enlightened” and radically unethical, at the same time.

Or, how someone could be wise enough to send down through the ages spiritual insight yet foolish enough to kill those who got in the way of worldly progress.

Here’s a perspective from The Indian Advocate newspaper, published Nov. 1, 1905:

“When the government committed itself to the Anglo-Saxon policy of civilization, reflected and enacted by the Puritans; it turned out to be, as might have been anticipated, not only of problematical advantage and uncertain success from an ethical standpoint, but disastrous to the fair repute of the nation and fatal to the life of the Indian. The melancholy humor of the somewhat timeworn witticism that ‘when landing upon Plymouth Rock, the Puritans first fell upon their knees and then upon the aborigines,’ is so unassailably in accord with historic facts borne out by the bloody roster of thirty-two exterminated native tribes, that the droll comment ‘it was a pity that the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock instead of Plymouth Rock landing on the Puritans,’ has more than a semblance of retributive justification. ‘The Puritans,’ says an historical writer in a volume fresh from the press, ‘adopted the Cromwellian method in which they had been bred and trained. They extinguished the Indian title (to lands) by the simple, sure and irrevocable expedient of extinguishing the Indian.’”

The Objectivism Cult

Michael Shermer avoids a false dilemma in his assessment of Ayn Rand—and in the process reveals something that is bigger than him and her. Reading the following quotation, ask yourself, have you ever felt similarly about any other point of view or school of thought?

“I accept most of Rand’s philosophy, but not all of it. And despite my life-long commitment to many of Rand’s most important beliefs, Objectivists would no doubt reject me from their group for not accepting all of her precepts. This is ultimately what makes Objectivism a cult.”

Rand’s followers, the Objectivists, seemed to have demanded perfect assent to all Randian doctrine. Read all of Shermer’s The Unlikeliest Cult in History. It’s an outstanding article.