Movement to canonize Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible

If I had not heard it on the BBC World Service first, I would have assumed that discussions of canonizing Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible were some kind of silly joke.

Not so. In fact this apparently represents a significant schizm in the Russian Orthodox Church.

This weekend I went to an exhibition of Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the North Carolina Museum of Art with my wife and some friends. One of the larger installations is a bas-relief commissioned on the death of Henry Whitney Bellows, a Unitarian minister.

One of my friends remarked that this was from the time period when Unitarians actually believed in something–and I chipped in with my standard line about Unitarians, “Well, something other than ‘Be Excellent to one another’.”

I hope, in retrospect, that it was obvious I didn’t intend to actually denigrate Unitarians by this–Bill and Ted references aside, I have a great deal of respect for people who maintain some sort of faith but don’t seem to see it as an “us vs. them” contest for dominance and hegemony. As an agnostic myself, I don’t begrudge people their faith except when they are unable to see that I do not choose to share it, and respect my ability to make that choice.

I thought I’d do better…

The intent here was certainly to post every day, or every other day, but now I find I’ve gone a week.

However, I have nothing of substance to say, just pointers to the amusing Mullet Haiku, as well as an amusing contraceptive commercial.

I’m sure that last must offend someone somewhere, but I find it hilariously funny–although I have, in many ways, softened on the idea of kids (not that I want any of my own, but I’m more willing to deal with other people’s children), I still think it’s a thing not to be entered into lightly. I think it deserves some real thought and consideration, and a realization that you are going to be giving up a significant portion of your existence to this child, so go aheadn and be prepared; it’s like living in a budget–try doing it while you have a safety net so you’ll know whether you can do it when you have to.

I was raised a nominal Christian

That is to say, I was raised in a military family that spent the majority of my youth in the Southeastern United States, where Evangelical Christianity has a significant influence, and although my parents were not themselves particularly devoted to organized religion, members of my mother’s family were, so I was exposed to it now and again–so I end not knowing if, say, I was ever baptised, though I would be suprised if I wasn’t.

Anyway, I certainly haven’t considered myself a Christian since I could make an informed choice, and since leaving college I have been pretty open about it–while your average Christian and I certainly would certainly share a number of values, I suspect we would differ on many things as well, including why we hold those values.

Still, I live in North Carolina and Billy Graham country is just a bit up the Interstate, so I’m sure that an awful lot of the people I interact with here would identify themselves as Christian, and perhaps even as Evangelicals. Normally that doesn’t even show up on my radar screen–as I said, we share a lot culturally, and although I’ve rejected a portion of that culture, I’ve hardly rejected all of it–but then I read something like this, or I remember the fact that Jerry Falwell claiming that September 11th was his God’s judgement on America, and it absolutely scares the piss out of me.

As spectacular as September 11th was, it was hardly the first instance of domestic terror the US has ever experienced, and a lot of that prior work was done by just that sort of nutjob, who thinks his Christian God has told him to bomb an abortion clinic or something moronic like that.

I wonder if those sorts of crimes will be ruled as terrorist actions by this all-too Evangelical government we seem to have elected?