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Member: Arctic-Stranger

CollectionsEarly Reader (6), House (1), Sensuous (40), Read 2009 (7), Life Changing (25), Really good SCI FI/Fantasy (4), Work Related (3), Office (2), Cabin (4), Your library (1,176), Currently reading (16), To read (59), Favorites (1), All collections (1,203)

Reviews377 reviews

Tagsfiction (239), Christianity (132), novel (131), Fiction (104), religion (102), Religion (94), non-fiction (83), Spirituality (81), American Lit (80), fantasy (70) — see all tags

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About meI have been seized with a love of books all my life. From the physical presence of the book itself to the spirit of the words on the page, they represent Life to me.

In spite of my love of words, I am a big fan of silence. Contemplative prayer and meditation are a good balance to the activity of my busy daily life.

I am a Minister in Search of a Congregation right now. I took a hiatus from pastoral duties for a while and am moving back into parish ministry, the vocational love of my life.

Currently Reading
The Inner Experience by Thomas Merton
Church Dogmatics V.1 by Karl Barth (actually Kirchliche Dogmatik trying to resurrect my German skills)
Absolute Truths by Susan Howatch

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About my libraryEclectic. Very Eclectic.

GroupsA Pearl of Wisdom and Enlightenment, Album Listener's Club, Art is Life, Beat-itific, Bestsellers over the Years, Bioethics, BookCrossers, Books Compared, Buddhism, Christianityshow all groups


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Real nameMurray

LocationFairbanks, Alaska

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Account typepublic, lifetime

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Member sinceFeb 21, 2007

Currently readingPraying with Power: How to Use Ancient Shamanic Techniques to Gain Maximum Spiritual Benefit and Extraordinary Results T by Jose Luis Stevens
The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts) by James Hollis
The Undefended Self: Living the Pathwork of Spiritual Wholeness (Pathwork Series, Series 1) by Susan Thesenga
The Mandala of Being: Discovering the Power of Awareness by Richard Moss
The Laws of Love: 10 Spiritual Principles That Can Transform Your Life by Paul Ferrini
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I thought you might be interested in what your friend, Sheldon, had to say about the unity of believers. He writes a weekly pensée incorporated in a Presbytery newsletter sent primarily to his fellow teaching elders, but for some, untimely born such as I, it finds its way to me as well. Here it is:
It gives all Christians a bad name when a small group of 'Christians' decide to use their beliefs to gain a financial advantage, while ignoring those beliefs when it might cost them revenue. As a reverse example, despite my personal objections to Chick-fil-A's beliefs, any fast-food company which stays closed on Sunday is taking a financial hit, so it's clear that the owner genuinely believes, and is willing to lose money in order to stay true to those beliefs.
I posted our conversation with Sheldon. He was very happy to hear of you. He did not know you were in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, is it?). He wanted me to pass on to you his regards. his official address on the internet is:
Very glad I could bring the two of you back together again.

Billy Goat Gruff
Admirable attempt - seriously, these discussions really do help inform my reading, and (I hope, but don't really care about) that of others. Another Easter, not much changes over the millennia (for some of us that's a comfort - for others, not so much).

Take care,

Greek historical writing (e.g. Thucydides or Herodotus) often employs the dialogue as one format for presenting history, but even the authors themselves admit that the dialogue is contrived to convey the sense of what happened, rather than claiming to be a transcript, as it were.

It seems to me that you get something similar in the Gospels, e.g. in Jesus' conversation with Pilate (especially John's extraordinary reworking of it).

But I should also say that I am by no means the best person to ask on this -- in fact, I'm pretty sure Tim has a lot more expertise on this type of ancient writing than I do.


Bunny info!

A major issue with bunnies is giving them a proper diet. My vet calls them "small horses", and their dietary needs are very horse-like--lots of hay (alfalfa hay for buns under a year old, timothy for buns 1 yr+), fresh dark green herbs and veggies (my guys love parsley, cilantro, dandelion greens, romaine, carrot greens (but go very light on carrots as they are high sugar). Pelletized rabbit food in moderation, and not the kind with little sugary things mixed in--Oxbow is a good brand to look for. Plenty of fresh water, either in a bowl (heavy crockery) or in a bottle.

Bunnies can be very successfully litterbox trained, because it's sort of what they do in nature. Pelletized litter is best--some people use woodstove pellets; things like pine shavings can cause cancer in rabbits, and litter with a lot of dust can cause respiratory problems.

It's a good idea to try to find an "exotics" vet in your area and bring your bun in to check if he or she has been spayed or neutered. This can prevent a lot of behavioral issues and in females, prevent uterine cancer (which unbred females are highly prone to).

And lots of interaction! Bunnies are very social creatures. It takes a bit to learn their "language"--as prey animals, they have a very different communication style from cats and dogs--but it's very rewarding. Happy bunnies will "binky"--do a crazy little dance, shaking their heads and levitating. There's nothing more fun to watch.

My local rescue organization has some excellent articles on numerous aspects of rabbit care--their url is Also check the House Rabbit Society ( And good luck with your new friend! I'm around LT a lot and always happy to talk rabbit.


This stage of your life might be behind you . . . but I ran across THIS

and thought of you.

- Bob
Re your comment on JGL 'Another Republican...'

Ouch. I agree with you, but ouch. Of course, I've never heard anyone excuse an ethnic reference with 'I just put random facts into my posts for no reason' before, either.

Perhaps I've lived a sheltered life...

Thanks you for the German translation of

the Yiddish proverb - - or was it meant to

be a correction (you said "not even"

Yiddish would have said "shalom" or "is".

Iʻm not academically trained in German, still

less in Yiddish, but I did assume that

"shalom" ="Frieden", and "is"

(also transliterated* as "iz") = "ist".

As Yiddish is very divided among

it own variants, it may be that some

versions of the

proverb are in a Yiddish that has

more of its original affinities to

German. Most linguists, I think, still

regard Yiddish as (at least for the past 2 or

3 centuries) a separate language, not

a dialect.

A case somewhat pralleling

German>Yiddish is that of (British)

English> "American". Iʻm curious

whether or not you agree with H. L. Mencken

and with certain French publishers,

who believe that American writers

write "American" not "English" ?

(I donʻt).

It's always bemusing to me when someone takes a clearly intended to be general post and proceeds to make it highly personal. Particularly when the responder claims to be part of a group that prides itself on rationality and reason.
There's no need to apologize -- I ought the last few days to have been the better man and simply ignored them. But alas! My will-power is not strong enough to resist the trolls.

I hope that you are otherwise having a blessed Advent!

Thanks for the support. Censorship is a serious issue, but conflating it with personal choices and economic options doesn't help anyone. Mass market creation is the worst system for creativity; except when compared with all the other models (tip of the hat to Churchill).

Being a philistine, I haven't read, nor own, any books on aesthetics. I know what I like to see and read, and that's quite sufficient for my purposes. Given the ephemeral nature of popular and aesthetic tastes, I don't feel all that deprived in my life... although perhaps I am.
on your comment on suicides (by juveniles, committed with guns).

Yes, I would say that you've personally seen more unpleasantness with firearms than most of us here. Of course, the young tend to such overwrought passions (cf Romeo and Juliet). That doesn't make it any less tragic, though.

A good friend, now a retired police officer, said that in his 20 years on the force, he only saw one suicide where he could understand (if not necessarily approve) the motives of the deceased.

So far, the only cogent suggestion re gun violence that all parties seem to agree on is more (and better) access to mental health, both preventatively and treatment-wise. This would have the beneficial side effect of preventing other problems as well.
Hey, it's good to see you are back!
I'm curious; what separates Lawecon"s belief in the primacy of Judaism (and the idea that only Jews are competent to read and understand the Torah) from any other ideological fanatic? I'm asking you because your prior history indicates that you would have had more contact with the thinking of such people than I have (having the luxury to avoid such contacts...).

It's exactly this sort of thinking (that sub-group 'A' is inherently superior in some (or many) ways to everyone else that has led to many of the tragedies in history that Lawecon has decried.

Oh, and don't criticize Israel; that proves that you hate Jews.
I have a question deriving from a very old thread --
over 3 years ago. You wrote that only twice has
a pope iued an infallible decree: (1) about the
Immaculate Conception (which, you remiinded us,
correctly, does NOT mean VIrgin Birth);
and (2) a decree ON "papal infallibility" itself.

I remember reading about (1)l and that it was dated
1950, and therefore a dec ree of Pius XII.

Doesnʻt sound like it could have had
the "logical within itself" quality that even
James Joyce noticed that the "aburd"
Catholic Church had. But, just for
the hitorical record, Do you remember who issued (2)?
Hi Murray...

Saw a post from you on faceinbook's page and thought I'd send you a greeting...I don't run across many FB'ers in we must sick together..we've some spirtually oriented books in common, as well. I work in the hospitality field (manage a hostel(Bent Prop Inn-Downtown)..if you ever get down to Anchorage.. you've got a free place to stay.


*sigh* It seems that stormraven is the worst sort of atheist. The type that, not content to assert their rights not to believe (which, sadly, is a problem in the U.S., and a valid complaint not just for atheists, but most non-Christians) but insists on presenting the worst face forward of atheism, engaging in senseless antagonism solely for the benefit of their own ego.

Really, as someone in neither camp, I can't see much difference between people like SR and people like the Westboro Baptist Church. Both are loud, obnozious, absolutely certain of their position, and eager to inconvenience others.
I must say, it feels very strange for a pagan agnostic deist to be speaking out for the right of Christians to believe as they would without being judged for it... (Let's Talk Religion - Where are the Normal Christians?)

My objections are towards Christians who, not content to live their lives according to the precepts they believe, insist on trying to force everyone else to live in a Christian manner whether they choose to or not.

"This is why we can't have nice things."

I won't say you're wrong to have killed "Pro and Con (Religion)" - I agree that it had gotten quite toxic - but...

1) There were a few interesting threads in there;


2) I worry that some of the nastiness is now going to splash over into groups that don't deserve it.

I wrote and drew "Blue Moon: The Adventures of Lyssa and the Pirates" and two comics for XXXenophile Presents: #3 & 5: "Utopia Unlimited," as well as a few other odds and ends.
Currently, I'm trying my hand at a webcomic:
Venus would be all sorts of fun-but not so much the graphic stuff. I'd be more likely to illustrate some of the sillier moments.
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I love this picture of Freud. In the context of this group, it reminds me of my reading of his The Future of an Illusion.
Yes, that's it. Thank you!
Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense. I have always wanted to visit Alaska. It is a very beautiful state. Maybe I will make the trip one day soon.

It is someone in Rhode Island. She read my book and liked it so much she got that tattoo. Hopefully your daughter just has the tree and doesn't have my signature on her back as well....
You actually work with the nuts and bolts of administration of government; that gives you a certain perspective on how things are, as opposed to how people think they are.

I'm an amateur historian, whcih gives me the perspective of how things actually worked. Since I haven't seen any significant change in how people run governments (e.g. the Queshua, aka the Incans, had a government job for people who had to be employed because they were important, but couldn't be given any real position because they were incompetent; sound familiar?), or indeed people in general (President Harry Truman agrees with me; cf Plain Speaking) I strongly suspect administration hasn't changed much, either.
I'm that rara avis; a moderate, actual conservative. (Not these neo-cons and other imposters.) It would be nice if everyone would behave sensibly; but it's not going to happen. I favor John Adams' quote that pointed out that it's the mixture of dark and lighter nature in people that makes government both possible and necessary.

It just seems to me that Lunar, Lawecon, and PaulFoley are all coming from a theoretical standpoint of how government and people work, as opposed to how they really do work. (Which is to say, in their own personal interests as they see it, and so often at cross-purposes.)
Is lawecon an academic with no experience with the 'real world'? He certainly posts that way...
We do indeed have plenty of English words for snow.....a few of them came to mind yesterday as I was watching our first of the season.

You seem to like where you live.....which is such a positive in life.

Having traveled a bit, I've found myself drawn to the desert Southwest....stay in Wisconsin because my family is here and tend to grumble through most winters..(using all kinds of words for snow)

Alaska is beautiful....after being there, when asked to describe it, the only word that came to mind was "Grand". Alaska is grand.
My friend, the one who lived in Fairbanks still misses her home there but she too has family scattered in the lower 48....traveling back and forth became to difficult.

Stay warm and thanks for the comments.
Had some friends who lived in Fairbanks for a while.....understand how isolated one can be when living in your home State. I've only visited once, loved it, but found it to be a place for the hale and hardy.

Good to hear that you were not in the path of the storm.

We had snow yesterday as well. I understand that the Native's of Alaska have multiple terms used to describe "snow" and what we had could most likely be translated as a mere "piddling".

Take care !
Was reading up on the online news and saw that a storm is headed towards Alasaka. Are you in the path ? I tried to make sense of the map provided but could not tell exactly who is going to be hit the hardest.

Was just thinking of you and yours ! Hoping you stay safe and warm.

Yes, I am looking forward to it. Elliott Bay Books at 1:15 pm.
New, new information: said member said she can join us during lunch so no need to change time. So, I'm sticking with meeting you there at 1:15 - in front of the Elliott Bay Books store. Still looking forward to it.
I am available anytime after noon, that is after I pick up a toddler at his PreK school and deliver him to his home. I could be in Seattle by oh, say 1:15 pm. That way we could have a nice visit and still be driving to our respective homes before the rush hour traffic gets too out of hand.

Let's say we'll meet at the front door of Elliott Bay Books at 1:15 pm or close to it. How does that sound?

I'll wait for your confirmation before I start giving out details to other potentially interested folks.

Looking forward to it.
Hello Murray

Just in case you thought I'd forgotten I promised you some feedback. A succession of disasters delayed The Day to 26 May. But I was up there earlier in the week, and am assured that the AV guy will be there to record it, so in due course you will get a DVD.

All best
Well done!
Howdy! I saw your comment on the bumper sticker thread and I thought I'd let you know that the UNCC mascot is the 49er because the school is near the first documented find of gold in the US. It was at Reed gold mine in Midland, NC. I'm from that area and grew up learning about it. If you're ever back in NC, you can tour the mine. It's quite fun.

Have a good day!
Congratulations on your Salon article. I enjoyed reading your very thoughtful and well written perspective on this issue.
I do love a stuffed brie. And I will tell him. :o)
Only if there are copious amounts of wine and cheese involved, and we can invite my brother Joe to join us. Hey, he remarried Betsy! Did you know that?
See, if I was going to do THAT I would have flagged Atomic for his psalm quote. ;o) Point is, the dude wasn't flagged for his religious post, but for posting it a 12th time after being asked not to. But you know that already! :oD
Hello Arctic

The score with the 'Raiders of the Lost Larch' presentation so far is:
The gent who's organising the presentation at the Uni is looking into the practicalities of video-recording it. No feedback yet, but as D-day is 28th April we have time in hand.
Plan B is, that today we had a visitation from a remarkably efficient lady who works for IT at head office. I now have a full set of instructions for posting the powerpoint file on our ftp site for you to download -- when I've added some notes I may do this anyway, but be warned that the file already occupies 45MByte, which is more than the whole of the first hard drive I ever had!
Will keep you posted, but in the meanwhile, many many thanks for your interest. Even more thanks for the title, which is a definite WINNER!

All best
Hi Stranger - I'm on the wrong part of the highway for you to pass through here from Juneau - northern BC, not Yukon.
Excellent news! And you're fast, man. Could you pass along the link when it's up? I look forward to reading it.
Good to see you posting again. I echo Bob's comment below: you've been missed!

Welcome back!

You've been missed.

- Bob

We visited, among other places, Juneau. Does my memory fail me, or is the tallest building there six stories?
Kick-ass land- (and water-) scapes, though.
I see you are a fan of the Beatles. There's currently a Librarything thread that's doing a month-long interview with me about my novel The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed. The novel is set in the late 60s/early 70s and the Beatles’ music, which is woven into the story, should be a big part of the discussion.

Just stopped by to say and was amazed to see that you are the only other person I've met that even knew who Captain Beyond was,I've dancing madly backwards for years.Happy new year,hope you are well and keeping warm.S
You wrote I think what you have encountered Tid is one of Modal's frequent ways of dealing with an argument. No rancor was meant on his part. That is really the way he thinks.

It is said The last ones to notice the water are the fishes

I'm interested in patterns, but of course, I'm blind to patterns of my own.

What have you noticed about "Modal's frequent ways of dealing with an argument?"

You are correct that no rancor was meant. My ways are the ways of pleasantness, and all my paths are peace I have not clue one as to what the "that" in your last sentence refers to, but you are correct in that I always try to be a straight arrow. What you see is what you get. Not that I claim any merit on that account, its just that I'm not clever enough to be devious. Honesty is the best policy, if you cant think of anything else

Hi, Arctic! I know your situation has changed since the thread was originally launched, but I updated the information about the Green Dragon Get Together in Philadelphia (MidAtlantic) in June. Drop into the pub and leave feedback if you think you'll want to join us!
Hi Arctic,

I have a book for you to check out: Possessed By Shadows by Donigan Merritt. It's fictional, on mortality with a rock climbing theme. See my comments here:

I haven't crossed one of your posts in awhile, hope all is well.

Hey, Murray!

I don't 'see' you around so much on LT anymore . . . Is it the long dark nights, or work/teaching schedule? I see that you're acting in Inherit the Wind, so I suppose that's kept you pretty busy.

Just wanting to say hello, how're ya doin'?
Hey A-S, Its Child_of_Light. Just changed my username and lost all my friends, posts, etc. Basically anything to do with the social aspect of the site.
I loved your poem "Ice Fog"!
Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality (Vintage) by Pauline W. Chen (Paperback - Jan 8, 2008)Amazon: Buy new: $13.95 $11.1662 Used & new from $6.25 - Worth a read. - Worth a look!
Just wanted to send a big thank you for my SantaThing book! My mother raised me on a steady diet of "Gilligan's Island" so your choice was very very appreciated. Cannot wait to read it. XD
Let me know how you like the Zombie Haiku book.
I probably could not handle -40 temps. -5 and -10 degrees, as it has been here for the last few days, is about what I can stand. Anything lower than that, I start browsing travelocity.
What is it, -60 in Fairbanks? With those temperatures and the rampaging polar bears, I still don't understand how you can live in Fairbanks.
Warm wishes for a merry Christmas and a great 2009 -- Hugh
hahaha Thank god, cause I have spent the whole day on LT. Let me give it some thought and get back to you.

is this a genuine question or just a trap, so that you can make some patronising remark about me being a bad teacher?
Yes, I agree. Could it have something to do with the fact that most of what you have written is ridiculous? And that instead of being open to learning new ideas and breaking apart your false assumptions, you seem to be more concerned with fighting your corner and patronising and condescending those who disagree with you and who point out your mistakes?

I don't know. You tell me.

Sorry Arctic. I tend to get short tempered late at night and my tolerance for stuff like that goes into the can. Maybe I should just not post after midnight.-
Thanks for that information I've passed it on, but I don't think I was suitably convincing that the sceptics there will alter their views. I found it very interesting anyway.

thanks for the healing wishes. yeah, one handed typing sucks, esp. at work, which is where i am today. *sigh*

thanks for making me smile!
Hi, After reading your entry (#5 "When I was a pastor"), on Happy Heathens, I jumped over. From your description, I thought that your "congregation" sounded much similar to the various Unitarian/Universalist congregations with which we have been affiliated.
I really mean everything I said about changing my ways for the better. And I will be a mucH better person having done so too. I will prove to everyone that I really have changed my ways for the better. And if Obama should defeat McCain on November 4, you and everyone else will only see posts congratulating him on his historic win on November 5. And I really do appreciate being given another chance. I will prove to everyone that I really am the new and improved Beatles1964

Thaks Again,
OK Artic-Stranger I understand your message. I Promise to clean up my act from here on out. And I will cease and desist all Obama-bashing statements from this moment on. You and everyone else here have my word on that. I don't want to make any enemies here in Pro and Con or anywhere else in LT for that matter. I admit my behavior lately has been totally uncalled for and not very nice. I would rather be friends with you, makifat,CutestLilBookworm and everyone else too. I certainly don't want to be in trouble with your or anyone else from LT and even possibly kicked out, banned or even banished from LT. I would rather be friends with everyone in LT than to have them all hate me and my posts. I really am a nice, caring, kind, thoughtful, considerate, friendly, lovable, person with a great sense of humor. I got carried away and I Promise it will happen again. Believe me I realy appreciate this second chance I feel I am getting here and I don't want to screw it. If I can't say anything nice about Obama or any of his policies I won't say anything at all. Wow, this was a real eye-opener and wake up call for me. You can be sure that Beatles1964 is a changed person from this moment on and I Promise I won't let either you or anyone else down. And I really do appreciate being given another chance to prove myself not only to you but everyone else that I am a changed person from here on out.

Thanks A Lot,
Hi there. Seems Alaska is crossing my path a bit in the last couple of days. Well, really my husband. We've just had a real, live Alaskan (David Murrow and his wife) over here speaking at a mens conference. Not sure where they hale from though.

You have an interesting library...I agree, VERY eclectic!
(Speaking of which, for those of you on the east coast, is Tina Fey on tonight?)

Oh, yes.
Worth staying up for.
Good. I'm glad. I find that sometimes when things are written and we can't see the other person's face, it's tough to see how one come across.

But of course, I am right all the time. ;-)
Hi Arctic,

Thanks for starting this new Group and for your thoughful comments. Just let me know if you think I'm "spilling too much coffee over the screen". I'm not immune of getting too passionate over some things, especially science, as it is what I live and breathe I suppose.

I have found the large majority of people here very pleasurable disussion partners and very respectful - that makes it fun and addictive (ok, back to work!)

Liebe Gruesse, P
Have you started any groups that aren't instant sucesses filled with respectful people discussing fun things seriously!
I will probably be mostly a lurker on the religion threads, and not as much a provocateur as I am on Pro and Con. I don't get deep into doctrinal issues, so I will defer to you and other well-read participants when things get too specific, but I do enjoy the discussion. As a kid, I used to love hanging around to listen to my atheist Dad debate The Meaning of It All with the priests who rotated through my Mom's rural RC church.

Sometime I may even share my proposal for a workable way to have organized prayer in schools (it requires exceptional protection for minority groups).
Well, I may stir the pot a little bit, but, don't you worry, I have no intention of being the board's resident Hitchens. Most of the time, anyway...
Thanks for the welcome. And for rebooting the idea, even though we shouldn't have to. *sigh*

I hope other people didn't misunderstand our ribbing. I tried to make it really clear that I was funning, but you know people don't seem to get that all the time on the internets.

So far, so good.
You know what I always say... respectful shmectful! :oP~~~
Just kidding.
I'll TRY to be good.
Hi A.S.
Thank you for your warm welcome to the new post "Christianity Pro et Con", or is it religion Pro et Con? I expect I will be an infrequent contributor to the blog, but I must admit I enjoy reading the posts. Some of them are quite thought provoking and indicative of the need for an intelligent and trained pastoral leadership in no matter what guise of religion he/she may find themselves. It seems the intellectual citizens are grasping for a meaning in their lives but are unwilling to release their rationality for an experience of the numinous.
I have been reading the posts to the Christianity group for only about 3 months now and I have come to some conclusions about the frequent participants of the group, of which I count you as one. I know that it is a mark of inferior breeding to categorize people or things into types, but I will brave that criticism and state that my reaction to your comments places you firmly in the "peacemaking" group along with John the Fireman.
Peace and grace to you
believe me, voting is on my to do list!
Hey! Leatherman tools aren't just an Alaska thing.

(But then, I went to an engineering school, where the Leatherman is the modern version of the Swiss Army Knife.)

We should start a discussion group....
Surprisingly, perhaps, I quite agree with almost everything you say in your most recent message to me, and have for quite some time. Having been a student of Greek, Latin, and German, I am acutely aware of your point that words which are necessarily translated from one language into another as if they represented exactly the same thing--especially in the case of ideas--must deprive the reader who knows only one of the languages in question of the small and sometimes large differences between the familiar word and the original one. We could give examples for weeks, of course, but I'll give one or two for the benefit of others who may read this:

ius (Latin): 'right' (as in human right(s)/ 'justice'/ 'duty')
certainly not concepts that English considers equivalent, but covers these meanings in Latin because all have to do with the idea of 'that which is binding', 'obligation' (A Latin Dictionary, by Lewis and Short)

kalos (Greek [transliterated here]): 'morally beautiful'/ 'virtuous' / 'good'
usually translated into English as either 'good' or 'beautiful', but not both, because there is no English word (that I can think of at the moment) that encompasses all the meanings that kalon encompasses in Greek: to the Greeks, 'good' and 'virtue' were 'beautiful' (based on A Greek-English Lexicon, 9th edition, by Liddell, Scott, and Jones)
These examples will suffice to illustrate the point.

Also, as someone who thinks a lot about reality and has pretty good powers of intellectual observation, I am familiar with the intractable complexity, connectedness, and even admixture of things that are usually analyzed as discrete and even contrary (there is considerable truth in Heraclitus). It is hard to talk about that complex in clear terms (and, in fact, Heraclitus, for one, was notoriously obsure): but I perceive and understand the reality and nature of that phenomenon, often meditate on it, and know that its existence is a fundamental point you're making and emphasizing in these discussions. I get it, though I well understand why you thought I didn't: the conversation has not reached that level of subtlety because we're still trying to understand each other at the most elementary level, and have not yet accomplished that much. As to this much, however, there is no significant difference between us: we simply haven't progressed to the point at which we can discuss at this level of subtlety; but I would be perfectly able to progress to it once we have each step securely established, one at a time.

Yet there is an essential difference between us on a much more fundamental point: although I understand the intractably complex and inseparably mixed nature of reality, the reality that I understand in this way comprises elements that we all have excellent reasons for regarding as actually part of reality. This is basic. Some ideas simply do not correspond to anything whatsoever in reality: are flying pigs part of reality? It is not that I can prove that they are not: I can't, but I have no positive reason to believe in them. Some ideas are just plain false and are thus just not part of reality. Flying pigs, along with an infinite number of other concepts that would make better examples here, are simply not part of the reality that I contemplate: and that is for a simple and fundamental reason; namely, that they clearly don't exist (despite the fact that I cannot disprove their existence). I think that one of another of these false ideas is, as many thinkers since antiquity have observed, a god who satisfies the following properties:

1) omnipotence, or even enormous power that can greatly intervene in the world to at least ameliorate extreme suffering

2) absolute, or even just extreme, goodness that could with any reason be called "goodness", or "love", or anything similar.

3) willingness to permit, or even, in some versions, cause the extreme degree and amount of suffering of all sentient beings with which the world is replete

4) willingness to create sentient beings knowing that there was even a substantial risk of their suffering such misery, and in some views, even to allow or cause, all or part of such misery

These concepts seem to be contradictory in a way that makes them incredible, in combination, as a description of one possible being. This strongly suggests, if it does not disprove, this being's existence. And I think that theists--believers in a god--who would be willing to deny more than one of these characteristics as belonging to God, would be in a distinct minority among their fellows. My reason for saying more than one is that, as it seems to me, either #3 or #4 can be dropped so that one would do the same duty in the argument as the other. Most rank-and-file theist, as well, of course, as many academic ones, would probably be reluctant, if pressed, to abandon either #1 or #2, which pretty clearly outright contradict each other. The existence of a god of this kind--and of several other kinds, including one whose goodness is severely discounted or denied--becomes even more incredible when various more specific characteristics are attributed to him / her / it. (Observe that I have taken pains to make this god pretty abstract and non-specific, and specifically more inclusive than a Christian one.)

Declining--indeed, inability to believe--in a being as dubious as this is far less ambitious than believing in it, and it is not the same epistemological thing as asserting a positive belief which needs to be supported in itself by actual evidence: it is, rather, the eminently reasonable lack of a positive belief on the ground that that positive belief is not supported, or at least not sufficiently supported, by discernible and relevant facts (=evidence). In fact, there are many positive, overwhelming reasons not to believe, and indeed to deny outright, existence of a god who satisfies the description above. But you seem to say, on the contrary, that believing in the existence of something as problematic as this kind of god (rather than one that is too vague or rarefied or indeterminate to be called a god in any readily communicable sense, which is perhaps what you have in mind) is not only as reasonable, but even more reasonable, than declining to believe in something as problematic as such a god. But the existence of this being is just not a credible idea in view of the available facts, and there is nothing for us honestly to do other than decline to believe in it, or, probably fail to believe in it even it we made the effort. And thus, such a god strongly seems, and is close to certainly not, part of that inestimably complex whole that is reality. And the existence of a god who could meet any specifically Christian description, which would include even more and at least equally incredible suppositions, is all the more unlikely. Reality--which is, as I well understand, extremely complex and admixed--is still composed only of realities: and yes, I include many abstract realities which we may reasonably posit. And a being that could be recognized as such is very likely not to exist. Thus, we unbelievers in God or gods withhold belief in something that is unlikely to be real, and about which positive claims are thus false. We need positive considerations in favor of believing in something, and we find these lacking in the case of any god of any substantive nature. It is fundamental to notice that we are not the ones who are putting forward a positive claim and recommending belief in on the basis of insufficient evidence. Believers in God are making the positive statement that needs support that will warrant our belief, and we do not think we have it. Thus, talk about our having certainty is at least misleading if not positively false. We withhold belief in a god--and some of us even positively assert that none exists--because we see that there are no persuasive indications of its existence. You seem to take the fact that we can never certainly prove that there is no god to be an excellent warrant for assuming his existence. We regard this as faulty and totally unpersuasive reasoning.

I know your message helped me greatly to understand your ideas, and I hope that this reply will be helpful to you in understanding mine.

Check out the group statistics for most active talk and most read. Pro and Con has easily overtaken Political Conservatives. By November the election may provide enough fodder to pass Happy Heathens too.
"Ani DiFranco's right-wing twin":
Thanks for that.
You joined the Political Conservatives group, so I'm assuming you're a conservative. Welcome to the brotherhood, ummm, brother.
Hi Arctic - This is random, but I came across a review you might find interesting. The book is "The Faith Between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God by Scott Korb", the review is here: . Cheers,d
Heee heee, so far I've resisted slipping a "nop nop" into a post, but for HOW LONG, MAN, FOR HOW LONG!!!?
Hi Arctic! I just received a book from my sister and the first person I thought of was you, so I had to tell you about it. It's called "Cold Hands, Warm Heart" and is written by Jeff King. Maybe you've heard of him? He's won the Iditarod 4 times I guess. I know you're a fan (so's my sister, although she's never been able to get up to watch - she considers you a very lucky person), so I thought you might be interested. Pam (my sis)said Jeff came to their local fire hall to give a talk and do book signings. Very cool.

It's on the top of my TBR pile now, looks too good to wait :-)

I hope you're doing well, I think of you often and always "hold you in the light"

Sorry I took so long getting back to you, but my account wasn't set up for e-mail message forwarding so I had no idea that you'd responded. Thanks for agreeing to take a look at my novel. As far as what type of response I'm looking for, it's really up to you. I simply want to know what you think, so feel free to be as general or as specific as you like. Would it be okay if I sent the manuscript to you by e-mail (as a pdf file)? Let me know what you'd prefer, and thanks again. By the way, my original message is below:


My name is Chris Tusa, and I'm a writer from New Orleans. I noticed one of your reviews, and I was wondering if you'd be willing to read a novel I just completed. The manuscript is currently being circulated among some of the larger NY publishers, and my agent wants to get opinions from a few readers. Let me know if you'd be willing to read the manuscript and give us your opinions. Of course, if you're too busy, I'll understand. Just thought I'd ask:) I’ve included a summary below that we plan to include on the book jacket:

Dirty Little Angels
Set in the fictional town of Jupiter, Louisiana, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses’ lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses’ twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.
Thanks so much,

Chris Tusa
We've only "met" through a few posts (Happy Heathens, perhaps The Green Dragon as well), but I wanted to tell you that I truly appreciate your openness in sharing your beliefs and reflections. I very much enjoy reading your thoughtful and well-written contributions on one of the most basic conundrums of the human experience. I may not share your belief system, but I respect your commitment to doing good in the world. I myself try to live by John Adams' creed "be just and good."

One of the regular contributors on HH seems to have a Puckish delight in stirring things up -- and I admire your even-handed and mannerly replies.

From reading the comments displayed on your profile page it looks like you underwent a crisis of the heart a little while ago -- I hope that everything worked out for you. You seem to me a rara avis indeed, a genuinely good, thoughtful, and literate man. Would that there were more folks like you in the world!
Hi Arctic; I don't know if you've ever checked out the group 'Girlybooks' which despite its tongue-in-cheek name discusses a lot of really great books by women. The group theme read for July and August is Women in Religion, Theology & Spirituality. I thought you might be interested in giving it a look--the link is here BTW I just took a look at your books tagged Christianity and noted that almost all your scholarly books marked theology are by men. This has me thinking that while I've read many 'spiritual journey' type books by women, I have yet to read a scholarly theology by a woman. They must be out there....
Wow, that is sooo cool about Spaceman Lee! Was he "spaced" or has he given that all up?
I hope you can persuade him! He does travel a lot. He recently came to Raleigh, and ALMOST stayed with us - stayed with a friend a little more convenient for his driving route instead. My husband says he has a new CD coming out soon.

His daughter Grace and son George (the "flying burrito", my husband tells me) are both on myspace. You might check them out too.

I got the impression from one of your comments in the recent past (don't remember the thread) and what's here on your profile that you are going through a terrible crisis. I hope God shows you the way to peace and eases some of the hurt.

Kind regards,
P.S. You are in for a treat when the Netflix brings you the Buffy. I always envy people who haven't seen it yet, because you have so much joy ahead of you. Sadly, my joy is behind me. :)
P.P.S. If you decide to commit to watching the whole series, including Angel, the spin-off, I recommend starting the first season of Angel after watching season 3 of Buffy, and then alternating seasons until the end of both series.
I keep putting it down and picking it up. I really enjoy it when I'm reading it, but I need a break every chapter or so. My goal is to finish it by the end of June. I'm impressed you're reading them all! Proust is great, but draining. The summer of Proust, haha.
Heya Arctic! How's by you? I haven't seen you on LT much lately. HH is not the same without you.

Tonight I went to see this guy who was hilarious and a scream. I thought I'd send you his tribute to your candidate.

Check out his other tubes, he's got a bunch on there and most of them are political. Very funny.

Oh, and btw, if you're into Bela Fleck you are probably also a fan of Chris Thile, as I am. Have you heard the Punch Brothers? It's genius.

Hope your summer is going well.
I've haven't yet read Proust (much less in the original French) but I won't say never. Several years back a friend of mine told me that she latched on to as many new experiences as she could. She said she never wanted to be in her eighties and try doing something new--like playing a violin--and have to say "Ah this is my genius! If only I'd given it a try earlier in my life!"
Thanks for your comment! It's not always easy to get feedback on that kind fo thing here, so I greatly appreciate it.

I see we share an interest in Karen Armstrong's work. I don't know how you take her, but personally I find her a pretty much lone voice of sanity in any of the debates she's contributed to. She seems to represent an excellent Third Way between religious extremism and the kind of fundamentalist atheism of Dawkins, Hitchens etc.

Anyway - thanks again, I'll enjoy having a browse through your library.

Thanks for your thoughts on Steiner. I read a couple of exerpts online and am really looking forward to reading Real Presence and others of his work. It's so much fun to find a new-to-me author that resonates so deeply. My University days were spent on the 'other side of campus' in the chemistry and microbiology labs; I'm just learning now some 30 years later what I missed out on by skimping philosophy and literature.
Hi--I'm reading Karen Armstrong's book Muhammad A Biography of the Prophet and found an absolutely wonderful quote on God and aesthetic experiences. It's from George Steiner's book Real Presences: Is There Anything In What We Say. Ah one more book for my tbr pile! But I thought I'd inquire whether you've read George Steiner, and if not, call this book to your attention, too. It reminded me so much of your post about losing yourself in a painting.
Hi, I am surfing Librarything and discover your site and found out that we have one thing in common, we both working with the dying. I am a hospice volunteer. I find the work very rewarding but at times very intense. I also do volunteer work at a middle school, which is a very nice balance, that work is also rewarding and intense. I love there sense of joy. Anyway I wanted to say hello
Thanks again for the advice, although I'm afraid of spending whole time thinking only "I can't possibly stay in this position for 20 minutes." I hope I can find a way to get comfortable, maybe I'll try lying down. Cheers,d.
Hi, Some feedback from a not so successful first try. I had lots of trouble. I couldn't get comfortable and spent a lot of time trying to think of way I can sit for 20 minutes. I couldn't get the breathing rhythmic, and I don't think I was doing it correctly. I had trouble staying awake. But, there were some good things. Labeling my thoughts, when they weren't about how uncomfortable I was, was a really nice idea. Interesting that I labeled most of them "uncertainty" (generally where it's unwarranted). And, my mindset was very different afterwards. Apparently it was relaxing although I couldn't sense it at the time. Cheers,d
Thanks for the post. I think that's what I needed, a starting point. I'll let you know how it goes. Cheers, d.
Hi Arctic. If I were interested in meditation, do you have any suggestions on a place to start...hopefully a book. Cheers, d
I never thought I'd wish to have Fairbanks weather right now. But it would be nice. We now received over a foot.
Too. Much. Snow.

I am still lurking at HH, and saw one of your comments. I am curious. Why do you seem to have to believe that NO ONE really believes? That seems to be very important to you for some reason. Why?

It is one thing to talk about your own faith, but you seem to need others to be with you. You are not even saying they are deluded, like some people on HH. You are saying they really don't believe what they say they believe. That seems different to me.

People do believe, and they don't have to fit anyone's narrow categories of what it means to believe. You don't get to define what REAL faith is for believers just like I don't get to define what unbelief is (You are for death camps, forced abortions, etc.)

I dont know how I feel about private communication. Why not make all this readable by whoever is interested?

If you change your question from "why do you seem to have to believe ..." to "why do you seem to believe ..." I can produce some jabber.

To me, the word "have" implies a compulsion. IF all the evidence were to point to a conclusion I suppose I would "have" to embrace it. At the moment, I dont think I know where the evidence points, or even if I have enough data to count as evidence of anything, so I'm officially neutral on the question.

As to why I might "Seem to believe" etc; one reason might be that it was the "Default" position or assumption or suspicion I started out with as a kid. When I first discovered that there were people who called themselves belivers, my first primitive thought was "No way! Nobody can believe that!" But I was a kid, so what did I know? HEre. when I say "believe" I mean in the simplistic way that is deprecated by both atheists of the Dawkins and HArris schools, etc and by "sophisticated theologians".

AS time went on, and I met with or heard about a greater variety of the planet's denizens I slowly became aware that there is a great diversity in knowledge and sophistication among individuals. There is also the complication that members of the club dont always subscribe to the club's stated charter, even thought they swear to uphold it on their membership application. THe situation is further complicated
by people's desire to fit in and not make waves. The little story about the soldier's none of whom believed the received wisdom, but all of whom tried to uphold it because the other's believed takes its
"punch" from the element of truth it communicates. As if that werent bad enough, there are poeple who are down right scheming, and will pretend to believe things to futrher their own ambitions or to gull the rubes. WHen it comes to people and what they do or do not believe, the complications compound without limit. It baffles, me but also fascinates me.

I think I have mentioned more than once, that I have very weak antenna. I'm on the very low end of functional when it comes to knowing or guessing a persons emotional state or "feelings". But just because I have klutzy sensors doesnt mean I'm not interested, and that I cant improve a bit with practice. Since I cant rely so much on my antenna, I need other instruments to compensate.

"you seem to need others to be with you". Well, I suppose its a "common human need" to take some comfort in the thought that one is not totally alone in one's opinions. One likes allies as a practical matter and emotional support or validation. Since I'm a human, I "have" to admit that I am subject to the human condition, for good or ill; but I have to say, I dont "feel" that I have deep need for everyone else to agree with me. For one thing, I'm a stubborm cuss, or at least thats what my wife tells me. (My mother second's her; thanx Ma!) I also like the idea that there are people who believe weird stuff. I love reading about the New Guinea Cargo Cults, the Voudon guys (eat only white foods on Friday, only red foods on Tuesday). Tibetan lamas ( a one L Lama's a priest) , Japanese new (i.e. syncretic ) religions
such as O Moto ( I did a bit of Aikido, so I've heard some about Uyeshiba and his relation to Onisoburu et al). Coyote, the Hero twins Monster SLayser and Born For Water, we would be poorer without them.

ARe there present day Navajo who takes the stories lierally? Who knows. Were there, once upon a time? Why not? Is there anyone not a NAvajo who does? Not bloody likely (my guess. I dont KNOW diddly)

I'm an honest straight arrow, not because I'm necessarily moraly more correct than the next guy, but because I'm a terrible liar. The "down side" of having lousy antenna is that I couldnt fool anybody if I tried. With me, what you see is what you get, its really a lack of what do you call it, "emotional intelligence" ...Beg to report sir, idiot sir. But I didnt just fall off the turnip truck this morning. I know that there are people out there trying to fool the pants off me, and some of them are pretending to believe stuff that they dont believe a word of. Therea re also the curious cases of those who have
done such a good job of fooling themselves that it seems churlish to say they're trying to fool me too.

And then, there are the poeple who make themselves sufficiently obscure. Fascinating.
Well, Happy Heathens is going to be rather dull, now.
I hope everything in your private life works out well and quickly, too.

Hey, A-S, saw your "word of explanation" post and wanted to say how much I've enjoyed your input over the months. You seem to be the kind of open-minded seeker that I try to be in my better moments, and to have tremendous patience. I'll be holding you in the light for a bit, hoping that good things will be happening in the other parts of your life. Best, Jim
I hope things improve for you soon, and that you'll return to your friends.
There seems to be a lot there, and I'm not sure I can say anything worth saying (which doesnt mean
I wont try, worse luck whoever tries to read it!)

I'm also a little surprised that you chose to send a private message, but OK I'm game.

Oh yeah, and before I start in earnest, I wouldt worry too much about "deep". I'm just an ordinary bear, so what would I know from deep?

As I'm sure you know, rabbinic literature is full of "midrashim", stories set before, after and around the cation in the scriptural stories (the way Rosencrantz and Guildentern are Dead is set mostly between the acts of Hamlet)

The early commentators noticed that the hebrew scriptures begin with the letter "Base", the second letter of the alphabet, corresponding to "B" for the "B" in Boreshit (in the beginning). But something is wrong here. Surely the great book should begin with the first letter of the alphabet, the aleph. THey decided that that was a hint that the story of Genesis though completely true, was not the whole story, and that there must have been other things happening "before" the beginning of the world which are not recored in the official transcirpts, so to speak. The incident with Lilith being one of those.

I have no literary training and less literary talent, so I cant say much about your version of the story beyond the obvious. Its a plausible reading, but I tend to think that much of genesis is a "just so" story designed to explain how come this and how come that? Why do we speak so many different languages?
So there's the story of the tower of Babel to "explain" it. Why is it that we have to work our tails off just to make a lousy living? At the time the stories were composed I imagine that the mores were rather prudish, at least by California standards, so the question was "why are we embarrased to go about naked? " and so we have a story to tell all about it. I have a private speculation of my own, that the ancient authors must have known about some aboriginal people or other who wore "aprons" or breach-cloths or some such and put those into the story as mankind's earliest form of clothing.

I have heard the theory that Job once stood alone without the opening scene where the satan gets the job of tormenting Job, and the last scene where God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind and then "makes him whole again" as the legal term goes by restoring his possessions and family, The theory is that the first and last act were "sown on" as a sop to the pious to cover what was otherwise a pretty "anti god"
sort of play. Oh. Part of the theory was that it was or was modeled after the style of a Greek play 9not that it copied any actual Greek work, but that it adapted a Greek form to a Hebrew preoccupation)

In your own gloss (and the same comment goes...I'm not a literary guy, so what do I know), I hear an echo of the Hindu vedic commentary "Not this, not this" whenver the qualities of the divine are at
question. Also shades of the RamBam (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon aka Maimonides) whose schtick is that we
can say nothing possitive, only negatives about the divine. It comes out better in Hindu, in my opinion
because Not this, not this seems to get the flavor more than "You cant say he's intelligent, only that i is SO not stupid")

Expecting evil at the hands of the Lord should not have been an unexpected sentiment. Isnt it Isaiah who reports the lord as saying "I make the light and I make the dard, I make weal and I make woe, ,,,, I
am the lord and I do all these things". From the middle 600's BCE if not before, the Hebrews must have been aware of the Persians and of Zorastrianism with its two gods, the Lord or Wisdon and the Vengeful Spirit. Isiah's speach sounds to me like a direct confrontation with the Zoroastrians. No, its NOT the cas that the good god creates fire and the other one creates smoke. the one true god does it all.
I once met someone who claimed that scripture never or hardly ever talks about the lord as being good, only that he is "holy". Maybe in the early days "holy" could cover both good and evil. The full name of the tree of knowlege was "The tree of knowlege of good and evil" I dont know if that's supposed to mean that taking a bite enabled the first couple (ultimately) to learn the secret of making cluster bombs and Depleted Uranium Ammo, or whether it was just a gloss or idiom to mean "everythng, the works, all there is".

Forgive my scattered thoughts as we bounce back to the "whirlwind" scene of Job. One of the elements that has always repelled me about the pious is Gods bullying "argument" to Job. I was there at the foundation of the universe "Was you there charlie?". All that business about "do you know how long a gazell is pregnant, have you seen the treasury of the hail, can you draw out leviathan with a hook" , Might as well have asked "Can you go two rounds with Joe Palooka? Can you do integration by parts and Laplace transforms? " I call that the "You shut up your donkey face" defence and it always seemed to me a bit below the dignity of the master of the universe to resort to it.

I still dont know where any of this leaves us wrt the question at hand; Whats an example of a religious
view that unmasks the AA characterizations as attacks on a straw man?
Your humor and thoughtful contributions at Happy Heathens will be greatly missed.
Just thought I'd leave a note to say that, though I know you're fed up with Happy Heathens at the moment, I hope you'll keep fighting the good fight--or will take a quick breather and return. I really enjoy your posts. I'm one of those folks out there silently nodding their heads.

HH and Pro and Con both seem to be distinctly unfriendly on occasion lately. Tax time? April showers? *shrug*
Well, after our chat this morning, I couldn't not add you as a friend! I tend to work out my issues in closed forums, it's easier for me that way. Trust issues and all that good stuff. Hope you had a good lunch.
It's a mutual admiration society, there, Arctic. In fact, my husband refers to you as my "Alaskan boyfriend."

Keep walking your path and speaking your truth. We're out here listening.
Hi, Arctic.

On the "Political Conservatives" group (...where I seem to be unwelcome...), you mentioned to enevada
I have some very interesting Neuhaus stories, if you want to hear the real dirt

I Googled Neuhaus, and now I'm intrigued.
Could you fill me in?

- Bob
Hey, Arctic. Haven't seen you around the GD much lately and I'm just wondering how you're doing these days. I do enjoy lurking on Pro & Con, but I'm usually too intimidated to post on there. My political understanding is way too limited.

At least Spring is on the way. Hope yours is sunny.
Arctic - thanks for your personal perspectives and clear-headed reviews. Not familiar with your other contributions, but after reading the range of your spiritual quest on LT, I hope you are not offended if I ask if you are a "closet Unitarian Universalist" ?! Thanks again, and in your low moments which I hope are few think of us who have seen who you really are and are grateful.
Hi - I have become totally obsessed (well, where did you think that name came from?) with entering bookstores in LibraryThing Local. I thought I knew every bookstore within 500 miles, but I am finding out how wrong I was.

Anyway, I stumbled onto one called Circuit Rider Books that I thought you might find interesting. They specialize in hard to find Christian titles in the mainline Protestant tradition, as well as international Protestant music. They appear to be very thoughtful and scholarly. Let's just say I was able to add them to Local without breaking out in hives. (Right next to them on the alphabetic list was Cosmic Monkey Comics - what a contrast!).
Hi Arctic,

I'd be interested to do some Guinea Pigging for your Users Guide to the Bible course. I might be a bit more conservative theologically than your intended audience but that makes it all the more fun, right? ;-) Though actually I have a feeling that I'm a raging liberal masquerading as a conservative...

Anyway, I would definitely be keen, though I reserve the right to ask lots of annoying questions (my Bible study group will sadly be able to tell you that I do this a lot!)

Just wanted to drop by and say hello. I live in Anchorage, and saw that you are a NT teacher up here. I do some OT teaching myself, so I was interested in your library.
Hi Arctic - well, you may be silent most of the time now, but when you 'speak', as in your message #50 (on the topic - Some prominent Republicans have caught Obama fever, from the Political Conservatives Group), then your words are worth reading. Just thought I'd pop in and say hi to you, since I don't want to post on Political Conservatives again. (PandaBaby says "ow, ow, ow" to the comments thrown at my little post #15 there.) I'm one of the many concerned about health care accessibility, and appreciate your approach to the subject.

And thank you for starting up the Pro and Con Group - I enjoy the discussions there.
psst - looks like a really interesting discussion starting here (in case you hadn't noticed): Early Reviewers : 'Unlocking the Torah Text' by Shmuel Goldin

No, I didnt' get negative comments. (I did get a positive one, tho.) Perhaps I'm skittish because of the poster complaining about the pretty girls. *sigh* And I was just about to post a pic of Beyonce.

Jim Croce as Eric Clapton! That is some kind of sacrelige!
We don't share too many books or personal habits but after stumbling on your profile I know that I would like you. We could have a nice conversation -- many of them in fact. Glad to have you as a colleague on LibraryThing.
Just wanted to tell you that I ordered both Night Watch books today on your recommendation (from the thread). I can hardly wait! So, thanks!
If one of us should be scared, I believe that would be you.
I just felt a need to come by and high-five you.

I guess you've figured out I'm not above being provocative from time to time. ;-)
I'm beginning to lose patience with the HH thread. It seems like some feel that they are so "logical" and "rational" that they can't possibly be bigots.

However, I think I used to be just like them, so I hang in there.
I didn't get a chance to recommend on the recommend-a-book-thread, so I'll recommend here. Have you come across A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren? I see you have A Generous Orthodoxy, and I'd love to know what you thought of it.
Hi Arctic, i don't recall if i already made this recommendation, but you might really enjoy Here If You Need Me, by Kate Braestrup, an often funny, very moving memoir about a chaplain serving others through their tragedies in Maine. Heartening, good stuff. ~ NR
Must fight against the darkness...Arctic-Stranger. I totally understand. Seattle does not have as much darkness as Alaska but we do have our short days - I think just under 8 hours of daylight near the solstice.

I will check out pro and con. Ihave read it a bit, and sometimes just get overwhelmed by the length of people's comments. But I will see if there is more to see...

Good thing we are on the downhill side of winter. Spring is just around the corner.
After posting the question on a couple of other forums and googling some more, I found it...

Shrapnel in the Heart: Letters and Remembrances from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Dearest Eddie Lynn,

I'd give anything to have you shell just one more pecan for me on Grandma's porch.

All my love,
Your cousin

I may have to look into the one you found. I'd definitely recommend the Palmer.
Quick question for you, that you may or may not have the answer to...

When I was in High School, I used to spend quite a bit of time sitting in the library reading. There was one book that I distinctly remember without knowing the title. It was a collection centered around the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial (the Wall in D.C.). It was basically a collection of letters, notes and mementos that had been left at the wall by visitors. Notes to the deceased. Old letters from soldiers in the field that survivors had decided to let go of. Letters from ex-soldiers recounting their experiences both during and after the war.

It was one of the more moving things I'd ever read. There was a single sentence from that book that condenses grief more explicitly than anything I've ever read. Something simple like "What I would not give to have you sitting on grandma's porch cracking one more walnut for me."

I'm not seeing anything when I search Amazon and Google with the obvious phrases, but my Google-Fu seems to be off today. Does this ring any bells for you?

Hope the New Year is treating you well.
Hi, I'm enjoying the discussion over at the "Atheists and Morality" thread (...but I've learned not to raise my head on the "Political Conservatives" group).

Yesterday at #39 you had said: (the divorce rate among Christians is no different than that of non-Christians, for instance)

But the Barna survey seems to show otherwise. They reported:

Religion....... % have been divorced

Jews : ............... 30%

Born-again Christians: 27%

Other Christians:......24%

Atheists, Agnostics:.. 21%

There's are any number of explanations for this - born-agains are more likely to marry younger, more likely to be poorer, both of which are factors in making divorce more likely; and atheists are somewhat less likely to marry in the first place - but it seems to be a real finding. It's food for thought, anyway.

So, strictly speaking, atheists are less likely to be divorced than are Christians.

(Thanks again for being a voice of reason on LT.)

- Bob
Hello, and happy new year (I hope). I thought you might find
this article from USA Today interesting, if you haven't already seen it.
Hi - I just read your message from Dec 26. I hope you'll enjoy the little book and wish you a Happy New Year!
I just saw your comment of Dec 20 to me. Thank you. I discovered Hesse at 16 and was just taken with him. My collection is complete! Look forward to interacting with you.
With regard to something zooming randomly through my mind, I suddenly thought of the Philokalia and then thought that these volumes might appeal to your Eastern Orthodox/Shaker interests. Of course, I checked your library and noted that you are already familiar with them. Duh! as the kids say.

Regarding Byzantium, every May 29th I raise a glass to the Last Emperor of the Romans.

Seeing your comments in a happy heathen group topic i thought to check if you had a book i believe you'd love and since it is one of the three score i put up here and we had only paglia's sp in common, and you would surely have put it in your LT library among the 976 (unless it is a diff edition and that should count(does it?) if you had it, here you are:

g.k. chesterton: heretics --- cheap pb copies are now available
i am not xtian but i mailed a copy of this bk to my godfather, a writer, recently, because it is a bk i never tire of, and a good influence on writing style.

"Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!"
Thanks for your patience and persistence in the American Gulag and 2008 threads.
Arctic, I've been meaning to drop by for ages and finally I'm here. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your wonderful input in the Green Dragon and Happy Heathens. I know I haven't joined HH, but I read it all the time and really value your voice. Thanks Arctic.
Have you seen The War Tapes? The first-hand accounts from soldiers' perspectives may help with your work.
Thanks for the reassurance; yes, I did 'get' that you were joking. I hope that my reply was taken in a similar jocular way. (Sometimes it IS hard to read 'tone' on-line....)

I've read enough of your posts to know you wouldn't have meant that in a nasty way. And I think that your contributions to the discourse here are one of the best things about LT.
Thank you for your help. I will look into that book and talk to our OPO.
Wow, I've never been here before, to your house. That's a great picture of a bright, optimistic looking young man, where'd you get it?

The reason I came by was to say I didn't know you were an ex-Tarheel. I went to High School in NC, down in the tidewater. We lived in Oriental, Pamlico County during the early sixties.
I'm not sure how familiar you are with Anchorage, but I drove from one end of Tudor to the other going about 5 mph the whole way. We had snow over the weekend, and I dealt with the residual on the road the following days. But this afternoon, after a morning full of classes, I come home, take a nap, and wake up to discover about 2.5 to 3 inches of snow on my car. I pull onto Minnesota only to discover it was completely whited out, with no discernible lane lines. Snow was being whipped up in the air by passing cars, leaving behind a giant wall of white.

Take make matters worse, I got stuck on an incline at an intersection. My car couldn't get any traction, so i was spinning my wheels.

Anyway, it was like one big community today--everyone was going through the same garbage.

I suppose I'm just a big whiner considering that you live in Fairbanks, a place where -80 F winters are common and polar beer rampages are constant.
Thought you might like this article -

Two lives blurred together by a photo

I apologise if that's heaping insult on injury (ie. you see enough of such things as is), but I was thinking of you as I read it...
I read your post in the Green Dragon about organ donation, and that you are a spiritual advisor in a hospital. I am writing a paper on religion and organ donation (for my honors science, values and religion class) and was wondering if you could recommend any good resources to me on the subject. Thank you.

In the Mr. Rodgers thread, you asked about my research into how music can help heal. I would suggest that you start by taking a look at the American Music Therapy Association, If you are wanting up-to-date medical research and you have access to a library for interlibrary loans, check out the Journal of Music Therapy, and Music Therapy Perspectives.

Hi - i hope today was better for you than yesterday.
Thanks for the welcome, Arctic! I don't know how much I'll contribute to the discussions in Pro & Con. Tracking the arguments, if they exist beyond long-winded rhetorical flourishes, can be baffling and tends to raise my blood pressure to an unhealthy degree. Then again, I like things that are bad for me. :D
Thanks! I am not much of a joiner. More in tune with the Progressive & Liberal group than with the Political Conservatives, but I am not in total agreement with any of them. Since Pro and Con is about the debate itself rather than about any particular position, I decided to plunge in. I just love to argue, but cannot do that with friends, co-workers, and clients. I really appreciate LT as a safe venue for sharing thoughts on hot-button topics.

I am surprised to see that we share only 27 titles, but the ones we do share are far more interesting than the “100 best” and other classics that I share with other LTers. Stegner, Vonnegut, Chouinard, McPhee, Abbey, Le Guin and Kesey, (2 Oregonian writers), and Thomas Mann. Try Jonathan Raban sometime…I think you might like him.
Thanks for the offer for giving more reading suggestions. As usual, however, my eyes have been bigger than my reading time and so my tbr mountain is sky-high. I moved up Anthony de Mello, and Byron Katie after rummaging in your library; I mooched and received Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies, Dakota A Spiritual Geography and Richard Rohr's Discovering the Enneagram. I also added a few books on contemplative prayer to various wishlists. My readings in spirituality tend to be eclectic--or as a friend says, downright heretical at times. The mountain contains quite a few Eastern, Islamic and skeptical books and commentaries. The scientist in me wants to thoroughly view all sides of the elephant. I may well be back for suggestions when I get a few of these digested. And now after that wonderfully grand mix of metaphors, I'll head off to read.
Hmm. We don't have many books in common, but I felt obligated to comment and say that Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is plague of musical glee just waiting to decimate an overpopulated musical market.
I know you get a lot of questioning in HH about your faith, but just a brief note to say thanks for sharing. It's always of interest to see how others view the world.

Considering how many groups and talk posts we share, I'm surprised how divergent our libraries are.
I thought I'd introduce myself since I added you to my 'favorite libraries' list and you may be wondering who I am.

While you were off pursuing your real life last weekend, I tiptoed into your virtual library and rummaged a bit through the shelves. I've been on a spiritual journey the last few years so I borrowed a few titles from your 5 star list to add to my tbr pile. A couple were already on Mount Toberead--they've moved a bit closer to the top. A couple more I've requested and wishlisted from swap sites.

So thanks for the recommendations even though you had no idea you were doing it (isn't that a great feature of LT?) I'll probably be back, so if you return to your library to find virtual fingerprints and books slightly moved in their virtual places, and the feeling that someone has been's not really a stalker, or a ghost--just me --or other LTer's-- rummaging through for virtual recommendations when you're not around.
Pro & Con - great group. glad you started it.
Fantastic work with Pro and Con, AS!

I don't know if anyone else could have pulled this off.

Well done on Pro and Con. You built it and they came!
Thanks for sharing your peculiar sense of humor in TGD!
Welcome to Books Compared. I'm so glad you joined, and hope you'll feel inspired to contribute.
Not a problem. And I'll second NR's recommendation of Housekeeping. One of my absolute favorite books of all time. A breathtaking depiction of negative space.
Hi - i just finished Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and, based on your profile, thought you might really like it. It focuses on identity and isolation, grief and loss, scapegoats and sheltered vagrants, the beauty and sacredness of the everyday world, as well as resurfacing of the deeps. Her next novel, Gilead, is supposed ot be equally amazing -- i've just started and, thus far, it's brilliant, lyric writing about a pastor contemplating his forthcoming death.

Also, if you're enjoying Rilke's Duino Elegies, you would probably like Denise Levertov's Selected Poems -- the one about the swimmers and the one about the blue elephants are particularly moving.
Just a quick note to say `thanks` for your attempts to clarify my comments on the `bomb-thrower` thing. I don`t know if I`m missing something, but I actually assumed my remarks would be taken as intended and everyone would by now have moved on to something else.

Your coments on the IRA thing are pertinent - I`m sure we Brits would be more likely to react in light of that particular background, but I still have difficulty imagining anyone from any background reacting well to the use of that phrase.

For what it`s worth (this is just a fact and not a political point) quite a few bombs thrown in the UK have actually been thrown by fascists - the Soho nail-bomber, and quite a number of fire-bombings of houses,businesses.

Personally, I think I`ll just leave the topic alone myself, but I am puzzled that deniro found anything at all to object to in my comments.


You need to find a Zen magazine ;)
Hi - I'm relatively new to the LT and somehow stumbled across the Happy Heathens group and the long series of posts on the "i believe in god" thread. I just felt compelled to reach out to you and let you know that I find something about your posts to be wise and helpful ... many of the other posts were fascinating as well. I'm not sure really what to say except that in some way, this means something to me that I don't understand yet. So, thanks.


PS - wow, you live in Alaska!
You are welcome. I understand your frustration. So human, we are! Be well and enjoy the fun.
hello? where are you? I think I have been missing you on the threads and posts? Did you get completely tired of the 'believe or not in God' discussion? I found it a bit tedious and sometimes a bit harsh. Any way, hope you are well and not off the computer because of illness or other emergency type life events.
Thanks for the offer. Though I must admit, it will be a while before I ever make it to Squarebanks again. :D
I firmly believe that you can achieve enlightenment living in the society that we dwell in. A key to the difficult balance act is to be in a situation that allows you to not worry about paying your daily bills without spending all your time at a job because you won't have time to discover your humanity. Food for thought.
That reminds me of the time I visited Maharishi University in Iowa and they talked of 8,200 getting together anywhere in the world and the place would be more peaceful. I believe that each day I will encounter some happy people,some unhappy people as I must be centered and not have my mood influenced by anyone else. I need to be a bright light for my own well being and in turn I will brighten others lives.
Artic, are you flirting with me? Melisande....sigh....ok sometimes I miss it.
Why does that not surprise me? I used to be a version of Phedre, so there you go. Do I miss it? Not much....most of the time....
Hey, Arctic,
How did you like Kushiel's Dart?
I'll be listening to your radio show tonight. Hope you enjoy your last broadcast with the spawn.

Please help me to understand the concept behind remaining silent for long periods of time. I firmly believe that most spoken words are seemly a waste of time and energy.This is true with the cellphone as the first line is always How are you doing? How does the concept of silence play out when you are having a dinner party for 40 people?
It's also nice to be able to meet people who are your age or older, in my case, and just see the different views on what they believe, how they think. That's what I love most, because I love discussing things with people. :D
I know, these are awesome. I absolutely love being able to talk to people about books I love, especially since it seems to be lacking (the urge to read that is) in youth these days
Hey, I've seen you around on The Green Dragon, (and others I think) and thought I'd stop by to say hey cuz you seemed like a cool guy.

I recently read a book explaining one man's quest to find his guru or spiritual teacher. He concluded that you dont have to go anywhere to find enlightenment and you are probably not going to meet a wise soul like Dan Millman did in the peaceful warrior. Do you believe that like in many books that you can be walking down the street and just happen to meet a spiritual teacher?
Welcome to the Political Conservatives group. As you can see, the group welcomes comments from those who don't identify themselves as conservatives -- although some of the resulting discussions are more cordial than others. :)
Except maybe your son decided that maybe if he just put a little dent in it, he'd get to take it home and instead the thing shattered into a million little pieces.
I haven't joined any groups yet. I'm supposed to be carefully monitoring how much time I spend on here so I don't go overboard. So far, that's not working, Heh.
We're on each other's Interesting Library lists! Just wanted to say, "hi!"

Hope life is treating you with a gentle hand. One question that remains for me concerning Paradise Lost is Noah. Everyone else in the world was killed including children but Noah and his family were allowed to survive. What was Noah doing or thinking that made him superior to everyone else. How did god decide that this one man and his family were the chosen ones to start to populate the world. If I know what Noah was doing to receive this great reward I would follow in his foot steps.
Just stopping in to say hi so I feel less stalker-ish about watching your library :)

I agree with your take on god's love but in human terms
he created man,allowed them the freedom to choose our life path and then starts over after we make bad chooses. On a positive note I have added yoga to my daily life. Real great!

A question comes to mind as I read Paradise Lost. Got created Adam and Eve and they failed to be able to live in Eden. Then the world was flooded and Noah was the being good enough to be spared. What did he do to deserve this honor. Then we started over with all new people. Is the product that
was created after the Arc any better? Look at our society??
Thanks, Arctic. I knew that, but it's such a weird experience. I can't imagine how it affects people who didn't discuss it first, or even those who didn't discuss it as thoroughly as Dad & I did. It's just the biggest thing there is.

Thanks for the pastoral care. Your parishoners (constituents?) are lucky.
Hello! I noticed that although we both have somewhat eclectic libraries, we still have a good number of books and interests in common.

To start with: I've read Osama Tezuka's Adolf series and found it to be very good. Every time I go to a bookstore, his Buddha series is sitting there just begging for me to read it and I'm very close to giving in! (And you seem to approve!) Have you read anything else by him?
>I was wondering if you had read As Francesca? I am trying to place it on my "to read" list, and i am wondering how high it should go.
posted by Arctic-Stranger at 5:32 pm (EST) on Mar 1, 2007 | reply | archive | delete

Wow - I haven't looked at my comments in a while! No, I haven't read it yet. I'm famous for picking up things that look interesting when I find a good book sale, and they tend to pile up. Have you read it since posting?
Hope life is treating you with a gentle hand. I am looking to discuss the book Paradise Lost or just discuss religion in general. Any willing participants?
Did you read paradise lost.Want to discuss religion?
My LJ is public, no snooping involved.

Let's see....when I lived in NY I was a Yankee's fan, still am but it's probably not your fault you're a Red Sox fan. Must be your sad upbringing....;-) Now that I live on the left coast again, I'm into the Giants & A's, both of whom are mediocre at the moment. That doesn't stop me from watching them, tho. I guess I'm just a diehard. Next year will be better once Bonds finally goes away. I never liked that guy.

My favorite Tarot deck is one based on baseball. It really works! I wonder if it will touchstone....?
You know, the older I get, the more I find navel-gazing tiresome. The whole idea of spirituality is that one thing it is not is rational. Once you have accepted rationality as a limited-use, but important, tool, you are free to let go of the need to justify God's actions, or your own. Then it becomes a quest to refine yourself into closer approximations of what an actually good person should look like. Here, on planet Earth, 21st century. Let the afterlife take care of itself.

First there's a mountain, then there isn't, then there is. If you don't get back to chopping wood eventually, you're missing the point.

But then, I'm a Capricorn so I age backwards. Looking forward to an enchanting childhood.

btw, I love the diversity of your catalogue. You review your porn, and that is so cool! I can see why we are 98%, we've read so many of the same books.
Artic, thanks for the scintillating discussion today about Graham Greene on Happy Heathens. It's always great chatting with you.
read some of your comments on a 'talk' thread, and am now very intrigued by your library. i think i am going to enjoy wandering through it.
In reality your teacher might come to you in your small town or is it best to look for you guru. I agree with the notion of the unspoken word as much of our verbalization is unneeded and not fruitful.
An interesting concept that is the theme in many of the books that I read is a characters search for a guru. A book titled the Way of the Peaceful Warrior the man found his spiritual teacher in a garage. When traveling through India I was told that the Guru is inside of you as you need to bring that out. I went to the Maharishi University in Iowa and was told that the answers are floating above us and we need to plug into this
other reality. Many people go to India to find their guru.Give me some feedback on the issue.
Hmmm, My ex once rubbed elbows (literally) with Carol Channing...

I'm enjoying The Princess Bride immensely. Having seen the movie a few dozen times, I'm actually enjoying the book all the more. It makes me want to go see the original text, just as a comparison of writing styles.

Hi there, One Flew Under the Cuckoo's Nest is set in a psychiatric institution. Some of the patients have schizophrenia. A few are depressed and others are in because of sexual abuse or anorexia or an unknown cause. They don't seem to get help or even understanding from the shrinks. The central characters are a husband and his schizophrenic wife. They are very much in love. The strength of their love is really put to the test as she gets progressively worse. As I read it I felt heartbroken by their plight. Strangely my sympathies went out to the husband. The poor guy couldn't cope. I wanted someone to help him. I think the 'under' in the book's title refers to him. There's many other dramas unfolding as well. Some are hopeful, others inconclusive. I found the book educational among other things. Psychiatric care is still portrayed as lacking in expertise and humanity the way it was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It's a good read and challenging. I was moved, and I suppose overall the feelings were ones of outrage mixed with sadness and frustration. There's also poignant moments when I really tried not to laugh but I had to.
Re: Thai and Japanese cookbooks

I'm sorry, the reason I have so many cookbooks is because I'm a pastry chef. Unfortunatly I don't know the first thing about Thai or Japanese cooking. I'll ask around at work and if I get an answer, I'll post it here.
Have you read by any chance One Flew Under the Cuckoo's Nest?
The book by Jack Kornfield deals with an issue that has interested me for many years. It is simple to be enlightened up in the mountains with no responsibilities. I believe a great test is bringing a swami into a regular house with two kids,a stressful job ect. I realize that the swami wouldn't pick to live in the burbs but what if.....
Loving what is : four questions that can change your life
by Byron Katie. Ok. I will read this book on your command. I have been looking for those little twists of fate. My belly says that I already know the four answers though.
Re: Your comment at my place

Yep. :)
I'm pretty sure I'm a girl dork, or, for you, I could be a girl, dork! Have a great day!
Thanks for the comment about my rating habits. I think commentary -- even just little bits, carefully chosen -- is important. The rating stars only say so much and can be easily taken out of context; a few choice words can provide that.

Your profile says: "I am more interested now in the things I cannot talk about than the things I can discuss." I have been feeling much the same way of late, the more so after reading Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" and Mistry's "A Fine Balance" back to back. The penultimate paragraph of "The Razor's Edge" is worth a read all by itself.
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