I've mentioned Fred Phelps, his church and their website GodHatesFags on several occasions.
Now, I've come across the website GodHatesShrimp, which has a similar theme as GHFags, but is less passionate and more literate. Which is just as well, since it is a parody...
Check it out!

Wedding invitation

Click the invite to make it bigger.
How's that for a good start to a marriage? I swiped it from Of Course I Could Be On Vacation..., that also publishes a picture of an interesting gown (and another version here). I hope I'll never see them ... er, it ... before me in church while performing a wedding. Or any time, really. Slightly distracting, I think. For me, not the groom.
Was there a groom in the pictures? I didn't notice.

Mankind is no island

This just touched me. Deeply. It's beautyful. And tragic. Thank you so much, Pasi, for posting it!

About dogs and people 9

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
- Rita Rudner
as quoted by the Episcopal padre

Thank God for answered prayers

The church minister asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers.
A lady stood and walked to the lectern. She said, "I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Jim, had a terrible motor cycle accident and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."
You could hear an audible gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagined the pain that poor Jim experienced.
She continued, "Jim was unable to hold me or the children, and every move caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation. They were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Jim's scrotum and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."
Again, the men in the congregation squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Jim.
She went on, "Now, Jim is out of the hospital and the doctors say, with time, his scrotum should recover completely."
All the men sighed with relief.
The minister rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had anything to say.
A man rose and walked to the lectern. He said, "I'm Jim and I want to tell my wife, the word is 'sternum'."

Weed eater logic

Two rednecks, Jimbo and Bubba, are sitting at their favorite bar, drinking beer. Jimbo turns to Bubba and says, 'You know, I'm tired of going through life without an education. Tomorrow I think I'll go to the Community College and sign up for some classes.'
Bubba thinks it's a good idea, and the two leave.
The next day, Jimbo goes down to the college and meets Dean of Admissions, who signs him up for the four basic classes: Math, English, History, and Logic.
'Logic?' Jimbo says. 'What's that?'
The dean says, 'I'll give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?'
'Then logically speaking, because you own a weed eater, I think that you would have a yard.'
'That's true, I do have a yard.'
'I'm not done,' the dean says. 'Because you have a yard, I think logically that you would have a house.'
'Yes, I do have a house.'
'And because you have a house, I think that you might logically have a family.'
'Yes, I have a family.'
'I'm not done yet. Because you have a family, then logically you must have a wife. And because you have a wife, then logic tells me you must be a heterosexual.'
'I am a heterosexual. That's amazing, you were able to find out all of that because I have a weed eater.'
Excited to take the class now, Jimbo shakes the Dean's hand and leaves to go meet Bubba at the bar. He tells Bubba about his classes, how he is signed up for Math, English, History, and Logic.
'Logic?' Bubba says, 'What's that?'
Jimbo says, 'I'll give you an example. Do you have a weed eater?'
'Then you're a queer.'
Thanks to MadPriest!

Robinson on the Gospel and injustice

I think we are always bound by the Gospel to point out injustice and set about rectifying it.
- bishop Gene Robinson
as quoted by the Sydney Star Observer 7.7.08

Worst one, ever 3

A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

Räisänen on Christianity and homosexuality

Heikki Räisänen (born 1941) was Professor of New Testament Exegetics at the University of Helsinki in the years 1975-2006. He was - is! - a scholar with world-wide renown, and is abhorred in many conservative circles, which (of course) is a point in his favour. I had the privilege of doing my Masters thesis under his tutelage.
Last week, Professor Räisänen was interviewed by the news agency STT (FNB in Swedish) when he made an appearance at a symposium. The following is my own translation from the Finnish:
According to former professor Heikki Räisänen, Christianity has changed during the whole of its existence. At the moment, Christians are considering gender equality in religion and the nature of sexual disposition.
- The relationship of Christians to homosexuality has changed much, on the one hand in the light of new scientific findings, on the other, and perhaps more importantly, because heterosexual Christians know homosexuals better. They have been able to see that they are ordinary people, who haven't chosen their sexuality, but to whom it has been “given”, so to speak, Räisänen said on “Tieteen päivät” (“The Days of Science”).
As a comparison, Räisänen mentioned bigger changes than female priesthood or blessings of [same-sex] partnerships, that have occurred in the history of Christianity. One example happened in the times of the apostle Peter, when the Jesus-movement still was a part of the Jewish community. When Peter had witnessed to his gentile listeners, they were ecstatic and started to speak in tongues.
According to Räisänen, this was interpreted as a sign that God accepted the gentiles and that they could become members of the congregation without the rite of circumcision, that God according to the Bible had decreed should be eternal.
- This was a very drastic change in the religious tradition. Today's [issues with] female priesthood and gay marriage are child's play in comparison.
According to the story, Peter gave the motivation for his decision by stating, that he cannot stop God, if God has given the gentiles the same gift as to us.
- It is hard not to see similarities between Peter's experience and the experiences that many modern heterosexual Christians have had when meeting homosexual brothers and sisters, Räisänen added.
The interview was published by Ilta-Sanomat 8.1.09.

Lords and servants

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
- Martin Luther
as quoted on God's Politics

A true politician...

Tonight, I will attend my first meeting of the City Council of Porvoo.
To honour the occasion, here is another politician: the Governor of Texas, played by Charles Durning in the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
I have no desire to emulate the Governor - certainly not his morals! - but using hats myself, I love that sideways thing he does with his...
Thanks to Bailey's Buddy for leading me to this clip!

Schoolboy Howlers 12

Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, but he mostly lived at Windsor with his merry wives. This is quite usual with actors.

Marriages in the new year

People choose their wedding dates for varying reasons. My paternal grandparents were married in December 1931, and the next year they were blessed with a daughter. If you look at the months, rather than the years, you'll notice that it was a very short pregnancy - my aunt was born in May, 1932 - but noticing that is, of course, bad manners, so we'll let it lie.
But there are two couples that have chosen to get married now in the beginning of January, 2009, that might be worth mentioning.
On Saturday, January 3, in a church in the south-western town of Pori, the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, Sauli Niinistö (60), was married to Jenni Haukio (31), who works for the Conservative Party; Niinistö is also a Conservative. Widowed in 1995, he was a few years ago involved with a cabinet minister from the Centre Party, Tanja Karpela (now Saarela), and has now been together with his new wife for two years, which, apparently, neither the press nor the couple's next of kin had any inkling of.
Niinistö was runner-up in the 2006 presidential elections, with 48,2% of the votes in the secont round. Since President Tarja Halonen will have completed her constitutional two terms in 2012 and can't run for a third, Niinistö is a strong candidate to become the next President of the Republic. But there must surely be others; the elections are still a few years off.
As was to be expected, the evening paper Iltalehti made a lot of fuss about Niinistö's wedding.
The following day, the blogger Tor Billgren (blogging on Antigayretorik) married his partner of eight years, Erik, in their home town of Malmö in southern Sweden. Among the congratulatory comments on the blog, there were a few condemning their love for each other in God's name. Very sad. Very predictable. God must be happy for Erik and Tor - and weeping because of the idi... I mean, people speaking in his name.
The civil wedding was performed by a member of parliament, Olof Lavesson, who is also from Malmö.
May God bless both couples with much love and a long life together!

Update: Arnell & Gårdfeldt

Two pastors named Lars (Arnell and Gårdfeldt), both working for the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, were married in Canada in 2006. After returning home, they tried unsuccessfully to have their marriage recognized by the Swedish authorities; the ruling was that this was not a marriage but a civil partnership. I blogged about this at the time.
The couple argued that since their marriage was legal in Canada, it should be recognized in Sweden. Their lawsuit said that "tax authorities can make an exception for a marriage where one party is underage but not for homosexuals."
They took their case to the highest court in Sweden, which now has upheld the ruling of lower courts. In its ruling, the court said that Swedish law permits the tax department to make exceptions for people who are underage but legally married, but there currently is no law in Sweden allowing for the recognition of same-sex marriage.
The two Larses said they were disappointed in the ruling but hoped the government would soon amend the law. They will also bring the case before European Human Rights Court.
Kristen tro och homosexuell samlevnad, Visst går det att förena! (Lars Arnell's home page, in Swedish)
Uutinen: Ruotsalaiset homopapit naimisiin Kanadassa (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 23.5.06)
Nyhet: Utländskt homoäktenskap registreras inte i Sverige (Kalles kyrkliga kommentarer 28.9.06)
Präst gift i Kanada, inte gift i Sverige (Kyrkans Tidning 16.12.08)
Swedish court: Canadian gay marriage not legal (365gay 16.12.08)
Gårdfelt (sic!) förlorade äktenskapsmål (Dagen 16.12.08)
Rörd och imponerad av Gårdfeldts styrka (Antigayretorik 17.12.08)

Faith is not central to Christianity

If the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality then faith is not a requirement of the Christian religion. If it was then nobody would have met the risen Christ in the days following his crucifixion.
Faith is necessary because of how the universe works (or, at least, appears to work), especially in respect of time and distance. Therefore, faith is accidental not central to our religion.

Teresa of Avila on Loving Our Neighbor

Our Lord asks but two things of us; Love for [God] and for our neighbor. We cannot know whether we love God ... but there can be no doubt about whether we love our neighbor or no.
- Teresa of Avila
Interior Castle
as quoted on God's Politics