Wednesday was the hottest day ever in Seattle - 103 deg Fahrenheit, beating the previous record by 3 degrees. That's the official temperature at the airport. The drive home from work shoewd that local temperatures were quite a bit higher (see the upper part of the LCD display):
It's interesting to see how the religious right has faded, especially here in liberal-friendly western Washington. There's an interesting article in the Seattle Times today that sheds some light on why.
In 2004, conservative evangelical leaders in Washington state were in full political force.
In only a few short weeks, they gathered more than 20,000 people to Safeco Field to rally for traditional marriage, then several months later, celebrated President Bush's re-election.
Five years later, though, the movement is deflated and in disarray.
Many of the early leaders have stepped back due to health or age, because they feel burned at being called haters or because they're tired of political divisiveness, saying it gets in the way of saving souls.
So they apparently have figured out that telling people they're going to hell and other such unpleasantries is counterproductive. Chalk one up for common sense.
"I don't want the church to be viewed as oppressive, [and] as opposed to people living their lives and eking out whatever happiness they can."
He says he believes that different times call for different strategies and says that now, with the country less in sync with his traditional values, and many hurting because of the economy, people need to hear about hope, not about hell.
"God is not coercive," said Pastor Joseph Fuiten, senior pastor at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church in Bothell.
Even our favorite evangelical whipping boy managed to say something sensible and non-inflammatory
Mark Driscoll, 38, preaching pastor at Mars Hill Church, which draws 10,000 people to eight campuses, says he's never been particularly vocal or active politically.
"I see myself as a Bible teacher and trust our people to think for themselves and vote according to their convictions," he said.
And finally, in the "well, duh", category, some learning apparently emerged for another conservative pastor:
Senior Pastor Emeritus Jan Hettinga, 64, of Northshore Baptist Church, and an organizer of 2004's Mayday for Marriage rally, said many at his church feel they've "been there and done that" on political issues, and "all we got was really, really bad press and a bad image."
Branding the disagreement over same-sex marriage as hatred and bigotry was a smart strategy by gay-rights supporters, Hettinga said. "No Christians I know want to be considered haters.
"I think there's a very intelligent, moral, conservative population in this city and in this state, but they just haven't figured out yet how to let their voices be heard without being labeled."
So just how do you tell people they're living their lives all wrong without coming across as a hater and a bigot? Maybe the Christian Right R&D department should get on that, but centuries of research indicate it will be quite impossible.
Today's Mariners game featured an epic late inning failure resulting in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at the last gasp. But no, that's not the pet peeve. The final blow in such an epic defeat is often referred to by many of my fellow Americans (especially, it seems, radio commentators) as the "coop de grah" intended to mean of course, the coup de grâce(/ˌkuːdə ˈɡrɑːs/). The variation on the first word "coup" is substantial - it's occasionally pronounced correctly, but just as often pronounced coop. The main failure, though is in the pronunciation of grâce as "grah". As the Wikipedia entry points out, this is known as hyperforeignism, an interesting concept. Wikipedia continues:
in French, this mispronunciation sounds like coup de gras, which means "blow of fat", or cou de gras, which means "neck of fat". Furthermore, this confusion is compounded by the name "Mardi Gras."
Mardi Gras, means, of course, Fat Tuesday, but the connection (or lack thereof) between that and grâce is lost on most people. There is one further option Wikipedia misses - the "coop de grah" mentioned above, which translated becomes "cup of fat". Nice. I hate to think what sport might have the Coupe de Gras as the prize...
I've been back from Six Day for over a week and enjoyed my first July 4th as an American citizen. Looking back, here's a fond memory from a couple of weeks ago at camp... (see if you can spot me and the two bishops...)