Nothing like the beauty of creation to wake us up on a Saturday morning. I hope your coffee tastes better looking at God’s world.

This will be our last Weekly Meanderings at Beliefnet. Next week it will be at our new site at Patheos, and that move has been consuming some of my blog-reading time but here are a few links…
Jay Phelan has some insightful words about the internet and civility.
Anne Farley-Rollé, who pointed me at Jay’s post, jumps from my parables series into some concerns of her own. 
Jamie Arpin Ricci has a helpful analogy and set of reflections on “where do we draw the line, or do we?”
Karen writes a letter to the President about … well, here’s the link, you read it: “Because it seems that these days, name dropping only counts if you’ve had your own reality TV show like the Gosselins. I wish somebody would explain to me how it is two people who can’t get along any better than these two people do, end up becoming authors of books on how to be a better baby mama or baby daddy. As far as I’m concerned that would be like Tiger Woods writing a book on faithfulness.”


Where do I place LaVonne Neff’s post on the split infinitive? Right here will do. LaVonne, what did Fowler say? EB White?  OK, her review of Love Eat Drink Be Merry or whatever the movie’s name is is a nice review. LaVonne said no one was sleeping at the theater, but David was sleeping somewhere. Looks like in church. 

My friend Allan Bevere asks this: What would you do if a mosque were coming to your community? He answers that question with freshness.
And another friend, Bill Donahue, on building a learning community.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey has covered this story admirably, and I’m very pleased that Jim Wallis backed off his accusations of Olasky, and now I hope they keep this exchange behind closed doors. 

Meanderings in the News
1. Wedge issues and the political process: “The current ruckus over building an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero, calls to change the 14th Amendment and other so-called “wedge” issues are roiling up each party’s base, but they’re turning off independents, analysts say. This is party politics as usual with respect to all of these wedge issues,” said Jacqueline Salit, president of, a national strategy and organizing center for independents. “I think there’s more and more of a steady recognition that these kind of wedge issues and political manipulation, sensationalism and opportunism is exactly what is degrading the American political process and our democracy.” Salit, who is also the executive editor of The Neo-Independent magazine, said that people are having a hard time understanding what’s happening with the economy because of partisanship. “I think people can’t tell what’s going on because the political environment is so polluted by partisanship,” she said. “The parties are trying to change the subject from things they think can inflame voters on and win elections on. How does that help the country? That hurts the country. And that’s what independents are deeply concerned about.”

3. On the mysteries of consciousness by David B. Hart: “Most attempts to describe the mind entirely as an emergent quality of the brain, or as another name for the brain’s machinery, not only fail convincingly to bridge the qualitative distance between sensory impression and coherent thought, but invariably bracket out of consideration a great deal of what any scrupulous phenomenology of consciousness reveals. Certainly they do not seem to explain the “transcendental” conditions by which consciousness is organized: that primordial act within and prior to all our other acts of mind and will; that constant mediation between thought and world that we both perform and suffer in advance of all experience or volition.”

4. I agree with Karl Giberson in his criticism of Al Mohler, but this article is a classic example of overkill: all we needed was three paragraphs. Here’s all he needed to say: “In this talk Mohler made false statements about Darwin. He apparently wanted to undermine evolution by suggesting that it was “invented” to prop up Darwin’s worldview, rather than developed to explain observations in the natural world. He said, “Darwin did not embark upon the Beagle having no preconceptions of what exactly he was looking for or having no theory of how life emerged in all of its diversity, fecundity, and specialization. Darwin left on his expedition to prove the theory of evolution. Because Darwin was constantly journaling, keeping careful notebooks, and writing letters, historians have established beyond all doubt that Mohler’s summary is simply false.”
5. New kind of honeymoon: “(CNN) — It’s common for newlyweds to honeymoon abroad. It’s less common for them to fix kids’ bikes during their trip — but Aaron and Kristen Berlin did just that two days after saying their vows.The Massachusetts twentysomethings got married in October and spent five days volunteering at an orphanage in southern Thailand before exploring Bangkok, northern Thailand and Cambodia.”
6. Wowzers, this guy’s incredible: “Khan has his skeptics in the education business. They don’t doubt he means well and is helping students, but they question the broad impact of any tutorial that doesn’t test performance or allow student-teacher discussion. “It’s a solid supplemental resource, particularly for motivated students,” says Jeffrey Leeds, president of Leeds Equity Partners, the largest U.S. private equity firm specializing in for-profit education. “But it’s not an academy — it’s more of a library.”

7. And David Brooks on mental flabbiness: “The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable. There’s a seller’s market in ideologies that gives people a chance to feel victimized. There’s a rigidity to political debate. Issues like tax cuts and the size of government, which should be shaped by circumstances (often it’s good to cut taxes; sometimes it’s necessary to raise them), are now treated as inflexible tests of tribal purity. To use a fancy word, there’s a metacognition deficit. Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate.”
10. Chicago’s Bean


Meanderings in Sports
Girardi says he’s “flattered” the Cubs are showing interest in him as a manager. I take that kind of talk as an indirection for “I’m interested, fellas, but can’t talk about. It’s unprofessional. I’ve got a job to do here with the Yankees.” Had he wanted to, he could have just up and said, “No, I’m not interested.”
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