Irritating – can’t seem to make a list of non-blog links – plus a bit of running

6 August, 2007

I’ve spent ages playing around with the widgets in the customisation part but I can’t seem to find a way to make a list of links, other than a list of links to other blogs. That’s a little irritating, since WordPress insists on calling the list of blogs the ‘Blogroll’, and I don’t want non-blogs in my Blogroll since… well, they’re not blogs! Maybe I’m missing something…

I ran about 5 miles at lunchtime on roads. I don’t like running on roads, but I’ll put up with it to get the miles in during the week. I felt pretty tired, slow and useless: it’s much easier in the woods, although it’s quite hilly there.

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Documentary – Jesus Camp: “Had it been in the old testament, Harry Potter would have been put to death.”

6 August, 2007

I’m just watching a 2006 documentary – “Jesus Camp”. It’s about evangelical Christians in the USA, and the way in which they train their children to become evangelical Christians. In particular, it’s about a summer camp run in Kansas by a woman called Becky Fischer. Having seen the way that extremist Muslims train their own children to die and murder in the name of Islam, she’s apparently been inspired to train Christian children to die and murder in the name of Christ. She’s filmed saying:

“It’s no wonder, with that kind of intense training and disciplining, that those young people are ready to kill themselves for the cause of Islam. I wanna see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam. I wanna see them as radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine and all those different places, you know, because we have… excuse me, but we have the truth!”

Has she not realised that people killing themselves in the name of Islam are doing so specifically in order to kill others? Or did she think that if she left that part out people would be too thick to notice, or too self-delusional to acknowledge it? I find it mind-boggling, terrifying stuff.

I’ve just watched her speaking about Harry Potter. She said:

“Warlocks are enemies of God. Had it been in the old testament, Harry Potter would have been put to death.”

She was shaking with righteous anger as she said it, and small children around the room echoed her words when she’d spoken them. It was absolutely chilling.

The documentary shows the zealots teaching the children to behave violently by smashing mugs with hammers: “in the name of righteous government”. Hysteria is also encouraged, so the children are expected to cry as they do it, and when they smash their mugs the rest of the congregation cheers and ‘speaks in tongues’. By the end of the evening, all the children were crying (it was clearly required), and a small girl — who when interviewed earlier had said that when she grew up she’d like to be a nail/beauty technician because it would give her an opportuntity to try to convert people who were feeling relaxed — cried, and raised her small fist into the air, sobbing, “and we proclaim the Lion of Judah.” And this is meant to be a healthy way for children to behave?

Towards the end of the documentary, Pastor Ted Haggard was filmed addressing a congregation at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, a huge building. He’s apparently president of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 30 million people in the States. It was stated by the documentary makers that he speaks to President Bush and his advisors every Monday.

Pastor Haggard told the congregation that they didn’t need to discuss what to think about “homosexual activity” because, “it’s written in the bible,”. He then emphasised the importance of settling a “few core beliefs” within the country in order to guarantee their freedom, and after that he invited the congregation to pray for President Bush. (Earlier in the documentary, an assistant at the children’s camp had been filmed waving a cardboard cut-out of President Bush around and urging the children to speak to it and applaud it.)

Pastor Haggard was then interviewed. He explained how they give the children a message that the children love to hear, and that it’s very different from that given out by the public schools i.e. “So while the public school’s telling them they’re animals, they’re the product of natural selection, we tell them, “God loves you. God’s created you. You have a purpose in life.” I mean the kids are… just loving it!”

He concluded: “And so… so it’s an awful lot of people and we’re growing. Churches like this? There’s a new church like this every 2 days in America. It’s got enough growth to essentially sway every election. If the evangelicals vote, they determine the election.”

Meanwhile, the British labour government is introducing the concept of creationism/intelligent design into our schools, which is the first step towards brain-washing British children in a similar fashion.

I’ve believed for some time now that the government should in fact outlaw all religious schools in this country. What’s now happening with the evangelical Christian right is an illustration of precisely why.


Run in the woods/new tarp arrives

5 August, 2007

I woke up early and finally got up about 8am for a run in the woods. This is the start of my second week back running – about 6 weeks after re-dumping the evil cigarettes – and I’m actually enjoying it this time, which isn’t typical for me.

It was a lovely sunny morning, and I got to the woods about 0845. I’m currently investigating some new trails, but because this was a weekend run I wanted it to last for at least an hour, so I ran up the little hill first and went through the woods onto the main trail, and then took a prohibited path back in a little further along.

It was really beautiful in there: pine needles underfoot, lots of flowers and butterflies, beams of sunshine descending through the tops of the trees to the undergrowth etc etc. There were also a few large blusher toadstools — the first fungi I’ve seen in there for months — and the trails passed a number of very peaceful and attractive natterjack breeding ponds. I’d wanted to take the camera, but (i) I’d not charged it, and (ii) I’m not sure where the camera belt carrying thingy is. I’ll take it next weekend, which probably guarantees rain.

I stopped for a good stretch two or three times, and explored a number of different paths. I was fairly tired by the end, but I think I probably ran for about 75 minutes: maybe a little longer. I was listening to Master & Commander (read by Patrick Tull, of course), which is just as wonderful second time round.

I had another good stretch at the end. I was amazed to find when I started running again towards the end of last year that proper stretching did away with all pain and stiffness in my legs very quickly. Happily, the same thing seems to be happening again. I try to stop for a stretch about 5 minutes into a run (once my legs have had a chance to warm up) and then I stretch properly at the end. On a longer run I might stop more than once: it’s a chance for a breather as well, of course.

Back at the car I ate an apple and drove to Tescos for some bits and pieces (which included my post-run Sunday treat of pain au chocolate (okay, so I ate two…)). Yum 🙂 I then ran the car through the car wash and washed it again by hand at home. It was truly disgusting: it must be well over 6 months since I last washed it. After that I took it back to the garage and gave it a thorough cleaning/hoovering inside. Now it looks lovely 🙂 I then tidied up my sitting room — long overdue. That also looks great.

Now I feel relaxed and virtuous, and I’m about to watch Music & Lyrics.

My Solo Tarp arrived from Bob and Rose at Backpackinglight.co.uk earlier in the week and I can hardly wait to use it. I’ve also ordered a new 3/4 length mattress. It’s coming from Australia, but they were very fast last time. I hope to use them both in the Brecons next weekend with Bob and some of the podcasting bunch. It’ll be great fun to get out again: I’m v. much looking forward to it. It’ll also be my first experience of bivvying since Uni.