RNC demonstrations

First-person reflections on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul over at Showers of Blessings

But I was appalled at the disproportionality of the display of force throughout the week. It started with forcible entries to four or five homes Saturday morning to arrest RNC WC members and to execute search warrants. Police reportedly used battering rams to break open unlocked doors and came in with drawn guns, despite there being no reason to suspect that the residents posed any threat of violent resistance. There were also many reports of harassment of journalists prior to and throughout the week.

At the march, hundreds of police were dressed head-to-toe in armor and battle gear, far exceeding any danger they may have reasonably anticipated, especially from the 10,000 peaceful marchers. The display seemed clearly intended to frighten and intimidate others by creating a false aura of danger, creating fear and uncertainty in the public mind. I cannot escape the conclusion that the police let themselves be used as part of a larger propaganda and public relations effort to delegitimize the protesters.

Convergence?

Andrew J. Brown, an English liberal Christian Unitarian, blogs at CAUTE: Some more thoughts on Garden Academies

. . . if liberals are going to get real things done in these difficult times then we need to recall that our power has always been in the cultivation of small and ever-evolving gardens which, collectively, show something real about our liberalism which includes, of course, a commitment to the incredible diversity and vulnerability of all life upon our home planet. The moment we are tempted to scale up to bigger institutions we begin to resemble, not gardeners (i.e. people actively commingling with the world) but managers (i.e. people who act at a distance from the world).

And Martin Kelley, a Quaker (I won’t hyphenate him!) blogs at Quaker Ranter: Is it Convergent to talk about Convergence?

Just the last thing is that for me if our work isn’t ultimately rooted in sharing the good news then it’s self-indulgent. I don’t want to create a little oasis or hippy compound of happy people. Friends aren’t going to go to heaven in our politically-correct smugness while the rest of the world is dying off. It’s all of us or none of us. If we’re not actively evangelizing, then we are part of the problem. “Convergence” is Quaker lingo. When we say it we’re turning our back to the world to talk amongst ourselves: a useful exercise occassionally but not our main work.

Hmm. I’m not sure the two quotes I’ve chosen do the best job at showing why I think these two posts are related, but it’s the best I have time to do at the moment!

Biased media coverage of Kenya

David Zarembka critiques a few news reports on the situation in his Report 17 — Hoodwinked: International Coverage of the Crisis in Kenya

If this story had been true, it would have been one of the biggest massacres in the current violence in Kenya. Even though the story was fabricated, it was passed on by at least CNN and Time. I have never seen any reference to it in the Kenyan media.

This ought to be a red flag not only for coverage of the recent events in Kenya, but overall coverage by the international media in Africa.

Pray for Kenya

Carol, blogging at among Friends has a number of posts about the situation in Kenya, including a message from Friends United Meeting staff yesterday:

The country Kenya is now in chaos now and many people are dying and properties destroyed as a reaction to the announcement of the results. We are appealing for prayers that calmness may come to our country.
Peace and unity may prevail in our country. We are all safe wherever we are. Pray for Kenya!! Pray for Kenya!!!

God bless

John Muhanji

There is a also a press release from Friends United Meeting.

Encountering the Living God

Well, I’ve cherry-picked the best part of Paul’s post: Showers of Blessings: La Natividad: Year 2

The most touching part for me happens at St. Paul’s when, through a nice bit of stagecraft, the masked José y Maria are replaced with a flesh-and-blood couple holding a real baby. The switcheroo can’t be seen by the audience until the right moment when the adoring animals and wise men part, and when they realize what’s happened and see the living actors and baby there’s a spontaneous “ohhhh” that fills the church. I tear up every time. I realized tonight that this is what happens whenever we are able to break through the masquerade of religion and illusion and encounter the Living God on the other side.

But how better to note his beautiful image of breaking through illusion to the Living God.