Wednesday, October 24, 2007

At least I know who I'm not...

A note on the Robert Longmans that I am not :

  1. I was not the lead live broadcast engineer at the BBC for many years, who was instrumental in their live casts of Parliament sessions. He was, in many ways, a broadcast pioneer.

  2. I was not the town smithy in Easington UK in the 1850s.
    Nor am I his probable ancestor who married a woman named Mary, who soon after his death married the son of the Rector of Easington, Thomas Mallory, in the 1650s.

  3. I was not witness to the wedding of William Dowling and Ann Longman, 30 Oct 1785, at St. Mary Bourne, Winchester Anglican Diocese

  4. I was not a poet/writer in Lancashire UK around 1350.

  5. I was not the Anglican minister of Placentia NF starting in 1759.

  6. I did not live in Tingewick UK in the 1890s.

  7. I was not the son (1785 - 1850) of William & Matilda Longman.

  8. I did not marry a Jane Hodges in Corton-Denham, Somerset UK, whose son was Charles Longman (b. 1722). (Though I could be related to him.)

  9. I am not the president of Central Surveys Inc.

  10. I do not head the Australian Electoral Office.

  11. I was not he who agreed to the Protestation of 1641, in Stalbridge, Dorset UK -- nor would I have done so.

  12. I was not his probable descendant, a woodman from Hilton in Dorset, who at the time of the 1881 census was an inmate at the Poole Union Workhouse.

  13. I am not a credit officer at the Rural Community Assistance Corp. (though I have read articles related to his work)

  14. I am not the Laparoscopic Surgeon in Bristol UK.

  15. I did not marry Hillary Carter (Hillary was b. around 1954). (Or anyone else :( )

  16. I was not a fencer at Oberlin College (class of '62)

  17. I did not marry Hannah Scouse in Wherwell UK on 12 Jan 1767, nor marry Rachel Becket in Wherwell UK on 25 July 1785.

  18. I am not Group Technical Director at Plasmon.

  19. I am not in any way involved with USA Shout Media.

  20. I am not the Longman who is affiliated with Green Living Now.

  21. I am not the antitrust legal counsel at Kasowitz, Benson LLP. That Robert is also an officer of a group that works with the world's needy women and children, Heartbeats Of the World. His wedding to Chin Quee was written up in the New York Times (16 July 1996).

  22. I am not the consultant who was quoted in several news reports as having heard the Cory Lidle plane crash.

  23. I was not the 1800s British thief (whose real name, as far as I can tell, was Phineas Henry).

  24. I did not serve in the US Navy at sea on the USS Montrose in the Korean War.
    (However, I am the son of a Marine who served on land in battle during that war.)

  25. I am not the one who raises show cats in Sussex UK.

  26. I am not a staff lawyer for the Washington State legislature.

  27. Guitarist Richard Durrant's record label was not named after me or my family.

  28. I am not a leader in the Saskatchewan Miniature Horse Association.

  29. That sure wasn't me who was a leading character played by Linus Roache in the British TV show Seaforth.

  30. I did not publish scandal rags (newspaper/flyers) in New York in the 1900s. (Though I may be related to him.)

  31. So far as I can tell, I am not related to the Longman family that founded a major publishing company in the UK. (If someone has other information, I'd love to know.)

  32. and, I most certainly, absolutely am not the one who, under the apparent pen name Bob Longman, wrote the rated multiple "X" so-called 'underground classic' book titled 'The Debutante Whore'. (Believe it or not, I get occasional emails asking me about that.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Charismatic report card -- 2007 pt 1

How is the charismatic movement doing in regards to some of its most basic aims or signs of the Spirit's work? Not too good, from where I'm watching.

Let's take one of the aims : "Spontaneity, openness, freedom and joy in
praise and worship."

When I first wrote on this one in 1996, I was taking note that many mainline-church charismatic congregations were stiffening. Since then, that process has definitely continued. In many cases, the stiffening has taken them away from charismatic freedom to a rather frozen form of liturgical orderliness that feels like what they were originally objecting to. (This can't be blamed on the mainline liturgical renewal, a separate thing which is also beginning to show signs of stiffening and has never really been friendly to any charismatic input -- to its serious detriment, as I see it. They both in some way attempt to address the same situation in worship -- a palpable lack of spirit.) In any event, worship in many formerly charismatic mainline congregations has become, well, lifeless. It took on liturgical forms, which can be good, but then left the Spirit at the door, which is deadly. When returning to liturgy in freedom, the most important thing is that they use each traditional form based on what it means and what it does, and then feel free to modify the traditional form so it can better carry out that form's core purpose(s).

To be blunt, with the exception of some Anglican circles, mainline-Protestant Charismatics have not only failed to bring freedom and joy into their denominations' worship, they have for the most part lined up with leaders whose actions have been killing the Spirit in worship for decades -- the very ones who created the dead atmosphere that mainline Charismatics used to rail against. Instead of real spontaneity and empowerment of local worship leaders, they're straitjacketed into watching the 'experts' for the next 'acceptable' new thing. Those who didn't line up that way have for the most part headed out the door to independency.

Add to that a sense among Christian leaders that the mainline Charismatic movement's time has passed, and thus they are free to totally ignore them. The former part is true, unfortunately. The latter part is a continued serious breach of the near-absolute responsibility and duty to listen to, understand, bring to bear, and fully and fairly account for, all the parts of their church, whether in vogue or out of vogue. (But that's for a different rant....)

The independent churches and church networks have a different problem. They are not aware of their own set patterns of worship - they don't think they have any. Thus they don't know when they're just vamping for time, or when they are not maturing from an earlier set of experiences. Many of the newer worship leaders are keenly aware of charismatic worship's obsession with "me" and "I", and are working hard on ways to keep that sense of "my" intimacy with God and yet also be into "You" and "us" and "together". They're a promising development. Yet when the newest hit worship song makes the rounds, it's still usually an "I me mine" song, or is prone to misstate God's promises as if done by push-button. HELLO -- God is not focused on just you!! Worship leaders also have to be careful that certain false teachings about prosperity or about the end-times do not start worming their way into the worship service. Also, they must be more cautious about talk of receiving divine power -- power-talk can breed power-addiction.

So there are still signs of worship life in the independent circles. There may yet be some new positives coming from there. But for the most part, the non-Anglican mainline-Protestant charismatics have lost their first love. It's sad, but it's true. And if you're one of the exceptions, as a mainline-Protestant charismatic and/or a worship leader, you need to think hard and pray harder, in hopes that maybe you can be a part of a new and different thrust within the mainline churches, less stuck on worship rules and more firmly connected to the Holy Spirit as found in Scripture. A thrust that is self-consciously not an extension of the previous movements.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blueberry's Razzberries

Some for whom nose-ick is too kind a descriptive :

(1) Ever and always, Ann Coulter. The Coultergeist. I heard she's got a new book out this week. That means we can expect a series of super-outrageous comments that will get this group or that group annoyed, angry, or afraid. She's got talent -- a talent for saying just the thing that most reflects hatred of somebody or some group. Usually, when some right-wing pundit says something, there's someone among those I know who will echo that sentiment; you can't get much further out there than these few. But when she made her comments about the 9/11 widows, even they couldn't stand it. She makes Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh seem like Strawberry Shortcake and the Care Bears. I finally found the book in a store, right below Colbert's new book. Colbert, of course, lampoons the right by making stupidly extremist comments in character. But when someone writes in a tone that actually trumps the lampoon, what do you do? That's Coulter. So you'll buy the book, and reward the hate-talk? Not me.

(2) It's back -- the commercial with the guy whining "waaaaaa-ha-haaa...I maxed out my credit cards, so I can't get the new car I wanted....waaaaa!" And radio listeners all over the NY Metro are saying, "MAN UP! Stop spending on trivia and stick to the real needs, will ya?" "Waaaa... but my credit is bad...waaa!" And the listeners cry, "So you're the one who's been getting those loans that never should've been granted, ruining the credit picture for the rest of us!!! I'll sue the pants off you!!!"

(3) The *&%$#!@*! ticket scalping companies that sucked up all the Hannah Montana tickets. The punishment should be to throw them unprotected into an auditorium with tens of thousands of screaming, angry little kids who couldn't afford the tickets at the outrageous prices they're charging. I know -- that's inhuman, but as they suffer, the next set of would-be pro scalpers might think twice. Why, it would be far better and far more real that Kid Nation!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

TV execs dreams could become nightmare

When the baseball playoffs started a week or so ago, the TV channels who were covering them were licking their lips and preparing for a feast. The Yankees made it, so did the Red Sox, and the Cubs. Just think : a New York-Boston AL championship (guaranteed to go all seven games, all long and tense), followed by a possible New York-Chicago or Boston-Chicago superstar World Series, with one of the two mega-ratings national-drawing teams plus all of Chicago panting for an historic miracle.

Well, now the dream has turned bleak. Three of the first round series were minimum-game sweeps, mostly with uneventful wins. (Try getting the full load of ad dollars from that.) Both the Yanks and the Cubs are out of it. So much for the mega-market matchup.

But it could get worse : if Colorado blows through Arizona (quite possible), and Cleveland defeats the Red Sox (a very remote possibility), the television nets/cable channels could have a series where the only people watching will be from two medium-market cities. I'll still be watching it, like any real fan of the game itself. But for the most part, the East, West, and South Coasts won't be. Then, what kind of money can they ask for next time, what with this latest example of the risk side of sports advertising? I can picture TV execs squirming and sweating in bed at night, watching their dream payday convert into a horror movie nightmare. And how they suddenly get religious enough to pray that Papi and Manny can send Cleveland back home.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WUSB radio show Sun 30 September 2007

Bob Longman Sun 12:30-2:30 pm 30 September 2007

song -- artist -- album
Nobody's Fault But Mine -- Toby Walker -- Just Rolled In -- N
Cry Cry Cry -- Johnny Cash
Train of Love -- Jimmy Dale Gilmour
Amazing Grace -- Daniel Lanois/Aaron Neville -- Acadie
Desperate For Love -- Over the Rhine -- The Trumpet Child -- N
Somebrightmorningblues -- Peter Case -- Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John -- N
Go Boy -- Zap Mama -- Supermoon -- N
Walk On By -- Ian Moore -- To Be Loved -- N
The West Was Burning -- Martha Scanlon -- The West Was Burning -- N
Road to Hope -- Hilary Scott -- Road to Hope -- N
Confetti -- Lori McKenna -- Unglamorous -- N
On the Way -- Abra Moore -- On the Way -- N
You -- Al Green -- I Can't Stop
Need You Now -- Gurf Morlix -- Diamonds to Dust --N
Happy Ending -- Chuck Prophet -- Soap and Water -- N
Question -- Moody Blues
Blues Boy -- Phil Minnisale -- N
Prayer Song -- Danny Flowers -- Tools For the Soul -- N
How Deep Is Your Love -- the Bird and the Bee -- Please Clap Your Hands -- N
Got To Do Better -- Eric Bibb -- An Evening With -- N
Till Then -- Mills Brothers
Victory At Sea -- Bill Morrisey -- Come Running -- N
I Cover the Waterfront -- Don Byron
Too Marvelous For Words -- Nat King Cole

Prophet's new album shows he's ready to step forward. Bibb has a new live concert album; the track played here is a new(er) song. Gurf has recorded many albums -- mostly for others.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Griping about Cold Case

... no, not beer. I mean the TV show. I like the show. But there's one thing that really, really bugs me about it.

This past Sunday's show was a great example of it.

Teen girl is murdered. A quarter of the way through, we find out that she was part of a 'chastity circle', of teens who make a commitment not to have sex at this point in their life due to faith in Christ. I immediately thought, 'here it comes again...'. Sure enough. All the ghastly stereotypes about committed Christians get trotted out once more. In this case, of course the youth pastor had sex with a teen (or at least enjoying himself as she eagerly spoke her fantasies, apparently more than once), of course one of the girls was skilled at controlling the others, of course the couple was having sex and getting pregnant, and of course there was the closet homosexual who was denying it. (That's right, the youth pastor and all four of the other teens fit a stereotype.) And the dead girl got stoned (who stones but religious folk?) by all four other kids, taunting her and calling her slut and other hateful taunts while they were killing her.

The show, like many shows and just about anything loosely connected with Jerry Bruckheimer, has a steady track record on this. Nuns are shriveled biddies or closet Nazis (unless of course they're acting against a dogma, in which case they're always heroes). Fundamentalists (which by their definition includes evangelicals, charismatics, religiously conservative and even moderate mainline Protestants and Catholics) are mad bombers, guilt-trippers, crooks, or sex perverts. Religious ideas are always not only part of the problem, they are portrayed as its root cause, and must be smashed for the sake of the show's absolutist definition of 'personal freedom'. It's relentless. I can think of only one Cold Case episode in which religious faith and those who have it were treated with any real respect (a show that intersected two schoolyard murders last season, to the tunes of U2). Otherwise, it's been treated as a relentless enemy. The stereotypes are not entirely lies, mind you. I myself have known perv pastors, shrill nuns, hateful churchgoers. But I also know of a whole lot more who aren't - they're really fine people who really live their beliefs. They have to live under the burden not only of the bad ones, but also the hateful stereotypes that others foist upon them. Do I really have to say that they're not hate-filled? That they'd no more think of stoning someone to death than you would? Do I have to say they're the opposite of dangerous? If I do have to say that to you, then I have to say another truth to you : you're a raving bigot, and you have no business trying to foment more of your bigotry. And yes, I do know, very personally, what certain tightly-held dogmas can do to one's life. I also know that it is precisely my faith in Christ, shaped rather strongly by that same Bible they seem to hate so much, that has as a very practical, real-life matter led me to a life of caring and loving, in spite of the brutality of life that is (in reality) worse where the faith isn't than where it is. That is the truth. Can you portray that?

Of course, the show doesn't really believe in the reason teens join such groups either -- that is, to establish at least some level of sexual self-control. Even the attempt is ridiculed as being an inevitable 99% failure, and the people who make those commitments as invariable liars who are just looking for cover for their secret behaviors. They don't think it's even healthy to band together to at least try; better to feel free to have sex whenever you want to. In that view, their evidence is how often the effort fails. HELLO THERE -- teens are humans, and are still learning about the side of themselves that's their own worst enemy. That's all the failures mean. And many of these youth circles are quite aware of that, applying grace instead of law. (Yes, even many of the evangelical-based ones.) Sure, some don't; some can be quite cruel. But teens of all stripes and in all groups can find cruelty easy to do; being religious doesn't stop them from being teens.

I wonder what would happen if the youth pastor didn't go sexual toward one of them? If the couple could actually be shown as really dealing with their desires instead of just lying? If someone actually was trying to be a true friend to the dead girl? Couldn't they do even one of those? That, I propose, is much more of a reality than the predictable script way. They could've still had a good murder mystery without having everyone turn evil. But then the show wouldn't have reinforced its favorite set of prejudices in the minds of the public.

It seems that the one group that's fair game for bigotry nowadays is any sort of conservative Christian. NO. There is no such thing as 'fair game'; it's always unfair, always wrong. All bigotry rots your soul out. All bigotry undermines public life. ALL of it. It seems that conservative Christians are far from being the only ones who need to learn that. I hope more people tell the TV show makers that.

A P.S. : I'm not one of those who likes to rant about this sort of stuff. It makes me sound shrill and far right-wing. (They've jumped on the same episode with fangs out.) But I'm not at all a right-winger, a rabble-rouser, or much of a ranter; you can check me on that. But Cold Case's willingness to feed prejudices about a certain group of people has to be called to task. That's way more important than making their political point, because their political struggle is supposed to be largely about getting rid of prejudices. Do as you say, please.