Monday, January 31, 2005

A rap video about Vandy...

My good friend Kenny Lee has put together a rap video about this place where I've spent the past four years of my life. And you know what? He's done a really good job of putting together a pretty good picture of what it's like to spend four years "on the city's west'rn border, reared against the sky."

Good work, Kenny. I'll be able to tell my friends at law school (whichever one I get into) what Vanderbilt is all about thanks to you.

A new birth of freedom

Today's editorial in The Washington Post, "A Vote to Pesevere," expresses much of the feeling that I have after watching the coverage of the elections in Iraq yesterday.

Watching the moving footage of people voting for the very first time in their lives was amazing. I felt as if I had a window on what our founding fathers and mothers must have felt when they cast their first ballots under the new Constitution in 1789.

Of course the elections weren't perfect; innocent Iraqis died yesterday; and another American soldier gave his life to preserve liberty for a people not his own.

Yet at the same time, this world of ours saw a new birth of Freedom yesterday as "IRAQ" was forever inscribed among the names of history's democracies.

This new star joining the constellation of self-government is yet dim. But with a renewed commitment to why we are there in the first place, Americans have the duty and the privilege of continuing to help the Iraqi people -- a people who, much like ourselves at the end of the eighteenth century, yearn for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" -- step forward and answer the Divine call to Freedom.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Public Service Announcement

I was asked to post the following public service announcement. It is an excerpt from the biographical sketch of Brother Scott Williams, who may be purchased at the BYX Male $ale (brother auction) on Sunday, February 6, 2005 at 1:00 pm in Vanderbilt's Sarratt Cinema.

Remember: this year, purchases may be made on The Card.

Public Service Announcement

Scott Williams is cool, but he's not as cool as he could be because, unfortunately, he has to live with Drew Donnelly, who should suck it because he doesn't think that Dillon can write. Period.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A gentlemen's night out

Kat is gone, this weekend, to the Alpha Delta Pi Sisterhood Retreat held each year to thoroughly indoctrinate the newly inducted Alpha Sisters (what ADPi calls their pledges) into the legend, lore, and mystery of their sorority.

For me, this means that I get a half-weekend to either (1) get work done or (2) hang out with my brothers and friends.

Those of you who know me will have no difficulty knowing just exactly what I decided to do.

That's right, I went out. Teemoney and I proceeded to head out to La Paz Restaurante y Cantina over in Green Hills for some Mexican fun times and, perhaps, a drink or two.

We had a great time, and Teemoney had his first alcohol as a twenty-one year-old (in case you're wondering what took him so long, please remember that officers in BYX are forbidden to consume alcohol for the duration of their tenure). I, too, partook of my newfound freedom to indulge in some fruit of the vine.

Both of us enjoyed our dinner and we'll be hanging out with some more of the bros tonight while watching a movie on the Suite's Big Screen.

It's gonna rock.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Some basketball and some politics

It's hard to believe, but the Vanderbilt Commodores (11-8, 2-4 SEC) are now dangerously close to falling below the .500 mark for the first time since my sophomore year. What happened, guys?

Earlier this year, we were marked by all the savvy sportswriters as a sleeper team out of the SEC. But lately, we've been playing not very well at all. Will we even make it to the NIT?

Let's go, Dores: the Return begins this Saturday against Ole Miss. At least it had better. If we lose to the Hotty Toddy?

Well, let's just say attendance will go down in Memorial Gym.

Colorado professor: 9/11 victims not innocent

I was reading The Hotline's "Wake-Up Call" today, when I came across this little tidbit from The Rocky Mountain News entitled "CU prof's esssay sparks dispute."

Talk about stupid stuff. But, you know, it sounds like the kind of things that professors at Vanderbilt would be willing to say.

The argument goes something like this: Americans are allowing [insert laundry list of the current liberal causes celebres] and therefore, all 3,500 people who died on September 11, 2001 deserved their sudden and firey deaths.

To me, that logic is flawed. It's the logic that says, "Blame America first." It's a form of self-loathing that those in academia seem to enjoy.

Another instance of the Left's self-loathing: Biblical interpretation

I am currently enrolled in a religious studies class that is called "Global Interpretations of Christian Scripture." Now don't get me wrong, I am well aware (after almost four years) of the Vanderbilt Divinity School's reputation as one of the best liberal seminaries.

But that doesn't mean that it doesn't grate on my nerves when I have to sit through the drivel.

We were having a discussion last week about 1 Timothy 2. Here's what God's Word says:

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time. 7And for
this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle–I am telling the truth, I am not lying–and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.

8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.

9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But she will be restored through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Now, as you can see, this is a difficult portion of Scripture to understand if one is not familiar with the Bible (as most of the people in this class, regardless of the fact that they may be in seminary, seem to be).

Quickly, before I continue ranting, I'll run through my interpretation of this portion of Scripture.

First, verses 1-3 are Paul's instructions on for whom we should pray. This was especially important for many of the congregations that Paul ministered to: many of his churches were begun in the synagogues of the Greek and Graeco-Roman cities that he visited during his missionary journeys. These congregations would have been steeped in Law, which forbade contact with those who did not worship the LORD God and discouraged them from participating in the pagan, Gentile government.

Next, Paul briefly -- and profoundly -- proclaims the Gospel message in verses 4-6. Notice that Christ "wants" all men (here used in the gender-neutral "humanity" sense) to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth (since this is something Christ wants, it is logical to understand that this has not yet happened, thereby rejecting claims of universalism, that Christ's sacrifice saved everyone automatically -- Christ died for all, and offers eternal Life as a free gift, but because of free will, individuals must choose to accept to apply Christ's sacrifice to their own life).

Verse 7 is Paul reaffirming his divine mandate to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and verse 8 is an exhortation of how Paul wants men to worship (note that the Left also tends to make fun of evangelical and other Christians who raise their hands in worship of God). Notice the beginning of the verse? It begins with "I want." Odd, isn't it? Paul doesn't use that construction anywhere else in this portion of Scripture, does he? Hmmm. Let's keep that in mind.

So now we come to the controversial part. Verses 9-10 seem, at first glance, to suggest that Paul wants women to come to church dressed in nothing but a very plain black robe. So much for the church ladies coming in with their Sunday hats!

Here's the deal: notice again the construction that Paul uses at the beginning of verse 9: it says "I also want." This is a very important distinction. When writing his epistles, Paul is very careful to write exactly what he means and mean exactly what he says. And as the heritage of the Christian tradition, Paul's writings are both Scripture and real letters to real people.

In his letters, Paul often sends greetings and personal instructions to Timothy and other leaders of the congregations he planted around the Mediterranean. These instructions are usually straight-forward and easily applicable to all Christians. But sometimes, too, Paul writes things that context shows to have been meant for the particular people to whom he is writing. This, of course, doesn't lessen the authority of Scripture or change the fact that ultimately the Bible "has God for its Author; salvation for its end; and Truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter."

Paul is saying that, in his ministry to the people that he is referring to in this letter to Timothy, he doesn't want women to wear the things he discusses. Read in the light of particular application instead of universal application, this portion of Scripture is easy to understand: many of the people in the churches Paul planted were doing their best to follow Christ, but their immaturity in the faith led them to make poor choices. They would flaunt their riches while other members of their congregations suffered or hungered.

Paul is telling Timothy that at least in Paul's ministry, he's found it best to keep a close rein on these excesses. But the obvious construction of the Scripture here shows that Paul does not mean for this admonition to be applied universally.

The same idea goes for verses 11-12. Paul wants women around him to behave in a certain way, but this is not necessarily true for all women. For example, Dorcas and Prisca (see Acts) are both very prominent women who seem to lead congregations in Luke's account of the Acts.

Finishing up my interpretative task: verses 13-14 explain how Eve fell first (of course, Adam was an idiot, too, even if he fell second: no one said he had to take the fruit from Eve). The seemingly explosive verse 15 is actually a prophecy of Christ: Eve helped to set up her own salvation through childbirth, because if she had not had children, eventually her daughter Mary would not have been able to have been the mother of Jesus.

So, here's my rant: we took this text and looked closely at it in my class, and half the men in the room proceeded to weep, wail, whine, and gnash teeth! They seemed to be apologizing for being male. It was ridiculous. One even said, "As a white, Protestant Male, I find that I must constantly make up for my identity by striving to acheive justice for women."

Now I'm in favor of justice for women (see my post on Rape and know that I think it's ridiculous that a woman is paid $0.75 for something a man gets a $1 for), but this was silly.

Silly, but not surprising.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Rest in peace, Drew

I attended a showing of Moolaade, an independent film designed to raise awareness of the global issue of female genital mutilation. It was a very moving film, and I feel like I now have at least an introductory knowledge of something affecting millions of women around the world.

While I was at the Belcourt Theatre watching the film, my brothers were gathering a Delta Gamma sorority for a swap with them, called "Desserts with DG."

I went to the swap last year, and it was a lot of fun -- the ladies of DG put on a very nice event, making desserts and showing us around the house. This year, their house voted on who they wanted to host, and out of all the male organizations on campus (including other fraternities and varsity sports teams), they decided that they wanted to invite Beta Upsilon Chi.

Needless to say, when I got back from the Belcourt, I was keen to ask my brothers how the event went: did the sisters have a good time, was there a good turn-out of the brothers, did the pledges dress well. As I came home to my suite in Carmichael Towers, I saw a sticker on the front door of my room: it was a picture of Drew Donnelly, one of my suitemates and a fellow Buck, with a caption that said "Rest in Peace, Drew."

It seems that several of the brothers wore these stickers to the swap tonight, because Drew was unable to attend (young Brother Donnelly is seen here in his portrait).

Only in BYX, ladies and gents. Only in BYX.

Apologia Hiezecihelium

Let's hear it for some more Latin (of course, I'm probably screwing it up really badly—I'm stealing these words from the Vulgate translation of the Bible, and so they're probably out of context). apologia was a defense of the faith. It was an account of how God is working in the lives of His people. And so, as you might guess, I entitled this post Apologia Hiezecihelium because I'm going to link to my testimony.

It is the story of my faith journey, told in vignettes from the points of view of different people who surrounded me during my walk. The story of my life is true, the events written of are true, but the dialogue is partial artistic license (except for the phone conversation with Pastor Owensby, obviously that part is recorded as best I can recall -- the church I attend at home, mentioned in the account, is pictured here).

Here it is.

Commentary: The root cause of rape

One of the things that my blog is going to do is give me space to air my opinions. After all, I am an opinionated persons, and blogs seem a great place to unload.

I was really bothered by a couple of articles ("Half cocked and fully tanked" and "Women should have more self-respect") written in the opinion section of The Vanderbilt Hustler by my fellow student, Mike Matthews II.

Bascially, his argument is that women should be careful how they dress and what they drink so that they don't end up raped and pillaged by the hordes of horny Vandyboys they may encounter on Frat Row or the scores of scary Nashvillians grinding the night away at places like Graham Central Station and Club NV (which, by the way, is one of the most ridiculous names for a club I've ever heard, but I digress).

I think Mike's heart is in the right place: he thinks rape is bad, and date rape is particularly wrong. But I think Mike focuses the cause of the incidents in the wrong place.

It's not the woman's fault that she is raped. Period.

Now before you accuse me of being a loopy lefty, hear me out: according to Mike's logic, if men are exposed to sexual stimuli they are expected to automatically attempt rape or date rape. Show a guy a scantily clad lady, and all he can do is throw her down and go.

What kind of world is that?! Where is self-control? If I naked girl were to walk by, is every man supposed to whip it out and go to work?

I think that kind of logic is flawed, and it underscores a cultural assumption that gives men permission to be aggressive sexually.

A woman has the right to dress as she chooses, and she should not have to worry about being raped simply for looking nice. After all, what if the reverse were true for men? Take the following for example: if Mike's logic were true for men, if I wore clothes that made me look attractive—we'll say, for the sake of argument, that it's possible to make me look attractive—I would have to worry about any girl throwing me down and raping me on the spot!

The root cause of the problem of rape is that we, men, think with the wrong head. If a woman has to worry about what she wears, then the men of our society need to develop self-control.

Hit the reset button...

So I had originally planned on doing a blog post at least a couple of times per week during Centrifuge, hence the wonderful post below from June 24, 2004. If you want to see some classic Barkerian prose, do read that post. It's a good one.

Obviously, I wasn't too successful in doing what I had hoped, since I only have one post there. Mainly, I ended up not having enough time to do the kind of posting that I wanted to do—which, as I'm sure you'll guess, was quite extensive (I mean, look at the post below—it's good stuff).

I basically forgot about my blog 'til now, when I was over on blogspot looking at something about Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) running for President in 2008. We'll leave that particular speculation to the Hotline.

Anyway, I've decided to resurrect my blogspot for whatever purposes individuals might choose to read it. I'm not sure who my audience is, but I suppose I can learn that from the guestbook. Perhaps you'll leave me a message?

So what's with the title?!

When I originally set up my blog, I wasn't very creative and just called it "diezbablog." That's good enough for a just a normal, run-of-the-mill fun times blog, but when I decided to redo it, that didn't seem to have the flavor that I was looking for.

I set my mind to thinking, and I came up with what you see before you: Annales Hiezecihelium. It is Latin, and it means (hopefully) "Annals of Ezekiel." It could also be interpreted "Chronicles of Ezekiel."

If you don't know why Ezekiel might play a role in my life, well you should probably get to know me better or quit stalking me (or both).

"Forward!" ever be thy watchword...

I should start posting fairly often now, as I discovered the method by which one can publish things rather easily. So stay tuned, and hopefully you'll enjoy things as much as I do.