Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: May 2008

Starbucks is the devil…(again)

When I was in college, Starbucks was the devil. They were considered evil by the hippigensia that pervaded my university (which I love by the way) because they worked against the little guys at home and abroad. In the US they moved into areas and put independent coffee shops out of business, or at least made their lives harder. Overseas their lack of care in purchasing their beans meant laborers were mistreated. So, by extension, Starbucks was the devil.

Eventually the hatred died down as Starbucks worked on cleaning up their image by offering benefits to their employees at home and buying at least partially into the fair trade movement.

Now in 2008, Starbucks is trying to turn their flagging business around in an economy where folks are cutting the fat. And Starbucks is nearly all fat. As part of their plan to turn things around they’ve launched a new line of Coffee that hearkens back to their roots in Seattle’s Pike Place. In addition to the throwback coffee, they’ve added a throwback design. But now the BBC is reporting that some Christians (belonging to a group calling themselves “the Resistance”) are up in arms over the “new” Starbucks logo (see comparison at right) and are calling for a boycott of the Coffee giant. Excuse my lack of righteous indignation, but I like the new logo better. If you’re going to use a representation of a mythological creature for your logo you ought to have the gumption to depict it in a similar way to the original. In this case, the Starbucks logo is reportedly based upon a “16th century Norse design” of a siren.

On a side note, I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to talk about Norse in the 16th century–by then I would think the general term Scandinavian and the more specific Swedish, Danish, Norwegian etc… would be more apt. Be that as it may, this just strikes me as another example of how some Christians get hot under the collar over the stupidest stuff… all the while they are probably working frantically to come up with some pseudo-Christian Kitsch version of the logo to slap on the T-shirts they sell which are manufactured with love by tiny hands in third world countries by companies involved in the same conglomerates as some of the “Christian” publishing imprints owned by parent companies that in their other manifestations cater to all sorts of degenerate appetites… Global capitalism and all that…

Am I wrong? Should I really be offended by this? Parents, would you cover your children’s eyes when passing this sign?

To paraphrase a commenter on another site, this is horrible… if we don’t get rid of this logo all the Christian children (and husbands) are going to go straight down to the fish market and debauch themselves.

I guess Starbucks is the devil again…

{read the article}

And, for a very interesting history of the Starbucks Logo, check out this site.

Update: Anna made an interesting observation regarding the original 15th century version of the siren vs. a “reimagining” of the siren on a current Starbucks bag. Compare the picture above to this:


Notice anything interesting?

Doesn’t it look like the mermaid had liposuction? I guess even mythical creatures aren’t immune to cultural standards of beauty. I’ll leave it to Anna to unpack this

Very Cool: Detect the fake smiles

I just took this test from the BBC-science page. Very interesting. I was actually a little surprised by how well I did. I only missed three of 20, and they were the first three. I knew I’d gotten the first two wrong after I selected them. So, go have a look and see how you do. Afterwards, come back here and post your results.

You can take a look my my results by clicking below, but don’t do it until you’ve taken the test–it would be cheating otherwise!

Continue reading

Princeton debate: Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?

Patrick Allen+ posted about the following debate on the morality of ending “early human life.” While the positions of Harman and Singer are disheartening, I find it encouraging that they are at least honest about what abortion is: the ending of a human life. At least we can move beyond the silly and unhelpful debate about whether a child in the womb is a life. (Hopefully anyway).

Thursday, May 1, 2008
2:30 – 6:00 p.m., Friend 101
Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?
Moderator: Harold T. Shapiro, Princeton University
Panelists: Robert P. George, Princeton University; John Haldane, University of St. Andrews; Elizabeth Harman, Princeton University; Patrick Lee, Franciscan University of Steubenville; Don Marquis, Princeton University & University of Kansas; Jeff McMahan, Rutgers University; Peter Singer, Princeton University;
A Public Conference co-sponsored by the University Center for Human Values

Watch the video here:

“Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?” (350K)

or here (56K)

Patrick also posted the following reflections from Ryan Anderson in the Wall Street Journal:

“Look, when we think about ending an early human life, this is something that is really bad for the embryo or early fetus that dies, it’s losing out tremendously—I agree with that as I already said. And then you said that it’s one of the things that we should care about. And, um, I think that I should have said before that I think it’s really dangerous to slide from noticing that something is bad for something, to thinking that that gives us a moral reason. And just to prove that that doesn’t follow, think about plants. So lots of things are bad for trees, and plants, and flowers, and often that gives us no reasons whatsoever, certainly no moral reasons. In my view, fetuses that die before they’re ever conscious really are a lot like plants: They’re living things, but there’s nothing about them that would make us think that they count morally in the way that people do.”

That came from Princeton philosophy professor Elizabeth Harman during the question-and-answer period of last week’s star-studded symposium at Princeton titled “Is It Wrong to End Early Human Life?” The participants included Harman and her Princeton colleagues Robert George and Peter Singer, along with Don Marquis (Kansas), Patrick Lee (Franciscan), Jeff McMahan (Rutgers), and John Haldane (St. Andrews). Moderating the discussion was Harold Shapiro, Princeton’s president emeritus and the chair of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission under President Clinton. On any measure, these are among the most prominent voices in contemporary philosophy and bioethics, and to have them together on one three-and-a-half-hour panel was an intellectual treat. (Disclosure: George, Lee, and Haldane are affiliated with the Witherspoon Institute, as am I.)

Many, no doubt, will find Harman’s comparison of human fetuses to plants—not to mention Singer’s moral defense of infanticide—deeply repugnant. I certainly do. But these are merely the conclusions of a chain of (gravely mistaken) moral reasoning, and such intellectually honest reflection is to be preferred, in fact welcomed, over the unprincipled rationalization that often takes its place. When people like Harman and Singer speak openly and follow their premises to their logical conclusions, the audience realizes what is at stake when a commitment to intrinsic human dignity and equality is rejected—and that realization is a very good thing.

Though ethical disagreement about such important matters as killing human beings, restricting women’s liberty, and forestalling scientific research often generate more heat than light, one of this panel’s many virtues was its consistent civility. The participants themselves stressed that intelligent and reflective people of goodwill can and do disagree. Eschewing ad hominem attacks, they opted to offer arguments and rebuttals, a mutual exchange whose currency is reason. This brought to mind Fr. John Courtney Murray’s famous remark that “disagreement is a rare achievement, and most of what is called disagreement is simply confusion.” So it is a credit to the panelists that the discussion was marked by a lack of confusion, albeit much disagreement.

{read it all}

Where do we get the time?

Anna and I don’t have a TV at the moment (it broke before we moved to Goodlettsville).  We’re going to get one when we move into our house, but only for movies… no cable or satellite.  Evidently this is a smart move… we’re too busy to waste time on lots of TV watching (though TiVO is great for watching just what you want when you have time).  So… here’s the question: where do we get the time to work on the internet? I’ve sort of given it away, but watch this, it’s very interesting. (HT: Gavin)

Fr. Matthew Olver: The Gospel of Life and the Economy of Desire

My new friend Fr. Matthew Olver, a fellow Covenant author and one of three or four Gen X/Y Diocesan Ecumenical Officers at the National Workshop on Christian Unity, has written a fantastic piece reflecting on the value of life. It’s very good and I hope you’ll take the time to read and reflect on it:

In Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men (recently and excellently adapted for the screen by the Cohen Brothers), the sheriff describes meeting a woman at a conference in Corpus Christi, who tells him:

“I don’t like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion.”

And I said, “Well, ma’am, I don’t think you got any worries about the way this country is headed…I’m goin’ to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep.”

Which pretty much ended the conversation.

The Gospel is a call to live by grace in union with the Father, by grace to share in that bond of love between the eternal Father and his coeternal Son. The Gospel beckons us into Life itself. Near the very end of Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness, God puts the choice starkly before them: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” (Deut 30:19).

Jesus’ summary of his redemptive mission is straightforward: “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This life is the fulfillment of how the Blessed Trinity created us, “in our [God’s] image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). The power of sin’s infection in all creation is profound: it obscures, but does not obliterate, God’s image in us. This tension is where Christians begin in their understanding of the human person.

{Read it all}

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