Monthly Archives: November 2011

Let the spiritual move you at patheos.com

In 1989, U.S. Marine Leo Brunnick was in the jungle, training a group of Thai Royal Marines. He gestured to the top of a hill and told the Thais to run up there. It was the best position — easy to defend and difficult to invade — and a simple military strategy.

Except it wasn't: The Thai soldiers refused to go up the hill with ammunition and guns because it was a sacred site. And sacred wasn't something you messed with in a country where, onBangkok's sleek, elevated transit system, signs ask passengers to offer their seats to the pregnant, to the elderly and to monks.

When Brunnick least expected it, religion popped up.

In the Middle East during the first Gulf War, he heard American soldiers say that they didn't like Muslims because Saddam Hussein was one. "But aren't the Kuwaitis Muslims?" Brunnick asked.

"They're a different Muslim. They're independent," the GIs responded.

"What do you mean different? What kind of different?" The antagonism against Islam just didn't add up. "I was the one asking 'What's going on here?' and caring about it," Brunnick remembers.

During his four and a half years of globetrotting with the Marines, Brunnick's fascination with religion grew. He read the major holy books, everything from the Koran to Scientology's The Way to Happiness to "secondary texts on Christian mysticism," as he calls them. "I loved it. I was fascinated by it all."

After getting out of the Marines in 1991, Brunnick got into the tech business. At one point he was working with Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu engineers in Hyderabad, India, on a project. The engineers spoke the same language, and all got along until one brought up his daughter's upcoming marriage; the ensuing discussion opened up so many black holes about marriage and gender issues that they decided to stay away from any more talk about religion.

"There are a lot of people who would like to believe that here we are in the 2010s — modern world, Internet, yadda yadda — and can we just get past all this ancient religion muck," Brunnick says. "But the world is so influenced by its religious traditions that we must have a better understanding of what they are and how they drive how people think and act."

To help foster that understanding, he ultimately started Patheos.com, combining the Greek word for God, "theos," with "path" to create the name. Patheos aspires to put credible information on all the world's religions in one place — a place where those religions can talk to one another, too.

Read the rest at Westword.

7 worst sex-ed clichés in Jefferson County’s Think Beyond Friday Night video

​Jefferson County Child Support Services has developed a new video intended to show that the department offers support for teen parents and children.

However, most of the 21-minute long production called Think Beyond Friday Night is spent detailing all the horrors and tribulations of teen pregnancy.

The film was shot in the area — largely at John F. Kennedy High School, where producer and JeffCo employee Richard Martinez is the football coach. And while we appreciate the effort in trying to drive home the point that teen pregnancy happens to Colorado kids (just like you!), it still has a lot of teen sex-related tropes that are stereotypical and alarmist.

Why don't the high schools just play MTV's Teen Mom in the classroom? One hour of that is enough to convince anyone that being a teen mother is the worst idea ever and that even though he says he loves you, he'll forget to bring flowers — which clearly means he doesn't care at all.

Even so, Mean Girls said it best: "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, okay, promise? Okay, now everybody take some rubbers."

Here's our list of the video's seven worst clichés.

7. Corny "real life" reenactments. Apparently the way to convince high schoolers that pregnancy happens is to have an overdramatic actress tell her (female) "friend" that she missed her period and that her parents will kick her out if they ever find out. Because that's the only way high schoolers ever deal with pregnancy.

6. "Taking the next step." Along with teaching high schoolers the proper terms for male and female anatomy (hint: it's not "meat popsicle" and "cock holster"), why can't we just use the word "sex" in a context that isn't "sex ed"?

5. The condom broke. Yes, it happens– but sex-ed videos would lead you to believe that it happens constantly. If that were true, why should you bother with them in the first place?

4. Scary statistics dancing across the screen. "34 percent of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of twenty — about 820,000 a year," the video says. While those are probably valid numbers, it has a weird way of sounding like "everyone is doing it."

3. Abortion is not presented as an option. While the last statistic sounds scary as hell, it fails to mention that 820,000 babies a year are not actually born. Not that every pregnant teen should be getting an abortion, but it's a valid, legal choice. "That's never come to mind and it's not my choice or anyone's to make," Martinez says, very diplomatically.

2. The morning-after pill is not a choice, either. Especially with all these apparently defective condoms going around, why can't Plan B just be mentioned as something to do within three days of the condom breaking if you don't want a baby?

1. You could go to jail. While Martinez says the film is meant to show that child support is "not so punitive that you jam it down their throat," there are still interviews of a man, not so subtly dressed in an orange t-shirt, talking about going to jail because he didn't pay child support.