Saturday, January 29, 2005


Royal Rumble -- Superhero Style

On this weekend when our nation finds itself in the throes of one of its greatest cultural events, Charlie from Pittsburgh writes "Ask Yahoo" with the question, "Say there's a brawl with all the superheroes. Who wins?"

"Ask Yahoo," whoever that is, gives the extraordinarily predictable, and utterly prosaic answer -- Superman. Please! Maybe you "only read few comic books when I was a kid" types would answer that way, but us "wasted our lives in dark stores looking at picture books, spending WAY too much money" types would beg to differ.

This could be an excuse for endless posturing, pages of analysis, name-calling and general havoc throughout comicdom. But alas, I shall resist.

My short answer -- Batman. you want something that sounds like a reasoned argument? As if, something like that was actually necessary in a situation like this.

Simple, the guy's got no powers, but for over 60 years he has more or less beaten every opponent the fevered minds of comicbook writers could throw at him. This is a guy with a strategic mind beyond compare. Reed Ricards may be smarter. Superman may be stronger(not the mention the Hulk). Spider-Man may be more agile. Need I go on? But Bats just flat out knows how to win a fight. He'll find a way. Can anyone forget the penultimate scene in "The Dark Knight Returns" when Bats absolutely cleans Supes' clock. I never will -- one of the finest scenes in all of comics.

Scoff, if you want. Mock, if you dare. Posture all you like, but if you're not careful, I may just write the story, take it to a convention and see if I can sell it to anyone. Then it will be official. Then we'll see who gets the last laugh.

In poor taste? Perhaps -- but this link is just too good to resist. And to think of it...most of us thought Doug & Bob McKenzie were fictious characters doing stupid, but uproariously funny things.


Iraqi Elections

I was planning on doing a heavily linked post on the Iraqi Elections today and trying to find some spiritual theme and comment on it. Some big intellectual discussion about the link between flourishing democracy and flourishing Christianity.

Then an email landed in my inbox -- a forward from a friend that originated from a military chaplain with a transportation brigade, doing the job on the spot. I think it says all that needs to be said.

As a transportation battalion, my unit will be delivering the voting machines and the ballots to villages and cities throughout Iraq during the upcoming elections (January 30/31).

Our convoys are prime targets for the insurgents because they do not want the equipment to arrive at the polling stations nor do they want the local Iraqi citizens to have the chance to vote; timely delivery must occur so that the elections occur.

Encourage your friends and family members and those within our churches to pray specifically for the electoral process. Historically, the previous totalitarian regime would not allow individual citizens to vote. Democracy will not be realized in Iraq if intelligent and competent officials are not elected to those strategic leadership positions within the emerging government; freedom will not have an opportunity to ring throughout this country if the voting process fails.

Announce this prayer request to your contacts throughout your churches, neighborhoods, and places of business. Those with leadership roles within the local church post this message in as many newsletters and bulletins as possible. There is unlimited potential for God's presence in this process but if we do not pray then our enemy will prevail (See Eph. 6:10-17).

A prayer vigil prior to the end of the month may be an innovative opportunity for those within your sphere of influence to pray. This is a political battle that needs spiritual intervention. A powerful story about God's intervention in the lives of David's mighty men is recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-33.

David and his warriors were victorious because of God's intervention. We want to overcome those who would stand in the way of freedom. David's mighty men triumphed over incredible odds and stood their ground and were victorious over the enemies of Israel (Iraqi insurgents' vs God's praying people). They don't stand a chance.

I will pray with my soldiers before they leave on their convoys and move outside our installation gates here at Tallil. My soldiers are at the nerve center of the logistic operation to deliver the voting machines and election ballots.

They will be driving to and entering the arena of the enemy. This is not a game for them it is a historical mission that is extremely dangerous. No voting machines or ballots. No elections.

Your prayer support and God's intervention are needed to give democracy a chance in this war torn country. Thank you for reading this e-mail. Please give this e-mail a wide dissemination.

Thank you for your prayer support for me and my family. Stand firm in your battles.


CH (CPT) Lyle Shackelford
Battalion Chaplain
HHD, 57th Transportation Battalion

Friday, January 28, 2005


Liberal Talk Radio

It's late -- way past my bedtime, but I have just got to post on this. I just finished listing to Right Thoughts audio capture of John Hinderocker's self-proclaimed "worst 15 minutes in the history of radio." That being his interview with Al Franken on Air America this date.

This is my first exposure to liberal talk radio -- and likely my last. As much talk radio as I listen to, I have to qualify as an expert of some sort. Franken has got the form down pat, but he sure is missing the spirit.

For example -- the self-promotional stuff. Franken talked about himself incessantly. As he did, I heard echoes of Rush's proclaiming himself "equal time" and doing his program "with half his brain tied behind his back." But what was missing was the spirit of humility in which Rush utters those things. You can only say that stuff if you DO NOT take yourself too seriously. Even Hugh Hewitt, king of self promotion, knows better than to actually mean it when he climbs up on that horse. I am a huge fan of Hugh. I admit he can be overbearing at times, but never does he take himself that seriously.

Another example would be interrupting the guest. A lot of conservative talkers do that, but they do it when their guest rambles, or more likely is trying to wiggle out of a well laid socratic trap. Franken did it just because he could, the result was simply rude.

One might ask, if I am predisposed to miss the spirit when Franken does it simply because I am conservative. It's possible, but then liberals would have to admit to being similarly predisposed when they listen to Rush, et. al. In which case, none of us has any grounds for criticism and should just shut up.

But that would not be any fun, now would it.



Fascinating...Test Tube Beastiality?

When the ethical implications are this complex, one has to wonder if we just should not go there -- even if the science is really cool.

Amazing...What Will They Tax Next?

The EPA recently announced a settlement with animal feeding operations concerning air pollution. These are feedlots and poultry barns. In essence such operations are going to pay up to $100,000 because their charges (pardon the indelicacy here) poop and fart! I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened. I suggest you monitor your and your pets diets closely.

What I want to know is who will we collect from after the next volcanic eruption?

You HAVE to Love the Irony...

First Item

For years we have heard about the need to develop alternate energy sources that do not pollute. MSNBC carries a piece about lawsuits pitting biodiversity versus clean energy. Whose environmental concern is going to win? Which environemtnal concern is more important? We report...YOU decide, if you really want to.

Second Item

Equally for years, we have heard about the need to better insulate our homes, and thus reduce our energy consumption. Well, we've gotten so good at it that indoor air pollution is a legitimate concern. Now we "learn" form Capital Reports that indoor air purifiers may be of concern as well. Note that while they concerntrate on their ire on ozone generators, when making the presentation to the California Air Resources Board, they could not resist taking a pot shot at Ionizers and Elecrostatic Precipitators as well (second page).

One has to wonder if those most concerned about this issue are in the HEPA Filter industry?


Christian Vocation

True Pravda pulls a quote from a piece by Ken Myers at BreakPoint/Prison Fellowship and opines:

"We need to do a better job in dispelling the myth that some vocations (i.e., “full-time Christian ministry") are more sacred than others. After all, all believers are considered among the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9-10). If indeed all truth is God’s truth, the engineer, physician, homemaker, janitor, teacher—even lawyer!—are all in positions to further God’s truth to a world in need of redemption."

I am going to call Jared and raise him. Not only are the more "mundane" professions an integral part of spreading the gospel -- I think they are the sacred vocations.

Professional full-time Christian ministry is likely a necessity, but I do not think it is a definitive part of God's plan for the church. Our scriptural examples from Acts indicate that the Apostles operated as itinerants, sometimes the offering supported them, and sometimes Paul was sewing tents. Sometimes, Paul at least, would forgo payment for the sake of the gospel. (I Cor 9:11-12.)

I think full time professional ministry comes with a built in conflict of interest and a gross temptation. Do I visit the sick and lonely, or do I call on the largest donor? Do I let my sermon stink this week because I really need to spend time with 'X?' Do I preach what I think the congregation really needs to hear, or do I preach what will keep the pews full and the offerings coming? Do we spend money on an in-house gym, or do we commission a missionary?

I don't know any one in full time professional ministry that has not struggled with questions like these, and I know a whole lot of them that have fogotten to say what Paul said to the Corinthians. I am not saying that professional ministry is definitionally a corrupt vocation -- There are many, many good people in vocational ministry.

I am saying that I think God prefers voluntary, part-time ministry. Jesus came to sanctify our lives, regardless of how we support ourselves. We can spread that sanctification regardless of how we support ourselves as well.

Got a ministry in your church that needs more labor. Let me challenge you NOT to think about hiring someone. Let me challenge you to think about how to get your congregants so excited about Jesus that they step in and get the job done. I think God preferes it that way.


Friday Humor

The following is from a friend of mine that is quite experienced in the ways of sin. (Can't you just hear Groucho Marx saying, "But then aren't we all?!")

The Definitive Tashlich Guide
On Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), there is a ceremony called Tashlich. Jews traditionally go to the ocean (or a stream or river), pray, and then throw bread crumbs onto the water, so that the fish can symbolically eat their sins. Some people have been known to ask what kind of bread crumbs should they throw.

Here is the definitive Tashlich Guide for the Complicated Modern Jew

For ordinary sins..............White Bread
For exotic sins................French Bread
For particularly dark..........Pumpernickel
For complex sins...............Multi-Grain
For twisted sins...............Pretzels
For tasteless sins.............Rice Cakes
For sins of indecision.........Waffles
For sins committed in haste....Matzo
For sins of chutzpah...........Fresh Bread
For the sin of substance abuse/marijuana.......Stoned Wheat
For the sin of substance abuse/heavy drugs.....Poppy Seed
For the sin of committing auto theft...........Caraway
For the sin of committing arson................Toast
For the sin of passiveness when action is warranted.....Milk Toast
For the sin of being ill-tempered/sulky........Sourdough
For the sin of cheating customers..............Shortbread
For the sin of risking one's life unnecessarily.........HeroBread
For the sin of excessive use of irony..........Rye Bread
For the sin of telling bad jokes...............Corn Bread
For the sin of being money hungry..............Raw Dough
For the sin of war-mongering...................Kaiser Rolls
For the sin of immodest dressing...............Tarts
For the sin of causing injury or damage to others.......Tortes
For the sin of promiscuity.....................Hot Buns
For the sin of promiscuity with gentiles.......Hot CrossBuns
For the sin of davening (praying) off tune.....FlatBread
For the sin of being holier than thou..........Bagels
For the sin of indecent photography............Cheese Cake
For the sin of over-eating.....................Stuffing Bread
For the sin of gambling........................Fortune Cookies
For sin of abrasiveness........................Grits
For sins of pride............................. Puff Pastry
For the sin of cheating..........Baked Goods with Nutrasweet and Olestra
For sin of impetuousness.........Quick Bread
For negligent slip-ups...........Banana Bread
For the sin of dropping in without warning.....Popovers
For the sin of perfectionism...................Angel Food Cake
For the sin of being up-tight and irritable....High Fiber Bran Muffins

Remember, you don't have to show your crumbs to anyone. For those who require a wide selection of crumbs, an attempt will be made to have pre-packaged Tashlich Mix available in three grades (Tashlich Lite, Regular, and Industrial Strength) at your local Jewish bookstore.

Can I borrow some cornbread? Please?

Thursday, January 27, 2005


A New Look at an Old Story

My wife and I lead a small group Bible study for a few high school kids from our church. Last night we studied the story of Jesus healing the blind man with spit. (John 9:1-16) This is always a big hit with kids because it has that whole gross out aspect to it.

As we were discussing it, doing the usual stuff about "Light of the World" and how Jesus was setting up the Pharisees, etc., etc. I could not get the first three verses of the passage out of my head.

John 9:1-3 (NAS)
1 And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Break that short passage down. The disciples wonder if a guy is blind from birth as some form of punishment for sin. Jesus answers that it is not. Now so far this story sounds great. God does not punish us for our sins. It does not explain why the guy is blind, but it is good to know that a loving God does not visit earthly punishments upon us for our sins, or those of our parents.

But then Jesus says that the man's blindness exists purely so that God can display His might. I can just hear the brakes squealing on all those minds out there that are worried about how a loving God can condemn sinners, this sounds even more capricious than that. I think this needs to inform both our theology of salvation, and our ideas about the character of God.

Let's start with the character of God first. All those people out there that claim God cannot possible be the author of suffering in the world -- here's some news for you -- Jesus is flat out claiming responsibility for this man's suffering. All those fuzzy thinkers out there that contend that bad things happen to good people because God is just not quite as in charge as we want to think he is -- guess again. Jesus is telling us here that He is firmly in control.

I think our understanding of the character of God may be a little one-sided. Do I think God is not loving and merciful? Of course not! - but I do think that 1) we have insufficient concepts of what love and mercy really are; and 2) that God's character is far, far more complex than just love and mercy, and that we forget so at our own risk.

I am not going to even begin to try and describe the character of God, because I think that is precisely the point -- We cannot do so. Ultimately God is beyond our comprehension. For someone with a background in science, that is not easy to say. I'd like to think given enough time, energy, and research I could figure anything out -- but not this one. Ultimately we can only ever understand bits and pieces of God, we will never get the whole picture, and we best always remember that.

What about our theology of salvation? I think this points out that salvation is a lot more complex than, "Things were bad, but now I'm saved, so they are good." I think it is more like "I'm saved, so now I am a tool in God's toolbox and He may use me as a hammer, which has got to hurt."

I have been concerned ever since my long ago days as a Young Life staff person at how many people say "Yes" to Jesus and then get lost along the way. Why is that? I think in large part it is because we sell the "It was bad, but now it's good" theory of salvation instead of the "You're saved, life still gets pretty rough" theory.

Admittedly the first theory fills the pews pretty well, but I wonder if it fills the Kingdom? In the end, only God will judge who is and is not in the Kingdom, but I do not think it hurts to wonder, and I really don't think it hurts to figure out what precisely it is that we are selling.


Amen Corner

Proverbial Wife has a great piece on the state of Godblogging.

Weapons of Warfare has an interesting post on evangelism that in some ways echoes my post on radical faith and how to spread it. I think Weapons let's him/herself off a little easy in trying to resolve the tension so well described. An interesting topic for further discussion.

John Fischer over at Purpose Driven Life has a great, absolutely great post, called "It's All About Jesus." As a child of the early 70's Jesus movement, via Young Life, there is little I can say but AMEN! I am trying to make a blog on those exact lines.(HT: Broken Masterpieces)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Vox Blogoli V1N1 - Take Two

Yesterday Hugh Hewitt interviewed Jonathon Rauch on his radio program to respond to the original "blog swarm" that happened when Hugh posted a pull quote from Rauch's new Atlantic piece and called this Vox Blogoli. Rauch readily admitted that the inflammatory statements in the pull quote were ill conceived and should have been written better. Rauch argued that if the full article was read, and the pull quote appeared in context, the statements would not seem so offensive. He then got Hugh permission to post the article at his blog (link in title)

I have now read the full article twice. I will grant Rauch that having the quote in context takes some of the sting out of it, but there is still a problem with the article. After spending most of it's time quite even-handedly, it concludes with the pull quote, in a fashion that implies that Republicans have a much bigger problem with the inclusion of the extremeists than the Dems do -- that somehow the Dems, while growing more extreme, are closer to the center than the GOP is. This implication exists simply becasue he does not balance his statements about the right with ones about the left. He also implies that the religious right is definitionally extremist, even as he withdrew his assertion that they are violent in the radio interview.

This article definitely belies a liberal bias becasue it choses examples that would appeal in that direction.

It is widely known to all of us that HOW something is said, and written, can mean as much as WHAT is said. The best example I know was a radio report I heard years ago -- it was a known opinion outlet, so the bias was evident. The commentator was reading a piece on the potential ozone depleting properties of an extremely common material called 1,1,1-trichlorethane. The commentator ended the piece by declaring that manufacturers made it difficult for consumers to avoid products using this material becasue they "hide" their use of the material by using names for it like "Trichlor," "Methylchloroform," and "1,1,1."

I am willing to bet that all of you who read the last paragraph stumbled when you got to "1,1,1-trichloroethane." Well, I am academically trained as a chemist, and I stumble over it -- and I have been known to use it literally 100's of times in a day. The synonyms listed above are far from attempts to "hide" the identity of the material -- rather they are attempts to make the material more accessable -- they are supposed to be easier to say, hear, and remember. The formal 1,1,1-trichlorethane name is highly descriptive to chemists and is the official name by a naming protocol devised by chemists to avoid very technical confusion that can arise, but it is admittedly clumsy and commonly avoided in consumer situations.

The commentator, by his choice of the word "hide" revealed a prejudice that could have been avoided simply removing the intent laden aspects of his statement and replacing it with "Things can be a little confusing because the material has several synonyms..."

In his choice of examples, Mr. Rauch has revealed a prejudice as well. The few pertinent words Hugh pulled changed the piece from reporting to commentary -- it's as simple as that. While Rauch's statements may not be as pointed as hearing them out of context makes them look, I see little reason to withdraw what I said in my original post.

Thanks to Richard Eriksson at Just a Gwai Lo for pulling a quote from my initial response to Hugh Hewitt's first Vox Blogoli of the year!


Forced Gay Acceptance

UPDATE 1:30PM Same Date

As they say in the NFL, "Upon further review..." apparently the brush up was that certain Illinois legislators were threatening to apply the new statute to churches, but the statute lacks the wording to make that happen. The statute passed, Illinois SB3186 was an amendment to an existing law. While the amendment does not contain the usually standard exemptions for churches, the underlying law does and it therefore applies to the amendment.

Those facts not withstanding, the research has been helpful and there are two organizations that I would like to recommend to those interested in donating to legal protections for the church. As mentioned below, ADF is one of them. The other is Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Claremont Institute. Please, click and be generous.

(Thanks to John Eastman at the CCJ for his input!)

UPDATE 8:45AM Same Date

And prayer is answered quickly! In the research I promised in the post below, I ran across this piece from the Alliance Defense Fund which indicates the law recently passed does not have the sweeping affect indicated in the initial reporting. ADF looks like a good resource in this type of situation and I will keep them in mind and consult them in the future.

Original Post

In the Agora picks up on a State of Illinois press release, JollyBlogger picks up on a Worldnet Daily Story, while Evangelical Outpost, Wittenberg Gate, and SmartChristian pick up on them concerning an anti-discrimination law signed in Illinois this week that might make it illegal for churches to discriminate against gays in their hiring practices.

In the words of Douglas Adams -- DON'T PANIC. I am sure this law is a long way from practical enforcability. I would not be surprised to see this make it all the way to the Supremes. Which raises what I see as the first, most important question -- Where do I send a check?

We have to fight this one. Separation of church and state has to be a doctrine that runs both ways. If the church is somehow limited in its operations in governmnet, then so too should governmnet be limited in its power to affect the church.

When ever this subject, or similar subjects come up I always find my self reflecting of Jesus' statement to "render unto Caesar...." I have a very solid sense of where I stand morally -- and homosexual practice is just wrong. The line about where my moral and religious convictions should or should not be forced into the public sphere is much less distinct.

But on this I have little doubt, those of us in the church, with strong moral convictions, CANNOT allow government to change those convictions, and particularly not when they are shared by a majority of people in the country. I am going to research places where we can send money and let you know.

Pray hard about this one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


On Education

Circular at Mere-Orthodoxy has a great post on what's wrong with education these days. I think a very interesting question is why have the syptoms he described so well appeared. The egalitarian urge that has done away with anything that might reward, highlight, or encourage excellence has got to be checked. I visited the Soviet Union -- trust me, you do NOT want to live in a society where excellence is discouraged.


Vox Apologia II - Digital Salt

Razorskiss hosts Vox Apologia II, the subject of which is "Digital Salt."

This, I imagine is an obvious reference to Jesus telling us:

Matt 5:13-14 (NAS)
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

The question I find in the subject is, "How can Godbloggers be salt and light to the world?"

This is a fascinating question indeed. I think Godbloggers can and are bringing critical thought back to the church. I think Godbloggers can and are affecting public opinion concerning religion in general and Christianity specifically. I think Godbloggers can and are being an effective force for reformation and renewal in the church. What I do not know with certainty is if Godbloggers can spread the Good News. Can blogging be a tool for evangelism?

To be honest, I don't really think so. There are two words that I think vital to the spreading of the gospel -- incarnation and indwelling. God Incarnate came to us to prepare the way for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These are very personal things, and they are far more than ideas.

The Old Testament is all about God trying to deal with people through words and ideas. In the end it became necessary for God to come for a visit (Jesus) and take up residence with us (Holy Spirit) for things to get going. I have yet to figure out how to visit, let alone live with someone on the Internet.

The ideas that surround Christianity are vitally important, but in the end, they are not Christianity, Jesus is. I may be able to tell you about Jesus in this blog, but I cannot introduce you to Him.

Blogging is good and Godbloggers need to be doing what they are doing, but it is no substitute for direct people-to-people ministry. We can protect the church from here, but to spread Jesus, we have to get up off our behinds and meet people.


Vox Blogoli V1N1

Hugh Hewitt opens Vox Blogoli for 2005 by asking for comment on the following quote from a Jonathan Rauch piece in the New Atlantic.

"On balance it is probably healthier if religious conservatives are inside the political system than if they operate as insurgents and provocateurs on the outside. Better they should write anti-abortion planks into the Republican platform than bomb abortion clinics. The same is true of the left. The clashes over civil rights and Vietnam turned into street warfare partly because activists were locked out of their own party establishments and had to fight, literally, to be heard. When Michael Moore receives a heroÂ’s welcome at the Democratic National Convention, we moderates grumble; but if the parties engage fierce activists while marginalizing tame centrists, that is probably better for the social peace than the other way around."

Where to begin with a passage like this? Three points I think.

1) The romanticization of the social upheaval of the 60's is hard to deal with. I will agree with Rauch's assertion that civil rights activists had to take to the streets to be heard, but not so the anti-Vietnam crowd, the pro-abortion crowd, the ERA crowd, and so on and so forth. These are people that in my opinion fell in love with the protest and not the cause. And I should be quick to point out that the absolute last thing the civil rights people wanted was "street warfare." Dr. King's primary tool was non-violence. Yes - many of the demonstrations turned into street warfare, but on the actions of the other side, not on the actions of the protestors themselves.

I think the left really has lost its way completely. The misunderstanding of what happened then that is apparent in this quote would indicate that they have no clue what they stand for, other than being radical somehow. That's just a shame. The civil rights movement under Dr. King was one of the great movements in American history -- but what it has morphed into is just shameful.

2) I cannot believe that he lumps religious conservatives together with abortion clinic bombers. It's as if we did not have a voice in the party we would instantly resort to bombing. What this says is that in the mind of the left, the ends justifies the means. They ignore the fact that the very essence of our ends (our religious convictions) of necessity limits our means. I pointed this out in the very first post I made on this new blog.

Does the left pay no attention to the fact that abortion clinic bombing are almost universally condemned on the right? I think this says more about what they are willing to do, that what we are.

3) The thinking represented in this quote is so far from my way of thinking that it is a bit terrifying. I am reminded of a scripture:

Isa 55:8-9(NAS)
8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

This scripture makes it plain that I will never really understand God's thoughts or ways, and I work at it. The difference between how Rauch thinks and how I think can only drive home how misguided thought, loosed from an effort to understand the thoughts of the Creator, can become.

When I read such thinking, I feel called to redouble my efforts at scripture and prayer. Only by constantly seeking God, can I hope to even come close to His thoughts. Only by proximity to His thoughts can I have the necessary foundation to keep my thoughts from going too far astray.

UPDATE: 4:06 PM same date. Just heard Hugh's interview with Rauch -- great interview -- way to push on him Hugh! I was confused the first time I read Hugh's excerpt, I thought Rauch wanted it both ways -- which is what he said in the interview. But when one reads the words carefully, the implications are transparent. I think this is a very thin veil.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Tolerance - Again!?

Don't know how I missed it, but the Reuters News Service put out a dispatch over the weekend about "increasing intolerance" amongst Christians. (link in the title) Best of the Web compared and contrasted the Reuters dispatch with the Washington Times printing of the story to make a point about the choice of words and revealed prejudices. Great point!

What really irks me though is that when you read the actual dispatch all they are talking about is that Christians are becoming bolder about 1) sharing their faith, and 2) pushing back on societal institutions when they take step that are clearly unchristian and likely immoral. It's as if having a different opinion and standing on it, just that, and nothig more is by definition "intolerant."

I posted on this just a couple of days ago regarding how fuzzy the meaning of words has gotten, and particularly the meaning of the word tolerance. Evangelical Undergorund has a great post on the consequences of the increasingly expanding definition of tolerance.

Michael Medved had on some vehement atheist today that claimed that the simple act of wishing for her that she might meet Jesus was "intolerant." Actually she contended that it was a lot worse than that, but I can't remember her precise words so I will not attempt to quote them.

The anti-Christian left is becoming increasingly hysterical about Christianity having any place in public discourse, any place at all.

I hurt for such people. They wish to reduce our faith and committment to a mere set of intellectual conceits that we can pick up or put down as the situation calls. More importantly, they are incapable of opening themselves up to anything like genuine relational faith.

I remind myself that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to reach such people, not us. The parable of the sower and the seeds seems most appropriate in this setting. The best thing I can think of for such people is to pray for them.


Christian Environmental Viewpoint

I find myself drawn to two posts today, one at Radioblogger and the other at Brothers Judd. Both relate to environmental issues. Duane at Radioblogger is rightfully upset about both political correctness gone mad and another excuse for taxation -- but it is based on an environmental issue. The Brothers discuss some new global warming studies.

I am in the environmental business (a compliance and engineering consultant to industry) and could write on the technical stuff involved here at great length. But thst is not what I wish to address in this blog. I had an aborted weekly posting thing I did for a couple of years a while back. I wrote something for it concerning enivronmental issues, that I want to expand upon here.

The bottom line question is this: When it comes to environmental issues, just who do we think we are? The conceit contained in most environmental discussions truely terrifies me. The assumptions about our power and capabilities are frightening.

I am reminded of a very old joke. Some scientists one day decide to show God what they can do. At the meeting, they lay it out for God. "Look God, we'd really like to thank you for all that you have done. It's an amazing universe you put together here. But you know what, we can handle things from here. We've figured out how to make life and change the planet. Why don't you retire?"

God responds by saying, "So you can make life can you? Well, let's have a contest, first one back here with a new lifeform wins."

"You're on!" respond the scientists.

As they walk out of the meeting the scientists bend over and pick up some dirt to use in their effort. God walks over and taps them on the shoulder. "I sorry," says God, "Maybe I did not make myself clear -- Get your own dirt."

We are God's creatures and He has given us dominion over the planet. Gen 1:26-28 (NAS) 26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

The dominion God has given us over the planet does enable us to do some pretty amazing things -- including making some big changes to the planet itself. But we are still part of that created order -- our actions, though tainted with our sinfullness, are also a part of that created order.

It is worthy of note that change is something very different than creation or destruction. We can change God's creation, but we cannot do the actual creating, nor do I believe we can destroy it. The next time you find yourself worried about some environmental disaster, remember your place in the created order.

With it's Colorado camping properties, Young Life maintains a small chalet above tree line on Mt. Princeton. Whe kids are taken up there, many of whom have never seen anything like the Rocky Mountains, the view is spectacular. There is a cross, and on that cross is a scripture.

Ps 46:10 (KJV) Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Try to take time today and know who God is. It has an amazing way of adjusting your perspective. I know it has for me today.

UPDATE at 3:10 same date: Best of the Web has a hilarious link to another Global Warming Story. The story is really about a new study that shows that global warming may have played an important role in the Great Dying of about 250 million years ago. This hypothesis is not news to those of us on the technical side of things. I saw some stoichiametric calculations some years ago saying that CO2 trapped in the polar ice cap is sufficient to account for the rise in CO2 levels that have accompanied the noted mean temperature increase. It is; however, great news to see some more aqccessible studies released to the public.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Visit this post and lend Dr AJ at "SmartChristian Blog" your support for GodBlogCon I -- be there, or be square.


An Interesting Question

Dr. AJ over at Smart Christian picks up on my post this morning and asks the question, "Is blogging on Sunday a sin?" Thankfully, he acknowledges that I do not make such a claim. And I want to reiterate that here -- it's not. That should be obvious since this is my second post of the day.

I do; however, think it is very important to set aside a day to do something different than the normal. Let me explain a little about my specific situation. The goal of my blog is to review the news of the day -- whatever seems to be the big discussion on the poliblogs and talk radio, and then come up with a few brief devotional thoughts related to that discussion. My idea is to remind all of us that Jesus came to change the world -- not through our institutions, but through each of our personal lives. If everyone knows Jesus, if each of us focuses on Jesus, somehow I think the whole institutional thing will work out.

Of course, as Christians we should each do our best in our institutional roles, this is no call to some sort of monastic life -- it's a simple statement of priorities.

What I am giving up by limiting my blogging on the sabbath is the news search. I am taking the day to withdraw from the common and the ordinary, to focus on higher and holier things. That is why I am willing to respond today instead of waiting until tomorrow. This topic of discussion is God's business, and I am more than willing to tackle that any day.

Scripture is full of references to days away and years of rest. Of course, there is the commandment concerning the sabbath. But then there are all the concepts of sabbatical and jubilee years.

God clearly plans for renewal for each of us. We need to build time into our lives to be so renewed.


Sundays for Resting

I take seriously God's call to "Remember the sabbath and keep it holy." Therefore, my Sunday postings shall be limited. Some day I will blog more extensively on why I use Sundays for rest and that I am not a fanatic or tyrannical Pharisetical type about, I just think one should set aside a day a week for God and renewal.

I could not; however, let the day pass without a couple of links. Firstly, a sympathetic nod to Hugh Hewitt's vain attempts to get to New York. As someone that has travelled on business quite a bit myself, I know it's a pain. Good luck to day Hugh!

Secondly a big Thank You! to Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost for his suggestions about evangelical blogs and networking and his efforts at establishing a Blog Roll to do so. I have incorporated that roll at the left.

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