Saturday, March 26, 2005


If She Must Let Terri Schiavo Die Before the Post Mortem

I am remaining mute onTerri Schiavo because I am mourning. This Thursday afternoon post says all I have to say, for now.


Who Do We Really Worship?

View From The Basement has a couple of posts about the me-centeredness of a lot of praise music these days. Here is the first and here is the second. Old friend Transforming Sermons, plainly seconds the motion.

They bemoan one praise song in particular, from Basement
On Sunday just past we sang a song - nice tune, ok words for the most part, but there was a bit that spoke of Jesus dying on the cross and then had the line, "he took the fall, and thought of me, above all else".
I agree, that is a particularly heinous bit of lyric, but why stop with that one song. I heard one during Maundy Thursday services that made my skin crawl. It was all about how much the singer loved God -- not that God gave the singer that love, not that the singer was incapable of genuine love apart from God, just that he loved God. Pretty much in the same sense that he loves watching wrestling on TV. If I deigned to open the songbook, I could probably find a whole lot more examples.

I have problem with so-called "contemporary" worship, period. In our efforts to be accessible, we fail to call people forward to a deeper understanding of and relationship with God. Even contemporary music that is not so theologically wrong is so theological shallow as to be almost useless. Try quoting a praise chorus in a blog post or a sermon, there is not enough meat there to find any real nutrition -- It's like beef stock when you want a steak.

I really believe that the modern movements in the church today are "church-lite" and not really church. Many churches value head-counts over soul-counts. Music choice is but one symptom of that.


Comic Art

Becasue I love comic books and the superhero genre so muc, I am heartened when they make the big time, but it saddens me that it is in movie form and not from the books themselves. No motion picture image will ever substitute for a well done piece of comic book art, or the feel of a comic book in the hands. Regardless, in recognition of the New York Times running a piece in honor of Marvel's character, Bashful Benjamin Grimm, the Thing, I present some images of him. He has morphed over the years, and they are in developmental order, the first by the best --Jack Kirby.


True Freedom

Individual rights do not equal freedom. How's that for an opening line -- let me repeat it -- individual rights do not equal freedom. This story is a good example of that. (HT:SmartChristian)

It concerns a pregnant 14-year old child; let's call her "Jane." Jane was impregnated by "Joe" who is, as far as we know, of indeterminate age. It seems that Jane was checked out of school by Joe's mom, posing as Jane's grandmother, and taken for an abortion. When Jane's mom found out where Jane was, she tried to interfere and was arrested -- thereby preserving Jane's individual rights. But then wasn't Joe's mom, Jane's ersatz grandmother, also interfering with Jane's individual rights by exercising undue influence? If it really is Jane's rights, shouldn't everybody leave her alone...but I digress.

Now the story intimates that Joe was of majority age; therefore, his impregnation of Jane is statutory rape. So while the staff of the abortion clinic had Jane's mom arrested and seemingly preserved Jane's individual rights, they covered up a potential crime. If you are like me, you may find something vaguely familiar in that scenario.

If people stop and think beyond the end of their own nose for just a minute, they might see that all this individual rights stuff puts us in a position where we have to choose whose, and sometimes what rights we are going to honor -- and that inevitably leads to an inequity. Can true freedom exist when one person is somehow more "free" than another? Isn't that the oldest question that nation has struggled with?

In America we are free because we believe that our commitment to that freedom will produce in us societal compliance as a natural consequence. You see the fact of the matter is it is impossible to operate a society without some sort of compliance. America tries to harness our natural tendencies to produce compliance rather than simply enforce compliance. But that does not seem to be working so well anymore.

I think it is because we have succeeded so well. We live in such plenty that people's natural tendencies have gotten all screwed up. When you don't have to struggle for the basics, you end up losing your way.

Therein lies the beauty of the gospel. Despite and abundance of grace, because we are all depraved, we are always struggling for the basics. Those who don't think they are so struggling, most of all.

Pray for this nation, we need it.


Cultural Mixing Is Fun

I've had the privilege to travel extensively around the world. I really enjoy experiencing other cultures. There are some strange ones out there, but of course, they think the same thing about us. And language differences often create some of the biggest issues, and laughs. But I won't steal the thunder from this great post from Under the Acacias. By the way, I am not sure the guy has the language problem he thinks he has -- I have been places where his mistranslation would have been correct.


A Good Idea, That Can Probably Only Create A Bad Result

DJ Chuang previews a Christianity Today piece, not currently available on the web, about multi-racial churches. SmartChristian picks up some quotes and asks for reaction. I will repeat the same quotes Andy does here
If we define a racially mixed congregation as one in which no one racial group is 80 percent or more of the congregation, just 7.5 percent of the more than 300,000 religious congregations in the United States are racially mixed. For Christian congregations, which form more than 90 percent of congregations in the United States, the share that is racially mixed drops to 5.5 percent. Of this small percentage, approximately half of the congregations are mixed only temporarily, during the time they are in transition from one group to another. [that is, less than 3% of Christian congregations are racially mixed 80% pro rata]

Soong-Chan Rah: If we were to hear of any other institution in the United States that had those kinds of statistics, we would be outraged. If less than 6 percent of universities or government institutions were integrated, we would say there is something seriously wrong.

Bill Hybels: A true biblically functioning community must include being multiethnic. My heart beats so fast for that vision today.
I have a bunch of reactions to this. Firstly, the use of statistics in this manner is disingenuous. True integration is not about having certain people fill certain slots -- that is inherently dehumanizing; to people of any race. If integration is to matter it must be a matter of the heart, not merely the head count.

Secondly, church segregation is self-segregation. I have been in many churches with multiple ethnic congregations in them, and I have usually been active in efforts to integrate those congregations. There is never any animous, it is just a question of who people prefer to have as friends, and what language they like their worship service in. Speaking of which, I have been in multi-lingual worship services, they are pointless, all they do is bore everyone to tears in all languages.

Thirdly, churches largely populated by single races divide themselves up on matters far more trivial than race. I think there is a sort of speck and log thing going on here. Any time we have tried for Christian unity, we end up with mush -- take for example the National Council of Churches, or the World Council of Churches. In order to get everybody together, you end up believing in nothing.

Bottom Line, well SC's commenter, Hatless in Hattiesburg gets to the bottom line. Racial integration in churches is to be desired, but never forced.

By the way, because I have tried it so many times, the thing I have found that works best, is integration in fellowship events, NOT worship. Let everybody get to know each other. Once friends, things go much, much better.


We Are Winning, May Have Won, The War

First Ever Afghani blogger, Afghan Warrior, reports on thee general state of affairs in that country. Sounds awful good to me. I think we won that one.

The Financial Times reports on the beginning of the bitter end in Iraq.

The article really is an apology for the insurgents behavior, and as such is somewhat despicable, but you can be fairly confident that this is the first move towards trying to achieve some sort of settlement. Of course, the insurgents really have nothing to bargain with, but when you hear things like this they really are looking for a way out.

The problem with dictatorial regimes like Iran is that the citizens just don't like it.

Using the soccer match as "cover" for anti-government protests really is brilliant.

Simply because their democracy is being threatened, people in Taiwan have taken to the streets.

Freedom is powerful stuff and really is breaking out all over.

And just in case you are the kind that might forget why we started all this war stuff to begin with -- check out this post from the Sheep's Crib. That's what I call a reminder!


Who's A Boor?

Bob Knight lost his job at Indiana University largely because he was categorized as a "boor."

I was a season ticket holder in 1983 when IU won the Big Ten Championship. That year, Knight hung a banner, the only banner in Assembly Hall for a championship on less than a national level. He hung it because he said the crowd won the championship.

In other years, when IU crowds actually were boorish, he chastised them, loudly, as only he can.

The man really does know the value of a crowd to an athletic team, and he really does know where the limits of behavior are. This much I know. No crowd, rooting for a Knight coached team would do this.
Morgantown Fire Department Chief Dave Fetty reports his department doused more than 50-fires during the wake of the Mountaineer's 65-60 victory over Texas Tech Thursday night.
Now you tell me -- Knight was fired for reminding, in typical Knight fashion, the necessity of politeness. What's going to happen to the WVU coach?

Friday, March 25, 2005


Scripture Break...

Matthew 27:33-54

33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.

35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots; 36 and sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And they put up above His head the charge against Him which read, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."

38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying, 42 "He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. 43 "He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'" 44 And the robbers also who had been crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him.

45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying," Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? "that is," My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" 47 And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, "This man is calling for Elijah." 48 And immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of them said, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him."

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, 52 and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"


Martin Luther Said...

God creates out of nothing. Therefore, unitil a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.
Quoted at the top of last night's Maundy Thursday Order of Worship. Take that humanists.


Maybe This Helps Explain Why Terri Schiavo Is Dying

The Princeton Review is trying to sell a book rating the 357 best colleges at this page. To give you an idea how the decide and rate, they post this table:

Diversity University:

Lots of Race/Class Interaction
Diverse Student Population
Students Ignore God on a Regular Basis
Gay Community Accepted

Monochromatic Institute:

Little Race/Class Interaction
Homogeneous Student Population
Students Pray on a Regular Basis
Alternative Lifestyles Not An Alternative
If I understand this correctly, mere theism is somehow not diverse. Despite the fact that the vast majority of people in the entire world believe in a god of one sort or another, and thus that group by definition is hugely diverse, that belief makes then not diverse.

This is, simply, religious bigotry. And it makes me increasingly angry. During the past week, virtually anyone that defended Terri Schiavo's life has been dismissed as a "religious conservative." Apparently "religious" has come to mean "close-minded" and therefore not diverse. How did we get here?

The Renaissance flowed out of the Reformation. Religion is the well from which modern thought has flowed, and now that thought chooses to reject religion -- oh wait, I forgot, now it's "post-modern" thought. And the "emerging church" movement wished to ally itself with this?

OK, I am ranting, I need to settle down. It has been a long blogging week.

We have got to win these people's souls and confidence, while at the same time holding fast to our principles, which they seek to destroy with this kind of rhetoric. But how?

By letting God's light shine through us, that's how. To change the world, we must devote ourselves to God. Read the Word, pray and meditate. Become so saturated with God that His glory shines from you. That glory will attract them.


Friday Humor


While We Are Looking At Cartoons

Cartoonist Faithmouse introduced himself to me yesterday. It's good stuff. Here's a sample


I Don't Know What's Worse...

...that a working teacher cannot pass the state certification exam, or that a developmentally disabled man can. No fooling, that is exactly what happened according to this New York Daily News article. I guess I don't have to worry about why public education is less than outstanding -- stuff like this would explain it.


That Pithy Chesterton

Joi, a fellow SoCal Bloggers Alliance member. Classical Education, posts a quote from G.K. Chesterton. Joi opines that Chesterton would have loved blogging. I have to agree.


Christian Carnival Is Up!

Some good stuff, read it here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


As Terri Schiavo Dies, The Posturing Begins

It seems all but certain at this point that Terri Schiavo is going to die - die a sad, painful, thirsty death - die a death unworthy of a pet, let alone a former wife or a daughter. It is a sad grim day to be eclipsed only by the day that she actually does die.

As this sad event occurs, everyone starts lining up to continue the discussion about the broader issues.

Somewhere people are making the inevitable connection to the abortion debate. This is a valid connection and the discussion must be had.

Powerline and Radioblogger look at media coverage and miscoverage of the entire episode. I have experienced so much misinformation in the public on this issue, some of it because people have not looked at it hard enough, but some of it because of bad coverage. This is a discussion that needs to occur.

Hugh Hewitt in both blog and radio form is looking at the legal and constitutional ramifications of this entire episode. They are revealing and troubling. This is a discussion that absolutely must happen.

At Real Clear Politics, Robert Novak is looking at the political divisions and ramifications of these events as well. This likewise must be looked at in great detail.

Somewhere I have not found, I am sure the medical and neurological ramifications, diagnosis, and expertise that was used and needs to be developed is no doubt being discussed. This likewise, is a discussion that really needs to happen.

I wish I had the energy to participate in these discussions, or at least the ones that I enough knowledge and background to enter into. But alas, I do not have that energy.

I started blogging about Terri because I was moved to the core by videos of a handicapped woman interacting with her family. I am a sucker for stuff like that. I don't know why, but I am inherently drawn to handicapped individuals. Ask my wife - she has had to deal with me after my business travels had me coincidentally share lunch with a group of handicapped people, warehoused in some institution, out for their weekly adventure. I was a basket case; I wanted to hug them all and tell them they were good people; I just wanted to love them.

I wanted to love Terri. I have done what I can to express that love in my blog, with my donations, and in phone calls to any politician I could get to listen.

And now what I wish most is to get on a plane with my wife, go to Florida and hold Terri and hold her family, and comfort them, and tell them God loves them, and that many, many people in the nation and the world love them. But they are surrounded by people that can do that, they don't need this stranger.

So I need to grieve and mourn. Terri will be fine, God will see to her, of that I am confident. But I need to grieve. I never met he, but I will miss her.

This was about life, and I for one want to stay attached to that life, not just issues. For a brief period most of this nation has discovered its heart, its love, for a disabled woman. Let's continue to love her by letting her die in peace.

Let's honor the courageous fight her family has waged by grieving with them.

Once that is done, then we can join the vital and important discussions -- but let's honor Terri's life before we battle over her corpse.


Greer Denies Schiavo -- Again!

I just cannot understand this. Someday we will find out what motivates this judge, until then all we can do is pray for him, after we find out as well.

God Bless Terri and her family.


Jeb Tries Again To Save Terri Schiavo

One More Time. The Florida executive goes before Judge Greer to try and save Terri.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush filed a request to take custody of Terri Schiavo on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court once again refused to order the severely brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted...

...Turning custody of Schiavo over to the state would be an unprecedented and highly unlikely move.

"Absent of kidnapping, Terri Schiavo will remain in this hospice," said Bob Felos, an attorney for Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband and legal guardian.
Felos confidence in his statement says volumes about Judge Greer -- Volumes.

Psalm 7

1 O LORD my God, in Thee I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me,
2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.
3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is injustice in my hands,
4 If I have rewarded evil to my friend, or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary,
5 Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake {it} and let him trample my life down to the ground, and lay my glory in the dust. Selah.
6 Arise, O LORD, in Thine anger; lift up thyself against the rage of my adversaries, and arouse thyself for me; Thou hast appointed judgment.
7 And let the assembly of the peoples encompass Thee; and over them return Thou on high.
8 The LORD judges the peoples; vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.
9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; for the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.
12 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.
13 He has also prepared for himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts.
14 Behold, he travails with wickedness, and he conceives mischief, and brings forth falsehood.
15 He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, and has fallen into the hole which he made.
16 His mischief will return upon his own head, and his violence will descend upon his own pate.
17 I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.


Terri Schiavo Gets No Surprise

The Supremes have refused to hear Terri's case. I'd like to say a lot more, but prudence requires that I say only "Curses, foiled again!" This is no surprise, but it is really sad.

Jeb Bush is still trying to move Judge Greer, but come on! Best as I can tell, if Terri is going to live, civil disobedience is the only remaining option. But then things like this happen. Children have been taken away in handcuffs for trying to give a dehydrated woman water. This is a truly chilling development in this nation.

I want to give this link to new blogger Margret O'Hearn. She has been a commenter here for a little while now and has apparently decidied to get in the game. She loves life and Terri.

Jollyblogger reminds us that Michael Schiavo is a soul that God wants to redeem. (HT: Adrian Warnock) I pray for Michael, and I am very glad God is his final judge. I do hope for his salvation.

However, I would remind David that lots of good Christians in Germany prayed for Hitler's salvation while he instituted euthanisa programs and the "final solution." I do not condemn Michael Schiavo in the final sense, only God can do that, but I will fight him with every resource I have available.

Peggy Noonan this morning asks the question that most seem to be asking the last couple of days -- From where the vehemence to see this woman dead? She, as so many before blames it on some sick love of death. Perhaps. but I am forced to opine a more sinister motive.

Proverbs Daily titles a post Terri Schiavo a Pawn in Judiciary's Power Play. I think you will find your answer for the vehemence therein. Hugh Hewitt writes about the Runaway Judiciary in the Weekly Standard.

As is the way with most issues like this, they have quit being about the issue and started being about institutional power. We have this week witnessed the most stark power struggle between branches of our government and national and state governments since the late 50's and early 60's and perhaps since the Civil War. As these great powers battle, a woman dies.

I am now praying for miracles and preparing to mourn Terri. Then I will send her family a letter in solace.

But then it will be time for a fight. The left has lost its legislative power, but its judicial power remains. That judicial power is, like a coyote caught in a trap, flailing. I think that judicial power will chew it's own leg off to escape -- we may have witnessed it this week. Now is the time to strike.

But that is for later. Today we pray, we implore God for His miracles and His peace.


Congratulations To Scotwise

Scotwise has won the most recent Warnie. Welcome into the pool John, the water's warm and we have a lot fo fun.


Envrionmental Concerns That Matter

In the wake of yesterday's refinery accident, we are likely to hear about all sorts of environmental consequences, from higher cancer rates in neighboring counties to the birds killed in the blast.

I just want to remind everybody that 14 people died in this accident and hundreds were injured -- that is what matters. The rest of it is a sideshow. I am far more interested in solving the problem that lead to the blast than I am in making sure the birds that got covered with ash are OK.

The refinery company is going to be tied up in litigation with the families of the fatalities and likely ending up with the World Wildlife Fund. In the end only the lawyers will be rewarded and 14 people will still be dead. I bet they are a good company and will take care of the families. They should ignore the WWF.


I Need A Laugh

Finally, a story that made me laugh.
After the snooze button is pressed, the clock, which is equipped with a set of wheels, rolls off the table to another part of the room.

"When the alarm sounds again, simply finding Clocky ought to be strenuous enough to prevent even the doziest owner from going back to sleep," New Scientist magazine said Tuesday.
I have got to get me one of these! Then I will put a programming unit on it to make it do all sorts of obnoxious things when the snooze button is pressed -- roll up and down the sleeper's body - better - chase the cat onto the sleeper in a paniced state. Yeah, that's the ticket.


Illuminated Scripture

By my lovely wife:


Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Howard Dean is at it again.
''We need to talk about values and not be afraid of them,'' he said, going on to make two biblical references.

In the first he said Jesus' directive to ''love thy neighbor'' didn't mean one could choose which ones to love. He then remarked that Republicans never brought up the scriptural verse saying it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.

''We should never let anybody tell us we don't respect faith,'' he said.
Faith in what? is the question.


Scripture Break...

Matthew 12:17-21

17 in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying, 18 "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 19 "He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 "A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory. 21 "And in His name the Gentiles will hope."


Some Good News For A Change...

...from the New York Times no less! This story is about ordinary Iraqis standing up against the insurgents.
But just before noon today, a carpenter named Dhia saw a troop of masked gunmen with grenades coming towards his shop and decided he had had enough.

As the gunmen emerged from their cars, Dhia and his young relatives shouldered their own AK-47's and opened fire, police and witnesses said. In the fierce gun battle that followed, three of the insurgents were killed, and the rest fled just after the police arrived. Two of Dhia's young nephews and a bystander were injured, the police said.
Freedom is a powerful motivator. We take it so for granted that we have forgotten that.


Fox reports yet another democratic movement in Kyrgyzstan. God Bless Them!


Retelling The Passion

Allthings2all strikes again with a modern rendition of an old and wonderful story. It is amazing what we learn about our Lord from the most humble among us.


I Want My Pontiac!

I love Pontiac automobiles. My wife and I own one that I bought long before I even met her, it's still a great car. In light of that, this story makes me very, very sad.
GM's Buick and Pontiac are both "damaged brands" due to lack of investment over the years, and GM is working to correct that with an array of new vehicles coming to market, Lutz told a Morgan Stanley automotive conference in New York.

But if some of its brands fail to meet sales projections, "then we would have to take a look at a phase-out. I hope we don't have to do that. What we've got to do is keep the brands we've got."
Now is the time to get your GTO or Trans Am -- classic or modern, the value is going nowhere but up.


Do We Really Need To Talk About Cloning Now?

China has cloned a water buffalo. Not what I would choose to clone, but a scientific feat nonetheless.
?The birth of the calf proves our somatic cell clone technology is mature and this technology will greatly promote cattle breeding in China,? said the doctor.
If that is all they do with it, I'll be happy, but things like this have a really hard time staying in the box. Ask yourself this -- why would a country like China need any additional ways to make people?


Great Eyesight

This story is about astronomers finally seeing, as opposed to simply inferring the existence of planets outside our solar system. That is just way cool. It is an amazing technological achievement, and a startling discovery.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Newest Hope ForTerri Schiavo

This affidavit is the newest hope for Terri (HT: Hugh Hewitt) In it a neurologist confirms what all of us have known for so long.

Based on it, Jeb Bush has instructed Florida Department of Children and Family to place another motion in front of the Judge Greer. We can only pray that God will soften the judge's heart.


Terri Schiavo's Options Grow Slim

You know it already, but here is the news. I cannot bear to type what has actually happened. It looks to me like the only options left are the Supreme Court or some sort of civl disobedience on the part of the Executive Branch of the Florida government. God is good even if the world seems dark.

We have known for some time now that Greer's order forbade even oral feeding or water to Terri, but only today, I found this story that provides the text of the order. Note it does not order the removal ofthe feeding tube, rather
"Therefore it is? ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that absent a stay from the appellate courts, the guardian, MICHAEL SCHIAVO, shall cause the removal of nutrition and hydration from the ward, THERESA SCHIAVO, at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 18, 2005."
That is a literal death sentence by starvation. I never thought I would read such a thing from a court in this country. Greer should be impeached just for wording his order this way.

SCOTWISE admonishes us that God's desire is for us to be joyfully thankful. Thank you John -- Words I need to hear today.

Psalm 71:13-18
13 Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor, who seek to injure me.
14 But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise Thee yet more and more.
15 My mouth shall tell of Thy righteousness, and of Thy salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them.
16 I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Thy righteousness, Thine alone.
17 O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth; and I still declare Thy wondrous deeds.
18 And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Thy strength to this generation, Thy power to all who are to come.


Supreme Court -- Here Comes Terri Schiavo -- SAVE HER!

Unsurprisingly, the 11th Circuit refused to hear Terri's appeal en banc. It is unlikely the Supreme Court will agree to hear this case, but we can still pray. In the meantime the Florida State Senate can still act. Here are some phone numbers to lobby. There are also options being tried by the executive branch of the Florida government.


This John O'Sullivan piece from the Chicago Sun-Times makes the inevitable Nazi analogy. He is thankful; however, that while there are certainly undertones of the utilitarian agruments of the Nazi's in this case, they are not being openly advocated in the current public debate. That is worthy of thankfulness, butthe undertones are still very, very troubling.

Jonah Goldberg writes a piece for USA Today that is worth the read. Check this
The Republicans had a serious advantage in this debate: They had a real argument about the specific merits of this particular case and why it should be an exception to the rule. Meanwhile, liberals were nearly silent on why Terri should die, opting instead for cheap ad hominem.

Kathleen Parker has a Townhall piece on Michael's legitimacy as Terri's husband. She opines
But the fact that Schiavo's fate has rested in the hands of a man who is her husband in title only is both mystifying and maddening. If we resolve nothing else, some of our energy will be well spent examining the criteria used to determine who is best qualified to protect a disabled person's interests.
Darn right -- There are a number of things we as a nation have to deal with in the wake of this event.

Speaking of lessons, in the face of the horrific judicial performance that the nation is watching so raptly, this story is heinous. (HT: Radioblogger)

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist does not have firm support among his caucus to employ the so-called "nuclear option" for dislodging the Democratic filibusters against President Bush's judicial nominees.
The events of the last few days make evident more starkly than anything I have seen recently the very necessity of exercising the 'nuclear' option. Remind your Senator that if they think they have been in a storm this week, they ain't seen nothing yet if they do not get some judges on the bench that will make reasonable decisions.

It strikes me as absolutely amazing that in the 1960's the Charleton Heston sci-fi classic "Soylent Green" treated self-assisted suicide as a horror, but 2004's "Million Dollar Baby" thrust greatness upon it.

At a time when freedom is breaking out throughout the world, I remain hopeful. I believe this is the death throes of the pinned down evil -- even if those throes take Terri with them.


Some Good Links About Terri Schiavo

Laura Ingraham is usually a little too caustic for my tastes, even though she is really funny, but she is absolutely knocking them out of the park this morning. She is ranting at great length about the poor lawyering that has been done on Terri's part. I mentioned that possibility yesterday. Hugh Hewitt admitted that the lawyering was bad on the air yesterday but said that in light of the way Congress drafted the statute, the impetus is on the court to help the lawyers get it right. Pray for the lawyers -- The Supremes are the big leagues, and this is no time for bad lawyering.

Speaking of Hugh Hewitt, he is at this point quite pessimistic because within the rule of the court, this will end up first on Justice Kennedy's desk. I do however love the contempt in which Hugh holds last night's ruling
Judicial contempt for the coordinate branches on this scale is simply staggering. Anyone defending this morning's majority or yesterday's ruling has to defend this disregard of Congressional action. Had either court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, that would have at least clothed the Pontius Pilate approach with some legal cover. But reciting irrelevant standards for granting injunctive relief in advance of trial in a case where Congress intended the injunction to issue is simple sophistry.
This post from Wittenberg Gate puts a radiologist's spin on some of Terri's medical records. Makes you wonder what the courts are saying.

Michelle Malkin has a Townhall piece that slams the MSM coverage of this issue pretty hard. I have to say it's been an interesting ride on the tube. I have been blogging about this for weeks and the information is so readily available, it is amazing to see the ignorance that has flowed from MSM, and their amazing "discoveries" of information that many bloggers have known about for many weeks.

Mark Steyn has a piece on the greater issue of the culture of death. Well worth the read.

Yesterday's hero in reviewing the District Court ruling, Andrew McCarthy, has another great piece today on the Appellate Court ruling.

I posted yesterday (Final Thought) about the parallels of our situation with the law and those Israel found itself in at the time Jesus came. I return to those thoughts again.

Then this additional thought. Look at the pull quote from Hugh above. Then look at this one from the McCarthy piece.
Although they recoil at the very notion, it is a fact of constitutional life that judges are essentially supposed to take their marching orders from congress — which both prescribes laws and defines the jurisdiction of federal courts.
We simply must get the judiciary of this nation under control, we must. If we have to impeach judges, we must. If we have to change the filibuster rule in the Senate, we must. If we have to amend the Constitution, we must.

Today, most of all we must PRAY.


Wisdom About Terri Schiavo

I am really glad someone wrote this. The idea for something like it has been running around in my head for a couple of weeks now, but I lack the literary skill to pull it off. It is a piece written to resemble C.S. Lewis' classic The Screwtape Letters concerning the current situation in the nation today. (HT: Plaidberry)

I must confess that as things have developed, I have sensed, no make that felt, the Evil One's almost physical presence. Call me mystic, but he just seems too obvious in people's absolute vigor and commitment to seeing someone die. Shuddder-Shudder.

SmartChristian quotes from Mark Bryon without granting a link, but the pull quote is fantasitc -- check it out.

Ggiven my west coast time zone, I was hoping events would have overrun this post, which I wrote Tuesday night and Terri would be in the hospital having her feeding tube reinserted. Alas...

Job 28:20-28

"Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding?21 "Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the sky.22 "Abaddon and death say, 'With our ears we have heard a report of it.'23 "God understands its way; and He knows its place.24 "For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.25 "When He imparted weight to the wind, and meted out the waters by measure,26 When He set a limit for the rain, and a course for the thunderbolt,27 Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out.28 "And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'"


God Bless Jollyblogger

This is an absolutely great post from Jollyblogger.
So if the Bible honors the aged, why do youth and youth concerns drive the church? I'm as guilty as anyone in this matter. I love to be on the so-called "cutting edge." Years spent in youth ministry have left me with a fond affection for kids that I don't think I'll ever get over and I am an advocate for youth in many ways.

Yet, we've got everything backward. The biblical pattern is that youth are to adapt to the wisdom of the aged, but in the church today the aged are told they need to adapt to the whims of the youth.
I have had this discussion in not one, but two churches now. As the churches have made the change from "staid traditionalism" to "contemporary" and the wisdom of the church left in droves, I tried to warn them.

One church has in the last several years gone from over one thousand in worship each Sunday to a couple of hundred and a pile of debt you would not believe. They drove headlong towards "youth-oriented worship and cultural" in the church not giving a care for all the "gray hairs" they were alienating. The first sign of trouble was when the giving went from 75-80% pledged to about 30%. But the real trouble came when they had a crisis after several years of the "new paradigm."

The entire Session was under 40, and there was no one there with the slightest clue how to handle a crisis of the proportions they faced.

Amen David -- Your post officialy qualifies as not just good, but as utter wisdom.

That's why David is one of the bloggers I am praying for today:


A Good Question

Joi at Classical Education asks
Why did we stop talking to people?
It's a great post. It is also a sentiment I share completely. I'll strike up a conversation with just about anybody, but sometimes it's not easy to get them going.

Just a partial answer -- it may be that we have too much 'entertainment' in our lives. Why converse when I can listen to music on my iPod?


Whiners and Criers

This story tempts me to tell about when I had to walk 40 miles to school every morning in 18 feet of snow.
Sleep disorder experts, armed with piles of new research, say the problem is not with Kessinger or any of his adolescent peers who battle daytime drowsiness. They insist the problem is with high school administrators who schedule classes as early as 6:30 a.m., despite the biological clocks inside teens that inhibit early morning learning.
See here's the thing. When I was an adolescent, I carried newspapers every morning at 4AM -- before school. In rural areas, kids routinely have chores before school, and our society was largely rural for a good portion of our history. Nah, I just think these kids need to get to bed earlier, experts or no.



The Scriptorium asks in a post:
The doctrine of Socialism has always had disastrous consequences, yet many are eager to align themselves with it anyway. Why is Socialism a bad philosophy? Why has it always failed, and why do so many still embrace it?
Rachael answers by linking to this great piece by Richard W. Rahn.
If people knew the real history of all the socialist experiments and its flawed theory, very few (other than the delusional or mean-spirited) would be socialists.
Rahn explores the problems of socialist states, but fails to explore the ramifications of socialist ideas in capitalistic countires. I would love to see a similar examination of the dramitically ugly consequences of socialist actions in things like environmental policy.


The Best of Pravda

Now this is an endorsement...

World's oldest woman voted for Putin

The funny part is that they have absolutely no evidence that the subject of the story is in fact the oldest woman in the world. This is the first paragraph of the story:
According to the Guinness Book of Records, a Brazilian woman had been reported to be oldest human being on Earth. Maria Olivia da Silva, a native of the state of Sao Paulo, has a birth certificate that says that she was born on February 28th, 1880. However, a recent statement by the Guinness Book of Records company indicates that the Brazilian woman has not enough evidence to prove her phenomenal longevity. There is a good chance that Maria Strelnikova will be found eligible for the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest woman on the planet provided that her next of kin file an application.
While we are talking about unsubstantiated headlines, check out this winner.

Asexuals, new type of sexual minority, to conquer the world

However, other than a highly specious claim from a French designer(?) they offer no evidence for the 'conquer the world' crack.


This story probably belongs in "Edge of Taste" but it is from Pravda.


Dan, Dan, Dan...

Even in retirement, Dan Rather appears to continue to find trouble. According to this article, Dan seems to think that asking interview questions hand fed to him by the President's bud constitutes jornalistic independence and integrity


While Teri Schiavo Dies, Nero Fiddles

Using the same narrow view that the district court took, the 11th Circuit has denied the motion to have Terri's feed tube reinserted. Read the ruling here. It now goes to the Supreme Court, so long as Terri continues to live.

I do not understand why a federal court system that has been so willing in the past to make such sweeping pronouncements about our society, on civil rights, on the death penalty, on abotion is so unwilling to act broadly in this situation.

Apparently, they are far more willing to tell society what to do than they are one man, in this case Michael Schiavo, even if that man's intentions are murderous.

Psalm 33
1 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright; and all His work is {done} in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
10 The LORD nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men;
14 From His dwelling place He looks out On all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.
16 The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength.
17 A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.
22 Let Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in Thee.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Scripture For Terri Schiavo

Despite enormous theological differences with my Roman Catholic brethren, pronouncements like this one make me think seriously about joining that church.

In a front-page editorial, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano criticized a U.S. federal judge's refusal to order the reinsertion of Schiavo's feeding tube.

"She has no possibility of being 'restored' to a 'normal' life. Therefore Terri Schiavo must die," the editorial began. "This is ... the absurd and terrifying reason" for the judge's decision, it added.
In looking for ways to express my anquish to the Lord, I ran across this Psalm. Thought I'd share.

Psalm 25:1-6

  1. To Thee, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
  2. O my God, in Thee I trust, do not let me be ashamed; do not let my enemies exult over me.
  3. Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed; those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
  4. Make me know Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths.
  5. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day.
  6. Remember, O LORD, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesss, for they have been from of old.


Terri Schiavo: Morality and Legality

When I am most frustrated and most upset, sometimes it helps to lose myself in the legal minutiae of this case. The law can produce awful results, but if you dig into it, sometimes you don't notice what is going wrong. OK, so it's denial - but if I don't leave the field every now and then, I'll go nuts.

Boy, when Hugh Hewitt gets involved, he really gets involved. He has been posting at an incredible rate for him today. Couple of posts are really great. If you don't already know, Hugh is one of the leading Endangered Species Act lawyers in the country. In this post he shows that supposedly endangered species are provided more protection that Terri was in this morning's ruling. He's right and that is really sick.

In this post Hugh, discusses the precedence case for the removal of life support in PVS situations. He links to this NRO piece from Andrew McCarthy that I read just before I read Hugh's post. The legal arguments are powerful, but here is the money quote:
Here, it bears noting that Whittemore was placed on the federal bench by President Clinton in 2000 after spending a decade as a judge in the state courts of Florida. His opinion is a staunch approbation of the integrity of Florida’s procedural framework, and extremely deferential to the performance of his former state-court colleague, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer.
If you have ever been involved in litigation you know that judicial cronyism is an ugly, ugly factor. Truth is often hostage to politics, even in courts.

On the morality side is this great piece from David Limbaugh. He puts to print the argument that I have been hearing repeatedly today:
I doubt that I'll ever be able to understand, much less relate to, the sympathies of certain people. Generally speaking, they seem to feel more compassion for wildlife than animals, more for animals than human beings, more for guilty human beings than innocent ones, more for Communist dictators and tyrannical thugs than freedom fighters, and more for the vindication of an abstract principle devaluing human life than for an actual human being like Terri Schiavo, who, though severely disabled, may truly want to live.
I don't know what we have to do, but we have got to return to a position where morality is more important than legality in this country. Judges need to start standing up for what is right instead of what is merely legal. In many cases those judges establish what is legal, through precedent.

The founding fathers clearly know that for our nation to survive it needed an underlying common sense of morality. As I said in the previous post, only Jesus can return us to a place where we have that shared sense of morality.



Random Thoughts On The Schiavo News This Morning

Thought One

I am grateful to hear from Hugh Hewitt -- A lawyer -- that this ruling is an abomination.

Thought Two

If it ever comes up in your conversations, deny the ABC poll that says the nation is not behind the federal action. See the questionnaire here. This is what is called a 'push poll,' that is to say a poll in which the questions are designed to illicit the answers the pollster wants. This is an old trick of politicians to make a campaign seem like it has more momentum than it actually does. Denounce it soundly in this case. Via Hugh, Captain Ed agrees.

Thought Three

Mark Daniels has some interesting middle of the road thoughts on the situation. I am not sure I agree with his political analysis, but it is a good read.

Thought Four

Brendan Miniter has a nice OpinionJournal piece laying out what is going on on a deeper political level, placing Terri's case on a bigger scale.

Thought Five

I do not think Terri is in a "Persistent Vegetative State," she certainly is not a state that I thought that name represented. But if she is, then as a nation we sure do have to stop letting people in such a state die.

Thought Six

Australian blog Scotwise has some generally encouraging thoughts -- not about Terri -- but about putting our hope in God. I need such reminding today. This leads me to some final personal thoughts:

Final Thought

I am struck this morning that we find ourselves in the same place Israel did when Jesus came. The Law had come to eclipse God. Let me explain that a little bit.

It is impossible to codify, that is to make law, rules for every situation, simply because it is impossible to anticipate every situation. This is why we must have judgment and judges. When a new situation arises, we must figure out how to behave, that is judgment in a nutshell.

When Jesus came, the Law had become so important and so convoluted that it could produce results contrary to the will of the Lawgiver, that is to say God. If you want to take God out of it you could simply say that the law had grown to the point that it's underlying morality had been lost.

We have become so confused in this nation, that kids in this nation find it preferable to shoot their friends and themselves than try to make life work. Something is very wrong.

Jesus came into a situation like this in order to restore the underpinnings of that law -- as He said, "not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it."

We have Jesus and we can let Him use us to fulfill the law again. The question is - how? We must struggle for Terri's life, for the sake of our own souls, if not for hers.

But we have to do more. We have to reinsert Jesus into our society. We have to grasp again His essential ministry to fulfill the law. This will not be accomplished by forming Political Action Committees, making political donations, impeaching judges, or standing vigils. No, we can only fulfill the law when hearts in the nation are filled with the Holy Spirit, and this can only happen when they come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Please, don't rely on your church to do this. Don't just invite someone to Easter services this week. Embrace this ministry -- tell someone you know about Jesus today.


Judge Denies Life For Terri Schiavo

From FOXNews:
A federal judge early Tuesday morning refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, leaving the fate of the severely brain-damaged Florida woman unresolved.

U.S. District Judge James Whittemore (search) said the 41-year-old woman's parents had not established a "substantial likelihood of success" at trial on the merits of their arguments.

Schiavo's tube was removed Friday after the appeals of her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler (search), to keep the tube in failed in state court. Tuesday marked the fourth day without her feeding tube.

Rex Sparklin, an attorney with the law firm representing the Schindlers, said lawyers were immediately appealing to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to "save Terri's life."
DO NOT DESPAIR -- WHERE THERE IS LIFE THERE IS HOPE.The Florida Legislature could still act as could the 11th Circuit. Lobby the Florida Legislature hard. Here are the numbers.

I have hesitated saying this, but I have to now -- I have wondered all along if The Schindlers/Terri had the best counsel. This was clearly an error on counsel's part, the case should have been prepared long before Congress passed the law, they had plenty of time in this Nexus/Lexus age to put together a case. IF any of the allegations regarding Michael's behavior are even remotely true, they have a case.

It's too late to substitute counsel at this point, but it's not too late to help existing counsel. You a lawyer? You have an idea? Get on the horn and help. Prepare a brief and sent it to them for review.

Romans 8:31-39
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God {is} for us, who {is} against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Power Of Prayer

Heb 13:18
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.

With that in mind, here are some bloggers I am praying for today:

While I was checking scripture on prayer, I ran across this:

Luke 6:28
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

When you are praying for Terri Sciavo, remember to pray for Michael Schiavo, Judge Greer, et. al. They are horribly misguided, but able to receive God's grace.


Thoughts on Humility

As the nation debates the fate of one woman's life, I thought we could use some readings on humility. Once again borrowing from Devotional Classics:

Christianity became the official state religion early in the fourth century, and with this new status began an unfortunate secularization of the Church. When the Christian faith was mixed with the Roman world, the world did not become Christian so much as Christians became worldly. In reaction, many earnest Christians fled to the desert and ultimately to monasteries and convents as a way of escaping the world and living a faithful life. (In time, of course, even these monasteries declined and were in need of renewal.) Into this climate Benedict of Nursia arose to bring new life to the Christian world.

Born into a good family in the Umbrian village of Nursia and educated at Rome, Benedict grew weary of the evils of the city and fled to the mountains of Subiaco to live as a hermit. He became well known for his piety, his wis¬dom, and his humility. In A.D. 529 he founded a monastery on Monte Cassino, midway between Naples and Rome, and he remained there until his death.

In this monastery Benedict wrote his famous Rule, which provided a much needed accountability to the many roving prophets and hermits of the day. In The Rule Benedict gives clear, direct, and effective disciplines for liv¬ing a holy life. His writings inspired an important period of renewal and are still with us today because of their wisdom and insight.

The following passage deals with the subject of humility. Using the metaphor of ?Jacob?s ladder,? Benedict discusses twelve steps of humility. The modern reader may find it hard to hear his austere teaching about the reality of hell and the sinfulness of humankind, but in an age of ?feel good? spirituality, we need his words.


The Call to Ascend the Ladder of Humility

Friends, the Holy Scriptures cry out to us say¬ing, ?Everyone that exalts himself shall be humbled; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.? Therefore, they show us that every exaltation of ourselves is a kind of pride. The Psalmist declares that he guarded against this, saying, ?Lord, my heart is not puffed up; nor are my eyes haughty. Neither have I walked in great matters nor in things above me.?

Humility as a Way of Life

If we ascend all of these steps of humility, we shall arrive at that love of God which, being perfect, casts out all fear. If we persist in observ¬ing them, we will begin to keep them without any effort. In time it will no longer be a force of habit, but a way of life. Though we may begin them with a fear of hell, we will begin living them out of a love for Christ, developing habits of good, and taking pleasure in virtue. May the Lord be pleased to manifest all this by his Holy Spirit in you, his laborer, now cleansed from vice and sin.


Why Do We Reward The Loud?

Everytime I see something like this photo, I wonder about why the left has been as successful as it has. In so many cases they are just rude. Why do we reward such behavior? Is he who yells the loudest and protests the hardest really always right?


Ugly For The Wrong Reasons

Check out this story from FOXNEws. Apparently there is to be a hearing in California about efforts between prosecutors and judges to keep Jews off of juries in death penalty cases. That truly is abhorent. What I don't understand is the reasoning.
No Jew would vote to send a defendant to the gas chamber," Quatman alleges the judge, who was himself of Jewish descent, told him.
The most ardent pro-death-penalty person I have ever heard is Dennis Prager. He is seriously Jewish. I don't get it.


Money And The Church

Thoughts of a Conservative Christian has been running posts most of the month he is calling "The Money Changers Are In The Temple." At press time, this is a multi-part series of posts, here they are: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven. (HT: SmartChristian)

Bud focuses on the enormous amounts of money that float through teministries, the dishonest approaches that most televangelists take to raising money, and how personally enriched those televnagelists are. Bud is absolutely right, but shooting at televangelists on this account is like shooting fish in a barrel. I thought everyone was wise to this stuff by now.

But this does raise a larger issue. Churches in general are increasingly being viewed as cash machines. That is to say that their performance is being measured in terms of things like cash flow, P&L statement, so forth. Now I am not against good accounting practice in a church, not by any means, but I am against using financial performance as a gauge of the success or failure of a church. We cannot afford to view the church from a purely financial perspective. It will almost automatically lead to corruption. I've seen it happen way too many times.

As I grow older, I am increasingly impressed with some of the things the Roman Catholic churchhas done. Among them is the relative poverty in which their clergy lives. The church as a whole may be the wealthiest institution in the world, but the men in it usually live quite modestly if not in an impoverished fashion. I think this wise. I have seen too many pastors grow their church for the sake of their salary.

Bud's series; however, points out the real tragedy in all this though, which is most of these money hungry religious institutions proclaim that blessings will be received through generous giving. This turns the church into some sort of cosmic lottery. That's just yucky, and it takes such advantage of some many poor people.

What really gets to me is that most churches do not tithe. They call the members to tithe, but they don;t do it themselves. What I mean by that is how many churches actually let 10% of their total income flow completely out of their control. Oh , there are quite a few that tithe to mission, but when you look closer that mission is a church budget line item, paying someone on staff's salary. Sacrifical giving is about giving up control.

Let me say that again, sacrificial giving is about giving up control. It is not about money, it is about trusting God -- not knowing that He will give you plenty, but relying on Him simply to pull you through. I wonder what would happen if a chruch really did that, really gave up financiual control to God?


From the Edge of Taste

I've got two items for your perusal today.

This one is about the medicinal use of maggots. There is actual real and good science here, but it does have that EWWWWWWWWWW! factor.

The other item is actually pretty funny, but I can't describe it -- just read it.


Life Imitates Science Fiction

Are you a "Dune" fan? If you don't know, "Dune" is one of the most widely read science fiction books ever -- there are actual a bunch on Dune books now, both by Frank Herbert, and his son. The book is largely set on a completely arrid planet where the residents wear "stillsuits." Stillsuits are clothing that allows for the recycling of all bodily fluids.

Would you believe that NASA has been working on precisely such a device? The best part is there are some people trying to leverage that NASA-developed technology for humanitarian work. That's cool!

Monday, March 21, 2005


Apparently Courts Think Michael Jackson Is Better Than Terri Schiavo

I absolutely swore that I would never post on Michael Jackson, but over dinner my wife had an insight that was so good, I have the break the rule.
How come an accused child molester like Michael Jackson is afforded his full freedom to live his life (i.e. bail) while the court deliberates his case, but Terri Schiavo is denied her freedom to live while the court deliberates her case?
Now that is a heck of a question.


What Do To Now

This waiting may kill me, actually and far more importanlty it may kill Terri, but in the meantime SHE IS ALIVE! DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Rely on the Lord and pray.

We have a view from the courtroom. (HT: Blogs For Terri) Read it, it's interesting. I am still baffled, I would think the judge would issue injunctive relief pending, but he has not, but at least I now know a little something.

What to do? Call the Flordia legislators. They can still fix this.
1 Pet 1:13 - Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


Radio Report -- Hearing Over

KRLA 870 AM in Los Angeles has just reported that the federal hearing on Terri Schiavo has concluded. Apparently the judge issued no verbals orders or opinions. ARRRRGH!

Continue to Pray!


Here's the first printed story I've seen on it.
US District Judge James Whittemore held a hearing of about two hours today in Tampa. He said late this afternoon that he will not be making an immediate ruling on the request for an emergency injunction to keep Bob and Mary Schindler's daughter fed.
I am beginning to wonder about buck passing here.

What is so hard? She could die before he rules! Shouldn't we keep her alive until he rules?

I am growing increasingly incensed at judges that place the law in front of morality. They think it is immoral to forbid homosexual marriage so they tell us we have to allow it, but could they preserve a life while the decide what is legal? NO! I am sorry, something is really, really sick here.


Dostoevsky On Terri Schiavo

Today's lunch time reading meant starting "The Brothers Karamazov." The translator's forward in the edition I am reading included a lengthy quotation from a letter Fyodor wrote to his brother while imprisoned. It just seems appropriate to quote today -- I have added some emphasis:
Brother, I?m not depressed and haven?t lost spirit. Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves and not in the external. There will be people near me, and to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall not to become depressed, and not to falter? this is what life is, herein lies its task. I have come to recognize this. This idea has entered into my flesh and blood. Yes, it?s true! That head which cre­ated, lived by the highest life of art, which acknowledged and had come to know the highest demands of the spirit, that head has been cut from my shoulders. Memory remains, and the images I have created and still not molded in flesh. They will leave their harsh mark on me, it is true! But my heart is left me, and the same flesh and blood which Likewise can Love and suffer and desire and remember, and this is, after all, life. On voit le soleil! Well, good-bye, brother! Do not grieve for me. . . . Never until now have such rich and healthy stores of spiritual life throbbed in me.
"Healthy stores of spiritual life throb" in Terri as well.


The Tail Wags the Blogosphere And The World Changed for Terri

The process remains infuriating in the Terri Schiavo case. The federal judge that has gotten it after yesterday's Congressional battle and the President signing the bill in the wee hours, has postponed any ruling until at least at a hearing this afternoon at 3PM Eastern. Please God, Please God, Please God.

Be not discouraged -- God's hand has clearly been evident. Friend Catez at Allthings2all quotes Luke's gospel this morning:
"He has shown strength with his arm
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts
He has put down the mighty from their thrones
And exalted the lowly
He has filled the hungry with good things
And the rich he has sent away empty"
- Luke 1:51-53
Even if this federal judge does not do the right thing, or do it fast enough - God Forbid! - I am thankful for what has happened and how it has happened.

In the first place the Congressional action over the weekend was extraordinary. This was not business as usual for our lawmakers by any stretch of the imagination. But despite the protests, it is also not unprecedented. Our federal government has steeped in before when the states were involved in serious evil. Anybody remember the Civil War, or federal troops forcefully integrating southern universities? No troops here -- much better way of doing things.

The Wall Street Journal has several excellent pieces this morning. This featured article is an opinion piece and you have to love this paragraph:
We'd have more sympathy for this argument if the same liberals who are complaining about the possibility of the federal courts reviewing Mrs. Schiavo's case felt as strongly about restraining the federal judiciary when it comes to abortion, homosexuality, and other social issues they don't want to trust to local communities. In any event, these critics betray their lack of understanding of the meaning of federalism. It is not simply about "states' rights." Conservatives support states' rights in areas that are not delegated to the federal government but they also support federal power in areas that are delegated.
Those that fought this effort have routinely trampled states' rights when it suited their purposes.

Editor James Taranto's "Best Of The Web Today" hits an absolute homer run:
But why do those of us who aren't right-to-life absolutists side with Mrs. Schiavo's parents, who want to keep her alive, over her husband, who wants her dead? It's a fair question, and it raises another one: What kind of husband is Michael Schiavo?

According to news reports, Mr. Schiavo lives with a woman named Jodi Centonze, and they have two children together. Surely any court would consider this prima facie evidence of adultery. And this is no mere fling; a sympathetic 2003 profile in the Orlando Sentinel described Centonze as Mr. Schiavo's "fiancée." Mr. Schiavo, in other words, has virtually remarried. Short of outright bigamy, his relationship with Centonze is as thoroughgoing a violation of his marriage vows as it is possible to imagine.

The point here is not to castigate Mr. Schiavo for behaving badly. It would require a heroic degree of self-sacrifice for a man to forgo love and sex in order to remain faithful to an incapacitated wife, and it would be unreasonable to hold an ordinary man to a heroic standard.

But it is equally unreasonable to let Mr. Schiavo have it both ways. If he wishes to assert his marital authority to do his wife in, the least society can expect in return is that he refrain from making a mockery of his marital obligations. The grimmest irony in this tragic case is that those who want Terri Schiavo dead are resting their argument on the fiction that her marriage is still alive.
I do think Michael Schiavo should be castigated, but otherwise, what a great piece.

At his blog, Hugh Hewitt describes this morning's WSJ piece from James Q. Wilson as "worth the subscription." I paid it and Hugh was right. As I write this minute, Laura Ingraham is reading parts of the piece on the air -- It is destined to be a classic. Wilson's very personal recount of his own travails coupled with a very powerful legal argument makes for great reading. Hard to pick a money quote, but I'll try
That moral imperative should be that medical care cannot be withheld from a person who is not brain dead and who is not at risk for dying from an untreatable disease in the near future. To do otherwise makes us recall Nazi Germany where retarded people and those with serious disabilities were "euthanized" (that is, killed).
Speaking of Hugh Hewitt, I really want to say how much it does my heart good to have him fully engaged in this battle. This comment appeared on one of my Terri posts from yesterday
BTW - did you know Hugh Hewitt initially didn't think blogswarming would be effective for Terri?
The commenter lists a site as back up, but I can't find it. However, I think it's true, Hugh got in the game pretty late and only after I know at least I sent him several emails begging him to get involved. If I did it, I am sure others did as well. Nonetheless, honor is due -- His involvement no doubt contributed mightly to helping what happened over the weekend happen.

But most of all -- I want to congratulate those of us in "the tail." In his book Blog, Hugh talks about a story reverberating through the tail of the blogosphere to gain a certain momentum. Hugh imagined the story starting from the bigs and reverberating backwards, but that was not the case here. The tail really did wag the blogosphere here. Blogs For Terri has risen from obscurity to near Hugh like levels in the Blogosphere in a matter of weeks. This was driven not by links from Hugh, or Powerline, or Malkin, or Reynolds -- it was driven by thosands and thousands of links from blogs that most of us have never heard of. This stands alone as the best victory of the blogosphere yet. Best of all this was a constructive action by the us, not simply destroying someone's reputation.

Good job -- very good job, my hat is of to each and every blogger that has posted on Terri in these last weeks. I am grateful for each of you.


Blogger Prayers Today

Here is today's trio of bloggers that I am praying for:

Peter Bogert at Stronger Church
Michael Spencer at Internet Monk and Boars Head Tavern
Sven at World of Sven.

Please join me in praying for all that call on the name of Jesus and blog. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide each of us in our thoughts and words and deeds.


Wonderful Words

I've been reading Devotional Classics again and ran across these gems from E. Stanley Jones.
E. Stanley Jones devoted his whole life to the subject of conversion. He was one of the best-known missionaries and religious writers in the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning in 1908, Jones worked among the high-caste Hindus and Muslims in India. Later in his life, he divided his time be¬tween missionary work in India and evangelistic missions in the United States.

One of his great accomplishments was the establishment of the Ashram, a Hindu word that means ?retreat.? This movement spread across the United States in the middle part of this century and continues in some mea¬sure today. The Ashram is a week-long structured Christian retreat that fo¬cuses on solitude and community building.

E. Stanley Jones had a keen understanding of the spiritual life and the means of spiritual renewal. The following selection discusses the delicate balance between the activity of God and the response of his children in the establishment and cultivation of conversion.


Receptivity and Response

Conversion is a gift and an achievement. It is the act of a moment and the work of a lifetime. You cannot attain salvation by disciplines?it is the gift of God. But you cannot retain it with¬out disciplines. If you try to attain salvation by disciplines, you will be trying to discipline an unsurrendered self. You will be sitting on a lid. The result will be tenseness instead of trust. ?You will wrestle instead of nestle.? While sal¬vation cannot be attained by discipline around an unsurrendered self, nevertheless when the self is surrendered to Christ and a new center formed, then you can discipline your life around that new center?Christ. Discipline is the fruit of conversion?not the root.

This passage gives the double-sidedness of conversion: ?As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith? (Col. 2:6?7, RSV). Note, ?received??receptivity; ?so live??activity. It appears again, ?rooted?? receptivity; ?built up in him??activity.

The ?rooted? means we take from God as the roots take from the soil; the ?built up? means we build up as one builds a house, a character and life by disciplined effort. So we take and try; we obtain and attain. We trust as if the whole thing depended on God and work as if the whole thing depended on us. The al¬ternate beats of the Christian heart are recep¬tivity and response?receptivity from God and response in work from us.

Simple Habits

The best Man that ever lived on our planet il¬lustrated this receptivity and response rhythm. No one was so utterly dependent on God and no one was more personally disciplined in his habits.

He did three things by habit: (1) ?He stood up to read as was his custom??he read the Word of God by habit. (2) ?He went out into the mountain to pray as was his custom??he prayed by habit. (3) ?He taught them again as was his custom??he passed on to others by habit what he had and what he had found.

These simple habits were the foundation habits of his life. They are as up-to-date as to¬morrow morning. No converted person can live without those habits at work vitally in his life.

Keep the Fire Burning

First, cultivate the new life by daily disciplines. Commissioner Brengle of the Salvation Army, a center of great spiritual power, suggests three things to keep the fire burning: ?Keep the draught open; clean the ashes out; keep put¬ting in fuel.?

Second, keep honest at any cost. A South African boy had won a swimming champion¬ship, but he was six months over age when he won it. Then he was converted. He brought his beloved trophy in his hands and made a clean breast of it before the committee.

Third, keep confessing your sins after con¬version. Don?t be afraid to say: ?I am sorry. I was wrong.? The rule about confessing your sins should be, the circle of confession should be the circle affected by the sin. If the sin has been against an individual, confess it to that in¬dividual; if against a family, to a family; if against a group, then to a group; if against a church, to a church.


Lambs To The Slaughter

This story is funny, really funny. Seems Howard Dean appeared at a meeting of "Democrats Abroad" in Canada this past weekend. His remarks were amazing coming on the heels of the drubbing the Dems took in the last election. You're going to love this.

The primary criticism of President Bush in the last election cycle was that he was dumb, too simplistic. John Kerry, on the other hand was smart and "nuanced." So, what does Dean say about his stewardship of the Democrat party?
One major reason his party lost the 2004 race to the "brain-dead" Republicans is that it has a "tendency to explain every issue in half an hour of detail," Dean told the semi-annual meeting of Democrats Abroad, which brought about 150 members from Canada and 30 other countries to the Toronto for two days.
I can't even get insulted by the "brain-dead" crack given the sheer inanity of the idea. They really do want it both ways, we're stupid, but we know too much detail.

But that is not the best part, oh no. Check this out.
"I'm going to be very disciplined about how we deliver messages. We can have policy deliberations in rooms like this. On TV, we have to be very focused."
This from internet "master" Howard Dean? What does he think just happened to Eason Jordan?

First of all, I am reading quotes from him that he made in a "room like this." And now I am blogging about it. More than likely someone will read it and they will blog about, and so forth and so on until what was said in that small room becomes actual news. This was THE GREAT CONCLUSION from the Eason Jordan affair -- everything is on the record now, everything.

But there is just one final bit I have to pick on.
It will be difficult to win over the many Americans who appear to disagree with Democratic policies on social and moral issues, such as abortion, he said.

"The majority is on our side. We need to figure out how to talk differently about these issues."
"Appear to disagree?" "Talk differently?" It's not possible that the majority of Americans actually disagree? What the Dems should have learned from the last election is that they need a "paradigm shift." Instead they are talking about re-packaging. Calling a buggy-whip a "motive transportation device" is not going to sell anymore of them.

But then, I am a Republican so if they really want to get beat up that badly again, who am I to argue? Thanks Howard.



Today we look at mountains being made out of mole hills....


This piece from the NYTimes concerning testing done at Yucca Mountain in Nevada in efforts to open it as a waste site for nuclear waste. The piece points out "failures."
For example, in 2000, James Raleigh, an Energy Department employee, pointed out in one message that records showed some instruments that were apparently used to measure conditions inside the mountain were certified as having been calibrated before the procedure was performed, and even before the equipment was received.
If you have ever worked anywhere where it is necessary to keep quality control records, you will be aware that this sort of thing is common. It is hardly reasonable to use a paperwork issue as a reason to continue to have nuclear waste housed all over the country in facilities far less secure than Yucca Mountain.


This piece on tatoo ink.
Dirty needles may be the chief health concern with tattoos, but preliminary research suggests the inks used to make the body art may harbor potentially toxic heavy metals.

In an analysis of 17 tattoo inks from five manufacturers, researchers found evidence of a number of different metals, such as nickel and copper, in the products. It's unclear how much metal may be in the different inks - or whether there is any health risk.
This has got to be Reuters trying to make a problem where none exists. Look at the qualifiers in the first sentence, "may harbor potentially toxic heavy metals." Have you ever read a sentence less sure about its subject?

The testing is just humorous. Of course the inks contain heavy metals. Virtually all colorants, or tints, are based on heavy metals. Besides, the ink manufacturers are required by law to disclose any hazardus materials in their products. Why couldn't they just ask?


This pretty well speaks for itself:
Even if people stopped pumping out carbon dioxide and other pollutants tomorrow, global warming would still get worse, two teams of researchers reported on Thursday.
(HT: BOTWT)Ah.. so as we skeptics have been saying all along, mankind may not be the real issue here. So how come this paragraph appears?
That makes immediate action to slow global warming even more vital, the teams at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado report in the journal Science.
Seems to me they need a problem so they can push the solution, because the solution is their real desire regardless of if there is a problem or not. In other words, "we'll just ignore the data and push the agenda." Agenda science indeed!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory