Saturday, April 23, 2005



The wonder of the blogosphere is that a single post can be reverberate through cyberspace like a superball in zero gravity. It goes all over the place and you never know what kind of nerve it is going to strike in who.

I think that has never been more true than when Adrian Warnock started talking about preaching and transformation. Earlier this week, my friend John Gillmartin at Sheep's Crib tried to round-up much of what sprang from that and "recalibrate the discussion." John did absolutely stupendous work in the preparation of that post. I think John grew frustrated a few days later when the discussion did not "recalibrate" as he hoped it would. Alas, trying to point bloggers in a single direction is pretty much like herding cats - just not going to happen. I understand John's frustration; I too have longed for a serious and focused discussion on a topic, only to be responded to with everything from non-sequiters to pointed personal barbs.

But there has been much good blogging that has followed in the wake of John's excellent round-up and suggestions. I have posted a couple of times already, once on sanctification and once on faith. Adrian has left several great posts in the wake of all of this, this post was in direct response to John's marvelous round-up, this post pointed to some great material from JOLLYBLOGGER and Unveiled Face, this post responded to my comments on sanctification, and here Adrian once again points to a great JOLLYBLOGGER post on the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Transforming Sermons has tried to keep on top of all of this, and more in this post that quotes from the JOLLYBLOGGER post. All in all, I would say that Sheep's Crib may not have "recalibrated" the discussion as he would like, but he certainly has renewed it in a fashion that has resulted in a lot of great blogging.

I think; however, that Adrian's latest post, though not really intending to, strikes at the real heart of the matter -- certainly it does from my perspective. I am going to step back a little bit and look at a couple of real core beliefs that I hold. I will risk offended some that I truly love and care for, but these are things I believe to be core truth.

The first is that God intends ministry in any form to be incarnational and relational. I believe this because of the sweep of God's history with man. We started in deep and intimate relationship with the Almighty, then sin intervened and the intimacy was lost. For millennia, God attempted to restore that intimacy by telling us what we had to do to be in His presence. It never worked. Law-giving, miracle working, prophecy preaching, never truly restored the intimacy that God so desired with us. Finally, God decided to restore intimacy by becoming one of us and taking upon Himself the punishment that we deserved, removing the barrier to that intimacy. And more, with that barrier removed, He now indwells us in an intimacy that we can never truly grasp.

Intimacy with God, for all of humanity truly began by intimacy between God incarnate and twelve men -- who in turn were intimate with some, who in turn were intimate with some.... This is why Adrian's latest post is important, he says, "If you struggle with accepting your pastor's teaching, and his discipleship of you..." Discipleship is an inherently incarnational and relational activity. It cannot happen from a pulpit or even the front of a classroom.

The second very core belief that I hold is related to the first. Because God, and His ministry to us, and therefore our ministry to each other, is at its core incarnational and relational, real ministry cannot be institutionalized. That same grand sweep of God's history with man demonstrates this. As man built institutions, God tore them down, whether the flood or the tower of Babel. God lead His chosen people out of bondage, and for centuries resisted establishing for them an actual Kingdom, knowing that such an institution would stand between Him and them. When He did relent, the Kingdom lasted but 2 generations. Christ came and saved almost all of His venom, not for the oppressive government of the time, but for the religious institutions of the time. God, I think, knows that while we need institutions to organize ourselves, they will always stand between us and Him, often idolously so. He longs for a time when He can again walk beside us without encumberment as He did in the garden.

So what's all that got to do with preaching? Simple, preaching that speaks to me is preaching that finds a way to inculcate those two core beliefs of mine. That means that first of all, I need to be able to call the preacher "friend" and see the evidence of the word he expounds in his life. Secondly, it means that preaching that serves to build the church, in the institutional sense, will send me out in a huff.

Some personal stories -- the "best" preacher I have ever been priveledged to sit under, as defined by the measures most people would use, could really pack 'em in. Church attendance grew from 500 to 1500 in a couple of years. People all over town were talking about what a great "word" he had. He was entertaining and intellectual. And it only took me 6 months to figure out he was a near complete phony. I was on the ruling board of that church at the time. My job demanded intimacy with the man and he was competely incapable of it. It wasn't a problem between him and I -- he couldn't be intimate with anyone, he was intimidated by virtually anyone that walked in his office. And, as I worked with him on mundane matters, I began to see that he had similar problems being intimate with the Almighty. His words from the pulpit rang very hollow indeed when matched against his utter failure to moderate simple disputes between leaders, that soon blew into enormous storms -- often unintentionally intensified by his inept efforts. The spiritual fruit he preached about so passionately was simply absent in his routine dealings. I did what Adrian suggests in his recent post:
If you struggle with accepting your pastor's teaching, and his discipleship of you, I would suggest that you may be in the wrong church,
Next Church! Interestingly, that church fell into utter disarray a year or two after my decision. That pastor left and the facade he had so carefully constructed fell away. Attendance fell back to below the levels from before his arrival, and the debt load may yet kill the congregation all together. Worse, many who claimed to find Jesus under this man's preaching, can now not be found in church anywhere. This man, to the casual observer, sang with the voice of angels, but it really was no better than a clanging gong.

There are; however, a few men that I really would call truly great preachers. About all of them, one thing could be said, "They did not take themselves very seriously, but they did take their jobs and the Word of God deadly seriously." Of this very small group of men, those that still live are still friends, and while I may not be under active discipleship from them at the moment, they are who I would turn to in a crisis.

So what is my vision for preaching? Just this -- it is a tool for my, and every other Christian in the congregation's, use in their own ministry. Each of us is called to be intimate with another, and through that intimacy the Spirit spreads. Not all of us are gifted at putting voice to the thoughts and ideas that surround that intimacy. That is what great preaching does -- it describes and explains the urgings of the Spirit that people feel, not from the preaching itself, but from the people in the seats or pews around you. A mediocre preacher will sound like a great preacher if he serves a congregation full of true and committed servants of the Lord. That's why I think a pastor should devote himself first to discipleship because discipleship will make the preaching better.


More On The Judiciary and The Filibuster

Three Supreme Court Justices held a public discussion the other day. It makes for interesting reading. After reading it, I wonder how they get along off hours.

Dick Cheney has once again committed himself to busting the filibuster, much to the astonishment and dismay of the NYTimes.

Charles Krauthammer has a great piece that, while it cautions us about the vitriol, points out that we have plenty to be cncerned about with regards to the judiciary. the battle over nominations is very consequential, despite John Kerry's near-gibberish contention to the contrary. Krauthammer may have uncovered the explanation for Kerry's inarticulateness:
Democracies work as stable social entities because when people are allowed to settle issues themselves by debate and ballot, they are infinitely more likely to accept the results when they lose. To deny them that participation is to risk instability and threaten social peace.

It was Ruth Bader Ginsburg who said that Roe v. Wade "halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby, I believe, prolonged divisiveness and deferred stable settlement of the issue."
I think the Dems have simply lost their political skill. They have been able to rely on the courts to mandate so much of their agenda, that they have not needed to actually exercise real arguement in the public sphere. Which explains why they are so incredibly paniced about losing the filibuster.

Speaking of the filibuster, Sean Rushton at NRO supplies a number of very important facts about the filibuster. This is an extremel;y important read if you are in the "don't want to change 200 years of tradition" camp, or just want to argue with someone who is. It's been a pretty fexible tradition.

And on a final note concerning a recalcitrant Senate minority, consider this NRO piece on the Bolton nomination and yesterday's revelation on Colin Powell's feeling ont he matter. I personally think at thi spoint that Powell is attmpting to position himself as "the Great Moderate" in preparation for a presidential bid, either Democratic or 3rd party. I would not be surprised if he sought some sort of electoral revenge against the RRepublican party that had now shunned him ala Ross Perot.


I'm Starting To Really Like This New Pope

Found out some stuff about the new guy that I really like. Starting seriously, his day before his election homily on the "dictatorship of relativism" was a great speech. I really enjoyed this look by Sheep's Crib into some of it's ramifications.

While we are being serious you might enjoy Ales Rarus look at some recent catholic related quotes., and this Daniel Henninger piece that looks at some of the less quoted speeches of Benedict XVI.

In what has to be the most poorly written headline in recent history:

CLARIFICATION: Sinners unhappy with new pope

First of all, why does that require clarification? But more importantly, I though we were all sinners -- I'm pretty happy with him, so what's this headline trying to tell me?

Finally, this story will endear this guy to my wife forever.

"I went with him once," said Konrad Baumgartner, the head of the theology department at Regensburg University. "Afterwards, he went into the old cemetery behind the church.

"It was full of cats, and when he went out, they all ran to him. They knew him and loved him. He stood there, petting some and talking to them, for quite a long time. He visited the cats whenever he visited the church. His love for cats is quite famous."
So is my wife's.


An Amazing Feat

Check out this video of a guy and his six gun. Revolver, that is. Not automatic. Must be cocked for each shot. I don't care what you think about guns, this is really a stupendous feat.


Now Who IS Exercising Censorship?

Scotwise warns of efforts in Australia to ban the Christian introductory course, Alpha. Apparently because it incites hatred against witches.

And some people think my concerns about religous bigotry in the current debate over judicial nominations in this country are unwarranted. Wait, isn't trying to ban Alpha similarly hate inciteful? Now this could be fun. I'd like to testify in this case. I could tie a jury into logical knots until they fell into a coma.


Comic Art

Last week we looked at the art and characters of Frank Miller. I mentioned that his characters tended to be in a place where vengeance and justice were hard to tell apart. Which set me to thinking about other characters that inhabit such a world. My favorite is the Spectre.

This is a character with a fascinating history that neither this nor this do real justice. The second link has a little to say on the real heart of the matter.
The Spectre's subsequent appearances featured both mortal villains, gunmen and extortionists who he killed with appropriate gruesomeness, and supernatural ones, who presented more of a threat and led to more cosmic elements instead of gruesome urban ones. He relied upon his deadly stare (frighteningly directed at readers as well), grew to tremendous size and crumpled fleeing cars of thugs before tossing them away like trash, and even simply vaporized human villains with a snap of he fingers. This was no pansy super-hero, if indeed a super-hero at all.
The fact of the matter is that the Spectre was a "Spirit of Vengeance" and was axed for a long time by the Comics Code. He ate bad guys for crying out loud. He was a character more suited to the pages of "Tales from the Crypt" than "Tales of Adventure" He was a blend of horror and suprhero.

The Spectre is very popular today and perhaps the most "powerful" hero in the DC universe, a great plot device to pull one of the regulars out of an impossible jam. I think he is visually stunning. But nothing can replace the original.

By the way, there is a new Superman movie in the offing.


PBS Nervous...

Nova used to be a great science show. Now it is a propagandist outlet for agenda-science and sensationalism -- they did a whole show on guys building catapults and knocking down walls for pitified sake.

PBS now routinely treats us to left leaning nonsense on a regular basis. Better called the "People's Broadcasting System," it is hard to find a moderate, let alone right-leaning voice anywhere on the network.

And yet they cry "censorship" when the government, a significant their source of funding, dares look into the matter.

My opinion, forget the investigation and just pull the money plug.


Thrill Rides

I think my wife sent me this story about the roller coaster atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas because it is something I would like to do, and she won't go near. Particularly after reading the story about it getting stuck.

Speaking of thrill rides, Milbogger Hurl talks about flying over Baghdad, and compares it to Los Angeles?! May be time to move.

Speaking of the military, Hedgehog Blag has the story of a real hero, Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh. This is not a guy I would want to get angry at me!


Saturday Silliness

This little puzzler will really stump you. Concentrate,work hard, but if you fail, it's OK.

This web site will make it all better, if you follow the instructions.


Men Matter

This story is awful. An 8-year old seriously injured a school principal with a long wooden pole.

By the time I was 8 or 9, I was physically large enough and strong enough that I could have done serious physical harm to my mother. It was only the threat that my father could return the favor that kept me in check. I am no more evilly inclined than the next guy, but boys are boys.

Had this school had a male principal there would have been no, or very little, harm done, as a man could have and would have physically taken the pole from the boy. It is not a sexist statement to say that we have got to get men back into some key positions in our society or we won't have any men left, just little monsters. Only a man can teach a boy how to be a man. Sorry ladies, it's just a fact.

While we are on the subject, Transforming Sermons is wondering about men, actually the lack thereof, in church. Good question, Milt -- I wonder if answers to some of your questions might lie in my comments above?


No Thank You

Christ Web is beginning a series to try and convince people to join the Libertarian Party. I will resist the temptation to go all Michael Medved on the subject, and just make a couple of comments.
  1. Legalized prostitution and drugs are not my idea of a good way to build a society.
  2. Third parties simply don't work in America, voting Libertarian is wasting a vote. I don't always love what the Rapublicans are doing, but at least they can do something.

I really hate that my first serious link to a Warnie Winner is a disagreement, but I am happy to provide the link.


Science Links

The Hubble Space telescope is 15 years old. Here is some of the latest shots. As always, they are spectacular.

This article could only have been dreamed up by a journalist who knows nothing about science, or a substitute teacher in a class in which she has no knowledge of the subject matter, so just gives the students an "assignment" - Compare and contrast the science and theories of Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. I could launch of on a real rant about mathematical and descriptive theories and all sorts of stuff that only other science-types would would care about - but I won't bore you.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Cursing...Growling...Generally Carrying On...

I apologize up here at top if my blogging is not up to par for this date. Blogger choose my primary writing hours to go down for "planned maintenance."


Filibuster Follies

There was action in Senate Committee yesterday that pushes us closer to the filibuster finale. I am gaining confidence. Why? -- you may ask. Because the Dems are sounding desparate, that's why. The sad part is many on our side are feeling sorry for them and sounding conciliatory when they whine and weedle and showboat and prevaricate -- DICK! I am sorry for a moment there I was flashing back to the Dick Lugar chaired Foreign Relations Committee Bolton hearings.

Lileks makes fun of pretty much the entire Senate in the Thursday Bleat. It will purge the angered soul.

Back to the filibuster -- No one sounded more desparate that John "Why The Long Face" Kerry on the floor yesterday. (Warning, this discussion is a blatant attempt to get a link from Hugh Hewitt)
Forces outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push Republican leaders toward conduct that the American people really don't want in their elected leaders, inserting the government into our private lives, injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn't apply. Jumping through hoops to ingratiate themselves to their party's base while step-by-step and day-by-day real problems that keep Americans up at night fall by the wayside here in Washington.
Effortlessly?! Why I have worked hard -- real hard. Don't election results establish the mainstream? I think this belies Kerry's underlying denial of his presidential defeat. I am beginning to think he truly believes that line he lays out that he would have won if all the votes were counted. And that crack about "into our private lives" -- Nothing, I repeat nothing, defines my private life more than my faith. And he is sticking his rather large french-looking nose right in the middle of it as he not so subtly tells me to shut up. It's not a question of into our private lives, it's a question of whose nose into whose life.
We each have to ask ourselves, 'Who's going to stop it? Who's going to stand up and say "Are we really going to allow this to continue?' Are Republicans in the House going to continue spending the people's time defending Tom DeLay or they going to defend America and defend our democracy?
Maybe if they would stop making baseless accusation about Tom DeLay, we wouldn't have to defend him so.
Will Republican senators let their silence endorse Senator Frist's appeal to religious division, or will they put principle ahead of partisanship and refuse to follow him across that line? Are we really willing to allow the Senate to fall in line with the Majority Leader when he invokes faith, faith, all of our faiths over here?
Religious division? What religious division? No one is proposing a crusade here.
Joe Lieberman's a person of faith.
First inarguable statement he has made so far.
Harry Reid's a person of faith.
Quoting from an article on G.K. Chesterton, "As Longenecker points out, everyone believes something. Even those who believe in "nothing" have a philosophy of life, as illogical and imploded as it is."
And they don't believe we should rewrite the rules of the United States Senate, and we certainly shouldn't allow this issue of people who believe in the Constitution somehow challenging the faith of others in our nation. Are we going to allow the Majority Leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench?
Ah, the heart of the matter...How in the world has Frist invoked faith? By a video appearance? - One he has not yet even made? That's streatching a point a bit. Substandard? Everyone of them is rated well by the American Bar Association. Extremist? Pro-life is extremist?
Is that where we are now? It is not up to us to tell any one of our colleagues what to believe as a matter of faith. I can tell you what I do believe though. When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers, no on can tell me that faith demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges. No one with those priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us.
What do you do when losing a debate? Change the subject! And while we are weighing the lives of children -- How many abortions have there been since Roe v Wade.

This speech and others like it show just how afraid they are. The less real power they have, the more shrill they become. But the fact that they make speeches like this also points out another problem for our side. We're wimps. They are playing the part of the bratty child, and we too often play the part of the parent afraid that their child will not like them. We have the power; we can and should use it. When parenting, caving under these circumstances only turns a brat into a spoiled brat. In politics, it just means you lose.

Light up the phones, lean on the weebles.


This NYTimes newsletter headline sounds surprised:

Religion at Issue in Judicial Fight

They just figure that out? Holy Coast takes a look at the article, bashing the NCC. NCC is a bunch of lefties in God's robes, I agree, but please don't discard the individual member denominations along with them. When I chaired my church's Mission Committee, I cut off NCC donations. There are a few of us left in those leftie denominations fighting for the good.

Be sure and check out Hedgehog Blog's take on Kerry's utterance.


Okie On The Lam takes on the LATimes latest on the filibuster. Gotta love the La-La Rag, always reliable to be one-sided and generally wrong.


Be sure and check out Sheep's Crib putting photoshop to the best use I have ever seen. Just swallow before you look or you'll pass whatever you are drinking through your nose. Also be sure and check out his great round-up of all the alliance posts on the filibuster issue.

Mere-Orthodoxy urges contactig two of your Califronia Senators. That's a start, but keeping moving through that Senate rolodex.


Sheep's Crib has more to add - sacrcasm in full evidence:

Actually what they were doing is what "leaders" do ... they discuss options and strategies in order to "lead" (go figure) their constituents. "Nnnoooooooo, it can't be, we allow Christians to have constituents?" The lefty-libs breath in unison.
I know, it's hard to believe, Christians in government, they have constituents, children, everything, why it's almost like they are...human.


Preaching And Transformation

The discussion on preaching is expanding and continuing. Warnock and Sheep's Crib have both put up recent posts. Adrian links to some good posts by Jollyblogger and Unveiled Face in his.

I am mostly putting this post up just to keep the discussion active on my site, so I can do it justice this weekend when I have time. Put I must comment on this from Adrian:
In common with many misconceptions about faith I think that the one that this quote might lead us to is undone if we translate the word "faith" as trust.
Interestingly, the word "faith" is almost exclusive to the New Testament, and "trust" to the Old (septuagent). From Strong's, the word translated as "trust" is
peitho (pi'-tho);

a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):

KJV-- agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
Also from Strong's, the word translated as "faith" is
pistis (pis'-tis);

from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:

KJV-- assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
They are noun and verb forms of the same word -- "trust" being the verb form and "faith" the noun. There must be a reason the New Testament authors chose the noun form over the verb.


Papal Learning

I learning a great deal about this guy. There is much about Catholicism I'll never get, but it is interesting, even if I don't understand it. It's always good to learn about your brethren.

Peggy Noonan was at her best yesterday.

World History Blog tuned me into a bunch of neat vatican history (HT: SmartChristian)

The Pope Blog helped me figure out the whole name thing. (HT: SmartChsristian)

The vitriol seems to have quieted down to more normal levels. I pray it will stay there.


Blogging Around

If blogger had not gone south on me, I could do more than just provide this round-up of great reads...

Tabletalk draws some great lessons from Narnia -- but then don't we all.

If you have ever worked overseas, you will enjoy this story from Assumption of Command.

Allthings2all has some interesting links and comments. I love her analysis of her email.

Sharing Life agrees with me when it comes to papal opposition.

Transforming Sermons discusses the value of having a little old lady in your life. I had one, though she is now long dead. I sure would have loved for her to meet my wife.

Hedghog Blog and Proverbs Daily look at some interesting California issues, something which most of us that live here find hard to find.

Mark Daniels looks at the concept ultimate truth in a very good post.

The Jesus Freak, goes all un-PC on us in discussing manliness. Check out Friday Humor below and I think you'll know where I stand on the issue.

To all of these bloggers -- I wish I could have done better they are all great posts.


Friday Humor

Can't resist this one...My wife sent it to me...

A man and a woman, who have never met before, foundthemselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a transcontinental train. Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, the two were tired and fell asleep quickly-he in the upper bunk and she in the lower.

At 1:00 a.m., he leaned over and gently wakes the woman,saying, "Ma'am, I'm sorry to bother you, but would you bewilling to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket? I'm awfully cold.""I have a better idea," she replied. "Just for tonight, let'spretend that we're married""

Wow! That's a great idea!!" he exclaimed "Good," she replied. "Get your own blanket!"

After a moment of silence, he farted.


All the News I Figure You Should Read

Next weekend, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy opens in a theater near you. If you don't know why I am excited by this possibility, I'm have actual pity for you. Read this memory of the book's author in preparation for what will hopefully be the funniest movie in a very long time.

A bad time to use a gun is in retribution for a bad haircut, obvioulsy a really bad haircut. But a worse time is to rob a gun store full of heavily armed people. Doohh...

A city commission candidate was criticized for breast-feeding her daughter during a public meeting, so 16 other mothers turned up and nursed their children at another gathering as a show of support. Thank God Barbara Boxer is too old.

Here is a new reason not to live near a sewage treatment plant.
Mice forced to breathe hydrogen sulfide -- known best for its rotten egg smell -- go into a kind of suspended animation...
Take it from the chemist -- that is NOT "rotten eggs."

This is not news, it is just sad.
But does marital therapy work? Not nearly as well as it should, researchers say. Two years after ending counseling, studies find, 25 percent of couples are worse off than they were when they started, and after four years, up to 38 percent are divorced.
Probably better to work it out for yourselves.


Style In The NBA

I really don't care much about the NBA. Much as I love basketball, I prefer it with smaller egos, except maybe in the coaches, less talent and more teamwork.

My first real experience with professional basketball was the ABA Indiana Pacers. They were one of thebest professional basketball teams ever, and you could get decent seats at a game for under $5. But then the Pacers joined the NBA and it all went to pot.

I really quit paying attention when they drafted a punk, from the much hated UCLA, named Reggie Miller. Remember now, when they had a coach instead of an idiot I adored the Indiana Hoosiers, and only UCLA and Kentucky have better histories so of course they are hated.

Well 18 years later, honor is due. Reggie is retiring and he has done the NBA about as well as it can be done. One thing's for sure -- at his age, he is a whole lot better than a certain guy named Jordan was.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Papal Pointers

The amount of ink and number of electrons that has been spent on analysis of the recent papal election is, I imagine, to be expected. What is not; however, is how absolutely vile so much of it has been. I'll be linking to some of the best (worst?) of it, but first a comment.

I am not sure I had any idea how many people had rejected altogether the idea of authoritative knowledge. As people have criticized the selection, one theme has been constant -- they act as if the church can change its mind about some issue because of popularity, or general acceptance, or just because more people want them to change it than do not. The fact that a secularist would disagree with the church I understand, but the fact that they would expect the church to act like themselves I do not.

While those critics may not choose to put themselves under the authority of Scripture or confessions or encyclicals, certainly they can recognize that many of us do? Yet they seem to expect the church to simply set aside 2 millenia (6 if you count the Jewish groundwork) of tradition, teaching, and wisdom as if it was meaningless. I'm the smartest guy I know and even I don't have that level of hubris.

Well, on to the links. The most notorious accusation is. of course, that the new Pope is a Nazi. The loudest such accuser was the Sunday Times of London. The Hedgehog Report links to the accusation several places. The charge is refuted by The Jerusalem Post and Cheat-Seeking Missles.

Hugh Hewitt links to several hit pieces on the new guy and The Guardian describes reactions as "mixed." Gee, ya think when the guy is accused of being a nazi? My second favorite link is Holy Coast who wonders what effect the newly elected Pope will have on pro-choice Dems.

And finally, last night's Larry King. Check this out from Paul Wilkes of
Larry, that this was a real crisis of imagination on the part of the cardinals. We had talked so much during the week about third world collegiality, a new voice for the church. And really, what the cardinals did, they went right back to the same old, same old. And this is the man that has been kind of the grim reaper in the Catholic Church and been this very strict guy on doctrine and liturgy.
Same old, same old? Of course now I get it -- the omniscient, unchanging God of the universe is boring. Why didn't I think of that before? But then I think most Europeans have thought of that and look where it's gotten them.

Pray -- then please, pray again.



Adrain Warnock is keeping the preaching discussion alive, this time with rather kind words to about me.

With Sheep's Crib entry, earlier this week, into the discussion on preaching and transformation, Adrain Warnock responded, in part, with these words:
Thus, I do deliberately mix up verses that talk to believers sanctification and their salvation- because in my view our sanctification is as much a result of our faith in Christ and his sacrifice for us as our salvation. I would love to see the distinction between the faith of salvation and ongoing faith argued from the bible more fully as so far I really haven't seen the distinction.
That would take a book to address. So I'll quote from one, and tell a story to tell you why I chose this book. Years ago, as an aspiring undergraduate student I attended Butler University, an institution I have praised in these spaces before. At the time, the chair of the philosophy department was an elderly gentleman by the name of Gordon Clark. As a chemistry major, I did not cross paths with the philosophy department much. I took one class just to pad hours. It was on the writings of CS Lewis, and since I had already read the whole course syllabus, it was an easy 3 hours credit. Unfortunately, it was not taught by Dr. Clark.

Fast forward 25 years and I am teaching a Sunday School class and in walks the pastor's retired pastor father -- no pressure there. Anyway, this gentleman, it turns out, was a personal friend of Dr. Clark, having attended undergrad school with him. When my retired pastor friend was forced to move to assisted living, he blessed me with a large set of books written by Dr. Clark. After reading them, I should have taken a lot more philosophy classes. Among those books is the one I shall quote here -- titled simply, Sanctification. Quoting from Dr. Clark's "Introduction"
In colloquial Christian conversation the term salvation is very frequently misused. There is a story of a Salvation Army lassie in London who approached a man on the street and asked, Are you saved? The man happened to be an Anglican bishop. He replied to the question, Do you mean sesuenossezomenos, or sothesomenos? Which being interpreted, means, have I been saved, am I being saved, or shall I be saved? Poor lassie. In plain English, salvation is a broad term that includes regeneration, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. The present study concerns sanctification.

Regeneration is an act of God. By it he instantaneously produces an effect in man, a change in which man is totally passive. Jeremiah 13:23 puts it rather picturesquely: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?" Co-temporaneously God does something else that is not a change in man at all. Justification is an instantaneous judicial act of acquittal. Sanctification, however, is neither instantaneous, nor is a man passive therein. It is not instantaneous because it is a time-consuming, subjective, life-long process. Nor is it an act of God alone. It is indeed dependent on the continuous power of God, but it is also the activity of the regenerated man. Both God and man are active. Sanctification is the Christian life.
And now quoting from the book's forward by John W. Robbins:
Sanctification, however, is not done outside of us. It is a subjective moral change in our character that begins with regeneration and ends with our glorification in heaven. The thirteenth chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, "Of Sanctification," summarizes the Bible's teaching in these words:

They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ's death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Both justification and sanctification are the work of God, not of ourselves; one work, justification, takes places wholly outside of us; the second, sanctification, is God's work in cleansing us from all sin. The Larger Catechism says that sanctification is "the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin and live unto righteousness."
There is so much to say on this topic, but I think that is a good start.


Weebles Still Wobble On The Filibuster

Just when we thought it was a done deal, the weebles continue to wobble, at least according to Hugh Hewitt. Hopefully they will remain true weebles and not fall down.

Having said that, Jon Kyl of Az said on the air that the votes are in, it's just a matter of timing. Hugh quotes the NYTimes with the following weebles:
John Warner of Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, Gordan Smith of Oregon, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Others who have appeared on different lists of fence-sitting senators include John Sununu of New Hampshire and Mike DeWine of Ohio.
Keep the pressure up on them, call (202-225-3121) and email. It is your pressure that will keep the wobbly weebles from falling down.


Holy Coast notes that even Santorum is going weeble. Gut check time Republicans! Light up those phones.


Okie On The Lam add his thoughts for the day as well. Actually he did hours ago, but, well, BLOGGER!


Fun With Headlines

Read this blog. He's a wise guy, and makes me laugh -- a lot!


John Knox

The great scotsman and founder of the Church of Scotland -- what we know as Prebyterianism here in America, is quoted by Rebecca Writes.
Lord, Jesus receive my Spirit!
Then he died, they said, as if he were falling asleep rather than dying.
Thanks Rebecca! Scotwise agrees.


A Waste Of Spit

Police said they arrested a man for spitting on Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda during a book-signing stop in Kansas City Tuesday night.

Jawa Report agrees, and Michelle Malkin thinks her hideous behavior does not justify our side being equally tasteless.

I just think there are better things to do with spit.


Illuminated Scripture

This wonder from my wife's brush really spoke to me this week:


Leading Iraqi Terrorist Has Nuke - reported

Continuously circulating intelligence reports indicate that the possibility is very real, although everybody is arguing the veracity of those reports. Outside The Beltway doubts it.
I, too, tend to think that Zarqawi and gang would use such a device immediately if they had the capability.
Having it and using it are two very different things, and I do not think the fact that it has not been used removes credit from the reports at all. Try walking around a few hours with legal radioactive material and watch what happens, particularly if you try to travel.


This Is A Good Idea

Texas bans gay foster parents

And it should not be news...


We're Raising Whiners

Play in the soap and get an itch. A number of Harvard students are complaining after spending hours playing in soap suds over the weekend -- apparently a regularly scheduled student event.

Chemistry lesson: Soap takes things that are normally insoluble in water, things like say skin oils, and makes them soluble and thus they wash away. The result if you spend too much time in it? Itchy dry skin.

The irritation they speak of has probably happened to every student that ever did this -- it happened to me when I soaped up a fountain as a prank in school, years ago, way past the statute of limitations. There is a solution -- skin lotion!


Thanks SmartChristian

For this very kind link. You're a mensch Andy!


Humility In The Face Of Insignificance

I am not sure Unveiled Face understand the utter unimportance of his Warnie Award. His acceptance speech indicates that he feels honored. Of course, so did I -- ah well, live and learn.

Love you Adrian!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Of Popes and Filibusters

I feel like I am going to be out of the news cycle for the next few days. I know little of things Catholic, and would feel uncomfortable commenting even if I did simply because I am not one. So, I'll have to leave it to the experts. Hugh Hewitt, a former Catholic, points to several good reads on the new guy. Most notable is this peice by John Allen. Allen is the go-to guy on Ratzinger. I googled "Allen" and "Ratzinger" -- Allen has been writing about him for years.

The most amazing thing I have seen is Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan describes himself as "in shock," apparently because the dared elect a Pope that considers homosexuality sinful. I just cannot understand people that think religion is some sort of maleable thing, subject to whims and fads, trends and ideas. Of course, this thinking reflects the very relativism that the new Pope spoke of so eloquently the day before he was elected. Nonetheless, it astonishes me. Such thinking is so backwards. Religion is about what God says, not what we think. I am not sure "relativism" properly covers it -- I think "idiolatry" is better because it really is about putting us in front of God.

Which brings me to the filibuster and judicial appointments. Apparently since the left senses the truth in the accusation of religious bigotry that has been thrown at them, they are going to switch gears and claim they are standing on religious ground themselves. The Christian Science Monitor gives them the idea -- But Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean perfect it by quoting scripture at us. How come they can quote scripture to tell us to be quiet, but when we do it, we are improperly asserting religion into the political conversation?

I have a headache.


This Discussion Is Getting Out Of Hand

Adrian Warnock and I, along with some others, have been having a very nice discussion about the nature and effects of preaching. In typical blogging fashion, it was little brief snippets of thought here and there meandering in a general direction, but not too hurried to a conclusion. You have to bear in mind, Adrian and I have two very different perspectives. Adrian is a preacher, I am a consumer of preaching, though I do have some significant training in the area and have done it from time to time.

Then I have to go and make a new friend -- John Gillmartin of Sheep's Crib. John sees some of the posts I had on the subject and chimes in -- cool, that's what blogging is all about. He then asks me to send him links to all the related posts which I gladly did. The result was this opus of a post. Adrian then almost immediately responded with the longest post I have ever seen on his site that is not a quote from something he was reading.

I'm left wondering if there is room for a mere consumer of a preaching in the discussion at this point? Oh well, I've never been accused of being bashful, or afraid to express my opinion. I do not have the time I need right now to give both these posts the very serious (and lengthy) response they deserve. For now, I first want to throw a few scripture out there and see what sticks...

Clearly, being a Christian involves some sort of process...Heb 12:11 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before requires endurance.

Paul seems to think there is a beginning and a perfecting...Gal 3:33 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?...Could this be salvation and sanctification?

Then I just need to add this comment, in an analogous vein. The first post college job I had in chemistry was at a very large corporation. There were a number of us there with freshly minted degrees, most from very large universities, I from the very small Butler. It was soon discovered that I had many multiples more laboratory experience than those from the larger institutions, because my smaller college simply provided more opportunity. I was put to work doing things that really helped the company almost right away.

Those that, unlike me, had degrees based primarily on lectures and book work spent several months in the company's training program. I got to be a chemist almost right away. It took them a little longer. Listening and reading can only take us so far down the road to becoming, well, anything.


More On Christians In Politics

This post from yesterday drew quite a bit of comment. Please go read teh post and the comments, I'll wait...OK -- You're back. Just a few comments I feel compelled to make.

Submission to governmental authority. I agree, Paul admonishes us to do precisely that. but we are in a remarkably different place in America today than the people Paul spoke to 2000 years ago. Then government was "the other." It was somewhat oppressive and inflicted upon them by raw authority, generally military might. But in the United States of America, we ARE the governmental authority. Submission to that authority is, precisely, political involvement.

Final Solutions Of course, evangelism is the best solution to the world's problems. But being involved poltically is not necessarily about solving the world's problems. It is, as I said, about being a good citizen -- submitting to the government's authority.

I do agree that the way America is set up the church should be fairly limited in its poitical activity, but not Christians. I also think that evangelism is the primary call of the church, and for the church to dilute that activity with political activism is a problem. But the church is composed of lots of individuals, with many gifts and callings -- including politics. the church cannot stand in the way of those people exercising their gifts, it should in fact encourage it.

Humility and Bigotry In this age of outright religious bigotry, what is the correct response? Are we, as the houseslaves of old, to remain humble and avoid "stirring up massa" by not asserting our rights under the American political system, or do we point out that bigotry, and not let it silence us? In the ancient Roman empire, I think Paul would tell us to choose the first option, but in America, I think the latter.


Give That Cop a Banana

The Mesa Arizona police are up to some serious monkey busness.
Truelove is spearheading the department's request to purchase and train a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. The department is seeking about $100,000 in federal grant money to put the idea to use in Mesa SWAT operations....

...Weighing only 3 to 8 pounds with tiny humanlike hands and puzzle-solving skills, Truelove said it could unlock doors, search buildings and find suicide victims on command. Dressed in a Kevlar vest, video camera and two-way radio, the small monkey would be able to get into places no officer or robot could go.
Fair enough until I read this:
The monkey, which costs $15,000...
And that is before it is trained. That's a lot of money for a monkey, does that include the diamond studded collar?


A New Warnie Winner

Congrats to new Warnie Winner -- Unveiled Face. Ten days is all huh? Well, Adrian may be the gatekeeper, but once you are inside here with the rest of us, we might have to rough you up a bit.



Christian Carnival Arrives...

...And you will find it healthy and hearty right here.


Best Of Pravda

Drinking is actually the national sport in Russia. I've been there and had the headaches to prove it. Thus this headline caught my eye

American girls deported from Russia for drinking vodka

That's a little bit like saying "Eating Pizza is Un-American" but when you read the story, in typical Pravda fashion, things are not quite what they seem.

While we dealing in misleading headlines:

Russian former prime ministers involved in online porn

Needless to say, the names are just used as search engine tags. I think Pravda has guys in their offices paid to sit around and say "Nah, nah -- got you to look."

This Pravda link is entirely gratuitous, solely for the benefit of the newest SoCal Alliance member Hedgehog Blog.


Read Here

This guy is a friend of a friend. They are writers. His writing can be worth reading, not so much for what he says, which I have no problem with, but because of how he says it, which I can only dream about. So read it.


I'm Jealous...

SoCal Alliance friend Rachel Robinson at Classically Educated links to this interview with C.S. Lewis' stepson and shares that she got to spend an afternoon with Mr. Gresham once. I'm really jealous, closest I have ever gotten to Lewis was having a beer in this pub, where he met regularly with Tolkien.


Cause Of Death

Well, I can breathe easier now. Apparently being overweight is not the killer the CDC thought it was.

Who decides if being overweight is a cause of death anyway? You die because your heart stops beating, which can happen because of any one of a number of reasons. It's true that those reasons are more common in people like me than in skinny people like my wife, but that is a far cry from causing death. I think my friend Stacy would agree.


A Good New MilBlog

I am not sure how the whole thing works, it Howdy and Hurl's Blog, but I can't figure out if they are one or two guys, or just what. Anyway, I enjoyed this post from Hurl and this one from Howdy. Just thought I'd pass them on.

While we're milblogging, check out this from Dadmanly. Nothing like an eyewitness to dispell the garbage the flows from the MSM.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


There Is A New Pope

His name in Benedict XVI. I listened to his first blessing on the radio this morning and was moved to tears, something amazing for this dyed-in-the-woool protestant. Don't know why, but I was.

This much I must say -- I loved the ancient and obscure ritual in the whole thing. As churches eject anything traditional on an almost daily basis, I loved that this was done the same way it has been done for centuries. There is a lot of wisdom in those centuries - wrongheadedness as well to be sure, but a lot of wisdom. We do ourselves no favors when we reject those centuries of wisdom - whether Roman or Orthodox, Presbyterian or Pentecostal.


Judicial Nominees and Filibuster Reading

The best news I have heard in a while is when David Dreier appeared on Hugh Hewitt last night and said the Republicans have the votes and the vote will happen next week. That's the most reliable source I have heard that news from, and the first one reliable enough to give me genuine hope.

But after the reading of the day, and the comments of the weekend, this remains a very serious debate, even if we will win. Why? - because of the tactics and arguments used by the opposition in this debate. Since when does faith negate one's opinion on a matter of public policy. The discussions from the Democrats have not been an effort to persuade, rather they have been an effort to exclude a large portion, perhaps even majority, of the voting public from the debate. And they base that exclusion almost solely on the basis of religious conviction. They try and spin is differently, but it is so obvious, that they cannot hide it.

For an EXCELLENT review of the philosophical underpinnings for a world view that would produce such religious bigotry, read this post from Mark Daniels. Mark does not mention judicial nominations, but his post springs from a call he made to the Hewitt radio program last night, and it is really good, and related stuff.


Hugh Hewitt this morning looks at some of the liberal response to the Catholic speech that Mark Daniels is also commenting on. Hugh, of course, has an entirely political take on it, but it is well worth the read.


I think it's official, religious bigotry IS my number one reason to blog so much about this, replacing responding to Terri Schiavo in that number one spot.

Virtually all the "news" stories on the matter cast the issue as the religious versus seemingly everybody else. There is this AP story, and this story from the Boston Globe.

Bloggers are everywhere on this. From our side of the aisle, Marchand Chronicles thinks this fight is analogous to the Gingrich 1995 government shutdown. I have to disagree, the mood of the country, is quite different today than it was then. From the middle somewhere, Moderate View wishes for the days of gridlock. I have to say, that misses the point entirely. Such gridlock is precisely what empower judges so. Judges act because the legislature doesn't. And then there is this lefty bit of bile poured out for all to see.

The leftie organizations remain a good source of humor. People for the Un-American Way:
Two judicial nominees who failed to win Senate approval during President Bush?s first term are moving this week, with Senate Judiciary Committee votes scheduled on Thursday, April 21 for Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown.
Of course, they "failed to win Senate approval during President Bush?s first term," they were filibustered for crying out loud. And Civil continues to amaze me, planning some sort of rally/event in support of the filibuster. As I said yesterday, I love it when they forget their history. Check this out.
His doubters point to the watering down of the Eisenhower administration's 1957 civil rights bill as more proof that LBJ was at best lukewarm on the subject. But it should be noted that, even in its weakened state, that bill was the first federal civil rights law since the Reconstruction period. It didn't do much, only called for the establishment of a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and authorized the U.S. attorney general to enforce voting rights. But even that little was too much for many, and Strom Thurmond set what was then the record filibuster (24 hours, 18 minutes) in speaking against it. Had it been much stronger, it might not have passed at all. And it only passed because Johnson forced the Senate into round-the-clock session to defeat the filibuster threat. (emphasis added
Thank goodness for some decent right-wing bloggers that take far more reasoned and convincing stances. Check out this post and this post from Captains Quarters. While we are in Minnesota, Powerline has a good two cents as well. Finally, Confirm Them is rapidly becoming THE go to site on this issue.

But I have saved the best for last - what has been said on the 'ol one-eyed living room monster known as the television. Check out all the posts at Radioblogger, who I think should change he blog name to "Transcriptboy." But my fav was Sunday night's "CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." Check out this exchange:
BLITZER: Senator Frist, the majority leader, Senator Feinstein, is participating next Sunday, a week from today in a religious event to try to get the rules changed, to eliminate the filibuster, arguing that this filibuster, among the sponsors of this event, and I'm quoting now, "is being used against people of faith."

Is he going too far in aligning himself with that concept?

FEINSTEIN: Yes, I think so. I think it's a very dangerous, extreme thing. I think there is no telling what it might launch. It's entirely false.
First of all, you have to love the incoherence of Feinstein's response. Blitzer question is a bit rambling, but she does an awful job of telling us what part of her answer responds to what part of his question.

More importantly though, what precisely about the concept that the filibuster is being used against people of faith is dangerous, and what might it launch? Are we just a community of ticking timebombs waiting for the slightest provocation to explode? Are we all hiding weapons under the floorboards waiting for an opportunity to begin a new crusade? She denies that they are attacking people of faith while doing so in the very same breath. Her response implies that people of faith are somehow uncivil, unreasoning and dangerous if provoked.

I cannot help but feel that it is the secularists that are showing themselves to be uncivil, unreasonable and dangerous as they are provoked.


Hedgehog Blog has posted a great piece today on the filibuster. His point? -- let's debate instead of play parlimentary games.


Bloggers "puffed up with conceit"?

Adrian Warnock put up a marvelous post over the weekend about I Timothy 6. Adrian seems to be talking about preaching:
And, perhaps not surprisingly I do find many a "teacher" who seems to me puffed up with conceit, and with a craving for arguments. Sometimes I even find that they can't seem to even make me understand what they are saying.
I find a lot of bloggers like that. I think Paul's words to Timothy are valid in the digital realm as well. Mostly, I pray I am not a blogger like that.


What Makes A Good Sermon?

Transforming Sermons pulls a quote from a pastor that is changing his approach to preaching. I am not sure I understand all of what he is trying to say here. I'll try a simple paraphrase, "It is better to preach wisdom and truth, than to simply teach a topic." But I am not sure it conveys it. Consider this:
The preaching that reaches deep inside me and rattles my bones is not usually very easy to outline--though that certainly doesn't mean it isn't carefully crafted. Often, it has seemed to me, the other kind of preaching tends to turn people into Bible Wonks who study scripture a lot but don't catch the overarching themes of scripture. In their search for "answers," they wind up with a reduced world.
I love that phrase "preaching that reaches deep inside me and rattles my bones." As a consumer of preaching, I can say where I am affected that way by preaching -- when the reality of the message is evident in the person presenting it. If the preacher reaches deep inside himself, and his bones are rattled, a listener can tell, and the power is evident.


Technology Creates Literature

Fellow SoCal Alliance members, Mere-Orthodoxy and The Scriptorium, are all kinds of excited by the recent use of infra-red illumination to read ancient and otherwise illegible manuscripts. Take that all you lit majors who thought you were too cool to hang our with us science geeks.


From the Edge of Taste

Ananova strikes again. This one is a real "barn-burner."


How To Be A Christian In Politics

21st Century Reformation posted on a post from Through The Glass Darkly about why he does not blog politics. Quote 21CR:
The above post emphasizes that Christians need to remain humble and civil in all political discourse. This is my reluctance. Politics is simply not very gracious and to me spirituality is so much about being humble and gracious.
I can't argue with the spiritual reality of being humble and gracious, but I wonder what that really means. Jesus called religious authorities "vipers," never denied who He was, and made a mess of the Temple courtyard. I think being "humble and gracious," at least according to the Lord's example, may include quite a bit of behavior that we do not normally associate with those words.


Just feel a need to add some comments to this. I think I probably agree with Brad in the sens that the church should not be involved directly in politics, but Christians really, really should. Particluarly in a nation like ours where public participation is the grass roots of political action. As a pastor, Brad speaks for the church, so I understand his reticence, but I think a pastor can, if they work at it, make it clear when they speak for the church and when they speak as an individual, and they too should, as individuals, participate in the poolitical process.


While We Are Being Christians In Politics...

Scotwise reminds us that we are more than conquerors. John quotes AB Simpson:
The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down. Our Master expects us to accomplish results, even if they bring opposition and conflict. Anything is better than compromise, apathy, and paralysis.
It is possible to be confident in my status as a new creature and remain humble at the same time -- not easy, but possible.


Do Democrats Know How To Do Anything But Hate?

First they attacked W. Now they are attacking anyone of faith. And latest, CA Governor A. Schwarzenegger is under increasing attack, even by national democratic leadership. Just once I would like to hear a Democrat propose to do something, instead of take shots at what the rest of us are doing.


Einstein Had A Sense Of Humor

Relatively new blogger, Grace and the News, posted some quotes from Albert Einstein. They made me chuckle, so I thought I'd give you the opportunity to smile as well.


Japan and China Continue To Square Off

The New York Post and The Washington Post both had opinion pieces yesterday about the increasing tensions between China and Japan. I wondered yesterday if the whole thing is a pretense for China to seize Japanese owned plants in China. I seem to be alone in that wonder, but having worked in China, I would not put anything past them.

Last week, I mentioned that the Japanese really do have to take a look at their own sins. Both the editorials "side" with the Japanese. There really is enough garbage to smear both sides of this one, but I think the NYPost piece said it best:
Washington should be deeply concerned about the growing Tokyo-Beijing rivalry. The U.S. and China just established a high-level "Global Dialogue," and when they meet, Washington must clearly register its concerns with Beijing about the prospects of Chinese adventurism or miscalculation in the region. The U.S. must also caution China that we will stand behind our Japanese ally.


While We Are Poking Around Asia

John Mark Reynolds has some fascinating ideas about Russia. That Russia is in trouble cannot be questioned. Dr. Reynolds has some interesting and useful ideas about how to help. I've been to Russia and I am going back this summer. It's a great place and it is worthy or our prayers, and useful thoughts like these.


It's Good To Own The Company

Like blogging? I do. This NYTimes article makes me exceptionally glad that I am the boss.
A rising tide of employees have recently been reprimanded or let go for running afoul of their employers' taste or temperament on personal blogs...
I won't have any problems with my employer, that's for sure. All I have to worry about are clients.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Slow Sunday On The Filibuster

News moved a little slow on the filibuster front on Sunday. I expect updates to this post through the day and it will grow more interesting. Funny how the religious bigotry slows down on the day everybody goes to church. Anyway there are a couple of important links on this front from yesterday. The Terri Schiavo motivation for entering this fight is gaining ground again.

First there is this from the Guardian.
One Republican who has been undecided on the rule change, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, said Sunday he is leaning toward supporting revives filibuster rules `"when push comes to shove."

``I would not take a stand against my party's view that we should have up-or-down votes on judges and that this is a part of the filibuster thing that really needs to be settled and set aside," Lugar told "Fox News Sunday."
I am really very glad to see that Dick remembered his party is in the majority now. I guess almost 20 years of minority service and failed presidential aspirations have confused him some. You know what's really sad -- I'd have worked hard for him for president back when Dole ran...

Then there is this from a site called
At a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court last week, Senator Reid accepted more than 1 million petitions from Americans across the country who have asked senators to stand up against the nuclear option and protect our system of checks and balances. The nuclear option would change Senate rules that have been in place for more than 200 years and would deny senators from the minority party the ability to filibuster unqualified, out-of-the-mainstream judicial nominees.
Sometimes one has to laugh. The filibuster is the greatest enemy civil rights have had in the post reconstruction period of American history. It took decades to overcome. If there was a natural ally for the Republicans in this it should be civil rights activists. Don't you love it when movements don't know their own history.


Hedgehog Blog was the first up with today's comments on the issue. Commenting on a LATimes piece from today's paper, and has updated as the day has progressed..
Turley suggests a compromise, whereby the Democrats allow those nine nominees to get a vote, and the president withdraws the remaining three. I don't know why all twelve should not get a vote, but it will be interesting to see if this idea gets any traction.
That sounds like a "splitting the baby" (biblical reference...) compromise to me, the idea seems reasonable, but the reason for the dispute is forgotten in the compromise.


Okie On The Lam adds his two cents on the LATimes piece as well.

While not an Alliance member., the guy we most wish was, Hugh Hewitt, links to this article in his morning post.
The conservative group's president, Tony Perkins, "stepped over the line," Mr. Schumer said. "He said it's people of faith versus Democrats."

"That is so un-American. The founding fathers put down their plows and took up muskets to combat views like that - that one faith or one view of faith should determine what our politics should be," Mr. Schumer said on the ABC News program "This Week."
This is so blatant attempt to silence the opposition that it cannot be construed as anything else but bigotry. Who said anything about one faith determining our politics anyway? All we want is an actual political vote...


Is the NRSC attempting to distance themselves from "the wobblies". It is obvious the committee is feeling the pressure, they have set up this site with a video on the filibuster. (HT: Laura Ingraham) The video is great, hope it's running on TV -- in the states of the wobblies especially. But I got to say, I think the committee has more direct ways to exersize influence on this less than completely loyal bunch and if the committee wants my donation any time soon (I turned them down three times last week when they called) they better use it.


Sheep's Crib cracks me up woith his contribution to busting the filibuster today.
My high school American history and social studies teachers, as well as my college poli-sci and American government professors, must be twisting on their quilted satin linings knowing they didn't teach that doctrine correctly ... at least according to Chappaquiddick Ted!
How right can you be, according to Ted, whole hosts of us were indeed poorly educated.


Holy Coast picks up Mort Kondrake's suggestion in today's Real Clear Politics that both sides agree to an actual extended debate.
I like Mort, but I think he's missing the real issue here. The fact is the Dems are not interested in debating the real merits of the nominees. Why? Because that's a debate they will lose.
Ain't that the truth. If they were interested in actual debate, they'd have tried that before exersizing the filibuster.


This Week's Schiavo Round-up


Best of the Web Today pointed out these two headlines last week. They are frightening and ironic at the same time:

U.S. Executions by Lethal Injection May Not Be Humane

Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death

Was it even necessary to print this story. I for one never thought she was abused in the classic sense, I did think it was a great ploy to try and forstall her execution. But this statement, "Schiavo's husband has denied harming his wife." I guess removing nutirition and hydration leading to her death does not count as harm.

It is funny how the polls change when the fight is over and the actual facts become apparent. The Zogby poll from early last week is enlightening. Here is some great commentary on the poll from Cheat Seeking Missles -- Football fans For Truth -- Michelle Malkin.


Most of the politics related to this this week have surrounded ending the filibuster on judicial appointment. You can follow that fight almost daily through this blog. There are a couple of other items though.

Howard Dean says the Dems are going to make the Schiavo case an election issue. Howard seems to be stepping in it pretty much daily. Powerline has some things to say about 'ol Howard and his "threats."

I'm with Blogicus on this who is quoting David Limbaugh. This case has woken many people up to the state of certain issues in the country. If Dean wants to use this for an election issue, we are likely to beat him like a drum on it.


Pro-Life Blogs carried a great piece this week on Living Wills. I am not quite as avid about it as they are, but it is very informative reading and great food for thought.

FOXNEws carried a piece this past week on the importance of defining what is a disability and what is not. The artcile is more abou tthe PC garbage of "claiming your disability" as it were, but the question is a danged important one.

California is on the verge of passing an assisted suicide law. Probabaly need to get busy lobbying about this one.


ProLifeBlogs also carried a piece this week about diagnosis or misdiagnosis of PVS. I really hate this diagnosis. I have heard the terms for years and had alwasy heard the word "unconcious" associated with it. When I hear that word, I associate it with a state resembling sleep -- eyes closed, resting. Apparently the powers that be have stretched the word now to include "non-cognitive" which is when they think a person is "awake" but not thinking somehow. That is way to loose for me.

This has set me to thinking about what circumstances, precisely, would I accept what happened to Terri. Here is some ideas:

Those are just some of my thoughts, what are yours?


Doing Satire Right

The post immediately below warns about doing satire wrong, but Catez at Allthings2all does it absolutely right. I laughed so hard my wife had to come from the other room and see what was up. I like this person. Read and enjoy.

And, as long as we are laughing, check out this video.


Food For Blog Thought

Jollyblogger wondered this past week how to be a popular blogger. (HT: Allthings2all) As usual, David has a lot to say, and as usual, it's good stuff. My favorite section is his warning against the inappropriate and poorly executed use of satire.
Satire, controversy, invective and the like are almost an art form which, when done properly, can make a good point. But when it comes to this stuff some got it and some ain't got it. Some who try to blog this way will be like me going to a junior high dance back in the 70's. I came to puberty around the time John Travolta came to fame with Saturday Night Fever. So, when it came time for junior high dances I donned my silk shirts, unbuttoned down to here, and went to the dance trying to look cool. I didn't walk into the room I strutted into the room, quite sure that everyone was impressed with my John Travolta. In truth, I just looked goofy. And some will try to imitate Luther's tough-talk or Mark Twain's wit and will end up looking more like a bad imitation of Don Rickles.
David can be such a hockey puck sometimes. And I've just proven his point.

This is a post well worth the read.


Learning From The Past

Dadmanly tackles David McCullough's recent Hillsdale College address as reprinted in IMPRIMUS. Firstly, the post confirms that the men and women in our military really are our best and brightest.

More importantly, he draws on the speech, about the importance of knowing history, to draw inspiration. My favorite bit is when McCullough quotes a letter from Abigail Adams to John Quincy. McCullogh says this:
Now, keep in mind that this is being written to a little kid and listen to how different it is from how we talk to our children in our time. She?s talking as if to a grownup. She?s talking to someone whom they want to bring along quickly because there?s work to do and survival is essential
My wife and I are childless, so it is not my place to tell anyone how to parent. However, I like to think that if I were a parent, that description could be applied to me.

Thanks Dadmanly!


More Religious Intolerance

While Mormon thinking is changing slowly towards more traditional Christian viewpoints, I am still in the "Mormons as cult" school. They are; however, a large and effective cult. That's why this FOXNews article caught my eye.
Mormons in the tiny Southern California mountain town of Running Springs have been trying for seven years to build a new church, but environmentalists keep putting up roadblocks.
Of all the liberal/left movements, evironmentalism scares me most. It too easily devolves into earth worship, and its methodology is too socialistic.

There is nothing blatantly, religiously intolerant in what is said in the article, but one wonders what is said behind closed doors. I am reminded of a fight in my howeowner's association where the meeting discussions were all reasonable. But in private conversation my opponents revealed themselves as utter racists. My allies were of a different ethnic origin that myself or the opposition. Sometimes you just wonder.




It's about time they went after this environmental disaster. Anyone who pays attention to genuine environmental problems instead of trumped up political hype knows that the Mayak nuclear processing plant in the Ural mountains of Russia may be the most polluted place on the planet. Why is there so little news on it? Could it be that is really is more about politics than pollution? Just a thought.


As evidence of my thesis from above consider these two articles. CNN, of all places, has a piece about the controversial nature of how much global warming actually is taking place. They try to downplay the controversy, but leave out the adjectives and pay attention to the information and you will see that even before we can get to the question of how much affect manmade emissions have on temperature rise, we have to decide if it will rise enough to matter.

JunkScience via FOXNews examines the pure political posturing behind suggestions of a global warming tax. Science has little to do with this.


Apparently, the peasantry of China is worried about pollution. At least if this NYTimes report of a Chinese protest from early last week is to be believed. But somehow, I think the picture is a little more complex than a first glance might lead on to believe.

Couple of facts: there are some places in China that are really polluted, I've been there -- the government and the populace could care less, at least in my opinion. Secondly, most of the industrial development in the country has been done with foreign investment, and is still at least partially foreign owned.

As we all know later this past week massive protests have broken out against the Japanese in China. The latest, that same NYTimes reports yesterday, was "allowed" by the government.

Is it at all possible that the "pollution" protests were really early anti-Japanese protests (they built a lot of plants there) dressed up to get positive press coverage. And is it even further possible that all of this protesting is not only allowed, but actually encouraged by the government to create a pretext under which it can seize all those foreign owned factories, or at least the Japanese ones? Just wondering -- it's not like the Chinese have an ancient history of xenophobia or anything.


NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) backfires, at least according to this FOXNews piece which notes the connection between rising gasoline prices and the lack of refining capacity in the US. Environmental PR guy Cheat Seeking Missles wonders if the rising prices aren't a purposeful ploy to change public opinion to allow some refining capacity to be built.


Now they are literally faking environmental stories. Cheat Seeking Missles opines that the fact that the entirely fabricated story survived editing is a result of MSM bias.

Sometimes I just want to tell the organizations and the government and the press to get out of the way and let us do what is real and necessary to deal with pollution. The politics get in the way so much. Alas....Dream on blogboy.

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

Site Feed


eXTReMe Tracker

Blogarama - The Blog Directory