Saturday, August 06, 2005
Most fans of "the coxswain" are aware of Hugh's fascination with the Minnesota based Fraters Libertas. Most fans of Fraters are aware of their discovery that Hugh has a doppleganger/little brother in Ralphie from the movie Christmas Story.
Well, now that I am cruising the Baltic Sea with Hugh, I have learned an astonishing fact...the two are virtually inseperable. See for yourself:
Hugh insists that Ralphie is more of an obsessed fan that little brother or constant companion, and yet at the opening cocktail party of the cruise, there was Ralphie on his shoulder. Interestingly, look at who Hugh is talking to -- women, all women. This is solely attributable to Ralphie's presence -- the little guy is a magnet.
This cruise should prove most interesting as I work to uncover the true nature of the relationship between Hugh and Ralphie. Stay tuned.
My Dinner With Adrian (continued)
As I said, the Blogotionals, and the Warnocks had a wonderful time dining together in London. Here we are.
Dinner with a blogger -- I highly recommend it.
Friday, August 05, 2005
London was wonderful. My dinner with Adrian, whose wife's name would make the movie pun even better, if less recognizable, was great fun. We had curry and Adrian accused me of going on this trip and spending all this money just to get close to Hugh Hewitt and therefore beg for a blogroll link. Trust me when I tell you a blogroll link from Hugh, while wonderful, ain´t worth this kind of cash.
Having a marvelous time with my lovely wife, whom I love dearly. This is a great way to celebrate our 10th anniverssary.
We board the ship today -- very excited.
Wish I could post pictures.
Highlight to date was finding a tomb of a relative of my recently deceased friend in Westminster Abbey. Got a lot of information from the Abbey librarian for his children.
Stockholm is a very interesting city -- I wish the computer gremlins had allowed me better access and therefore more time to post, but alas.
Monday, August 01, 2005
God Bless you all and you will hear from me as I can -- but count on great recounts when I return
Sunday, July 31, 2005
And Away We Go!
Internet access will not be as readily available as I am used to, but it will exist, and I intend to use it. There is a dinner planned with Adrian Warnock while in London, which I hope will be as enjoyable as his breakfast with Phil Johnson but end far less eventfully.
Our hosts for the cruising portion at the trip are Hugh Hewitt and David Allen White. For some reason, I feel compelled to get on Hugh's bad side right away and have formed a bit of an alliance with the permanently-on-probation boys of Fraters Libertas. I am not yet prepared to say what shall flow from that alliance, but hopes are it shall be fun for all involved.
The usual Sunday assortment is below, but for the next two weeks or so, this blog shall be quite different than you are used to -- posting will be irregular -- far less material (I love to write -- it's the reading that's hard) -- and far, far lighter. Call it a temporary transformation from Blog to Travelblog. I hope you will stay tuned and enjoy.
Blessings to all my readers!
Corruption Rears It's Ugly Head...
A company of the California Army National Guard has been put on restricted duty and its battalion plunged into disarray amid allegations that battalion members mistreated detainees in Iraq and extorted money from shopkeepers, according to military officials and members of the unit.I fear that the greatest problem that will be faced here is not the corruption itself, but the attacks from certain elements in our society that will choose to use the incident for their own ends.
Col. David Baldwin, a California state Guard spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that investigations are underway into the allegations of mistreatment of prisoners by members of Fullerton-based Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion of the 184th Infantry Regiment.
The company, made up of roughly 130 soldiers, is deployed at Forward Operating Base Falcon outside Baghdad. It has been put on restricted duty while the Army reviews its performance, Baldwin said.
Baldwin also confirmed the existence of the investigation of the alleged extortion, which involves members of another company in the battalion.
There is something very important to note here -- The LATimes got the story because the military told them about it. I found the Times piece because a milblogger mentioned it. That is terribly important. That says that the military is both watching things closely and taking steps to rectify it when things go wrong.
No institution, particularly one the size of the military, can be scandal free. The measure of such an institution is not the absence of scandal, it is the reaction to scandal. It sounds to me like the military is handling this just fine.
So here is my suggestion. It's important to watch this -- that is part of having the military accountable to the civilians -- it's one of the foundational principles of our nation. But rather than use it as fuel for a fire that might otherwise not burn, let's give the military a chance to do it's job -- let's wait to pile on, if and only if, they mess this up.
Sermons and Lessons
Soren Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen in the early nineteenth century. He graduated from the University of Copenhagen and then spent two years in Germany before returning to Copenhagen, where he would spend the rest of his life. In 1843 he wrote and published his first book, Either/Or, which startled the religious world with its denouncement of watered-down Christianity.
In fact, Kierkegaard?s life and works were a serious challenge to the institutional church that he believed had removed the necessary leap of faith and the individual?s (as opposed to the masses?) responsibility of commitment. All his writings served as a kind of judgment against a church that minimized the distance between the human and the divine. Kierkegaard believed that there was a great chasm between God and human beings and that the only bridge was Jesus Christ. In the period of history we call the Enlightenment (when reason seemed to triumph over faith and human potential over human weakness), Kierkegaard?s philosophy served as a corrective to a world and a church that had lost its identity.
The following selection is a series of prayers found throughout Kierkegaard?s many writings. Quite often he would interject a prayer in the midst of his discourses. These prayers reflect not only his thought, but also his heart, for behind the keen intellect was a heart that longed for God.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PRAYERS OF KIERKEGAARD
1. Moved in Infinite Love
You who are unchangeable, whom nothing changes! You who are unchangeable in love, precisely for our welfare, not submitting to any change: may we too will our welfare, submitting ourselves to the discipline of Your unchangeableness, so that we may in unconditional obedience find our rest and remain at rest in Your unchangeableness. You are not like us; if we are to preserve only some degree of constancy, we must not permit ourselves too much to be moved, nor by too many things. You on the contrary are moved, and moved in infinite love, by all things. Even that which we human beings call an insignificant trifle, and pass by unmoved, the need of a sparrow, even this moves You; and what we so often scarcely notice, a human sigh, this moves You, You who are unchangeable! You who in infinite love do submit to be moved, may this our prayer also move You to add Your blessing, in order that there may be brought about such a change in us who pray as to bring us into conformity with Your unchangeable will, You who are unchangeable!
2. You Have Loved Us First
Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our soul so that our heart might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves.
You have loved us first, 0 God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You have only loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing You have loved us first many times and every day and our whole life through. When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You?You are the first?You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward You in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first. When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are the first and thus forever. And yet we always speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.
3. Have Then a Little Patience
Father in Heaven! Show us a little patience; for we often intend in all sincerity to commune with You and yet we speak in such a foolish fashion. Sometimes, when we judge that what has come to us is good, we do not have enough words to thank You; just as a mistaken child is thankful for having gotten his own way. Sometimes things go so badly that we call upon You; just as an unreasoning child fears what would do him good. Oh, but if we are so childish, how far from being Your true children You who are our true Father, ah, as if an animal would pretend to have a man as a father. How childish we are and how little our proposals and our language resemble the language which we ought to use with You, we understand at least that it should not be this way and that we should be otherwise. Have then a little patience with us.
4. Hold Us Up Against Our Sins
Father in Heaven! Hold not our sins up against us but hold us up against our sins so that the thought of You when it wakens in our soul, and each time it wakens, should not remind us of what we have committed but of what You did forgive, not of how we went astray but of how You did save us!
5. The Promise and the Pain
Father in Heaven! We know indeed that seeking is never without its promise, how then could we fail to seek You, the author of all promises and the giver of all good gifts! We know well that the seeker does not always have to wander far afield since the more sacred the object of his search, the nearer it is to him
and if he seeks You, 0 God, You are of all things most near!
But we know also that the seeking is never without its pains and temptations, how then would there not be fear in seeking You, who are mighty! Even he who trusts in thought to his kinship with You does not venture forth without fear upon those crucial decisions of thought where, through doubt, he seeks to trace Your presence in the wise order of existence or, through despair, he seeks to trace You in the obedience under providence of rebel¬lious events.
Those, whom You call Your friends, who walk in the light of Your countenance, they, too, not without trembling, seek the meeting of friendship with You who alone are mighty. People of prayer who love with their whole heart?it is not without anxiety that they venture into the conflict of prayer with their God. The dying man, for whom You shift the scene, does not relinquish the temporal without a shudder when You call him. Not even the child of woe, for whom the world has nothing but suffering, flees to You without fear, You who do not merely alleviate, but are all in all! How then should the sinner dare to seek You, 0 God of righteousness! But therefore he seeks You, not as these others do, but seeks You in the confession of sins.
6. The Sickness Unto Death
Father in Heaven! To You the congregation often makes its petition for all who are sick and sorrowful, and when someone among us lies ill, alas, of mortal sickness, the congregation sometimes desires a special petition; grant that we may each one of us become in good time aware what sickness it is which is the sickness unto death and aware that we are all of us suffering from this sickness.
0 Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth to heal them that suffer from this sickness, from which, alas, we all suffer, but from which You are able to hear only those who are conscious they are sick in this way; help tis in this sick¬ness to hold fast to You, to the end that we may be healed of it.
0 God the Holy Spirit, who comes to help us in this sickness if we honestly desire to he healed; remain with us so that for no single instant we may to our own destruction shun the Physician, but may remain with Him?delivered from sickness. For to be with Him is to be delivered from our sickness, and when we are with Him we are saved from all sickness.
7. To Will One Thing
Father in Heaven! What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, hut a half-finished -work if we do not know You: You the One, who is one thing and who is all!
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart sin cerity to receive this understanding; to the will purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, may You early, at the dawn of day give to the young the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may You give to the old a renewed remembrance of their first rtso lution, that the first may he like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing.
Alas, but this has indeed not come to pass Something has come in between. The separation of sin lies in between. Each day, and day after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion, corruption. So in this time of repentance may You give the courage once again to will one thing.
True, it is an interruption of our ordinary tasks; we do lay down our work as though it were a day of rest when the penitent is alone before You in self-accusation. This is indeed an interruption. But it is an interruption that searches back into its very beginnings that it might bind up anew that which sin has separated, that in its grief it might atone for lost time, that in its anxiety it might bring to completion that which lies before it.
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, give your victory in the day of
need so that what neither our burning wish nor our determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto us in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.
8. Each Morning Broken
Lord! Make our heart Your temple in which You live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon?each morning broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach us to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of ourselves be our bloody sacrifice in order that we might be able to say with the Apostle: ?I die every day.?
A Creative Argument
This Will Drive You Batty!
Relive Those Thrilling High School Days...
Water, Water Everywhere
It appears a Norwegian water bottler wants to protect its source -- from pretty much everyone and everything. They want to make the local village drill a new supply well.
This is somewhat unique -- here in SoCal where everyone drinks bottled water, except for me, bottled water is treated tap water. I'm betting the Norskis coud do the same thing -- can you say marketing ploy?
Then USA Today is reporting, well here:
The nation had a record number of beach closures and health advisories last year, the most in 15 years that the Natural Resources Defense Council has been monitoring them, according to a report by the group Thursday.In those 15 years, the number of beaches undergoing such scrutiny have increased severalfold. The test utilized have developed far higher sensitivities, automatically lowering "panic" thresholds, and broader applicability, meaning we can detect more stuff now than we could then. Is it possible, just possible, that this has something to do with the increses in beach closures?
The increased numbers resulted from heavy rainfall and poor cleanup efforts in many areas, as well as better detection of pollution, according to the NRDC's annual "Testing the Waters" beach report.