Saturday, October 15, 2005


Reflections On GodBlogCon

GodBlogCon God Blog Convention

GodBlogCon concludes this morning, but alas, the vagaries of life demand my presence elsewhere, and so it is time to reflect. First of all, it was a wonderful experience. The people were grand, it was just great to meet them. Last night as Mrs. Blogotional and I said our good-byes to some people there were hugs. Hugs with people I had known less that 36 hours -- Hugs because the presence of God is an overwhelming force in the binding together of people. That will forever be the greatest impression I have of the conference, just good people who worship a Great Lord.

I cannot say enough about and in thanks to this man. This is Matt Anderson, who blogs at Mere Orthodoxy. Matt did all the heavy lifting to put this conference together, worked like a dog - DID A FANTASTIC JOB. It is he that invited me to take the rather visible role that I did and I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks Matt, you'll never know.

Anyone who attended the conference owes Matt a huge thanks and God bloggers around the world, regardless of attendance also owe him thanks. I have a suspicion that someday, history will look back on this conference, maybe not as important, but certainly as a beginning of something wonderful and that beginning will be largely a result of the extraordinary efforts of this man.

Now Matt, rest well and enjoy being married!

I also owe a huge thanks and these three men -- left-to-right they are David Wayne - Jollyblogger; Joe Carter - Evangelical Outpost; Andy Jackson - SmartChristian. This was the plenary panel that it was my honor to moderate. These are great guys on the front edge of Christian blogging. They did a great job and it was really nice of them to treat me as they did.

When I talk about the good people I met -- these are the first that come to mind. They are great men of God and I enjoyed working with them on this.

And this picture? Well, this picture is the most FUN I had at the conference. This is your humble blogger appearing on the Hugh Hewitt radio program. Having gotten to know Hugh a bit during this summer's sojourns he is a lot of fun, and he kicks it up a notch when he broadcasts so it was just great to do a couple of segments with him.

Hugh broadcast the show live from the conference and it included the "Movie hour" that he always does on the last hour of the broadcast week with The Unblinking Eye. Always a favorite of mine when listening to the show, watching Hugh do it live was just a hoot. The best thing about Hugh's show is his ability to do very serious stuff, but not take himself too seriously, and to understand that even the serious stuff is not the deepest stuff of life. Thus he approaches the show with sense of mirth and lightness that makes it my favorite talk show on the radio dial.

The movie hour is the perfect cap to a week of broadcasting., It sets a mood not only for the show but for the listeners over the weekend. I just love it.

Finally, this picture is the "super-plenary" from Friday night. Also a panel discussion, this time moderated by Hugh whom you see standing in front there, the panel featured, left-to-right John Mark Reynolds - Mark Roberts - and, hidden behind Hugh's not-inconsiderably-sized head Tod Bolsinger. This was a great panel and they gave a great discussion. I asked a question of this panel that was perhaps was not as well formed as I would have liked it to be. I had also discussed it with my panel, and we simply did not have time to get to it. Because I was a moderator, my role was not to have an opinion, so I would like to finish this post by reflecting a little and repositing the question.

The essence of the Christian experience is transformation. God literally makes us new people. David Wayne, in our panel, quoted CS Lewis, "We do not need more Christian books, we need more Christians writing books." If there was a theme to this conference it is that Christians can blog about whatever they want to blog about -- if we are sincere and true in our faith, Christ will shine through that blogging, regardless of subject, because of our transformation.

In the session with Hugh's panel, I noted that all the examples of the real power of blogging that Hugh cites in his book Blog are critical or in some sense "destructive." In those examples, blogging is used to tear something down, perhaps appropos of the circumstances they were in, but nonetheless destructive -- in the example of Rathergate, Mapes lost her job and Rather, well....

Now in the context of Christian blogging, Christ was wrathful, but interestingly he held His wrath for those who worked and operated in the name of His Father. That is to say the Jewish officials and vendors in the Temple courtyard. The apostle Paul said this
1 Cor 5:12-13 - For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within {the church} But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
So, it would seem scripturally, this critical, destructive role of blogging might be limited to within Christendom itself. Thus my essential question, which I did not put as precisely as I would like becasue I did not really have the opportunity to lay this groundwork is, "How should Christian blogging in say, politcal circumstances be demonstratively different from secular blogging?" How do we as Christians learn to build up with our blogs when we engage culture? - Culture that really needs criticism.

That is the question I carry from the conference as I continue on my journey to be transformed into the image of Christ.


Getting Out Of The Way Of Growth

It is good to have the Gad(d)about back from his blogging vacation and he is coming in with some great posts.
The biggest behavior-changing influence came as God began to pursue me in unusual ways. A great burden was placed on my heart at that same age to submit. In pain from the results of my idle youthfulness, stripped of my pride, the word I received from the Lord was not about changing my behavior. The word I received was much more direct: Surrender.
As people share their faith experiences, even those with long time faith, come to some point where there is a quantum shift. It comes described in so many ways - "Spirit Baptism," "Overwhelming peace," "assurance," -- regardless of how it is described there seems to be a central theme, a loss of self to be replaced by God.

This experience is marked by differnet things in different things in different people. Sometimes people evidence the markings without having had the genuine experience, and the results can be disaster. How to tell the difference?

As an external observer, I am not sure we can, but internally, I think we can monitor our lives by that one word Matt has called -- surrender. Any genuine experience of God is marked by that. It will be distinct from other surrender because there will be no sense of loss or sacrifice. That which is surrendered will be replaced with something so much better, but it starts with that surrender.

One does not approach a throne with demands, nay even requests. One approaches a throne prostrate and in submission. The throne may grant boon, the throne even desires to grant bounty beyond our imagination, but if we do not approach protrate, if we do not empty our arms of our burdens, we cannot accept the bounty offered.


Comic Art

As we continue our look at the Honorable Mentions, this week we are going to take up John Romita, Sr. -- Not to be confused with his equally talented and active, and to be discussed later son, John Romtita, Jr.

Romita, Sr. is one of those guys that did a little of everything at Marvel and really helped define the "Marvel Age." He drew everybody at some point and drew many of the definitional images for some of the characters.

Kirby and Ditko started the Marvel Age, but it was Buscema (who we looked at some weeks back) and Romita that brought that age to maturity (With the help of some others.)

Here is a bad guy image Romita Sr. did for Daredevil. Most people think of Spidey when they think of Romita, Sr. but his importance to DD cannot be underestimated. To give you an idea, the Daredevil movie of a few years back featured a shot of the arena where Matt Murdock's father fought -- he was a prize fighter. The Marquee on that arena featured the name "John Romita, Sr." just a bit of an homage to the man that shapped the image of the hero.

Romita, Sr.'s time on DD was a lighter time for that character and featured lots of baddies like the Gladiator here, and another fave of mine - Stilt-man. A little weak in the character development department, these stories were visual feasts.

But as I said, it is Spidey that one most associates with Romita, Sr. Say hello to Mary Jane Watson, the pivotal character in all of Spidey's life. This is her introduction, drawn by Romita, Sr. and to barely adolescent young men like myself there was never a pretty woman drawn in comics.

Peter's other love interest at the time - Gwen Stacy, just sorta of faded to the backgound when MJ hit the panel -- and Gwen wasn't exactly ugly! The success of MJ to the entire legend lies very much in this image.

Recognize this? You should! -- It was duplicated almost exactly in the second Spidey flick. Once again the product of the pencil of John Romita, Sr. This is another one of those defining images most artists wish they could draw, and here is a guy that has drawn two of them.


Because We All Look Very Silly Walking Backwards

Why time keeps going forwards


How Do You Project It?

Hollywood pursues fake film sites

What exactly is fake film? Does video fit the definition, what about DVD? When movies go digital can they even be called "film?"


That We Ran Out Of Money Before We Could Decorate?

The Architecture of Megachurches -- What Do These Buildings Mean?


NO! -- Really?

Saddam likely to be charged with murder

If exonerated, do you ythink he will join OJ on the hunt for the "real" mass murderer?


Try Mordor

Team widens search for 'Hobbits'

Friday, October 14, 2005


I'm At GodBlogCon! - Where Are You?

GodBlogCon God Blog Convention

We are having a grand time, a grand time. Best part is meeting other bloggers and seeing the Holy Spirit present in them. God is alive in this place and I am confident He will use this for the furtherance of His will. How I have no idea, but I have a lot of faith in Him and increasingly in the people here. My head is swimming after but a single lecture from Dr. John Mark Reynolds. So inspiring was John Mark that I woke up early this morning writing several jokes for my presentation a little later....

John Mark lectured on the blogging as restoring the balance between "preserved" and "live" performance. He grouped blogging with other great arts like theater and literature, which means, obviously, that he has never read this blog. The material from the conference will be made available at some future date either as podcasts, or on a CD, so I will leave it to Dr. Reynolds to explain himslef to you then, and I recommend it highly.

But regardless of the brilliance of the speakers, present company excluded, this conference is really about people. Several of us last night were chatting about how self-revelatory a blog should be. One of the comments was that Christ came to transform us, each of us. Christ's image lives in us, are words are but weaker reflection of the reflection of Him that is our lives. How wonderful it is to see that reflection in the faces of people.

The connectivity established here is a beginning, and it is a great one.

BTW, if you are a blogger -- we've been talking about you.


Talking About Humility

Adrian Warnock recently interviewed C.J. Mahaney about his new book Humility true greatness. Great interview and well worth the read.

Humility has to be one of the most ticklish subjects in scripture. I am reminded of a quote a friend of mine laid on me just the other day, "If we didn't do things we sucked at, we'd never learn humility!" Amen.


Friday Humor

Only in America do we find humor in disaster -- that's why this week's Friday humor is You Know You Live On The Gulf Coast When

Blogotional Fave: You can rattle off the names of three or more meteorologists who work at the Weather Channel.


Why God Invented Spellcheckers

N.D. Man Asks: 'Will You Mary Me?'


Gas Attack

Man's House Found Filled With 300 Birds

I'm not really kidding -- I'd want an ammonia filtering respirator before I entered...


Arggh Maties!

Somalis seek help to stop pirates


I had A Very Important Visitor

Awkward moment for prince at the chemist's

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I'm Off To GodBlogCon

GodBlogCon God Blog ConventionHope I get to meet you there. I'll be busy -- will post impressions/thoughts/observations as possible, but it would be better if you were there rather than listen to me talk about it.

For a first impression of what I have to say, see this FOXNews write up on the convention. They interviewed some guy you may know. But in typical press fashion, they got my readership numbers wrong....


Two Sides Of the Same Coin - Theologically Speaking

Adrian Warnock and Allthings2all are circling the same place theologically. Adrian is talking about penal substitution -- again, and Catez is discussing original sin - continuing a look she started last week. Both doctrines are under severe fire these days and the source of that fire is, I believe, related.

The similar theme that runs through the opposition to these both of these doctrines is that people do not want to admit how utterly and completely God wants to transform us. Both schools of thought approach things from a view that God just sort of wants to clean things up around the edges, not really change the very nature of who we are.

It is in the idea of transformation, that I find the ideas of penal substitution and original sin irrefutable. If God needs to remake us, totally and utterly, then certainly there must be something terribly wrong with us. Building anew means prior demolition, so Christ must have died for us, elsewhile God would have to kill us to transform us.

Rom 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Cor 5:17 - Therefore if any man is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Eph 4:22-24 - that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in {the likeness of} God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Col 3:9-10 - Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its {evil} practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

The other thing that all these schools of thought have in common is that they start in the wrong places -- they start by what we think instead of by seeking what God thinks. So, in the case of Catez' post they seek to answer the question of what happens to persons lacking the capacity for intellectual ascent to the gospel - instead of relying on the fact that God's wisdom will do the right thing. In Adrian's case they seek to deal with evil done in God's name - as if they are unable to distinguish between God and those that claim Him.

The problem is that these schools of thought are just that -- schools of thought instead of schools of God. Why, oh why do we let our tools become more important than our goals. In theology we let our questions and thoughts cloud our view of God. Science has become a means unto itself instead of a means to find God in His creation.

Maybe, in the end, that is the best argument for original sin we can come across. We want to place ourselves in God's place -- that pretty much is original sin. And that pretty much is why He had to die to remake us.

O Lord, do remake us.


Listening To The Enemy-- And Learning

It's not often we get to hear exactly what the enemy is thinking, but when we do, it's best to listen. We have such a chance in the recently released letter from Al Queda #2 Zawahiri to Al Queda #1 in Iraq Zarqawi. It;s too long to quote in it's entirty here, follow the link, but a few highlights.
?I want to be the first to congratulate you for what God has blessed you with in terms of fighting in the heart of the Islamic world, which was formerly the field for major battles in Islam?s history, and what is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era?.?
What is that meme we hear from the left all the time? "Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror." an we believe it when our greatest enemy in the GWOT calls Iraq "the place for the greatest battle of Islam?" I can't. Iraq is THE battleground for them, so whay shouldn't it be for us?
?And it is that the Mujahidin must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq , and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us.?
They obviously have no intention of stopping with Iraq. If we pull out of there, they'll keep going, things will get worse, not better -- despite wat many ont he left may think. This final one really galls me
"You might ask an important question: What drives me to broach these matters while we are in the din of war and the challenges of killing and combat?

My answer is, firstly: Things may develop faster than we imagine. The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam-and how they ran and left their agents-is noteworthy. Because of that, we must be ready starting now, before events overtake us,...."
To the Tom Haydens and Jane Fondas of this nation -- do you see that? They are counting on it being like it was in Vietnam! Is there now any doubt that those of you with an cut-and-run mentality are genuinely aiding the enemy? There it is in black-and-white. That's what they want.

This letter does more to validate the strategy of our military than anything I have seen in a very long time. We are on the right track in Iraq. The very fact that this guy has to send a letter to bolster the efforts there tells me we are winning.

Now is not the time to quit -- now is the time to finish what we started.


Illuminated Scripture


Naysayers Wrong Again

"Deomcracy will never work in Iraq." I've heard it, I bet you have too. And yet, it seems to be working. Iraq The Model reports on modifications to the proposed constitution to be ratified this weekend that appears to have satisfied the majority representative of the Sunni's.
I think this breakthrough shows the difference between the way political parties deal with things when compared to clerics and ex-Ba?athists like Mutlaq of the Dialogue Conference who still adopt a stiff stand and apparently like to oppose just to stop things from progressing; the Islamic Party weighed things in a smart way and took the decision to change their attitude when the other involved parties showed active will to work things out and override obstacles.
What I love most of all is that democracy is working to make democracy work. They are talking, debating, VOTING! That is the essence of democracy.

The process matters, for democracy is defined in the process far more than it is defined in the product. Much as I think sharia is not the way to go -- if Iraq votes for it, and continues to vote for it, in real elections then I will have hope. Sharia, I think, cannot long stand in a truly democratic society. This is good news indeed.


Panic Now! Before There Is A Real Problem

Some columnist in Flordia is worried that this coming Christmas' Narnia movie is going to cross the church/state line. Worse than religion sneaking into public schools is the fact that the path is paved by capitalists, at least according to this panic striken drivel meister.

Here's the thing, if we can no longer teach literature with Christian allusion, or stories that have had movies made about them with commerical tie-ins, there is not going to be a whole lot left to read. Shakesphere's out -- so is Nathaniel Hawthorne. The hero dying for another and reappearing later, like a resurrection, is pretty much a staple of heroic literature of any sort. What about all those Jane Eyre movies?

Now here is what really gets to me -- What about LOTR? Tolkien and Lewis had a beer together every Thursday for their entire mutual time at Oxford. Tolkien was a devote Christian and Christian themes are all through LOTR.

This isn't about the books, this about the people that like the books. This guy just doesn't like them.

Besides, I'm betting Disney is going to tone down the Christian imagery pretty significantly.



Gore: I Don't Plan to Run for President


It's A Good Thing The Press Is Not Biased...

...otherwise they would have to explain themselves regarding the recent "God told Bush to invade story." This is how Mark Steyn described the story in the London Telegraph.
The source for this story was essentially a BBC press release for a forthcoming documentary. Nabil Shaath, the so-called Palestinian "foreign minister", told them (the BBC) that Bush told him (Shaath) that God told him (Bush) to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House said this was "absurd" and the only other Palestinian present at that meeting, Mahmoud Abbas, has denied Shaath's account of the conversation. As evidence of Bush's "Manichean convictions", the whole thing's a lot of Manichean piss, as the Belgians would say.
A promotional release for a TV piece, with a single uncorroborated source. Of course, and Disneyland is actually "The Happiest Place on Earth."

"Michelle told Peter who heard from Fred that he thinks you're hot." That's reporting - on planet Junior High.


How Ugly Is Your Car?

The London Telegraph has identified the 10 ugliest cars of all time. There are some ugly cars on the list, although I am baffled by the inclusion of the PT Cruiser on it. Bottom line PT's are homely but they can be customized and don't reach all the way to ugly.

This is obviously a European list -- it includes some cars that aren't even legal in the US (Reliant Robin which is past ugly and somewhere into "coyote ugly") and it excludes the ugliest car ever released.

That's right, the AMC Pacer. So ugly was the Pacer dogs refused to chase it. Viewing a two-tone Pacer like this one is a little like scrubbing your eyeballs with steel wool.

Try and imagine a customization that would help it -- can't think of one can you? Wheels, chrome, reshaping would just make matters worse. No this car is so ugly that you don't care it was significantly underpowered. Although a bigger engne would have helped it get out of my sight faster.


How To Get More?

The riddle of time


Help Happens

Woman Aids Harpists Hit by Hurricanes

As does alliteration!


When Boiled With A Little Salt They Were Delicious

Oldest noodles unearthed in China

No doubt they were found in a glass bottle with a decorative cork on somebody's kitchen counter.


[Someone You Dislike Name Here] Found By This Professor

Professor Finds Two-Headed Rattlesnake

Wednesday, October 12, 2005



Joe Carter - Evangelical Outpost - is celebrating his second blogiverssary by reposting some of what he thinks is his best past work. This is a real goodie.
The people responded to Jesus the way they did because he is, well, you know, God. He is what our hearts have always been seeking. When we come face to face with him we may accept or reject him. But we can?t not know him. Calvin claimed that there is an awareness or sense of God (sensus divinitatis) implanted in all people by nature. The context of this universally distributed belief being rather minimal: there is a God, He is the Creator, and that He ought to be worshipped.* Philosopher Alvin Plantinga interprets this as being more akin to a disposition to form a religious belief. Not surprisingly, when people came face to face with their Creator they were inspired to follow him and to boldly proclaim the gospel.

How different our situation is today. Some Christians (particularly new ones that are still enthused by their budding faith) are still eager and willing to ?share Christ.? Others have a more difficult time. I suspect that the average Christians hesitancy to ?witness?, though, has little to do with timidity or lack of courage. After all, many a believer would have no problem explaining why they support a particular political position, yet become tongue-tied when the topic turns to religion or (gasp) Jesus himself.

I suspect that much of the fault lies with our misunderstanding of ?faith.? In our age, the term has become almost synonymous with an irrational (or at least nonrational) acceptance of beliefs for which we lack evidence. When we Christians accept such an idea it?s no wonder that the nonbelievers don?t feel the need to take us seriously!

But our faith isn?t a matter of embracing fideism. The ?good news? isn?t about a religious belief but about a person.
Joe's essential point is that Jesus is the gospel, not Calvinism or Armininism or.... But as someone who is not the least bit tonggue-tied when it comes to explaining my faith, my hesitancy to "witness" comes from a very different source. It comes from the fear that my live does not sufficiently reflect Jesus, that I have insufficiently tapped that power that made people respond to Jesus so readily.

If the message is a person, and it most assuredly is, then the reason more people don't respond to the message must be that person is not apparent in what we do. Jesus is not apparaent in us because not only do we only share iodeas about Him, but that is all we have -- ideas about Him, we ourselves have not come to meet Him face-to-face.

I was involved in a small group discussion yesterday about where it is that face-to-face encounter occurs. We talked about the variety of Christian experience in coming to that meeting. There was only one common factor to be found -- the emptying of self and turning to God.

Intimacy requires the opening of oneself. We can not keep things reserved and and become intimate. To know Jesus, to be able to introduce Him to others, we must be intimate with Him. We don't do intimacy well in America circa 2005.

I am increasingly convinced that we have to practice intimacy with each other as a part of learning to be intimate with the Almighty. How do you think that would look and how do you think we can make that happen in the church today?


Getting Iraq Right

Dadmanly has a very insightful look at reporting from Iraq. Seems that some bloggers think Milbloggers are little more than propogandists.

I think they are the greatest blessing our nation has had in a long time. Consider this quote from Dadmanly
It has everything to do with willful ignorance and misreporting of facts on the ground, "ground truth" as we say. We are here, and see what is to be seen every day. Many less reputable (and certainly less honorable) members of the press peddle falsehoods, actively promulgate propaganda from sworn enemies of the United States, hire Terrorist accomplices masquerading as "freelancers," and otherwise seek to turn every news report into a childish exercise of "how can we use this to make Bush look bad?"
I tend to agree with that assessment, but let's remove the anti-Bush motivations from the equation and just look at the reporting.

The reporter almost universally reports bad news. But if you think about it for a minute -- that is true with domestic news as well as war coverage. Were I forced to evaluate the state of America based solely on newspaper and TV accounts, I would be forced to conclude that we live in a pretty raunchy hellhole - polluted beyond recognition -- people gunned down in the streets almost hourly -- corruption rules everything. So why, if that is the reporting we receive daily about ur own homes are we not in a state of complete revolt?

Simple, we experience "ground truth" through the course of our lives everyday. The journalists do not have complete control of our perception of reality.

There were huge differences in reporting between say, WWII and Vietnam, but there was also another difference. During Vietnam, it was possible to live your life realitively unaffected by it and have your entire perception shaped by newspaper and TV accounts. That was not true in WWII -- virtually every citizen had a close friend or relative doing the war-fighting job. "Ground truth" had an outlet in letters from the front and so forth; Vietnam had no outlet for "ground truth."

In the age of an all volunteer military, the desemination of ground truth is incredibly important and blogging has provided that possibility.

Press bias is real and pervasive, I do not dispute that, but even if it were not, there is a need for a balanced view of things, not just a journalistic view. That, in my opinion is the real beauty of blogging in this information age -- it is not necessarily a replacement for reporting, but rather an adjunct to it. In that adjunct role, it should improve reporting, but there will always but editorial necessity and human nature demands that "the news" almost always be negative. Ground truth balances that and blogging is the best outlet for ground truth yet conceived.

Milblogging is the best thing that hs arisen in this conflict. I honestly believe that wihtout it, sustained military operations would be rendered impossible for America


Do We Not Believe Our Own Rhetoric?

I know I said I was done posting about Miers until the hearings, but I am having a hard time believeing some of what I am hearing and reading. Monday Hugh Hewitt interviewed John Fund.
JF: Look, no one in the conservative community knows Harriet Miers well, other than the people she's worked with at the White House.
In other words, "She's not a part of the club." Funny I thought cronyism was the problem. Apparently it's a question of whose crony you are and not cronyism itself. Then consider this
JF: Hugh, the problem is the White House can't provide us with those answers, so we're going to have to go out and get them ourselves. That's the problem with the vetting process. The White House has no answers to these questions. We're going to have to dig them out ourselves.
I see, so the problem is that the White House is not doing the press' job for them? Is the White House accountable to the press? Where is that in the constitution precisely?

Peace Like A River took some exception to my characterization of a post there the other day. In their response they say
What are some of the reasons given in support of Miers? One common one is that President Bush knows Miers very well, and that since we don't know much about her, we shouldn't criticize the pick. Doesn't that strike you as a problem? We don't know much about a nominee to the Supreme Court? And how will we ever find out anything about Miers? The confirmation hearings? The strategy with Roberts was Admit Nothing. (I wrote here that nominees should answer questions.) The military has a saying: Hope is not a course of action. What sense does it make to put someone on the Supreme Court about whom we know little, and simply hope they come around in the end?
Mark Levin similarly contended on Hewitt Tuesday (transcript not available at press time) that nominees should not have the so-called "Ginsburg rule" available to them.

So, we conservatives what "originalism," or "strict constructionism," or whatever sobriquet you choose in name, but not in practice? Constitutional adhereance in fact demands that nominees not answer questions. The constitution seeks to make the court as apolitical as possible -- not answering issue questions is similarly apolitical. This line of arguement says that, in fact, conservatives do not want an apolitical court, they want a very political one -- just one whose politics are in line with theirs. This also belies a lack of faith in the constitution itself.

I honestly thought we were the party of reason, not emotion, but I am beginning to have my questions about that.


New Media Victory

Bloggers are gaining a higher profile alongside traditional news sources with Yahoo including blogs in its expanding news search system.
Although, I have to say that I think this has more to do with Yahoo trying to attract traffic from Google than it does with Yahoo making judgements about the news worthiness of blogs. Nonetheless, it improves the news positioning of blogs tremendously.


The Best of Pravda

Who said the KGB was dead?

Putin will be there for you...even when you go to the toilet

Having been there in the Soviet days, that's not actually funny. I'm pretty certain there was some guy, somehwere listening to me when....

Filed under "Science and Health" this stoy blurs the line between science and myth in ways global warming experts have only dreamed about.

Centaurs appeared after copulation between humans and animals

It is good; however to know that sexism in dead in Russia

Germany falls into the hands of the woman

That attitude is amazing given that women apparently have magical powers.

Wedding rings reduce male power and develop impotence

Well, at least marrying them does....


That's Good Because I Did Not Ask For One

No cabinet role for Schroeder


Talk About Stretching The Definition Of Marriage!!!

Earthworms, Cat Receive Church Blessing


Probabaly Should Have Fed Them More....

Farmer eaten by own animals


Does A Donut Hole Have A Shadow?

A Quest to See a Black Hole's Shadow


I Have Got To Make This PIe

Prize Pumpkin Weighs in at 1,229 Pounds

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Reading The Whole Bible

This is a great post from Sheep's Crib. (And not just because he links to me not once, but twice!) It's about the pervasive sickness that seems to infest the church these days. I really love this point
I'm a card carrying member of the Revelation of God movement (aka: the Bible is all I need for faith and practice; if I'll just study it).
John illustrates his point very well by quoting extensively in the post from one of the more underappreciated books of Scripture -- Ecclesiates. I love that book and for many of the reasons that John cites in his post. It is a book of the Bible I try to make sure I read through at least once a year.

There is one point John makes that I think needs a little clarification
For some reason we've spiritually morphed the bible into a "Law Book," when in fact it is and always has been a "Grace Book."
John comes from a more conservative denominational place than I do, so that likely explains our difference here. My personal experience is almost the precise opposite, that grace has been relied upon to the point that considerations of the behavioral aspects of Christianity are simply ignored. All the symptoms John lists in his post (extra-marital sex, drug use, etc., etc., etc.) not only happen but are routinely accepted as "grace opportunities."

In the end, I think both approaches are wrong, and represent opposite ends of a spectrum, the middle of which is where we are called to reside. It seems the church lives on a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other, never coming to rest in the middle. Given the multitude of Christian expression available these days one finds different expressions on different places in the swing.

I sure woud like to grab all those pendulums and stop them in the middle, but that is the Lord's job. All I can do is ask Him to do it. Will you join me?


God And The Military DO Mix

Love this post from Common Grounds Online. A military chaplain waiting to see if he will be deployed talks about the priviledge of serving God and the men and women of the military. It's recommended reading. There was one paragraph that really struck me
The greatest ministry impact I am having on Soldiers continues to be over the internet. Stephen Mansfield, in his new book The Faith of the American Soldier, notes how the internet and email have changed the way Soldiers maintain their faith in Iraq. They gather in small groups, pairs, or just alone, and read what they can from emails and websites. They share what?s challenging them, what?s hurting, but most of all they try to understand how to get God on their side. The radical individualism of our common age has impacted our Soldiers. Rather than gather in worship and sharing burdens with one another, pursuing God on a common course, they look simply for ways that God can fit their need and protect them in battle. Who can blame them? I send an email called the ?Sunday Bulletin? every week. They read it alone at the computer, or they print it out and read it in their quarters. But they don?t do what I had hoped?they don?t gather together in Bible Study groups to go over it together. The isolation worries me.
I do not think this is a phenomenon limited to the military. I have been lectured on how people like to come to church and remain anonymous -- participate in worship, but maintain thier solitude and isolation. Churches are designing themselves to allow for this viewpoint -- this pretty much is the mega-church model. This is another reason I am not a fan of mega-churches.

We cannot work out Christianity on our own. We are not designed that way, when we try, we're going to get it wrong. I also worry about this in blogging. While we are quick to jump on each other about ideas, that is not the same as the personal accountability available in a local congregation. Are you a part of one? I hope so.


Tolerance = Squelching?

That would appear to be the case made by the proposed British "religious hate" law.
The bill outlaws any written material or public verbal comments "that are threatening, abusive or insulting [and] likely to stir up racial or religious hatred." The offense carries a jail term of up to seven years.
Let's see -- "Methodists are wrong, Presbyterians are right" -- could that be construed as "insulting?" I think there is a real failure to understand what religion is all about, and I am not entirely certain of the root of it either.

This assumes that religion is just a particular set of ideas to which one chooses to adhere. The "everything is realtive" left, particularly secular left would certainly think this way, but many religious adherants also think this way. The distinction between religiousity and intellectual conviction is disappearing from both directions. Religious people act less religious as secular people adhere to things like political thought or "environmentalism" with near religous devotion. Under such circumstances, one could see where the idea for such a law would come from.

It's a really bad idea for a really bad law. But unless we begin to address some of the underlying issues, garbage like this will continue coming our way.


How Do You Steal A Tree?

Rare tree stolen from Kew's country garden

It's very difficult to be stealthy with a tree!


SWM Seeks SWF -- Meet Me At The Gutter

Dogs Seeking Chipmunks Attack Downspouts


No Doubt With Lead-Based Paints

Chinese Painter Uses Tongue As a Brush

Can't think of much else that would explain the loss of IQ necessary ot make this a regular practice....


Alphabet Soup

Well, it's "D" week -- where shall we be off to -- Dallas? There are only so many pictures of steak I can show. Denver? Much better places to talk about the Rocky Mountains. The Dalles? Much better places to talk about the Columbia River. Besides we've been in the US since we started this thing. No, I think it's time to venture overseas. How about -- DOVER! Yes, Dover of the white cliffs and the English Channel. Dover of Dunkirk

Speaking of Dunkirk this is the "castle" that rests atop the famous white cliffs. Not medieval by any stretch, this castle marks the entrance to a military installation that is the caves and tunnels throughout the chalk formations that are the cliffs.

It was from this military installation that Winston Churhill himseolf oversaw the evacuation of the Europen Continent by allied forces that we remember under the name "Dunkirk." The greatest mobilization of civilian forces in military history, Dunkirk, while a retreat, was a remarkable military accomplishment. The first of many that marked Churchill's stewardship of the United KIngdonm during WWII.

These are the famous white cliffs themselves as viewed from the channel. They are quite remarkable in how stark they appear.

This is, of course, is the first sight that greeted many a returning citizen for centuries. What a spectacular way to know that you have arrived home!

And this is just the coolest way to cross the channel, "Chunnel" notwithstanding. Dover to Calais. James Bond did it, which makes it definitionally cool.



Turkey culls birds to stem virus


Obviously A Communist Plot

Survey: Everest shorter than previously thought
China says measure is more precise, doesn't suggest mountain is shrinking


Planned Parenthood Calls For Abortion

Unborn Star Revealed


Wisconson University Students In Serious Trouble

Badger cull 'must be considered'


Doom? Halo? GTA? What?

Game theorists share Nobel prize

I feel the bar being lowered agian.


They Are Not Going To Leave Him There?

Millionaire Space Tourist Heading Home

Monday, October 10, 2005


Feasting On The Word

Mark Roberts posted the sermon he preached at his church yesterday. It's on welcoming God's Word. First of all, reading the sermon was a little eerie becasue it includes a picture fo the highway into Thessaloniki Greece -- been there, seen the signs he shows. Anyway Mark lists three principles for "Welcoming God's Word" This is a good sermon and there are a couple of ancillary points I want to make.

The first point I want to make is that listening and examining are vitally important when it coems to dealing with Scripture -- particularly in blogging. It is so easy to proof text in blogging. We need to guard against it. Blogging has increased my time in the Word, but it is not always "quality time" with the Word. If we are going to blog on matters spiritual, it is important that we stay steeped in God's Word in the appropriate way. Scripture is not another reference for our blogging.

The second point I want to make is to emphasis Mark's 3rd principle - "Believe the truth in mind, heart, and action." There are times, and they should be more numerous, when I would trade most of what I know about Scripture for the ability to rely solely on the truth of Scripture.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." - Phil 4:13 I would trade every hermenutical principle, I would trade all knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, I would forgo everthing I have ever read on the historicity of the New Testament documents simply to be able to live one day in the absolute fullness of that one verse.

We often substitute our own understanding for the power that is ours in Christ. Scripture is not just another book, it is a conduit through which we can tap that power. Would that we used as such more than we do.


Miers -- To The Heart Of The Matter

In my continuing discussion with Watchman's Words on the Miers nomination, I think we are finally getting to the heart of the matter. But let me give you some great links first.

Austin Bay and Beldar have accumulated some great material on what precisely are her qualifications. They are not shabby.

Ally, Hedgehog Blog has two great posts here and here on how unseemly this has all become.

There is even a debate between two Godblogging theology heavyweights - JollyBlogger and Gadfly's Muse on the matter.

And now, on to the heart of the matter. Here's what Watchman said
Finally, John says the time to speak out is before the nomination. Afterward we should just "Cowboy Up" and support the President. I couldn't possibly disagree more. The President does not deserve our unquestioned support and loyalty. He deserves our support when he is right. When he is not, we should oppose "the leader of our party." Otherwise we are placing party over principle, and that's no fit position for a conservative. Yes, it may weaken his position if we do not blindly fall in line behind him. But if he's wrong, we're all better off in the long run if he doesn't win. To use Rush's tactic of illustrating by being absurd, let's take this example. President Reagan has decided to sell arms for hostages. Horrible idea, but he's the leader of our party, so we should just cowboy up and get behind him. Doesn't make much sense does it? The truth is that conservatives did speak out--did write memos and emails and make phone calls--before the President picked Miers...he just didn't listen.
Are you really sure about that Bob? In the first place, your absurd analogy is based on an illegality and of course, we should not back the President, even one of our party on an illegality, but this nomination is not illegal. But it is the legality that is the breaking point.

I love the way the Gadfly's Muse answered some of this
First - WE are not the ones who are tasked with the responsibility of judging Harriet Meirs' qualifications. WE live in a Republic and the essence of republicanism as opposed to democracy is that we elect men whom we trust and the we ask them to exercise their judgment on our behalf.

I think we Evangelicals are being a bit presumptuous here. We elect the man to represent us and then we say that we want him to check with us first before he does the job we elected him to do. As far as "verifying" - David is mixing his apples and oranges here. The Berean elders checked Paul's words because they were the ones who had to accept or reject what he was doing. They had to act on Paul's words not simply just hear them.

We are not the ones who have to approve President Bush's nomination and it is not up to President Bush to prove her qualifications. The burden on the congress is to accept her unless she is proven to be disqualified.
But, let me answer with an analogy of my own. It's 3rd and 2 and you are the fullback (I know, nobody runs formations with fullbacks anymore, but go with me on this) you come to the huddle just knowing your number is going to be called. This is important. You're ahead by a touchdown in the third quarter, this first down will put you in scoring position, giving you the opportunity to take a much more insurmountable lead. You arrive in the huddle and the QB calls a short pass to the tight end in the flat -- your job, block for the QB. What do you do, walk off the field in disgust, leaving the QB open so he gets sacked? No, you do your job and know your number will get called with Offense Coordinator thinks its time.

I'm sorry, at this point it's just pouting. The rhetoric has reached a level where it sounds like everybody knows this woman is Souter and she is without question going to make stupid decisions. Either we trust or we don't, but one thing is for sure. If we don't, we leave the QB open to get sacked.

Our number did not get called. That's unfortunate, but whining, complaining, pouting and prevaricating doesn't just mean we lose, it means the team loses. And if the team loses, then we lose even the opportunity to win again another day. Think about that when we are preaching principle over party. With party, principle has a chance, without party, principle is so much rhetoric.

Hurts not to get your number called, hurts worse to lose. Hurts most of all not to get to play.

We can drive even deeper into the heart of the matter with this post from Powerline pointing to this post at Peace Like A River. PLAR contends, and Powerline second by their link that "Bush's betrayal" of conservatives with the Miers nomination is somehow analogous to the type of betrayal or injury to which Hugh refers when he asks the question at OneTrueGodBlog, "When injured by a friend or colleague, what ought a Christian to do?"

PLAR wonders if in his question, Hugh is referring to the many ad hominum attacks he has suffered for his defense of the Miers nomination, but then goes on to state they conservatives against the nomination felt a similar injury.

I have to say, this troubles me deeply. That a legitimate action by a President just trying to do his job can create an emotional response which some feel is comparable to a personal attack tells me that some people are taking their politics waaaay too seriously. That this same emotional pain would be referenced in a Christian setting tells me that not only are some conservatives taking their politics too seriously, but that those politics have become for some, just as we so often see on the left, a substitute for genuine faith.

It certainly means that there is no legitimate debate to be had here. Over at The Corner, Podhoretz had this to say Saturday night
We shall see what we shall see. From here on in there's really nothing to be said until the confirmation hearings actually begin (save for the unexpected bit of information). And so, as Wittgenstein said, "Whereof we cannot speak, therefore we must be silent"
I have to agree -- if the bigs like Powerline are sinking into emotional discussion and my debating partner Watchman's Words, while not getting emotional or ad hominum, is claiming "principle" - also an unarguable stand - it is time to stop debate. Therefore, absent the "unexpected bit of information" this is likely my last post on this subject until the hearings.

An ugly, deep, and surprizingly emotional rift inside the Republican party and conservatism has been exposed. This does not bode well for 2006 or 2008.


They Keep Trying...

...and they keep missing. Read this headline:

Long an outlet for the GOP message, talk radio undergoes a shift

The story is about the proported success of Air America and the slow down in conservative talk radio.
There are signs that the Republicans could be losing some of their overwhelming edge, however. Ratings for Limbaugh and Hannity slipped this spring in some markets. Liberals such as Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller and Al Franken are carving out their own radio niche. And Democrats argue that they have an edge on the Internet, where explosive growth could dwarf the political impact of radio.
Let's see -- liberal numbers are almost impossible to come by and Air America is just about buried in financial scandal. As to the "decline" in conservatives ratings, not they cite the two biggest -- could it be that those two are losing not to liberal talk radio but to other conservatives?

Hewitt addressed the conservative ratings issue on his blog in August
my assertion that the talk radio "cycle" is four years long, and that the audience for center-right talk in August, 2005 is much bigger than it was in August 2001. Political talk is the middle of a long and, I believe, sustainable growth period as hosts who practice the craft as Bennett, Prager, Medved and I do --and as Rush, Sean, and Laura Ingraham do-- attract the audience that wants reliable, up-to-the-minute information delivered with timing and wit, not screaming rants.)
I'm going to chalk this up to another legacy media attempt to prop up alternative new media, which in turn stesm the tide away from legacy media.

NOTE TO LEGACY MEDIA: You want to maintain your prominence -- change with the times.


Now Things Are Going To Get Interesting

Ever wondered why a city as small as New Orleans has a pro football team? They've never been other than a minor league baseball city and when the NBA comes to town, they quickly relocate to greener pastures. And how can a city, such a small city, with such an incredibly mediocre football team host the Super Bowl every five years like clockwork? The answer is fairly straightforward -- what there is to do in town when there isn't football. NOLA gives the fans somthing to do when the field is empty.

When disaster struck a few weeks ago, after my worries about friends, family, and people in general, the first thing that struck my mind was that if I had any sense at all, I'd start pulling together the capital to build a huge, modern indoor football stadium and acquire a franchise for --- Las Vegas, the only place in the country with "better" off-field entertainment than NOLA.

Two things stopped me. First, Vegas is an insider's town, so that would be a difficult project to pull off for me. Secondly, football, despite the fact more money is bet on it than the rest of sports combined, works pretty hard to stay away for the appearance of cross-pollination with gambling.

I should have listened to myself more closely. Check this out.
Mayor C. Ray Nagin hopes to attract tourists and their cash back to his ravaged city with an "out-of-the-box" plan to install Las Vegas-style gambling in the city's biggest hotels.
The barriers between the NFL and gambling have been lowering in recent years, but this would constitute tearing the wall down.

I'm still an outsider (not to mention all the whole morally questionable angles associated with this), so I'm going to leave this idea lay, but I know Vegas and it's insiders can get that stadium built a franchise bought a whole lot faster than NOLA can put itself back together. Here's hoping the Vegas guys will cut me in for a percentage for given them this idea.


Say It Isn't So...

...but alas it is. From a blog called "ysmarko" maintained by one of the people at Youth Specialities, comes this little gem
an pastor said to me that he loves to try new things. and the thing he?s trying right now that he thinks is such a good idea? [drum roll, please ? and brace yourself]] he?s paying his staff based on how many people, on average, attend the ministries they are in charge of. he grinned as he told me that, for example, one of the pastors has a fairly low monthly salary, because he?s new and his particular ministry is average-sized; but if the ministry reaches x-amount on average, his pay will bump to another level, and at xx-amount, to another level, which is a great salary for their area. he said it?s a great system because it builds self-motivation in automatically.[emphasis added]
Ah yes, the "commission driven church."

Oh this opens up all sorts of doors. Senior pastors paid on the number of people that receive communion -- baptism bonuses. Anybody for by-the-word performance bonuses on sermons? And the soup kitchen staff -- by the carrot? - or should it be bowls of stew dished?

This says a number of things, but I'll mention just two. One, there are some really misguidedly stupid people in Christian ministry these days. Two, there are way too many people trying to make a living doing Christian ministry these days.

It's a calling -- not a business.


Here We Go Again

India Quake Survivors Complain of Slow Aid

You would think the press would learn. Given the disaster that was the immediate post Katrina reporting you would think they would learn to gain a bit of perspective before they go chumming the waters. There is a huge, huge disaster afoot -- the anecdotal complaints of a few individuals are uninformative. I guess they find "the story line too compelling."

The line between reporting and gossip columnist is getting pretty thin.



In our first story we find that GE and the EPA have struck a "deal" about cleaning PCB's up from the Hudson River. It has been debated for years now as to whether or not it is even advisable to do this. The dredging necessary may result in the uncontrolled spread of the contamination, and will certainly make it more environmentally accessible than where it current resides.

PCB's are bad actors, but the usv them mentality in this is amazing. Check this quote
Christian Ballantine of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter said the consent order was a partial but important victory for their cleanup efforts. "The environmental community wanted GE to finally accept responsibility and put their corporate know-how to work," Mr. Ballantine said.
GE, in fact, used PCB's in accordance with the best available knowledge at the time. Even under today's standards, GE would not be responsible for determining if PCB's were a risk, the manufacturer of the material would. And yet, as the releaser of this material, at the time, unknown as a hazard, they are required to pony up$150M in the first phase alone for this clean up, a clean up the benefits of which are not entirely certain.

I find myself almost hoping this clean-up will result in soe huge fish kill on the Atlantic seaboard, with GE operating entirely with protocol, just to show the environmentalists how little they know.

This story is simply amazing.
Experts are blaming climate cycles, not global warming, for the drought, which has also led to enormous fires.
Not Global Warming, why global warming is to blame for everything, don't those experts realize?

How do I know this? Why it is going to cause more flies in the UK -- It's going to increase air pollution in the American west -- It's going to kill animals everywhere. Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

Any technology that needs a political push is, by definition, a failed business.

Finally, in the "OOPS" category...

Remember how last December's tsunami spread toxic wastes all over the east coast of Africa? (Be sure and read that sentence with sufficient breathlessnes) -- OOPS

The European Space Agency lauched a satelitte Saturday to finall get good hard data on the melting ice around the planet -- OOPS. No doubt this is the result of sabotage by "industry" stooges bent on polluting the world with carbon. So here's my challenge. Tomorrow, you personally, not your machines, your house, anything like that, just you personally, stop emitting carbon. Go ahead, I dare you.


Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction

In the tradition of Wittenburg Door's "Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction" feature I give you:

The Rapture Preparation Card


How Would CSI Lift Them?

Putting God's fingerprints on high-school biology

And would AFIS have them in the database?


By Standing Very Still

Scotland responds to quake crisis

I shouldn't make light, the crisis is real and the efforts great, but I am reminded of the time visiting Scotland when our guide told us we had reached the center of seismological activity in the entire island of Britain and that the largest recorded quake in Scottish history had happened but a few weeks prior -- 2.8 on the Richter Scale.

This caused those of us that reside in California to fall about the place laughing derisively.


Write Your Own Bathroom Joke Here

Porridge On The Move


Between 'Stick' and 'Barber'

Poles vote for new president but run-off likely


Probably With Weapons

Jackson falls to ground trying to avoid fans

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Minstering To The Ministers

The Christian blogosphere is full of talk about what is wrong with Christianity -- consumer Christianity, mega-churches, you name it, we are talking about it. There is a lot a talk about how to correct these thing s as well. Most of them center on personal faith maturity, always a necessity and always a must.

I am however, becoming increasingly convinced that if things are really going to "get better" that is just the starting point, there is much more to be done. Where else to go and what to do?

I have been reflecting a lot lately on that question. I'm wondering about some sort of para-church ministry to seminaries. Certainly those institutions are where the errant theology is flowing from. I think it can also be argued that many of the other problems we see flow from that theology.

However, just like good Christian kids can go to very secular universities and come out "OK" -- lots of good Christian leaders are coming out of seminaries with these issues. I think it is more about what the student brings to the school than what the school offers.

Thus my idea is to form a ministry, on the lines of Campus Crusade or Young Life, or... designed to reach out to seminary students and help them build a solid foundation for personal spiritual growth, one that emphasizes more than just their intellectual development. Small group and personal spiritual accountability based, this ministry would seek to keep the student in touch with the passion of Christianity and solidly under the influence of the Holy Spirit more than their professors.

What do you think? Am I being presumptuous here? Do I sense a need where there really isn't one? How could this be done without "offending?" What seminary would you start with?


A New Breed Of Hero

Read this post from Blackfive. It's the story of a Purple Heart recepient
....Sitting in the second to last seat in the back, on the right side of the truck...She remembers talking with the female Seabee next to her, when a series of combined explosions violently lifted the truck from both sides.

"When it blew up, we all flew back and then forward again in our seats," said Liberty. "I looked at the girl next to me and saw her bounce up and down in the flames. I just closed my eyes and waited for it to end. I felt myself being thrown in the air, but my eyes remained shut. When I impacted the ground, I realized nothing hurt. I felt everything that was happening, but it was like there was a bubble around me, because when I hit the ground and woke up, I felt no pain. I looked at my hands and saw the skin hanging off my left pinky finger, but it still didn't hurt. Not then."
It's an incredible story and she is a true hero. I must be forgiven my sexism here, but I find the story far more disturbing than most accounts I have read because Liberty is a very attractive and frail looking woman -- Blackfive includes a picture.

I cannot and will not take away form CPL Liberty's heroism and dedicated service, but I look at the picture and wonder.


Sermons and Lessons


Born and raised in the turmoil of seventeenth-century Puritan England, George Fox became the founder and most prominent leader of the Quakers (the Society of Friends). His famous Journal reveals a bold and passionate, even prophetic, man who acted with the certainty of one who knows God firsthand, not by hearsay. He was quick to confront those who ?did not possess what they professed.? He laid bare pomposity and pretense. He also called thousands to a direct, intimate knowledge of Christ who was present to teach and empower them.

If the Journal portrays a fiery public figure, George Fox?s Letters show us a loving pastor. In forty years, Fox wrote over three thousand letters, mostly to groups. These tender, practical letters display a full range of pastoral concern, from the life of prayer and worship to family life to the life of commerce. The following selections give us a glimpse into Fox?s loving call to confident and complete Christian living.


1. The Living God

He is the living God, that clothes the earth with grass and herbs, causes the trees to grow and bring forth food for you, and makes the fishes of the sea to breathe and live. He makes the fowls of the air to breed and causes the buck and the doe, the creatures, and all the beasts to bring forth whereby they may be food for you. He is the living God, that causes the sun to give warmth to you, to nourish you when you are cold. He is the living God, that causes the snow and frost to melt and causes the rain to water the plants. He is the living God, that made heaven and earth, the clouds, causes the springs to break out of the rocks, and divided the great sea from the earth. He divides the light from the darkness, by which it is called day and the darkness night, and divided the great waters from the earth, gathered them together, which great waters he called sea and the dry land earth. He is to be worshiped that does this. He is the living God that gives you breath, life, and strength and gives you beasts and cattle whereby you may be fed and clothed. He is the living God, and he is to be worshiped.

This is the King of kings and Lord of lords, in whose hand is the breath of all mankind. [Letter 292]

2. Walking in the Power of God

My little children in the Lord God Almighty, this is my joy that you all be ordered and guided by the mighty power of God. Know that Voice that speaks, the sound of the words, and the power of them. For words without power destroy the simplicity, bring up into a form and out of obedience of the Truth. Therefore, walk in the power of the Truth that the name of the Lord God may be glorified among you, his renown may be seen in you and among you, and all the world may be astonished, and the Lord admired in the ordering of his people who are guided by his wisdom.

Let no strife be among you. Let none seek for the highest place, but be lowly minded, condescending one to another. Bear with one another in patience.

Therefore all Friends, mind that which is of God in you, to guide you to the Father of life, who gives you food and raiment and strength that you may flourish, your souls delight themselves in fatness, feed and eat of the abundance of riches with him and of the daily bread which comes from above, ?the Bread of Life? (John 6:35). [Letter 79]

Dwell in patience and in peace and love and unity one with another. And be subject in the Power, Life, and Wisdom to God and to one another. That in it you may be as a pleasant field to the Lord God, and as the lilies, the flowers, and the buds feeling the pleasant showers and streams of Life from the living God flowing upon you, whereby the presence and blessing of the Lord God Almighty amongst you all may be felt. [Letter 183]

3. Singing in the Spirit

My dear Friends, be not carried away by good words and fair speeches, but everyone have hold of the Truth in yourselves by which you may be stayed upon Christ, your bread of life, the staff of your heavenly and eternal life.

Now Friends, who have denied the world?s songs and singing, sing you in the Spirit and with grace, making melody in your hearts to the Lord. You that have denied the world?s formal praying, pray always in the Spirit.

You that have denied the world?s giving thanks and their saying of grace and living out of it, do you in everything give thanks to the Lord through Jesus Christ.

And you that have denied the world?s praising God with their lips, while their hearts are far off, do you always praise the Lord night and day.

And you that have denied the world?s fastings, keep the fast of the Lord that breaks the bond of iniquity and lets the oppressed go free, that your health may grow and your Light shine as the morning. [Letter 167]

4. Truth Can Live in the Jails

Dear Friends, who suffer for your testimony and to all the rest in your county, I am glad to hear of your faithfulness and of your standing for the Church which Christ is the head of, which is in God, and [you] are become his living members. And therefore wherever you are, in prison, or out of prison, where two or three are gathered together in his name, there is a Church, and Christ the living Head in the midst of them: a prophet, to open to his Church the things of his Kingdom; and a bishop, to overĀ¬see his living members, that they be preserved in his Light, Grace, Truth, Spirit, and Gospel; and he is a shepherd, to feed with heavenly food; and a priest, who has offered himself up a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, who cleanses, washes and purifies his Church. And therefore feel and see Christ exercising his offices, and ruling in your hearts. [Letter 368]

Sing and rejoice you children of the Day and of the Light. For the Lord is at work in this thick night of darkness that may be felt. Truth does flourish as the rose, the lilies do grow among the thorns, the plants atop of the hills, and upon them the lambs do skip and play.

Never heed the tempests nor the storms, floods or rains, for the Seed, Christ, is over all and does reign.

And so, be of good faith and valiant for the Truth. For the Truth can live in the jails. Fear not the loss of the fleece, for it will grow again. And follow the Lamb, if it be under the beast?s horns or under the beast?s heels, for the Lamb shall have the victory over them all. [Letter 227]

5. Doing Truth to All

So, this is the word of the Lord God to you all. Do rightly, whether you be tradesmen, of what calling or profession or sort so ever, or husbandmen. Do rightly, justly, truly, holily, equally to all people in all things; and that is according to that of God in everyone, and the witness of God, and the wisdom of God, and the life of God in yourselves.

Whatever your calling, live in the power of Truth and wisdom of God to answer that just principle of God in all people upon the earth. So, let your lives preach, let your light shine, that your works may be seen, that your Father may be glorified. This has the praise of God, and they who do so come to answer that which God requires, to love mercy, do justly, and to walk humbly with God.

So everyone strive to be rich in the Life, and the things of the Kingdom that has no end; for the person that covets to be rich in the things of this world falls into many snares and hurtful lusts. Therefore, let the one that buys, or sells, or possesses, or uses this world be as if he did not. Let them be masters over the world in the power and Spirit of God, and let them know that they owe no one anything but love; yet serve God in Truth, and one another in their generation. [Letter 200]

6. Considering Your Promises

And now dear Friends, in all your words, in all your business and employments, have a care of breaking your words and promises to any people. Consider beforehand, that you may be able to perform and fulfill both your words and promises to people, that your Yea be Yea and Nay, Nay in all things, which Christ has set up instead of an oath.

Therefore all are to consider afore-hand, before they speak their Yea, Yea, what they are able to perform. It will preserve you out of all rash, hasty words and promises, for such kind of inconsiderate and rash speaking is not in the everlasting covenant of light, life, and grace.

Christ says, ?If you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust you the true riches?? (Luke 16:11). Therefore there must be a justness and faithfulness in the outward riches between individuals if you will have a place in your hearts for the true heavenly riches. The inward faithfulness to God brings forth faithfulness to people in outward things. [Letter 380]

7. The Bright Morning Star

All dear Friends everywhere, who have no helper but the Lord, who is your strength and your life, let your cries and prayers be to him, who with his eternal power has kept your heads above all waves and storms. Let none go out of their habitations in the stormy time of the night, those whose habitation is the Lord, the Seed, Christ Jesus.

In this Seed you will see the bright and morning Star appear which will expel the night of darkness, by which morning Star you will come to the everlasting Day which was before night was.

So, everyone feel this bright morning Star in your hearts, there to expel the darkness. [Letter 280] (Abridged and revised for the modern reader by Howard R. Macy.)


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