Saturday, February 25, 2006


Stuck With The Stars

So the wife and I are heading for our trip to the Columbia River area. We're hanging in the Burbank airport and who do we spy but these guys getting on the plane with us. Yep, Mark and Brian - morning "shock jocks." They are not nearly as adolescent in person as they are on their show. One of them (excuse me, I don't know who's who) sat in front of me and actually excused himself before he reclined his seat - that's a first in more flights than I can count. Imagine that, excessive manners from a "shock jock."

Speaking of shock jocks, quick, who's the official movie star of the Hugh Hewitt show? That's right - Clint Howard! Clint was on the flight too. I asked him if he had ever been recognized in public before as the official movie star of the Hugh Hewitt show and he replied that that was a first. Had quite a nice conversation with Clint, he is as great a guy in person as he seems on screen and when he calls Hugh's show.

Unfortunately, despite the immense fame this blog affords me, none of these famous people had ever heard of me before. But you have to admit, that's a lot of public figures for one regional jet flight from Burbank to Portland!

Wonder who we'll see going home?

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Friday, February 24, 2006



I am going here for the weekend - The Columbia River Gorge. If you hear from me, consider yourself lucky.

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So What Is Fair?

The Gad(d)about was blogging about expectations the other day and he said this
That's often when faith is challenged the most, when we put down God's justice for our own, and those three famous words come out of our previously pious mouths:

It's not fair.

I can't think of anything more unBiblical than that phrase.
My question is this - why do adults EVER utter that phrase? It is a whine children develop when the kid next door gets a bicycle and the child in question does not. It's a whine to which my parents routinely and frequently responded, "Life's not fair, get used to it!" And, I have.

Matt's right, its not a Biblical phrase. If God was fair, at least in the sense that we usually mean it, we would live in a world where everbody was identical in every way. The one fault my parents, well Mom really, made in this regard was at the dinner table. When she served something my sister and I both liked there would always be a fight about who got more. So Mom measured our portions down to the gnat's behind to make sure we got precisely the same amount - just to be fair. This in spite of the fact that my sister is literally half my size. The funny part is Mom still does it today, when she cooks, and Sis and I don't care.

Do you think God sits in His heaven with a carefully calibrated scale parcelling out whatever? Well, not whatever, but there is one thing we all get equally - grace. yep we all get an infinite amount.

Now that's fair -- we all get all the grace we could ever need and more, if only we were smart enough to appropriate it!

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What's A "Kid" To Do?

Al Mohler linked to a couple of 17-year-old twins writing about the phenomenon of "kidults" - those that stay home post college and basically sponge off mom-and-dad.
You can't read very far in your Bible before God addresses two things at the very heart of the kidult controversy: living with your parents, and getting married. In Genesis 2, we read, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (ESV). The biblical pattern is for young people to leave their parent's household in order to begin their own.

This strongly implies that living with your parents before you get married can be a very good thing; provided you're doing it for the right reasons. If you haven't found Mr. or Mrs. Right, and it's more helpful to you and your family for you to remain at home, it's not just fine, it's biblical! Unfortunately, most kidults "stay-and-delay" not out of biblical conviction, but out of self-indulgence and sloth. And even more unfortunately, many of us tend to think and act more like kidults than biblical young adults.
If this was written by an adult, this kind of insightfuless fundamentalism would be irritating, but in kids like this its good to see them tackling the issue on any level.

I think this is one of the most interesting problems facing our culture today. While the article is about what kids can do, I really think the problem is parents. Reading this made me think of this post I wrote Wednesday.
when we do seek to help, we need to ask God for discernment in how best to do so. The most immediate response, particuarly in terms of relieving the pain is not always the best.
If you're a parent with a 28-year-old college grad still living at home - WHY? I know a few such people and I get these truly lame excuses about how the kid can't get a job that pays enough to let them move out. What? - the kid never heard of a roommate?

But the real problem lies in the expectations parents create in their kids. The don't want to move out until they can buy, remodel, and furnish a house with a spouse. You should have seen the first place I lived on my own...the cockroaches moved out for a better opportunity.

I also wonder about what effect allowing kids to major in totally useless subjects plays. If your higher education is not career prep, won't you graduate behind the curve? That was the only rule my dad put on my college studies, which he paid for in large part - your major had to produce employable skill. If you want to learn just because it's interesting, go to graduate school, which you will pay for yourself.

And finally - financial circumstances required me to move in with my parents for a few months after I graduated - between my first and second jobs. It was miserable, truly miserable. Why are these "kids" content? Honestly what kind of Friday night can a twnetysomething have if he/she is going home to mom and dad?

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Ruth, Naomi, And Reciprocal Beneficiary Contracts

Joe Carter has joined James Dobson in support of the Reciprocal Beneficiary Contracts proposed in Colorado. His arguement - that Ruth and Naomi would not have been able to support each other the way they did under current law.
But what if Ruth and Naomi lived in modern-day America? Would they be able to keep this commitment to each other without hindrance from laws that recognize only dependents, guardians, and spouses? The law may very well provide them "equal protection" under certain circumstances (i.e., powers of attorney) but often requires the ability to navigate a labyrinth of rules and regulations.
So, the point of the bill would be to simplify an already existing process - always an admirable goal when dealing with bureacrats! But, I have a problem.

Joe quotes, from a source he does not cite, but I presume to be a legislative summary of some sort the purpose for the legislation:
"unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the marriage laws of this state."
There's the rub - in that stated purpose - marriage is devalued. The law is presented not as a streamline, but as a circumvention.

See, here's the thing - that "labyrinth of rules and regulations" isn't all that bad. I've had to navigate it to deal with a grandparent that no longer had the faculties to tend his own affairs. And while I would have appreciated it being easier than it was, in the end it was far from insurmountable.

So, it is time for the classic political deal. Take the bill off the table, bring it back recast. Don't sell it as setting up something to circumvent marriage, sell it as what everybody is claiming it is - a legal streamline bill. Sell it to me!

Shift the political question - as long as the question has anything, anything at all to do with marraige, this is a loser. That statement is true both politcally and in simple public morality. The slippery slope is real. If we devise a route around marriage people are going to take it, for same-sex reasons and more dangerously, I think, for heterosexual co-habitation reasons.

Look, lawyers are for the most part smart people. Pass the bill for the "right" reasons (lower burecracy) and they will figure out how to use it for the "wrong" (marriage circumvention) ones. But, if you promote the bill for the wrong reasons, it oughtta be a loser.

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The Ugliest Statistic

The proportion of children born outside marriage in the UK has leapt from 12% in 1980 to 42% in 2004, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Do I really need to spell out why for you?

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And When They Find Him -- They'll Teach Him How To Spell

The great hunt for Ratko Mladic

That looks like something I'd type.

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Friday Humor

Some Things Are So Funny They Deserve A Sequel - The preaching "windbag" is back.

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Hey, Leave The Bad Puns To ME!

#1 - Explaining Ice: The Answers Are Slippery

#2 - Dart injuries rise as beginners get the point

The moral? - Bad puns, accpetable, lame puns should be killed.

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Well, Stop Feeding Them!

International News: Cockroaches Plumping Up in Australia

They're not pets you know.

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Well, At Least To Other Ice Worms

Ice worms: They're real, and they're hot

Personally, I just think they are just tubular and squirmy.

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So, Jimmy Carter Was Right About Something

Angry hare attacked dogsled

I just wish it had been about a actual policy matter!

To all of you under 40, that is a really funny joke, but you had to be there.

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If You're Going To Con, Be Less Obvious

The Stockholm chapter of the biker gang Hell's Angels is being investigated for fraud after police found 70 percent of members were certified as depressed by the same doctor and were getting state sickness benefits.
If the story was about the doctor instead of the bikers - it's be worthy of "Stuck on Stupid," but the bikers are kinda smart.

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Understatement Of The Year

In-car navigation systems can be dangerous?

The nagging creates road rage! "Turn left in 60 feet - Turn left in 50 feet"

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Thursday, February 23, 2006


Doing Parachurch

CT's Leadership blog posted Tuesday on the parachurch. He wonders about their value and if he has found the "perfect" one.
It is not my intention to pick on any organization, but just to wonder aloud. If all of the Younglife leaders in America served in local churches? youth ministries would that be better? If the thousands of volunteers who put on Promise Keepers and Women of Faith events invested those energies in their local churches, would the men and women of their church experience a greater impact? I don?t know, but I wonder.


Certainly they are tackling a tough area that many churches have a difficult time handling. However, if you search their website and other materials you will find statements like this: "WGA comes alongside the church to help it minister to people with sexual and relational conflicts." And they mean it too. They regularly have workshops and seminars for ministry professionals on how to address sexuality in their churches.

It was at one of these seminars that I heard a line that changed my perspective on parachurch ministry. The leader of the workshop said, "Our hope is that we would be able to have enough of an influence on the local churches and their leaders in Denver that we would go out of business sometime in the future. The local church would be addressing the sexuality of their people as well as we could."
Needless to say, as an old parachurch hand, I have thought about this a lot. I certainly think the "alongside" model of parachurch is prefereable to the distinct and separate model, but in the end, I think it is not where we should be.

I'll speak from my personal experience. Young Life was founded to help move kids into church, but in the end, they just stay in Young Life. Instead of the bridge it was intended to be, Young Life has become a destination. I think the same will happen with this organization the author has encountered. Why?

Organizations have an organic element to them and as such they seek to survive. Had Young Life done it's mission as it intended, it would have become invisible and perhaps even worked itself out of a job. That is to say, the church would have absorbed the functions Young Life had performed as it grew and gained the experience of those that came through Young Life. Young Life had to become a destination to survive.

The same will be true for WGA. Let's face it, it's mission is to teach the church what it knows, but once the church knows it, there will be no need for WGA. So, I think, inevitably, WGA will start to do the actual functions it is supposed to be training the church to do. Oh, maybe it will do them in "partnership" with a congregation, using facilities and so forth, but it will remain distinctivly WGA, it will seek its own survival.

Given that the leading edge of evangelical churches look more and more like the parachurch of yesteryear, I truly wonder if the church as we know it will survive. Sometimes I wonder if we will eventualy become some sort of parachurch marketplace where individual Christians pick the boutique faith service of thier choice for this week. There are a lot of churches that operate as just such a marketplace now - the church lacks a singular identity and is instead and umbrella under which various "ministries" function.

Hmmm, I wonder if that is what Barna is saying in his latest book? Need to read that.

The parachurch, in any form, increases the rate of decline of the church in general.

We are called to be a community of faith, not consumers of specific faith services. Good churches seek to be defined by the people within them, not the organizations they are -- that is the only way to avoid the idolatry that typically ensues.

I do love the mission of Young Life - it is a call I feel on my heart to this day, more years later than I was old when I worked for them. But oh how I long to do that mission in the context of the church. You see, we do not need a bridge into the church, we need a door.

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Getting Serious About Haleigh Poutre

Wesly J. Smith, writing at National Review Online, takes a very serious and scholarly look at the ethical, medical, and legal issues surroounding this severly injured little girl. It's great to see this kind of serious work in the wake of Terri Schiavo.
Within a week or so of the beating, her doctors had written her off. They apparently told Haleigh's court-appointed guardian, Harry Spence, that she was "virtually brain dead."


Then came the unexpected: Before "pulling the plug" on Haleigh, Spence finally decided to visit her. He was stunned. Rather than finding a little girl with "not a chance" of recovery, as doctors had described Haleigh's condition to him (as reported by the Boston Globe), Haleigh was conscious. She was able to give Spence a yellow block when asked to by a social worker and respond to other simple requests.

Laudably, Spence immediately called off the dehydration.


It wasn't always so. It used to be thought of as unthinkable to remove a feeding tube. Then, as bioethicists and others among the medical intelligentsia began to worry about the cost of caring for dependent people and the growing number of our elderly ? and as personal autonomy increasingly became a driving force in medical ethics ? some looked for a way to shorten the lives of the most marginal people without violating the law or radically distorting traditional medical values.
Has it dawned on anyone that the whole reason third-party payer system erupted in this country was so that cost would not be a factor in medical decision making. The whole idea was so that we could decide how best to care for ourselves regardless of cost. But now, instead of me checking the bank balance and the available credit before deciding what to do, there are faceless committees, and massive bureacracies making cost-based decision. Smith says this
In such cases, medically inappropriate ANH - such as when the actively dying body can no longer assimilate sustenance - should be able to be refused as other forms of care. But when the decision is a value judgment that a person's life isn't worth living because of disability or perceived "quality of life," then the decision to dehydrate should be considerably constrained.
AMEN! You see, under such circumstances, faceless bureacracies will, by default, make cost based desisions becasue it is their only value. And suddenly we find ourselves precisely where we set out not to be - with the value of human life determined by money. Thus the many comparisons to chattel slavery that arose during the Schiavo furor. They were, in the end, appropriate. Smith says:
Don't get me wrong: People can and should be able to refuse unwanted ANH for themselves, either directly or in a written advance medical directive. But it seems to me that given the certainty of death when denying a patient sustenance - and in light of the profound symbolism of refusing to provide even nourishment - a different standard should apply when third parties seek to refuse tube-supplied food and water on behalf of another.
As much as I fell in love with Terri Schiavo and I fought for her, the issues were much, much larger. After her death, I think it fair to make her a symbol. Now she is a symbol of stolen humanity, of the reduction of the individual to object over which to be bargained and traded. I hope she can become a symbol of restored humanity - of our nations recognition of human value in and of itself.

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The "Romance" Of Science

So, Tuesday night I am watching NOVA. I don't do that so much anymore because it has become more policy and philosophy than it actual science, but this one was on a really cool subject - neutrinos.

The first 85% of the show was great - it was a good, if occassionally unusually silly (using dancing actors to depict the interaction of sub-nuclear particles), layman's presentation of the source of the the idea of neutrinos, the experiemental search to find them, the discovery of their "oscillation" and it's implication that they have mass, and the fact that a massive neutrino turns the so-called "standard model" on its head.

But the last 15% of the show was nothing short of nauseating. They started looking at the implications of this discovery. The biggest is in astrophysics. A massive neutrino implies sufficient mass in the universe that it will not expand infinitely, but will reach some point of maximal expansion where gravity will overcome the forces of "the big bang" and the universe will start to collapse on itself. Thus there is not only a beginning of time, but an end. But, did they talk about that? - Oh no!

No - they had to go on about how the models now replacing the Standard Model indicate that all matter is the result of neutrino interaction. Not worrying about where the neutrinos come from, they are willing to proclaim humanity itself "The grandchildren of neutrinos." What a bunch of romantic nonsense.

It dawned on me that the faithless scientist is in love with his work a little too much. They certainly speak of it in romantic, occassionaly even erotic, terms. Why is that?

Well, for one thing, it's immensely dull. One of the scientists featured in the show had operated the same neutrino detector for 25 years! Folks that's a dull, mechanistic job done in a cave! The other guy sat at his desk and shoved equations around! Think about that dinner conversation, "Honey, today I figured out that chewing this meat emits 10 to the 12th power electron neutrinos!" -- "That's nice dear, the plumbing's broke."

They have to fantasize romantically about what they do just to keep themselves human. Honestly, I've done these things on a small scale at different times in my life and you'll go nuts if you don't project some romantic notions of some sort into it.

Secondly, you have to sell what you are doing to the public. The show had to include that romantic visualization stuff with the dancers, otherwise, people would have tuned out in numbers far more massive than usually ignores NOVA. These guys are dependent on the public for funding, so they have to romance the public to make money.

Finally, and most importantly though, they romance their work because they have no Lord to love. It dawned on me while watching that show that the "battle between science and faith" is a vicous circle. Scientists love their work becaue they have no one else to love. We, the faithful, condemn them for that, pushing them away instead of embracing them and matters turn from love to worship. And so it goes, he said borrowing from Kurt Vonnegut.

Maybe the way for Christianity to overcome the godless tyranny of science is not through apologetics, but through romance? Clearly the scientist has the same basic need to that completely human expression that the rest of us do. I don't know if we ever can argue them into the Kingdom, but I am confident we can love them there.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Why Didn't I Think Of This!?

The 31-year-old married mother of two visits one strip club a month, paying for lap dances so she can talk to the strippers about God.
Paying people to listen to our evangelistic pitches -- why we'd get a lot better results if we do that! That'd be more effective than modern music.

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It's called the "Fire Triangle"

Fog of vapour 'behind oil blasts'

It's not a mystery what causes fire, just what starts them, but apparently that's too subtle for these guys.

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A Pigalope?

Willy the Hog Pairs With Antelope at Zoo

Who needs genetic chimeras? -- we've got zoos.

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Becasue We're Suckers That's Why

Thousands of biscuits and sweets are being used to build a cityscape in a London department store.
Oh no, Legos aren't enough - we have to do it with food.

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Now We Really Need To "Wipe" Out Crime!

Man allegedly killed roommate over toilet paper

Thank you, Thank you, I'll be here all week.

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The Definition Of Bureacracy

How to get disqualified without really trying

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Which Is No Doubt Why He Is Still Missing

Psychics Join Search for Missing Show Dog

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Monstrous Seems An Apt Description!

'Monster' Cat In China Weighs 33 Pounds

It must have eaten like a house or something to get that big!

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How Do They Know?

Warming threat to 'lost world' in New Guinea

I mean, wouldn't they have to find it to tell?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Do You Care?

Jollyblogger quoted Eugene Peterson the other day.
So, "Teach us to care." We begin with a realization of our poverty: We do not know how to care. What we have been prayerlessly engaged in and glibly calling care, is not care. It is pity, it is sentimentality, it is do-goodism, it is ecclesiastical colonialism, it is religious imperialism. Caring, noble and commendable as it seems, is initiated by a condition that can and often does, twist it into something ugly and destructive.


But there is another element in this scenario that is frequently missed and when missed, silently and invisibly squeezes all the cure out of care. The element is sin. The child with a bruised knee is a sinner.


The urgency and innocence of the care-evoking situation obscures the element of the condition that we must not leave in obscurity and that is this: we human beings learn early and quickly to acquire our expertise in using our pliight, whatever it is, to get those around us to do far more than get us through or over the conditions. We learn how to use the conditions of need as leverage in getting our own way. Not our health, not our maturity, not our peace, not justice, not our salvation, but our way, our willful way.
Two comments strike me. Firstly, isn't it amazing how sin turns even our noble impulses ugly.

The second is that when we do seek to help, we need to ask God for discernment in how best to do so. The most immediate response, particuarly in terms of relieving the pain is not always the best.

A surgeon inflicts harm for a greater benefit. A parent may let a child make a bad decision so the child may gain the wisdom only negative consequences can impart.

The caring through sin to manipulation cycle is only worsened when we prevent the "sufferer" from understanding their own role in their suffering.

We live in an age with little understanding of sin. That may, in part, be due to the fact that people often never have to bear the consequence of their sin. Parents support children that are lazy in school through their 20's. Sleep with the wrong person? - No problem, we have morning-after pills. Are you such a jerk, you have no friends? - You can always pretend to be someone else on the Interent.

Have you ever thought about that -- sin is pleasurable -- its the aftermath that let's us know it's sin. Doesn't that tell us that the most compassionate thing to do, at least in some circumstances, is to let someone experience that aftermath? Then they will come to understand their need for Christ.

I cannot think of a greater gift.

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The Best NYTimes Op-Ed Ever!

LAST week's reports that low-fat diets may not reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer have left Americans more confused than ever about what to eat. I'd like to make a radical suggestion: instead of wringing our hands over fat grams and calories, let's resolve to enjoy whatever food we eat.
It turns out
In the 1970's, researchers fed two groups of women, one Swedish and one Thai, a spicy Thai meal. The Thai women ? who presumably liked the meal more than the Swedish women did ? absorbed almost 50 percent more iron from it than the Swedish women. When the meal was served as a mushy paste, the Thai women absorbed 70 percent less iron than they had before ? from the same food.
I am truly tired of the food Nazis. Two reasons:

One, they really do take the fun out of life. There is no greater pleasure for me than a fine meal with fine company -- it's an art, to be savored. I'd rather die at 70 having enjoyed myself than live to 90 eating some of the stuff they try to foist on me.

Two, it seems to me they suffer from a severely warped sense of priority. Is it really that important to sue McDonald's for someone that eats too much?

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What's Creepier?...

Christians that do not think homosexual practice is a sin, or those that think "the material world is suffering for man's spiritual deficiencies" (HT: The Commons)

The article is about the egregious proof-texting that goes on with these neo-libs, but I think they really say a mouthful with this
The only concern here is for how the genius of human science will overcome the finite limits of God's creation.
That may be one of the most succinct expressions of the problem with Christian environmentalism I have yet read - it's about us, it's not about God.

Man's mandated stewarsdship of creation lies not in doing more, inventing more, coming up with better technology - it lies in reliance on God, it relies on being his people.

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One Marine Gets Real

The real news from Iraq
Desperate? The news is so desperate they no have gone and began running "new" 2 year old pictures of Abu Gurab prison. Oh for the love of god move on!! We have and or will punish those idiots who did wrong. That's a good barometer America of how desperate and incompetent the news agency is for actual news! BTW, I just came back from Baghdad and tried to find some reporters "reporting", going on convoys ANYTHING. None were to be found. You do the math. How about all the reporting about the reporter and camera man Martha Raddatz and Bob Woodruff??? I couldn't believe all the shows and updates on these two. Tragic? Yip, but hello your going into a war zone, your making a s*&^ ton more money than me and you've been warned repeatedly. Haji wants to kill you and he doesn't care that you carry a microphone or camera. The truth? WHY isn't there the same coverage on EVERY single Soldier & Marine getting injured by the same weapon? If they are going to do it for one guy than ya got to do it for all. Is it because the reporters are special? Famous? BETTER?? You do the math America. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck HEELO it's a freaking DUCK!

Your Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen are kicking major butt here still! The fighting hasn't lessoned. The obstacles haven't gone away. We are making ground with the implication of the Iraqi Army and to have a force that doesn't sign a contract to serve for a determined amount of time but simply has men who are tired of the insurgency and have had enough to fight back come and volunteer to fight. Every day the Iraqi Army becomes stronger and stronger and the insurgents become weaker and weaker. The Iraqi citizens as well are becoming stronger as they to have increased their information process to the Coalition forces to rat out bad guys. It?s a good sign that although the Iraqi people want us out they will help us in the process. Iraqi service members helping wounded coalition and vise versa. The team has developed nicely and soon it will be time for the Iraqi Army to take things on themselves and Coalition forces to reinforce them and back off.
You just cannot beat the horse's mouth.

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Yeah, Naked Doctors, That's The Ticket!

Doctors should stop wearing ties and traditional white coats to work because they might be responsible for spreading deadly hospital superbugs, according to a report on Monday.
I know, I have an idea - let's avoid human contact as much as possible. That way we'll never get ill. We'll never quite be human either, but at least we'll be healthy weirdos.

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The Perfect Gift For That Agorophobic Author In Your LIfe

Ms Atwood, the Canadian author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin, has created a machine that will allow her - without leaving the comfort of her home - to autograph the pages of her books while she is in another continent.
Just for the record, when I go to the book signing, it's generally not the signature I'm after - it's generally to actually meet the author.

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The Best(?) Of Pravda

These two stories hit me first thing when I turned to this bastion of journalistic excellence this week. It explains so much.

Aliens live in human brain

KGB ran secret laboratories to study extraterrestrial civilizations

I'm left speechless at the circularity that poses.

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Extreme Emergency! Fire Up Homeland Security! Disaster Strikes!

Fire damages toilet paper plant

I just hope it was before it was used - otherwise the smoke would be a whole new level of toxic.

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Speaking Of Architects...

...Waste your time with the Blueprint game. This is a serious challenge!

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What Do "Product Design Guys" With Too Much Time On Their Hands Do?

Make completely senseless MP3 players.

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What Do "Architects" With Too Much Time On Their Hands Do?

I don't know, you explain it.

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What Do "Artists" With Too Much Time On Their Hands Do?

They, uh, raise the prices at your local college cafeteria by using the utensils for other purposes.

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Recalled? For Adding Protein?

Beans Recalled; Bird's Head Found in Can

I mean, come on, pork fat in the same place is a value added.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Loving The 'Unlovable' - What A Pile Of *&^$!

The post I wrote yesterday about how the church witnesses to the less-than-desirable in our comunities continues to haunt me.

I remember my old Young Life days when we used to be told that our job was to learn how to love the unlovable. Would somebody please tell me what that is all about? It sounds good, but what a pile of garbage.

You see, the fact of the matter is we are all unlovable. And yet, we are all loved. Do you honestly think God bases our "lovability" on things like how we dress, or whether we are "gawky," or "developmentally disabled," or just a plain old "nerd?" Anybody who answered that rhetorical question in the affirmative can leave the building and come back when they figure it out.

God judges our "lovability" on the basis of our sinful state, and you know what?
Rom 3:23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and yet
Rom 5:8 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
OK, so let me see if I get this straight. God hates sin and we are all sinners and yet he loved us all enough to die for us in that sinful state. Sounds to me like we are pretty much all unlovable, but pretty much all infintely loved; sounds to me like "lovability" isn't even a adjective that exists in God's lexicon.

If we judge someone as "unlovable" we are clearly not viewing them with God's eyes. We are clearly viewing them in accordance with some standard of our own. And that standard of our own is a problem, a big problem
I Jn 4:19-21 - We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
If we find someone less than desirable as a person, then the problem is ours not theirs, and we have a pretty big problem at that.
Gal 6:14 - But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
If we have room for such a category in our life then clearly the world has not been crucified to us and we have not been crucified to the world.

Next time you are finding someone's company wearing on you, or the next time you are trying to figure out how to handle someone's "inappropriate" behavior, just remember how God views your behavior (it's a lot more than merely inappropriate) and remember He went ahead and got curcified for you anyway. Maybe that will make it a little easier to tolerate that nerd the next time you run into him.

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Why Church and Politics Don't Mix

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - church should not involve itself in politics - Christians most definitely should, but the church, meaning congregations, committees, organizations, conventions, denominations should most definitely not.

There is no more clear example of that premise than the recent climate initiative signed by a group of evangelical leaders which I have blogged about here and here.

Politics in America is the art of compromise, not principle, and it is the land of strange bedfellows. The church, on the other hand is an entity defined by and designed speifically to uphold principle. To do politics, simply because politics demands it, the church will have to compromise principle, and get into cahoots with people it would not normally want to go near.

Challies gives the proof of this contention about the climate initiative.
Concerned Women for America has done the legwork and found something quite surprising and disturbing. "A new effort to mobilize evangelical Christians on the problem of global warming received $475,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the top funders of abortion programs in the United States and abroad."

Sure enough, a couple of Google searches turn up evidence that the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has given significant amounts of funding to organizations that stand opposed to Christian values.
Tim has the details.

Should we put ourselves in a position to make choices like these. I don't think so.

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Faith, Science, and Futility

I continue my Journey through Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth, and there is interesting news, plus a lot on good stuff in that apologetic vein in the blogosphere, like this and this.

Then I ran into this post at Jollyblogger, looking at this post by J Mark Bertrand and I was caught up short. Bertrand says, and david quotes:
In many ways, the worldview approach that has gone mainstream throughout evangelicalism deserves the sniggering. We have a lot of people without philosophical training using pseudo-philosophical language in an effort to reassure equally untrained laymen that their belief systems will stand up to scrutiny. A lot of simplistic scorecards are handed out so that unsophisticated young people can discern the "hidden agenda" of the various scary elites. Worldview thinking has been co-opted by the culture wars, so it's no wonder that people disenchanted with those wars are indifferent to worldviews, too.
The apologetics questions of ours, or any other times, only become serious issues when they leave academia and float out there in the real world, where they are simplified, homogenized, consumerized and bastardized. Complex arguements become bumper stickers. Deep thought is reduced to slogan. And that is true for arguments on both sides of any issue.

And why does all this happen? Because people want it to that's why. It's not like Darwinism is so convincing that everybody just had to buy into it, nor is any counter-argument we posit, regardless of how extraordinary, going to be the answer either.

People have been looking for a way out from under God since Eve ate the apple. Darwin is just the latest exit they have been shown. This is why I have been working so hard to demonstrate that the problem is not science, the problem is not even the naturalistic presuppositions of science. The problem is that people confuse those presuppositions with reality and they do that because they are sinners. Sin makes us run for that nearest exit out from under God, in fact that's a pretty good definiton of sin.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in our little world, whatever that may be. For me, the questions that arise at the confluence of science and faith are fascinating since I am a person of both. But, as I am learning teaching the class on CS Lewis that I am, the most fascinating presentation of those questions as examined in some wonderful fiction (his scifi books) will put the average housewife out like I gave her a sleeping pill.

So, what's my point. You want to overcome Christianity's "cultural captivity?" we need to become Christians that make it seem more appealing than heading for the Darwinian exits. And that appeal needs to be more than mere argument. It needs permeate our lives and fall out of our pores. We need to emit some sort of metaphorical Christian pheremone.

I cannot help but think that which bridges the spiritual/physical divide that Pearcey makes so much of is the Holy Spirit. You see the Holy Spirit can convince a listener even in the face of a mediocre argument.

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So, Who Should Coach Basketball At Indiana University?

As Mike Davis begins to fade into the realm of a 6-year nightmare the endless speculation about who should be the new coach has begun. Needless to say, there are the sentimental favorites, most notably the much beloved Steve Alford.

Look, I love Steve, he was the epitome of what an Indiana basketball player should be, both for IU and the state in general, but I agree with this guy, his coaching credentials don't add up.
Why is this Hoosier Nation that cried, complained, kicked, and screamed actually want a coach that has had LESS success than the one they just had removed from the bench? What is this? How does this make sense?

Alford has ONE NCAA tournament win at Iowa in six seasons. Alford has NEVER been to the NCAA tournament in consecutive years at Iowa. Alford's BEST Big Ten season at Iowa (not counting this year) is 9-7. NINE WINS IS BRINNING BACK THE DYNASTY?
Alford did exceptionally well at Southwest Missouri State, but his performance at Iowa has not been enough to justify handing the reigns of the Indiana program over.

If we had to go with an IU alum, I'd go with Dan Dakich - he has the best record as a head coach, and spent more years under Knight than any other. But he has never head coached in the bigs and still represents a risk.

My sentitmental favorite right now would be my old Butler classmate - Barry Collier. As Butler's head coach, Barry put the Bulldogs back on the national map. His performance at Nebraska has not been as strong, but the Big 12 has become the pre-eminent b-ball conference in the country (after all, it's where Bob Knight landed) and Nebraska is truly a football school. I honestly don't know if Barry has the stuff to put IU back in championship contention routinely, but he certainly has what it takes to make the program again respectable.

There has been a bit of noise about Barry's protege at Butler, then on his own at Xavier, now Ohio State - Thad Motta. Thad's hot, real hot, been doing pretty well, but he makes me nervous. Frankly, he has never held the reigns long enough anywhere to fail. He took a fantastic Butler team from Barry, did the same at Xavier and has outperformed non-existent expectations at Ohio State (recruiting violations preceeded him)- it's not enough to know if he has the stuff.

The now retired Rick Majeurus is everybody's genuine fav, mine included. But such is a pipe dream. He retired young for a reason, and while the IU job is one of the premeier in the nation, I would feel guilty coaxing him out of retirement, let the man live in peace.

There are only two big names I would give the job to right now - Rick Carlisle and/or Larry Bird, but talk about pipe dreams.

So, where does that leave us - I think the same place IU was in the early '70's - a legendary program on hard times, a relatively clean plate onto which a young man with a lot of readily visible potential can build a feast. We forget that when Bob Knight came to IU, he was only known to the basketball hardcore faithful. He was at Army for crying out loud, and while he was doing exceptionally well - it was still Army, who knew?

So, I don't have a name right now, I have a profile. Under 35. At a mid-major, maybe even Division II. Mid-westerner. Winning 65-70% of his games at a school with no real history of basketball success, 75-85% if the school has a history. Strong on fundamentals, I mean really strong. And good values off the court, high graduation rates.

Sound like Knight when he came to IU - yeah, pretty much, but that's the point I think. Same skill set, just not quite so rough around the edges, and all will be well in Hoosier land pretty quickly.

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No Storms To Chase?

Nothing but to do but review data you gathered during the storm season? Not anymore! Make you own lightening. Never a dull moment now.

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News From The World Of The Worm

Flatworm Attack

and when they do, this happens:

Doctors remove 11cm worm from woman's eye

If that won't make you squirm, I don't know what will.

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Alphabet Soup

It may be one of the most recognizable sights in the world - the Palace of Westminster on the Thames. Technically, it is not in London proper, the area defined by the old Roman walls, the square mile, but it is probably the first image that flashes into the mind of anyone when you say "London." Westminster, the palace and the Abbey are our "w" stop in Alphabet Soup. This view is, obviously, from ground level across the river

This view is also from across the river, aboard, the now famous "London Eye" - that enormous "ferris wheel" build by British Airways as a part of the year 2000 celebration in London. It affords some incredible views of the whole city.

This picture illustrates one of the biggest problems with these architectural gems -- being in the middle of a very crowded city as they are, vistas are difficult to achieve.

One of the facts I find most fascinating is that despite its rock solid identification with all things British, and the amazing antiquity of Britain, the Big Ben Westminster Palace you see is not all that old. Finished only in the reign of Queen Victoria. The previous palace burned down and only a single hall of that structure remains.

The Abbey is, really, quite remarkable. Being slightly off the river, vistas are much harder to find than they are for the palace, which is to my mind a shame. While on the exterior it is not all that different from large churches constructed contemporaneously elsewhere, it is a nonetheless beautiful building and difficult to appreciate in its setting. Although as you can see, it can be quite overpowering when standing close.

Of course, its what inside that really matters with this church. The place of coronation, the burial ground for kings and queens, and other notables, walking through the Abbey is almost literally a walk through history. One comment I must make. It is an obvious tourist draw, and they do a fine job of accomodating them. But it remains a functioning church. Every hour a short prayer is offered from the pulpit. In our visit, most of the touring crowd did not honor that prayer with either stillness or silence, which made me very sad. I have been in many houses of other religions, and it is possible to enjoy them and not interfere with the worship of those present - apparently unless it is a Christian house.

OK, rant over. Though hardly the only major structure with flying butresses, the Abbey has them as well, and they fascinate me. This picture was taken while waiting in line to enter Westminster Palace and it is the back end of the Abbey.

Notre Dame in Paris is probably recognized as the most elegant use of the architectural element, but I really liked the way they are just sort of "there" on the Abbey, and how they are right next to the street.

Westminster is probably more thought of as London than London itself - technically it a 'burb. London has an amazing history of independence therefore, royalty has always had to set up shop on its perimeter, so it is bracketed on the west by what we see here and on the east by the Tower of London. It is an amazing history dating back to the Roman Empire.

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Monkey Ammo?

Australia trials tiger poo in fight against pests

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Because He Would Not Cough Up For The Doctor's Bill At The Time

Man Coughs Up Nail 35 Years After Accident

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I Need To Borrow Some Money - Quick!

A lucky bidder may come away from an auction in China with their very own Russian aircraft carrier
I'll pay you back the first billion as soon as I've hoisted my jollyroger.

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Drinking And Singing Do Not Mix

Vietnam Bans Alcohol in Karaoke Bars

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This Sounds LIke A Job For Superfrog!

Toxic toads 'threaten disaster'

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And Here I Thought Majhong Was A Board Game

I was apparently wrong -- it's a punishment:

Drunk Drivers' Penalty: Fine or Mahjong

and it's violent:
A 56-year-old man spent six days in hospital after his friend shoved a spoon up his nose in an argument over a mahjong game.
But this does make me wonder when pro-wrestling will figure out how to do the spoon-in-nose thing.

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Monday, February 20, 2006


The Role Of Church

Over at Common Grounds Online, Glenn Lucke is writing about how the Church Attests To Faith. Glenn tells a story about a modern day "doubting Thomas" and concludes
It's not like I can help Thomas; I'm part of the problem. And when he comes to me saying, "I doubt," I feel responsible.

One schema says Thomas is responsible for his own faith, and it's true. He really is. Another schema says, "But so is the community." You and I cause people to doubt when we fail, pervasively and consistently, to live out the plain words of Scripture.

The Thomas in the Gospels had to see the resurrected life of Jesus before him to believe. My friend Thomas is the same way. Will you and I, empowered by the Spirit of Christ, incarnate Jesus? The Cross makes it possible, so by the Spirit let's make it real.
I would really love to know the audience Glenn is writing for, because he sets up the story this way
In the following story your instinct likely will be to frame Thomas in terms of personal responsibility.
I had no such "instinctive" response. When I read Glenn's story I wanted to pretty well reach out to Thomas and start slinging stuff at the people that Thomas was meeting in his church. Given the conditions Glenn describes, example
He hears that Christian single women in his Sunday School class complain, "I just want to be asked out some. It doesn't have to be romantic. Christian guys are so passive-- they never initiate."

So, what does Thomas do? He has asked out three Christian women in his Sunday School class and they have told him, "No." Not dinner, not coffee, nothing.
I would not blame Thomas if he went postal with a high powered rifle off the steeple.

Glenn is very gently making a point here that I think needs to be made with considerable force. The reality and transformative power of Christ is not just for the other guy -- it's for us! Do you think you're one of the "cool" people? Guess again buddy.

Thomas is all tossed about by the church because of his perceived faults, all the while, the church refuses to recognize it's own faults.

I'll just finish with this story, the subject of the story is a guy I will call "Fred" - he's dead now, but I still want to protect him. I used to go to church with Fred, he was what we now call "developmentally disabled," but back then "retarded" fit the bill just fine. Sweet guy, but like most with his issues, prone to some inappropriateness from time-to-time.

There was much discussion in various venues around church about how to manage the "Fred problem." Finally, one day, I got fed up. I walked into some planning meeting or the other where the "Fred problem" was on the agenda and in my hand I took a stack of greeting cards. I had maybe 20 of them. They were all from Fred - he sent them to me for birthdays and holidays, all typed worse than this blog, except for his illegible scrawl of a signature.

When the time came, I threw them on the table and shouted at the group, "He is not a problem, he is a blessing!" I was single at the time and for many of the events those cards represented, his was the only one I received. I looked around me and said, "I have not a single card from any of you." As it turned out, they all had a stack of cards from Fred at home.

You tell me - who was the "problem" in my story? Who had the real ministry? Who reflected God's glory the most?

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Science And Faith - A Question

By now you have probably encountered the story about how recent DNA studies seem to be "putting the lie" to some of the stories in the Book of Mormon. This set fellow SoCal blogger Laer Pearce, he of Cheat Seeking Missles fame, to thinking about matters of science and faith. He posits a hypothetical that I cannot resist
What if Christ's blood were found on some relic in an ancient church, tested, and found to be 100% human?
Gosh, I hope so! After all, our theology would demand it. You see orthodox Christianity holds that Christ is fully human and fully divine. That means that Christ's DNA would simply be perfectly human.

To me, the central question in the hypothetical is really, "Would Christ's perfected humanity be evident in His DNA?" That is to say, is our fallen nature evident not only in our spirit and character, but in our physicality? Some would argue that disease and defect are a result of our sinful state, thus you could argue that our DNA would be somehow faulty, but how?

Better question, would we even recognize Christ's DNA as "perfect?" Somehow I have a sneaking suspicion that this world would find whatever traits in the DNA were different than ours as defects as opposed to perfections. And there would come the debate. I expect they would claim Christ's DNA as "not sufficiently evolutionarily adaptive" and therefore problematic - thus they would claim to challenge our faith not on the basis of Christ's complete humanity, but what they would judge as His lack thereof.

In the end, Christianity is rational, but not provable. There are limits to what "science" can say about it.

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It's President's Day! The only pollution we have to worry about today is the revisionist history that will fill the landscape with agendas and poppycock. I leave that to the historians.

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Because Scotwise Demands It

Poultry In Motion

(courtesy: Farmgirl Fare)

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You Knew This Was Coming

The "Hunting With Dick Cheney Game" - ENJOY!

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Heat Vision DIscovered During The Jurassic

T. rex 'had razor-sharp senses'

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Boy - It's A Good Thing The Press Is Not Pessimistic

Preparing for pandemic: know how to bury your dead

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Sunday, February 19, 2006


The Role Of Theology In Personal Faith.

The Gad(d)about had an interesting post the other day.
Very few Calvinists are born the moment they give their lives to the Lord. The reason is there are so many hoops one must jump through, rationally, before one can arrive at a reasonable theology. And that's just getting person set up to wrap their minds around the very broad sovereignty of God.

Calvinism is a system, and I've never met an unbeliever who embraces a system. What they do embrace is the simple Gospel which tells them of God's love for them and of their sin, and of their need for Christ to redeem them.


My pastor has a saying I think he borrowed from his seminar professor: "I don't care how much of a Calvinist you are, you're still going to preach the Gospel like you're an Arminian." The point is regardless of your theology, there's no alternative to the zeal of preaching the Gospel.

Just something to keep in mind the next time you unsheathe your sword to do battle with a semi-pelagian poopyhead.
Shoot, a lot of Christians never figure out what they think theologically. If it was necessary, the learning disabled could never experience grace! Did you ever think about that?

Now, that said, there is little question that evangelicalism as gone a little too far in the anti-intellectual direction, but if we are going to do battle with anybody, that is where I think we ought to do it. We need to worry less about convincing people to have our ideas and more about getting them to think about their faith at all.

I'd be really happy if everyone in church could write there own brief faith statement. Hey - maybe I ought to teach a Sunday School class on that?!

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Come On Al - It's More Complicated Than That

Al Mohler addresses the fact that my denomination is dying on the vine. When examining the why's Al says
As groups like the Presbyterian Lay Committee have made clear, the embrace of theological liberalism has consequences -- devastating consequences -- for any denomination.

Just over a decade ago, researchers Dean R. Hoge, Benton Johnson, and Donald A. Luidens addressed this reality in their book, Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers.

As these researchers demonstrated, the embrace of what they called "lay liberalism" led massive numbers of persons to depart from the denomination and its churches. Why? Because the "vanishing boundaries" between belief and unbelief made church membership unnecessary and uninteresting. If the church has no distinctive doctrines, why belong? The coffee is better at Starbucks.
That's an oversimplification if ever I heard one and I know the Lay Committee knows better.

There are a lot of individual Presbyterian congregations that are quite conservative theologically and they too are dying. And talk about a vanishing boundary - what distinction between belief and unbelief is there in a seeker-sensitive mega-barn?

No, if you want to narrow this down to a few simple statements, I think it has to do with the rise of individualistic evangelicalism and the PCUSA not going along completely with the agenda.

Now, mind you, there is a huge and very active, incredibly liberal group in the PCUSA, and they have hurt us tremendously. I just think we do not do the issue justice to boil it down as simply as Mohler did. I also don't like his tone - we're not all as nuts as he paints us to be.

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Sermons and Lessons


Sadhu Sundar Singh has been called the St. Paul of India. His conversion to Christ is one of the great stories of the faith. Sundar was raised a Sikh and so had studied intently the holy book of the Sikh religion, the Granth Sahib, and also the Hindu sacred book, the Gita. His piety even as a child was known throughout the region.

Sundar's mother died when he was just a teenager, and her death threw the young man into overwhelming grief. He railed at God, even publicly burning the Bibles of the Christian missionaries of the area.

Finally, Sundar's despair led him to plan his own death. For three days and nights he stayed in his room. "If God wants me to live, let him say so," he exclaimed. "Oh God, if there be a God, reveal yourself to me tonight." His plan was simple and carefully thought out: if God did not speak to him before morning, he would go out to the railway line, lay his head on the rails, and wait in the darkness for the 5:00 AM. train from Ludhiana to end his misery. For seven hours he waited in silent meditation. At 4:45 A.M., witnesses Sundar, a bright cloud of light suddenly filled his room and out of the brightness came the face and figure of Jesus. Sundar had been expecting Krishna or one of his own gods, but not Jesus. Yet, he was certain it was Jesus. He spoke to Sundar in Hindustani: "How long are you going to persecute me? I died for you. For you I gave my life. You were praying to know the right way; why don't you take it? I am the Way."

As a result of this vision, Sundar's life was dramatically and irrevocably changed and he was led into one of the most remarkable ministries of the twentieth century.


1. A Hidden and Inexhaustible Mine

It is very difficult to explain the deep experience of the inner life. As Goethe has said: "The highest cannot be spoken." But it can be enjoyed and put into action. This is what I mean. One day, during my meditation and prayer, I felt his presence strongly. My heart overflowed with heavenly joy. I saw that in this world of sorrow and suffering there is a hidden and inexhaustible mine of great joy of which the world knows nothing, because even those who experience it are not able to speak of it adequately and convincingly.

I was anxious to go down to the neighboring village to share that joy with others. But, because of my physical illness, there arose a conflict between my soul and my body. The soul wanted to go but the body lagged behind. But finally I overcame and dragged my sick body and told the people in the village what Christ's presence had done for me and would do for them.

They knew that I was ill and that there was some inner compulsion which urged me to speak to them. Thus, though I was unable to explain all that Christ?s presence had meant to me, that deep experience had been translated into action and people had been helped. Where the tongue is lacking, life, through action, reveals the reality. As St. Paul says: "The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor. 3:6, NIV).

2. God's Sweet and Life-Giving Presence

As some insects with their antennae feel their surroundings and distinguish between hurtful and useful things, so spiritual people, through their inner senses, avoid dangerous and destructive influences and enjoy God's sweet and life-giving presence; they are constrained by their blissful experience to bear witness to God. As Tertullian has said: "Whenever the soul comes to itself and attains something of its natural soundness, it speaks of God."

Almost everyone has an inner capacity - some more, some less - to sense spiritual truths without knowing how they have attained them. As someone has said: "They know without knowing how." For instance, Colburn, when six years old, was asked how many seconds there are in eleven years. In four seconds he gave the correct answer. When questioned as to how he had arrived at the answer, all he could say was that the answer had come to his mind. Just so God reveals spiritual realities to those who seek to live according to his will.

3. Those Without the Joyful Inner Life in God

The will to live, which is present in every person, is an impulse urging us to carry life to its perfection, that is, to that state in which the purpose of God for each life will be fulfilled, so that we will be eternally happy in Him. On the other hand, to those who are without the experience of the joyful inner life in God, life is a burden. Schopenhauer was one of these; he said: "Life is hell."

There is nothing strange in such people wanting to commit suicide. As a result of the teaching of the Greek philosopher, Hegesias, many young men committed suicide. Also, several philosophers like Zeno, Empedocles, and Seneca, put an end to their lives. But the strange thing is that their philosophy did not show them how to remove those things which made them unhappy instead of destroying their lives.

Such is the philosophy of the world (James 3:15). Although some, who are tired of this life on account of its struggles and anxieties, may repress the will-to-live, but cannot repress the will-to-believe. Even if they have no belief in God or in any other spiritual reality, they have at least a belief in their unbelief, though Pyrrho said: "We cannot even be sure that we are not sure.

4. Satisfying the Inner Craving

The inner life cannot be freed by changing the place or by killing the body, but only by putting off the "old person" and putting on the new person, thus passing from death to life. Those who go astray, instead of satisfying their inner craving in the Creator, try to satisfy it in their own crooked ways. The result is that, instead of being happy and satisfied, they become miserable.

For instance, a thief who is stealing and hoarding things as a means of happiness is not only missing his happiness, but by his acts of theft is destroying the very capacity for it. That capacity is deadened by his sinful conduct. And if he loses the sense of the sinfulness of theft and his conscience does not feel remorse, he has already committed spiritual suicide. He has not only killed the capacity but has killed the soul which had the capacity.

5. Satisfying This Tiny Heart

Real joy and peace do not depend on power, kingly wealth, or other material possessions. If this were so, all people of wealth in the world would be happy and contented, and princes like Buddha, Mahavira, and Bhartari would not have renounced their kingdom. But this real and permanent joy is found only in the Kingdom of God, which is established in the heart when we are born again.

The secret and reality of this blissful life in God cannot be understood without receiving, living, and experiencing it. If we try to understand it only with the intellect, we will find our effort useless. A scientist had a bird in his hand. He saw that it had life, and, wanting to find out in what part of the bird's body the life was, he began dissecting the bird. The result was that the very life of which he was in search disappeared mysteriously. Those who try to understand the inner life merely intellectually will meet with a similar failure. The life for which they are looking will vanish in the analysis.

In comparison with this big world, the human heart is only a small thing. Though the world is so large, it is utterly unable to satisfy this tiny heart. Our ever growing soul and its capacities can be satisfied only in the infinite God. As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has no peace until it rests in God.

6. The Eternally Growing Soul

The material body cannot keep company forever with the spirit. After fulfilling its purpose for some time as the instrument of the soul for its work in the world, the body begins to refuse, through weakness and old age, to go along with the spirit any further. This is because the body cannot keep pace with the eternally growing soul.

Although the soul and body cannot live together forever, the fruits of the work which they have done together will remain forever. So it is necessary to lay carefully the foundation of our eternal life. But the pity of it is that we, by the misuse of freedom, can lose it forever. Freedom means the capacity to do either good or bad deeds. By constantly choosing to do bad deeds, we become slaves of sin and destroy our freedom and life (John 8:21, 34).

By giving up our sins, on the other hand, and by following the truth, we are made free forever (John 8:32). The works of those who are thus made free and spend all their life in God?s service, that is, of those who die in the Lord, will follow them (Rev. 14:13). To die in the Lord does not mean death, for the Lord is "the Lord of the living and not of the dead," but to die in the Lord means losing oneself in his work. As the Lord said: "Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:24).
7. The Habit Formed Now

We ought to make the best possible use of God-given opportunities and should not waste our precious time by neglect or carelessness. Many people say: there is plenty of time to do this or that; don?t worry. But they do not realize that if they do not make good use of this short time, the habit formed now will be so ingrained that when more time is given to us, this habit will become our second nature and we shall waste that time also. ?Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much? (Luke 16:10).

8. One Spirit, Different Results

Now it is right that every one of us should fulfill in our life the purpose of our Creator and spend that life for the glory of God and the good of others. Each of us should follow our calling and carry on our work according to our God-given gifts and capacities. "There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:4, 11, KJV).

The same breath is blown into the flute, cornet, and bagpipe, but different music is produced according to the different instruments. In the same way the one Spirit works in us, God?s children, but different results are produced, and God is glorified through them according to each one?s temperament and personality.

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