Thursday, April 06, 2006


In The Words Of Arnold...

...before he turned into a gubernatorial also ran

I'll be back!

However, the vagaries of life are going to have me drop off for at least a few days here, and probably slowly coming back up to speed. Worry not, it's a good, if difficult, thing. God and I will be discussing how much to tell the blogosphere about it while I'm gone.

I'll miss you!


Brokeback Bull*&^%

'Scuse me while I rant.

"Brokeback Mountain" is what it is. It is a particular vision of a particular life, or lives. I don't care for it, but so be it. And while I have found the marketing campaign a bit intense, that is just the cost of living in America which I would not change for the world. But now I'm ticked.

I went to my usual neighborhood grocery. There each Tuesday I am greeted with the DVD releases of the week in the impulse-buy area near the checkout. To date this has been reserved for family fair or for the somewhat racier "date" movies. But this week there, next to the "Narnia" display, was the "Brokeback" display. (shudder, but resignation) But then I studied the Brokeback display and lost it completely.

The display depicted both male protagonists kissing women! Did I not know what the movie was really about I would have, for all the world, assumed it was some sort of family western like maybe Lonesome Dove. Look, I know their relationships with women play a significant role in the movie, but THAT IS SIMPLY DISHONEST! I could just see some 9-11 year-old whose parents had carefully kept away from the public debate over the film seeing that display, picking up a movie and taking it to their parents because it "looked good" - forcing the parents into a discussion with the kid they had worked very hard to preserve until the child was older.

A word to the homosexual community - you want acceptance? - you sure as shooting are not going to get it through deception. Being gay is one thing, but being deceptive just ticks me off. If I were gay, I'd be angry with the film's marketing arm.

Oh, by the way - I called the store to ask them about this - Narnia sold out in 2 hours - They can't give Brokeback away.

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Where Science and Policy Meet

A couple of great posts from Prometheus blog. The first post looks at the ever morphing term "consensus" and it's misuse
It seems clear that the orientation that each of these researchers take to the subject of study is profoundly shaped by an interest in either consolidating or expanding the ?consensus,? with trans-scientific agendas shaping more than a few perspectives. As a result, many climate scientists have become much more tactical in how they select research topics. If this interpretation is anywhere close to the mark then climate science as a whole suffers because of an adversarial orientation in which scientists pick and choose research topics and stances according to what they want to (dis)prove, not simply what they want to learn.

Underlying much of the tactics of climate science are of course political perspectives. What the ABC News article cited above really means is that some assert that there are ?uncertainties in the science? as a rationale for business-as-usual policies on climate change, and it is this sort of characterization of uncertainty that is unwelcome. At the same time, it seems that the mentioning of those very same uncertainties in climate science is OK, so long as one also accompanies that with an appropriate qualification about the need for political action.
The second post quotes a ASU engineer on what he terms "nightmare science"
But the authority in this new model is not derived from sacred texts; rather it is derived from legitimate practice of scientific method in the scientific domain, extended into non-scientific domains. Note that this does not imply that scientists cannot, or should not, as individuals participate in public debate; only that if they do so cloaked in the privilege that the scientific discourse gives them they raise from the dead the specter of authority as truth.

Why is this nightmare science? Precisely because it raises an internal contradiction with which science cannot cope. In an age defined by the scientific worldview, which is the source of the primacy of the scientific discourse, science cannot demand privilege outside its domain based not on method, but on authority, for in doing so it undermines the zeitgeist that gives it validity.
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Illuminated Scripture

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The Military Justice System Continues To Work

The process of justice continues in the case against Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez who is accused of killing two officers in Iraq. The case was originally used by those opposed to our Iraq policy to try and gin up another "Vietnam," but as the case has progressed it has become apparent that this was just a plain old murder for personal reasons.

The latest news is that they are having a hearing to ammend the charges of murder to also include failure to obey orders and giving military office equipment to an Iraqi.

Here's the story from The Mercury News in New York - Army Times - Fayetteville Online.

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Because To The Naturalisitic...

Rare conditions could have conspired to create hard-to-see ice on the Sea of Galilee that a person could have walked on back when Jesus is said to have walked on water, a scientist said today.
...the nearly infinitely improbable is preferable to the far more probable miraculous, because, of course, the nearly infinitely improbable happening at precisely the right moment in history to exactly the right person has absolutely no taint of the miraculous to it at all. Not to mention the fact that more nearly infiniitely improbable things happened to Jesus in His short life than imagination would allow. It's a good thing they didn't have lotterys back then or there'd be nothing left for anyone else.

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Creative Bad Taste

Check out

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The most Worthy Receipient Yet

A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug, authorities say.

You know, it is possible to clean the powder out of such things - just a thought.

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Some Links To Chew On While I'm Gone

Reformation Theology on Romans 8:28-9:24. Nothing new, but well done, and well worth being reminded of.

CDR Salamander on racist math. Racist math???????????????

The Archbishop of Cantebury making some sense.


Where Do I Order?

Eyes lose their flexibility with age, sometimes making it difficult to shift focus from near to far or vice versa. To combat the problem, Benjamin Franklin devised bifocals--eyeglass lenses shaped for near viewing in the lower half and distance vision in the upper portion--more than 200 years ago. Now researchers have created liquid crystal lenses that can change between long-distance and reading modes with the flick of a switch
Am I showing my age?

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Usually Of Paparazzi

Merged stars whip up super fields

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Why Didn't I Think Of That

Maryland Man Is Glued To Restaurant Toilet Seat

It's good to be a chemist and a practical joker.

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Who Knew Whiskey Could Adopt, Or Be Vain?

Vain Wild Turkey Adopts Small Town Cafe

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006


On Leadership

Scotwise offered some excellent advise on church leadership
I was reading through the book of Acts last week, and I realised that Paul was brilliant when it came to picking leaders for his Church plants. He was the perfect example to each and every one of them. He didn?t ask them to go to Bible College or seminary to get trained, he didn?t ask them to get a diploma or a degree, he simply asked them to imitate him, as he imitated Christ!


What a contrast this is, to what we see in the Churches today. Paul looked for Godly men and put them into positions of leadership, and then gave them the whole counsel of God, with tears in his eyes. It?s time to get the world out of our Churches, and start looking to the word of God, for our examples in training leaders. Just thinking about it, didn?t Jesus do the same thing?


While Minister's Corner offers 6 signs of failing leadership (HT: SmartChristian)

Note a contrast? Scotwise is making disciples that make other disciples, Minister's Corner is running an organization - good advice for doing so, but a very different approach.

I think there needs to be a reconciliation between these two approaches, maybe "integration" would be a better word. If you hold too tightly to the later advice, the former will simply get lost in the mix. As a first step there needs to be a prioritization. The institutional realities of the church cannot be denied, but they cannot be allowed to supercede or impede the disciple building mandate of the Great Comission.

Another means of integration is in the metric of success that we use.

But finally, the integration comes in who we are - only by allowing God to transform us into who He would have us be will be be able to make the necessary choices and decisions to do this right.

Cross-posted on How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church

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Legislation That Requires Support!

In the months leading up to, and after Terri Schiavo's death, a dozen states took the first legislative steps toward preventing future similar cases. Lawmakers in eight states ? Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina ? proposed bills identical to, or inspired by the National Right to Life Committee's Model Starvation and Dehydration of Persons with Disabilities Prevention Act,which was inspired by the 2003 removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

"For years, people who never asked to die have been quietly starved without much public attention, based on state laws and court opinions that permit third parties to make deadly decisions with little or no scrutiny or accountability," said attorney Burke Balch, the director of the NRLC's Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics and the chief architect of the model law. "The outcry over the Schindler-Schiavo case has awakened millions of Americans to the inhumanity of this practice. Now we must act to reverse this trend, and restore a presumption against starvation and dehydration."

The model Act creates a presumption in law that people incapable of expressing their wishes would be given nutrition and hydration, so long as their provision is medically possible, would not itself hasten death, and can be digested or absorbed so as to sustain life.
If this law or something like it is not making it's way through your state legislature now - do the hard work of making it happen.

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Is This Good News?

Churchgoers Live Longer

See, here's the thing, that's a very secular motivation for a very religious activity. There are already enough people coming to church for all the wrong reasons for us, the church, to allow ourselves to be diverted in this direction.

I want to reach every human soul on the planet for Christ - but FOR CHRIST - not because they think the church is going to offer some them some life-extension voodoo.

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What It's Really About

This post from the Commons Blog about a mining concern in Peru and its efforts to clean up its environmental impact is horrifying.
These efforts epitomize "corporate social responsibility." And yet, the company and community are under constant attack by local Archbishop Pedro Baretto and US-based activists led by Oxfam. They have insinuated themselves as "stakeholders," say Doe Run hasn't done enough to address blood-lead levels, and strongly object to the SO2 deadline extension.

In fact, Doe Run made the decades-old lead contamination problem its top priority from the outset. The company tests workers and children regularly, reduced lead emissions at their source, built facilities that ensure workers don't take contaminants home, and initiated programs to clean streets and homes of accumulated contamination. Blood-lead levels now meet US (OSHA) guidelines for nearly all workers, and the children's blood-lead levels are improving.
Few stories are as revelatory about the genuine agenda of many in the environmental movement. It is little more than a lever to gain power. The next time you run into someone trying to work you into a lather over some environmental issue, remember that.

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This Could Change The World

Labor Shortage in China May Lead to Trade Shift

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This Is Justice

Now They Are Afraid of the Students -- The Intellectual Anxiety of the Evolutionists

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The Best Of Pravda

Did you know? -

George Bush is the hub of an Axis of Evil centred on Washington

Now, at least Pravda has a reason, albiet a silly one, to write something like that - unlike some domesitic media I know.

This whole section of articles is fascinating:

The role of men in modern society: The decline is inevitable?

What's sad is that amidst the usual Pravda "stuff" there are some interesting points worth thinking about.

Making them?...

There are vampires that do not need fangs and blood to live

Welfare receipients!

But this takes the all time cake:
All this started, when Albert Einstein created his formula E = mc2. He has written afterwards that he does not know if that formula was really correct. Assisted by his very highly developed brain, Einstein felt that something could be wrong about his E = mc2? Here follows Rene Delavy's doubts about Einstein's theory and the proofs for his highly risky reasoning:

The formula E = mc2 is perfectly correct, but it does not apply to what we think it means, although it is perfectly true that: Energy equals mass (of any kind) multiplied by (simple) speed square.

But Einstein's formula pretends: Energy equals Mass multiplied by LIGHT-speed square!!

This formula is definitely a MAXIMUM-Formula. The highest speed ever is light-speed. Physically speaking, it cannot be multiplied. Einstein himself gave the proof for this. But nevertheless: mathematically it can be multiplied with itself. But light-speed is nearly an indefinite figure. Multiplying an indefinite figure by itself results in a number that could be set equal to infinity. So the formula of Einstein is perhaps applicable for the Big Bang, but never for making explode a simple atomic or hydrogen bomb. Never. Be the mass so little as be: Multiplied with c2, this material would logically make the whole Earth explode.
I know what you're thinking - "there goes Blogotional talking about science stuff NOBODY understands again" - the problem is, in this case, I don't even understand it - it's pure gibberish.

Just another week in the newspapaer that dares to call itself "Truth."

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Stuck On Stupid

No joke: Oven door passed off as flat-screen TV in scam

And I do not mean the scammers.

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There Are Souvenirs...

Late Grateful Dead Leader's Toilet Stolen

...and then there are souvenirs.

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And Suddenly Basketball Players Can't Dribble

Calif. Coach Sued for Belittling Players

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Wives Everywhere Rejoice

Fined for failing to flush toilet!

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Mine, For Example...

Smart brains 'grow differently'

...grow out of my ears and drag behind me like an intelligent ponytail.

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Requires No Explanation...

Purdue defends title in Rube Goldberg nationals

...because Purdue thinks its good engineering. And, yes, this is a signal that I am an Indiana fan.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006



Concluding my teaching on the scinece fiction books of CS Lewis, I ran across an outstanding passage at the end of the thrid book - That Hideous Strength. To set it up, the last book is the battle between the forces of the Lord and the forces of the fallen angel. The forces of God are small and not at all what you would expect of an army and the battle is not exactly spectacular. When all is said and done and the Lord's group has prevailed, this passage appears
"Aye," said MacPhee, "and it could be right good history without mentioning you and me or most of those present. I'd be greatly obliged if any one would tell me what we have done - always apart from feeding the pigs and raising some very decent vegetables."

"You have done what was required of you," said the Director. "You have obeyed and waited. It will often happen like that. As one of the modern authors has told us, the altar must often be built in one place in order that the fire from heaven may descend somewhere else. But don?t jump to conclusions. You may have plenty of work to do before a month is passed. Britain has lost a battle, but she will rise again."
[emphasis added]
I may have to commit that to memory. As we discuss so often how to do that which God has called us to do, we even usurp the Lord's role in that discussion. Our role is to obey and to wait.

It is really hard to wait - but wait is what we are called to do. we are not generals, we are not really officers, we are grunts - we wait until we are ordered not to wait, then we do what we are ordered to do and then we wait for another order.

How often do we really wait on God?

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Environmental EXTREMISM

It's nice to see people wake up and pay attention once in a while. George Will commented on media bias and global warming over the weekend and Iain Murray at the Corner noticed and linked to two similar articles in UK papers.

Ah, but you see it is no longer good enough to proclaim apocalyptic visions of the end of the world from fossil fuels forcing us all to radically change the way we live. No, according to (I know you have heard of him by now) Dr. Eric Pianka we need to kill off 90% of humanity to "save the planet." The Pearcey Report was where I first picked up this story here and here and because it's good, here is Greenie Watch's take on the matter.

Now, I have to say, the coverage on this is amazing - this isn't news. Greenie Watch correctly notes that this kind of talk has existed since the beginning of the environmental movement in the 70's. What's more, it's inevitable given the viewpoints, philosophies, and underlying assumptions of many in the environmental movement. CS Lewis foresaw this in the wake of WWII.

So, two points I want to make on the matter. Firstly, it has long been said that communism is not dead, it has changed it's name to the "green movement." There is some insight in that, but I think if you scratch the green commie you're going to find a fascist underneath. Only a fascist would dare propose the elimination of 90% of humanity with a straight face. Remember, even most communists viewed the Stalin purges as an abomination.

But the second point I wish to make is the really important one. Guys like Pianka are useful - they become a yardstick that we can hold up to "more moderate" environmentalists and say "Do you support this guy?" He is a tool we can use to force those people into a little critical thinking. That's why I'm not specifically tackling the guy's assertions here - I don't need to - who needs to are people like the Evangelical Climate Initiative - they have to make plain why it is they are not like him and will not end up where he is.

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Critique, Orthodoxy, Niceness

Need to pull some strings together here. First there is this post from GospelDrivenLife on arguing in blogs - his primary thesis? - "Pick your fights."
My problem is always my pride. I tend to assume a mantle God has not placed on my shoulders -- I am the new Elijah! What God has taught me is that there are a few battles to be fought...
Reasonable approach, but some battles MUST be fought, so let's just address those.

The battle I am specifically thinking of is the issue of homosexual ordination in the PC(USA) which comes before our ruling body this summer - AGAIN!. It's come up a lot in the last couple of decades, last time, they punted to a task force that has returned a report. I spent some time with the report this past weekend. Jollyblogger sums up the report unknowingly, in another post on blog debates with this line.
We live at a time when being nice is far more important than being orthodox.
The report is nice, but says nothing. It is written in a sort of communal first person that indicates there was no effort whatsoever to reach truth, simply a consensus, and those, unfortunately, can be radically different things.

Which brings me back to Jollyblogger, and GDL to some extent. Both indicate a mutual exclusivity to niceness and orthodoxy, or truth. I consider this a false premise. We do not have to choose between being nice and being orthodox, we need to learn how to be nice WHILE being orthodox.

Now, from the outset, I want to grant you that such is a terribly difficult proposition. It is difficult largely because the unorthodox declare the holding of orthodoxy as "not nice" regardless of how one asserts it. We cannot allow such declarations to stand, and I am afraid we have, and we do by discussing choices between them.

I spent my time with the report over the weekend in preparation for teaching a class at church on the CS Lewis essay The Poison of Subjectivism. That essay ends with a "practical" look at the ramifications of subjective thought and I expanded that discussion by looking the homosexual ordination issue, and because the report itself is a masterwork of subjectivism. As the discussion continued in the class the key phrase was "speak the truth in love."

That's where it dawned on me - when those we oppose simply define opposite positions as "unloving" it is an entirely subjective statement, and if we let it stand, we grant subjectivism credence - something we cannot do or the debate is lost.

So how do we be nice and orthodox at the same time. Well, the best example I can think of is Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. Consider this small exchange from that story
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
Consider such an exchange today, do you not readily picture the woman responding with "How dare you condemn me for my marriage practice?..." So how, did Jesus get away with this? I read the story, His words are very straighforward - there are no rhetorical flourishes to soften the blow, no conditionals to make the bitter pill easier to swallow. How come the woman has no indignation at Christ's direct assertion that she is a 'ho?

Answer - because of Jesus' character. The woman understood instinctively that Christ's motivation was love and that He had her best interests at heart.

So, what does that say about us and our debates? Let's start with blogging. I think it says that Christian blogs should be self-revelatory - who we are needs to be apparent in our blogs so that our character is revealed and people know then the loving context of our words.

Now, what does this say about the church and blogging? It says that our first priority is to learn to be more Christ-like - getting back in some sense to the GDL post. In a sense we need to earn the right to enter such debate by progress in our own sanctification - our transformation into Christ-likeness. The key question is - does who you are communicate Christ's love? - not what you say, who you are! - More importantly WHO WE ARE. The church, as a body, must come to reflect Christlikeness, and, I think, in ways superior to what any one of us can do individually, we need to realize the promise of scripture when it comes to being the body of Christ.

Only in being Christ-like can we be nice and be orthodox. And only in that paradigm can we fix the problems that confront the church today.

Cross-posted on How To Be A Christian And Still Go To Church

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The Real Shame...

...of the entire l'affarie d'McKinney is not necessarily what a nutcase, perhaps to the point of being a fool, that the woman is - the world is full of nutcases and fools. The real shame is that such a person somehow managed to get elected to Congress. What this says is that there is enough concentrated foolishness in at least one congressional district not to be able to tell the difference between Ms. McKinney and a person that makes any kind of sense whatsoever.

I just hope it is only ONE congrssional district.

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A Warning This Blog Has Yet To Heed

Device warns you if you're boring or irritating

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Because Some Lawyer Couldn't Find An Ambulance To Chase

Dodgeball Game Leads to Assault Charges

Actually this is a serious story, but I couldn't resist. You know, I had a teacher in 7th grade that figured getting hit in the face with a ball was insufficient humiliation and paddled us when we lost. Well, I'm grown up now and if I ever run into RANDY BRUNEMER I will kick his *&^. That's RANDY BRUNEMER.

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The Terrorbuster Saga


Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog

For two years or so Carter labored to build a technical infrastructure that would do what the President had envisioned. The technology was easy enough, but the bureaucracy was a far less manageable foe. The various agencies did not trust each other, and worse, they wanted to hoard the information they had to make themselves look good.

Despite the fact that no one ever released information to share, he too was trapped in a bureaucracy and he kept building a huge technological hose through which this nonexistent information could flow. One day, out of sheer boredom and frustration, figuring he could justify it as a "test", he hacked into the CIA database.

Ten minutes later two heavily armed men showed up at his door and asked him -- well told him -- to come with them. He figured he was on the way to the stockade, or the brig, or whatever they called it in Washington. Instead he found himself being lead through a series of tunnels under Washington until he wound up in an office, just off the Oval Office, staring at the President.

This was the President's working office; the Oval Office was purely ceremonial. The President was in shirt sleeves and was wearing reading glasses. He looked up at Carter from his work and said, "I've been waiting for someone in this town who cared more about the job than the rules and the politics. Are you my guy?"

Reflexively, he answered, "Sir, yes, Sir," and started to snap a salute. Some training never left a military man, but as his hand came up he realized that there was more to this situation than met the eye and he stopped. He and the President were quiet and looked each other directly in the eyes. That fire in his belly turned into a raging inferno.

"Mr. President, if I get to do something to really win this war on terror other than spin the wheels of bureaucracy, then yes, I'm your man."

The President got up, walked over to Carter and shook his hand, "You're my new terror buster then."

And that was how David Carter got his current job. It seemed the President knew all along that the agencies would never cooperate. Carter's resume had landed on his desk not long after 9-11 as someone with the skills to do the kind of human intelligence that was going to be needed. But when the President saw his technical capabilities, he had a whole new idea.

Carter spied on the spies. The President had had Carter building his "infrastructure" because he knew it could be used to see what was going on in all the agencies. Carter had been building what he needed for his new job; the President was just waiting to see if Carter could do what was necessary.

Sitting in his non-descript office in the Executive Office building, Carter could see everything every intelligence agency in the western world was doing. Further, he could use this massive computer system to plant information from one agency to another without either agency knowing what had happened. While not as efficient as actually working together, it was extremely helpful.

Today began like every other day. Carter started scanning, noting anything that caught his eye. In some cases he would attach a bit of code to something so that further developments would be routed to him automatically. Most notable in today?s scan was something from an NSA satellite that showed higher than normal radiation levels near a Gulf Coast port. It could have been anything, but in the age of nuclear terrorism, one leaves no stone unturned.

Carter hacked into the Department Of Energy's system. They maintained Nuclear Emergency Search Teams (NEST) throughout the nation. Their mission: to search out, and where necessary, defuse or, as safely as possible, destroy nuclear material or weapons. Like any military or quasi-military unit they maintained a training schedule. This day, the New Orleans team came to work to find the schedule changed. They were going to practice mobilization and detection sweeps at the port Carter was concerned about - Mobile. He left a Trojan horse that would download to their portable equipment and notify him immediately if they found anything.

Then like any other day Carter began to prepare his brief for the President. He did not include the radiation reading in his report. He still thought it could have been anything.

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Sure - No Problem

Take bribes but be fair, Nigerian referees told

And we wonder why Africa is a mess.

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Yeah, But Is It House Trained?

Human horse fetches beer

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That 23rd One Will Get You Every Time

Man jailed after 23 donkeys found dead in trailer

Now is that "trailer trash"?

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Which Explains A Lot Of Ill Tempered Aliens We've Seen In Movies

Giant cloud of space alcohol found

They're hungover.

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Now That's What I Call A "Dump"

Overturned Truck Spreads Human Waste On Ramp

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Excellent Advice!

Never drive with an agitated snake

But fly with one - definitely!

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Monday, April 03, 2006


A Problem Of Vocabulary

Two posts have come together saying similar things, but with a mixed vocabulary. The whole thing starts with CJ Mahaney's call to define "the gospel".

One post is from GospelDrivenLife and attempts to define the seven basic propositions that virtually all Christians hold in common.
But there is something unusual afoot. One of the amazing works of God in our day is that leaders are uniting across barriers formerly uncrossable. They are uniting around the Gospel. And I think here is the place to define and to determine who is for Christ and who is against him. It was called the "rule of faith" by Tertullian.
I have to admit my first reaction to the post was why put forth those propositions when we have such things already defined in the creeds, particularly the nearly universally accepted Apostle's Creed and the universally accpeted Nicene Creed.

But then I ran into this post from Joe Carter and I think it said it the best.
Indeed, the entire universe is not large enough to contain the good news about Jesus! The gospel is more than just news for fallen man. Even if there were no anthropos or no cosmos the seraphim would still proclaim the good news about Christ. The gospel is greater than just the redemption of fallen human nature, greater than the redemption of all creation. The gospel is not about me and it is not about you. The gospel is the news in toto about the Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer of creation: Jesus Christ.

The most serious threat to the gospel is, therefore, the attempts to limit the gospel about Jesus to a propositional truth, to a narrative, to a story, to a verse, a book, to a Bible, or to a million other "nutshells." True, the gospel is contained in all of those forms. But any attempt to share the gospel that does not proceed from "the gospel is?" to "but the gospel is also?" is simply inadequate. Even if we were able to proclaim all the news that is contained in those nutshells, though, it would not exhaust the good news about Christ.
Both men are working to find that which unites us, not that which divides us and that is a very good thing, but I think Joe is who really hits things on the head.

Our doctrine, our creeds are necessary, but they are our efforts to describe the indescribable, understand the unfathomable - they will never be sufficient, not even adequate. When we place our faith in them instead in that which they attempt to define, we hold to ourselves instead of our Lord. That understanding is what will hold us together.

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Anniversary And Drama

Did you know it's the 20th anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl? Regular readers know I visited there in 1991 just 6 years after the accident. I recounted my travels in three parts here - here - here.

Well, given the anniversary, the BBC (and most of the rest of the world press) is descending on the place for retrospectives. As a general comment it is all a bit overly dramatic and makes the small problems that have arisen look far worse than they really are, but it is fascinating stuff.

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The Tyranny Of The Metric

Last week at T4G, Mark Dever put up an excellent post about how ministries often work
Let me be clear--I AM NOT AGAINST NUMERICAL GOALS. They can be great motivational tools. I think that they have dangers, and particularly severe dangers when allowed to hold firm in a culture of churches and church leaders that go less and less to Scripture and more and more to business, pscyhology, the health professions for pragmatic answers. I could go on, but you all know what I mean.

While this is not in itself a complicated theological attack on the gospel, it acts in a complicated, multi-layered, subtle and unintentional way to degrade churches which are, in turn to proclaim, exemplify, define and defend the gospel.
Dever goes on to point out that Christ set the ultimate goal - "All nations" - but there is more to the Grat Commission - he sent us to "make diciples" - not build a organization.

You know, in this day and age you can walk into a lot of trinket shops and by a "ship in a bottle" - it's shaped like a ship - it induces a little of that "how'd they do that?" awe, but it's obviously mass-produced.

Then you can walkinto a top-notch maritime museum and see a ship in a bottle that takes your breath away. All the rigging completely present and hand-tied, painful knot by painful knot. Each deckboard neatly shown, with a nails visible! The hull is not just a solid piece of balsa wood, but the ship is framed and planked just like the real thing. No mass produced thing, you have found a work of art and a work of love.

I think that is an analogy to building an organization and bulding a disciple. A disciple is a work of art and a work of love. A disciple cannot be mass produced. But mostly, building a disciple takes more time than you possible have and more committment than you can possibly muster. Don't worry, God will provide, all we have to do is be willing to accept.

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The Long, Hard GWOT

CDR Salamander look at The Last Helicopter
Regardless of what more will happen over the next 2 years and 10 months, the next President will be tested much harder; as we all will be. Remember, as unpleasant as it is to think about, this war is generational.
What an interesting thought. In my lifetime, I watched the Cold War wax and wane. From atomic bomb duck-and-cover drills in elementary school to the peace at all costs thinking of Jimmy Carter - where we came to accept the Soviets as a given and really not all that bad. And along the way we dropped many smaller balls as the CDR points out in his quotation of Taheri's OpinionJournal piece.

But then came one man that focused on that one threat and we got rid of that threat in less than a generation. And despite the fact that Ronald Reagan rightfully gets the lion's share of the credit - it was Bush's continuation of those policies that brought it finally to an end.

These next two election cycles will tell a great tale of our nation. I am certain we can find men and women up to the task, I only hope we can find enough voters.

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But Then You Knew That

Your Quirk Factor: 66%

You're so quirky, it's hard for you to tell the difference between quirky and normal.
No doubt about it, there's little about you that's "normal" or "average."
How Quirky Are You?

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This Is Why You Cannot Read My Posts

Online bidders vie for wartime Enigma machine

I bought it - this is encoded.

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This post from Cheat-Seeking Missles about environmental objects to the Mexico border wall put me in mind of one of the things that irks me most about environmentalism - they object just because they don't want things to change, not because some specific environmental problem.

The "environment" has become some sort of apple pie objection that can be raised about almost anything. When you want to object, you can always find something. This means environmentalism is two things.

One thing is selfish - "It's my view don't change it." Never mind that it may be a home for wonderful people or say a matter of national security.

The other thing is ideologically inconsistent. Environmentalism is born of liberalism or progressivism and yet what it seems to seek most a a complete lack of change.

I am all for solving genuine environmental problem, but I tire of people forcing thier agenda in the name of the environment.

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That's Bad Food

Anger boiling? Smash plates at eatery

I'd rather not eat there if it's going to make me that mad.

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So Am I!

Philly Plumbers Upset by Waterless Urinals

They don't work.

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NEVER Order Six Pints When You Need A Cure


I don't need no sick cow!

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There Has To Be A Better Way

Making a Ferret Sneeze for Hints to the Transmission of Bird Flu

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But Only Women Astronomers Will Use Them

Nasa releases new maps of Jupiter

And I'll certainly NEVER ask for directions!

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An Airline I'll Never Fly

Ryanair flight landed at wrong airport

And now you know why.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006


The End Of The Road

The foibles of my Presbyterian church are numerous. This post from A Classical Presbyterian looks at one of them.
This progressive ideal of accommodation is a recipe that gives us precisely what we see in that congregation today: members leaving in droves, cultish behaviors, a siege mentality and Christ moved into the background. Rigby sounds downright embarrassed to be even in a church, much less a pastor. So he writes his 'defense' for a secular, leftist website and he minimizes any references to Jesus as anything more than a well-meaning guru.

Accepting an atheist into membership is just the logical end-result of this philosophy. It's a natural product of this way of thinking about the job of a church. If we are to work for a secular, political agenda and nothing else, then what's the big deal about having atheist members, Buddhist members, Muslim members and Wiccan members....As long as they want the same political ends for our society?

Unitarian Universalists rejoice, many of the churches of the PC(USA) may be joining you soon!
Frankly, I have been saying for a while now that I think the PC(USA) is going to sink into meaninglessness instead of schism as so many seem to say, and my friend here seems to share that outlook.

The bottom line to this question lies in how one views the church - is the church a body of believers or is it some sort of evangelism device? What is most fascinating to me is that those that argue for the evangelism device model have two distinct models, one the one hand the mega-church like Saddleback which has recently announced its 20,000th baptism - or we get the PC(USA) which is withering on the vine.

As best as I can see, the difference lies in the fact that the PC(USA) stands for basically nothing and the mega-church stands for something defined more in terms of entertainment and politics than calling people to genuine faith.

I can't help but reflect that Christ says that "many are called and few are chosen" and also
Matt 7:13-14 - Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.
I think that narrows the issue a bit, we are always going to be the few within the many. I find that comforting when all around me I watch things deteriorate so. It doesn't mean I give up the fight, but it does mean that I know that the fact that the whole thing isn't generally headed in the right direction is within God's plan somehow.

God's plan is good enough for me.

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Science Cannot Test Religion

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.
Hmmm - more proof that science is better than religion? Consider
James 1:6 - But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Any study of this sort is based on a certain dubiousness in the mind of those conducting the study. Thus even the Christian would insist that the prayer would not work because it does not meet the standard of prayer without doubt. Thus science can never test religion because science demands doubt.

Simply put, God will not be subject to our understanding, if He was, He would not be God.

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Sermons and Lessons

This week, I thought we'd listen to an audio sermon - this time from an old friend - Adrian Warnock. Click the link on the title and listen to Prayer works when life is tough

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Either Warren or Jimmy Needs To Go On A Diet...

Buffet Sets World Record With 510 Dishes

...I can't tell which

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Isn't That A Bit Harsh for A Bad Idea?

Rejected Greeting Card Ideas Hang in Mo.

I mean a gallows when a simple rejection letter should suffice!

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Nothing Can Go Wrong Here...

Pentagon plans cyber-insect army

...except they can gain sentience, and TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

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Hats of Meat

You figure it out!

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