Saturday, April 29, 2006


Lilting Links You'll Like

So many want so much more than there is to this story. There is a great human interest story in it, but all we get is the politics of personal destruction.

A fascinating history lesson. I am not necessarily opposed to pre-emptive war, it's a circumstantial question for me, but I do love the information.

Heroes do not necessarily get bitten by radioactive spiders or ride rockets from Krypton.

Good news round-up.

Illustrative aliteration that makes Dadmanly's head hurt.

Now, if I could just visit the real thing without worrying about a terrorist attack.

Only poopy-headed ones. Although I will admit it's tempting when trying to have a discussion with some people.

Because being well-healed can buy you a lot. (WARNING: this may be the worst pun in the history of this blog.)

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Comic Art

Some villains are classics. Some despite iconic status are unappealing. The Red Skull was certainly unappealing to me in my youth. But over the years he has grown on me.

In the '60's when I started with comics he was a WWII leftover, much like his arch-enemy Captain America, but unlike Cap, he was still fighting WWII. Every time the Skull showed up he had some new devious scheme to bring about the "Fourth Reich!"
Of, course, the return of Nazism was a common theme of adventure literature of the day, and remains a them in some cases to this date. But as a youth, born well after the war, I didn't get it. It has only been as I have matured a little that I have come to understand what incredible evil the Skull represented, and therefore, what a completely awesome bad guy he really was.

You see this issue of "Tales Of Suspense?" I used to own it, in fact I used to own a whole serioes of TOS's with Cap and Iron Man. I read them over and over and over again when I was a kid. Then I sold them at a garage sale - the lot, some 50 books for 5 dollars, dear Lord I was a fool. Those books would be worth quite a bit in this day and age.

This book is the master - Jack Kirby. Kirby's rendering of the Skull may have been the weakest thing he drew. He made the skull look odd somehow, mishapen, but not really skull-like, it used to bother me. I have actually grown to appreociate other artists rendering of the Skull far more than Kirby's which is rare.

The original Skull is dead now, replaced by some new guy that I really don't care for. The reason behind this change should be obvious. WWII is out of vogue. They had to change the character somehow from someone that was just trying to raise Hitler from the dead into a more modern menace. In other words, your run-of-the-mill meglomaniac with a little moral ambiguity thrown in.

Much as Cap no longer represents apple pie and the American way, his nemesis had to change too. I really miss that, particularly in this post 9-11 age. At a time when patriotism peaked, Cap has become a cynic. That that change is reflected in his nemesis is not surprizing, that it robs the whole story of some sort of "purity" did catch me by surprize and has saddened me.

Here's a Kirby drawn panel. A little art quirk here. One of th reason I had trouble with Kirby and the Skull was that Kirby seemed only to get him right in full perpendicular profile like this. At angles like the cover above, he just looked odd, and in direct face, his features looked very flat. What can I say, for once the master failed.

The Skull is one of the iconic villains of all time. One time is was the near personification of evil. Now, with his Nazi past obliterated, he is not so exciting. Maybe that is another idea, a special line of Cap books set in WWII. I'd subscribe.

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Friday, April 28, 2006


Media, Marketing, Image And Product

In some ways it is a fascinating world we live in. When it comes to how we do business, things have changed radically over the years. It used to be that marketing was the means of telling the buying public about a quality product. That's not true anymore - now marketing virtually is the product.

The original idea wasn't a bad one - when two competitors are offering virtually identical products, marketing, particularly what's called "image" marketing became a way to distinguish the otherwise indistinguishable. Initially it was the earliest from of branding. For example, when one picked peas from the field they were sorted and the best were lablled with the major cannery label - Green Giant or Stokley's Finest. There might even have been some medium brand, and then the worst of the harvest got the "store" label. It was all edible, but some were clearly better than others and the labels, the image if you will, helped us tell which was which.

As we got television, this idea was expanded - television helped develop a distinct image for a product that went beyond just the label - the image was associated with lifestyle and "hipness" or "coolness" - think Coke v Pepsi.

As this has trend has progressed we have now learned to market through the use of image absolute junk. Things of relatively little value or quality sell like hotcakes at exorbanent prices becasue we are able to build an image around it that far exceeds the product itself. Think almost anything on television - we make it look like so much more than it is.

I could not help but think of these things as I read this Out of Ur post on pastors and image.
All joking aside, I can't help but recognize the unease in my conscience about how image-conscious we are becoming as young pastors.
Why the unease? Isn't this all about applying the tools of modern communication to the message of Jesus? The author says
Maybe some of what I have described thus far bothers you. Aren't we as Christians supposed to be less focused on appearances and more concerned with the heart? Aren't some of the practices I described verging on dishonesty?
I think the author is partly right, but I think the problems much deeper. There are two points I want to make here.

The first is that everything I have ever read about using modern communication tools to spread the gospel misidentifies the product the church has to "sell." For one thing, we aren't selling anything, we're giving it away. But usually these things are discussed in terms of "meeting God," or "epiphany," or "genuine Christian experience" - all of which fall far, far short of the totality of the gospel. You see, unlike image marketing which creates an association between the market and being "cool" there is no association in the gospel, there is reality. We are the only people with a product that actually will make you cool. Image marketing simply cannot create that reality, only the linkage.

The second point I want to make is that image marketing is at its best making an indistinct or relatively worthless product appear very distinct and worthy. And yet, when it comes to the gospel, we have a product that actually is incredibly worthy and genuinely distinct. When we use these techniques to market our product it says we ourselves do not understand the real value and worth of what we have to "sell", we are substituting a perception of value for actual value.

Here is what I find most amazing. When we find the actual value of our product we become the image, we don't have to put it on. When we allow ourselves to be genuinely transformed by the Holy Spirit, the value and worth of the product becomes apparent in us - we don't need to create an image because the Holy Spirit makes us the image.

The answer to the question, "Why isn't the gospel spreading like wildfire?" is not becasue it lacks coolness or hipness. No, that answer lies in the fact that we who already have the product have failed to capitalize on it ourselves. When we ask the questions we need to look inward, not outward.

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Yesterday Was A Hoot...

...because I did this with my friend Lowell. Hugh was his ususal gracious and selfless self. We talked about this and then we talked about this. Time does not permit me to discuss those topics here right now (not so Lowell), look for future comment; on the second topic, maybe even more....

And not long after Lowell and I - be sure and check out this. Its the definition of cool under fire.

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Links I Like

Depends on which one your are reading at the time.

Shudder - Then Remember Terri.

Agree or disagree? Amazing how many times the initials FDR and LBJ show up here.

I love the sound of naval gunnery in the morning.

Jollyblogger looks at what's emerging and a friend (a former blogger that just can't resist) sends a link that wonders if this is what it will look like when it finally emerges completely.

And Neil Sedaka was playing in the background.

Some things should not go virtual.

It takes a lot of money to be really smart.

Some Christians are scary to other Christians.

Wisdom of the day.

Not Europe where its dying of natural causes, but a place where there is actual persecution of Christians.

Because Steve Irwin does not know when to shut up. Somehow I picture actually in pieces in a croc's belley yelling loud enough for the mic to pick up -"Streuth, look at this, it;s a beauty..."

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Friday Humor

Actual exchanges between pilots and control towers...

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"
O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, (German designed aircraft) one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this...I've got the little Fokker in sight."
A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower noted: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."

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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Looking At Sin

Rebecca Stark has been defining important faith concepts, starting with the Westminster Larger Catechism and expanding from there. Yesterday she looked at sin The WLC defines such as
Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.
Simply put, sin is defiance of God. That sin is measured by transgression of the law, but its root is simple defiance - "I know me and how to behave better than God."

The real problem comes because we are not always willfully defiant, or knowingly defiant - our defiance arise not out of disrespect, but out of simple ignorance. A child that grabs a hot pot handle when its mother told it not do, does so usually not just to spite the its mother, but because there is a huge difference between knownig it is hot becasue Mom said so, and actually feeling the burn. However, in so many matters concerning our relationship with God, the feedback for our defiance is not nearly so immediate as the the burn our child exemplar experiences - nor as seemingly painful.

This is why the Christian life is about genuine transformation and not simple conformity. Many children that do not seem to defy their mother in childhood will nonetheless end up burning themselves in adulthood because they just had to be sure. Simple conformity to the rules does not take us far enough. No, somehow we need to cross that chasm between the knowing because we are told, and the knowing that arises from experience. We need to not just listen to God, but to share His experiences and to think like Him.
Rom 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our mind is renewed such that it shares the thoughts and experiences of God - when He tells us, we don't just gain the knowledge of hearing, but we gain the knowledge of experience at the same time.

A lot of people think I an nuts, but as I have lost weight these last years, I have not set foot on a scale. I know what I weighed pre-surgically becasue they had to weight me to calibrate anestesia, etc., but I don't know where I started. If you have every seriously dieted, you know there is nothing more frustrating that the ups and downs of the scale, and the incredibly slow process of serious weight loss. A pound or two a week is just painful when you have 100's to lose. No, I have sought to truly transform my life, to change every habit I have associated with food.

That is analogous to what God demands from us. He doesn't want us concentrated on how much less we lusted this week than last, He wants us to concentrate on changing who we are so the temptation no longer exists.

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A Guest Blogger Gets Short And Sweet On The Price of Gasoline

From my friend Eric Jacobson:
Sometimes, I like the free market. There used to be a plan to convert Pennsylvania's lowest-grade coal to diesel fuel in order to lessen our dependence on foreign imports. However, at $50+ a barrel, it was WAY too expensive to be practical.

I know it's painful, but if the current rise in oil prices pushes us toward the many energy alternatives, we could lessen international and environmental pressures faster than diplomacy, policy and Kyoto put together.

Of course, the Ultra-Greens will just find something else they NEED TO CONTROL ABSOLUTELY.
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How Do You React?

CENTCOM sent me (and a lot of other bloggers) the link to the latest from Zarqawi, Al Queda's #1 in Iraq.

Frankly, reaction escapes me. I have been all over the world and met people from all sorts of cultures, religions, and races. In most cases I have worked with them, there is always a way. But I'll be *^$#ed if I could find one with this bunch. It's so plain - all they want is us dead. There is no middle ground, no discussion, not even any attachement to reality. We have to kill them before they kill us. Sad, but the truth.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Links...Come On Down!

Smartest move Bush has made to date.

Point 1 when it comes to gas prices. Point 2 - it's spring, there are seasonal fluctuations your know. Point 3 - in the grand scheme of how much money you spend a year, this is peanuts, do the math.

Learning to be a democracy isn't easy.


Pray for the SCBA's Lowell Brown

Best book title I've heard in forever.

What would YOU Do?

Someday, conservatives will learn to play "billie ball" and not always swing for the fences. It has taken years to get the country in to the liberal mess it's in, we can't undo it in two presidential terms. And when we try, we lose and it's two steps forward, three steps back.

To me this is proof that data can't measure philosophy. My short answer - Americans are generally less hedonistic.

Important prayer request.

I thought these were blogs?

I intend to use them all in this blog.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Understanding Is Not A Weapon

Mike Russell takes a long look at the relationship between Frodo/Sam and Gollum and finds a message of Christian mercy in this truly eloquent post. Mike then goes on to take the lessons learned and apply them directly, naming names, in the Christian blogosphere. - his primary target - Reformed bloggers. Mike's right, but I hold my Reformed staus near and dear, why am I not subject to Mike's righteous indignation? (maybe I am, but I'm not one of the names he mentions) and I do, by the way mean righteous.

I want to take a stab at answering that question because, I think it is vitally important. Let's start with the real reason I am a Calvinist.

No system of systematic theological thought is without it's mysteries - those places where we have to sort of shrug our shoulders and say "Only God can know/understand that." One that we all share is the mystery of the Trinity - you can't explain three different beings being one God, I know you can't, no one can. In the end, the Trinity is a mystery, pure and simple.

I am a Calvinist largely because as a systematic school of theological thought it leaves all the mysteries in God Himself. The mysteries are not some loose end hanging out in space somewhere, they are all in the nature, character, and behavior of God. That to me is truly satisfying, I want a God that is incomprehensible for it places me in the proper relation to Him, it affirms my status as creature and His as Creator.

Now, that said, that means there are some doctrinal consequences that I can never be happy with. There will never be an explanation of the doctrine of election that will ever satisfy me about "fairness," but because I am so satisfied with the limited picture of God I have, I am able to trust Him to be "fair" in ways I cannot comprehend.

To me, holding Calvinism should drive us to true and deep and abiding humility, and yet, it seems, as Mike illustrates, to have precisely the opposite affect. This springs, I think from the fact that Calvinism is the most systematic of the systematic schools of thought. That is to say, it involves the greatest degree of intellectual rigor. I also find this quite appealing, but appealing in a way that can be most dangerous.

For years, my Christian life was a life of learning, but not a life of changing. I was the smartest Christian I knew, I was not afraid to demonstrate that, and I took that fact to mean that I was also the best Christian I knew. There is something about Calvinism that reinforces that. Maybe it's the very idea of election, that I can be "in" and you are not. Maybe it's just the fact that most people never put in the effort to really understand it, I don't know. Regardless, we can come to worship it as much or more than we worship that which it atttempts to explain. Been there, done that.

Well, through a series of events ranging from eventually meeting much smarter Christians to God circumstantially, and LOUDLY, telling me that I did not really know much of anything, I came to understand that the Christian life involved my whole being, even those parts of me, I didn't really know about.

The best analogy I can think of is marriage. There is so much I can tell you about my wife, and yet that knowledge is often useless when it comes to being a good husband. Heck, when I am really off my game, that knowledge becomes a weapon instead of an expression of love, then my shame is almost unbearable. Full, complete, and loving knowledge of my wife comes not from my analysis of her, but from my living with her - daily and thoroughly.

And so with our Lord. Calvinism can be an expression of our love for God as we struggle to understand Him, and to acknowledge our inability to do so. Or, it can become a weapon, and when it does our shame should be unbearable, for it means we are thinking about God instead of living with God - these things should not be separable.

You see the only proper response to the mysterious God of Calvinism is not a pride in understanding, but a humility in the face of mystery.

Somehow I think we need to spend more time being humbled by what we do not know than using what we do as a weapon.

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Links Worth Lookin'

If you know anything about the oil business, this is more political theater than genuine action, but it's smart political theater, and necessary. Unfortunately, Okie's analysis may be right on. Some evidence.

Interesting take Adrian. The gifts as "common." So how do they differ from the fruits?

Hmmm...Darwin is slanderous? INDEED! - if you value humanity.

Someone who agrees with what I write above without even knowing it - I love it when that happens.

Where's the fun in this?

Great point, David!

Yes, it's true, I like professional wrestling - it's silly, but come on.

Common sense that is not so common.

Having trouble falling asleep? You have no idea how hard I have to work to resist the temptation to wrote stuff like that.

Yeah, but it tastes like chicken.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The Tyranny Of The Modern

When I saw the title of the book reviewed here:

Reinventing Jesus: What the Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You

I just about blew a gasket, but thankfully it turns out the book is accusing Brown, et. al. of "reinventing Jesus" the book is not attempting to do so itself.

Nonethless, I seem to retain a bit of a rant on the very idea so I thought I'd share. There are two very important points I wish to make about things like Brown, or The Jesus Seminar, and all the rest.

The first point is that to presume new scholarship, in the form of archeology, or earlier manuscripts, or textual criticism, or anything else can radically change the nature of our understanding of Christ is to assume that we have a God that is not active in history. Perhaps the longest running doubt of my life as a Christian has been the concern that the shape of Christianity today is not at all what God intended. That the forces of sin, particularly as embodied in the institutions that call the name of God, have so warped and befuddled things that we are clueless as to actuality.

But then I remind myself, that God has been active throughout history and that He is in control. If I assume that we can get things as wrong as I sometimes fear, then I assume that God has just sat back and watched it happen - that is certainly a very different God than one that would die on a cross. Now, that does not mean we don't make mistakes from time-to-time, we make some biggies, but radical "reinvention" kind of stuff just doesn't seem to make sense.

Secondly, all this type of study presumes that God is subject to my understanding. It is kind of like saying that prior to the invention of quantum mechanics there were no atoms or molecules, electrons or protons - that it was only when we figured them out that they really became something.

"Oh no, John," comes the reply, "we're not 'inventing' we're discovering." If that is the case, to discover radically "reinventive" information would mean that thousands of years of scholarship on the MOST studied field in human history was always wrong. Doesn't that sound a bit like a conspriacy theory?

Scholarship has many functions, it is not always discovery, not always the new. Sometimes it is preservation of the known. The roots of modern scholarship are not in the new, but in the old, in the preservation of the known through the so-called Dark Ages.

We need to return a value to our society of the preservation of knowledge and not just value the discovery of new knowledge. What happens when there are no batteries to run calculators and there is no one left that can use a slide rule, or understand logarithims?

Cross-posted at How To Be Christian And Still Go To Church

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Oh sure, you'll see me driving this soon. I don't care how "green" it is - a trucker would have me for supper.

Poor Hugh - the guy needs break every now and then.

The final frontier is cooler than it looks on TV.

Grab a hankie - cry a little, then pray that much harder for our men and women in uniform.

Because they have very fragile bones and pouring milk on them breaks them. There, I written a scientific theory, that's at least as plausible as some global warming theories.

I want to write this horror movie.

The very key word in this story is "uncertain."

Entirely for religious/mythological purposes - I'm certain of it. A planet of sinners just needs something that crawls on its belly.

Doesn't this mix religion and government too much?

You will know them by their fruits.

Praise the Lord! I was worried.

Talk about imposing an agenda!

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The Terrorbuster Saga


Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog

Turns out it wasn't as hard as he thought to get to Ukraine, or to Sophiaskia for that matter. A quick trip through the State Department database and Carter found groups coming and going all the time. The issue was choosing the right group that would give him a useful cover and access to the tools and communications he would need.

He would fit best with a military group, but they would be the most closely watched and controlled. What he needed was something quasi-military. He didn't have to search long. In anticipation of Ukraine joining NATO, defense contractors were sending over teams to install radars and other detection systems. Such an operation would be something where he would not stick out like a sore thumb and would have all the communications he could ever want.

One listing caught his eye rather quickly. He dialed the phone. "Amy! David here?maybe we'll have that weekend together after all."

"Wha?...huh?" was the stuttering response that Amy Jackson made. Carter quickly pictured her in his mind. She was very good looking if not all the way to "stunning". No doubt at this moment her very green eyes were very wide and her mouth, was in the shape of an "o" which always made her lips that much more kissable. And if he knew her as well as he thought he did she was fussing with her medium length blondish hair as a stalling maneuver. She kept it in one of those cuts that really needed nothing but to dry after a shower, but she fussed with it constantly, again as a conversational technique more than an appearance issue.

He cut her off before she could say more, "Long story and definitely not for the telephone. I'll be there in a few hours, please tell security to let me through."

As he drove, Carter tried to come up with a story that would get him what he needed without revealing too much. Amy had security clearance up the ying-yang, but there was that whole "need-to-know" thing.

He pulled into the parking lot at his old employer and hacked into the CIA. Only took a few minutes before he had established an identity for himself as an operative. His story was that he was going undercover just to keep an eye on the Ukrainians ? they were not completely trusted yet. Amy's group had been chosen for him because of his previous connections. No one in the group but Amy would know his real reason for being there, for obvious reasons.

Amy was not as surprised as he thought she would be when he laid the story on her over dinner. "Well, your rapid disappearance from here and the furtiveness of your behavior since you went to Washington had me wondering," was all she said. Being in the business she was in, she was used to intelligence guys. "Besides, a trip to the exotic Ukraine with my guy sounds like fun."

Carter did not know what to make of the "my guy" comment, but he knew an invitation to a pleasant evening at home when he heard one. It was about 11 before he started back to Washington. Amy agreed to handle his travel arrangements with the rest of the group, making his cover all the stronger. They would meet up in New York in just a few days for the Aeroflot flight to Kiev. The group's equipment went military transport, but the people went commercial. It was less about security than it was about lining the pockets of the still state-owned airline.

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Monday, April 24, 2006


Catholic Bigotry?!

Tim Challies put up a post last Friday, that Mike Spencer thought needed explaining, without comment and Andy Jackson found bizarre. Here is Challies' thesis
It was only two years ago that another film exploded into the box office, causing people to consider Jesus as perhaps they had not considered Him before. Christians heralded the arrival of this movie, defending the film and its creator from charges of being outrageously violent and being anti-semitic. They lauded the film--praised it--as being a beautiful, accurate, stunning portrayal of the last hours of Jesus' life. Yet in many ways this film, The Passion of the Christ, took as many liberties with the truth as does The Da Vinci Code. Just as Dan Brown has an agenda that he seeks to further in the work of fiction he declares to be fact, so Mel Gibson, who wrote, produced and championed The Passion of the Christ wished to further an agenda in mixing truth with error, fact with fiction.

This time, though, Christians are not embracing the film. Nor should they. Yet there is no small amount of hypocrisy in overlooking the unbiblical agenda of one man, celebrating his film, while criticizing another and lamenting his film.
I, sadly, find this kind of thinking niether bizarre or unclear, I find it to be rooted in bigotry. While Tim admits "there is a difference in scope and seriousness between the inaccuracies found in Gibson's film and those found in The Da Vinci Code" the equation he makes in his comparision implies that Roman Catholicism is somehow as abhorent, distasteful, and corrupt as pure secularism. There is indeed a diffrence between "disagree" and "wrong" and a large chasm between those two words and "condemnable." The charge of " hypocrisy" is a very strong charge indeed and is much more on the "condemnable" side of the chasm than the "disagree" side.

Since we are into analogies here, I find this kind of thinking analogous to that which produces anti-Semiticism because after all, "Jews are Christ killers." Such thinking reveals a complete misunderstanding of the nature of grace and of redemption. It also reveals a hubris concerning the holders view of his own correctness that completely defies the necessary humility when confronting God Almighty.

Do I think Roman Catholic doctrine and mythology correct? Of course not. Do I think the RCC was and is in some areas still extremely corrupt - Indeed! But guess what, I can find corruption in every church, I promise you. I can also find bad doctrine in every church. In the end I do my best to understand, but only God can judge.

See there is a difference between doctrine and corruption. We are not saved by doctrine, nor is it evidence of salvation - it is simply our attempt to undertsand that which we hold most dear. We cannot make large pronouncements or fatal judgements based on doctrine.

Corruption is a different story, in the end, if it cannot be redeemed, or refuses to be redeemed, corruption must be expelled. But that said, our goal, our desire, is for redemption and the grace we have received demands that we work towards that redemption with every fiber of our being.

The implications in what Tim has written are that Roman Catholicism is somehow outside the definition of Christianity. I do not understand how this can be true. For 1500 years it was the holder of the faith - absent it we would have had nothing to reform from and itself has reformed tremendously.

I realize this is a it of a heretical view, but I for one think God even has some special place in His judgement for faithful Jews, they were His chosen people and they are our heritage, but in the end those details are for God.

The likely objections to what I write here are that Tim's post was simply about historical accuracy. I disagree because for one thing Tim never tries to untie the historical and doctrinal knot and secondly somewhere there is a line between historical accuracy and faith. Our adherence to God cannot be subject to the latest archeological findings, after all even hisorical and archeological evidence is subject to interpretation - it often does not rise to the level of the purely factual.

In the end, Tim's post displays primarily a lack of grace. That's a sin we are all guilty of from time-to-time. But when our gracelessness rises to the level of implied bigotry I feel that I must address it directly.

Besides, in the end it's just movies for crying out loud!

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Lucid and Laughing Links

The other Warnock links to a sight that I find extremely disingenuous. There is insufficient reference data to determine if the level of cancers and birth defects in the wake of Chernobyl actually rose or not, ther is no proof of correlation, let alone causation.

Salute! Then salute again, it is well deserved.

Windows tips involving registry changes. A sure way to turn a computer into a doorstop for about 95% of all users.

Mocking the mocker.

Headlines that test where your mind is generally residing here and here.

Let's make a major political issue out of an extraordinarily minor problem. Catalytic convertors on lawn mowers indeed, they run an hour a week with maybe 5% of the emissions of an automobile running the same time. Sheesh!

Bad therapy advice - live and in color. I feel sorry for this person, urged to conform instead of blossom.

Deep Thoughts by Mark Olson, not Jack Handy - oh and these are serious.

Most horrifying headline in history:

Russia May Rebuild Aeroflot Into National Carrier

I have flown Aeroflot you'll just have to trust me on this.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006


Linkin' In The Boy's Room

I'm wondering if with his link to this, Adrian Warnock has not found an excellent rsponse to this? I really hate it when someone has a point and they blow it completely by making it ungracefully.

Eulogy for an icon.

Hugh Hewitt at his absolute best. Wish I could have been there.

What do you know - A REAL environmental problem. Would that this got the press that the trumped up ones do.

Buck Sargent defends Rummy - quaite well I might add.

Oh those petulant Royals.

A trivial treatment of an extremely important question in Russia. The turn back to autocracy is real, and worrisome.

Isn't that always a good way to start trouble?

Mark Steyn hits the perfect Earth Day tone. As does the public.

Good thinking, ending with a good question.


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Sermons and Lessons


John Woolman was a quiet man whose faithfulness spoke loudly in tempestuous times. Born in New Jersey to a Quaker farm family, Woolman lived in the ferment of colonial America. It was a time of impending revolt against England, a time of rampant slave trade and of war with Indians, a time when many suffered the hardships of poverty. Woolman's life of simple, steady obedience addressed them all. It would have surprised him that later writers would call him a "saint" and a "prophet," for he was only trying to follow Christ, the True Shepherd, as closely as possible.

Woolman begins his Journal, "I have often felt a motion of love to leave some hints in writing of my experience of the goodness of God." Over the sixteen years that The Journal was written, we can see how Woolman becomes increasingly aware of the broad scope of God's love and how his own tenderness grows toward all people and the whole creation. In love he lived a life of rigorous integrity and courageous witness, a life that challenges us still. The following selections only begin to illustrate his wide and thorough integration of God?s goodness into his living.


1. The Voice of the True Shepherd

My mind through the power of Truth was in a good degree weaned from the desire of outward greatness, and I was learning to be content with real conveniences that were not costly, so that a way of life free from much entanglements appeared best for me, though the income was small. I had several offers of business that appeared profitable, but did not see my way clear to accept them, believing the business proposed would be attended with more outward care and cumber than was required of me to engage in. I saw that a humble man with the blessing of the Lord might live on a little, and that where the heart was set on greatness, success in business did not satisfy the craving, but that in common with an increase of wealth the desire of wealth increased. There was a care on my mind to so pass my time as to things outward that nothing might hinder me from the most steady attention to the voice of the True Shepherd.

2. The Fear of Man Brings a Snare

I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom and commit my cause to God, not fearing to offend men who take offense at the simplicity of Truth, is the only way to remain unmoved at the sentiments of others.

The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, our spirits get mingled with the people, our ears grow dull as to hearing the language of the True Shepherd, that when we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it was not for us to follow them.

There is a love that clothes my mind while I write which is superior to all expressions, and 1 find my heart open to encourage a holy emulation to advance forward in Christian firmness. Deep humility is a strong bulwark, and as we enter into it, we find safety and true exaltation. The foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weakness of God is stronger than man. Being unclothed of our own wisdom and knowing the abasement of the creature, therein we find that power to arise which gives health and vigor to us.

3. Dwell in Humility

First, my dear friends, dwell in humility and take heed that no views of outward gain get too deep hold of you, that so your eyes being single to the Lord, you may be preserved in the way of safety.

Where people let loose their minds after the love of outward things and are more engaged in pursuing the profits and seeking the friendships of this world than to be inwardly acquainted with the way of true peace, such walk in a vain shadow while the true comfort of life is wanting. Their examples are often hurtful to others, and their treasures thus collected do many times prove dangerous snares to their children.

But where people are sincerely devoted to follow Christ and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their stability and firmness through a divine blessing is at times like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the weightiness of their spirits secretly works on the minds of others.

4. Freely Cease from Fighting

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves to God to attain that state wherein we can freely cease from fighting when wrongfully invaded, if by our fighting there were a probability of overcoming the invaders. Whoever rightly attains to it does in some degree feel that spirit in which our Redeemer gave his life for us, and through divine goodness many of our predecessors and many now living have learned this blessed lesson. But many others, having their religion chiefly by education and not being enough acquainted with that cross which crucifies to the world, do manifest a temper distinguishable from that of an entire trust in God.

5. Justice Without Delay

[The following is taken from a speech of Woolinan that helped lead the Quakers to reject the institution of slavery years before the American Revolution.]

My mind is often led to consider the purity of the Divine Being and the justice of his judgments, and herein my soul is covered with awe.

Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High! Such is the purity and certainty of his judgments that he cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and goodness he has opened our understandings from one time to another concerning our duty towards this people, and it is not a time for delay.

Should we now be sensible of what he requires of us, and through a respect to the private interest of some persons or through a regard to some friendships which do not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, it may be that by terrible things in righteousness God may answer us in this matter.

6. This Precious Habitation

The place of prayer is a precious habitation, for I now saw that the prayers of the saints were precious incense. And a trumpet was given me that I might sound forth this language that the children might hear it and be invited to gather to this precious habitation, where the prayers of the saints, as precious incense, arise before the throne of God and the Lamb. I saw this habitation to be safe, to be inwardly quiet when there were great stirrings and commotions in the world.

Prayer at this day in pure resignation is a precious place. The trumpet is sounded; the call goes forth to the church that she gather to the place of pure inward prayer, and her habitation is safe.

7. Searching Questions

Do I use food and drink in no other sort and in no other degree than was designed by him who gave these things for our sustenance? Do I never abuse my body by inordinate labor, striving to accomplish some end which I have unwisely proposed? If I go on a visit to the widows and fatheress, do I go purely on a principle of charity, free from any selfish views? 1ff go to a religious meeting, it puts me on thinking whether I go in sincerity and in a clear sense of duty, or whether it is not partly in conformity to custom, or partly from a sensible delight which my animal spirits feel in the company of other people, and whether to support my reputation as a religious man has no share in it.

8. Say Neither More nor Less

It was my concern from day to day to say neither more nor less than what the spirit of truth opened in me, being jealous over myself lest I should say anything to make my testimony look agreeable to that mind in people which is not in pure obedience to the cross of Christ.

9. Break the Yoke of Oppression

I was renewedly confirmed in my mind that the Lord (whose tender mercies are over all his works, and whose ear is open to the cries and groans of the oppressed) is graciously moving in the hearts of people to draw them off from the desire of wealth and to bring them into such an humble, lowly way of living that they may see their way clearly to repair to the stanĀ¬dard of true righteousness, and may not only break the yoke of oppression, but may know him to be their strength and support in times of outward affliction.

10. John Woolman Is Dead

[The following is excerpted from Woolman?s account of a vision he had during a time of serious illness.]

I then heard a soft, melodious voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had heard with my ears before; I believed it was the voice of an angel who spoke to the other angels. The words were, "John Woolman is dead." I greatly wondered what that heavenly voice could mean.

I was then carried in spirit to the mines, where poor oppressed people were digging rich treasures for those called Christians, and heard them blaspheme the name of Christ, at which I was grieved, for his name to me was precious. Then I was informed that these heathens were told that those who oppressed them were the followers of Christ, and they said among themselves, "If Christ directed them to use us in this way, then Christ is a cruel tyrant."

All this time the song of the angel remained a mystery, and I was very desirous to get so deep that I might understand this mystery

[After some physical recovery] . . . at length I felt divine power prepare my mouth that I could speak, and then I said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh [is] by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20, KJV). Then the mystery was opened, and I perceived there was joy in heaven over a sinner who had repented, and that the language"John Woolman is dead" meant no more than the death of my own will. (Abridged for the modern reader by Howard R. Macy.)

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