Saturday, July 29, 2006


I Lin, You Lin, We All Lin For Links!

I understand the point, but don't like the dichotomy. I'd rather come to see and experience God's love in confessing my sin.

News that should be politically liberating to President Bush, instead just looks omninous in the Isreal-lebanon crisis.

Speaking of which, the nay-sayers need to consider the strategery. I consider this definitive proof that military guys are a lot smarter than the rest of us.


Ah, nostalgic memories.

It's amazing we're alive.

Now, if I can teach it to blog.

Fascinating Captain.

This'll change that!

Having been on the Albanian border, and meeting many Albanians, they are lucky nothing happened.

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Comic Art

Last week we started our look at "The Defenders" and the many obscure characters that have been a part of that unteam. I thought we'd start with Nighthawk. Here's a brief history and here the the official Marvel index to the several incarnations of the character.

I have to be honest here, I remember the character - visually - but I had to look up information on his history, incarnations, the whole nine yards. Trust me, when I don't remember, you are talking deep second stringer.

As I have said before, it's the look that matters and depicted here is the original, classic look, later looks got, as comics in general have, darker and darker.

As is true for many character, he started as a bad guy, but got enough of a fan following that they had to develop him as a good guy, which is also part of the reason characters like him end up with such a mess for a back story, they are invented as hero fodder (Especially this guy, the Squadron Sinister, which is where he got his start, has never been much but some barely veiled references to the Justice League for the Avengers to routinely ruin in a bit of comic bravado.) that end up capturing readers imaginations just enough.

So what is it that gets readers attention? Given how little story was devoted to the guy, you have to think it's the look. Two things make this guy very distinguishable that I like.

The first is the wing-like cape. I like winged superheroes, and this guy is like the best of both, capes and wings.

The second distinctive element is the mask and those things coming off the eyes, they just look good. Both elements were maintained in the second incarnation, though muted to attain the requisite "darkness."

I have included this photo here because any character that has achieved enough fan base to warrant an action figure has achieved something, but alas, aside from teaming up with people, I'd be hard pressed to know what this guy did accomplish - except look cool.

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Friday, July 28, 2006


The Principle of ENOUGH

One of the most puzzling statistical anomolies in this nation is the definition of poverty - it is simply a certain percentage of the lowest income hourseholds based on an income distribution. Thus many of those in the nation that live "below the poverty line" own homes, automobiles, multiple televisions, and other apparent luxuries. Certainly these people have enough, and yet we consider them impoverished.

iMonk wrote recently
When the church is willing to be UNsuccessful, to lose status in the eyes of the priesthood of success and be judged irrelevant by those who continually spin the images and essentials of success, we will continue to be deeply influenced by the idols of success we have allowed into the very center of the house of God.
I understand his point, but I think it could be refined a little. We don't need to be "UNsuccessful" we just need to gain an appriciation of what genuine success is.

To my mind, genuine success is "enough" - whether it be financially, or in terms of ministry. Financially, I have personally been richly blessed, I have far more than "enough". Now statistically, my wife and I do make significantly more than the national median income, and being childless we have quite a bit more disposal income than similarly situated people, but statistically, we are also far from "rich". In point of fact, I have been told that my business is a "failure" because I have not grown it at an adequate pace. Yet I wake up everyday thanking God for my plenty, but most importantly, for my enough. Every time I lose a contract, every time the job is awarded elsewhere, I remind myself there is enough, there is even plenty.

I do not mean to hold myself up as an example, only to illustrate, I am far from perfect at this, it is simply the standard to which I try and hold myself.

When it comes to ministry, the same applies. Anyone who has ever aspired to preaching imagines preaching to thousands. I have never quite reached that level, though I have been close, and yet it was a hollow experience in comparison to many one-on-one conversations I have had where I got immediate feedback and knowledge that God had used me to touch that person. The ministry to the one is "enough" - in fact it is riches.

This has ended up a far more personal reflection than I had intended, I guess that is the nature of the message - having enough, doing enough IS SUCCESS. More than enough is pure blessing. That is an message that cannot really be analyzed or broken down, it is one of those things that has to be written on your heart by the Holy Spirit. It is one of those things you have to let the Holy Spirit teach you, daily.

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The Way You Looked When Linked...

Joe Carter goes deep on abortion and ESCR. I am tempted to make a wisecrack wiht some reference to science fiction (he does bring it up), but its too important an issue.

PT Barnum was right.

The is a sticky situation. (I made this pun and I think the pun-o-meter just broke)

So why is this any different than various activist group paying for research? The presumption is that "utilities" have bad motives and activist groups have good motives - since when?

COMPLETELY useless information.

Yeah that's it, that's the ticket, that's what I've been doing.

In things Presbyterian, as in all things, there is a need for balance. For examples unity and submission are important to Christians, but they must be balanced against morality and ethics, which must in turn be balanced with grace. I must comment; however, that when it comes to "unity" the recently adopted Report on "Peace, Unity and Purity" creates at best a false sense of unity.

Genuine environmental disaster. Although, it might be cute if decades from now a colony inhabited Big Ben's tower like the ravens atthe Tower of London.

Please, write your own Michael Moore or Ted Kennedy joke here.

The Heritage Foundation looks at Christian environmentalism.

The thing about logic is you have to apply it evenly or it breaks down.

SACRILEDGE, CRIMINAL, BLASPHEMOUS The guys over at Pyromaniacs have alway been controversial, and never short of ego, but to compare themselves, even purely graphically, to Marvel's Mighty Avengers - well enough is enough, they may consider themselves officially enemies of this blog.

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Friday Humor

Many of these are "colorful", but they made me laugh pretty hard, so they are worth sharing.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006



On Monday I wrote about spiritual formation and said
There are standards and mandates - proferred not as barriers, but as indicators - signs that the Holy Spirit has done His work to a point and that this person has reached some level we vaguely refer to as "mature."
Yesterday, I commented very briefly on this post about the current crisis in the PC(USA)
Over and over again in this season of crisis in the church, we are being told by our presbytery, synod and General Assembly leaders to give up our mistrust of them and simply 'trust the process of discernment'. What they mean by this is that we should trust the polity that we have to sort things out, that God works through our process to steer the church to exactly where it needs to be.
Here's the problem, I believe in the PC(USA) polity - it main be the primary reason I am Presbyterian. That does not mean I think the systemis working right now - it's not - but I do not think a turn to the individualistic mindset of classic evangelicalism is the answer for Presbyterians.

Why is the process not working? It's not the process' fault, it's the fault of the people using the process. Frankly, what has happened is that people that have come to professional Presbyterian ministry and failed, often because they are so left wing, have been warehoused in the higher ajudicatories where they have siezed control of the process, in part because of disinterest of those "on the street", and have therefore engaged in much mischief.

We, the people in the pews and on the Sessions, have largely abdicated our primary responsibility - as gatekeepers.

Let me expand on that a bit. Good people will make good things happen in the PC(USA) or any other organization, regardless of its particular polity. The reposnsibility that we have abdicated is to get good people in those places. Two basic comments.

First, certainly in PC(USA) we don't concentrate on building disciples, we concentrate on filling the pews and the plates. But I have talked abut that a lot before on this blog.

The other thing is that we do not work hard to act as gatekeepers. We need to learn a couple of important things. Firstly, we need to learn how to let people fail. Failure contains lessons, hard won, but worth the price. When we do not let people fail, when we shunt aside when we should fire we encourage the failing behavior. This is true throughout much of the Church universal these days. From pedophile priests to homosexual Presbyterian pastors, these failures of character should be appripriately responded to.

Secondly, we need to worry more about the qualifications of the people we nominate, elect, ordain, and hire than we do about merely "filling the position." The lesson I am learning is that I would rather have an empty slot than a poorly filled on.

Part of my conclusion to the Monday post was
All are indeed welcome through the front door, regardless, but not all can access all the areas.
It is time we reassert our role as gatekeeper.

Some other people are thinking about what it means to be PC(USA) too. Lots of other people.

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Illuminated Scripture

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I Did It - My Links!

You want ot charge theocracy? Call me when you see stories like this here.

And here I thought they only sold insurance.

As a counterbalance to this post I wrote, consider this post iMonk wrote. (HT: CGO) I don't think we are opposed here - both are true.

Terrorism alert!

I am almost completely libertarian when it comes to matters of health and particularly weight, so stuff like this author discusses ticks me off.

Who said snakes were satanic?

Res Ispa Locquitor And then, contradicting myself, I add - if you don't get it, you need to remove yourself from the discussion.

Is it just me, or does this strike you as a headline that Mel Brooks wrote?

A little too realistic. There is value in watching your money phsically taken from you.

I alwasy figure "dumb crooks" is redundant; however sometimes they can produce a chuckle like here and here.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006


"...Do I Have To Draw You A Picture? Never Ask Me Again!"

That title is a movie quote - it's John Wayne in the "The Searchers" generally considered his finest performance. Because our vacation took us to Monument Valley where so many of John Wayne's John Ford directed performances were filmed, including "The Seachers", the wife and I have been on a bit of a binge watching those movies on DVD.

Additionally, as an anniversary present, my wife found in an antique store in Leadville, CO while we were there a very early edition of "The Virginian" by Owen Wister. Most people know the title from the old TV show, but many don't know that the book is really the first western and it set the standard for so much that has come after - including many of Wayne's performances.

Our literary hero, and many of the characters Wayne portrayed are marked by traits that seem rare, at least publicly, these days. They were men of honor, few words, and genuine justice. You watch those old Wayne movies and it is what is unsaid that really counts. Some things were right, some things were wrong, no sense talking about them, you just did them, regardless of the cost. It was often because of the cost that one did not talk about it, it made the pain just that much worse.

Typically, what was right involved putting the good of the whole, or at least the other, ahead of one's personal good. The Virginian leads what would today be called a "lynch mob", soiling his personal purity, to save the community from the rustlers. In "Fort Apache," Wayne, the true hero of the piece, let's the horrible Henry Fonda take all the credit for the sake of Fonda's daughter and the morale of the unit. In "The Searchers" Wayne descends into an Indian-hating obsessive personal hell to return the kidnapped daughter to her family.

I couldn't help but think of these images as I read the recent spate of posts on the "feminization" of the church, as well summarized and commented on by Jollyblogger.

David concludes his post by commenting that the perceived feminization is having its greatest affect on young men. How do we correct this problem?

Well, if our western heroes are any measure, much of what it takes to be a man is about sacrifice, and it is unspoken. Boys learn how to be men not by being taught, but by being lead - that is to say shown - by men. They need to be in situations WITH MEN, doing things that men do, and learning by example. And most assuredly they do not need to discuss how they "feel" about it afterwards.

Men, if we really want to counter some of the current trends in the church, we need to just do it. Not talk about it, not discuss it, we need to do it. Yes it will be sacrificial and unpleasant, but that is the nature of things. No sense complaining - just do it. Then take your sons along and let them see you quietly enduring - don't talk to them about it, just let them see it.

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Linkin's Log Cabin

Rick well summarizes the whole discussion about proportionality in the current Middle East conflict. However, there is nothing like a visual aid.

Speaking of that silly argument, here we look at some of the root issues that underlie it.

I will side with the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance over the Evangelical Climate Initiative any day. However, arguing over who can care for the poor better just strikes me as troublesome. It exposes the "poor argument" for what it really is, a pretense to involve the political power of church in a matter where it should stand on the sidelines.

I am a total geek. My wife tells me that is not news.

Watch California swelter as temperatures rise and available power doesn't. (HT: California Insider)

We should preach Christ, not ourselves, as Paul affirmed. Well said.

Anatomy on the loose here and here. Some day yesterday.

I love Macedonia, and it is good to see it get a little tourism press. However, horning in on Alexander the Great's image will get them in trouble with the Greeks. Long story, but when I left Macedonia for Greece, the Greeks mutilated the Macedonian section of my passport for that reason.

Gotta get one!

Ilike my Scotch whiskey filtered through peat, but I don't know about Psalms.

There are probably several posts in responding to this, but I'm just too busy. The guy has a point, but I think he takes it a step to far. For one, the Presbyterian process cannot be analogized to the Pope. A decision by many is far more difficult to corrupt than an individual, but it is still corruptable. With the one there is no recourse, with the many we have the option to wake up, work hard and correct it.

All swim!

Why the ungrateful... (This smells like joke tied to promotion to me, but what's Yahoo news get out of it?)

Snakes in the mail.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Should Christians "Raise" Money?

Matt 6:24-33
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
It's a familiar passage - familiar to the point of cliche' and like most cliche's I think we ignore or minimize the extreme truth they hold.

I got thinking about this as I reviewed my mail and the uncountable numbers of solicitations for donations that I receive on a daily basis. Seems like everytime I stop to look there is another good Christian organization there with their hand out, asking me for some of my money. Worse, the more I give, the more I get asked to give.

There is something wrong in this system, not that I object to giving, no the problem is in the asking. One of the hardest things in the world is to know if we are doing "what God wants us to be doing." There are not a lot of scriptural directions around for what is and is not a good "ministry" and how we are supposed to manage them in this tax intensive, non-profit organizing society we live in.

One of the ways I have always interpreted the passage above is that if I am doing what God wants of me, I don't have to sweat the money stuff - He'll take care of it. The way I figure it, if there is not enough money around to do what I am doing, then it must be because I am somehow placing myself outside of God's providential care. Which means, if I am having to work hard to raise money for some "ministry" I am interested in then it is likely that ministry is on that outside.

Now, in a world where minisrty is done on donation, we certainly have to let people know the opportunity to contribute is there, that's not what I am talking about. I'm and talking about mass-mailing, four-color glossy, TV ad running, pyramidal marketing fund raising schemes. I'm talking about the offer of "premiums" if you contribute at the $X level, I'm talking about getting as much contribution solicitation from Christian organizations as I get from the Republication party!

If your ministry has a money problem, maybe the thing to do is reevalute the ministry, not step up the fund-rasing efforts.

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I Get Up, I Get Down, I Get Links

Here is a serious example of politics bending science. In science it not supposed to be about who thinks what, you are supposed to be able to tell true from false FROM THE DATA!

I'm happy for him, but I would like to get there before I die.

YES! (HT: Blackfive) That's go-o-o-o-od blogging!

Why? This is one of the ways the union movement has gone very, very wrong. Thay have become PACs, more interested in politics than workers.

Vegans and "environmentalists" join together - can't be good.

This pretty well sums up why I don't go to Comic-Con. Besdies, when I put on spadex, it's not really a "costume" - it's a billboard.

I've been to about half of these, and the lack of crowds is enjoyable. However, they are a tad inclimate (I'm being kind)

How to make your new car not seem so cool.

"Imponderables"? That's a lot of writing about something I can't think about...

This one's for you Ken

How many games did we watch that started just this way? I miss you buddy!

Answer: NO!

Because such things interest me - even if they interest no one else.

Pha love Pa! Here's the reference for those that can't put it together.

Further study is likely to reveal it actually sucks knowledge from your brain.

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The Terrorbuster Saga


Read this story from the beginning at The Terrorbuster Saga Blog

The President led Carter out of his working office and into the Oval Office. They walked to the fireplace and the President fiddled with a few books on the mantle. The fireplace rose like some sort of unbelievably elaborate overhead door, revealing the interior of an elevator car.

"After you," said the President waving Carter into the car. The descent took forever. They were going deep. After a while, the President looked at Carter and shrugged, ?"Cold War era bomb shelter."

When they reached the bottom, the doors spread to reveal a very extensive complex. "I've expanded it a little," said the President. The end of the long hallway was a video wall ? it featured images of the World Trade Center before, during, and after. At the top of the wall, in plain, bold lettering it read "The Twin Towers Network". At the bottom, in script it said "Numquam obliviscaris." The President, noting the puzzled look on Carter's face, said, ?Never Forget.?

They walked down the hall a bit, stepped into a conference room and sat down. "David, you've been a key part of all of this from the very beginning," was how the President began what was obviously a prepared presentation. "I know you learned from Amy that I have been recruiting 'friends' that I can rely on to cut through the crap to get the job done. This complex is the center of that network of friends and now I'd like you to meet a few more of them."

For the next hour-and-a-half, Carter received briefings on all the activities of the network from about four individuals. Carter was amazed. This was no typical government organization. The complex they were in was the only facility solely dedicated to this network, and the four people he has just met were the only employees. All they did was recruit reliable people in industry, military, and intelligence and make sure information got where it was needed. It was pretty much like his own job, but on a far grander scale. The first presenter was the Administrative Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He mentioned something about "netwar realized."

The last presenter handled the industrial area. He knew what was being developed by whom and when it should come on line. His briefing included a detailed account of the suit Amy wore and how it worked. As the presentation ended, Carter heard, "But things have advanced a generation or two since Amy?s suit was developed, and that is where you come in."

Carter looked over at the President, bemused.

"David, you have been part of this effort form the beginning, even if you didn?t know it ? a vital part. But now I want you to become the point man. I have been waiting for somebody to show they had what it takes and your actions recently have done just that."

The presenter, who Carter suddenly remembered was named Fred Goldman, started to mumble under his breath, "We have the technology, we can?"

The President tossed Goldman a look that said "Knock It Off" louder than it could ever be verbalized. He then continued and explained to Carter that the suit Amy wore could now be implanted within a person's body. He also said that that technology combined with internal computer system implants that were developed a few years earlier could make Carter a one man special ops team with organic intelligence capability.

"Sounds like you want to turn me into Captain America," says Carter.

"Hell of a lot better than the bionic man," responds the President, casting a withering look Goldman?s way.

Carter sat pensively for a moment. "I'm dead, right?"

"Oh yeah," said Goldman a little too enthusiastically, causing the President to get that look again. Clearly Goldman was really good at his job, but a little too silly for the President's taste.

Since Amy died, Carter felt like the fire in his belly had been completely extinguished. It wasn't even smoking. But as he sat there and thought about it, he could feel it ignite, just a kindling at first, but the more he thought the warmer the fire became and the brighter the light it shed.

Finally, he stuck out his hand to the President and said, "As long as I don't have to wear some goofy bright spandex thing."

The President laughed as he took Carter's hand warmly. Goldman just wondered why Carter got to be the funny guy.

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Monday, July 24, 2006


Memories and Spirtual Formation

My recently completed vacation brought up a lot of old memories. We travelled down the heart of Colorado's Arkansas River valley, through beautiful Buena Vista, what was the heart of the Young Life camping empire in my days as a Young Life kid, volunteer, and staff. Some of those memories are wonderful and some are painful.

One of the more painful memories was my service on "Work Crew" at Frontier Ranch. Work Crew is for kids that know the Lord and are there for a month to do many of the menial jobs in the camp. My particular area had a great Young Life program, so there were a lot of kids that wanted to be on Work Crew, and only a few spots. So we went through a rigorous year-long training and qualification program. Bible Study, prayer journals, all sorts of accountability and spiritual development. Most years the rigors of the program weeded out through attrition all but enough to fill the spots. It was rare that an actual decision about who was "better" had to be made.

At the time, I did not realize that not all YL areas had the success that mine did and many had to scramble to fill their Work Crew slots. Thus when I got to Frontier and started on Work Crew, I was aghast at the apparent "spirtual immaturity" of many of those I was working with. I held my tongue for several weeks until in one small group meeting, another member of crew started talking about the sex they had had with their girl or boyfriend just before they left to come to camp. Then I went to the crew boss incredulous that such people could be "allowed" to be on Work Crew.

The crew boss responding by telling me that I really wasn't any better than anybody else. WHAM! There was a lesson in humility upside the head like a baseball bat.

Now, at the time, I was in dire need of lessons in humility and I think that was the right thing at the right time for me. But the memory remains fresh some 32 years later because I also think it missed a mark. I really did not approach the crew boss on the issue because I thought I was better than the others. I was concerned about the fact that, at least in my experience, there were standards, and the standards had been violated, and such a violation harmed the institution.

It is not automatically Pharisetical to impose some standards on the faithful. Where the crew boss went wrong with me was reading motivations into my actions. Now, no doubt, he had figured out my humility problem through the weeks, and just took the opportunity to pounce, but it was the '70's and everybody seemed to want to look into "your heart and emotions." The idea was, you change a persons feelings and motivations, and their behavior will fall in line.

As old-age-and-skill begin to supercede youth-and-energy in my life I am thinking the other way around about things. That's why I found this Out of Ur post fascinating. The author argues for monasticism as a means of spiritual formation. I am not sure I agree entirely with his comments on engaging culture, I don't think we build alternative cultures, I think we do culture differently in the midst of popular culture, but that is an aside. There is a need for spiritual formation and maturity which will be marked by differentiation from the common culture.

So, the question is, how is that maturity obtained? I do think withdrawal from the common culture for a period of time may be part of that. But the other is to uphold and cherish and encourage the behaviors that mark the differentiation from the common culture. Thus, in my confrontation with the crew boss, in addition to the lesson in humility, two other things shoud have happened. For one, he should have acknowledged that I had a point, even if I was ham-fisted in dealing with it, and secondly, he should have assured me the appropriate people in approprite circumstances were dealing with it. Frankly, I walked away wondering if it was OK not to be chaste if I was humble about it - wrong message.

We talk a lot about the fact that the Holy Spirit is the convictor, converter, and motivator. I agree with that in a sense. Christ came to enable utter transformation, motivationally, emotionally, and behaviorially. We never will be able to get into people's hearts and minds and understand their feelings and emotions completely, and when we try we run the risk of screwing things up, like the mixed messages I got. The inner transformation really is the Holy Spirit's business.

But as the Church, we do have some ability to shape behavior, maybe even an obligation to do so. All are indeed welcome through the front door, regardless, but not all can access all the areas. There are standards and mandates - proferred not as barriers, but as indicators - signs that the Holy Spirit has done His work to a point and that this person has reached some level we vaguely refer to as "mature."

This, more than any other single factor, is where I think the Church is failing today. We no longer read the signs and acknowledge the direction.

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I Just Wanna Make Links For You

This is unbelievable to me. To fail to give Congressional testimony because opposing views will also be heard is a de facto admission that your POV is not all that strong, it is strategically stupid, let alone downright childish.

Speaking of the environment - this is pure fear mongering. There is no detail, most "radioactive" waste is almost completely harmless, and is completely harmless if packaged in any sort of metal container. If this was any of the worse stuff, and it was packaged in a way that made it dangerous, people would be sick already.

This on the other has the "sin" mislabelled. There are moral priorities in this world, especially when one of the "bads" is not proven to be bad! Confusing those priorities is the root of why Jesus called those guys "liars and hypocrites."

On the subject of misplaced priorities...

Finally, on the environment - this is filed as an "odd" story, but there is nothing odd about it. Most pollution cleans itself up as long as the source of the pollution is stopped. This is just one way of making that happen. My favorite story concerns an underground gasoline tank that was found to be leaking when removed. By the time the permit could be obtained to clean up the spill, it was gone.

Why does this make me think about Romans 8:28

I am ashamed. "Disproportionate violence" indeed! Query: In a boxing match, isn't a one-punch haymaker knock-out less violent than a prolonged, multi-round beating? Think about it.

Some things are beyond comment - Res Ipa Loquitor

Memories of may last summers vacation.

Why "artists" need engineers.

Moses moves to India - they get the names all mixed up.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006


Sunday Linkin'

For starters - it is hotter than "the hinges" in SoCal this weekend - SEND ICE!

In my advancing middle age Few thing can provoke me to actual violence - this could. Some people just need to be hit - I don't care if they took it down.

Now this is an explosion!

Only a flesh wound to a genuine Viking.

This explains all those giant kilts attempting to conquer the world.

Why I refuse to watch television news.

I love these planes, and why the Air Force never gets it I don't understand. They had to pull WWII/Korean era prop planes out of mothballs for some missions in Vietnam - there is a role for slow and nothing does it better than an A-10.

I think there is a lesson for blogging in this post. We are "control freaks" by nature I think, or else we would not be doing somthing like this.

I haven't posted much on stem cell, but this post from Dadmanly will elicit one small comment.
Ends, in and of themselves, never justify the means. Our hearts can go out to childless couples, frustrated with their attempts at parenthood and the often Byzantine world of modern adoption. Nevertheless, look at the harm such well-intentioned medical manipulation has done.
Dadmanly is a friend, and I have never discussed this with him, but he just made my heart very happy through those words, they lie at the heart of why my wife and I never pursued in-vitro and a large part of why we remain childless.

A reason to have your eyeballs removed and poke needles through your eardrums.

Finally, cat-blogging that is worth it.

Finally, a gallery that says what I say about most of what passes for "art" these days. And it would be in Yellow Springs - that place is weird - I used to listen to their NPR station when I lived in Indiana, it was Twilght Zone time.

Before I read this some of these places were on my possible retirement list.

Independent evangelicalism takes Manhattan.

No, Duh.

This just hurts.

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Sermons and Lessons


Hugh Latimer, reformer and martyr, was born in Leicestershire, England, in 1485, or two years later than Luther. On completing an education at Cambridge, he took holy orders and preached strenuously in favor of the Lutheran views. As a profound canonist, he was placed on the commission appointed to decide on the legality of Henry VIII's marriage with Katharine of Aragon. His decision in favor of Henry gained him a royal chaplaincy and a living.

Appointed Bishop of Worcester in 1535, he preached boldly the reformed doctrines, but lost favor at court, and when Gardiner and Bonner pushed a reactionary movement to the front, he retired from his see (1539). Latimer lived in peaceful retirement under Edward VI, but under Mary he, with other reformers, was arrested and thrown into the Tower. Brought to Oxford for examination, he refused to recant, and was confined for a year in the common prison, and on October 16, 1555, put to death by fire, along with Ridley, at a place opposite Balliol College, where the Martyr?s Memorial was subsequently erected.

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. - John xv., 12.

Seeing the time is so far spent, we will take no more in hand at this time than this one sentence; for it will be enough for us to consider this well, and to bear it away with us. "This I command unto you, that ye love one another." Our Savior himself spake these words at His last supper: it was the last sermon that He made unto His disciples before mis departure; it is a very long sermon. For our Savior, like as one that knows he shall die shortly, is desirous to spend that little time that lie has with His friends, in exhorting and instructing them how they should lead their lives. Now among other things that He commanded this was one: "This I command unto you, that ye love one another." The English expresses as tho it were but one, "This is my commandment." I examined the Greek, where it is in the plural number, and very well; for there are many things that pertain to a Christian man, and yet all those things are contained in this one thing, that is, love. He lappeth up all things in love.

Our whole duty is contained in these words, "Love together." Therefore St. Paul saith, "He that loveth another fulfilleth the whole law"; so it appeareth that all things are contained in this word love. This love is a precious thing; our Savior saith, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye shall love one another."

So Christ makes love His cognizance, His badge, His livery. Like as every lord commonly gives a certain livery to his servants, whereby they may be known that they pertain unto him; and so we say, yonder is this lord's servants, because they wear his livery: so our Savior, who is the Lord above all lords, would have His servants known by their liveries and badge, which badge is love alone. Whosoever now is endued with love and charity is His servant; him we may call Christ's servant; for love is the token whereby you may know that such a servant pertaineth to Christ; so that charity may be called the very livery of Christ. He that bath charity is Christ?s servant; be that bath not charity is the servant of the devil. For as Christ's livery is love and charity, so the devil's livery is hatred, malice and discord.

But I think the devil has a great many more servants than Christ has; for there are a great many more in his livery than in Christ's livery; there are but very few who are endued with Christ's livery; with love and charity, gentleness and meekness of spirit; but there are a great number that bear hatred and malice in their hearts, that are proud, stout, and lofty; therefore the number of the devil's servants is greater than the number of Christ's servants.

Now St. Paul shows how needful this love is. I speak not of carnal love, which is only animal affection; but of this charitable love, which is so necessary that when a man hath it, without all other things it will suffice him. Again, if a man have all other things and lacketh that love it will not help him, it is all vain and lost. St. Paul used it so: "Tho I speak with tongues of men and angels, and yet had no love, I were even as sounding brass, or as a tinkling cymbal. And tho I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge; yet if I had faith, so that I could move mountains out of their places, and yet had, no love, I were nothing. And tho I bestowed all my goods to feed the poor, and tho I gave my body even that I were burned, and yet had no love, it profiteth me nothing" (I Cor. xiii). These are godly gifts, yet St. Paul calls them nothing when a man bath them without charity; which is a great commendation, and shows the great need of love, insomuch that all other virtues are in vain when this love is absent. And there have been some who taught that St. Paul spake against the dignity of faith; but you must understand that St. Paul speaks here not of the justifying faith, wherewith we re¬ceive everlasting life, but he understands by this word faith the gift to do miracles, to remove hills; of such a faith he speaks. This I say to confirm this proposition. Faith only justifieth; this proposition is most true and certain. And St. Paul speaks not here of this lively justifying faith; for this right faith is not without love, for love cometh and floweth out of faith; love is a child of faith; for no man can love except he believe, so that they have two several offices, they themselves being inseparable.

St. Paul has an expression in the 13th chapter of the first of the Corinthians, which, according to the outward letter, seems much to the dispraise of this faith, and to the praise of love; these are his words, "Now abideth faith, hope and love, even these three; but the chiefest of these is love." There are some learned men who expound the greatness of which St. Paul speaketh here as if meant for eternity. For when we come to God, then we believe no more, but rather see with our eyes face to face how He is; yet for all that love remains still; so that love may be called the chiefest, because she endureth forever. And tho she is the chiefest, yet we must not attribute unto her the office which pertains unto faith only. Like as I can not say, the Mayor of Stamford must make me a pair of shoes because he is a greater man than the shoemaker is; for the mayor, tho he is a greater man, yet it is not his office to make shoes; so tho love be greater, yet it is not her office to save. Thus much I thought good to say against those who fight against the truth.

Now, when we would know who are in Christ's livery or not, we must learn it of St. Paul, who most evidently described charity, which is the only livery, saying, "Love is patient- she suffereth long." Now whosoever fumeth and is angry, he is out of this livery: therefore let us remember that we do not east away the livery of Christ our Master. When we are in sickness, or any manner of adversities, our duty is to be patient, to suffer willingly, and to call upon Him for aid, help and comfort; for without Him we are not able to abide any tribulation. Therefore we must call upon God, He has promised to help: therefore let me not think Him to be false or untrue to His promises, for we can not dishonor God more than by not believing or trusting in Him. Therefore let us beware above all things of dishonoring God; and so we must be patient, trusting and most certainly believing that He will deliver us when it seems good to Him, who knows the time better than we ourselves.

"Charity is gentle, friendly, and loving; she envieth not." They that envy their neighbor's profit when it goes well with him, such fellows are out of their liveries, and so out of the service of God; for to be envious is to be the servant of the devil.

"Love doth not frowardly, she is not a provoker"; as there are some men who will provoke their neighbor so far that it is very hard for them to be in charity with them; but we must wrestle with our affections; we must strive and see that we keep this livery of Christ our master; for "the devil goeth about as a roaring lion seeking to take us at a vantage," to bring us out of our liveries, and to take from us the knot of love and charity.

"Love swelleth not, is not puffed up"; but there are many swellers nowadays, they are so high, so lofty, insomuch that they despise and contemn all others; all such persons are under the governance of the devil. God rules not them with His good spirit; the evil spirit has occupied their hearts and possest them.

"She doth not dishonestly; she seeketh not her own; she doth all things to the commodity of her neighbors." A charitable man will not promote himself with the damage of his neighbor. They that seek only their own advantage, forgetting their neighbors, they are not of God, they have not His livery. Further, "Charity is not provoked to anger; she thinketh not evil." We ought not to think evil of our neighbor, as long as we see not open wickedness; for it is written, ?You shall not judge?; we should not take upon us to condemn our neighbor. And surely the condemners of other men?s works are not in the livery of Christ. Christ hateth them.

"She rejoiceth not in iniquity"; she loveth equity and godliness. And again, she is sorry to hear of falsehood, of stealing, or such like, which wickedness is now at this time commonly used. There never was such falsehood among Christian men as there is now, at this time; truly I think, and they that have experience report it so, that among the very infidels and Turks there is more fidelity and uprightness than among Christian men. For no man setteth anything by his promise, yea, and writings will not serve with some, they are so shameless that they dare deny their own handwriting; but, I pray you, are those false fellows in the livery of Christ? Have they His cognizance? No, no; they have the badge of the devil, with whom they shall be damned world without end, except they amend and leave their wickedness.

"She suffereth all things; she believeth all things." It is a great matter that should make us to be grieved with our neighbor; we should be patient when our neighbor doth wrong, we should admonish him of his folly, earnestly desiring him to leave his wickedness, showing the danger that follows, everlasting damnation. In such wise we should study to amend our neighbor, and not to hate him or do him a foul turn again, but rather chari¬tably study to amend him: whosoever now does so, he has the livery and cognizance of Christ, he shall be known at the last day for his servant.

"Love believeth all things"; it appears daily that they who are charitable and friendly are most deceived; because they think well of every man, they believe every man, they trust their words, and therefore are most deceived in this world, among the children of the devil. These and such like things are the tokens of the right and godly love; therefore they that have this love are soon known, for this love can not be hid in corners, she has her operation: therefore all that have her are well enough, tho they have no other gifts besides her. Again, they that lack her, tho they have many other gifts besides, yet is it to no other purpose, it does then no good: for when we shall some at the great day before him, not having this livery (that is love) with us, then we are lost; he will not take us for His servants, because we have not His cognizance. But if we have this livery, if we wear His cognizance here in this world; that is, if we love our neighbor, help him in his distress, are charitable, loving, and friendly unto him, then we shall be known at the last day: but if we be uncharitable toward our neighbor, hate him, seek our own advantage with His damage, then we shall be rejected of Christ and so damned world without end.

Our Savior saith here in this gospel, "I command you these things"; He speaketh in the plural number, and lappeth it up in one thing, which is that. we should love one another, much like St. Paul?s saying in the 13th to the Romans, "Owe nothing to any man, but to love one another. Here St. Paul lappeth up all things together, signifying unto us that love is the consummation of the law; for this commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," is contained in this law of love: for he that loveth God will not break wedlock, because wedlock-breaking is a dishonoring of God and a serving of the devil "Thou shalt not kill"; he that loveth will not kill, he will do no harm. "Thou shalt not steal"; he that loveth his neighbor as himself will not take away his goods. I had of late occasion to speak of picking and stealing, where I showed unto you the danger wherein they are that steal their neighbor's goods from them, but I hear nothing yet of restitution. Sirs, I tell you, except restitution is made, look for no salvation. And it is a miserable and heinous thing to consider that we are so blinded with this world that, rather than we would make restitution, we will sell unto the devil our souls which are bought with the blood of our Savior Christ. What can be done more to the dishonoring of Christ than to cast our souls away to the devil for the value of a little money??the soul which He has bought with His painful passion and death. But I tell you those that will do so, and that will not make restitution when they have done wrong, or taken away their neighbor's goods, they are not in the livery of Christ, they are not his servants; let them go as they will in this world, yet for all that they are foul and filthy enough before God; they stink before His face; and therefore they shall be cast from His presence into everlasting fire; this shall be all their good cheer that they shall have, because they have not the livery of Christ, nor His cognizance, which is love. They remember not that Christ commanded us, saying, "This I command you, that ye love one another." This is Christ's commandment. Moses, the great prophet of God, gave many laws, but he gave not the spirit to fulfill the same laws: but Christ gave this law, and promised unto us, that when we call upon Him He will give us His Holy Ghost, who shall make us able to fulfill His laws, tho not so perfectly as the law requires; but yet to the contention of God, and to the protection of our faith: for as long as we are in this would, we can do nothing as we ought to do, because our flesh leadeth us, which is ever bent against the law of God; yet our works which we do are well taken for Christ?s sake, and God will reward them in heaven.

Therefore our Savior saith, "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," because He helpeth to bear them; else indeed we should not be able to bear them. And in another place He saith, "His commandments are not heavy"; they are heavy to our flesh, but being qualified with the Spirit of God, to the faithful which believe in Christ, to them, I say, they are not heavy; for tho their doings are not perfect, yet they are well taken for Christ?s sake.

You must not be offended because the Scripture commends love so highly, for he that commends the daughter commends the mother; for love is the daughter, and faith is the mother: love floweth out of faith; where faith is, there is love; but yet we must consider their offices, faith is the hand wherewith we take hold on everlasting life.

Now let us enter into ourselves, and examine our own hearts, whether we are in the livery of God, or not: and when we find ourselves to be out of this livery, let us repent and amend our lives, so that we may come again to the favor of God, and spend our time in this world to His honor and glory, forgiving our neighbors all such things as they have done against us.

And now to make an end: mark here who gave this precept of love?Christ our Savior Himself. When and at what time? At His departing, when lie should suffer death. Therefore these words ought the more to be regarded, seeing He himself spake them at His last departing from us. May God of His mercy give us grace so to walk here in this world, charitably and friendly one with another, that we may attain the joy which God hath prepared for all those that love Him. Amen.

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