Saturday, August 26, 2006


Who Reads On A Saturday Links?

Apparently, we need separation of church and sports.

Given my love of Russian ecclesiastical architecture, this saddens me. Given that I have seen this building, these detailed pictures almost hurt.

There is something remarkably sad about this, despite its obvious humor.

Now I know what I am getting my wife for Christmas.

It's good to know some people are more stupid about their pets than we are.

A time waster that may make your hand hurt. If you are over 30, you may not be fast enough.

Proof: Stupid people exist.

Did I ever tell you I am well over 8 feet tall? However, in light of the story linked, could anyone explain the behavior of your average NBA player?

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Saturday Special

This may be the coolest thing I have ever seen. It is a huge scale model B-52 that flies! The email I got telling me about it gives precious little info:
Actually has 8 "real turbines" at about $1500 each! Took over 2 years to build. It has a wing span of about 22 feet. Takes multiple pilots , as there are so many things to control.

Think they were nervous during the maiden flight?

Unbelievable that someone would make this - all real turbines! $12,000 just for the engines !
Not impressed yet? Check out this video of it actually flying!


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Comic Art

One thing that Marvel comics has done much better than DC is weaving traditonal mythological tales in with the new 'mythology' of the super-hero. In our continuing look at The Defenders we see a lot of that. A couple of weeks ago we looked at Valkyrie from that group who brings Norse mythology into the superhero world. We will also see instances of ancient Greek mythology, and in today's entry we encounter the Arthurian legend - in the form of the Black Knight. Here's another bio.

Like many of those that appear in the pages of the Defenders, BK is character of some obscurity to those not very seriously into comics. He is also another one of those that used to be a bad guy. In this case; however, the man behind the mask that was a baddie was different than the man behind the mask that is now a hero.

The look has not changed too much, but I do like this older image with the dragon wings on the side of the helmet.

The older BK was an enemy of the Avengers. Eventually he passed the power weilding Ebony Blade to his nephew, Dane Whitman, who is the current BK and who joined the Avengers for a period.

As is typical for characters in the Defenders, Dr. Strange invited him to help with a particular foe with a particular power. Also like Arthurian legend, BK is steeped deeply in the mystical which is a hallmark of the Defenders as well.

I should mention a word about this cover at the left. "Marvel Super-Heroes" was a title Marvel maintained for years that would feature a different character each month, generally characters that could not maintain a title of their own, but that were popular enough that people wanted a story featuring them. In a way it was a hold over from the old anthology days, and I kind of miss it. Some times a 4-issue miniseries is just a little too much, or they sell four issues that are incredibly small and I just feel ripped off.

Like Valkyrie, Black Knight has a winged horse and sometimes I wonder if that was why he ended up with the Defenders for a time - it seemed like they just needed a winged horse hanging around all the time.

I don't know the Arthurian legends real well, I never could figure out who he was supposed to be from those stories - he fought the old Arthurian baddies, Morgan Layfe, Mordred, and so forth, but he was not a part of the roundtable or anything like that.

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Friday, August 25, 2006


How To Ruin My Weekend

I learn from Powerline that Maynard Ferguson died yesterday. They have a nice tribute from a reader and a YouTube video of his very powerful and popular band from the 70's. I want to share this video of Maynard leading Stan Kenton's band where he started when he was a young man.

I have chosen the older stuff because while it was that 70's band that I first discovered and grew to love - to levels I will decribe momentarily, many jazz people thought it "too commercial" and "too conventional" leaving Maynard on the fringes of the jazz world, someplace he did not belong. He brought legions, I mean legions, of fans into the world of jazz. In his younger days he was undisputely the real deal. He was unfortunate to come along as the big band form died for that was where he excelled, but there are some awsome bee-bop 4-piece jam sessions from the 50's with him and the big names, Gillespe, et. al. that just knock my socks off.

I discovered Maynard in the halls of my high school. I came around the corner and heard some high trumpet, said to the guys that were selling tickets to the band concert that I thought that sounded like Chase (a '70's jazz/rock band that had some popularity) - They informed me that it was the guy that taught Bill Chase how to play trumpet - Maynard Ferguson, I was hooked.

I own well over 50 Maynard Ferguson recordings, probably at least 30 on vinyl and I have not even scratched the surface of his recorded catalog. I have seen Maynard in concert at least 25 times, first in 1974 - in ever possible setting, from workshop performances at high schools to jazz festivals. I recount my two favorites.

One was at Cal State LA, late '80's - a weekend jazz festival dominated by latin jazz performers like Pancho Sanchez and Tito Puente. Maynard and his band did the penultimate set, followed by Puente. Then Maynard joined Puente and his band and absolutely knocked it out of the park.

My absolute favorite though was in the upstairs of the American Legion hall in Bloomington Indiana. Maynard was a good friend to the head of the music department at Indiana University and had been in Bloomington for an education workshop. The Legion hall affair was after all that ended, not widely publicized, and did not start until 11PM. There were about 10 of us in the audience, but Maynard took not one ounce of energy out of the performance. The intimate setting combined with the power of the band (largely the one you see in the video at Powerline) just was magic somehow.

The news of Maynard's death really saddens me. I wish I could take the day off and just sit and listen to records. I have more Maynard Ferguson recordings and performance memories than any other musician or band. I am grateful I do - for today the world is missing a great one, one that did not necessarily get his due. He will be missed.

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Of Blogging and Beauty

As I sit at my desk, I can look across to my wife's computer and her screensaver currently runs through the pictures of our visit to the incredibly beautiful Monument Valley a few weeks ago. The photos take my breathe away every time.

At the time of the visit, I lamented it's remoteness and lack of development, and subsequently how few people were willing to put in the time, energy and effort required to see it.

Yes, it can be seen in every John Ford/John Wayne western made (as well as a bunch of other movies), but it's not the same. As I look at the pictures, it occurs to me that whether poeple visit or not, it is an awesomely beautiful place. Beauty is not an attribute assigned by those who perceive it - it is inherent to the thing itself.

My wife loves it when I tell her how beautiful she is, which is not nearly often enough. But regardless of whether I tell her or not, the fact of her beauty does not change - it is there - observed or unobserved - commented upon or not.

Which set me to thoughts of blogging. I think we write to draw comment or notice or audience, when we should write simply to create beauty. Good ideas and good writing are good ideas and good writing regardless of whether they draw comment or visit count or not. In fact, in a world as messed up as this one is, it is likely that the better the idea, the better the writing, the less likely it is to draw comment and audience.

God made Monument Valley to be beautiful, regardless of whether we see it and appreciate its beauty or not. God made us in His image, part of which means we are supposed to make things too - beautiful things - as He made them. The beauty is a function of our granting it upon the creation, regardless of who sees it and who does not.

To be a bit less poetic for a moment (not that I am ever really poetic), beauty is not a function of writing like Faulkner or painting like Matisse. Those of us in the sciences have learned to appreciate the beauty of good reasoning - have you ever heard a mathematician talk of an "elegant" proof? They do, and they are right to do so. There is beauty in the perfectly designed experiment. There is your own beauty in simply revealing a bit of God's creation in you.

With all this in mind I think as Christian bloggers we should endeavor to create beauty - the kind of beauty evident in the creation of the blog, regardless of readership. I see so much ugliness and most of it comes from chasing readers instead of beauty.

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Godblogcon now set for October 26-28 - Be there or be square. I hear at least one the presenters is a genius, sheer genius! - Smirk!

Excellent POINT!

I can't believe I'm gonna write this, but it's official - Ray Nagin is a reverse-racist, can't-get-anything-done ass. His "leadership" has consisted of whining, pleading, begging and finger-pointing, he is the exemplar of everything that is wrong with a certain branch of liberal politics and he is just flat out a crying shame.

How do you "see" something that occurs over decades? But then that's the beauty of the issue isn't it? Spekaing of which - how come there is no mention of global warming in this article? Think about it...

I would imagine so, unless it was a very big pipe.

Too smart, too much time, and likely too much ale.

Gotta wonder which came first, the jam or the baby.

Funniest "true-life" headline I have read in ages. If you do not get the joke, please, I beg of you, seek help.

What? - now they think they're cats? What does a rat remember anyway?

Mark Roberts finishes up on the PC(USA) publishing debacle.

Anyone that's been there could have told you this. That is IF they remember.

Is it finally time? Please understand I inherited one of the finest 35mm SLR's ever produced from my grandfather, it's totally old school, but it is an unbeleivably marvelous camera, with huge sentimental value.

Obviously, he had a little too much one night and embarassed the other members. But the funniest line on the matter I've seen:
Will Mickey Mouse's dog have to be renamed "Neptune"?
I'm thinking Uranus would be better.

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Friday Humor

This may be the most politically incorrect post I have ever done, but it sure made me laugh --

One-liner jokes from the Muslim stand-up comic Goffaq Yussef: [ed note: I can't figure out if this guy is real or not - but hey, it's just jokes]

1. Good evening gentlemen, and get out, ladies.

2. On my flight to New York there must have been an Israeli in the bathroom the entire time. There was a sign on the door that said "Occupied."

3. What do you say to a Muslim woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You told her twice already!

4. How many Palestinians does it take to change a light bulb? None! They sit in the dark forever and blame the Jews for it!

5. Did you hear about the Broadway play, The Palestinians? It bombed!

6. What do you call a first-time offender in Saudi Arabia? Lefty!

7. Did you hear about the Muslim strip club? It features full facial nudity!

8. Why do Palestinians find it convenient to live on the West Bank? Because it's just a stone's throw from Israel!

9. Why are Palestinian boys luckier than American boys? Because every Palestinian boy will get to join a rock group!

10. What does the sign say above the nursery in a Palestinian maternity ward? "Live ammunition."

11. A Palestinian girl says to her mommy: "After Abdul blows himself up, can I have his room?"

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Thursday, August 24, 2006


More On The Nature Of Blogging

Then one day I read about a book that said that the church is the only army that shoots its wounded. - Keith Miller
Tuesday I wrote about the nature of blogging and reflected that as Christian bloggers it is the nature of our interactions, not necessarily our ideas, that define us as distinctly Christian bloggers. Since that time, I have heard from people with stories about what has happened to them in Christian blogging and it put me in mind of the quote above. We are in sorry, sorry shape.

A few weeks ago, I wrote on vocational ministry and the following has been fairly widely quoted:
Vocational ministry appeals to the insecure soul. It appears to grant one a sense of self-worth by virtue of position and granted authority. Even if your self-worth is good, it often contains the appearance of being one of the "in-crowd," of joining the club.
Based on what I am hearing - I am ready to conclude that that phenomena of those in vocational ministry is even more true about those of us in Christian blogging. I am sorely pressed to come up with any other explaination for the kind "No they're my visits" - who can be meaner to whom to generate traffic - kind of stuff that has crossed my email this last few days.

A long time ago, the son of a friend of mine was convinced that he was supposed to be a musician. It was his passion. But, he changed high schools in mid-stream and went from a school with strong music program to one with a pretty poor one. They found him private teachers and his education continued, but his passion slowly ebbed. You see, what he really lost between the old school and the new school was not his education - it was his audience.

When the college decision came about he begged and begged for a very expensive school with a very good music program - I advised his parents against it. As evidence I offered that fact that at the new school they had to beg him to practice. I pointed out that people who were really "called" to music did so regardless of audience - that the music was the thing, not the audience. Any jazz fan knows the best jazz happens at 3-4 in the morning, after the club has closed and the "fans" have gone home and the artists are playing with and to each other.

I think it is time for Christian bloggers across the board to ask themselves why they are here and what they are doing. It's not about seeking an audience, and if that is why you are here, I would like to gently encourage you to find something else to do with your time.

It's about the ideas. If you are passionate about the ideas, if you like to write to formulate them, and like interaction to hone them, then this is the place for you.

And you know, a funny thing happens when you are foused on the ideas - your interactions with others become more cordial. They are no longer competition for links and hits and visits, they are fellow explorers who can help you find your trail, and avoid ones that can get you hurt.

The American West was first explored by the so-called Mountain Men. These hearty individuals would travel alone in the wilderness for months on end, trapping fur and exploring. But once a year they would all get together for a "rendevous." Here was where pelts were exchanged for goods necessary to survive in the wildnerness, but here also was where they had human interaction, for some for the first time in months. They were usually good natured affairs because the genuine mountain men loved what they did and they loved the mountains. Others were not "competition" for pelts but fellow lovers of the wilds and the solitude.

Things only turned ugly as big companies moved in, with settlers, and the things the men loved began to disappear. That shouldn't happen with blogging because the territory is literally infinite. Computer resources are cheap and ideas are limitless.

We need to remember that. There is plenty of what really matters available in blogging.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Disco Links

Greenpeace is in the news, here and here. Did I ever tell you I own them? No, really, it's kind of a dog thing. They were staying in the same hotel I was at Chernobyl back in the day with this nice van that said "Greenpeace" on it in English and Russian. I came home late one night after a few and needed to do what has to be done after a few, and well, you get the picture.

Anecdotal, single season anything is evidence of nothing when it comes to global climatic trends.

Somethings amaze me, really amaze me. This is one of them - I found a link to a great article about the influence of political correctness on theoretical physics at Boar's Head Tavern.

An invention, the "field testing" of which, I would prefer not to be involved in.

The Radiers make a living being the bad boys of the NFL, and the best they can cite is 1967? I said that's sitting on your haunches and living off your reputation.

Somehow, I don't think they buck all that well.

I should be able to make a joke about this, but... They need to make the case, at least a little - what pollutants, what evidence is there of those particular pollutants causing that particular problem, what constitutes "extremely high levels," what tissue is it evident in? Get the idea?!

More Roberts on Presbyterian publishing.

Oooooh, sinister - a bureacracy screwed up, obviously evil is afoot.

Yes, because we are alarmist and skeptics, but not becasue there is a problem. There have alwasy been such zones in the oceans. Besides, It's hard to film a mediocre cable TV series at sea.

I am glad others share my skepticism. Speaking of which, this headline is irritating - they are not "Bush's" objections, they are the objections of a large percentage of the American people.

I'm sure it's true for the french ones.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Guilt Is Good

I wrote last Friday about our willingness to so readily accept global warming with assuredness, despite a paucity of evidence, is based on our sense that things are just not quite right. I based this on Paul's claim in Romans 1 that "...His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,...."

There is another word for this phenomena -- GUILT. Face it, we feel guilty about our plenty. If it's not global warming, it's save the animals, or it's save the wetlands, or it's.... We are blessed beyond our wildest imaginings, at least materially, and we have an inherent sense of our unworthiness for such blessing - We must have done something wrong to get all this, because we certainly do not deserve it. Sounds like guilt to me.

Of course, "guilt" is a dirty word these days. See, it makes people uncomfortable so we don't talk about it much. We ignore the subject, or we use euphemisms, but we never really get right up to it. Which is a huge problem.

If we were to actually talk about guilt in any substanitive sense, I think global warming gives the church a really genuine opportunities to change the world, precisely in the way the church is supposed to change it. You see, guilt recognized is, at a minimum, the opportunity for grace received. I have written about that fact on this blog time and again. And the beauty of guilt recognized through something like too ready an acceptance of global warming is it does not require the sort of personal conviction of turn-or-burn evangelism.

But there is another point that I think can be taught from this phenomena, and that is the all important attribute of gratitude. No, we don't deserve the plenty in which we find ourselves, but shouldn't the response of those within God's church to that fact, be gratitude, not guilt?

From gratitude comes generousity, and from generousity comes things like feeding the poor which seems to be the bottom line motivation for the things like the Evangelical Climate Initiative.

God has not chosen to "guilt" us into things like caring for widows and orphans, no He has chosen to bless us into it. We need to recognize His blessing for what they are and respond not with guilt, but with gratitude.


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The Links Are Gonna Do It Again

Advice for Christians and especially Christian bloggers. Here's a good example.

Way cool! No doubt global warming protesters showed up... Speaking of which, actual contrary evidence.

On Pollution - this is how it is supposed to work. (subscription required)
China's water pollution and its shortage of clean water are hindering the country's economic development as rapid urbanization overwhelms the system, a top official warned.
As pollution increases from industrializtion, there are real prices to pay (as opposed to imaginary ones which happens after most of the problems have been solved and the solvers are looking for something else to do) and a society copes, having developed sufficient resources to do so - and not before.

Many thanks to iMonk for saving me the trouble.

I am sure they are at least as funny as some I write here.

Greater love hath no man...

What you might be up to when you blog, and not know it. (HT: Instapundit)

I smell cinema magic! Wait - There's more! And finally, this is better that "Shrek 4-D"

More Roberts on the PC(USA) book thing.

Newsbusters gets a little carried away here - it's a far cry from releasing an earning announcement automatically to ginning up news analysis, though I think the Daily Kos might want to take up the idea. They would need a cuss word generator, but otherwise a lot of their stuff sounds the same.

The church sticks its tongue out at Hollywood. They've been at it for years!

This is really funny, but I think some people will not get the joke.

Who knew "Chemistry" and violence" went together? Here's a hint - it's usually a "violent" reaction that draws us all to the world's finest science.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The Nature Of Blogging

Saturday, at Intellectuele, Bonnie had a great post demonstrating that blogging is essentially a "social construct." It reminded me of a conversation Joe Carter and I once had discussing the nature of blogging. We were far less erudite. I asked Joe if he thought blogging was a "conversation or speechifying" - he responded that it was a "speechifying conversation." Then we grunted and fixed a car engine.

Anyway, to get serious, I think Bonnie is on to something here. There is little question that political blogging has quite rapidly sorted itself out into a social construct with gatekeepers, etc. One of the things that has, from time-to-time, irritated me about Hugh Hewitt's book "Blog" is that with all those words talking about the "democratization of information" and the lack of gatekeepers, he was setting himself up pretty firmly as a gatekeeper. Now, having said that, Hugh is gracious and kind and generous as a gatekeeper, something sorely missing in most gatekeepers in most aspects of life, but a gatekeeper he is, make no mistake. That; however, is the nature of politics, always has been, always will be. Personal patronage matters in matters of power.

It's the way Bonnie concludes her post when things get really interesting.
There is also a statement about the male-dominated nature of the blogosphere: "Perhaps it is possible that certain practices in blogging that were honed by men are more receptive to men. Perhaps." that is worthy of its own discussion. I think there are gender-related patterns in blogging, as well as other patterns, that cause difficulty for blogs and bloggers that do not fit the pattern. But perhaps that's a discussion for another post :-).

If the blogosphere is a social construct, and Christian bloggers seek to influence the world for Christ, how might Christian bloggers redeem the social structure of the blogosphere?
Addressing the gender issue first and briefly. As my regular readers know, my wife contributes routinely to this blog. She has noted to me on several occassions that her "stuff' does not get a lot of readership because the blogs she reads and enjoys - blogs that she says are about "woman stuff" - don't read blogs like this one, so they won't get to her postings. The point is that generally, there is a huge difference between the things women are interested in and the things men are interested in. That there are social constructs I have no doubt, but in this case I think it is largely a matter of two different social spheres. When women write on stuff I am interested in, like Bonnie, or Catez, or Rebecca, and certainly Intellectuele as a group I do not hesitate to read and link and so forth. Oh sure, there are some knuckle-draggers out there, but I don't think that as a rule women are especially excluded in Christian blogging. Christian blogging is pretty seriously excluded as a whole, but that leads to the next paragraph.

Now, as to the "redemption" of Christian blogging - I think that is an excellent question. It is a variation on a question I asked at last year's GodBlogCon. I also think that Bonnie has supplied the answer in how she has set up the question. If we accept the idea that blogging is a social construct (I for one do) then the redemption thereof will come in our interactions with one another.

It is my heartfelt conviction that the greatest witness to Christ we have is how we interact with each other. Consider the "fruits of the Spirit."
Gal 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Those attributes, the attributes Scripture says brand us as Christ's people, are attributes that are largely visible only in relationship - if I am to be patient, it must be with another person - kindness requires a receiptient - love, well despite the modern psycho-babble, love is exhibited towards others - and so it goes.

Christian blogging is indeed a social construct, and it should be even more so than the rest of blogging. I find it good that in the world of Godblogging, there are leaders and followers, but they are not nearly so separate from one another as are the Hugh Hewitts and Glenn Reynolds from the average polibloggers.

Which brings me full circle - there is lots of griping in some circles of Christian blogging that Hugh Hewitt is not a "real" Christian blogger because he writes about politics almost exclusively. I beg to differ, the graciousness, kindness, and generosity I mentioned earlier are what set Hugh apart as a Christian blogger among the leading polibloggers.

You want to redeem Christian blogging - link generously, disagree kindly, never insult, make friends (for example, Bonnie was exceedlingly kind to me last year during the run-up to GodBlogCon), PRAY FOR OTHER CHRISTIAN BLOGGERS. These things will change our world, far more effectively than arguing about the correct exegesis of some obscure passage.

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Wish I had written this!

There is a legitimate debate about certain roles for women in the church, based on scripture. It's a difficult exegesis. However, this is stupid and ugly, and fruitless. Regardless of whether you agree with the specific interpretation or not, you don't treat loyal servants of the Lord that badly. And Rick - doing the work on this is a book, not a blog post.

Speaking of ugly.

If I got this, half my blog posts would go away.

Oh Please! remember the '50's with all those wonderful SciFi movies wherein atomic testing created Godzilla, The Amazing Colassal Man, etc. Global warming is starting to get that way. Speaking of which, the cure for global warming? - acid rain. I know a bunch of coal miners that would like this guys thinking, sour gas producers as well.

Good post. There is a difference between the baby and the bath water.

Why did this guy lose his job? Sounds to me like he was just checking the 9th Circuit for precedence.


When claiming superpowers - work up to it in private first.

This makes me seriously homesick. Thanks Zach, but you need to add picutres of the TRACTOR PULL! and a horse race or two.

Mark Roberts and the PC(USA) book debacle. Installment one and two. More to come. As usual, he says all that needs to be said.

Serious religious weirdness.

Nothing is sacred. The old-school T&J's - Tex Avery and Hanna/Barbera is some of the finest short-form animation ever done. We get angry about colorizing, but this is not a big deal? Please.

What happens to SBD's.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, August 21, 2006


When Good Scholarship Goes Bad

I linked to this piece on Saturday, but feel it needs further comment. It's about a UCLA prof that's publishing a book on the Evil One.

Now, I have to confess, there is much about the Christian view of Satan that I find just weird. As the prof points out in excruciating detail, most Christian "thought" on the subject is legendary and extra-scriptural. The Bible is pretty quiet on the guy. But what needs comment is this conclusion the prof draws:
"If Satan isn't really in opposition to God and he isn't really evil, then that means the fight between good and evil isn't an authentic part of Christianity," Kelly said. "What I'm saying will be scandalous to some people."
Here is his reasoning, in a nutshell:
"A strict reading of the Bible shows Satan to be less like Darth Vader and more and more like an overzealous prosecutor," said Kelly, a UCLA professor emeritus of English and the former director of the university's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. "He's not so much the proud and angry figure who turns away from God as [he is] a Joseph McCarthy or J. Edgar Hoover. Satan's basic intention is to uncover wrongdoing and treachery, however overzealous and unscrupulous the means. But he's still part of God's administration."
Now, my readng on this subject is pretty limited, but this is just unbelievable. The devil was , in fact, an "overzealous prosecutor" - he sought to use God's power over God's grace and our freedom - but to make the assertion that such makes him "not evil" is a leap I cannot see justified.

When you get down to it this is an examination, from a different angle, of the old question, "If God is in control and all powerful, how come there are bad things?" This guy essentially concludes that God is all powerful and in control, therefore He is the author of "evil," therefore, evil isn't really evil. Uh-huh, and free will fits into this precisely where? Just because I am in control of the car, doesn't mean I can't let go of the steering wheel and let the car "decide" where to go.

In the end, does the concept of good and evil really rest on the presence of a satanic figure? Most Christians that give it a second thought know that most of what is said and portrayed about the devil is more mythical than scriptural. Catholics have an extremely well-developed mythology, but most Protestants do not and yet most Protestants do understand that there is evil.

I've often thought of Lucifer as our heavenly parallel. He's not the reason I sin, I'm the reason I sin, he just shows me that sin is not limited to humanity.

Now here is the real crux of the issue, regardless of how you arrive at the conclusion, if there is no battle between good and evil - What precisely was the crucifixion and resurrection all about? Was that just God showing off?

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Link Rich Environment

WHAT HO!? The martian icecap emits CO2! I feel a theory coming on - polar ice melts, emits CO2, further warming, further melting...WAIT! STOP! That can't be, if global warming and coincidental CO2 rise are not man-made, all those people out there with nothing to worry about, nothing to use as a lever to tell me how to live me life, why that would be the end of the world.

Soeaking of global warming theories - here is the funniest headline I have read in years. Face it - we're all gonna die...

Yes, It's true, environmentalists might just have mixed motives.

So how's that fit in with this? I'm beginning to think the motive is a pure desire for power.

Speaking of mixed motives, this will let you in on some more. One of the reasons I rail against global warming activism as hard as I do is that once a notion picks up political momentum, it takes on a life of its own, regardless of the actualities that may, or may not, back it up. Do we really want anything that portends to change how we do things in the world as significantly as global warming activism does (face it - most of the proposals are little short of areligious global socialism) to do so without a thorough and complete basis in actuality?

Some? Some!? Trees breathe the stuff! Anybody remeber photosynthesis?

6H2O + 6CO2 ----------> C6H12O6+ 6O2

Laer puts the "revelation" of tritium in San Onefre wells into excellent perspective. Besides, if we can't have nuke power, and burning stuff warms the globe, and wind farms are butt-ugly, I guess we'll have to return to the stone age.

A clash of imbeciles. I'm sorry, that's being mean to imbeciles everywhere. It's a clash of the indescribably confused and stupid.

Why is it, on Saturday when I "opened" (if such can be said using a newsreader)the science section of the NYTimes, all I saw were mercury scare stories - one and two? You don't think the science editor might have an agenda do you? Besides, isn't there more to science than pollution scare stories?

Just one more reason to hate environmental law. A crocodile is a fish? Only a bureaucrat, with a lawyers help, could do that.

Now why would the BBC say a thing like that?

Remember those dreams of being a rock-n-roll star? At least some of us should give them up - hopefully long before actually reaching a stage or being recorded in any fashion whatsoever. I consider this proof karaoke may ruin the world.

Time to start "profiling" or we'll see more of this. (HT: Instapundit)

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Sunday, August 20, 2006


I Went To The Movies Last Night Links

"Snakes On A Plane" is the finest cinematic experience of the last several decades. Do not wait for DVD, see it in a theater, with lots of people that have beeen clued in. Applaud, shout at the screen, and laugh. Suspend your disbelief, in fact suspend all critical facility whatsoever, put your violence and cursing tolerance settings on "cartoonishly high" and have a good time. This is all the fun of Rocky Horror with, thankfully, none of the cross-dressing.

PC(USA) news from one of the conservative groups. I'm surprised at the astonishment by some concerning the sentiment for a split. Too many people think the PUP report was a "compromise" - it wasn't, it was the sound of people quitting the fight. It was a tacit admission the denomination cannot function, so why bother trying. It is natural that those that care would want to set up something that can and does work.

The source of shame in this nation is getting very confused.

Apparently Mike Tyson has been spotted in Belfast.

I am quite certain any child whose parents make them wear these will feel they are already in hell. (HT: BHT)

Another bureaucrat is born.

Jealousy prevents writing a proper joke.

This is not about me, but I can hope...

I'm no farmer, but I am from Indiana, lived about 7 miles from the State Fair grounds. The pull is the highlight of the fair as far as I am concerned. It's like the old glory days of drag racing, jets, mutiple engines, the whole nine yards. If only there was a good one in CA!

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Sermons and Lessons

My Mother sent me this sermon back in 2002, without attribution. Wish I knew where she got it - she wouldn't remember now. Nonetheless, I thought it worthy of sharing.


Acts 2:14a, 36-47 - Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. AND THE LORD ADDED TO THEIR NUMBER DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.

Dear Friends in Christ,

There are at least two kinds of people in this world. People who have no particular sense of purpose in life and those who do. Norm Peterson on the tv show Cheers would be an example of the first kind. On one show, as Norm entered the bar area, Woody asks, "What would you like, Normie?" "A reason to live.....give me another beer." On another show, as Norm goes for his favorite bar stool, Woody asks, "Can I pour you another beer, Mr. Peterson?" "Kind of early, isn't it, Woody?" "Early for a beer?" "No, kind of early for stupid questions."

Then there are those folks who have a definite sense of purpose in life. People who are on a mission and will not be distracted. Two wealthy Christians (a merchant and a lawyer ) were visiting China, and along the road they saw a boy pulling a plow with an old man guiding the process. The merchant commented on how poor they were, and the missionary guide explained that this family used to have an ox to pull the plough, but no more. When their local mission group was about to build a place of worship, they were eager to give something but had no money. So they sold their ox and gave it to the Church. This spring they were pulling the plough by hand. After a bit of quietness, the merchant commented that it must have been a real sacrifice
for that family. To which the missionary replied, "Actually, they don't really consider it a sacrifice. They thought it was fortunate they had an ox they could sell. This family had a sense of mission in life.

May I suggest to you this morning that there are at least two kinds of Christian congregations - those who want to grow and those who don't particularly care if they grow or not. Those who take seriously our Lord's command to make disciples of all nations and those who have adopted a sort of consumer mentality and are just anxious to maintain what they have. Into which category does our congregation fall? Do we have a passion for bringing people into the body of Christ or not? What about you? Are you anxious for this flock to grow or have you adopted the attitude that we pretty much have more people than we can take care of already?

Two kinds of growth, the Holy Spirit would teach us about in Acts 2 today. The first kind of growth is in terms of quantity and the second is in terms of quality.

1. QUANTITY. You cannot read the book of Acts without noticing how many references there are to the Lord growing His early Church in terms of numbers. At least 30 such references. I'll give you just ten. In today's text, "Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3000 were added to their number umber that day....And the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being 4 - But many who heard the message believed and the number of men grew to about 6 - So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the 9 - the church throughout Galilee and Samaria was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the 11 - The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the 12 - But the Word of God continued to increase and 13 - When the Gentiles heard this they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life 14 - At Iconiuim, Paul and Barnabas spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles 15 - So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Is there any doubt that our Lord wants His Church to grow in terms of numbers? Does anyone here really want to debate the fact that God wants more and more and more disciples to be baptized and to believe? The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches. The kingdom of God is like a great banquet to which many are invited but all kinds of people find excuses why not to come. The kingdom of God is like a tree that is expected to bear fruit and if it doesn't, Jesus says He will cut it down.

This congregation is a growing body, in terms of numbers. In the past 15 years, we have gone from 1316 members to 1623. Over 300 addition souls, an average of 20 a year. The Lord's hand has been with us. He has been adding disciples to His flock in this place in terms of quantity, but the second question has to do with the quality of our devotion to God.

2. QUALITY...... While our membership has grown, our church attendance has pretty much stayed the same, and our Bible Class participation has actually declined. Now to be sure these are only two bits of evidence with regard to the depth of our commitment to God, but they are indicators.

It's important to ask questions of ourselves and to hold each other accountable to the vows we have made before God and one another? Are we devoted to the teachings of the apostles and prophets, or do we find all kind of excuses why we cannot find time to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Word of God? Are we devoted to this fellowship of believers or have we fallen into a sort of consumer mentality that simply wants to get something out of church for ourselves? Are we weeping with those whose lives are in a downward spiral or have we not even bothered to learn the names of fellow saints? Are we rejoicing with each other in the blessings of life or are we more likely to covet that prosperity which others enjoy? Are we carefully and regularly examining our lives and then regularly receiving the very body and blood of our Redeemer or is our communion participation hit and miss? Are we finding a quiet time to pray and reflect on God's Word every day or do we pretty much pray only when life is really difficult and before meals?

At first glance it seems as though the early Christians were just plain wonderful people who had figured out the importance of spending time with God. The temptation would be just to urge you all to be like those early Christians. But the simple truth is that these early Christians were just as poor and just as miserable in their sinfulness as we are. The Bible said that Peter had to warn them with many words. He pleaded with them to be saved from their corrupt generation. He preached and he prodded and he proclaimed and he promised. He spoke the law so clearly that the Bible says "they were cut to the heart" and they asked Peter and the other apostles "what shall we do?"

Dear friends, the answer to their question is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be forever. Repent and be believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Every day, people of God, be coming to the cross and be admitting your sins and be asking God to have mercy. Perhaps they are sins of laziness or busy-ness.......unkindness or indifference......perhaps you have been spending more time reading your newspaper than your Bibles......perhaps you have spent way more money on entertaining yourself than on supporting the Church....perhaps you have been spending more energy complaining and criticizing and carping about what is wrong in life than in thinking and talking about that which is of good report and praiseworthy and excellent.

Whatever your failures and faults have been, Jesus Christ declares to every one of you who is confessing them........Tho your sins be as scarlet they are white as snow. Tho you have made a mess of life, I say you are clean. Tho you have dug deep holes in life, I am in the process of lifting you up and setting you on your feet again. Though you have strayed often and far, I am pleased to give you the kingdom of heaven. Though you have been uninvolved and uncommitted and unconcerned, Jesus says again to you and me today, "I can still use you and I can still bless you and I can still grow my kingdom within you and in your surrounding regions and into the uttermost parts of the world.

Isn't that amazing? The other day a certain pastor drove to Rochester ST. Mary's Hospital to visit one of his members. He drove up to the underground parking ramp and the neon sign blinked again and again RAMP FULL. RAMP FULL. RAMP FULL. He drove up to the ticket place and the recording which usually said, PLEASE TAKE A TICKET. PLEASE TAKE A TICKET.......was instead saying SORRY, THE RAMP IS FULL. SORRY, THE RAMP IS FULL. SORRY THE RAMP IS FULL. He left his window open and began to read for awhile in his Bible, all the while the recording saying SORRY, THE RAMP IS FULL. He knew that in a few minutes somebody would leave the ramp and then there would be room for him. He thought about how in this time and place, the doors of the kingdom are still open. There still is room, and there still is time. But the day is coming when the door will be shut and there will be no second chances. The day is coming when Jesus Himself will shut the door and say to those who have not repented and who have not believed, "Go away. I don't know you."

There are at least two kinds of people. People who have no particular sense of purpose in life and those who do. In which category are you? There still is room, and there still is time. Amen

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