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Showing posts from 2006

2007: Happy New Year

how is it possible to be happy over another year when more atrocities will occur? 
because each New Year is another year closer to the return of the King. 
justice will come. wrongs will be made right. the King is coming.

journal report: No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust?

this paper (PDF) by Barbara Harff, 2003, was linked to in the wiki article on Democide and i found it a useful model to evaluate world situations. it's 17 pages long but some dense reading. what are her findings? democides are likely after political upheaval, with a prior history of genocide, exclusionary ideology of elite, autocratic leadership, ethnic minority leadership, and minimal cross border commerce. interestingly, international political relationships and poverty are not predictive of democide. what does this mean in expanded terms?
political upheaval - civil wars or status quo earthquakes (not democrat/republican) rattle unstable people and make them think that they must kill or be killed (a slippery slope argument with a very high cost result). tossing out monarchs seems to trigger big messes. in 1917 Russia cast off its Tsar. perhaps, though not mentioned in this report, Cromwell's bloody revolution in England falls into this category. Ivan the terrible cast off th…

book report: Natural Home Heating

i picked up Greg Pahl's book, Natural Home Heating: The complete guide to renewable energy options from the library a few weeks ago and read it cover to cover. this book came from his own research in replacing his ancient boiler in his northern New England home. so he approached the project without an agenda. even better is that he had a budget to live within, and by the end of the book he realized he couldn't afford the new technology. he couldn't replace his old furnace, but he could afford bio-diesel, so that, finally, is his solution. i really appreciate a book written for the environmental pauper, such as myself. all the new technology is cool too and it's good to know about.

book report: Tipis and Yurts

i like the concept of round houses but the best my inter-library loan program could get me was a DIY book by Blue Evening Star called Tipis and Yurts: Authentic Design for Circular Shelters. after reading this book, i don't want to DIM (do it myself). i appreciate from afar what nomadic people were able to do.

CT: Red Light Rescue

Southeast Asia, unfortunately, is known for sex tourism. But, by God's grace, it also attracts believers to go and rescue those who are sexually exploited. Christianity today has a few articles on the ministries that are there.

Antwone Fisher

we watched this movie last night and we were moved. i admit i'm a sucker for sentimentality. regardless, the thing that struck me most is the need of so many children to be adopted. Fisher grew up in an abusive foster home, extremely abusive. but he ended up in the Navy and started to develop his identity and self-esteem, especially after being sent to a Navy psychologist. eventually, he wrote his story, and re-wrote the script 40 times before selling it to 20th Cent. Fox. Denzel Washington directed, acted, and produced this movie. the acting in this movie by all was excellent. the range of emotions that had to be performed by the cast was broad and surely a challenge.

our Christmas letter

my wife was inspired to write this in the middle of the night...

Islam exposure

There is something deeply, deeply wrong with Islam.Originally, we started this website in the naive hope that perhaps Muslims just didn't realize the extent of the violence that is committed in the name of their religion. Perhaps if they understood, then they might be motivated to turn the critical eye inward and resolve those far more important issues that leave so many lives in agony and consume billions and billions of global dollars in security resources.But, in our first several years of posting attacks, we never once heard from a Muslim who wrote to condemn the violence and resolve themselves to combating it. Neither did we see any change on the part of Muslim-American groups, or the other Islamic organizations across the globe, even as the body count mounted to levels that far exceed the damage done on 9/11.And so, our mission is to present the truth about Islam and how it is so tragically different from other religion. We also hope to memorialize the victims…

Merry Advent in India:carol singers arrested, churches burned

December 27 (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists burned down a church in India on Saturday (December 23), arrested carol-singers on Christmas Eve and disrupted yuletide services in several states. One Christian suffered a fractured hand, and another lost his hearing.


Extremists burned down a thatched church in Boriguma area, Koraput district of Orissa state on Saturday night (December 23), preventing church members from celebrating Christmas there. The congregation had already decorated the building for Christmas festivities, but everything was destroyed in the fire.

RNB: newly opened nazi archives

another disturbing article from the Religion News Blog
Within weeks of Hitler’s 1933 rise to power, the iron gates slammed shut on inmates of the first Nazi concentration camps. It was the start of an unparalleled experiment in persecution and genocide that expanded over the next 12 years into a pyramid of ghettos, Gestapo prisons, slave labor camps and, ultimately, extermination factories....Collecting and analyzing fragmented reports, researchers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum say they have pinpointed some 20,000 places of detention and persecution - three times more than they estimated just six years ago...The “pyramid” ranged from death camps such as Auschwitz at the top, to secondary and tertiary detention centers. There were 500 brothels, where foreign women were put at the disposal of German officers, and more than 100 “child care facilities” where women in labor camps were forced to undergo abortions or had their newborns taken away and killed - usually by starvation - so …

RNB: clash of islamic sects a reality

interesting article at the Religion News Blog by a Muslim for the Gulf News.

There are also the fundamentalists in Islam, who sow the seeds of violence throughout the Islamic region. Their terrorist acts are a shame. They greatly endanger the Islamic image in the world and they stand in the way of the Muslims regaining their civilised stance around the globe.No matter what form the clashes take, the result is one: loss of human resources, loss of funds, exhausting the nation, further dividing it and weakening it on the development and constructional levels.It is impossible to get out of this very dark tunnel with the ongoing clashes. For if the Islamic world is unable to be at peace internally, how will it live in peace and harmony with the other civilisations?Before we head towards the dialogue of civilisations, our wise men have to rearrange and tidy up our Islamic house before it crashes down as a result of excessive internal violence.There has to be a sincere internal initiative to…

Merry Advent

God is good to us.

India: freedom of religion?

can't blame this on some backward tribals this time. what so threatens a man that he needs to beat up women because of their faith?


December 22 (Compass Direct News) – A group of Hindu extremists in the southern state of Karnataka have tortured two young women and a girl who converted to Christianity in an attempt to “reconvert” them to Hinduism. The incident took place in Guruparahalli area, 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, on December 14. A man identified only as Ramesh broke into the house of three sisters – Jyothi, 20; Nandhini, 18; and Jalaja, 16. He pressured them to reconvert and beat them for refusing. The victims, who work in a garment factory, attend the Assembly of God church. Ramesh, who used to live nearby until three months ago, had been opposing the sisters since they converted to Christianity from Hinduism a few months ago. “The extremists intruded into the house of the women in the evening and got violent upon finding a Bible and ot…

multiple Bible reading plans

the ESV blog offers several displays of reading plans out there

what is Christian meditation

John Armstrong writes, and I'm liking it,
St. Francis de Sales noted that “every meditation is a thought, but every thought is not meditation.” Simple reflection within the mind is much like a fly that moves from one place to another. There is activity and experience. But meditation is more like a honey bee who moves from flower to flower extracting the honey of divine love from the holy mysteries of the Christian faith. When we truly meditate we seek to do more than learn, we pursue the love of Christ in prayer actively through what we learn. This process is learned and all too rare among modern evangelicals. We rightly think about many subjects but meditation always has a very specific reference to those thinking about those objects in our life whose consideration makes us more holy and devout. The devout soul will gather the honey of God’s truth, much like the bee, and store it for wintertime. In meditation we move form one mystery to another not merely to admire the beauty of t…

reflections on the baby Jesus by N.T. Wright

i gotta give wright credit when its due. this is an excellent advent reflection.

Out of the thousands of things that follow directly from this reading of John, I choose three as particularly urgent.First, John's view of the Incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of the liberal denial which characterized mainstream theology thirty years ago and whose long-term effects are still with us. I grew up hearing lectures and sermons declaring that the idea of God becoming human was a categorical error. No human being could be divine; Jesus must therefore have been simply a human being, albeit (here the headmaster pats the little boy on the head) a very brilliant one. Jesus points to God, but he isn't actually God. A generation later, growing straight out of that school of thought, a clergyman wrote to me saying that the church doesn't know anything for certain. Remove the enfleshed and speaking Word from the center of your theology, and gradually the whole…

Christmas tree lights made by imprisoned Chinese pastors

from the WorldServe website
short video here
However, there is another story in each strand of Christmas lights, told in the little paper tag on the cord: Made in China. This story also has a powerful link to Jesus; Chinese pastors and believers, imprisoned for sharing their faith, perform much of the tedious manual labor. Many believers in China are persecuted and suffer greatly for professing Jesus as Lord and sharing His message of hope with others. For these Chinese pastors and believers, the same Christmas lights that remind Westerners of joy, togetherness, and peace are a harsh reminder of prison, pain and beatings.

The Facts
Most of the world is unaware of the torture that Chinese believers suffer.
•While China presents a picture of increasing religious tolerance, Christians face constant harassment and the most intense persecution in the world.•On September 8, 1999, the Public Security Bureau classified house churches in China as "illegal cults."•As recently as A…

Rushdoony, historical incompetence, racism and lunacy

Carl Trueman writes in the Reformation 21 blog about Holocaust denial

The latest edition of Harper's Magazine has an article by Jeff Sharlet on how the Christian right is reimagining US history. R J Rushdoony gets quite a few column inches but Sharlet misses the worst aspect of this man's history: Holocaust Denial.Indeed, in his Institutes of Biblical Law, RJR has a truly horrible section where he reduces the number of Holocaust dead to (from memory) less than a million, and roots the cause in the winter cold, not a Zyklon-B facilitated act of conscious act of genocide, His sources? Paul Rassinier et al -- no credibility with professional historians, but very popular among skinheads, Klan freaks, the British National Party and characters like David Irving.

As a historian, I've had an amateur interest in the phenomenon of Holcaust Denial for well over a decade and I've come to the conclusion it is motivated by either (a) methodological incompetence vis a vi the use o…

Historical Body counts

another grim body count page.

Book report - The Mongols

no link for this old book, The Mongols by E. D. Phillips, 1969, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, New York

after reading about Ivan the Terrible, i had to learn more about the Tatars, or Tatars, he was constantly worried about, remnants of the Golden Horde, the Mongol army that could have made it to the Atlantic Ocean if not for the inconveniently timed death of Ogedei, Genghis Khan's son and successor, which required the generals to return and accept the next Khan.
discipline was strict in Genghis's armies. death was the usual punishment for infractions. technology played a large role in Genghis's sieges. fear and fairness were also helpful. cities that surrendered were only subjected to heavy taxation. cities that didn't were exterminated. the Mongol army perhaps killed as many people as all of WW2, but over a hundred years, anywhere between 30 and 60 million deaths. The army was guilty of some horrific devastations though.

Consider the Seige of Baghdad.

The Caliph's …

smart mom is cooking

superwoman homeschools 3 and finds time to make for others chicken pot pie with home-made crusts

Who is Jesus? Why Christmas?

who is this baby, whose birth we celebrate? in his own words...

John 6:51:"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;"John 8:23: And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I AM from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."John 10:9: "I AM the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."John 10:11: "I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.John 10:36: "do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?John 11:25: Jesus said to her, "I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.John 14:6: Jesus said…

an apology for a large church

Tim Keller is not sorry for his large church in NYC, but he helps explain how size influences emphases. part 1 and part 2

Tim Keller preaches on hell

i think this is a good backdoor answer to the question of those who haven't heard.

"The universal religion of humankind is: We develop a good record and give it to God, and then he owes us. The gospel is: God develops a good record and gives it to us, then we owe him (Rom. 1:17). In short, to say a good person, not just Christians, can find God is to say good works are enough to find God.

"You can believe that faith in Christ is not necessary or you can believe that we are saved by grace, but you cannot believe in both at once.

"So the apparently inclusive approach is really quite exclusive. It says, 'The good people can find God, and the bad people do not.'

"But what about us moral failures? We are excluded.

"The gospel says, 'The people who know they aren't good can find God, and the people who think they are good do not.'

"Then what about non-Christians, all of whom must, by definition, believe their moral efforts help them reach God?…

Dangers of being a Christian in rural India

excerpted from a Compass News article:

Persecution affects both rural and urban populations, but Christians living in villages suffer more due to the practice of sharing common facilities and the presence of hierarchical religious and caste communities within the isolated settlements.

Most of India’s Christians live in rural areas. According to India’s 2001 Census, Christians make up 2.3 percent of the 1 billion-plus population, or 24 million people. Of these, almost 16 million live in rural areas. Most of the rural Christians are Dalits (the lowest level of the Hindu caste system, formerly known as “untouchables”), or from tribal backgrounds.

In addition to violent attacks launched and incited by Hindu extremists, rural Christians face denial of the use of common facilities like ponds, wells, grazing ground for cattle, schools and cremation grounds. At times they are also treated as social outcasts because of their faith in Christ. Villagers sometimes rape Christian women as a means of …

democide

a wiki article
Democide is defined as "The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder."
Communism is well represented as well as the the same states before communism, Russia, Mongolia, and China.
The americas' treatment of African slaves and natives could equal 30mm people.

what's with the Holocaust deniers?

Iran recently hosted a conference for Holocaust deniers. who would attend such a thing? David Duke is one. His racism is an easy motive for him. The same for the president of Iran. What is so powerful about racism? Hate definitely unites easily and blinds as well.
the Nizkor Project asks, "Given the evidence ... why do people deny the Holocaust?"

The wiki article on Holocaust Deniers states
Though they do not use the term revisionism, historians do continue to study and revise opinions on aspects of the Holocaust, though no reputable historian has challenged the basic scale and outlines of the event. In the words of historian Donald Niewyk from Southern Methodist University: "With the main features of the Holocaust clearly visible to all but the willfully blind, historians have turned their attention to aspects of the story for which the evidence is incomplete or ambiguous. These are not minor matters by any means, but turn on such issues as Hitler's role in the …

documenting the USSR

read about this project in my local paper, which reports
Anti-Communists during the Cold War, trying to rally the West against Moscow, long accused the Soviets of such outrages. But with the Soviet Union largely closed to outsiders, foreign policy conservatives and military hawks were forced to rely on testimony from dissidents and defectors.Brent's 20-book project, “The Annals of Communism,” provides new and vivid details from documents that have been mined by hundreds of his researchers over the years, combing Soviet archives since the collapse of the totalitarian state in 1991.It documents Soviet espionage in the United States, efforts by the Soviets to manipulate the Spanish Civil War and a history of the Gulag slave labor camps.

book reports: ivan and stalin biographies

the new book section of the library beckons me like the sirens and i fell for a newer Stalin biography called Stalin the Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore who noted that the widely read Stalin found some inspiration from Ivan the Terrible.
so after reading Stalin i found a 1975 biography by Robert Payne and Nikita Romanoff called Ivan the Terrible.

after reading both biographies, i believe it impossible to write about one without looking over the shoulder at the other. both had wives die young, Stalin's by suicide, and both men were predictably damaged. both were ready to quit. regarding Ivan's wife
She died at the wrong time and in the wrong way...Grief, which has struck him so hard, loosened the bonds. Henceforth violence became a way of life; murder was his companion; to see the dead around him was his solace...His character seemed to change overnight. The man who had been deeply religious and conscientious in his duties, carefully weighing the advice of his Ch…

Letter to a scientologist 3

You made the mistake of forcing me to do research. In fairness I started at your church’s FAQ. It was nice, tedious, and, in some parts, offensive, i.e. using the cross of Christ as your religious symbol and depriving poor people of quality “auditing” (if you can’t afford the “donation” an auditor in training will practice on you). Then I started reading the critics. So I’m outraged. And I’m starting to understand why you have such difficulty with the historicity of the Bible. It doesn’t matter how many witnesses there are to an event, if it threatens Co$ disbelieve it. 500 witnesses to Christ’s resurrection isn’t enough. Ex-member testimony isn’t enough. FACTnet estimates 90% of people who start in Co$ leave. How do you spin that? And if the Sea Org isn’t the closest thing to Faust’s bargain I don’t know what is. A billion year promise to Co$ - sounds like hell to me.

There is a difference between the sins of the church and the sins of Co$. When parts of the church are in sin other pa…

Letter to a scientologist 2

my perspective is that an investigator of a belief system should know the "dirty parts" or have
easy access to them. how else do you weed out crazy stuff a priori? i'm also appreciating the approach of "if it works, then perhaps the dirty stuff isn't that hard to swallow" and may even be true. alot of people experience this in non-religious situations. but this set up in abusive situations is standard. it's called partial reinforcement. the balance of positive reinforcement to negative tips over time to alot bad and little good. having my own abusive religious experience, i have a great appreciation for the baloney detector we all come with. and i encourage people to listen to their baloney detector if they don't have a theological or philosophical grid to evaluate religious claims. so my baloney detector would say to CoS, secret levels? incorrect history? big dollars? unverified claims? can never read all this stuff in my lifetime? it may work, but…

letter to an atheist

regarding comparative religions, or spiritual tour guide company evaluations, I hope your taste testing is fruitful. I hope you can whittle down your choices a priori since there are too many to test. Unfortunately, we all can’t be true. Actually, Scientology believes my experience is tied to a movie I had to watch under duress 50 million years ago. I think they may be victims of the power of suggestion, psychologically and/or spiritually, in this present time. I’m sure my spiritual experience conforms to the ultimate reality and I think there is enough data to verify that. Unfortunately, whichever you choose involves faith. An atheist has faith that he can prove a negative, “there is no God”, or an agnostic has faith that the question, “is there a God?” is unanswerable. I’m glad God has led you to this stage of investigation. I hope that soon you will say “I do” to God, the Creator. Faith is like getting married. Not knowing everything about a potential spouse, but knowing enough to …

no anonymous comments

i've seen one blogger state that since he isn't anonymous neither will he publish any anonymous comments. i like that. so no anonymous comments. thanks

abuse and your faith

abuse is not only found outside the church. its in the church too and needs to be exposed to the light. thanks to Scot McKnight for the link.

cannonball baptism

having fun in the baptism pool

Christians in Morocco

from Yahoo News
RABAT (AFP) - They might have Islamic names like Mohammed or Ali, but every Sunday these Moroccan converts to Christianity go discreetly to "church" -- to the ire of Islamic militants and under the suspicious eye of police.

"There are about a thousand of us in around 50 independent churches across the big cities of the kingdom," explained Abdelhalim, who coordinates these evangelical Protestant groups in Morocco. "As we are tolerated, but not recognized (by the state) we must, for security reasons, conduct ourselves as a clandestine organisation," said the 57-year-old, who preferred to use a pseudonym. "As soon as a church has 20 worshippers it splits in two," said Abdelhalim, a doctor who converted to Christianity 16 years ago when he was living abroad. Islam is the state religion in Morocco, a country of 30 million people that counts only 5,000 Jews and 1,000 Christians, according to figures given by the two groupings. Alth…

sad news on the stem cell front

noted at WMB
The BBC is reporting that evidence it has obtained suggests that healthy newborn babies may have been killed in the Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells.

more alternative construction options

thermal mass is a passive way to stabilize temperatures. that's why a stone fireplace stays warm long after the fire has turned to embers. thermal mass is also why radiant floors are often under poured concrete floors, as the cement will slowly release the heat. this product called SCIPs has a foam or straw core encased in wire mesh with shotcrete sprayed on either side. so its an engineered version of a strawbale home. kind of neat.
green sandwich: article
tridpanel: article
solarcrete: article
sipcrete :article
thermomass: blog
i found one company that precasts all this stuff, csips, called Dukane
i don't know if this is pre-made or not Dow TMass: article

UPDATE: got an email from Dow that they don't make it anymore. found out SCIPs are better for warm climates. ICF is better for colder climates.

i like the concept of radiant heat floors. usually the heat comes from water circulating under the floor. but there's this neat thing called the air floor. it circulates warm air in …

letter to a scientologist - no.1

i belong to a public apologetics e-group that includes Scientologists as readers/commenters. back in 1999 i started some long dialogs with them. for me, finding these old emails is like finding old archaeological texts. they are somewhat piecemeal, but i think they were and still are valuable. the specifics for any cult change, but the general appeal can be molded around any group.

a little glossary first
JC - Jesus Christ
LRH - L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder
CoS - Church of Scientology

Dear...
Certainly experience is valid to a degree, but I expect people on this apologetics list will be defending their faith with more ammo than experience. Experience for the Christian is the icing on the cake, strengthening the argument for Christ, but not a leg the argument rests on. Perhaps the thief on the cross didn't go on an apologetic analysis before asking Jesus to save him while hanging next to Jesus. He had an experience with Jesus that enabled the faith to believe in Jesus. The o…

was Jesus a Christian?

i'm continuing the dialog with Ben, pastor at St. Paul's near UConn.
Hi Ben,
thanks for replying. i did listen to your message, but i wasn't enlightened much more. sorry. i'm a better text learner than oral learner. so here's some text to dialog over, if you think it's beneficial and worth our time and your readers' time.
the American Heritage Dictionary defines Christian
"adj.

1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus's teachings.
3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

n.

1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus."

if we stick with the noun, only Jesus himself perfect…

Is God bigger than Christianity?

Kind of a weird question from a pastor. So i posted a comment but it hasn't been approved so i'll share it here. it really helps to read the article first though.
fwiw, the church describes itself as,
"St. Paul's Collegiate Church is a post-denominational community church in Storrs, CT, that was planted and officially launched in February 2005.
There are over 18,000 college students and 20-somethings living in the Storrs-Mansfield community, home to the main campus of the University of Connecticut. Less than five percent of this group attends a local church."i wrote
i'm a UConn IVCF alumnus, '92, and i was excited to see somemore outreach at UConn, including this church. IVCF actually let me come back and give a talk last winter. it's at my blog in series called things i learned in college. but that's my introduction. i've been following your blog for awhile, but this is the first one that makes me want to comment.

i think it's misleading to sa…

nose cutting and face saving

very funny article of environmentalism run amuck in Germany. the country needs power. but no nukes. ok wind mils. they require power lines. power lines are ugly. so they must be buried. which makes expensive wind energy more pricey and takes even longer to build them, so windmills have to be turned off because there aren't enough lines to carry all the juice. it gets better from there, or worse. anyway, in response to the rising prices, German households are firing up their wood and coal stoves which produce...pollution.

India: no church allowed

INDIA - On Sunday, December 5, police forced Pastor Jesurathinam and his congregation to stop their worship service in a church in Vellamody village, Kanya Kumari in Tamil Nadu.Police were responding to the scene after about 200 Hindu extremist forces stormed the worship service. The Hindus, who held a two-hour demonstration inside the prayer hall, claimed a Hindu temple existed close to the prayer hall, therefore, the church should not be allowed to operate. .Pray Christians in India continue to be a bold witness for Christ despite threats and attacks against them.

EO's top vids of '06

the Randoph band near the bottom and the treadmill ballet at the top are worth you time at the EO

India: Widow Immolation returns

Veritas Forum reports
"Widow-burning is making a comeback in parts of India. Aren't we all so excited that they're repudiating the legacy of British imperialism and returning to the happy practice of sati?"

raising a child with Down's Syndrome

more food for thought for those who prefer to kill these babies...
Bonnie writes
"Julana at Life in the Slow Lane writes Therapy notes 33: teaching, trusting. Julana has a son with Down’s syndrome and poignantly blogs vignettes from their lives."

Iconography

I'm reading a biography of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of Russia in the 16th century, contemporary of England's Queen Elizabeth. Stalin found much inspiration in his methods of governance, including mass executions, but excluding Ivan's adoration of the Russian Orthodox icons.

As someone raised in a low-Protestant tradition, icons and praying to saints was always foreign to me, and remains, unnecessary, if not distasteful to me still. However, both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic branches of the church embrace icons, 2D for the East and 3D for the West. Why is that?
a wiki article states
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, only flat images or bas relief images are used. They believe the first icons of Christ and the Virgin Mary to have been painted by St Luke. The Greeks, having a long, pagan tradition of statuary, found the sensual quality of three dimensional representations did more to glorify the human aspect of the flesh rather than the divine nature of the spirit and…

Curmudgeonly response to new atheists

Doug Groothius starts off...
1. These two books are offering nothing new by way of critiques of theism or specific religions. Christian philosophers and biblicla scholars have responded to all the charges before. What is different is their severe tone. Religion is not just wrong, but terribly dangerous. It should scarcely be tolerated. To demonstrate this, one must argue that a belief is both false and deleterious. That doubles the intellectual load--and produces a fair amount of bombast.

he indicates more posts to follow....

how to respond to sect interruptions at church

Andrew Jones had a warning about this German sect coming through disrupting services across his area and he was well prepared and dealt with them in the best way i can imagine. good work Andrew.

new missions opportunities

one day the Freedom Ship will set sail with 30,000 people some day...

and the office, where i try to serve, work church

Today is International Human Rights Day

and it was conceived by Christians...

Approved by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was, in one historian’s judgment, “largely identical” with the value system expressed in the Christian Democratic worldview. From its use of “laicized” language of Divine origin (such as the “inherent dignity” and “inalienable rights” of man) to the use of the term “natural” to define the family to the guarantee of a “right to life” to the affirmation of a family wage, the Universal Declaration might be seen as a great triumph of the new Christian Democratic worldview.

more Christmas tree history

Christian History reports
...The Romans decked their homes with evergreen branches during the New Year, and ancient inhabitants of northern Europe cut evergreen trees—ancient symbols of life in the midst of winter—and planted them in boxes inside. Many early Christians, like Tertullian, were hostile to such practices. But by the early Middle Ages, a legend had begun to circulate that when Christ was born in the dead of winter every tree throughout the world miraculously shook off its ice and snow and produced new shoots of green. At the same time, Christian missionaries preaching to Germanic and Slavic peoples were taking a more lenient approach to cultural practices. These missionaries believed that the Incarnation proclaimed Christ's lordship over those natural symbols that had previously been used for the worship of pagan gods. Not only individual human beings, but cultures, symbols, and traditions could be converted.Of course, this did not mean that the worship of pagan gods th…

Pearl Harbor

On this day 65 years ago, a date that "will live in infamy," the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,000 U.S. servicemen. Survivors, many now well into their 80s and 90s, will gather most likely for the last time in Hawaii today to honor their fallen friends. "I suspect not many people have thought about this, but we're witnessing history," said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial. "We are seeing the passing of a generation."
WMB

In light of today being the 65th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, it seems apparent that many of the veterans who fought so hard for the world's freedom in the Second World War are nearing the end. In the past three years, both my own father and my wife's father who both served in the Pacific arena have gone to meet Jesus (and we miss them terribly). But for those who are still around, I want to express my own heartfelt thanks for the great sacrifices you and your comra…

Going to the chapel helps marriages

this may be the third time i've posted this info. going to church every week protects marriage from divorce. its not a guarantee, but it's alot like not smoking protects your lungs. the odds for your marriage increase if both are involved in fellowship...so the myth that Christians are as likely to divorce as non-Christians has been exposed. the interesting issue then is why are those self-identified, divorcing, non-churching folks calling themselves Christians?

Imam theater

regarding those American Imams removed from the plane...

Given that Islamic terrorists continue their obsession with turning airplanes into weapons of mass destruction, it is nothing short of obscene that these six religious leaders--fresh from attending a conference of the North American Imams Federation, featuring discussions on "Imams and Politics" and "Imams and the Media"--chose to turn that airport into a stage and that airplane into a prop in the service of their need for grievance theater. The reality is, these passengers endured a frightening 3 1/2-hour ordeal, which included a front-to-back sweep of the aircraft with a bomb-sniffing dog, in order to advance the provocative agenda of these imams in, of all the inappropriate places after 9/11, U.S. airports. "Allahu Akbar" was just the opening act. After boarding, they did not take their assigned seats but dispersed to seats in the first row of first class, in the midcabin exit rows and in the rear…

Piper gives Wright the smackdown

John Piper asks how NT Wright can claim to be reading the same Bible

Wright’s statements are baffling in several ways. One way is that the Jews of Romans 2:17-24 do indeed claim to be successful moralists. They teach morality, but do not teach themselves (v. 21). They preach against stealing, but steal (v. 21). They oppose adultery, but commit adultery (v. 22). They denounce idolatry, but commit idolatry (v. 22). They boast in the law, but dishonor the law (v. 23). And in all this, they cause the Gentiles to blaspheme God (v. 24). How Wright can use this paragraph to distinguish moral boasting from racial boasting escapes me (as does the distinction itself).Then, there is Wright’s affirmation of Sanders’ claim that the religion of the Pharisees was not the “religion of legalistic works-righteousness,” and that the “The Jew [of Jesus’ day] keeps the law out of gratitude, as the proper response to grace.” The only explanation I can find for such amazing statements is that the testimony o…

VOM: Persecution news from India

latest updates on Christian persecution and human rights violations are updated here at Voice of the Martyrs.

WMB: Dem leaders won't lobby against fetal pain bill

World Mag reports
House Democratic leaders have said they won't lobby members of their caucus to vote against legislation that would inform women of the pain their baby would feel during an abortion, LifeNews.com reports.Pro-life groups strongly support the [Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act] and hope it will result in women changing their minds about abortions. Abortion advocates are split, with leading abortion advocacy group NARAL not lobbying on it and Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations strenuously opposing it....Nancy Pelosi is calling the vote a "vote of conscience" and will not speak on the bill or ask the Democratic caucus to oppose it. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are citing NARAL's reluctance to oppose the bill as the primary reason for not urging party members to vote against it. Interesting. If I had time today, I'd go check out who's received how much money from whom. (A WMB blogger project?) Still, Democrats can afford t…