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Showing posts from November, 2006

blessed by a disabled child

this parent finds the lemonade among the lemons

Barnes’ loving tribute to parenting a Down child is precisely the kind of input that I had hoped the earnest young genetic counselor could provide to his clients. Five-year-old Eddie has Down syndrome, and Barnes reports that he “is not to be pitied” for having to father a disabled child “but to be envied.”
........
By contrast, let us now consider Peter Singer’s harshly sterile views about the options parents should have if faced with a Down baby. One acceptable answer, Singer asserts in Rethinking Life and Death, is establishing the right of parents to have their unwanted Down child killed if they would prefer not to raise a disabled child:

................Singer is a theoretician. who is he to advocate the murder of the disabled? what kind of helping hand is that?

more useful history surrounding the Turkey visit

from the LA Times regarding Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey

...............
A detour into the recent history of Islamic thought illustrates the potential for common ground.Egyptian poet and essayist Sayyid Qutb, hanged by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966, is the father of modern Islamic radicalism. He spent 1948-50 in the United States attending Wilson Teachers College, the Colorado State College of Education (today the University of Northern Colorado) and Stanford University as part of an exchange program. Based on that experience, Qutb penned his famous tract, The America I Have Seen, which still exercises a profound effect in shaping Muslim perceptions of American culture.The work amounted to a ferocious attack on what Qutb called “the American man,” depicted as obsessed with technology but virtually a barbarian in the realm of spirituality and human values. American society, for Qutb, was “rotten and ill” to its very core.He wrote: “This great America: What is it worth in the scale of…

Muslim outrage syndrome

on my drive home i was listening to NPR report on the Pope's visit to Turkey and trying to understand the reasons for why the Pope has to walk on egg shells there. he is in trouble for re-iterating a claim from the middle ages that Islam is violent and all things negative, blah, blah, blah, and, for some reason, Muslims reacted violently and negatively... and i'm trying to sort out what that reason is...and i'm not sold on the simple explanation that the Koran is violent, because the Bible has plenty of violence. i'm not sold on Islam makes all Muslims violent, because they aren't. i'm not sure that it is really about the seriousness of adherents, there are even more devout adherents to many other faiths that aren't thusly violent.

but i think i have hit on something that some Muslims share with some Hindus, the compulsion to protect the honor of their deities. those gods can't defend themselves, and their adherents are perhaps thinking they'll score…

alternatives to monologues from the pulpit

Guy Muse reports
However, where churches and cells reproduce in great numbers — as is the case in many lands today — few are able to preach well by monologue. Most who try to preach monologues communicate poorly, set an example that others cannot easily follow, and fail to make disciples.

Both the New Testament and church planting movements offer very effective alternatives to the monologue. As mentors of emerging leaders of new congregations, we should be able to train others in these alternatives.

it's fertility stupid

Justin Taylor riffs off declining Western fertility...quoting Mark Steyn
"It's not the economy, stupid. It's the stupidity, economists--the stupidity of thinking you can ignore demography" (pp. 4-5).

"Given the plummeting birth rates in Europe, Russia, Japan, etc., a large chunk of the world has evidently decided to take pre-emptive action on climate change and opt for societal suicide. The crisis we face today is the precise opposite of 'overpopulation': the developed world's population is shrinking faster than any human society not in the grip of war or disease has ever shrunk" (pp. 8-9).

"In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent's population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear--in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in. One can cite examples of remote backward tribes who exp…

ATeam: ETS, Reformed and Emergent withdrawal

Roger writes
This leads me to believe that despite all the talk about “conversation,” most of those on the Emergent side of things (especially leaders such as Jones and McLaren) are really only interested in publicly conversing with people who believe exactly as they do. At best, they are just as sectarian as the fundamentalists they often criticize, and the Reformed academics I criticized above. Of course, I side with Carson, Scott, and Brett, and so I’d like the Emergent folk to engage their critics in hopes that they’d make certain changes. However, most of us critics are open to being wrong about where we stand and the best way to show us where we are wrong is to actually engage us instead of dismiss us.

Holy Spirit Community

great post by Diane
I almost always agree with Dan Edelen at Cerulean Sanctim. However, a while back, he wrote a blog post entitled, Being the Body: How to Forge Real Community, Part 1 in which he made this statement,

If there's no real community at your church, then the Holy Spirit's not there. Pure and simple.

Well, not exactly. If there are Christians there, the Holy Spirit will be there since He's IN us. The problem in most churches as I see it is a poor organizational structure to bring people together. And to be fair, Dan has also spoken about this in the past too. I have rarely been in an evangelical church where people really didn't want to come together. In fact the problem in my view was ALWAYS poor structures that either weren't set up to bring people together; or, actually prevented people from coming together.
That is why I am such a BIG fan of church home groups.

Some time ago, I wrote about how churches could successfully organize and implement these …

excuse of youth

just a quick reflection on religions that when criticized by christians plead the younger brother defense. it goes like this. give us a break, Christianity has has a few hundred or a few thousand years head start on us. Islam and Mormonism come to mind. the problem with this defense is the assumption of a vacuum on idea exchange. there is a marketplace of ideas. if the best defense for the inferiority of your theological tenet is its youth, its time to admit defeat. i wonder if there is a good latin phrase for this illogical appeal?

and for those older religions, like Hinduism and its caste system, come on, theologically based racism? repent and let it go. or better yet, convert to Jesus and be free.

Indian justice

November 28 (Compass Direct News) – A district court in Punjab state has summoned a police official for severely beating four Christians. On November 13, the court of Malout Taluka in Punjab’s Muktsar district summoned Assistant Sub-Inspector Hukam Chand Sharma of the Malout police station to appear next February 8 in a hearing related to the beating of four Christians. A local Christian who requested anonymity told Compass that the victims are from the New Jerusalem Fellowship in Jeet Nagar in Malout, Muktsar district. Sharma allegedly beat them on September 25, 2005. On that morning a mob of Hindu extremists stormed the fellowship’s Sunday worship service and accused the Christians of unethical conversions. When the Christians called the police, several officers arrived and took church members Gurudev Singh, Jaswant Singh and Balkaran Singh to the police station. “After reaching the police station, Sharma beat the three Christians very brutally,” the source added. “Later, the polic…

it finally happened

my first month with over 100 posts. i'm curious if readers find much quality in the quantity? other than my faithful commenters Guy Muse and the offended Indian nationalist, anyone else benefiting or have suggestions?

India: persecution in the south

November 27 (Compass Direct News)
Church Service AttackedOn November 3, extremists attacked an independent pastor in Nachupally village, in the Birkur Mandal area of the same district of Nizamabad. Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Compass that the attack took place when a pastor, identified only as Praharshi, was visiting a believer’s house in the village for prayer. “When all the Christians were praying and singing to the Lord, a group of around 100 RSS youths intruded into the house and disturbed the gathering,” he said. “They severely beat the pastors and other believers with logs.” The youths also damaged a motorcycle belonging to a Christian. The total number of those injured was unknown, but all victims were taken to a hospital and given first aid. Four Pastors BeatenThe same day (November 3), Hindu extremists attacked four pastors of an Assembly of God church in Kerala state’s Alapuzha district. The four, identifie…

EO: slavery today

Over the past fifty years there has been a population explosion within third world nations. With millions of economically and socially vulnerable people around the world, the "supply" of potential slaves today makes them cheaper than they’ve ever been in the history of the world. An average slave in the American South in 1850 cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today's money; today a slave costs an average of $90. Because they can be had so cheaply, they are of little value to the traffickers. If slaves get sick or injured or merely outlive their usefulness they are often dumped or killed.
What can be done to end this global tragedy? Ken Bales, a sociologist and expert on modern-day slavery, believes that human trafficking could be eliminated within a generation if three things were to happen:1. Public awareness has to grow, and there has to be public agreement that it is time to end slavery once and for all. This public commitment must be communicated to politicians.
2. Mon…

Church's sweet spot not in bricks and mortar

This past Sunday Scranton Community Church held its final weekend service. After struggling for years to balance the demand of producing creative, innovative, culturally relevant weekend services with the demands of putting on and attending as many creative, innovative, culturally relevant church conferences possible, Pastor Dwight Schrute made the decision to pull the plug. "Over the past few months we've been pairing down our ministries to focus on what we do best. We eliminated Women's Minsitry, Men's Minsistry and all age specific ministries; the next logical step was to eliminate the weekend service. We were doing cutting edge stuff; talking about sex, making funny videos, singing everything David Crowder has ever written, but we just weren't hitting our sweet spot" Shrute shared. "Our real calling is to glean from other churches, copy what we've learned and then put on our own conference to teach others to do what we're copying. It just mad…

thanksgiving serve-a-polooza

our church's Thanksgiving outreach was alot like this one...

We headed down to the center and, as we arrived, people were already lined up outside the doors and in the parking lot--it was only 10:15am. As I got closer, I realized they were the workers--not people waiting to be fed. Those waiting to be fed were on the other side--some dressed up as nice as they could--with their families. I got inside and found the guy in charge. He was overwhelmed with all the NorthWood people there to help. At first he said, "Everyone is going to have their own individual server this year!" A few minutes later, he was telling me there are way too many. People were still arriving--some seeing the long line of workers were turned away at the door--they couldn’t even get in to volunteer.

violence in the home

a horrible story of a woman whose religious husband couldn't love his wife as himself but claimed authority that she needed to submit to. marriage is a picture of Jesus's relationship to the church. this isn't that picture.

For many years I had been moving in the direction of depression and mental disassociation. Fortunately, I continued to read academic literature on social justice issues relating to race and poverty. At a certain point I became convinced that God did not intend one set of human beings to be permanently subordinate to another, I came to see my own circumstances in this light. I inwardly denounced my own subordination as wrong, and believed that God intended me to function as an equal. Althought this flew in the face of the teaching in my church, I began to move towards hope and survival.When I finally started considering divorce, I was afraid that he would get joint custody. I could not bear the thought of the children being with him and my not being there…

Atheism kills more people

article at CSM in light of the new atheist screeds
The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people - the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped - have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.It's time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been th…

they aren't kuppies or pittens

the nice cat is nursing some puppies...blood tests show they are 100% dog...sorry folks. let's move it along.
Blood tests refute a Brazilian woman's claim that her cat had given birth to three puppies, geneticist Adil Pacheco said Tuesday.Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, from a poor neighborhood of Passo Fundo in southern Brazil, said last Friday that her cat Mimi had given birth to the three puppies as well as three kittens, which did not survive."People who aren't experts often imagine things," said Pacheco, director of the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Passo Fundo. "All the facts contradict her."Pacheco, who was asked by a local newspaper to conduct a chromosome test to check the spectacular claim which gained wide media attention, said mammals sometimes nursed the young from another species.
i would like to thank this hoax for all the traffic is brought to my blog...but now, back to the church, homosexuality, abortion, human righ…

tagging

i don't know if this messes up RSS feeds, but i'm endeavoring to add tags to all my old posts.

book report: Warlords (of WW2)

i got sucked back into WW2 history by this book, Warlords: An Extraordinary Re-Creation of World War II Through the Eyes and Minds of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, And Stalin by Simon Berthon and Joanna Potts, 2006.

They have ambitiously attempted to synthesize the diaries of the warlords themselves or those close to them in a chronological order to highlight understandings and misunderstandings between them. It was an enjoyable read and did provide some insights for me. For example, i never realized the British reluctance for the cross channel invasion of France, nor the constant delay of that invasion and its effects on Russia. I also never knew how much Roosevelt despised Empire England, and yet, at the same time, did not see the same threat from Stalin.

However, a novice to WW2 history would be under-served by this book. It helps a great deal to know more than the authors provide of the fronts involved simultaneously. For example, you would barely know there was a war in the Pacif…

great fun at GR and Episcopal reporting

the new Episcopal bishop said
Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children. Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

GR provides the interpretation
Catholic writers, in particular, were rather miffed that the Episcopal leader created such a stark equation that said, in effect: Our numbers are declining because we are smarter and care more about the environment than all of those populist Catholics and Mormons (recall that Jefferts Schori was bishop of the tiny Diocese of Nevada before her election as archbishop).
So now i'll add my interpretation...dumb, anti-environmental believers are known by the size of their families. Yep. Welcome to her church, where they …

where is NT Wright in the war on terror

for some out there, Mr Wright has come down the mountain with words of peace from heaven. in my eyes though, he's only been plagiarizing Churchill's predecessor, Chamberlain, infamous for his appeasement of the Germans before WW2. he writes,
As a subset of this fourth problem, I draw attention to the fact that the very notion of a ‘war on terror’ strikes a false note. It wasn’t, of course, invented by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld; Bill Clinton and other earlier presidents used similar language, and the western powers have engaged in military action against terrorists and those who harbour them long before September 11. But the oddity of the notion itself, and the illogicality of actions which were bound to encourage terrorism rather than quieten it down, should tell us we’re in a moral mess. Rather than think things out properly, we have relied on the same methods as we used in the nineteenth century: if in doubt, send in the gunboats and teach Johnny Foreigner a lesson he won’t f…

negatives on dome homes

Who needs Paul?

Scot McKnight answers this question wonderfully...

I’m suprised postmodernist emerging Christians have trouble with Paul and his letters. Why? Because of their commitment to the importance of language as something that conveys truth (as story), and because of their commitment to the importance of local communities of faith framing their own story for their own setting, and because of their confidence that God “incarnates” the redemptive story in local communities of faith. If each of those points is true, and I think they are too, then what we see in Paul is just exactly what you are striving for at the Red Sea Community (I happen to like your “church’s” name). What I’m saying — forgive me for the teacher’s habit of repeating myself — is that Paul did what you think all Christians do: he re-expressed the message of Jesus in a new way (language) so people could live it out in a new context (the local community). Instead of talking about “kingdom,” Paul talked about things like justifica…

Nudity in the fall

an article from John Piper on nudity on the stage...
There was once a day when there was no shame. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Then sin entered the world. Specifically, the sin of self-exaltation. Man decided that he would be like God and call his own shots. The knowledge of good and evil is the presumption to decide for yourself what is good and evil without relying on God. That happened and we are all contaminated with that arrogance. It is who we are now by nature.When we fell, we suddenly knew we were naked. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7). The nakedness that was once natural and fitting for the purity and innocence of man is now a painful embarrassment. God’s merciful solution to this is clothing. “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).Those who try t…

Dealing with secret temptations in ministry

this come's from Warren's pastors.com site, which already has a Christmas theme...but a good article in the wake of Haggard's scandal.

i'm thankful for

my God who chose to forgive me and adopt me into his family and into eternal blessings. Everything else is gravy. but i have to admit, He has been abundant with the gravy in my life.

Indian Muslims kill a Christian

Lord, please have mercy on the attackers and provide for his family.

November 21 (Compass Direct News) – Two unidentified militants today killed a Christian convert from Islam on a busy road in Mamoosa village, Barmullah district, in the terror-stricken state of Jammu and Kashmir. “Bashir Ahmed Tantray, a 50-year-old engineer working with the power department of the state government in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was shot dead seemingly by Islamist militants while he was standing at a busy bus stand near his parents’ house in Mamoosa,” a local Christian source told Compass. According to eye-witness accounts, two young men came to the bus stand on their motorbike at about 10:30 a.m. today and started inquiring about the timing of the buses. One of the militants took a pistol from his jacket and fired three rounds at Tantray. Shot at point-blank range, Tantray died as the militants fled the scene. Tantray, who had received Christ about a decade ago and had been an…

decline of marriage

as if we didn't warn you about the slippery slope...

Portrait of God in the OT

so many miss the forest for the trees. especially the trees they don't like. here is a more comprehensive survey, if you are still hanging with my metaphor...

The Old Testament shows God as emphasizing: Justice - One of the overriding concerns of the Law of Moses is whether justice is done.Beauty - Both the beauty of creation and the emphasis on beauty in the tabernacle and Temple show God's love for beauty.Purity - Moses' Law covered spiritual purity, emphasizing the worth of the person and praiseworthy aspects of redeemed humanity. It also covered physical purity to the extent that the Law of Moses is one of the earliest instances of modern infection control on record, far ahead of its time. Holiness - the Law of Moses emphasizes not only God's holiness, but God's transforming effect on his people to make them holy as well. Blessings - God's emphasis included physical blessings such as rest and spiritual blessings of his favor and goodwill. Forgiveness - The…

When is a church a church?

Guy works in Bolivia, i mean Ecuador. He describes their work and process and concludes

"So therefore, a church is a group of baptized believers who meet regularly together where God has planted them and function as a NT ekklesia."

but you would be well served to read his entire post

Cadre's Thanksgiving Reflections and Blessing

BK writes
When I was growing up, I knew "Come Ye Thankful People Come" by the name of "Harvest Home," and I loved the melody. Still, I never paid much attention to the words. But now that I'm older, I have discovered that the lyrics, written by Dr. Henry Alford, a noted hymnologist and Greek scholar, hold a deep level of meaning.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
Now, while I have always loved this song, I have never been clear on what exactly a "harvest home" is. I simply assumed that it was a phrase that meant the home of a farmer who had finished harvesting his fields. Boy, was I wrong....

Thank you for this turducken

just learned about this from a guy at work who is cooking one for Thanksgiving. its a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless turkey. it can feed 30 people. it takes at least 14 hours to make! as you can imagine, this example of conspicuous consumption is all-american. i cooked my 20 lb turkey last night, 3.5 hrs in a bag, and will strip it down today for the community meal tomorrow. our church serves 400-500 hot Turkey dinners every Thanksgiving, so my turkey is only 1 of 50 or so. God is really good in that every year, there is enough for all who come to bring some more home, and there are always leftovers to share with the community soup kitchen on Friday.

converts in India have their homes destoyed

it's too bad the locals aren't interested in a religious dialog, but resort to violence. Lord please have grace on the vandals and help my brothers and sisters in you find other places to live.

November 20 (Compass Direct News) – Adherents of a Bodo tribal religion in Assam, northeast India, forced nine families from their homes last Tuesday (November 14) for converting to Christianity. The villagers destroyed six of the nine families’ homes, forcing the Christians to take shelter in a primary school. The nine families live in four villages in the Kokrajhar district of Assam. Their ordeal began when Christians attended a Pentecostal meeting held in Haldibari village last Monday (November 13). “This meeting infuriated the Bodo tribals, who organized their own religious gathering the next day,” a source told Compass. At 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning (November 14), the tribal people of Haldibari gathered for their own meeting at the village council hall, said the Rev. Madhu Chandra,…

Abe Lincoln the flip-flopper?

John Armstrong is blogging from a Lincoln conference

There has been a debate for 140-plus years regarding whether Abraham Lincoln was really an emancipator, much less the Great Emancipator. We all know the facts: He signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. His reluctance and prevarication about abolition, and his willingness to not free the slaves if he could save the Union, are well known to those who study the man in his actions and words. So, should African-Americans be grateful for the work of "Father Abraham" to free them?

Obama invited into Warren's pulpit

and worldnet daily represents the "flipped-out" segment of the church. sure doesn't seem wise to me.

Bart Campolo and the EO

it's all about the questions...
The question that we should be asking is not, as Campolo claims, “God is a cruel bastard. How can we trust him?” but rather, “God is a Holy Sovereign. How can he tolerate my rebellion?” Rather than complaining that God doesn’t save everyone we should be asking why does God save anyone. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Nobody deserves to go to heaven; everyone does to go to hell. As Sproul adds, “God never owes mercy….God is not obligated to treat all people equally.”
the commenters are special too.

Hey Brian! Pipe down!

the A-Team is tired of taking Brian McLaren's jabs lying down...
“But Timbo,” you say, “McLaren is writing a foreword to Grenz’s book, and he doesn’t have space to cite the text or develop an argument!” I agree, and this is precisely the problem. Throughout his writings, Mr. McLaren relies on subtle “suggestions” which are undeveloped and/or unsupported by facts. There often appears to be more innuendo than insight, more assumption than analysis. When McLaren wrote the words of conservatives in his fictional trilogy, many of us felt that he was putting words into our mouths as well by misrepresenting what we believe. A rule of criticism is to be able to express alternative viewpoints in ways which a proponent of that viewpoint would be able to recognize it as his own: this McLaren emphatically does not do. What he often does instead is uses an inappropriate forum in which to respond to his critics, and this brings us to the issue of appropriateness in discourse, wherein McLar…

TSK family meal

this is indirectly related to homeschooling. we are often asked if the children get much socialization. yes they do, but definitely not as much as their peers in school. but this quote that Andrew quotes shows the flipside of this socialization

"Some 93% of Italian teenagers eat regularly with their families; in the UK just 64% of 15-year-olds do the same. . . Nick Pearce, director of the IPPR, told the BBC last night the figures pointed to an "increasing disconnect" between children and adults, with young people learning how to behave from each other. He said: "Because they don't have that structured interaction with adults, it damages their life chances. They are not learning how to behave - how to get on in life - as they need to."fwiw, i don't know, i've been reading a chapter of the bible aloud at the dinner table every night. at some point i hope those Hebrews readings will click with them. boy was that tough/boring on them. but the judges and…

SIP dome homes

this is one of those posts where i imagine building an affordable home, strawbales for instance, and structuralinsulatedpanel (SIP) homes. dome homes are an alternative structure that is extremely strong, but unconventional in appearance or some say "ugly." but, fashion does not necessarily have to decide everything. affordability helps and strength and time proven design. nomadic asians lived very well in Yurts. i'm friends with a family who are living in one now as they build their conventional home. native americans lived in wigwams. unfortunately, local zoning doesn't approve of such structures for families today, nor do many wives...but i had this idea that what if these structural panels were used in a geodesic dome, and it turns out i wasn't the first to think of it. this outfit in Kansas thinks its a great idea too. financing these things is tough, because the banks don't want to mortgage something that if you defaulted on, no one else would buy. but …

Bart Campolo's Karamazov god

"Some might say I would be wise to swallow my misgivings about such stuff, remain orthodox, and thereby secure my place with God in eternity. But that is precisely my point: If those things are true, then God might as well send me to hell. For better or worse, I simply am not interested in any God but a completely good, entirely loving, and perfectly forgiving One who is powerful enough to utterly triumph over evil."

Tony's son, Bart, somehow thinks this god will help a 9 year old rape victim recover. Is this the weak Open Theist god who couldn't stop this crime? What's so wrong with that God in the Bible who forsook his Son to incredible injustice, degradation, torture, and violation to bring about incredible mercy? The editors of Christianity Today are open to suggestions to Bart's declaration.

update: YS pulled Bart's article

Ur: Burned by Branding

the Ur blog post says
I’ve attended a number of conferences and read many reports in recent years about the popular multi-site church model. Invariably these sources will reference Starbucks as an example for churches who wish to establish themselves in multiple communities. But what should the church be learning from the rising anti-Starbucks sentiment?and goes on to warn about following marketing trends...
i commented the following
"it seems that Starbucks and local cafe can co-exist, and both influence the other. i don't see the need for a dichotomy here. let's complain about methods when everyone goes to church, until then, the church should grow in all its diverse methods that the Holy Spirit uses. because individuals variously value community and quality and convenience, thus there can not be a single "correct" church format. a local cafe person may resent a corporate brand but has no interest in brewing their own. likewise, some folks like mega church, some …

Smart Mom snacks

my wife writes about my main food staple in my pre-marital adult life...

Lincoln: Genius politically and militarily

i hope John doesn't mind me quoting his post in its brief entirety

I am attending the Lincoln Forum this weekend at Gettysburg. This is a superb event in every way. I so enjoy this time each year with about 200 people who love all things Lincoln as I do. The lectures and conversations here are always superb. Lincoln, in my judgment, was our greatest president. He is still a man who attracts incredible scholarly and popular interest the world over, 141 years after his death. The lecture tonight was titled: "Abraham Lincoln: The Humble Military Genius." The presenter was Dr. John Marszalek, a professor of history (emeritus) at Mississippi State University. How could Lincoln, clearly a political genius by all accounts, also be seen as a military genius? He had no military training and learned everything that he knew on the job (during his presidency). He had no combat experience either. (Lincoln actually went to the Library of Congress on a number of occasions to study milit…

reading the Bible

Joe at the EO was changed by these steps

1. Choose a book of the Bible.
2. Read it in its entirety.
3. Repeat #2 twenty times.
4. Repeat this process for all 66 books of the Bible.

of course, he elaborates

i've been reading through the Bible every year for many years. i've enjoyed McCheyne's reading plan this year. but i'm looking for something new for 2007. so tentatively, i'm thinking of doing the Bible in 90 days a few times through a chronological Bible and another version. but maybe i'll try this after those.

Driscoll emerges from the pig-pile

if you say you didn't mean what they heard, but then repeat it, does anybody hear?

even World Mag Blog jumped on the pile.

blast past 5000 hits

i like to thank the "kuppies and pittens" for giving me an extra 150 hits today and pushing me over the 5000 hits mark. this blog averages 20 visits a day normally. there is a lesson to be learned here in not limiting your posting subjects too restrictively. its like the aphorism, "there are no dumb questions, because if you are interested others are too." kuppies are interesting to me and at least 150 new visitors.
i put the hit counter on the blog just about a year ago. so 5000 hits a year is nice. and for all you who enjoy this without attending, i hope you've been served as well at the umblog.

listening to Cash's latest album

the website plays the songs from his last album which has many nods to God

latest successes with stem cells - not embyonic ones

the Christian Cadre points out the recent successes with stem cells that didn't involve killing a baby.

Ex-Adventist Outreach

Click the title for a link to exadventist.com for recovery from legalistic religion

success with adult stem cells

in adult dogs...
Two dogs that were severely disabled by the disease were able to walk faster and even jump after the treatments.The study was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. It used stem cells taken from the affected dogs or other dogs, rather than from embryos. For human use, the idea of using such "adult" stem cells from humans would avoid the controversial method of destroying human embryos to obtain stem cells.

kuppies or pittens?

forget labradoodles, how about cogs and dats and kuppies and pittens? click the title for the article...

Brazilian student Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, claims her cat's offspring has been born with dog traits last Friday, three months after mating with a neighbour's dog in the Brazilian city of Passo Fundo.

so if this isn't a hoax...who benefits more from this genetics violation? the creationists or the evolutionists?

IT IS A HOAX!

GR: More Quiverful

Judging from the high rate of birth control use by American families and the declining size of the average American family, I have no doubt that the Bortels’ statement would be met with impassioned replies. Still, it’s so nice to read a story in which the reporter just permits the featured players to describe their theology in their own words. Journalists seem to spend so much time covering how people control their family size but very little time covering whether people control the same. It’s refreshing to see a story on what is certainly a small but significant movement.Finan’s story gives a comprehensive overview of the Quiverfull movement before showing how opposition to birth control is growing among some evangelicals:....

signs of the times

welcome to crummy church signs dot com
HT: WMB

pig pile on Driscoll

Andrew the TSK summarizes the outcry regarding Driscoll's slam on not-model-like pastor's wives. somehow, my post on the slam wasn't included on the list. ;-)

God's Birth Control

Here are a couple of quick links to get you started on the subject of birth control. More information about birth control, it's effects, and personal testimonies will be added soon. Notice the progression between what the original pro birth control discussions and the path that we have since developed on.

encouraging thoughts on the Haggard scandal

great conclusion to this post
Sin doesn't have the final word.
You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin (1John 3:5).
“For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:27-28).
Major leaders throughout Scripture fell into sin, but God’s plan of redemption continued, unstopping and unstoppable. Abraham lied about Sara being his wife. Jacob was a deceiver. Moses disobeyed God before all Israel. David committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband murdered. Solomon took hundreds of foreign wives. Peter denied Christ. The disciples deserted the Savior as he was taken away to be crucified. It’s true that leaders are and should be held to stricter standards, and we don’t want to use the fact that leaders fall to make us ambivalent towards fighting sin…

Atheist Dawkins has same talking points as Elton John

and a secular rebuttal from the TMQ himself, Gregg Easterbrook...

India: you can't join a church

November 13 (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists in the southern state of Karnataka who yesterday slapped a convert suffering from blood cancer today threatened to keep area converts from joining churches. An alleged supporter of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) identified only as Nagesh today went to the house of Pastor C. Samuel John in Lakkavalli village, Chickmagalur district, and issued a threat that converts would not be allowed to join any church in the area. They accused John, the owner of a Christian orphanage, of forcibly converting Dalits. John is a rights activist of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). “The ringleader [Nagesh] also threatened Lakshmi, the mother of Pastor John’s neighbor Prashant, that her son would be attacked soon because he converted to Christianity,” Dr. Sajan K. George, GCIC national president, told Compass. “This is despite the fact that Pastor John greeted Nagesh in a friendly manner.”......

all encompassing eschatology

"Dr Blomberg provides insightful commentary on such issues as annhilationalism, the nature of hell, the fate of the unevangelised, eternal life, the intermediate state and provides an overview of the relevant NT passages. Anyone wishing to get to grips with eschatology should read this article."

it helps to have cup of strong coffee in hand as you read this, but he covers alot in 20 pages with a nod at the end to my latest book review.

book report: The Goodness of God by John Wenham

no links, this book is long out of print. It is a 1974 IVP book. The subtitle on the cover of the book says "Is God really good? What about cruelty? and suffering? and deformed babies? and war? and famine? And what about hell?"

This is a book about the problem of evil. Why does the all-powerful, Creator tolerate the privation of his perfect will? No one has all the answers, except God. One helpful answer for me is that many good things wouldn't happen if there weren't awful things to respond to. If there were no housefires, there would be no firemen to bravely rescue people, no doctors to heal people, and no fundraisers to help people. That was an extremely simple example, but its easy to extrapolate. Without sin, which Augustine defines as the privation of good, there would be no demonstration of the depths of God's love by the sacrifice of his Son or the profundity of his justice by the existence of hell. Speaking of hell. Wenham is sympathetic to the Adventist…

Walmart re-acknowledges Christmas - Whew!

USA Today reports
Wal-Mart will put "Christmas" back into the holidays this year, the retailer plans to announce Thursday. A year after religious and other groups boycotted retailers, including Wal-Mart, for downplaying Christmas, the world's largest retail chain will have an in-your-face Christmas theme this year. "We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," says Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often." Wal-Mart told about 7,000 associates of the plans at a conference last month and "was met with rapturous applause. ... We know many of our customers will feel the same," says John Fleming, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of marketing.

CT: What married women want...

Sociologists Steven L. Nock and W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia have presented a new study ("What's Love Got to Do with It? Equality, Equity, Commitment, and Women's Marital Quality," available in digital form from Amazon.com) based on the findings of the National Survey of Families and Households.

Based on my earlier research, evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis. This idea that Christians are just as likely to divorce as secular folks is not correct if we factor church attendance into our thinking. Churchgoing evangelical Protestants, churchgoing Catholics, and churchgoing mainline Protestants are all significantly less likely to divorce.How much less likely?I estimate between 35 and 50 percent less likely than Americans who attend church just nominally, just once or twice a year, or who don't attend church at all. It is true tha…

British cities reinstate Christmas - Whew!

The Times of India reports
Till Monday's surprise call to apply the brakes on cancelling Christmas in an almost-neurotically politically-correct Britain, local town authorities often justified the change to 'Winterval' and 'luminos' by arguing that Britain is now a multi-faith society and it was important to avoid offending religious minorities.

But British Hindu community leaders have always insisted celebrating Christmas is not offensive to them and they would like to join in the party.

On Monday, British Muslim leaders added their voices to the chorus of consternation against cancelling Christmas.

They said they honoured Christians' most important religion and local town authorities were playing into the hands of extremists by cancelling Christmas because the white Christian mainstream was erroneously led to believe Muslim communities wanted to undermine Britain's Christian culture.

The new move to restore Christmas to its legitimate place in British l…

Monday fun- longest words

i won't reprodcue the 1100 letter long enzyme here.

Mouw calls Mormons or himself a bluebird instead of grackle

"What?" you say... read this awful editorial by Richard Mouw, a seminary president, in response to his critics, tells a third hand parable about shooting birds too quickly. Is he saying he's the mistakenly shot bird or his Mormon friends?
If he is, is he saying believers are not allowed to question his judgment? If Mormons are, did they metamorphize from false Christianity to optional Christianity?

11/11 Thank you veterans

God is good

brain imaging glossalists

in the news

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes — the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do — were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. The regions involved in maintaining self-consciousness were active. The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior...
Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems. A recent study of nearly 1,000 evangelical Christians in England found that those who engaged in the practice were more emotionally stable than those who did not. Researchers have identified at least two forms of the practice, one ecstatic and frenzied, the other subdued and nearly silent.The new findings contrasted sharply with images taken of other spiritually inspired mental states like meditation, which is …

have we been velocitized?

Greg Koukl asks
To the morally sensitive, no argument is necessary beyond a clear description of this procedure. The morally velocitized, though, are content with the thinnest rationalizations to condone this brutality.One woman told a radio interviewer she preferred partial-birth abortion because the baby was delivered whole and not chopped up into pieces. It gave her the opportunity to say goodbye. Another said it's the most "humane" way for the child itself.Odd. We debate how best to take a child's life, not whether it's right to dispose of children.

CT: Worth Protecting

what to do with those little frozen babies, i mean, embryos? take their stem cells? thaw them?
Pundit Michael Kinsley, an ESC research proponent, calls us hypocrites: "If embryos are human beings, the routine practices of fertility clinics are far worse—both in numbers and in criminal intent—than stem-cell research. And yet no one objects, or objects very loudly."Of course, a few of us—including CT—do object. Joni Eareckson Tada, left a quadriplegic from a diving accident, is another one. "IVF is not morally squeaky clean," she told me. "Christian couples need to understand the inherent moral problems connected with that procedure as it is presently performed."Is the embryo really a precious human life made in God's image? Or is it simply marvelously complex raw material to be exploited for the greater good? Eareckson Tada is unwilling to cross that moral line, even in her wheelchair. How about the rest of us?

embryonic stem cell alternatives...

another from the Boundless blog... we have the technology, why kill the babies?

one person's church discipline experience

another good post at the boundless blog. he was disciplined and grateful for it.

mostly born abortion ban

from the Boundless blog...
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Even though we are told by some of the medical briefs that the procedure is basically the same, they start out in the same way and that the difference -- the differences are not large in particular cases.

GENERAL CLEMENT: Well, Justice Ginsburg, let me make a couple of points in response to that. I think -- taken at the broader level first, I think there is one very important difference between these two procedures that led Congress to ban one and allow the other to stand. And that is whether fetal demise takes place in utero, which is, of course, the hallmark of all abortions, or whether fetal demise takes place when the fetus is more than halfway out of the mother. ...

Note the last several words in that statement, "more than halfway out of the mother." This is the reality we live in under current abortion law. There will be no consideration for the baby as long as most of its body is still inside the mother. Let's be pe…

why Mormon missionaries lie

i guess they believe "you can't handle the truth." it's like scientology, who's leader warend that reading his high level courses before you were ready could kill you...i read it, and i didn't even sneeze.

A-Team: Looney Tunes world

so some Muslim has it all figured out...the Tom and Jerry cartoon was made by Jews to redeem the Nazi slur of them as "dirty mice"...it all makes sense now. did you hear that another Muslim teacher blamed the U.S. for the tsunami? what can't conspiracy theories explain?

Signs of a restorable spirit

Leadership Journal blog has a helpful entry in light of the Haggard fall. the 2nd commenter clarifies that these steps address restoration of trust, not forgiveness.

induction stoves

this is so cool. magnets heat up a pot which heats the food. the stove top remains cool. no flame. no cool down time.

ChristianCadre: Kill the Babies

regarding a proposal in England to kill really sick babies....
But the proposal is not about "striving to keep alive babies." It states plainly that it is about "active euthanasia." In other words, not about witholding care, but about actively killing these children. Other "ethicists," however, are not so confused on the issue, and speak out more plainly.

The college’s submission was also welcomed by John Harris, a member of the government’s Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University. “We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn. What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it okay to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?” he said.So now we have a member of the government stating the obvious. If we can kill the children before they leave the birth canal, why not after? Curiously, when debates used to take place in the pa…

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

This Sunday, November 12th, Christians across the world will take time out to pray particularly for the persecuted church.

voting and the kingdom of God

"The Kingdom of God cannot be voted in--only lived out. When we try to vote it in, use power politics, we forget what Jesus taught His disciples--"my kingdom is not of this world." This world matters because Jesus says "this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all nations," but His kingdom is lived out here and now but only complete then and there."

i voted for those who want to protect the most innocents, wouldn't you know, some of those people aren't affiliated with parties whose names begin with R or D

Breakpoint: A Christian state in India

Colson refers to Nagaland, which a state in India that is 90% Christian as a Baptist Tibet.

What makes these numbers even more remarkable is that, as recently as 125 years ago, many Nagas were head-hunters! They were converted to Christianity through the work of courageous Baptist missionaries in the late 1800s and early 1900s.Christianity not only transformed individuals, but Naga society, as well: Nagaland’s literacy rate is four times that of the rest of India; they have “created effective health care programs”; and their goal is to send 10,000 missionaries to India, Burma, and the rest of Asia.It will come as no surprise that the Nagas’ relationship with the rest of India is tense. Ethnic and religious differences led to what has been called India’s “dirty little war” in which at least 200,000 Nagas were killed during the last half of the twentieth century. Indian troops “burned entire villages, raped women in churches, and then burned the churches.”Even after a cease-fire, Indian …

English Christians with a small god

The headline reads "Christians ask if force is needed to protect their religious values"
the Answer is "No." uggh. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, not throw rocks at him.

Inquisition in Goa

a reader pointed out this sad article on the spread of the Inquisition all the way to India. It seems that all who weren't Catholic in the state of Goa were at risk. Goa was part of the Portuguese empire at the time. Protestants, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews were killed. The inquisition is a terrible example of what happens when the church and state entwine, sort of like the BJP and several Indian states today. But as the recent Haggard episode shows, as well as the awful predatory Catholic priest exposure, God purifies his church very effectively on his own. Too bad all the gods of Hinduism and Islam are still in need of help from violent, insecure humans.

Challies excellent reflection

fantastic thoughts such as
And then realize that, as we explored earlier this week in a discussion about total depravity, there is really no difference between you and Haggard or between myself and Haggard. We are all totally depraved with our sin extending to every aspect of our being. There but for the grace of God go I. There but for the grace of God go you. While I would not expect a reporter to approach me if I were to fall into similar sin, I can only imagine the pain of having to sit in front of my children, my wife, and answer questions about whether or not I have had sex with a man or admitting that I purchased illegal drugs. It's horrible. It's terrifying. That could be my wife, wondering how I could do this to her, wondering if she can ever trust me again, wondering if she can ever love me again. Those could be my kids, hearing the lurid details of dad's depravity. Those could be my kids, trying bravely not to cry as they walk into school on Monday morning, knowi…

India: youths arrested for forced conversion

those teenage girls are very dangerous...or is there Savior's love so compelling????

November 3 (Compass Direct News)
– Police in the southern state of Karnataka have arrested four more Christians on charges leveled by Hindu extremists. Police in Udupi district on October 27 arrested four Christian youths, including three girls, for forcibly converting Hindus. According to Dajiworld News Network, the Christians, identified only as Robin, Karen, Asha and Flavin, are from the Mabukal area near Brahmavar. Police made the arrests after Girish Kundapur, the leader of a Hindu extremist organization, filed a complaint with police alleging they were “visiting the houses of Hindus and misleading the people.” Kundapur also accused the Christians of forcibly converting people to Christianity. The youths refuted the allegation, saying they were not encouraging conversion but only preaching their beliefs. “We have not forced anyone to get converted – we do not believe in forceful conversion,”…

another Haggard summary...

with a touch of analysis by Ted Olsen at Christianity Today....

Ted won't take Driscoll's advice

and refuses (PDF) to throw his wife under the bus...

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did
should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and
continues to be incredible. The problem was not with her, my children, or any of you. It
was created 100% by me. it also seems that he was accountable at one time, but grew frustrated with his weakness and stopped admitting to it, which then led to giving into the weakness
Through the years, I’ve sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving
to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most
because I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint them.i have to commend him for his agreement to not return to minister at the church he started.
We will never return to a leadership role at
New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body.he seems to want to heal with the goal of healing, not resuming his highly…

Gayle Haggard will stay with her husband

as reported in the open letter to the congregation.

and Ted's letter said in part
"The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life," he said.
gay folks will tell their audience that he should have been honest with his feelings and not stayed in the closet. i'm of the opinion that he should have been honest with his temptations and kept them public so that he'd be accountable to everyone, as he is now. temptations aren't sins. no pastor should lose people or positions because of honesty with their temptations, at least with some people...

Driscoll tries to help future Haggards, BUT...

if the Pastor's wife doesn't keep herself up to the standards of all those temptresses, or tempters (m.) in Haggard's case, she is not helping him resist temptation...
Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.Hey Mark, I'm not playing on this field. The whole team might not be either.
David Goldstein is currently at the top of Google News on this and he writes...
Of course, usin…

Pastoral Submission

There have been swipes at Haggard and the US evangelical leadership model in general, the charismatic leader/founding pastor, on the blogs. However, in 3 days, his board has held him accountable and told him to step down and he did. That is an excellent response time to a moral issue in the leader. So like many other things, when it works well, it works really well. I'm glad his church implemented this accountability structure that Haggard himself set up. Hopefully, that accountability board will walk with him and his family for the long haul.

No board can prevent someone from sinning. No denomination can. No accountability partner can. Each sinner is responsible for his own sin. The board did well, so far. I commend them.

Haggard is asked to resign...and he does

Here is the press release from New Life Church (PDF)
November 4, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Life Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado
We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations
concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s
public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.
The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where
the Senior Pastor has “demonstrated immoral conduct” whether we must “remove the pastor
from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary.”
In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior
Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive
direction for our church is his dismissal and removal. In addition, the Overseers will continue to
explore the depth of Pastor Haggard’s offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can b…