Showing posts from August, 2007

the Edge of Meteorology

I enjoy the work of Intelligent Design folks, but I also appreciate this philosophical tweak of them by analogy...

Once again, the proposed material mechanisms of meteorology might be adequate for making extremely short-term predictions. But the inability of atmohsphereic scientists to make accurate long-term predictions based on these mechanisms clearly demonstrates that natural processes alone are incapable of producing complex weather systems. Anything more than about 15 days out has all of the marks of being designed by an intelligent agency. Astronomers don’t seem to have a problem making long-term predictions based on the known laws of nature. In fact, I have a program on my computer called Starry Night that can determine, with absolute precision, the exact location of any heavenly body at any point in time - backwards or forwards! And not just natural objects like planets and moons, but man-made satellites as well. But the long-term behavior of earth’s atmosphere, on the o…

Tommy Nelson talks about his depression

I learned a lot from Tommy Nelson's ministry for couples based on the Song of Solomon. But the ministry e-mails stopped coming for awhile. My wife and I wondered if he fell into some sin. Eventually we learned that he had stepped down due to health issues. It turns out his health issue was clinical depression/acute anxiety, video. I'm glad that this health issue is being discussed publically without spiritual aspersions being cast on those who might simply need selective seritonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) once a day.

book report: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Often we choose books, but sometimes they choose us. John Steinbeck's travelogue Travels with Charley: In Search of America emerged from a friend's basement as they packed to move and it ended up on our night-stand. Of course, it is a shame to throw anything of Steinbeck's in the trash. Sometimes we forget how a gifted writer can offer a stream of letters so intoxicating we feel like newly minted legal drinkers. How could we not have imbibed in something so delirious before? Yes Steinbeck is that good.

The premise of the book is a mid-life crisis. He has achieved his fame and fortune and has forgotten how real Americans talk and think in 1960. The cultural context for Steinbeck's journey was the nuclear threat from the USSR and the presidential election race between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. As he journeyed by ferry from the tip of Long Island through the port of my city, New London, up into the Northern tip of Maine he found few who would share their views on the…

Bicycle evangelist

An article at the Ooze about a grandma from Virginia who For the past eleven years Sherrie had been riding her bikes (she’s been through quite a few) across the country, from Florida to California and up into Canada, preaching God’s word. Raised a Methodist, she was now Pentecostal by choice and a speaker of tongues by election. Standing on street corners in small towns and big cities she preached a sermon of salvation from damnation through the acceptance of Christ’s love.

She rarely slept indoors and tried to coordinate her travels with the seasons, going south in wintertime.
Perhaps there is a future ministry for me...

video update of Korean Christian hostages of Taliban

Courtesy of Eugene Cho and Michelle Malkin and the Persecution blog. Pray for the believers, their families and their captors.

Loving our neighbors does not include torture

On a long 90 minute run this morning I got to thinking about torture, and it wasn't because I was barefoot. I was thinking in terms of slogans. I came up with stuff like:

No terror information is worth moral violation.

No terrorist information by terrorist methods.

Of course it's easy to criticize but hard to offer a replacement. What would Jesus do with captured partisans/guerrillas/terrorists? The principle he taught is to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is not special category for enemies, they are neighbors. Criminals need to expect consequences. Soldiers can expect certain rights when captured too. Somehow partisans though can't get no rights. But if we Christians expect human rights, then we should demand them for captured partisans. Partisan forces are more than an organized crime syndicate but less than an army. They are somewhere between criminals and soldiers. They also have information. Mafia members seem to betray their family without torture and with incen…

Camp Okutta and child soldiers

Camp Okutta is a charity trying to drive home the point that children are used as cannon fodder around the world and we don't seem to get it without a relateable context. So they provide a parody of a summer adventure camp commercial and an interactive map of the camp. The map has a registration booth which parents needn't bother with because the camp will kidnap at will when other campers/soldiers die. See a previous post on child soldiers here and here.

top shelf marriage proposal

HT: WorldMag Blog
This guy kills us all. It also gets 200,000 hits to his blog. So here is something beautiful...

Dispensational Theology: a short overview

An brief overview of Dispensational Theology by its adherents is hosted by Tyndale.

10C's #7 Adultery part b

Exodus 20:14 says "You shall not commit adultery."

Why is marital fidelity important to God? He spills much ink on the topic. Proverbs warns against it repeatedly. See Proverbs 5-7 with its compelling poetic imagery.
For example 6:25-29 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,but a married womanhunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chestand his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coalsand his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;none who touches her will go unpunished. (ESV)

As Job pleads his innocence to his accusing comforters he says, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman." Job 31:1 (NLT)

It's clear that Jesus had precedent in claiming that "window shopping" was not better than actual extra-marital intercourse. In our current age we think …

10C's #7: Adultery, part a

You shall not commit adultery
Exodus 20:14

Contrary to the claims of some, God is indeed concerned about sexual ethics. But he is also concerned with the concept of fidelity as a whole. Adultery is an issue of the heart. Fidelity in our earthly relationships demonstrates our fidelity to our heavenly relationship. There are many examples of this in God's dealing with his people. See a list here. Hosea and Ezekiel use the metaphor of adultery over and over to contrast God's faithfulness and Israel's unfaithfulness. Jesus demonstrates that fidelity is the issue, and a serious one, in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.

5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 5:28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 5:30 If your…

book report: Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

In those moments of our pride when we think that we, humans, are good at our core, we are fortunate to have historians who will gladly and easily show us otherwise. If the Bible isn't enough for skeptics then histories such as this by Anne Applebaum easily suffice in the confirmation of the complete depravity of our souls. I encountered her book as I perused the library's shelves for Solzhenitsyn'sGulag Archipelago. His history wasn't there but her's was and I wasn't disappointed. Gulag: A History won her the 2004 Pulitzer prize for non-fiction. The Gulag provided the communists labor that a Communist economy can afford, slave labor. The horrific irony is that even at starvation rations and abundant exploitable resources the high cost of enforcement, guards, negated any economic contribution. Unfortunately, Stalin only knew how to throw good money after bad. The corrupted reasoning assumed more prisoner workers would eventually bring a return on the investment.…

10C's #6 Murder, part c

You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13)

Is the taking of life a nuanced and conditional situation? Are there occasions when killing is not sinful? It seems that God recognizes a distinction in Genesis 9:6 Whoever sheds man's blood,
his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image. (HCSB) Is this Orwellian double speak? God also commanded complete destruction of different tribes within the Promised Land, without mercy, not even for infants. I understand from the Scripture that the length of our lives has been predetermined. Job complains in chapter 14
1 "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. 3 Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment? 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! 5 Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. 6 So look away from him and le…

an unanticipated risk of barefoot running

There is a reason beginning barefoot runners need to get off the grass and onto the road, dangerous vegetation. I'm suffering the effects of two such species simultaneously, poison ivy and prickly pear. Poison ivy between the toes is analogous to an athlete's foot fungal infection, itchy and uncomfortable. The microscopic prickly pear spines however take a long time to dissolve into the sole of the foot and result in a reasonable runner taking too many days off for pain free running conditions to return.

10C's #6 Murder, part b

You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)

Here is a technical note from the NET
The verb רָצַח (ratsakh) refers to the premeditated or accidental taking of the life of another human being; it includes any unauthorized killing (it is used for the punishment of a murderer, but that would not be included in the prohibition). This commandment teaches the sanctity of all human life. See J. H. Yoder, ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’,” Int 34 (1980): 394-99; and A. Phillips, “Another Look at Murder,” JJS 28 (1977): 105-26.

The difficulties lie in the nuances. Some of the nuances are teased out in Numbers 35:16-34. Accidental killing, manslaughter, results in exile to the city of refuge but is not a capital offense and is protected from legal revenge killing. What a mess. Intent discriminates the two. In Numbers it is described as hostility or enmity (v.22).
Jesus elaborates on this in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:21, 22
Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whoso…

caring for your missionaries

It turns out a pair of my friends who do "member care," which means they help take care of missionaries on the field, have a blog about member care, called Core Member Care. I hope you all will visit their blog and encourage them or be encouraged.

sin, death, no prayer: thoughts on 1 John 5:16

John has an interesting insight in his first letter chapter 5, verse 16.
If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. (NIV)
To questions clamor for our attention. What is the sin that leads to death? What's the deal with not praying for someone?
Firstly, what is the context? Who is this for? Brothers/family of Christ. This is a family matter. All of us adopted into God's family have a new citizenship and are commissioned as ambassadors to this broken world. Perhaps verse 17 could be rewritten as, "All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to ambassadorial recall (death)." In the political lives of our countries, ambassadors are sent to represent their sending country's interests. …

Barefoot racing results

I had an exciting sprint triathlon on Thursday. i finished in 1'20", number 37 out of 52, but it could have been faster. The 300 yard swim went really well. I was done in 6:42. But I had troubles on the 12 mile bike ride. I rode the only recumbent of the race. On lap 2 I threw my chain, but that was a quick fix. However, on lap 6, as I was climbing a gentle rise my left calf cramped up solid as a rock. I pulled over and massaged it out somewhat and resumed riding at a tentative pace. I finished the last mile and a half and stretched it out even more before running. The cramp didn't return on the run. It was a little tender, but I ran the 3 miles just under 27 minutes. I only stepped on one pointy rock too.
Friday I rested and ate extra brown rice at dinner.
Saturday morning my legs didn't want to flex at all, which was a problem since I had an 11.6 mile race. I finished that in 1'51", number 217 out of 319. There was one other barefoot runner, Rick, who's b…

great article on Christian marital conflict

I wish I couldn't identify with Mahaney's episode...but I love that the solution lies in James 4.

After dinner, when Carolyn and I were alone, she humbly appealed: “Lately, I feel as if you have not been keeping me informed of various plans like you usually do.” I wish I could tell you that I responded with humility. I wish I had heard her out and then humbly evaluated her critique, appropriately suspicious of my own heart and eager to learn from her observations. But I did not. Instead I began to question her, and rather quickly my approach came to resemble that of a prosecuting attorney. I was being misrepresented and this injustice must be righted.Carolyn was merely trying to preserve intimacy and communication in our marriage, but in my pride I quickly became angry. Before long I had moved beyond disagreement and (since no one else was honoring me) begun to honor myself. I actually said something like, “Dear, it’s tough not to admire how effective a communicator I have been…

Harry Potter predictions

I read The Deathly Hallows and my predictions were all wet. I guess the predictions reveal more about me than about JK Rowling. I'm not sure it's worth a book report. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the series. My favorite book was The Order of the Phoenix because it hit some major emotional soft spots in me. I think readers who don't identify as outsiders, outcasts, or rejected will not connect with the books like I did. All the scenes of separation from father figures were very emotional for me. Is the series a Christian series? No. Can the series use of the self sacrificial hero motif be employed as a touchstone to introduce the gospel? Yes!

10C's: #6 Murder, part a

Exodus 20:15 You shall not murder. (NIV)

As a parent, I now understand why this commandment comes after honoring your parents. Sometimes we parents think what Bill Cosby once said to his children, "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!" We laugh at this but the Lord did provide parents the option of having their children killed by the community for insolence. Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Notice it wasn't to be done in a blaze of anger, but through a judicial process. God takes honoring our parents seriously. He also takes the job of killing seriously too. After the flood God tells Noah,
Whoever sheds man's blood,
his blood will be shed by man,
for God made man
in His image.
Genesis 9:6 (HCSB)
God gives the reason for the sinfulness of murder and the necessary response to it.