Sunday, December 30, 2007

top 10 posts last week of 2007

These posts appear in the shared feeds section all week here at the Umblog, or you can bookmark this page, or add it to your feeds with the RSS link.

1) I guess the Bush administration believes anything goes in the name of security. Please read Dahlia Lithwick's "The Bush Administration's Top 10 Stupidest Legal Arguments of 2007."

2) Enjoy these two independent supporter made Huckabee ads. He's the Republican that thinks arts funding needs to be restored to schools.

3) In a rarity on the internet, C. Michael Patton, a Calvnist, defends Arminians.

4) Who coined the word genocide and how did he change the world? Read or listen to this speech on the Polish Jew Raphael Lemkin, or just read about him here.

5) Anyone can be a sheeple, even conservatives.

6) Something new for house wall construction made from waste straw, Enviro Board.

Friday, December 28, 2007

50 churches burned in India for Christmas

From Compass Direct News but easily found on Google news also
NEW DELHI, December 28 (Compass Direct News) – At least four Christians are feared dead, many injured and more than 50 churches and 200 homes are either destroyed or damaged in Orissa state in anti-Christian violence that began Christmas Eve. Violence by Hindu extremists continues in some pockets despite the state imposing a curfew and deploying hundreds of police officers. Extremists have pursued Christian leaders into forests where they fled. The Delhi Catholic Archdiocese fears a repeat of 1998 attacks on Christians in Gujarat, followed the next year by the burning alive of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his sons in Orissa.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on earth! (not at Wounded Knee Creek though...)

Is character never really known until no one is looking? As I read history after history on genocides and atrocities I conclude that what men do in secret is irrelevant about their character. The true test of character is what is done with power. Dee Brown’s history, Bury my heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian history of the American West, 1970 & 2000, chronicles America’s use of power over tribes in the 1800’s. It ends with a Christmas story. The U.S. cavalry had captured Big Foot’s Sioux tribe on their way to Pine Ridge to dance the Ghost Dance with the Oglala Sioux under Red Cloud. They wanted freedom of religion. They had been forbidden this dance of anticipation of Christ’s return and resurrection. The tribe was herded in the severe cold and snow to Wounded Knee Creek. There were, by the soldiers count, 120 men and 230 women and children. The next day, as they confiscated all the Indians’ firearms, one Indian rifle went off. The soldiers had placed field guns on rises above the Indians’ tents the night before. After that one shot the field guns were fired, a shell a second. Many fought, many fled, but only 4 men and 47 women and children were re-captured by the soldiers, 153 were killed outright and many more died in the blizzard. The captives were brought to an Episcopal mission to spend the night. Brown writes,
It was the fourth day after Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see the Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters. Across the chancel front above the pulpit was string a crudely lettered banner: PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN.
Jesus did indeed come to bring good news to the poor. 
14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone. 16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. 20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4 (HCSB)
Jesus believed in good news now and in the future. His kingdom is now and not yet. His kingdom can be enjoyed now by anyone, but in the future by those who receive him.

Many tribes accepted Christ and many didn’t. It seemed their affiliation with the same god did little to change the racist patronizing relationship the whites had with them. The only group that consistently gets recognized by historians for a Christlike attitude toward Indians was the Quakers. After one purging of the corrupt Board of Indian Affairs so many Quakers were hired the agency was accused of being an arm of the church. Occasionally American soldiers recognized the full humanity and dignity of their charges/opponents/enemies and resorted to interacting with Indians as equals. Man after such man found their military careers short-circuited. The issue always came down to money with the Indians and land. A reservation would be set apart by treaty and whites were forbidden to enter it by the same treaty. But whites were hardly ever subject to enforcement on that part of the treaty and they would settle and farm or ranch or mine then cry for justice when the Indians wanted them off their land. The government would swoop in and make a lowball offer with the threat that if the new treaty wasn’t accepted the land would be outright taken, a classic protection racket. The promised money paid in food and goods over a certain length of time was never kept in full. Instead, corrupt whites would take cuts from the supply en route and leave a trickle for the Indians who had sold for a fixed price. If that weren’t bad enough, invading whites would complain about the lazy Indians who didn’t work but lived on handouts from their taxes. However, if whites had sold millions of acres to the United States and received monthly payments they would have no incentive to work either. The concept of payment for land had morphed into welfare for savages, something to be weaned from.

Human rights might begin with us giving each other the benefit of the doubt. Not every perceived slight is done with malice. Not every story is that simple to analyze. Not every problem is due to skin color or politics or religion or history. What I want to know is what makes the Quakers different? What I want to know is when will Christians en masse embrace the Christmas story in Luke 2?
8 In the same region, shepherds were living out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for you see, I announce to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 because today in the city of David was born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! (HCSB)
I hope as you read my posts on human rights and native americans and other book reports you are moved toward bringing Christ's peace with you to others throughout the year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Top 10 posts 3rd week of December 2007

These posts appear in the shared feeds section all week here at the Umblog.
  1. Remember this post, Thank God for Mitt Romney? Well Fox news had 21 questions on Mormonism for the LDS to answer. And now the apologists are creating a midrash on those answers.
  2. Evidence Ministries chimes in. 
  3. Parchment and Pen blogger Rob Bowman also.
  4. Don't forget Mormon Coffee (did you catch the entendre there?).
  5. James White digs the details and goes in depth.
  6. Bonus: How about the LDS revelation reversing its racist stance on blacks in the priesthood. Now it's being discussed on the Sunday morning political shows, see the Acton blog.
  7. Just because you are born-again, and not a Mormon, doesn't mean you won't fall under the sway of bad leadership. My friends offer some organizational psychology in a post called Reality and Good Leadership.
  8. Some people may perceive homeschoolers as cultists. They aren't usually. Check out this family of 10.
  9. Read this interview with the YWAM Arvada director on the hospitality shown Murray before he shot them, how God prevented much more devastation, and how forgiveness is essential in this tragedy.
  10. Even Darwinists have to understand that creationists have a point that random mutation does not have an old enough universe to get us to this point.
See plenty of other posts here on Mormons, cults, home schooling, forgiveness, and evolution.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cinema review: The Hiding Place (1975)

Last night we watched The Hiding Place on DVD. It had two strikes before we watched it, when it was made and who made it. I feared early 70's cinematography and outfits and hairstyles. It was made by Billy Graham's outfit, World Wide Pictures Inc. However, this movie rocked! The moviemaking was great and there was not a whiff of the Christian amateur feel. It's a powerful story on its own, but that hasn't stopped filmmakers from ruining a story before. My wife enjoyed the book. Corrie Ten Boom makes a cameo at the end of the movie and reaffirms the line in the film that no matter how deep the pit we are in, God is deeper. Here is a summary of her story. She, her sister and her father hid Jews from the occupying Nazis in Holland. They were eventually betrayed. They were arrested. The hiding place of the Jews was not found so they lived to escape. Her father died in jail. She and her sister ended up in a Nazi concentration camp. Her sister eventually died in the camp. They never lost faith in God or his plans and care of them. Their example of love instead of hate deeply affected her fellow prisoners but also her audiences after the war. 

In summary
  1. great story
  2. timeless film making
  3. go see it 

Friday, December 21, 2007

Johnny Cash, A testimony of temptation

From Driscoll's church.

I fell off the wagon

I went to the library and got out a few books on indigenous genocides. Vacation is coming up and I have plenty to do around the house, but I was getting the shakes without a book to read. First up is the classic, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown. So far, the first 3 chapters are like a high velocity fist in my face, not comfortable.

Feel free to peruse other posts on native americans, genocide, atrocity, and book reports.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

YWAM memorial service

A YWAM friend pointed me to this video of "Highlights of a memorial service held for the Youth With A Mission staff members who were shot and killed on December 9, 2007. This 14-minute video is an inspirational celebration of their lives and a powerful message of forgiveness and hope."

Lakota Indians secede from U.S.

As the news breaks their website host prevents anymore hits because they exceeded their bandwidth. 
[update: it's back up now.]
Here is the rundown.

They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.

Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.

The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.

The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.

Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.

"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.

"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means...

"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.

The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.

Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.

Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.

More power to them, but I don't see this happening from the U.S. government's perspective.

What to do when a mad gunman shows up?

This article was printed in Slate after the Virginia Tech shootings. It assumes you don't have a firearm yourself, which in no way am I advocating.

To disarm a gunman, you'll need to take his focus off his weapon and his plan of attack. To do this, you might throw chairs, laptops, or fire extinguishers at him, or set off the sprinkler system or fire alarm. Then, you'd want to pick up a desk or some other shield and charge right at the killer. There's a chance you'll be killed in the process, but if two or three people rush at once, there's also a chance that somebody will take him down. (Unarmed civilians who band together have a much better chance of surviving an attack.)

If you're already within a step or two of the gunman, you might be able to grab his weapon. If he's facing you, quickly reach up and take hold of the barrel, and then aim it away from your body. The move should be as clean and economical as possible. The gunman will reflexively pull the gun back away from you. Go with him: Keep gripping the gun and push your weight forward. Then, punch him in the face or the throat as hard as you can. Hit him on the nose, jab your fingers into his eyes, or strike him with the heel of your open palm. Then use your free hand to grab the nonbusiness end of the gun. With two hands on the gun, you can knee the killer in the groin or head-butt him. A better idea might be to twist your hands like they are revving a motorcycle engine. The weapon will pivot and break the gunman's finger inside the trigger guard.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The story from YWAM Arvada

An interview in CT
Matthew was in the building for half an hour talking with students, and then he asked to spend the night. Tiffany was called to the front because she handles hospitality. Normally, we would not have someone spend the night without knowing them or arranging ahead of time. After that, Matthew said, "Then this is what I've got for you," pulled out a gun and began shooting.
How much more do the pacifists want? As I wrote before, Matthew Murray was committed to violence. It was an act of God that he was quickly locked out of the building.
After firing a few shots, he had his foot in the door, and at some point his foot slipped and he fell back. The door slammed shut on him and automatically locked so he could not get back in again.
I contend it was also God's hand the next day that left him wounded from multiple gunshot wounds. His suicide was a continuation of his rampage against all that bear the image of God.

The pacifists at Witherington's blog reject the argument that times have changed. They believe in self-defense in some measure but with 1st century technology. It is fine to use a short knife if a murderer is coming with another hand weapon. That's basically hand to hand combat. But bullets create a much larger sphere of violence, a sphere that someone with a knife would have a hard/difficult/impossible time penetrating (unless they were ninjas). Should churches have armed guards? Depends. To protect themselves from the government? No. To protect their weak from the criminally violent? Yes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

70th anniversary of the Nanking atrocity

Nanking fell to the Japanese on December 13th, 1937. This amazing sculpture (AP photo) is in the newly expanded Memorial Hall. "The Hall is [sic] built in the eighties when a number of Japanese politicians and writers claimed that the Massacre had never ocurred and history textbooks were rewritten by the authority describing the Massacre as a minor incident." The entranceway exhibits an abundance of skeletons exhumed from the massacre. About 300,000 died at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army, see more facts and pictures.

See my book report on Iris Chang's history, The Rape of Nanking. I have other posts on atrocities and genocide and human rights and history worth reading too.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Top 10 posts 2nd week of December 207

There was not a Top 10 last week due to the shootings in Colorado last weekend. Remember that these posts appear in the shared feeds section all week here at the Umblog.

Analysis of Colorado shooting
Mollie at Get Religion: To protect and serve God
and Terry Mattingly, also of Get Religion: Mapping a gunman's path

Get Religion hits the trifecta this week with another atrocity they covered well. A daughter refused to wear the Islamic head scarf and her father killed her. That is bad enough but it happened in Canada, in a suburb of Toronto. Terry Mattingly blogs it here.

Guy Muse shares the keys to cross denominational partnerships in ministry.

Pro-life with Christ also hits the trifecta this week.
Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow would have been aborted if his mother didn't reject her doctor's advice.
While researching his role for the movie Bella, actor ends up counseling couple out of abortion in front of clinic.
Romney is pro-life except for unwanted embryos.

Who was the greatest Virginian of the 17th century? Would it be the person who enabled settlers to survive.

What if Jesus wrote a Christmas letter?

Why did Johnny Cash wear black? From the Acton Institute.

more on these subjects. Top 10, missions, atrocities, human rights, abortion, humor, Native Americans, culture

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pacifists and shooters on a rampage

I'm continuing the discussion with the pacifists at Ben Witherington's blog.
The monkey wrench in this proposal [approaching a killer with a song or a prayer or a command in Jesus' name] was that Jeanne Assam had been fasting and praying for the past 3 days. We don't know how she engaged him. Is it proper to assume she engaged him with her gun aimed at him? On the other hand, she might have seen someone try to engage Murray and seen Murray respond with heavy fire. She might have presumed Murray just murdered someone before her eyes, someone without a weapon, just like the 2 the night before, and the 2 in the parking lot.

Is the assumption being made that the Arvada missionaries did not engage Murray with love?

My presumption is that Murray was engaged with love by 4 people before encountering the one who had been praying and fasting for 3 days who had a firearm and the training to use it and engage people like him. He demonstrated a commitment to violence regardless of the attempt of interaction with him. It is downright smug to think one can do better than those who presumably tried the method of peacemaking, what other method is available when weaponless. One is free to contribute oneself to the body count but it doesn't prevent the murderer from continuing.

God is good

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thank God for Mitt Romney

If it weren't for Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy, the theological discussion our country is having wouldn't be so broad. Political blogs and faith blogs are overlapping. Here is a good introduction on the differences by Rob Bowman at Parchment and Pen. Here is an example of a friendly conversation about faith with your Mormon friends at Mormon Coffee.

I have several posts sharing my conversations with Mormon missionaries in the Mormon category.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WWJD in New Life church narthex with shooter?

Ben Witherington, whose blog I enjoy, advocates the non-bullet method, tackling would be OK though. In the comments, I've tried to advocate the position that the security guard's use of non-lethal, high velocity lead was as effective as a tackle. A couple other commenters were friends of those in Arvada.
my first comment reads
I support dying so that others may live, that is indeed Jesus's example. But even if Jesus took a few bullets from Murray, Murray would have had plenty more for more people who were not willing and not necessarily believers either. return fire prevented any further opportunities for Murray. Waiting for a blind corner to tackle Murray with a chance of success gives him more time to shoot and kill others. i attempt a brief syllogism-like argument at
i don't think this is a situation one can ask what would Jesus do, because he'd probably pull a Neo from the Matrix and stop the bullets in mid-flight. no one knows what someone with unlimited power would do. the options are unlimited. one option he did have is to enable a trained police officer who had been in prayer and fasting for 3 days to expect an attack and be hyper-aware to be the vehicle of his judgement and mercy with a greater than 30% hit rate.
God is good
I didn't save my second comment, so if he approves it, I'll copy it here too.
It got lost in the ethernet or a spam filter. Here is my abbreviated new reply instead of the much longer one that is missing.
Thanks for clarifying your end of the spectrum of pacifism. Any force can be lethal though. A tackle can cause death. It's in the Lord's hands anyway, all those "freak" accidents. I think it was a not accidental that all the high velocity lead balls the security guard put in the shooter were not lethal but, nevertheless, incapacitating.
You replied that we don't know "what the effect would have been on talking to the sick young man, and asking him about Jesus," yet we also don't know if those young missionaries in Arvada did speak to him about Jesus, or if that Dad in the parking lot did before his daughters were killed, or if someone on the ex-Pentecostal board privately messaged him. He seemed intent and unwavering on his commitment to hurt as many as he could.
I don't think anyone on this blog would not lay down their lives in a minute if it would end the shooting, but taking one bullet but leaving 100 more rounds for others would not incapacitate him. If he's aiming in the Sunday school rooms and a pacifist only has access to a firearm, does the pacifist use it to save children? Here is a dilemma in applying the Golden Rule. Who is the neighbor? Should the pacifist run out and find a millstone to put on his neck, which is better than allowing him to continue harming children? The guy was spraying bullets all around the narthex, no tackler had a chance. He was using a force that projected his field of violence to the walls, and only a similar force could incapacitate him. Perhaps church security guards should have tasers, but they kill too. Are pacifists Taser champions?
I'm not trying to be a wiseacre, but I can't see the lines a pacifist operates behind.
Should Sunday school teacher applicants be screened out if they are pacifist since they won't use whatever means necessary to incapacitate someone who comes to harm the children?
btw, interesting pastor to pastor discussion at the simpleminded preacher blog on this topic. the anecdotes are chilling.
i am not a contributor to this blog, just a reader.
God is good

Will the YWAM shooter go to heaven?

I presume the knee-jerk response to this question is a loud "No!" But it's more complicated than that. He was raised in a Christian home, was home schooled, attended church most of his life, and attended a Christian college. What is not known at large at this time was whether he made a profession of faith or was baptized ( a form of public profession). Most Christian college applications require a testimony of one's coming to faith. The other extreme answer, "Yes!", comes from the subscribers of theology who believe "once saved, always saved." But this position is nuanced by those who find situations like this and, in order to save the theology, conclude any proclamations of faith were external and not internal, essentially, the hypocrisy eventually caught up to him. He was an actor, and not a true believer. Those of more ancient persuasions may consider him apostate.

Here is a useful history of apostasy from the Catholic encyclopedia.
Perfidiæ is the complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian religion, whether the apostate embraces another religion such as Paganism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, etc., or merely makes profession of Naturalism, Rationalism, etc. The heretic differs from the apostate in that he only denies one or more of the doctrines of revealed religion, whereas the apostate denies the religion itself, a sin which has always been looked upon as one of the most grievous. The "Shepherd" of Hermas, a work written in Rome in the middle of the second century, states positively that there is no forgiveness for those who have wilfully denied the Lord. [Similit. ix. 26, 5; Funk, Opera Patrum apostolicorum (Tübingen, 1887), I, 547]. Apostasy belonged, therefore, to the class of sins for which the Church imposed perpetual penance and excommunication without hope of pardon, leaving the forgiveness of the sin to God alone. After the Decian persecution (249, 250), however, the great numbers of Lapsi and Libellatici, and the claims of the Martyres or Confessores, who assumed the right of remitting the sin of apostasy by giving the Lapsi a letter of communion, led to a relaxation of the rigour of ecclesiastical discipline.
This implies that salvation can be lost with the wild card exception that God can grant forgiveness. There are verses that apply to this situation specifically. 1 John 3
* 10. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious : anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God , nor the one who does not love his brother .
* 11. For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning , that we should love one another ;
* 12. not as Cain , who was of the evil one and slew his brother . And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil , and his brother's were righteous .
* 13. Do not be surprised , brethren , if the world hates you.
* 14. We know that we have passed out of death into life , because we love the brethren . He who does not love abides in death .
* 15. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer ; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
* 16 We know love by this , that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (NASB)
Perhaps these verses settle the issue for those would condemn the killer to hell, regardless of his prior profession of faith. Roommate reports of his behavior, including hearing voices in his head, make one wonder about mental illness or spiritual oppression. Does brain chemistry gone haywire negate prior beliefs? We are not smart enough to discriminate between body, soul, mind and spirit. Hence my answer to the question is only God knows.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Colorado shooter's online rants

On a web site for former evangelicals, Murray had posted a rant against Christians in the hours between the shootings. Story here.
“You Christians brought this on yourselves,” Murray wrote, according to the station, which did not identify the site. “All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you … as I can especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world.”

The language in the post is almost identical to the text of a manifesto written by Eric Harris, one of the teens who carried out the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, The Denver Post reported.

The online posts spanned several weeks, the station said, and in an earlier one, Murray appeared to reject offers of psychological help.
“I’ve already been working with counselors. I have a point to make with all this talk about psychologists and counselors ‘helping people with their pain,’” he wrote, according to KUSA.
UPDATE: the posting was a plagiarized version of the Columbine manifesto.
A diatribe was posted at 11:03 a.m. Sunday on a website devoted to people who have left religion. Investigating authorities believe it was left by gunman Matthew Murray. With the exception of two minor changes, some rearranging and the final paragraph, the text was originally written as a manifesto by Columbine killer Eric Harris. Some expletives from the Harris version were replaced by Murray with symbols. Other expletives were removed for publication, where noted.
The final paragraph comes from lyrics from the song “Anarchy” by the band KMFDM.
Diatribe can be read at the last link.
The best source of articles as this unfolds is the Religion News Blog run by my friend Anton.

very good Colorado shootings round up

Mollie at Get Religion has a great link roundup including more information on Jeanne Assam.

contrast of YWAM shooter and victim

Philip Crouse, 24, was one of the victims at the YWAM Arvada base. He was a teenage skinhead who had a dramatic conversion to Christ at age 18. His life was changed by Jesus. Matthew Murray, also 24, killed him. Matthew was home schooled, grew up in a church where family members served on staff or volunteered. He even attended the Arvada Discipleship Training School but didn't finish due to unspecified health reasons 5 years ago. One had nothing spiritual and received a great inheritance. The other had a great spiritual inheritance and threw it away. God always welcomes the repentant. As reported by his prophet Ezekiel
18:21 “But if the wicked person turns from all the sin he has committed and observes all my statutes and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 18:22 None of the sins he has committed will be held against him; because of the righteousness he has done, he will live. 18:23 Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign LORD? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?
18:24 “But if a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and practices wrongdo-ing according to all the abominable practices the wicked carry out, will he live? All his right-eous acts will not be remembered; because of the unfaithful acts he has done and the sin he has committed, he will die.
18:25 “Yet you say, ‘The Lord’s conduct is unjust!’ Hear, O house of Israel: Is my conduct unjust? Is it not your conduct that is unjust? 18:26 When a righteous person turns back from his righteousness and practices wrongdoing, he will die for it; because of the wrongdoing he has done, he will die. 18:27 When a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has com-mitted and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. 18:28 Because he considered and turned from all the sins he had done, he will surely live; he will not die. 18:29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s conduct is unjust!’ Is my conduct unjust, O house of Is-rael? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?
18:30 “Therefore I will judge each person according to his conduct, O house of Israel, declares the sovereign LORD. Repent and turn from all your wickedness; then it will not be an obstacle leading to iniquity. 18:31 Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why should you die, O house of Israel? 18:32 For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (NET)

Monday, December 10, 2007

The church security guard speaks!

Here is a just released interview. It was Jeanne Assam who suggested beefing up the security in the wake of the previous night's shooting. "Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service." The circumstances were not good.
New Life's Senior Pastor Brady Boyd called Assam "a real hero" because Murray "had enough ammunition on him to cause a lot of damage."..."There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away."...Boyd said there are 15 to 20 security people at the church. All are volunteers but the only ones armed are those who are licensed to carry weapons.
About 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting, said Boyd.

shooter NOT killed by church security guard!

UPDATE: The last bullet was his own. But the security guard still deserves credit for stopping the rampage with her deadly force.

Here is the quote.
The black-clad gunman who attacked worshippers at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, initially killing one and wounding four, was killed by “a courageous security staff member,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said.
update: Security guard is Jeanne Assam, see post for more info.

Conflicting emotions well up when I read this. The first is "Whew." The second is "who?" The third is "why?" Then guilt, for being glad someone was killed, then justice, for being glad a random murderer was stopped forever, then satisfaction for the innocents that were protected. It is a fact that some churches have security teams that carry concealed weapons for protection. Large churches, especially, are an attractive location to pychopaths who want to go down in infamy, just like malls and school are. And like malls and schools, churches have been locations of shootings in the past. In this rare case, security got to the shooter before he could empty his magazine's last shot on himself.

But should Christians just lie down and paint targets on their chest? Is that Jesus's ethic?

Jesus's ethic includes protecting the innocent. The guy was shooting the church up at the end of the service when families were walking out. It's not Jesus's ethic to let children be undefended in the presence of deadly violence. It's not just children who are worth defending. Every congregant's life is worth protecting. Perhaps, ideally, the security guard would have been able to shoot the gun out of his hand, but pistols are dreadfully inaccurate and the best chance of a stopping force is at the largest target, the chest. The security guard wanted to stop the threat and not kill someone. Her intention was protection not murder, unlike the shooter's.

In summary,
  • it is good the church's security team is armed, 
  • it is good the arms were helpful in stopping the violence, 
  • it is not ideal that the shooter was killed, 
  • but it was justified in my understanding of the Kingdom of God.

For further research see these four posts (a, b, c, d) on the 6th commandment, do not murder.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

pray for the YWAM shooting victims

See follow-up post to this one.
one report
The first shooting occurred in Arvada, a suburb of Denver, in the early hours of Sunday when a young gunman opened fire at a Christian missionary center. Two staff members in their mid-20s were killed and two others wounded. [follow up post and links on victims and shooter - jpu]
The gunman fled the shooting in Arvada before authorities reached the scene.
About 12 hours later five people were killed -- including the suspected attacker -- in a shooting near a church in Colorado Springs.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told AFP there was "one gunman down" and "four deceased, possibly one wounded" in the incident but said the toll was "preliminary."
It remained unclear if the shootings were related but police in Arvada said they were working with their counterparts in Colorado Springs to determine if there was a link between the two assaults, said Arvada's police chief, Don Wick.

more news here
YWAM's homepage has a press release with photos of some of the victims.
Peter Warren, the Director of Youth with a Mission Denver says they had just finished a Christmas banquet when the suspect arrived and asked a 22-year-old woman from Minnesota if he could be housed for the evening. When she told him they could not house him, that's when, Warren says, the suspect opened fired with an automatic handgun, hitting four people. Police say they do not know whether the shooting was random or if there was a motive.
Jesus, please bring healing to those wounded and those families and communities who sent them and for those who lost kingdom servants today.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor (66th anniversary)

This is my third annual post on Pearl Harbor. See the 2005 and 2006 posts. For more background information I recommend a few other posts. Racist Laws of nature. The Japanese atrocity in Nanking. The book report on Sea of Thunder.

Thank you to all who serve in our military, and all who served in the Pacific Theater of World War 2.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Presidential religion test

In the context of Romney's speech in which he says, he would "serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause," I stand in full support of that assertion. I agree the president shouldn't favor one American over another, but all equally. However, when has that ideal ever happened? I really like Huckabee's comment in the same article.

Huckabee, who was a Southern Baptist preacher before entering politics, said that Romney's religion has no bearing on whether he would make a good president.

"It has nothing to do with what faith a person has — it's whether or not that person's life is consistent with how he lives it," Huckabee said Thursday on NBC's "Today." "If I had actions that were completely opposite of my Christian faith, then I would think people would have reason to doubt if this part of my life, which is supposed to be so important, doesn't influence me."

The implied criticism is that how come Mormonism didn't affect Romney when he was pro-choice? So is Romney's faith an inconsistent guide in his life? That question can be asked of all pro-choice Catholic and Mormon politicians (John Kerry and Harry Reid).

I'm glad Romney is pro-life now, but I have to wonder how political that decision is and thus how firm a conviction it is, especially when nominating federal judges if he were president.

See other posts in abortion, politics and Mormonism.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gitmo rights

The Supreme Court of the U.S. is hearing a case on whether those incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay have habeas corpus rights. In brief this right is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. The writ of habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action. ( Here is a debate at the Federalist Society. Here are Google news links. Unfortunately, Huckabee doesn't want to take a stand before the court rules. For myself, as a resident alien, a citizen of heaven, temporarily on earth as an ambassador, a sojourner in this country, I'd like to offer my heavenly homeland's approach to these things. Treat others as you want to be treated, with such corollaries as don't hate your enemies but bless them. Consequently, if I were captured for allegedly working with terrorists, and then confined without trial for years, I would want habeas corpus rights. If I'd want them, why wouldn't I want my neighbor to have it also? Perhaps because I don't trust the judges who adjudicate, too liberal or something, unless they were going to rule in my favor. So I hope and pray the Supreme Court decides the way I think Christ would want them to.

See other posts on human rights and politics.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Candidate matcher

This website helps narrow down the candidate that most agrees with you by letting you pick issues and weight them. No surprise that Huckabee is my match, 89%.
HT: Crunchy Con
The ABC News Match-o-matic which is the same as USA Today's quiz also scores Huck as my candidate. I like the questions asked there. Joe Biden came in as my number 2 match, but unlike Candidate matcher, there are no abortion questions. John McCain came in third for me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

passive solar home construction

Here is an interesting method from The Natural Home team. Basically, dry stacked cinder blocks, stuccoed, not mortared and a greenhouse across the south side.

See other posts on houses and conservation.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Top 10 posts last week of November

Bloggers seemed to benefit from ebbing tryptophan blood levels this past week. As always, you can subscribe to my shared feeds where I cull these winners from or simply visit the blog regularly and look at the list at the top. The headings link to other posts on mine on that topic.

A pastor responds gracefully to the strip club with a nativity on its roof at the Ooze.
Titles and offices and gifting in church. Pastor or what?
Another way of understanding Willow Creek's Reveal survey results.
Delay tactics in India's courts continue for Christians in the untouchable Dalit class.
Interview with Jim Dawes, author of  That the World May Know: Bearing Witness to Atrocity.
The skin cell method is simpler as well as ethical than embryonic stem cells.