Showing posts from December, 2008

book report: Samson Occom - marriage sermon

In light of the current debates on the definition of marriage in our country these days, I found Samson Occom's marriage sermon to be refreshing, if we forget his opposition to marrying "down", to Africans that is, but by the pictures in this edition of Love's biography, marrying "up", to whites, seemed frequent enough to make the Brothertown elders in Green Bay, Wisconsin look like my white neighbors today. Regardless, this journal entry of his regards 2 Indians marrying. When I got up, I spoke to them Some Time upon the nature of Marriage, the Honourableness and Lawfulness of it, whereby we are distinguished from Brutal Creation: Said Some of the first marriage in Eden & of the Marrage where Christ and his Disciples were invited and the Honour he did to it by working the first mericle he wrought in the World in turning water into Wine and then we prayed,... p.251 I enjoy the point that marriage is one way we are distinct from "Brutal Creation.&qu…

another atheist commends Christian missions

No video this time, but a quote from British columnist and atheist, Matthew Parris of the Times (UK) who writes from his experience of growing up in Malawi and recently revisiting. He's convinced that Christian missionaries are needed in Africa for the well being of Africans. Is he racist? Or is he observing the difference between a theology of pantheism and monotheism? But he isn't calling for Muslim expansion in Africa. So it's not just monotheism that changes the world. Perhaps its the Holy Spirit, something Parris has no language for since he denies a God, moreso a God in three persons, a Triune God, who sends his Spirit to abide with his people.
Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take…

a healthy organization

A friend who blogs at Member Care muses on organizational health and lists these 10 qualities of an ideal organization.
1. Mutual respect among staff
Is this enforceable? It sure would be nice to be respected by everyone at my job but I'm also guilty of not respecting everyone, especially of those who, I perceive, are cheating the system.
2. Fair pay/compensation
My department frequently complains about promotions they don't agree with.
3. Opportunities to make contributions
I think I have that
4. Opportunities for advancement and personal growth
I think I have that, but it really depends on your supervisor
5. Sense of purpose and meaning
This must be hard in retail
6. Management with competence and integrity
Dilbert would not be so popular if this were common
7. Safeguards to protect individuals (staff and customers) from injustice
8. Responsibility for actions: owning mistakes, not blaming others or covering up
Now this is where I only see Christians doing this and not all of them. …

book report: Samson Occom by Love 1899 - abolitionist

Samson Occom was a complex man. He was highly accomplished, intelligent, gifted and full of the Holy Spirit. Regarding human rights, opposed slavery but also opposed miscegenation of Indians and Africans. His biographer in 1899, W. DeLoss Love, wrote
We may as well just here make record of this Indian's opinion as to slavery. At that time most wealthy families in New England held slaves. The ministers very commonly had one or more lacks as servants in their households, and the servant class being then small they could hardly do without them. Doctor Wheelock himself [Occum's Christian mentor], in 1757, paid ₤50 for a negro, "Ishmael" by name, whom he bought from William Clark of Plymouth, Mass. The Indian of the full blood generally despised the negro and such of his own race as would marry among them. It was Occom's opinion that such marriages wrought degeneracy in both races. At the same time he had a warm sympathy for the slave, whose estate was not always pleas…

Brothertown Indians

I finished the biography of Samson Occum by Love yesterday and will have a bunch of quotes over the next few days. I was looking for the location of the first Brothertown in New York state and came across a great site of someone else's research into Brothertown from the final home of the Brothertown Indians in Wisconsin. His summary of their history is helpful. He writes, Brothertown was officially founded on November 7, 1785. “We now proceeded to from into a Body Politick-We named our town by the name of Brotherton, in Indian—Eeyamquittoowauconnuck” (Occom 1785). Unfortunately, the Brothertown Indians did not escape some the land issues that they had moved west to avoid. Euroamerican land speculators and settlers placed constant pressure on them to sell or lease their new lands (Love 1899). In an effort to protect the Brothertown Indians from losing their lands, the New York state government appointed commissioners to advise the tribe and passed laws that forbade the sale/lease …

U2 - I Believe in Father Christmas

for unto us a Child is born


Husbands in the doghouse for Christmas

An hilarious ad suggesting the only safe present for wives this Christmas is highly compressed carbon. HT: The Jolly Blogger

I know I've put up too many videos lately, but they are easier than composing every day.

what makes an atheist respect a Christian?

from Penn of Penn and Teller, the magic duo

Homebrewed comedy 1990

I'm the one with the mullet.

book report: Samson Occum by Love 1899 American Indians and the "lost tribes" of Israel

I knew Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Latter Day Saints, believed that the Indians were "missing" Israelites. I also knew that he was not alone in this belief in the mid-18th century. But then, while reading Jeff Siemers great blog, Algonkan Church History, he mentions in the post The Hope of Israel how Puritan missions to the Indians were partly motivated by this theory as well. His blog also has motivated my latest choice from the library shelves, Samson Occum and the Christian Indians of New England by W. DeLoss Love, 1899.

I am enjoying this history, especially the foibles and failures of minsters, both English and native, that are not unfamiliar to our times and seasons. One of these weaknesses is false motivation for good purposes, including redeeming these "lost" Israelites. John Eliot, apostle to the Indians founded separate villages for Indians to get civilized in the English way. Love writes, The experiment at Nonantum had not been two years under w…

Bikes for missionaries

Last year I linked to a story about a woman evangelist in North America who bikes and preaches. Today, I received in the mail an opportunity to provide bikes for missionaries in India through a ministry I support, Gospel for Asia. Perhaps some of my readers would like to bless a South Asian evangelist with a bike.

recumbent riding respite

My recumbent bike is not responding well to this winter's road conditions, not like last winter. In last week's ride in the low teens Fahrenheit a brake cable and a shifter froze up and would not move, even after WD-40 treatment. I keep the bike in a garage, so it isn't protected from the temps. When I got to work I brought it inside to warm it up. That resulted in my front tire deflating. Fortunately, I had a spare tube. Not 10 minutes into the ride home, in the afternoon when it had warmed up to the 20s, the cables re-froze. I didn't ride for the rest of the week but Monday morning I went out to the garage, the temps were then in the upper 50s (hear, hear, global warming) and the bike's repaired front tire was flat again and the rear brake was stuck in the engaged position. Time for the Trek 7200 commuter. Despite the uncomfortable post that I had to adjust to sitting on, and wrist pain, I do have to commend the quality of the components. Although the Trek has ha…

Love as a filter

Guy Muse, missionary/blogger, shares a love quiz and muses,
As we approach a new year, I intend to use the "love factor" as a filter for everything we decide to do. Before embarking on yet another busy schedule, does the activity encourage a greater love for God? Are we really loving others in a way that they "feel" loved?
Make sure you visit his blog and take the quiz.

Cinema review: The Nativity Story(2004)

I enjoyed Keisha Castle-Hughes in Whale Rider and I enjoyed her presentation as the virgin Mary, Theotokos, in The Nativity Story. Not only was the movie well acted but also lushly filmed. The best part of the movie was the focus on the all the earthly, human issues surrounding the pregnancy of a betrothed adolescent of excellent reputation and her honorable husband-to-be and the political issues of Deliverer-expectation during the reign of a homicidal paranoid despot. Theology is not delved into. The movie has no qualm with taking as truth the appearance of angelic messengers and prophetic dreams, which is good. The timeline is compressed, as happens in most movies, for the sake of keeping the story moving along. It assumes a Protestant back story, Joseph is not a widower with children from the first marriage. My only complaint is the appearance to the shepherds did not include a heavenly choir. It's a great movie to complement your preparation for Christmas.

book report: Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular

I thought I'd give another children's book from Thomas Nelson another chance, even though I didn't enjoy my previous choice. This new book is for older children. It's full title is Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks, by Nowen N. Particular a.k.a Marty Longé. If you want the short review, don't bother. It has potential, it's almost funny, but it's not one a parent would enjoy reading aloud to a child. My 13 year old daughter did find it fun, but she also saw my furious notes in the margins when I got to the really bad middle part of the book.

What was really bad in the middle of the book? Stereotypical American Indians, the Hopontop tribe who were circus Indians that traveled around the country doing crazy circus tricks with names such as Chief Knife Thrower and the Fire Diver, Flaming Arrow, and Dark Cloud the Magician. How would it fly if he set the story in the South and wrote about an African American village who ran a circus and had dumb names? But i…

Help refugees resettle in Providence RI

My friend, Keith, helps refugees resettle in the Providence area. Part of that effort involves learning job skills. He and my friend Geoff have hit on the idea of selling granola made by these folks. You can order the granola by mail, and even subscribe for a monthly delivery. Please consider making a good ethical Christmas purchase and visit the Providence Granola Project.

Cyclist pulled over by Traffic Cop!

Groton, CT (UMN*) Dec 5, 2008
"I was so busted," said cyclist John Umland. "I'm coming down this sweet hill to a 5 street intersection, and pass this long line of cars, of which, at the head, was a City of Groton Police SUV waiting at the red light. I don't run this light indiscriminately, I always check. And I didn't think the cop could even see me in my low recumbent or care if he did. But, he cared."

Friday afternoon, an unidentified CIty of Groton Police Officer, pulled over the brazen cyclist. "I asked him if he knew running a red light was not allowed. He got smart with me and claimed he was a pedestrian on two wheels. I reminded him that cyclists have to obey all the rules of the road like any vehicle driver, no exceptions. He seemed humiliated. Plus, he had alot of gray on his beard, so I figure he's old enough to be losing it a little bit, so I let him go."

Umland added later, "Inertia is a precious gift that keeps giving if you…

Lee Grady's take on Lakeland in hindsight

Great editorial by Lee Grady of Charisma magazine. Todd Bentley is still in sin with an intern/nanny, still seeking to divorce his wife, hasn't seen his kids since July, and, obviously, remains unaccountable. Grady says the lessons are: Accountability from the beginning, teams not stars, Sabbath, character matters more than gifting, don't cheer to quickly, and repentance as a reliable sign of revival.

Cinema review: Bolt (2008)

I just got back from the theater with my new-qu-leer family where we saw Disney's latest, Bolt. I have two words and then some, "loved it." We all laughed. I might have laughed harder than my kids, but not because of any innuendo. This movie is clean. But it's really funny with especially endearing moments. Love your pets. Don't abandon them. Watch out for the pigeons. Don't over-indulge your guinea pig. Don't lose hope. Keep your priorities on people not success.

image source, Croatians in America

Culture and Christianity

My religious friends of the progressive persuasion like to accuse unnamed brethren on the conservative persuasion of co-mingling their faith with their patriotism, see here. However, those of us who have been around recovery circle know the expression, "whenever you point at someone, there are 4 fingers pointing back at you." No one is out of their culture, we are, hopefully, learning to wear our heavenly citizenship more and more and our earthly stuff less and less, except for the earthly stuff that is in agreement with the heavenly stuff. In light of this, this author sounds interesting. He writes, Here is my question: if in every age the church has benefited and suffered from its engagement with culture, should we expect that our postmodern age is any different? Our postmodern context rightly reminds us of the biblical concern for humility, social justice, and care for the poor. But postmodern Christians can be so humble that they mumble, and they can be so focused on soc…