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Showing posts from February, 2009

Back from Haiti

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It was a long ride home, but I have 300 pictures and dozens of stories. I hope to start posting them this weekend. For a couple pictures, make sure you visit the Port-au-Prince Calvary Chapel blog. I'm the guy with a big sunhat, a beard, and a white t-shirt receiving instruction on how to whitewash a cement wall. I'm not very smart about such things. But now I'm an expert.

book report: vol. 2 Gulag Archipelago - serfs and zeks

Russian history includes seven centuries of serfdom. Apparently, Russia could not exist without serfdom, even though communism believes in the equality of all, so the USSR had to create prison camps to replace the exploited labor lost from the serfs. Solzhenitsyn writes Serfs! This comparison occurred to may when thy had the time to think about it, and not accidentally either. Not just individual features, but the whole central meaning of their existence was identical for serfdom and the Archipelago; they were forms of social organization for the forced and pitiless exploitation of the unpaid labor of millions of slaves. p.149
Since serfs were replaced with prisoners even the vestige of human rights was unnecessary. The "cure" of communism was worse than the illness it claimed to treat. The serfs did not work longer than from sunrise to sunset. The zeks started work in darkness and ended in darkness (and they didn't always end either). For the serfs Sundays were sacred; a…

book report: vol. 2 Gulag Archipelago- The enablers

The rise of communist Russia did not alarm the entire world. And the world could not believe atrocities would be committed by communists whose entire belief system depends on the assumption that men are ultimately good and not evil, that civilization is innate and not a thin veneer. Hence when contrary stories emerged, they were roundly condemned. One such escapee story by a prisoner who spoke English and snuck out on a British freighter.
Evidently An Island Hell by S. A. Malsgoff.
This book astounded Europe (and no doubt they accused its fugitive auther of exaggerating, for, after all, the friends of the New Society could not permit themselves to believe this slacerous volume) because it contradicted what was already well known; the newspaper Rote Fahne had described Solovki as a paradise. (And we hope that the paper's correspondent spent time in the Archipelago later on.) And it also contradicted those albums about Solovki disseminated by Soviet diplomatic missions in Europe; fine…

book report: vol. 2 Gulag Archipelago

The American version of Solzhenitsyn's history of the Soviet prison labor camps appears in 3 massive volumes. My earlier book reports (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) came from the first volume, books 1 and 2. The 2nd volume contains books 3 and 4. Some of the quotes, including this one are macabre, but I note them because these are not a serial murderers lone quirks, but a bureaucratic, institutionalized deformity of a national soul that turned inward on itself. All of us are capable of this wickedness. I think part of it is that wickedness is easy. Righteousness is near impossible. So what happens in the far northern camp on Solovetsky Island where monks lived peacefully for centuries and disease invaded the crowded facility?

...the doctor gave terminal cases strychnine; and in the winter the bearded corpses in their underwear were kept in the church for a long time. Then they were put in the vestibule, stacked standing up since that way they took up less space. And when they carried them out,…

blogs I commented on Feb 09 week 3

I found Frank Beckwith's post at Moral Accountability on abortion reduction vs. pro-life very familiar.

The Suzy B blog noted that Obama will be funding for embryonic stem cell research by executive order.

Scot McKnight is concerned with the neo-reformed. Ben Dubow pointed me there and asked for feedback, so I left similar thoughts there that I did at McKnight's blog.

Off to Haiti

I'm flying down tomorrow with a team from the Calvary Chapel in Boston to Haiti tomorrow. They have a partnership with a young Calvary Chapel in Port-au-Prince which is establishing an orphanage. I'll be down there a week doing light construction, evangelistic skits, and whatever else I'm asked to do or see as a need I can meet.

Please pray for my family and the team's safety and effectiveness in bringing the kingdom of God to such a needy country.

I have some blog posts scheduled while I am gone from my latest book reading. Additionally, my wife, the Smart Mom, may contribute some posts. I hope to have pictures and posts when I return.

blogs I commented on Feb 09 week 2

I have a friend who pastors a church in Connecticut named Eric Stillman. I like his blog. I also made a comment there this week about sex and the church.
I also really really enjoyed Guy Muse's post on The most ignored words of Jesus, so much that I had to give him an attaboy.
Andrew, the Tall Skinny Kiwi, has great thoughts on debt, recessions, school loans, ministry freedom, and Larry Burkett, to which I chimed in on the bible college response to expensive theological training.

We have duck eggs

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We have 3 ducks. Supposedly, 2 of them are female. They are pets for the kids but I was hoping to get a little more for the investment in feed, hay, and fenced enclosure. The cat controls the mice outside, and, unfortunately, the sparrows. The dog supplements the doorbell and makes too much noise and forces us to take walks year round. The rabbit... eats our left over salad. But the ducks have finally made a contribution. Since we aren't patient enough to wait for 3 more so that we can each have one, my sweetheart hard boiled them so we could divide them up. They were yummy. And every morning a new one appears. That won't get us through a great depression or anything, but it's neat to grow a little more of our own food.

Lincoln's speech on slavery in Norwich Ct. 1860

This is taken from an article in a local paper, the Norwich Bulletin. Lincoln campaigned on behalf of Connecticut incumbent governor William Buckingham, a Norwich resident. If you replace slavery with abortion and property with choice, the argument for human rights is as contemporary as anything written this week, but written better. I believe the US Civil War was God's judgment on our country. I am not at all hoping for God's judgment on us for abortion. I pray for mercy. But injustice will be met with justice. I hope it is done by repentance first.


An abstract of Lincoln’s speech in Norwich on March 9, 1860, from “Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume VI” edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay.

Whether we will or not the question of slavery is the question, the all absorbing topic, of the day. It is true that all of us — and by that I mean not the Republican party alone but the whole American people here and elsewhere — all of us wish the question settled — wish it out of …

research supporting liberal=pro-life recanted

Too bad the faulty research gave cover to many pro-lifers who wanted to vote Democratic anyway. It wasn't even necessary to be personally acquainted with the research, all it takes is for someone to tell someone else that research shows that liberal policies such as welfare reduce abortion as much as slow as molasses pro-life legislative wins such as parental notification and the like. Here is the story at Moral Accountability, in a post by Michael New, Ph.D. who called BS on this report when it came out, and finally gets to see the original claims removed and replaced with next to nothing. The set up. Analyzing state level abortion data from 1982 to 2000, it purportedly found evidence that increased spending on various welfare programs resulted in substantial reductions in state abortion rates. The spin given to the results was that many pro-life laws, such as those requiring parental notification for abortions performed on minor girls, had little effect. So the paradoxical messa…

cinema review: The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

I never knew Frank Sinatra's entertainment skills included acting. He did a great job in this movie. The only thing not great about his performance was his karate scene. It was so bad, it was realistic. In fact it was real enough that Sinatra actually broke his hand in the scene. Ironically, today in 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy made his claim that the State Department had card carrying Communist party members in its employ. This story twists McCarthyism on its ear by suggesting the finger pointers were actually collaborators with the Russians and Chinese Communist governments. Every scene with the unnamed "bad" party in the movie was filmed with busts of Lincoln. Every scene with the unnamed "good" party was filmed with bald eagles and American flags. I don't understand why a movie in 1962 was filmed in black and white, but it only detracted from one scene, the American flag rendered in caviar. I wish I had seen that in color. Angela Lansbury looks the sa…

cinema review: Bella (2006)

Wow! It's been two days since we watched Bella and I can still use exclamation points. I loved the story and I loved how it was told. The foreshadowing and flashbacks and the present were so tightly interleaved that it didn't make sense until the very end. In a way, every scene was "now," the present. The past and the future haunted the main characters. She did not want to be pregnant. He was willing to adopt her baby. Her reasons were stereotypical. There's not much need to be creative on why women see abortion as their best option. But his reasons are complex and provide the story arc. The climax is at the very end and left us weeping. I don't want to spoil the story for those who haven't seen it. I found the stories of how the movie came together from a rookie director and a fresh face to American cinema with a script written by someone who never wrote a script before yet won an award at the Toronto Film Festival inspiring. The movie has power. It'…

Blogs I'm commenting at this week Feb 5th

I haven't interacted much at the end of January with other bloggers but I'll try to get it going for February.
I started at the CBE Scroll, Every glass ceiling is broken?
That's all.

book report: 1491 by Charles C. Mann

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I picked this up at the library as a consolation since I couldn't find what I really wanted. Ironically, I had checked this book out before but never read it, a victim of library gluttony. I am very happy that I now have finally read it. 1491 by Charles C. Mann seeks to deliver us from white presumption and ignorance. The subtitle is "New revelations of the Americas before Columbus." His thesis, simply, is that the New World had a massive population that was mostly wiped out by European diseases before Europeans ever settled here. He points out that modern genetic analysis of native immune systems (North to South) show vulnerabilities peculiar to their phenotype. It only takes one fishing boat from Europe with one sailor with measles or small pox somehow infecting one Indian trading with the crew, who then infects his village. Apparently, this happened in New England before the Pilgrims arrived. Europeans recorded villages of bones, unburied, scattered, untended, up and …

Super Bowl commercials and my kids

As a family that has no cable, and one channel of free reception, we are still sensitive to everything immoral on television that passes for normal. Like many, we go as a family to a Super Bowl party and enjoy the food and socializing. We also look forward to creative commercials, of which there are many, Unfortunately, I forget that sex still sells, even when all ages are watching. I don't want my daughters to perceive themselves as only valuable when barely dressed. But hey, I admit I'm watching a game that includes cheer leaders, but I never saw them on the TV tonight. Even I was covering my own eyes a couple times. For those of you who are not sensitive to these things, I'm telling you, there is a lot wrong with television. For details, I refer you to Just Plain Nasty at Mere Comments.

new bike for 2009 and beyond

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Behold, the Electra Townie. The Electra website is Flash-based so you have to look in the Townie category for the "7D". It's only a 7 speed. It's a cruiser, so it is stretched out and the handlebars are high. I can stand on the ground while sitting and I will have no pressure on my wrists. I bought the big baskets for the back to do milk runs in. It's at least 35 lbs. if not more. It doesn't have a suspension except for the huge seat and the fat tires. I plan to start February commuting on it tomorrow. I will sell the recumbent. Anyone want an Actionbent Jetstream 2 with understeering? It's 2 years old and needs new tires and a tuneup. I will probably put it on Craigslist sometime this week. Some of the things I've missed that I look forward to again is hands free riding and barefoot riding. My ride will be alot slower than the recumbent but it's fine as I only have a 6.5 mile commute. I bought this last year's beauty from Niantic Bay Bicycle…