Showing posts from April, 2009

building a cheaper house

I admire earthships.
The earthbag builder says his method is easier.
I can't see that being quicker than dry stacking concrete blocks, which, however, cost more than bags full of dirt.
I'm thinking the Hesco R-house has got to be the easiest. I wrote them but they didn't reply. The U.S. branch of Hesco does not have the R-House on it's page. They make webbing/fencing that are gabions for dirt or rocks.

Deca dome or round home

I came across another kit dome or round home today at EconoDome and at Decahome. The same outfit is responsible for both, the spelling challenged, Faze Change Produx. They sell the plans, or the roof kit, or an everything kit. The homes and domes useHardipanel cement composite panels. I'm a sucker for domes. Here's a page of some schematics and here's an index of dome pics.

Optimism on church discipline by the imonk

I think Michael Spencer is ending his series on church discipline, and he ends on a high note. He gives a very positive approach to church discipline. The "getting kicked out" part is like the emergency room doctors pulling out the high voltage paddles. There is much soul medicine that could be applied beforehand.

He states, I would like readers to consider what church discipline looks like when it is the church’s compassionate ministry to those who are suffering, rather than primarily a punitive action toward those who are sinning...

In other words, where there is genuine sinful behavior that is affecting a spouse, child, family or fellow church member, the church should act like the church, with gentle and consistent reminders and interventions pointing to the onset of a process that can bring the entire church into a “sin intervention” process...

Those familiar with the Andy Griffith Show will know why I always think of Sheriff Andy Taylor in this kind of discussion. Sheriff…

Blogs I commented on this week 3rd week of April 09

Here are some blogs where I joined a conversation or applauded a blog post this week.

It's nice when a higher trafficked blog links here and sends a couple days worth of visitors in a couple hours here. Truewomanhood has a massive thread going on with hundreds of comments and one person linked to my post on Sarah calling Abraham "master". Turns out the link to here was unintentional, but I felt I needed to thank them for sending so many visitors and introduce myself. It seems like another blog I will have to add to my feedreader.

Rob has the best response for those who think casinos compensate for genocide. "would you sacrifice your friends and relatives for $350,000 a year?" Probably, some would.

Missionary Guy Muse shares an amazing God story.

Internet Monk on Church discipline

He has good thoughts on Matthew 18...
So what we have here is a very grace and forgiveness filled chapter. It is not a chapter filled with the duty of elders to root out errors and go looking for reasons to accuse. It is not about seeking the purity of the church but about recalling that we all are lost sheep, little children with limited understanding and bankrupt sinners treated with amazing grace.He contends that the process is optional. I think this is in agreement with the concept of love covering a multitude of sins.

Now, things get interesting. If the brother refuses to acknowledge the sin, a second option appears that does involve the church community. I do not believe it is compulsory. I believe it is up to the individual to take the following two steps, but IF both are part of a church that has openly established a community standard of relationships based on this principle, then it should be no surprise when a second conversation occurs, this time involving two other brothers…

i'm grateful Obama released the torture memos

Although I have massive issues with Obama's stance on abortion, see details, there are things he does that I am grateful for. One of those things is his release of the previous administration's memos on torture. Torture is morally repugnant. On NPR this morning I heard an interview with an Bush administration official who circulated a memo condemning torture, but the administration responded by issuing a call to destroy all copies of the memo.

True or not, the world views us as a Christian nation. When we permit the use of torture, we prove, in their eyes, how deficient Christ is. It is not weak to stand on the principles of human rights and human dignity at all times. Lord forgive us.

How to kick someone out of church

I think there are a couple more ways to cover as reasons to get disfellowshipped, but I wanted to pause and share something I read this morning with a good friend over breakfast. This is also prompted by another friend who grew up in a church which practiced kicking people out an awful lot. The New Testament really has many similar passages like this. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 Finally then, brothers and sisters, we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received instruction from us about how you must live and please God (as you are in fact living) that you do so more and more. For you know what commands we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is God’s will: that you become holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to possess his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. In this matter no one should violate the rights of his brother or take advantage of him, because the Lord is the …

How to get kicked out of church: fornication

We've arrived at the last in the series but first in Paul's list from 1 Corinthians 5:11 What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people. NLT

Instead of making it long with the negatives, I'll keep it short by stating it positively.

Fornication is any act of sex outside of a marriage to one person of the opposite gender.

Here is the Greek on this.

1. illicit sexual intercourse
1. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
2. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
3. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,
2. metaph. the worship of idols
1. of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

For much more information I recommend the entry on sexual immorality in Baker's

book report: Seeds of Discontent by J. Revell Carr

I picked up Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution 1650-1750 in the new releases section of my local library and was intrigued by my gap in knowledge of this time and by the author's association with a local museum, the Mystic Seaport. I can never find the books in my Amazon wish list but I can usually find something new and interesting and all the history books promise NEW and PARADIGM SHIFTING insights between their covers. This book was more modest. It's byline is "A narrative history of the largely unexplored events - starting more than a century before - that paved the road to the American Revolution." I don't think my public schooling included much more information than what can be learned from Schoolhouse Rock in 2 minutes.

As a Christian who believes rebellion against our government leaders is only allowed in the most egregious situations, I did not have much sympathy for people who felt they were overtaxed. However, this book show…

blogs i commented on 3rd week of April '09

Phelan the Homesteading Neophyte is looking into homeschooling. I told her how we like Sonlight.

Christianity Today's blog notes a churchman turned atheist, A.N. Wilson, is now believing in Christ.

Stuff Christians Like has a great post on loving our enemies. I mentioned forgiveness.

Justin has a fantastic cat story.

How to get kicked out of church: greed

The #2 way to get kicked out of church is greed.
1 Corinthians 5:11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. NASB
All the Americans can now leave the room. Actually, wealth and greed do not necessarily go hand in hand. Greed is only an aspect of covetousness. I covered this topic as well in the 10 Commandment series. It's the 10thcommandment. "Do not covet your neighbor's house; do not covet your neighbor's wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17 (The Complete Jewish Bible) I wrote previously, In short, if God wanted you to have it you would get it. As a parent, I say similar things. Our children do not have many popular toys, at least at the same time as they are popular. When the popularity cools and the price drops, then they may get …

thinking about tolerance

Christian political conservatives recognize we all have sinful hearts and sinful thoughts and push for legislation that restricts the physical expression of those things.

Political liberals seem to want to additionally legislate against thoughts or opinions, especially those that Christian conservatives might express, such as the condemnation of sexual immorality or abortion or religious criticism of other faiths. Is speech no longer a civil right? Have they not read 1984 by Orwell?

Just asking.

Examples? Here

how to get back into church after you've been kicked out

This is really part B of the idolatry topic from yesterday. A return to idolatry happened en masse a few times in the history of the early church when the Roman emperors tried to crush Christianity. They are called the lapsi. The regular designation in the third century for Christians who relapsed into heathenism, especially for those who during the persecutions displayed weakness in the face of torture, and denied the Faith by sacrificing to the heathen gods or by any other acts. Many of the lapsi, indeed the majority of the very numerous cases in the great persecutions after the middle of the third century, certainly did not return to paganism out of conviction: they simply had not the courage to confess the Faith steadfastly when threatened with temporal losses and severe punishments (banishments, forced labor ... death), and their sole desire was to preserve themselves from persecution by an external act of apostasy, and to save their property, freedom, and life. When things got h…

How to get kicked out of church: Idolatry, part a

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. (NRSV)

We arrive at number 3 in the top 6 list of ways to get kicked out of church. As the links in the verse indicate, I have posted on the last three. I'm working my way up the list. I figure sexual immorality may take several posts, since humans have found so many ways to be sexually immoral and the Bible covers many of those. As I noted earlier, I think all of these sins, except drunkenness, correspond to one of the 10 commandments. Idolatry is the number 2 commandment. For the Corinthians, who came out of the Greek and Roman mythology and idol worship, this demarcation is very important to them. When I wrote about idolatry earlier, I spent many posts on its importance today. I will quote from those posts in 2007.

The commandment itself is at Exodus …

How to get kicked out of church: Verbal Abuse

The verse under inspection is 1 Corinthians 5:11, But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian1 who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive,2 or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. It can be a hard thing to be dis-fellowshipped or shunned over a behavior you love more than your Christian family. Previously, I discussed drunkenness and swindling, today I'll look at verbal abuse. King James' Bible uses the word, railer, which doesn't help the modern speaker much. Nave's Topical Bible suggests a couple similar injunctions against this type of talk, 1 Corinthians 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:4; 1 Peter 3:9; 2 Peter 2:11; Jude 1:9. I found the translation note on this word by the NET editors very helpful. They write, Or “revilers”; BDAG 602 s.v. λοίδορος defines the term as “reviler, abusive person.” Because the term “abusive” without further qualification has become associated in contemp…

Blogs I commented on this week April 11th

Pastor Lance at Blaque Tulip offers on the ground assessment of the negative effects of prosperity theology in Kenya.

The Fat Cyclist tells a good bike crash story as a Mormon missionary in Finland, which reminded me of the good day when I saw that special bus in Turku which belonged to John's Turistfart.

The Homesteading Neophyte is thinking of building a strawbale home on their farmstead. Cool.

Newspaper Rock celebrates Brown University's de-recognition of Columbus Day. They are calling it "Fall Weekend." How about Carib Nations Day?

I thanked Koinonia blog for setting me straight on the Good Thursday theory.

Joe jots down Satan's party invitation after the crucifixion.

I have affection for tiny houses. Mine is 1000 s.f. I also like DIY houses and low cost houses. I really like the free plans and concepts at Earthbag House Plans. This latest one impressed me.

I also received comments this week.

anonymous tells some of her story about bei…

Umbl0g's 4th Birthday

My 2nd post was at the end of March on Good Friday 2005. 1800 posts later we are still going.

What makes Good Friday so good?

Paul tells the Athenians as recorded in Acts 17:22-34.

So Paul stood before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets hav…

How to get kicked out of church: Swindle

We are working from 1 Corinthians 5:11. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. (NET) Today's focus is on swindlers. The Greek word is harpax. Paul uses the word three times in this very letter and Jesus uses it twice. Here are the verses.


“Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.
The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this:‘God, I thankyou that I am not like other people:extortionists,unrighteous people,adulterers – or even like this tax collector.Paul

In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world.
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christianwho is sexually i…

The process of Jesus in confronting sin

This post would fall under the title excursus of the excursus from yesterday regarding church discipline and Matthew 18:15-22. I think Jesus's process is brilliant, but of course it is, he's God. Here is why...

Suppose a brother in the church rebukes me for farting in church. I rebuff his rebuke and tell him that I'm not sinning. So the guy decides to pursue this issue with me and rounds up a couple other brothers, but no sisters, to address my issues. As they listen to him confront me they start laughing. Their guffaws establish that this isn't a sin issue. Then the matter is sealed as someone rips one while laughing. With two or three witnesses the matter gets established. The accuser should abide by the agreement of the witnesses, even if he doesn't like it, in the same way he expected the offender, me, to agree. He should not, afterwards, round up three women who may be more sympathetic to his appeal. Nor should he stab me with a knife like this guy did to his r…

Matthew 18 may not apply to getting kicked out of church

This is an excursus on the topic of "How to get kicked out of church." In my research on the topic of church discipline I have encountered many appeals to Jesus's words in Matthew 18:15-22.
18:15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 18:16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.18:18 “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven. 18:19 Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 18:20 For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among th…

cinema review: Osama (2003)

Remember the Handmaid's Tale? It was the dire story predicting a women's dystopia under the regime of the Moral Majority in America. Of course, it never happened. The abortion wars of 1985 are still going on and the Religious Right has splintered. Meanwhile, 10 years later, the Taliban came to power and imposed a religious regime that made Atwood's book seem like a joke. Osama is the first post-Taliban film made in Afghanistan. The director pieced together anecdotes from the insanity of life under the regime and cobbled together a story about a 12 year old girl who has her head shaved by her mother and grandmother that she might find work outside the home without arrest by the Taliban religious enforcers. The movie starts with a rally of women in burqas marching for the opportunity to work in order to make money to fend off starvation. The religious police respond with high power hoses and imprisonment.

All this young girl wants is to be a girl. She wants to jump rope. Ther…

book report: Christianity in Crisis, 21st century by Hannegraf

I think Hannegraf’s latest book, Christianity in Crisis, 21st Century, could have been half the length and twice as good. As he mentions in the preface, Twenty years ago, I began working on a book…., titled Christianity in Crisis, [that] unmasked the fatal flaws of a movement that threatens to undermine the very foundation of the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.” (p. ix). I did not read that particular book, previously written, yet as I looked at the endnotes, being the compulsive reader that I am, I couldn’t help but notice the dearth of 21st century quotes. I felt this should have been the 10 year update, not the 20th. Most of the recent quotes come in the latter half of the book, which is why I think this book could have been half as long.

I don’t disagree with him that many of these preachers focus themselves and their listeners on rewards today instead of in heaven. In fact, he won’t say it, but makes it obvious that many of these ministers of the gospel serve mam…

6 ways to get kicked out of church: Drunkenness

Blues singer Albert Collins has a song, I'm not drunk. I'd hear it almost every week on the local college radio station with the lyrics,
I don't care
What the people are thinkin'
I ain't drunk
I'm just drinkin'

(But you're so high) Who me? I ain't high, man.
(But you're so high) I don't know why y'all are talkin' 'bout me like that
(But you're so high) You better mind your own business, brother
(Stay drunk all the time) You gotta watch yourself, too, you understand what I'm sayin'?

The rest of lyrics are all funny in a sad way. I think he captures perfectly the attitude of the drunk. It takes one to know one. I've been one. I have told some of my story before. I was never disfellowshipped for my drunkenness but perhaps I should have. What are the problems with drunkenness? I'll put all the verses and Bible dictionary information below, but I'll get to the conclusion before all the supporting work. In my personal st…