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Showing posts from May, 2009

Deaths at the homestead

Since moving to suburbia we have enlarged our managerie from dog and cat to ducks and bunny. We lost a cat this winter, probably to traffic. We got another cat. She was moved outside and has disappeared this last week. Last night we forgot to lock our ducks up. This morning one of the females was missing. My son found her chewed up in the woods. I think we have a fisher cat feasting on our animals. That's a bummer. I fear the knowledge of food in the duck pen will bring the thing back and it will not be stopped by my cinder blocks. The kids are so sad.

update July 1: it came back.

Preach the good news as well as live it

It's time for some true history on Francis of Assissi. Thank you Mark Galli.

Francis of Assisi is said to have said, "Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words."This saying is carted out whenever someone wants to suggest that Christians talk about the gospel too much, and live the gospel too little. Fair enough—that can be a problem. Much of the rhetorical power of the quotation comes from the assumption that Francis not only said it but lived it.The problem is that he did not say it. Nor did he live it. And those two contra-facts tell us something about the spirit of our age.
I highly commend the rest of this article.

read through the Bible

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Image by matt [sucka MC] via FlickrImage via WikipediaCame across a great resource to read through the Bible or portions of it in a daily fashion with portions sent to you by email, Bibleplan.org
They also link to other reading plans. They offer many versions and languages as well. As Kevin would say, "Nice."

response to Obama's Notre Dame speech

Why be the first to comment on these things when there is nothing new to say? He thinks abortion is a choice, I think it's a killing. So is the label "killer" unfair or just a grammatical transition from verb to noun? All my reasons can be found here. However, what's my opinion worth? Not much. How about the opinion of a father of a severely disabled child? He has some questions for President Obama. When do we get to talk about how the behavior of men on virtually every measurable level has gotten worse since abortion was made legal across the United States? Men are more likely to leave women today, more likely to be abusive, less likely to care for the children they father, and less likely to consider the consequences of their sexual behavior. Up to 75% of marriages that have a disabled child end in divorce, and most of the time it is the man who walks away from his family. When do we get to talk about men being encouraged to act like men rather than petulant, irr…

Forgive 70 times 7, Matthew 18:22

After a church discipline series, I thought it appropriate to write some about forgiveness. In Matthew 18, Peter tries to show off his graciousness to Jesus. 18:21Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times?” 18:22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, I tell you, but seventy-seven times! The textual note in the NET says, Or “seventy times seven,” i.e., an unlimited number of times. See L&N 60.74 and 60.77 for the two possible translations of the phrase. When my family discussed this over the dinner table a few weeks ago, one member said, "OK, I'll keep count." Even though we discuss the Bible over dinner sin still abounds in the Umland home. Apparently, the offenses are legion between the children. They might legitimately reach 490 or 77 offenses in a day. I told the smart child that, literally understanding the Bible is good. I also told the child that Jesus was using numbers that indicat…

G12 churches - abusive shepherding movement all over again?

I was contacted by a reader of my church discipline series who was disciplined by a G12 church. I had not heard of G12 churches before. The wiki article was helpful but the entry at the Apologetics Index was very helpful, especially the comments. It seems humans have a hard time not sliding from discipleship into control. Perhaps, God has blessed those who get kicked out of a G12 church.

new poll shows majority of Americans now pro-life

This is good news, but it needs to be turned into legal protection for the unborn. Here is the bottom line from Gallup. With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation's policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans -- and, in particular, Republicans -- seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public's understanding of what it means to be "pro-choice" slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.

to Obama from: Piper re American honor killing

John Piper's words to Obama set to animation, titled "No, Mr. President. Killing Is Killing No Matter What We Call It.". Full text here.

It's my contention that abortion is the American version of honor killing.

bike review: Electra Townie Original 7D

Since I bought this bike I've ridden at least 500 miles on it and I love it. See my pictures from when I bought it here. I haven't ridden my recumbent since December and it is for sale. The townie is my regular commuter bike. It's heavy and it only has 7 gears, but I don't need that much for 6.5 miles each way with many hills. I only miss the gears on the pedals when I'm barreling down hills. I like being upright. I like riding without hands. I did notice one drawback this morning though while I was riding hands-free. The front wheel started to shimmy. I couldn't reproduce it each time this morning, but it was crazy when it did happen. I think this is the risk of the cool feature that enables the comfort on this bike. It's not a true diamond frame. At the juncture of the downward frame components, Electra welded in a 6 inch extension, which pushes the seat further back from the pedals. Like a recumbent of sorts, I am pedaling slightly forward of my seat, wh…

Blogs I commented on this week 1st week of May 09

Sarah Flashing writes a great post affirming women's spiritual gifts. I need to quote two paragraphs from her post.Some women, I am learning, are uncomfortable discussing their spiritual gifts if they are not identical to how they function in their roles, because for them these gifts might overshadow what they perceive to be the true functions of a woman, wife, or mom.
Yet Paul had no problem with any member of the church desiring spiritual gifts; therefore, giftedness and function/role ought never to be pitted against each other, especially in this way. How a woman is a wife and a mom and how she serves within the body of Christ will both be impacted by her personality, her interests, her talents, and her gifts. Enabling a false distinction between the two creates a dualism God never intended. The post is partly inspired by a book review at her personal blog.

book report: Dred Scott's Revenge (2009) by Andrew Napolitano

This book, Dred Scott's Revenge, might have been interesting if Napolitano did not stray from facts and history and try to argue for state's rights and secession in the Civil War. I thought I was reading a debate book by two authors talking past each other, but it was only one who would defeat himself over and over again trying to be a state's right advocate and an anti-slavery, natural law advocate. The problem with natural law pleas is that what's natural to one advocate is unnatural to the other. In response to "All men are created equal," slavery advocates with popular science at their aid could say different races are almost different species and those whom they consider barely homo sapiens are not equal to themselves. Hence, when Lincoln was elected, slave states knew he would admit more free soil states and upend the balance of slave and abolitionist representation making his view of Natural Law likely to prevail.

Napolitano's defense of state seces…

cinema review: Battle for Terra (2009)

I have a weakness for science fiction. Cool cartoons with alternative engineering and physics defying planets from directors enable me to ignore lame plots, shallow characters, and black and white themes. Hence, I took my kids to see the Battle for Terra and I liked it. It's rated PG for animated sci-fi violence. I liked the tadpole/amoeba people on Terra, who are kept in ignorance of their self-destructive past by their priests, who, in secret, maintain all the war jets in hangars belwo the clouds, just in case. I liked the crazy space station the Earthlings live on as they travel through the galaxy looking for a home to replace Earth, which their ancestors blew up in a Civil War. It's more serious than Wall-E. I liked the hero who died to save his enemies. That's a nice theme.

However, why is the war-hawk earthling a white guy but his peace seeking opponents are a black president and a female advisor? Why did the amoeba people learn from their war years but the earthlings…

How to get kicked out of church: Divisiveness

Near the end of his letter to Titus Paul says, Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. 3:11 You know that such a person is twisted by sin and is conscious of it himself. I think this is an example of not applying Jesus' process as outlined in Matthew 18. Perhaps the very divisive person gets one warning, but lesser dividers get two. It probably depends on the scope of their influence. Nevertheless, everyone gets warned, at most twice. The issues of division in Crete, where Titus led, seemed to be over genealogies, quarrels about the law, and need of circumcision in the Christian's life. Paul wants to keep the Gospel the main thing. How does Paul boil down the good news for Titus? Titus 3 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. 3:2 They must not slander anyone, but be peaceable, gentle, showing complete courtesy to all people. 3:3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslav…

bike review: Actionbent JS2-US, for sale

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Update 2011: Sold to the LBS in trade for something new. Pictures soon.
Update May 2009. This baby needs a tuneup, cables and tires, and I bought something new. If you are interested in buying this from me for $350 and are willing to pick it up in New London County Connecticut, contact me by email or facebook. Both contact methods can be found to the right below the "about me" section. Click on "contact the Umblogger."


Here is my new bike review from April 2007, 2 years ago. I still think the Huffy Star-Spangler would be my ideal bike.

I bought a recumbent bike last month from Actionbent and have been using it for my commute. here is a picture of the Jet Stream 2, understeering.

i've been a bicycle commuter for years but last summer i developed at work a bad case of tendinitis in both wrists which made riding painful. one day i longed for my old Huffy Star Spangler with the banana seat and the hot rod handle bars and pined for the good old days. then i remembered …

blogs i commented on end of April 2009

My friend Justin McRoberts came over once and ate peanut butter and jelly at my house with my family. We are tight. We disagree alot over political things, but he is my brother in Jesus and tells great stories and sings great songs. He has a great story on his blog about sitting next to an autistic guy on a flight to Chicago and what that guy taught him about community.

I have another friend who is also a musician. Justin has an acoustical folk sound but Ryan AKA Serious Griggs raps for Jesus. He partnered with a great brass rock band and added his talents which has a great video.

Joe's Jottings has a great post on the difference between religion and gospel.

How to get kicked out of church: idleness

Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica in his second letter to them, 2 Thess. 3:6-15 3:6 But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. 3:7 For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, 3:8 and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 3:9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” 3:11 For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. 3:123:13 But you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right.…