Saturday, August 31, 2002

Evening Musings-Midland Kid makes good-Just got done watching the tape of the Michigan-Washington game, and the deciding field goal in Michigan's 31-29 win was nailed by Dow High (darn) alum Phillip Braggs. It isn't often I hear my hometown of Midland mentioned on national TV. Neat. The rest of Week one looked interesting so far. Colorado State might be a sleeper, taking out Colorado 19-14. Up in Happy Valley, they must of had flashbacks of losing to Toledo last year, as Central Florida gave Penn State all they wanted before losing 27-24. Everyone else seemed to take care of business. Got some glimpses of FSU taking care of business against Virginia while making my rounds today, and Michigan State got out the can-o'-whupping on Eastern. Spent most of the day being an excellent husband, taking Eileen to the walk-in clinic to get some antibiotics for her upper-respiratory bug, then went over to Tampa to hang out with her sister and brother-in-law. We had to go clothes shopping due to Michelle's lost luggage from her red-eye flight that got in this morning. Uli was off practicing at the golf course near Tampa where he's in a tournament, so I got the dreaded duty of clothes shopping with two women. I survived, even winning a $2 coupon via a trivia contest at the megashoe store. Big hugs given for driving through the Brandon mall traffic, holding clothes and being a general good do-bee.

Edifier du jour-1 Corinthians 6:15-20
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
I'm thinking of the phrase "victimless crimes" and how off-base that is in God's eyes. Drugs and prostitution are the ones usually put in that catagory; both corrupt that temple of the Holy Spirit. Those sins aren't just against the people involced, they're hurting God as well as the friends and family of the people who'll have to be there to clean up the physical and psychological mess. Also, it's not just sex or drugs that can do in that temple. Overeating, lack of exercise and ignoring one's health can hurt you, your family and God almost as much as those "bigger" sins.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Using my new picture-posting ability I will update a post from two weeks ago. This guy was arrested for murdering a convenience store owner.
"...You have the right to make a cheesy grin. If you cannot afford to make a cheesy grin, a Jim Carrey impersonator will be appointed for you."

Evening Musings-I have two theology classes going. One meets Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the other's an on-line class at He Lives. He's going into a nice piece on dispensationalism. Here's part one and part two as of presstime. I haven't blogged on the lack of a player strike. That will allow for a minimum of hand wringing from sports-oriented pundits and will allow them to focus on what's important-Football Season! Because of the sacredness of the Labor Day weekend in Michigan, the high schools played Thursday night to open the season rather than the classic Friday night. My Midland High Chemics opened up with a 7-6 win yesterday over Bay City Central , while highly touted Dow High lost 16-6 to Bay City Western. Shall I call my sister to rub it in? We moved accross town when I started college, so she's a Dow alumna. Hey, how'd one of my MBA students get over at Brownpau's site? First picture link. Cool.

Immaturity-This steaming pile from Cary McMullen, "Christians Who Judge Islam are Immature," came from the Lakeland Ledger. Despite it being one of my hometurf papers, I saw this one via Christianity Today's weblog, although they had a stale link to it as I go to press. Get the stick and the rubber gloves, I feel a Fiskin' comin' on.
There have been other disparaging comments about Islam since Sept. 11 by evangelical and Pentecostal leaders Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn and Jerry Vines. At first, it seemed to be part of the blanket of suspicion cast upon Arabic people and culture. But as President Bush wisely dampened these sentiments by publicly showing support for Muslims, and as Muslims themselves sought to educate the public about their religion, a backlash developed among the social and religious right wing. It has the unwholesome aura of national, racial and religious xenophobia.
OK. Where do I start with that last sentence. Muslims are from a multitude of nations, so which nations does McMullen have in mind? Muslims are from a variety of races; although a darker-skinned Caucasian Arab would be the stereotype, you'll also have Asian Muslims in Indonesia and the Philippines and plenty of African Muslims. In fact, much of the anti-Muslim backlash I've seen is addressed at harsh applications of sharia in northern Nigeria. McMullin then whips out the x-word. If it's a phobia, it's wahhabiphobia, a fear of militant Islam. Most people on the right have a negligible fear of Ahmed down at the Kwik Pick.
This is articulately represented by the recent statement of Prison Fellowship founder Charles Colson, writing about the freshman assignment at UNC: "Tolerance and understanding are laudable goals, but they must never be a pretext for ignoring the fundamental difference between the Islamic worldview and the Western worldview. Those differences are real and constitute the basis of the war we are in." Note the polarity. The "Islamic worldview" is assumed to be opposed to the "Western worldview," which Colson does not define but which we understand to mean "Christian."
What do you mean we, paleface? I exhibit as State's Evidence 1 this essay from Nobel Prize winner V. S. Naipaul, "Our Universal Civilization." This Trinidadian Hindu can see the difference between the Western and Islamic worldview. Yes, it is informed by the Christian roots of the west, yet transcends it. The same can't be nearly as easily said of the supporters of al Qaeda.
A few questions for Colson: Does a Muslim who owns a grocery store and has been an American citizen for 10 years, praying at a mosque in, say, Kansas City, subscribe to the "Islamic worldview?"
Mind if I sub for you, Chuck? Thanks. Kansas City Ahmed may or may not be part of that world view, most likely not. However, the IMF protestors born and raised in the West would object to the Western worldview. Just because it isn't universal doesn't mean it isn't there.
Do the differences you refer to apply to Afghanistan, an Islamic country with which we are not at war? Or to Egypt? Or to Turkey?
To a significant minority, yes. There are significant pro-Islamist movements in Turkey and Egypt that the secular leaders are trying to tamp down and the Taliban had a number of native backers. If the two worldviews were put to a referendum in all three countries, it would be close. I'd put money on the Islamists in Egypt and Afghanistan and on the Westerners in Turkey, but it would be within 60-40 either way.
I am willing to bet a dollar to a dime that few, if any, Christians who are using this kind of language have ever set foot inside a mosque, seen what goes on there or talked to the people who frequent it. If they did, they would find, not regiments of fork-bearded mullahs but ordinary people of an astonishing variety of races and tongues, political and economic persuasions.
OK, McMullen, where's my buck. I lived in a international dorm with about 40% Muslim students my sophomore year at Eastern Michigan University. I remember that summer of 1980, when PBS ran a hot-topic documentary, Death of a Princess, about Saudi Arabia and their treatment of women and infidelity. After that show, I went over to my sweetmate's room where I was the only non-Muslim in the room. I remember talking to one of the guys about the five-a-day-prayers. I wasn't a evangelical believer at the time, but what he said stuck with me two decades later-"It helps you remember to be focused on God." No. I haven't gone into a mosque, but I've seen some of the people who do. Once, at Kent State, I had an argument with a officemate that had me in tears. A Sudanese Muslim fellow grad student was the guy who talked me through one of the rougher patches of my doctoral program. No, you're not dealing with Billy Bob from Wauchula.
There is no denying that Islam is a very different religion from Christianity, and in other countries there has been enmity between them, but in America neither one is a threat to the other. It appears that some evangelicals just plain don't like it that Islam is now being accorded a measure of attention and respect. The basis for their criticisms may be little more than jealousy and fear that their own hegemony about American culture is threatened.
"Hegemony about American culture?" Our popular media is post-Christian at best. Count the number of church-going Christians households on prime-time network TV; you can amputate a few fingers if you like. Evangelicals have to point to cartoon Ned Flanders as the best representation of themselves in prime time. Islam had a measure of respect for the last 20 years. People largely know that most Muslims aren't jihadists. What Christians are fearful of is the universalist "we're all praying to the same God" motif that kick into the media when religious issues come into play. Christians say that Jesus is the Son of God. Muslims say he was just a prophet. Evangelicals aren't interested in creating some generic god, so they will counter this universalist trend by point out that we're not both right in what we believe.
If they are hoping to somehow put Islam back in its pre-Sept. 11 place, they are succeeding only in showing their own lack of judgment and spiritual maturity
Liberals think you grow out of a evangelical faith, that you mature by become more open-minded and pluralistic That might be true in the Lakeland Ledger newsroom, but not here. I've matured by seeing that there is a God and that He has something that he wants from us. I have seen that not all paths to God get there. That's not immaturity, but maturing in a saving faith.

Blog Economics-Josh and Bobby have already laid down blogfire, but the body's still moving, get me my shotgun. The DailyPundit's idea of a subscription-based Blogging Network runs into a big problem-substitute goods. He might be good, but is he (and the other people he gets on board) $3/month good? When you can get myself and a truckload of other bloggers for free, why pay $3 for him? The Punditwatch column might bring in some hard-core political junkies, but unless he starts to corner the market on blogs, there's enough good political commentary out there to make most of us pass on the offer. Some online outfits can get away with charging for their goods, but only if they have something that can't easily be gotten anyplace else. The WSJ does a good online-subscription business, but their depth of financial news is something that's worth money to bigger investors and businesspeople. Slate tried to go to a subscription-basis, but found that the free substitute took away the customers. Salon's not doing a bang-up business with their subscription business. I don't have a tip jar or anything other fund-raising vehicle. Other than my broadband connection at home, I don't have any marginal costs to running this site, other than annoying Eileen if I'm in the middle of the post when she's looking for quality time; if I'm blogging from home, she's generally either sleeping, showering, talking on the phone or grading papers. For some of us, blogs could become a way to get exposed and make some contacts into paying writing gigs, as Bryan Preston has started to do. For the rest of us, this is a way to write those letters-to-the-editor that we have in the back of our minds and to have a give-and-take with somewhat-like-minded folks around the world. There are enough good amatures to keep the would-be-pro bloggers from making too much of a profit. Also, there are going to be free coalitions of bloggers, such as Blogs4God or Samizdata. Blogs4God looks a bit like the BlogCentral.org that I invisioned in April. Such free multiblogger sites might limit the ability of for-pay sites to take off. There's a value for being a gatekeeper, but if people like the Blogs4God crew volenteer, it's hard to be make money at it.

Gross or Net Tithe-"Fred" took issue with my net tithe in the comments of today's Edifier. Tithing is largely an Old Testament concept. Jesus doesn't talk much about tithing in a positive sense. In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 and 18:12, tithing is something Pharisees did for show. Many people have made the case that tithing is a part of the old sacrificial system that was rendered moot at the cross. However, the concept of a 10% as a model for a proper amount of giving, while far from mandated in the New Testament, seems to be a fair concept. The tithe in the Old Testament was 10% of the farm production. In a non-wage economy, people were to give 10% of their crop of grain, fruit, oil and livestock. The closest think to wages that I can see was Deuteronomy 26:12, where "the tithe of your increase" is to be paid. If we never get the withheld part of our check, it really isn't our increase, it's the government's. I do tithe on the tax refund check as well. Grain that was eaten by rats or oil that leaked out of the vats would be hard to tithe on. In short, I think that my net pay is my increase, not my gross pay. God also likes a cheerful giver. If we do the 10% out of fear of falling prey to a rule, the verses in Matthew and Luke point out that Jesus likes earnest devotion to Him more than adherence to a set of rules. [Update 2/16/03-I've changed my mind on this and have moved into the gross tithe camp, although I don't look down my nose at the paycheck/10 crowd.]

The Canadian 100?-Colby Cosh and Bene Diction are batting around what Canadians of the past/present will still be remembered 250 years from now. Cosh starts out with Glenn Gould, James Naismith and Marshall McLuhan. I hadn't heard of classical pianist Glenn Gould before today, so I'm not sure if he'll have a quarter-millennia worth of legs. Classical music buffs might correct me, but he doesn't seem to make the cut. Naismith will make the cut, assuming that basketball's still played in 2250. He's the only guy to have invented a major sport from scratch. He also was a college basketball coach as well. McLuhan might have an outside shot. Will "The medium is the message" still be in communications textbooks in 2250? I think he'll likely be a footnote in a history of mass media class for the class of 2256. The second Cosh batch starts with John McCrae, the writer of the poem In Flanders' Fields will have an outside shot as well. I don't think McCrae will be remembered, but that poem might be. A century later, the poem's far more noted than the poet. A true star might be Lucy Maude Montgomery, the writer of the Anne of Green Gables series of books. Prince Edward Island has a good hunk of their GPP made up of people wanting to see where Anne Shirley lived. I can see that remaining a staple of youth fiction sections for a few centuries to come, for Anne's a character for the ages; many young girls want to grow up to be like her and a few young guys would play with the fantacy of courting her. Cosh's third pass goes 0/4 in my mind, unless John Grierson makes the cut. He founded the National Film Board and if that monument to statism last to 2250, he'll get a passing mention. However, I think Ken Burns would be known to more Canadians in 2250 than Greirson, but both would round to zero. My take to this point of the 2250-ness of all of them. Recognized-Naismith and Montgomery Special Case-John McCrae-he'll be the Don Larsen of this list, notable for one good poem. Footnotes-Glenn Gould, John Grierson We've ignored some of modern-day entertainers from the Great White North. Might Celine Dion (now, stifle that back there!) be played in 2250, not to mention Anne Murray or Bryan Adams? You can rattle off another dozen of Canadian artists we'd all be familiar with that might still be played in 2250. Uberproducer David Foster might show up on radar as well. Would some of the big pack of Canadian comedians like Dan Ackroyd, Mike Meyers, Leslie Neilsen and Jim Carrey be playing on the classic movie channel in 2250? If we mentioned Naismith, why not the Great Gretsky and all the other Canadian hockey greats. If they're playing hockey in 2250, people like Wayne Gretsky, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemeiux will be mentioned. That's a baker's dozen of names that might be in play. Let's see Bene and the Jets take a whack at them.

Is "Sincere, Well-meaning Liberal" an Oxymoron?-You don't usually see the word curmudgeon used to describe females, especially when they're as pretty as Ann Coulter, but I think she's heading in that direction here. After praising Sean Hannity's new book, she takes a couple of grump pills and resumes:
Perplexingly, he writes: "The vast majority of liberals are good, sincere, well-meaning people." This cheery bonhomie is beginning to sound like the mantra about the "vast majority" of Muslims being peaceful and has produced the same good results. I think it's time to drop the infernal nonsense about liberals being well-intentioned but misguided. In the spirit of Hannityesque magnanimity, I will say that there is only one thing wrong with liberals: They're no good.
Let's take apart Hannity's statement and see if she's right. Are most liberals well-meaning? Yes, if defined as striving to create a better country and world. There are a few vindictive sorts that will make policies that are designed to hurt certain classes of people without helping others, but I think that is a minority. Their big government plans may hurt some people, but they do so in order to create a greater good. They might not mind if the next Bill Gate has a smaller bank account and has to settle for a smaller mansion and one less vacation home, but only in the context of making a happier country from the programs that tax money will generate. The antithesis of that would be that they mean ill to society at large. There might be some misanthropic people who want everyone else to suffer, but they can't be said to make up a significant minority of liberals. Are most liberals sincere? Yes. There are a few that will be insincere, saying things they don't really believe, but I don't see that describing a majority of liberals. You may see some level of insincerity, such as politicians parking their kids in private schools then rail against vouchers that would allow the less-affluent the same options, but I don't see the typical liberal being significantly more insincere than the rest of the population. Are most liberals good? If you want to trot out Mark 10:18 and say that only God is good, you'll have a point. However, in the sence that I think Hannity meant good, of honorable, law-abiding citizens, then I would agree with him. Yes, you have your bad apples, but they again are a minority. You could nit-pick on whether there are enough evil or insincere or not-well-meaning liberals to deny a "vast majority" but I think the majority of liberals are well-meaning, are no less sincere then the rest of us and are generally good citizens. That doesn't mean I agree with them, but I think Hannity comes closer to a proper biblical attitude of loving one's enemies than Coulter does. I don't think Hannity's suffering from "battered Republican syndrome" as the headline suggests, as if decades of being held captive by a liberal media gives him a political version of the Stockholm Syndrome. There is a tendency for people in Washington and other elite circles to get to know and like people in the "enemy" camp and thus tend to go easy on the opposition. However, the Courterian alternative of demonizing your foe can lead to a bitter spirit that is corrosive to the soul. { Thanks to Kevin Pierpont for the link}

Yes, and Paleo-con is for Archeology Buffs-I was interested in this Bobby Allison-Gallimore piece on neoconservatives.
Although the definition of a neo-con as opposed to a conservative are no doubt blurry, especially with the swelling of the neo-con ranks, I wonder if the answer lies somewhere in the vicinity of this hypothesis: could the distinction involve a belief by neo-cons (perhaps carried over from their former days as liberals) that successful implementation of their policies would result in a net gain for society, whereas conservatives feel that successful policy implementation can only result in slowing down the rate of society's inevitable loss, rather than resulting in any gain.
I think he's on to something. You can make a good living as a conservative pundit being a sourpuss, helplessly pontificating on the culture's increasing slouch towards Gomorrah. However, such commentary doesn't change things. The classic conservative is fighting against a liberal onslaught and has been largely fighting a rear-guard action for the better part of a century. Neocons would like to think of themselves as being progressives in the true sense of the word, looking to tweak the political economy in ways that would aid the country. I think a lot of the American Greatness motif of the Weekly Standard circle stems from the thought that America is great and can be even greater. Their more secular nature may free them from both a tendency to retreat from the political sphere into the spiritual sphere and from the premillenialist trait of seeing each liberal advance as the inevitable next step towards the Antichrist. To the unprefixed-con, these guys look like they majored in Pollyanna rather than PoliSci, but they lack the built-in pessimism about things of the unprefixed-con. While the Reagan years were design to stop the liberal advance, a new breed of conservatives, emboldened by Reagan's successful rear-guard action, have started a counter-attack. A coalition of young conservatives, who could envision a conservative victory, has joined with neoconservatives to change the political dynamic. Conservatives are no longer content to block liberal projects, they can now hope to role back existing ones. The older unprefixed-conservatives will support such efforts, but may question their achievability. I think this is why conservatives rule talk radio. Offence is sexier than defense, Liberalism is largely on the defensive with few exceptions. This new breed of can-do conservatives put on a good show. It's now the liberals that are starting to order strategic retreats on many issues.

Edifier du jour-Haggai 1:3-8(NASB)
3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?" 5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! 6 "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." 7 Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! 8 "Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified," says the LORD.
This was shared at our Bible study last night. It brings to mind the Sister Act rendition of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, where they have a Janet-Jackson-homage bridge-"What have you done for Him lately?" We tend to live too much inside our comfort zones. I'm not talking as much about a lack of financial giving but a lack of concern for the things of God, giving of our time as well as our money. I've been trying to keep up a tithing policy-take the take-home pay, slide the decimal place over one, and write a check for that amount to the church. That's easy, but what about tithing your time? You have 112 waking hours during the week; do we spend 11.2 hours a week on the things of God? I think I fall short on that count. Once we have a better focus on God, the other parts of our live have a better chance of falling into place. Without such a focus, all the toys of the world will fail to fill the hole in your sole. Concider your ways. What have you done for God lately? What should you be doing?

Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Check-out Lane-Inspired by the American 100, Scott Rubish is working on a World 25. Watch his comment section light up. Russ Reeves serves up a counter-Fisking of my critique of his Iraq post. I will reply in due time. Ponder this thought from Bobby Allison-Gallimore on neocons and whether they are more positive than unprefixed-conservatives. I'll give that a once over after class.

A Federal Issue-I recall this old joke from the Cold War era.
There was a UN conference on elephants. Each country was supposed to submit a report on elephants. The US entered a paper on how to raise bigger, faster elephants. The Japanese paper was how to make a lower-metabolism version of the American elephant. The East Germans sent two papers, one on elephants and the other on how DDR elephants got along so well with Soviet elephants. The Canadian entry: “Elephants: A Federal or a Provincial Issue?"
The jury got settled on global warming; Chretien decided that it's a federal issue. When a majority of provincial premiers came out against Kyoto, it looked like Canada would join the US in opposing the treaty, and there were promises of federal consultation with the premiers on the issue. However, Chretien appears to have decided to push forward with Canadian entry into Kyoto. It the Canadian right can get its act together, it might have an issue to run against Chretien. It might also give the neolib wing of the Liberals a wedge to give Chretien an early exit next February. This might get interesting.

The Bible is ....-I said I'd post my essay on "In my opinion, the Bible is..." that was given in my Understanding the Bible class. Here it is. In my opinion, the Bible is God’s message to man, which needs to be heeded. It lays out the story of God’s love for mankind despite our sinfulness, culminating in his sending a subset of Himself, Jesus, to die for our sins and to be resurrected back to rejoin God at the Father’s side. While written by a variety of writers over a thousand years, it maintains an overlying story of God’s interaction with and love for mankind. While everything of God isn’t in the Bible, it’s a basic part of my faith that everything in the Bible is of God. Thus, the Bible will play the role in the believer’s life what the Constitution plays to a jurist. Just as unconstitutional laws are thrown out, actions and thoughts that run counter to scripture should be considered unbiblical and thus avoided. Despite being finished nearly two millennia ago, it’s advice still rings true today. In my opinion, the Bible is the Word of God without error. However, there are some passages of the Bible that are better read metaphorically rather than literally applied. Matthew 18:21-22 has this passage
21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” (New Revised Standard Bible, 1989)
This would be better interpreted to keep on forgiving indefinitely, especially in the alternative reading of “seventy times seven.” Given the mandate to forgive other freely in Matthew 6:14-15 just after the Lord’s Prayer
14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (New Revised Standard Bible, 1989)
A literal reading of Matthew 18 would allow the reader to be unforgiving at sin #78, which runs counter to what Jesus was teaching during the Sermon on the Mount. While allowing for such metaphorical reading can allow people to try and skate past verses they don’t like, allowing God the option to speak metaphorically can be useful in resolving apparent contradictions. In my opinion, the Bible is historically accurate. While modern science may cast doubt on the literalness of Genesis 1-11, the archeological evidence I have seen over the years backs up the remainder of the Bible; the story of Abraham and his descendents are at worst an authentic period piece. I still have yet to fully reconcile in my mind the 15-or-so-billion year life of the universe that science has settled on with the six-day creation story of Genesis, nor have I reconciled the fossil record and carbon dating with Noah’s Ark. For instance, a case can be made to read the “days” of Genesis 1 as eras. However, I am confident that as science evolves, the Biblical test will be shown to be valid with a minimum of metaphor. In my opinion, the Bible is both a product of the past and a book for today. As I have learn over the years of Bible study that there is two parts to reading the Bible. One part, that I have heard called exegesis, involves understanding what the writer was trying to say, given his audience and the history and culture of the time. A good example of that is 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. In a recent essay, Gary Petersen (2002) questioned “Is it proper, Biblically speaking, for a married woman to lead prayer in a worship service when her husband is with her?” A straight-up reading of the verse
34 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the Law also says.35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (New Revised Standard Bible, 1989)
would not allow women, or at least married women, to speak in church. A possible explanation that I have heard over the years, which Keener (2001) confirms, is that the churches and synagogues in Paul’s day were segregated, so that a woman asking a question of her husband would have to be shouted across the room and thus be disruptive. If true, this might shed a different light into Paul’s letter. It might also be an example of wishful hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the second leg of Bible study, figuring out what the verse means for me today. People looking to justify a woman’s role in the church might be looking to tweak the context in order to get the answer they are looking for. When done properly, hermeneutics can take the first century writings and give them life for the twenty-first century. However, careful exegesis should be done to make sure the modern-day reader isn’t putting thoughts into the mind of the writer that weren’t intended. In my opinion, the Bible is a very good book to read. My life has been enriched this last year when, with my wife’s (then fiancée) help, I got into the habit of reading the Bible on a daily basis. The daily time spent with God’s word has been a blessing. Since May, I’ve been journaling my morning devotions in my weblog, which has enriched my life even further, even helping edify some of the readers of my blog. My walk with God was poorer when I wasn’t reading the Bible on a regular basis.
Works Cited
Keener, Craig S. “Was Paul For or Against Women in Ministry.” Enrichment Journal. 2001. < http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/enrichmentjournal/200102/082_paul.cfm> The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989. Petersen, Gary. “Women Leading Prayer.” Country Keepers by Gary Peterson. August 18, 2002. < http://gary.countrykeepers.com/2002/08/18.html#a464>

The American 100 3.0- Here's another set of revisions from yesterday's commentary on the 2.0 version Adds Milton Friedman Frank Lloyd Wright Norman Rockwell Daniel Boone. Thomas Paine Walt Whitman Hank Williams Dumps Al Capone Tom Clancy Arther Miller John Updike Johnny Cash JK Galbraith Neil Armstrong
The American 100 3.0 Additions from version 2.0 are italicized
Aaron Copeland Franklin Roosevelt John D. Rockefeller Ray Kroc
Abraham Lincoln Fredrick Douglass John Kennedy Richard Nixon
Aimee Semple MacPherson Fulton J Sheen John Marshall Richard Rodgers
Alexander Graham Bell Gene Roddenbury John Quincy Adams Robert E. Lee
Alexander Hamilton George Custer John Wayne Ronald Reagan
Andrew Carnegie George Gershwin Jonas Salk Samuel Clements
Andrew Jackson George Lucas Jonathan Edwards Sitting Bull
Babe Ruth George Patton Joseph Smith Steve Jobs
Ben Franklin George Washington Laura Ingles Wilder Steven Speilberg
Bill Cosby George Whitefield Lewis and Clark Stonewall Jackson
Bill Gates Hank Aaron Louis Armstrong Susan B. Anthony
Billy Graham Hank Williams Lyndon Johnson Teddy Roosevelt
Bob Dylan Harriet Beecher Stowe Malcolm X Thomas Edison
Crazy Horse Harriet Tubman Margaret Sanger Thomas Jefferson
Daniel Boone. Harry Truman Martin Luther King Thomas Paine
David Sarnoff Henry Ford Michael Jordan Thurgood Marshall
Douglas McArthur Henry Thoreau Mickey Mantle Tiger Woods
Duke Ellington Irving Berlin Milton Berle Ulysses S. Grant
Dwight Eisenhour Isaac Asimov Milton Friedman Vince Lombardi
Earl Warren J. Edger Hoover Muhhamad Ali W.E.B DuBois
Edgar Allen Poe Jackie Robinson Nathaniel Hawthorne Walt Disney
Elvis Presley James Madison Norman Rockwell Walt Whitman
Ernest Hemmingway Jesse Owens Norman Vincent Peale William Buckley
Flannery O'Connor Jim Thorpe Oliver Wendell Holmes William R. Hearst
Frank Lloyd Wright Joe Louis Ralph Waldo Emerson Woodrow Wilson
Keep at it, keep hacking this list, folks. This is fun.

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 4:14-17(NASB)
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.
This reminds me that we have a burden to represent Christ in this world, for we are the examples of what the Gospel is. A Bible is only splotches of ink on processed lumber until someone reads them and is guided to understand it, and it is other people like us that play a key roll in getting the Word out. My walk isn't quite to the point where I want someone to imitate me. I'm reminded of the Phillips, Craig and Dean song, I Want to be Just Like You. The song has a dad praying to be a godly example for his son, but if you've ever help disciple anyone, you'll have the same lump in your throat as you look at the shortcomings in your life you don't want someone to follow. For instance, I'm too prone to fear and have a procrastination streak among other faults- it almost cost me ~$40 of retirement money yesterday as I just sneaked in my 403B paperwork in time for my first paycheck Friday; this from a guy who's teaching Personal Finance. However, God uses such earthen vessels to spread his word. He knows we're fallible and sinful and will use us anyway.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Critiquing the Iraq Critique-Russ Reeves is laying down a harshly skeptical position on a war with Iraq in this post. His points aren't as convincing as they seem at first.
1) From the start, the Bush administration has blustered and threatened in ways that have severely limited their options and undermined their credibility. I've criticized Bush's rhetoric for a unilateral war for "regime change" conducted solely by the president. He has backed away from those claims bit by bit, assuring us of his patience (while sending more and more troops to the gulf).
Is a lack of rhetorical style a good reason to not go to war? Put that aside, and you're left with a desire to avoid unilateralism
2) While I don't think European support is decisive, strong opposition from continental Europe (and a wavering Britain), NATO, the U.N., all Arab nations, and increasing dissent from Canada, should be given due consideration. (And no world support means little support from American citizens: according to the most recent poll, only 20% of those polled said the U.S. should attack Iraq with no support from Western allies).
From a military perspective, we can do this ourselves. The British would be helpful militarily; just about everyone else can choose up sides and smell each other's armpits. From a political perspective, I think continental Europe is become more of an enemy of freedom than a friend. These days, often the best thing to do is to see what the French and German governments say and then do the opposite. We might have some support from more conservative countries like Italy and Spain as well as Britain. If it's the right thing to do, we can tell the Europeans to take a long walk off a short pier
3) The Bush administration's grasping for some kind of broader justification for war on Iraq seems confused and desperate. Sometimes its part of the war on terror, but there's no clear (public) evidence Iraq participated in al-Qaeda's terrorism. Sometimes its liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal tyrant, and while Hussein certainly qualifies, he's hardly the only brutal dictator around. Democracy is wonderful, but it can’t be imposed from the outside. Let the Iraqis rise up against him if they want freedom - doing it for them would only make them resent the U.S. more. Condoleeza Rice's comparison of Hussein to Stalin and Rumsfeld's comparisons to Hitler are so hysterical they have not only failed to convince me, they have further undermined my confidence in them.
At this point, we're not at the point of filing charges, and even so, we're not dealing with a standard of reasonable doubt. Likely possession of WMDs, terrorizing and attacking its neighbors and planning to do so again and being an all-around bad dictator make enough of a case to take it to trial. Yes, democracy can be imposed from the outside. Try Japan and Germany after WWII. Try Grenada and Panama. If you look at the people in leadership that Hussein has eliminated and the general ruthlessness towards his people, a good case can be made to liken him to Stalin. Hitler's a stretch, but Uncle Joe's not a bad analogy.
) The only legitimate justification is 1) that Hussein possesses "weapons of mass destruction," and 2) he plans to use them against the U.S. In the context of a post-9/11 world, these conditions could justify a pre-emptive war, even conducted unilaterally (though if there were substantial evidence of both, there would be substantial, if not unanimous, support from allies). But evidence is still sketchy on the first, and even if the first is proven (and not the second), a solution should be sought which doesn't kill thousands of Iraqi civilians (after all, we're liberating them from a tyrant, remember?) in the process of assassinating their leader (“regime change” is simply Orwellian language for assassination). The doctrine of anticipatory self-defense is not carte blanche for a Powell-style total war. Further, if Hussein does have WMDs, then pushing him into a corner so that he has nothing to lose is hardly a wise strategy.
Short of catching him red handed or having him brag about them on TV, we're not likely to get court-of-law proof that such weapons exist. Helping our allies be protected from such WMDs is also valid. It also might be better to confront now, when the number of WMD are lower, rather than later, when he could destroy smaller countries such as Israel. A WMD attack on Israel would give the Israelis the motive to annihilate Iraq. A WMD attack on the US proper would result in similar annihilation, for a US president would not allow such attack to go unpunished. Exile might be a viable option if sure death of his country is the alternative. Regime change need not be via lead poisoning. A nice villa on the Riviara will do. We got rid of Marcos with a Hawaiian exile.
6) My greatest concern is that Bush has made it clear that his plans are not limited to Iraq. Support for initiating war with Iraq with the goal of overthrowing the current government is implicit support for overthrowing any regime in the Middle East and around the world that does not meet Bush's approval (so far he has named Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, and Burma). Any discussion of war with Iraq must keep this in mind: According to Bush, Iraq is not the goal, it is the first step.
Where's #5? With the exception of North Korea, none of the other countries are a threat to their region and to the world at a level that Iraq is.
Attempting to remake the world and rid it of sin through military means is delusional; it's the sin of the 20th century that caused suffering to an extent the world had never known.
Doing nothing in the face of evil is equally delusional, sir. War is hell, as the old saying goes. However, if the cost of not going to war clearly exceeds the cost of going to war, then such a war is justified. Yes, this might be a bit too utilitarian for some people, but its the best way I see to look at it. Saddam has attacked his neighbors, including Israel, in the past and is likely to do so again. To the best of our intelligence knowledge, he has a crop of WMD under development, so a war later would be much more deadly. To top it off, he is a [choose your expletive, clean ones don't do him justice]. I remember the old auto parts ad-you can pay me now or pay a lot more later. I don't think Dubya's going to play foreign policy like it's a game of Risk; there are people behind the game that the Bush team recognizes. In Reeves writing, I smell the fear of some Nixonian leader who would throw millions of lives away for a vague goal of international order. That smell is but a flashback from the 60s. Ain't gonna happen.

Crazy Like a Bayou Fox-Interesting WaTi story on the National Republican Senatorial Committee buying $500K of ads for moderate Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell in the Louisiana senate race. John Cooksey, a more-conservative Republican congressman who's in the race, seems to be the favorite on the GOP side, so conservative are crying foul. I was about to agree with them, but I'm thinking that it might be a wise move. Remember the Louisiana election system has no primary, so all candidates, regardless of party, get to run in the general election. If no one gets 50%, there's a run-off. There's a fear that Mary Landrieu can get to 50%. Backing Terrell might grab some soccer moms away from Landrieu and ensure a run-off, in which a lower turnout will help Republicans. As long as the Terrell ads don't blast Cooksey, it seems to be a winner for the GOP as a whole. The Terrell ads can blast Landrieu while Cooksey could play good cop.

Midday Musings-Many people have linked to this Condi Rice speech about her church roots. It is, as Ruffini cites, rather presidential. However, this passage set me back a step.
I'm a devoted Presbyterian. I really like the governance structure of the church. I care about the Presbyterian Church.
After hearing Eileen talk about session (church board) and presbyteries (district-level) and synods (regional-level), she appears to have pinned the wonkometer by waxing eloquently about Presbyterian church polity. This is a nice piece from K-Lo on Sean Hannity. I've been listening to his show on the way home from Warner Southern most days; he comes across as a more-earnest and less-risqué Rush. He's got a new book out, Let Freedom Ring that might find its way into Christmas wrap for either my dad or my father-in-law, both of whom like Rush. Go, Jags. WR Jimmy Smith is being "underpaid" in his current contract and is holding out. Jacksonville is letting Smith stew in his own natural juices. Football is an odd duck in that contracts are binding only to the player; teams can cut players and get out from under future years of a contract. If Smith was underperforming, he'd be on the waiver wire faster than students heading for the door after a lecture. While I'm sympathetic to the concept of honoring your word, NFL owners aren't exactly the people to be preaching that loud and proud. The "circular firing squad" decided to do a 180 and fire at Jeb last night. Shucks, it would have been fun to see McBride and Reno get into a Death Match.

Wednesday Morning GM-Good Tuesday Morning QB article, with a nice essay on the Swamp Weasels' official nickname, the Redskins. It looks like the team logo might not be trademarkable due to laws against trademaking offensive images. While Easterbrook might thing the Cleveland Indian nickname might be safe, Chief Wahoo might not. If the Redskin logo of a stoic warrior in feather dress is offensive, then Chief Wahoo's cheesy manure-eating grin pins the offendometer. I don't respect the Arizona (Caution: May contain football-like substance) Cardinals (note my kicker shift for opening day), but this is cold: "George McGovern could have beaten them for president." Gregg, the Midland High JV could have beaten McGovern.

Dr. Evil?- Commish Ben has a Blogger Bowl 2K3 post, nicknaming me "Evil Genius." I did make my first trade, giving the Air Byron offence another form of mass transit by adding a Bus. I picked up Jerome Bettis for David Boston. Trader Mark might still have a few tricks up his sleeve before opening day.

Churchmongering-This WaTi piece on the New York governor's race reminded me of two facts: everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day and all politicians are Baptist the Sunday before the election. Andrew Cuomo was stumping in a black Baptist church while trying to get the Democratic nomination, saying, "I worship as a Roman Catholic, but I want you to know that I feel like a Baptist." Reminds me of the last verse of Walking in Memphis-"She said 'Are you a Christian, child?' I said, 'I am tonight.'" One of the sad realities of many black churches is that they are often a cog in the liberal Democratic machine. I found this Charisma News piece interesting, where many black churches are moving away from a civil-rights mentality towards a revival-and-renewal focus. A pastor of such a transformed AME church had this quote
[W]e are not making as many placards, we're not holding as many rallies. But on the other hand, we're having many more revivals and teaching sessions and seminars, trying to equip our people to be family, to have sanctity of family, have respect and reverence for the house of God and their people of God. And the balance is absolutely necessary.
That's good news from a spiritual perspective more than from a political one. While such a transformed church membership might vote 85% Democratic rather than 90%, they will have transformed lives that will mitigate against many of the social ills that befall many black communities. This might be a time of transforming the black church, much as the "white" church has been overhauled in the last thirty years, with growth in evangelical churches and shrinking in mainline ones. The traditional black denominations, like the COGIC and AME, may have to get back to their spiritual roots rather than their sociopolitical ones or else start to go the route of the other mainline churches. {Update 1:50PM-Found this Baltimore Sun piece via Christianity Today's blog. It seems to be the sourse of the Charisma article.]

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Be wary of trends. I'm seeing a lot of churches strive to get on a "contemporary worship" bandwagon. However, people need to build a church around the Gospel, not around pumping up church attendance via appealing to young people's musical tastes. The music might draw some of the curious, but a lame sermon and lack of life in a church can't be painted over with a keyboard, a guitar and a few praise songs. I'm not here to trash CCM in church; that's Louder's job. However, a church looking to serve God needs to focus on things that will last. A good sermon that reaches a person's heart or a prayer team that can walk through a seeker's problems will have more long-term effect than switching How Great Thou Art for I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. We can reach youth with fun, games and 100-decibel music, but they will respond better to people who earnestly care for them, someone who can echo Clint Wright's saying in yesterday's chapel: “I love you, and there ain't nothin' you can do about it." We also need to take a hard look at majoring in the things that last in our own lives. Avoiding fads or the urge to keep up with clothes fashion will help. Taking a jaded eye towards material possessions in general, whether they be trendy or not, is helpful; remember, you can't take it with you. He who dies with the most toys is still dead. The boy with all the toys might have a saving faith, but the toys get left behind. If material wealth was what Toy Boy was putting his focus on, he won't have much for God to praise him for. We need to build some real things that will transcend the grave.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Evening Musings- Kevin James is back from hiatus and has a nice piece on Chick-fil-a. They didn't have much of a footprint in Michigan, so I'm new to their stores, only knowing of them by their never-on-Sunday stance. They have good food (Eileen swears by the waffle fries) and great billboard ads. One ad on I-75 just south of Chattanooga caught my eye on the trip down; a 3-D pair of Holsteins hand-painting a "Brake 4 Chikin" sign. The other LOL one was a cow with a chicken head on, captioned "U wanna piece of me?" For those Food TV fans, use this for Bobby Flay's sidekick Jackie-call her Chick Fl-ay. Speaking of Eileen, she's walking-wounded today with an upper-respiratory bug that's making its way through her middle school; Send up a prayer for her and her workmates. She made it though an extra-long day today with PTO meetings this evening. This evening, she was looking in the fridge for something to wash down some acetaminophen.
"OJ? OJ?" "He got dropped from the list."
New York and San Francisco are the finalists for the American bid for the 2012 Summer games. Part of me wants to ask whether you prefer Sodom to Gomorrah. However, since Gomorrah got the WTC knocked down, it deserves some sympathy. OK, 'splain to me these back-to-back National Post pieces. First "Genetically modified food safe, report says" just over "Zambia refuses food despite UN assurances" due to fears over GM food. Beam me up, Scotty, no intelligent lifeforms here. Well, my brother-in-law Uli's folks live in Zambia, but the leadership of the country seems to have an IQ that rounds to zero. "Suspicious powder found in letter at Gore's Nashville office." You mean the staff wasn't playing "What's My Line?" with the white powder? The Macy's Parade, balloons, floats and all, in Orlando? Cue Artie Johnson-"Verrry Interesting, but stooopid." Next stop: replicate New Years Eve, complete with the Times Square ball drop, during tourist season at Universal. Speaking of Universal, there are a pair of killer CCM festivals going down next weekend up Disney way. Magic Kingdom gets the more mainstream Night of Joy for a two-day thing with Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Plus One, Michael W. Smith and Jaci Velasquez. Pity they couldn't get any big names to show up. Up the road at Universal, they have a bit edgier Rock the Universe, with the Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, Third Day and Tobymac (from DC Talk) on the bill. You could set the Christian music scene back a decade with a well-placed nuke in Central Florida next weekend. The New Hope youth are headed up to the Friday NOJ, while Warner Southern sending a contingent up to RTU Saturday.

Messing in Someone Else's Fight-Interesting piece of info from my Sunshine State outpost. I just got done watching an anti-Bill McBride attack ad run by the Jeb Bush campaign. McBride seems to be gaining ground on Janet Reno for next month's primary, and it might be that Jeb's people would rather face her than McBride. They'll be better able to raise money to fight the gal who never got around to appointing independent councils and McBride seems to be a better campaigner. So, they are giving an ad making him out to be playing fundraising games and being a bad businessman/lawyer. The ads seemed to be rather vague in their charges and would make me give McBride a positive second look if I were a Democrat, for the Bush people seem to be scared of McBride

American 100 2.0-The votes are in, and here's who you have voted off the island. Go see Coach Byron, bring your playbook.
Version 1.0 Rejects Bill Clinton Billie Jean King Carl Sagan Chuck Colson DL Moody Jim Henson Michael Jackson Ty Cobb Wereher Von Braun Bruce Springsteen Jerry Falwell Neil Simon Diana Ross O.J. Simpson
Ross and Simpson were removed with extreme prejudice. I was striving for something Motown when Ross came up-I did site it as one of the weakest links. Between his football prowess and the murder, OJ seemed an interesting choice, but the glove fits today.
Concensus Additions (2 or more votes) Aimee Semple MacPherson Bob Dylan Duke Ellington Fulton J Sheen George Whitefield Harriet Beecher Stowe Jonas Salk Malcolm X Oliver Wendell Holmes Tentative Additions (best of the one-votes) David Sarnoff Earl Warren John Quincy Adams Lewis and Clark Thurgood Marshall
Yeah, Lewis and Clark are two people. Ya wanna make something of it? So, here we go for a second pass.
The American 100 2.0 New Members in Italics
Aaron Copeland Franklin Roosevelt John D. Rockefeller Ralph Waldo Emerson
Abraham Lincoln Fredrick Douglass John Kennedy Ray Kroc
Aimee Semple MacPherson Fulton J Sheen John Kenneth Galbraith Richard Nixon
Al Capone Gene Roddenbury John Marshall Richard Rodgers
Alexander Graham Bell George Custer John Quincy Adams Robert E. Lee
Alexander Hamilton George Gershwin John Updike Ronald Reagan
Andrew Carnegie George Lucas John Wayne Samuel Clements
Andrew Jackson George Patton Jonas Salk Sitting Bull
Arthur Miller George Washington Jonathan Edwards Steve Jobs
Babe Ruth George Whitefield Joseph Smith Steven Speilberg
Ben Franklin Hank Aaron Laura Ingles Wilder Stonewall Jackson
Bill Cosby Harriet Beecher Stowe Lewis and Clark Susan B. Anthony
Bill Gates Harriet Tubman Louis Armstrong Teddy Roosevelt
Billy Graham Harry Truman Lyndon Johnson Thomas Edison
Bob Dylan Henry Ford Malcolm X Thomas Jefferson
Crazy Horse Henry Thoreau Margaret Sanger Thurgood Marshall
David Sarnoff Irving Berlin Martin Luther King Tiger Woods
Douglas McArthur Isaac Asimov Michael Jordan Tom Clancy
Duke Ellington J. Edger Hoover Mickey Mantle Ulysses S. Grant
Dwight Eisenhour Jackie Robinson Milton Berle Vince Lombardi
Earl Warren James Madison Muhhamad Ali W.E.B DuBois
Edgar Allen Poe Jesse Owens Nathaniel Hawthorne Walt Disney
Elvis Presley Jim Thorpe Neil Armstrong William Buckley
Ernest Hemmingway Joe Louis Norman Vincent Peale William R. Hearst
Flannery O'Connor Johhny Cash Oliver Wendell Holmes Woodrow Wilson
OK, Boys and Girls, time for some more editing. [Update 9:30PM-We've got a motion from the floor for the Wright Brothers, if we take them as a package deal a la Lewis and Clark. Who do we pink slip? We also have a debate over Sarnoff (who shepherded early TV) versus Farnsworth (who invented it). What sayeth thou?] {Update 8/29 6AM-Version 3.0 is up]

Midday Musings-Welcome, all the people who've flocked over from Blogs4God. Somebody must of said something about the American 100, for I've gotten a lot of comments-I'll get to them after my 2PM class. I can't get to Blogs4God from WSC, for the filtering software has blocked it for some reason. Blogspot's available, but not Blogs4God. This is an interesting development out of Spain, as the Basque Sinn Fein, Batasuna, just got banned for being too closely linked to ETA, the nasty pro-independence terror group. We had our convocation today, with the assistant superintendant of the Polk County schools give the address. Dr. Wright was a good speaker, using his black Baptist deacon style to deliver a good and overly-motovational speech. Two lines stuck out. One was"Some of you graduated Summa Cum Laude, some graduated Magna Cum Laude and some graduated Thank Ya Lardy." The other was a good down-home expression of agape-"Say to the person next to you-'I love you and their ain't nothin' you can do about it.'" Good to see at least one godly guy helping run things in Bartow. The convocation meant dressing up in our Ph.D. graduating garb and finding that the "one-size-fits-all" cap didn't fit Mr. 6'5". No, being a professor isn't giving me a swollen head.

Edifier du Jour-1 Corinthians 3:5-9(NASB)
5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
Note that God is the one who is growing the new believer. Just as the farmer depends of "Mother Nature" to cause the seed to grow, the evangelist needs to trust God to do the work in the other person's heart. Some seeds take many years and frequent watering in order to germinate. I can remember believers during my undergrad days at CMU that infuenced my decision years before I came to the Lord. They never got to see the end result of their witness, yet will get their reward. Note that Paul doesn't see his work as a work in vain, even though God is the one to make things grow. Barring a road-to-Damascus encounter like Paul's, people will need to be witnessed to by beleivers in order to hear the Gospel. Don't stop sharing your faith, even when it seems fruitless.

Monday, August 26, 2002

The American 100-After seeing the fun some bloggers had with the BBC's top 100 Britons in history, let's look at an American 100, the top 100 Americans that have shaped 2002 America the most, for good or bad. Or, to understand American culture today, these 100 biographies best tell the story of America. With some assistance from Eileen, here we go.
Initial Draft The American 100
Aaron Copeland Ernest Hemmingway Johhny Cash Ray Kroc
Abraham Lincoln Flannery O'Connor John D. Rockefeller Richard Nixon
Al Capone Franklin Roosevelt John Kennedy Richard Rodgers
Alexander Graham Bell Fredrick Douglas John Kenneth Galbraith Robert E. Lee
Alexander Hamilton Gene Roddenburry John Marshall Ronald Reagan
Andrew Carnegie George Custer John Updike Samuel Clements
Andrew Jackson George Gershwin John Wayne Sitting Bull
Arthur Miller George Lucas Jonathan Edwards Steve Jobs
Babe Ruth George Patton Joseph Smith Steven Speilberg
Ben Franklin George Washington Laura Ingles Wilder Stonewall Jackson
Bill Clinton Hank Aaron Louis Armstrong Susan B. Anthony
Bill Cosby Harriet Tubman Lyndon Johnson Teddy Roosevelt
Bill Gates Harry Truman Margaret Sanger Thomas Edison
Billie Jean King Henry Ford Martin Luther King Thomas Jefferson
Billy Graham Henry Thoreau Michael Jackson Tiger Woods
Bruce Springsteen Irving Berlin Michael Jordan Tom Clancy
Carl Sagan Isaac Asimov Mickey Mantle Ty Cobb
Chuck Colson J. Edgar Hoover Milton Berle Ulysses S. Grant
Crazy Horse Jackie Robinson Muhhamad Ali Vince Lombardi
Diana Ross James Madison Nathaniel Hawthorne W.E.B DuBois
Douglas McArthur Jerry Falwell Neil Armstrong Walt Disney
Dwight Eisenhower Jesse Owens Neil Simon Wehrner Von Braun
Dwight Moody Jim Henson Norman Vincent Peale William Buckley
Edgar Allen Poe Jim Thorpe O.J. Simpson William R. Hurst
Elvis Presley Joe Louis Ralph Waldo Emerson Woodrow Wilson
Let the fun and games begin. I'd like two things from the Peanut Gallery. First, who do you think got shafted? I might slap my head and agree with you. Secondly, for each person you add, take one off. If you think Jonas Salk needs to bump Diana Ross or Grover Cleveland needs to bump Crazy Horse, let me know. I'm using this as a rough draft for taking a good look at American history, and I'll likely agree with most of the changes one I have a chance to review things. {Update 6:45 8/27-The critics have spoken and The Turk has arrived-check out version 2.0][8/29 6AM and Version 3.0]

BB 2K3 Update-The draft for Blogger Bowl 2003, featuring a who's who of Augustinian pundits, was held yesterday, and my Florida Blogista roster looks like Air Byron. Here's the breakdown of my guys. QB-Solid-We've got Donovan McNabb as our #1 QB, although I might go with Brad Johnson for opening day, as he might have a better shot of taking apart the Saints than McNabb has against the Titans. Jim Miller might get a start or two later in the season. WR- Drool, fellas, drool-Randy Moss, David Boston and Keyshawn Johnson will be the recieving corps, with Bill Schroeder and Keenan McArdell ready to step in for injuries and off days. Marcus Pollard's at TE is good for a TD every other game. RB-Not our strongest suit-Mike Alstott's our starter, who'll give TDs but not great yardage. Our sleeper might be T.J. Duckett. He got held to zero yards in his last pre-season game, but I think he might be Jamaal 2.0 down the line. K-Jason Hanson's my top pick, but I'll run with Swamp Weasel Brent Conway opening day to rack up some points at Arizona's expence. Defence-I've got Baltimore and the Giants as my two main D's with Arizona as a possible backup. Baltimore at Carolina seems a better bet than the Giants going up agianst Cherry Garcia and the 49ers.

Living Out Loud-Paul Musgrave's pinch-blogging over at Claybourn's, and has this thought-provoker-
As I was lugging boxes from van to room, something I find myself doing frequently nowadays, I noticed that my next-door neighbor’s door was decorated with something besides an IU football poster or a dry-erase board. On it was a plain wooden cross. Aside from the fact that I immediately noticed my neighbor was Protestant (it is a stereotype, but I have noticed most Catholics prefer crucifixes to crosses), it sparked a question which I wrote down because I knew that I could use it as one of my three posts on JoshClaybourn.Com: Should Christians loudly advertise their faith? I'm not as strong on the New Testament post-Gospels as I should be (except Revelations), so maybe I'm missing a key scriptural passage. But Christian T-shirts, crosses on dorm room doors, and so on do seem to send mixed messages. That is, they're not so much evangelical as bragging: "I'm saved and you're not."
I've got a bad case of Steven Curtis Chapman on the brain, as two of his songs are going mano-a-mano. The question he raises about loudly advertising one's faith calls to mind Live Out Loud, where he calls us to proudly and loudly proclaim our faith. We're not to be ashamed of the gospel. Putting the fishy on the back of the car or a WWJD bracelet on the wrist might start a conversation that wouldn't otherwise happen. However, I've got another SCC song that cuts crosswise to this issue: The Change. Chapman sings about all that holy hardware1 he's got advertising his faith, but questions whether the transforming work of the Holy Spirit can be seen, which is the true advertisement of our faith. The best advertisement of our faith is a life lived for Jesus. A nice poster or sticker might help, but a life full of the Holy Spirit will have people asking how you keep things so positive. 1Borrowed from Os Guinness' The Gravedigger Files-He had a long passage on a lot of Christian paraphernalia being so tacky and disruptive to evangelism that the Devil would be proud, but the book's at home. I might pull up a good passage on the issue when I get home.

Fascism with a Progressive Face-I've been reading a bit on a transnational progressivism in the blogs the last two weeks, with this USS Clueless piece being one of the better ones. This seems to be the Euroweenie philosophy, that a central world government is better than nations and that groups are more important than individuals. When dwelling upon their philosophy of dividing up society's goodies on a group-by-group basis, it triggered a two-decade old memory from an ideologies class I had at Central Michigan. It reminded me of Mussolini's idea of syndicalism, of organizing people by groups. While pure syndicalism as a early-20th century movement was designed as a anarchist-labor movement, with massive strikes bringing down the power structure, Mussolini's version was more achievable and thus nastier, as this Richard Eberling essay reminds up
When the war ended, Mussolini organized the Fascist movement, unifying Italian nationalists, economic collectivists, and various groups from all walks of life that had come to reject traditional Marxian socialism. Mussolini took his economic agenda from the philosophy of syndicalism, the idea that trades, crafts, professions, and industries would be grouped into mandatory cartels and unions through which the nation's economic system would be planned and directed under government supervision and control.
The point of that Eberling book review was that Nazism and Fascism are ideologies of the left. Mussolini started out as a socialist and Nazi is the short-form of National Socialist. If this Transi ideology smells a lot like Fascism, there's a good reason for it. This will be interesting as things play out. Liberals who are fans of individual rights will not like being categorized, nor will the right-of-center like the big government nature and collectivist ideology, thus the Transi philosophy will be a political hard sell. Only the courts could shove this philosophy down our throats, thus making Supreme Court nominations all the more important. A post-Christian Europe is more susceptible to the Transi cry, but pockets of individualism should stop it. If I can go into eschatology mode, I could see the Antichrist use this as his take-over philosophy. Short of that, I see it as a foe being fought back by individualists around the world.

Edifier du jour-1 Corinthians 2:6-10(NASB)
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, "THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM." 10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
I have heard verse 9 many times over the years and took it as unknowable pleasures that God has for us in Heaven. However, if you read verse 10 along with it, God's mysteries are a bit more in reach, for such mysteries are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. It seems to elude many people, for it isn't given by traditional means, but only via a one-on-one dialogue with God. Any time I see the word "Mystery" I get my antennae up for cultic groups that claim a monopoly on the True Revelation of God® that everyone else has missed. No, they at best have a duopoly, since God has the information as well and is free to give it to anyone outside the blessed group. The Holy Spirit easily transmits such mysteries, things unknown to the unaided man, so we shouldn't get too cocky about our knowledge of God.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

Posthumus and Nugent Democrats-It looks like the governor's race is taking shape in Michigan, as GOP nominee Dick Posthumus looks like he's singing from the Michael Barone songbook, putting in a plug for Red State values here
Ignoring the free advice he’s been getting from media opinion leaders in recent weeks to drop the subject, Republican Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus accepted his party’s nomination for governor Saturday with a passionate pitch for something he calls "Michigan values." He says he’s got ‘em and they’re important. And he offered up a checklist of what’s important: Working hard, earning a paycheck that the government doesn’t take back in taxes, good schools where parents are involved and spend Friday nights at football games, and a love of the outdoors, hunting and heading "up north" or onto the water for the weekend.
That last stretch, the freedom to hunt, fish and have fun on the water, should be the wedge issue that could get Posthumus a promotion to governor. If played poorly, such a pitch against the Berkeley-Harvard trained Granholm's Blue State values (which pride gun control and dislike overuse of wilderness areas) could sound demagogic, but if played with a soft touch, it could bring outdoors-loving union votes over to him. Such "Nugent Democrats" (my neologism for pro-gun blue-collar folks, named after the pro-gun-'n-hunting Michigan rocker Ted Nugent) appeared to have been the decisive vote in Dingell's win over Lynn Rivers in the primary three weeks ago. If done with a deft touch, such a "Michigan Values" campaign could work. The big-media liberals, who dislike the hunting-and-jetski crowd, won't like it. What else is new? However, it could be the way to turn a Blue state red via playing to that love of experience the outdoors yourself with modern gear.

Edifier du jour-1 Corrintians 1:18-25(NASB)
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The Gospel is very simple. God's God. You're not. Jesus died to bridge that gap between a perfect God and imperfect, sinful man. The worldly person want to make it more difficult. Something that precious should be harder to get than simply believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior and giving the best you've got. We've got truckloads of heresies that try to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

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