<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Saturday, September 21, 2002

The Chips are Down for Estrada-Patrick Ruffini handicaps the prospects of DC Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada, wondering if Bush would nominate him for a Supreme Court post if he were rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It would be a rather irregular pick. Most Supreme Court nominees have a judicial background-I think Rehnquist was the last nominee to have the Supreme Court be his/her first judgeship. The DC circuit is the AAA farm club for the Supreme Court and the liberals know it. They couldn't stop Estrada getting on the Supreme Court if he gets on the appeals court. They could shoot him down for the Supreme Court (assume a continued Democratic majority) by pointing out his judicial inexperience; that's why getting him onto the DC circuit would be crucial. How about a recess appointment? Here's a good indicator of how slow things are-I was writing about Estrada back in April.

A Musing on Conservatism-I was reading Orrin Judd's short trashing of Marshall Wittmann's declaration of independant status, and was moved by this comment
Perhaps the main reason that conservatism will always remain in the minority is that it requires you to accept that your father may have been smarter than you, not specifically your father, but figuratively, our ancestors. Conservatism makes the thoroughly anti-modern demand that one recognize that our culture's ideas and traditions, having withstood the tests of time, contain a wisdom that our individual notions are unlikely to match. In the words of Russell Kirk, conservatives believe "society is a spiritual reality, possessing an eternal life but a delicate constitution: it cannot be scrapped and recast as if it were a machine." Thus, we should be deferential, though not imprisoned by, to the past. Conservatism is the politics of We the People.
That applied to theology as well as politics. There's usually a reason things are the way they are. There are some cases where new technology or an novel insight will result in a better way of doing things, but the status quo typically will have a well-hacked rationale to it. Two millenia of theological thinking might have more collective wisdom than your little brain.

Conservative Enviromentalism-Orrin Judd got a blog-sequence started yesterday with a good post on the subject. Kevin Holtsburry, Paul Cella , Josh Claybourn and Christopher Badeaux have all chimed in (thanks for the multiple heads ups, guys) . Part 1-The Judd Principles Let’s go over the five guidepost that he laid out.
1) Recognition that we are part of an eternal chain of being, that we owe a debt to those who handed our environment to us and an obligation to those we'll hand it on to, that how we discharge our duties to both ancestors and successors has moral implications.
God has given us this planet, but He hasn't given it to us to trash. OK, you get an evening Edifier du Jour: here's Genesis 1:26-30(NASB)
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.
Subdue doesn't mean kill or trash. On a macro scale, we need to take care of what God's given us.
(2) Maintenance of the variety of environments that Creation has to offer. This does not mean that every tree and blade of grass must be sacrosanct, but it does mean that every inch of space in America need not bear a strip mall.
Agreed. There are a number of places that need to be left untouched. These aren’t just the pretty or awe-inspiring parts; wetlands play a bigger part of the overall ecology than you’d think, so draining swamps isn’t as great an idea across the board.
(3) At all times, even as these goals are pursued, it must be recalled that Man has dominion over Nature and that every human life is more important than all non-human life. Only man is a moral creature and, therefore, only men have rights.
For instance, the aquifer that Austin uses for it’s water has a few endangered species dependant on a certain level of water being in the system. If I have to choose between saving the Barton Springs Salamander and evacuating half of Austin, we’d have one less critter in Texas. If I have to choose between the Spotted Al Owl and thousands of timber industry jobs, I will give more of a hoot about the jobs than a bird.
(4) Conservation must be compatible with private property rights and human freedoms. Where property is taken its owners must be fairly compensated. To the greatest extent possible, conservation should be private and allow for reasonable use. There's no inconsistency between saying that land has been preserved for the future and allowing folks to hunt, camp, fish, log, etc. on it. Nature is being saved so that it will be there for us to enjoy, not as some kind of totemic fetish.
There are a number of cases were big tracks of land may have to be set aside to save species, which is a government job. Also, there might be limits needed to be set on the use of land if mating or migration patters are harmed by too-active human use of an area. Such intrusions should be minimized, and need to be paid for, either by outright purchase of the property of by purchase of environmental easements.
(5) Distrust of large public works projects and commercial developments. Just as conservatives instinctively distrust those who would make sweeping changes to the culture, they should be skeptical of those who propose massive restructuring of the physical landscape.
The era of big dams is over. When we look at the cost/benefit analysis of those large government projects that were the cornerstone of so many third-world development projects, they not only did a number on their local environments but rarely brought the benefits they were supposed to. Part II-Macro, Meso and Microenviromentalism-There are three different classes of environmental issues that come to mind and only one type. The first type I will label Microenvironmentalism, which will often revolve around saving a small species or saving a small tract of land from development. This often involves local environmentalists joining up with NIMBYs and other parties to block development. Often, the environment is the last roadblock set up to stop a development. I remember the building of Midland Mall on the north side of town. Prior to the mall being built, there was little development north of US-10 in Midland, and the residents of Larkin Township north of town like their quiet exurban area. They fought annexation of the proposed mall property for years, fearing extra traffic and noise. Once the annexation fight was over, the environmental challenges kicked in. Microenvironmentalism will team up with ruralists (I don’t have a good name for people who like a rural lifestyle) and the mom-and-pop businesses that might be hurt by a new development to slow things down. Unless there is clear damage to the well-being of the overall regional ecology, I don’t think such lawsuits are proper. Minor wetland degradation shouldn’t get in the way of a new mall. As for the ruralists NIMBYs, they might have a minor case; if the development lowers their property values due to the noise and congestion, they should be compensated in a good application of Coasian rights exchanges. Macroenviromentalism is the global-warming, ozone-hole type stuff. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be enough sound evidence that our current lifestyle is making the world warmer and that the proposals to slow greenhouse gas emissions would make a significant-enough difference to warrant the cost. I think a combination of risk-adverse people and people who have seen too much of the wrong propaganda who are driving the debate to the left. There is a tendency to over-react to long-shot possibilities, and there is always the outside chance that New York will be under 50 feet of water. However, the possibility gives the environmentalist headline “We might see New York under 50 feet of water if we don’t start doing something about global warming now!” Yes, we might. However, it’s unlikely that that will happen. Second, the cost of what they are about to propose is not worth the limited benefits that are likely to stem from those proposals. Mesoenviromentalism (meso=mid-range) is where most of us can come to a certain amount of agreement. Pollution of rivers or of the air of a region effects everyone. As a Michigan native, the clean-up of the Great Lakes is one of the greater accomplishments of my lifetime. Cost-effective regulation of air and water pollution is important. There is a point where minute amounts of pollution is preferable to the expenditures needed to get rid of them, but smart regulation is still called for until we reach that point. There are smart ways to regulate pollution-trading pollution rights so that businesses that are efficient in reducing pollution can sell rights to ones that have a harder time cutting pollution is one starting point. This is an area that smart environmentalists and conservatives have been able to band together. My general thought is that we will be fighting the leftist environmentalist groups on the macro and micro scales while coming to some common ground on mesoenviromental issues.

Acknowledging "Youthful Indiscretions"- I need to elaborate further on my late-Thursday post responding to Illinigirl's criticism of Rob Blagojevich's lame explanation of past marijuana use. She was dead on there, but this passage set me a bit on edge 36 hours ago
I'm really not trying to be judgmental here. He who once lived in a glass house should not throw stones. I really don't buy into the "experimentation is a normal thing" mentality anymore though. I made some bad decisions when I was younger, but I now fully realize and admit they were stupid choices. I will actively try to dissuade my (hypothetical future) children from making the same ones. I am proud though that I can honestly say I have never used an illegal drug. I went to a pretty liberal college and was handed bongs on several occasions. What were my two primary reasons for turning it down at the time? The idea that I would have to tell my kids about it some day and the thought it could become an issue if I ran for political office someday. Guess kids have one less reason to "just say no" these days.
There wasn't anything in particular that set me off, but it did come across (as she said in a clarification) as a bit "sanctimonious." I felt lumped in with Slick Willie for a moment and didn't like the feeling. We are in agreement here, and I think elaborating on what we should be doing about educating youngsters, including some of our younger readers. I remember urging the Hokie Pundit not to be the Tokey Pundit when he went to Europe and sampled some legal Dutch pot. There are a number of things that we don't want young people to do. Some of those things we have done, some we haven't. For instance, my emotional immuring saw me get involved in a number of binge drinking episodes and a handful (yes, a handful, 4-5) of marijuana sessions (never purchased-just at parties) during my undergrad days; yes, I did inhale. However, there are negative reinforcements from such endeavors, such as the last time I smoked being very uncomfortably numb, wondering if I could focus enough to drive home, or the flu-from-Hades-like hangover during Finals week, taking two final exams the next morning interrupted with frequent devotionals to the porcelain gods, Rolf and Earl. When Eileen and I have teenagers, she can speak on substance abuse from a sense of purity (having avoided drugs and alcohol as a youth) while I can speak from experience, saying that those things aren't good for you, that I was sinning against God when I did them and such activities should be avoided. It's better not to have done those things, and I give Illinigirl her due props for steering clear of those temptations. For those of us who have some "youthful indiscretions," be it with sex, drugs, booze, speeding or whatever, here's some steps that I think will help avoid the Clinton/Blagojevich brush off.
(1) Acknowledge that is was sinful
This is the thing that got Illinigirl into full rant mode. We need to confess that what we did was wrong and not fall back on the "I was young" or "everyone was doing it" alibis. Instead of minimizing what we've done, we need to confess it openly.
(2) Acknowledge and accept that we are forgiven and made righteous through the blood of Jesus
This is especially needed for people with sexual pasts, who need to feel clean again. I've heard a lot of talk about "secondary virgins" in conversations over teen abstinence campaigns. Once we get past claiming the sin, we need to avoid branding the person with the sin. If we focus on sin and not also focus on forgiveness, the person we want to cleanse will want to avoid the subject or minimize or justify what they did.
(3) Acknowledge that is was bad for them and for others
There aren't too many sins that I know of that are physically or emotionally good for the person in the long haul. Drugs, including alcohol, help slowly rot your system and extramarital sex is physically and emotionally destructive as a whole. If those of us who did have such indiscretions do those three things, we can provide support in keeping the next generation from following our own mistakes and help parents who did keep to the straight and narrow make sure their kids do likewise.

Edifier du Jour-Ephesians 6:5-9(NASB)
5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
It's a little bit difficult to translate this to modern times, but most of the passages about slaves and masters work well with employers and employees. We're supposed to do our jobs and follow the rules even if no one's looking. I'm reminded of the modern parable about stooping at a red light on a deserted intersection at 3AM; the rationalist will ignore it, knowing that there no one there. Wrong-God's there, and He wants us to do the right thing even if no other human's looking. Ultimately, it's God we are serving, and He takes pleasure in a job well done, even if it is a well-washed rack of dishes or a well-mopped floor. The Parable of the Talents comes to mind; the people who did good work with that they were given to do were rewarded-"You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." Remember that when you have your next bit of grunt work to do. I did a good piece on the Whole Armor of God (verses 11-18) passage back in April, so I decide to pull out this part of the chapter today.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Evening Musings-My e-mail account is getting interesting. Along with the standard Nigerian money scam-spam, I've somehow gotten on the RNC's e-mailing list, getting a variety of anti-Daschel data dumps. I've gotten on Larry Sabato's mailing list as well-maybe the link to his Crystal Ball site piqued someone's attention at his joint. You might get some recurring features on world evangelism; I updated my Operation World this evening, hitting the local Christian bookstore and buying the 2001 edition.

Midday Musings-Louder Fenn seems to be back from hiatus; I saw the hit counter at 000001, which meant I was the second visitor (or maybe the first if Louder checked himself out). Cue up Vince Gill's One More Last Chance- Here's the NYT editorial on Iraq "The use of force may prove necessary, but there first needs to be a serious effort to give Baghdad one last chance to comply voluntarily with the U.N.'s disarmament demands." How many last chances does Saddam get? This sounds like something out of a second-rate sci-fi series, where a mad scientist tests out a mind control drug/device by having two test subjects jump out of the stands at a baseball game and attack the first base coach. Only after a few more of these freak-outs do the heroes discover the common link and find Dr. Notorious. The attackers were a father-and-son team. The above picture was of the dad. Doesn't this guy look like a front man for a heavy-metal band? The ESPN source for this one has the file listed as "a_punk_ht" It looks like the brother of former Pistons center Bison Dele (ne Brian Williams) has been arrested as part of a fraud and possible murder probe. The brother was trying to pass himself off as Dele when buying $150,000 of gold. Does that make him a Dele double? Bad news-there's an anti-war caucus forming in the House. Good news-Dennis the Menace is heading it up. His Toledo collegue Marcy Kaptur chimed in that "Naked aggression is not the American way." No, they'll be fully clothed when they head to Iraq, ma'am.

Bringing Mohammad to the Anglosphere- Steven den Beste is calling for a Islamic Reformation as part of his desire to see traditionalist Islam (I prefer “irredentist” as the proper modifier) go bye-bye.
Islam must go through its own version of the Reformation. That doesn't mean that Islam has to be destroyed; on the contrary. In many parts of the world it already has, in fact. Islam is a valuable part of the lives of millions of people who are not Arab Traditionalists. Because of the Reformation, in Europe and the US only a small number of Christians are biblical literalists. Most Christians treat the Bible as a source of wisdom and spiritual guidance which also contains parts which are harmful, false, wrong, irrelevant, or otherwise useless. By the same token, for many Muslims in the world much of what is in the Qur'an is helpful and valuable. But parts of the teachings of Islam are harmful, and those parts will have to be defeated. We know it's possible because the majority of the world's Muslims have already done so.
I think den Beste is misreading the Reformation here. The one-sentence synopsis of the Reformation was that Luther and company wanted to get rid of extrabiblical Catholic doctrine to get back to the original Gospel. It was the Enlightenment period that followed that led to modern liberal theology; the Reformation paid more attention to taking the Bible at face value, not less. If we are looking for a Islamic Reformation on the Christian model, such a movement would chuck the Sharia codes of the first millennia, which were interpretations of the Qur’an, and apply a 21st century hermeneutic to the Qur’an. Such a rethinking could be free of the traditionalism and anti-dynamic tendency of many pre-industrial cultures, thus freeing them from a lot of baggage that is slowing the Islamic world down. I'm not the greatest Islamic schollar, but it doesn't seen that you'd have to throw out the Qur’an to come to such a new paradigm. The Amish and Mennonites have the same basic theology, yet the Amish are tied to a pre-industrial paradigm based on a peculiar interpretation of the Bible. You don't need to turn an Amish person into a Unitarian in order for them to function in a modern society. Likewise, one doesn’t need to force an Islamic believer into throwing his Qur’an out the window in order to interact with the Anglosphere. The concept of Islam as a theocracy will need to be shelved, accepting that the government will be based on a more generic moral code that assumes individual liberty at its core. The Muslim is free to practice his faith as long as he doesn’t get in the way of someone else’s liberty. Assuming that the only alternative to the Wahhabi madrassa is secularism is a mistake that will create a lot of damage as we transition Islamic culture out of the first-millennial paradigm.

Edifier du Jour-This came from our Bible study last night-1 Timothy 4:1-6(NASB)
1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. 6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.
Heresies don't always come from the liberal side of the aisle. Some heresies take away from the Gospel, things like the divinity or atoning death of Christ or God's omnipotence or omniscience, but others add to the gospel. Those additive heresies might be in good Bible-preaching churches who have turned a good thing into a requirement of salvation or taking an optional thing and turning it into a requirement or a sin. The believer is supposed to be able to tell the difference between an real Gospel and one that has been either stripped away or burdened with extrabiblical doctrine. We're also supposed to point those out to our brothers. It sometimes isn't pretty, but it's needed.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

The Checkout Lane-Orrin Judd has a good conversation starter on a conservative posture on the environment. Give it a read; Kevin Holtsburry's got a good reply and I'll likely have a go at it this weekend. Definition of a conservative intellectual-someone who hears the name Kirk and doesn't think of Star Trek. Jeffery Collins is in good form, with a good think piece on Matthew 7. Here's the official Hokie Pundit spotting guide for VT's next home game. Illinigirl has a screed against tokin' Democrat Rod Blagojevich. She blasts those of us who "experimented" as college kids. Even Dubya had a DUI rap in his 20s, so I'd be a bit careful of lumping all of those people into the Clinton mold. Some people do mature later than others.

Now Go Away, Or We Shall Taunt You a Third Time-"Israeli troops besiege Arafat HQ"-This is the third time (at least) that they have cornered the Ramallah joint, only to back away. Israel needs to do something more than the call-and-response with the autoboomers that has been going down the last few months. Could they show Yasser the Gasser the door this time? Once again, the autoboomers are attacking the secular Israel, in a shopping district. It only seems to drive the Israeli center away from peace. For some reason, I'm starting to agree with the den Beste Hypothesis, that there is an militant Islamic mindset that wants to bring down the successful un-Islamic Western culture that provides cognitive dissidence with the idea that Islam is the answer. Rather than look at how they can tweak their culture to become more successful, the den Beste Hypothesis, as I understand it, states that they will seek to destroy the west rather than become more like it. The word I'm looking for to describe this is "irredentist Islam" but irredentism not of the sense of reclaiming territory but of reclaiming emotional superiority.

The Fully Clothed Gentlemen-If I had a Million Hokies (if I had a million Hokies) I'd buy you a new trailer. (a big double-wide, fer sure) If I had a Million Hokies (if I had a million Hokies) I'd buy you a pizza ( with double pepperoni and cheese) If I had a Million Hokies (We wouldn't have to eat cafeteria food) If I had a Million Hokies (We wouldn't need to recycle cans) If I had a Million Hokies (We wouldn't have to eat Ramon noodles-but we would)

Evening Musings-My keys had fallen behind the nightstand, obstructed from view by a shawl. I couldn't find them this morning, even after looking for about 15 minutes. However, the focus of the search was in the living room-I usually put my keys and wallet on the computer desk in the living room. I had backup keys for the apartment and my car, but had to have the department secretary lend me the master key to get into my office this morning. After getting home this evening, I looked another 15-20 minutes, getting to a nook-by-nook search of the bedroom, finally finding the AWOL keys. Today was my least favorate day in my Macro class-giving back the last exam. I try to pray before giving back exams so that the lynch-the-prof spirit doesn't get too far. The grades weren't that bad, but quite a few scores looked like Shaq's free throw percentages. I was commiserating with one of the Math profs; her Calculus I test grades made my bunch look like Rhodes Scholars. On a lighter note-the emoticon turns 20 :-)

Kirk's Race Card-One of the reasons that black candidates rarely do well in statewide elections is that the segregated "majority-minority" districts that most black congressmen or state reps/senators represent lend themselves to the politics of victimization and of needing big government. This creates a very liberal cadre of black politicians, but such politics rarely sells to a broader populace. Black candidates that do well on a statewide basis are ones that transcend that type of politics and address problems outside of the 'hood. In the last decade or so, we've started to see a crop of big city black mayors who have focused on good management rather than the politics of victimization. At first, that's how Ron Kirk seemed to be marketing himself, as one of those googoo mayors that whites don't have to be afraid of. However, the recent flap on minorities in the military might put a damper on that image-here's part of a Houston Chronicle article liked to by Patrick Ruffini.
"Look who would be doing the fighting," he said following a joint rally with Tony Sanchez, the Democratic candidate for governor. "They're disproportionately ethnic, they're disproportionately minority." Kirk said that if the children of Cornyn's wealthy friends and acquaintances were destined to be on the front lines, "he would be just as deliberative as the rest of us."
Kirk not only plays the race card, he plays the ethnicity card (cozying up to Latinos) and the class card. That is a Jacksonesque trifecta that is also Jacksonesque in its hubris, that the country clubbers wouldn't send their kids to war but that homies and wetbacks are expendable. Let's look at the Kirk hypothesis and see if there are any good alternatives. Yes, we have more minorities in the military. Part of that is that the military is a couple of decades ahead of the rest of the country in accepting and promoting minorities. The military was doing in the 50s what the rest of the country was doing in the 70s. The military had a black CEO over a decade ago; how many Fortune 500 companies can say the same? If I remember correctly, the military's about 1/3 minority as opposed to the 1/5 of the general population. Also, the modestly-paying military jobs appeal more to blue-collar kids than white-collar ones, who can make more money with a professional career; thus the children of well-off parents will be less likely to join an all-volunteer military than the children of lesser-off parents. Would you propose a quota system, insisting that the military be 75% European-Anglo if the population is 75% European-Anglo, giving preferential hiring to white Anglos in order to balance the system? The only way I can think of to do this is to (1) go to a draft without any deferments and (2) have a strict quota system on hiring officers so that a proper percentage of white Anglos and a proper percentage of officers, including sergeants, of rich parents were hired. If Kirk wants to propose that, fine. It would hurt the black and Latino community, blocking good jobs that they presently seek, and disrupt the lives of the college-bound as well. It won't help anyone that I can see, unless having a military that has the "right" ratio of socioeconomic niches is our primary goal. I don't think Kirk wants to propose that. If he does, I will give him a heartfelt apology once I pick my jaw up off the floor. However, he seems to be playing all the liberal group cards in order to make John Cornyn into the rich fat cat who doesn't care about people of color or "working people." That's the kind of politics that prevents blacks from winning statewide and that's the stoopid move that may well keep Kirk from winning statewide.

Hurry Up and Wait-Interesting National Post piece on waiting times in Canada's health-care system, which have hit all-time highs, ranging from 14 weeks in Ontario to eight months in Saskatchewan. The Frazier Institute, the one Canadian free-market think tank that shows up on my radar, put out the report. Given the liberal nature of Canada, they're fighting the good fight in a place that needs the help. Here's the link to the PDF of it for both of you who want to dig in; I haven't gotten that far. Here's a passage that's a bit bracing
The report notes Canadians wait longer for cardiac treatment than Americans, Germans and Swedes, although not as long as New Zealanders or the British.
Britain’s even worse? That will be an interesting factoid for the Tories to bring up. However, this next paragraph from the article is interesting
In its recent brief to the Royal Commission of the Future of Care in Canada, chaired by Roy Romanow, the former premier of Saskatchewan, the CMA said this problem could be solved with the establishment of minimum national standards for access to care. It said Canadians need to be offered a "safety valve" or guarantee that if a person has to wait too long, they can go outside their province or even the country to receive treatment.
That "outside the country" translates to the USA. Canadians can head south to get health care if they need to, often paid for by the province is the backlog is dangerous enough. One of the downsides of the US adopting such a system is that the US won't have the US to send the overflow to when we screw up. Think about that the next time a "single-payer system" starts sounding good.

Edifier du Jour-Ephesians 4:1-7(NASB)
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift
This verse can be badly misread, but I'll give it a go. The verse points to a capital-C Church that comprises all believers, but defining membership's always tricky. I've got the Anglican story still in my craw this morning and am discerning how this verse applies. Where there is schism, someone is out of step. Either at least one of the parties is outside of a proper knowledge of God, or they are fighting over points that can be disagreed over without questioning each other's salvation. The liberal will cling to the message of tolerance in verse two like a grease stain to your best suit, but the unity Paul is shooting for is a unity within the Holy Spirit. If the liberal's view of the Holy Spirit is not unlike The Force in the Star Wars movies, a personless power permeating the universe, they are not worshiping the same God the more orthodox believer is. I'm thinking of the verse from the old camp song "We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord...." However, if the liberal's Jesus is a good teacher who died two millennia ago and the conservative's Jesus is Lord and Savior, we aren't one in the Lord. If our vision of the Spirit goes from a sentient, feeling person active in our daily lives to some cosmic power source to tap into, we aren't one in the Spirit. They may know we are Christians by our love, but they'll know even more by how we follow His Word, which includes loving our fellow man. Sometimes being truly loving will be to point out to someone that they on the fast lane to Hades and they need to do a 180 and come to Jesus. The attitude of not addressing the problem areas in their lives and just smothering them with compassion is sloppy agape and falls short of what God's looking for. Tackling those problems might not be PC, but it's often exactly what's needed. One can start to carry theological purity to an extreme, excommunicating each other for letting guitars into church or having the wrong premillennial time-line. We need to check whether our actions grieve the Holy Spirit and pick the fights that He would want us to pick.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Southern Gospel-Sullivan pointed out this Atlantic piece on how conservative Christian theology is taking hold in the southern half of the world. It's old news to us who follow missiology, but good reading nonetheless. Both conservative Catholicism and evangelical (especially Pentecostal) groups have been making big inroads in Latin America and Africa. This might shoot down the Coming Democratic Majority hypothesis, as a very religious set of Latin immigrants might well be open to a GOP moral-values pitch. We are beginning to see the effects of this in the US, as a Singapore Anglican bishop is helping support conservatives in the US and Canada who've had it with the predominant liberal theology of the North American Anglican/Episcopal church. If I recall correctly, it was an Argentinean charismatic revival that inspired/fathered the Toronto renewal. I may have to redo my "How the South Saved Civilization" piece someday to make it the African and Argentinean Christians who brought a sound gospel back to the post-Christian north.

BC Schism-part IV-Cue Neil Sedaka, the Anglicans are finding that staying together is hard to do, especially when they're not on the same page theologically. Outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has ripped those bishops who have blessed same-sex unions. The liberal bishops have returned fire. One of the arrows came from British Columbian bishop Michael Ingham
The diocese of New Westminster believes that Christ died for all humanity, and that the unity of the Church cannot be built on unjust discrimination against minorities, such as homosexual Christians
The key words in that phrase is "unjust discrimination." If you take the Bible at face value, teaching that homosexuality is wrong isn't discrimination, it's education and proper discipline. Another quote from Ingham in the National Post piece struck me
I regret that the Archbishop's remarks will confirm and deepen the impression that he has not heard the cry of these, his own children in the Church. Until all voices are heard, the unity we all seek will remain elusive."
Archbishop Carey has heard the cry of those kids, and thinks they need to be sent to their room after getting verbally paddled. The universalist wants unity under the standard of "the details don't matter." Unity can come only if the differences are small enough that they can agree to disagree. The differences between the two camps seem to be too great. It appears that we will have two Anglican churches, a liberal and a conservative one, in short order. With a theological liberal, Rowan Williams, slated to take Carey's place as Archbishop of Canterbury, my money is that the existing order will be liberal one and a breakaway fellowship of conservative Anglicans will officially form before 2005.

Midday Musings-Janet Reno finally conceded to Bill McBride yesterday, as she wasn't getting the votes needed from recounts downstate to make up the gap. Now watch them try to blame the problems of a week ago on Jeb. If he did bring the voting system under state control rather than country control (need a good word that would parallel federalize), the left would say "What ever happen to that local control that Republicans are supposed to love? We don't want Tallahassee running Dade County's elections." Patrick Ewing's hanging up the sneakers, heading to the team formally known as the Bullets to be an assistant coach. Or at least he'll stop playing in games-I expect that he'll get plenty of playing time in practice teaching the Wiz big men how to play the game. Don't be surprised if he makes a comeback as a player-coach. I remember a few years back when Tree Rollins was a coach with the Magic-if the team got short a big man, they'd "sign" Tree to a 10-day and temporarily be a player-coach until everyone got healthy. I could see His Airness doing the same thing with Ewing. Ben takes apart a steaming pile from Marshall Wittmann on how the "Bull Moose" stopped being a Republican. He had confused many political taxonomists in how he could be a Moose and a RINO at the same time, now he's just a [insert small rodent of choice here]. I like this closer
The reason that there's plenty of room in that field is that Wittmann is now the resident of a party of one, a party where his own arch political philosophy without a cause can run free and rampant, with the simultaneous (surely coincidental) bonus of earning him lots of new speaking contracts and getting him quoted in a lot more articles.
Kevin Phillips is due to retire sometime soon; he can fill that anti-conservative niche very nicely and not quite as annoyingly. "Mr. Wittmann, it's NPR on line two." Interesting piece here on Suzy Whaley, a club pro who won the PGA Section Championship in Conneticuit, getting her a spot in the PGA tour's Hartford Open. Note that there was no L in front of that last PGA-she'll be playing with the big boys.

Chief O'Brien?-It's a loss for the Little Guy in Massachusetts, as state treasurerShannon O'Brien got past Robert Reich in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary, getting 33% to Reich's 25% in a crowded field. She might have her hands full getting past Mitt Romney. A couple of points on O'Brien-her foes made a point of the state losing $4 billion in state pension funds on her watch, but that was on a $28-30 billion dollar portfolio during a badly down market. The state could have avoided such losses if it would put up with low bond interest rate returns, but the state shoots for a better (8.25%) return than that, which means sticking some money in the stock market. Losing $4B given the down stock market’s not as bad as it looks. Her husband being an Enron lobbyist before the stench came out (he left in late 2000) isn't as bad as it looks, either. However, both will make effective but unfair attack ad fodder.

Edifier du Jour-Ephesians 3:14-21(NASB)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
God is a big God. That might seem like a no-brainer, but to borrow from the old line about the future, God is not only bigger than we imagine, He's bigger than we can imagine. He not only can meet our requests, He can do it with oodles to spare. We need to get this in our head-we've got a honkin' big and loving God. This has (at least) two implications. The first is that we don't have to be bashful in praying. We're only going to get what God wants us to have, but we need not worry whether God's got enough money in the budget to fulfill our request. Note that I've not gone name-it-and-claim it on you. God could give Pastor Gipson the Avalanche he's been eyeing today by having the car dealer give him one, but God's more likely to give him the perseverance to save up for a nice used one in a year or two. God gives us the things that are in His will, and if He's thinking big, we can pray big. If God's got more modest plans for you, asking for the Mercedes would be in vain. The second implication in the bigness of God is that there is no voice-mail in Heaven, no listening to bad elevator music for twenty minutes while God works through His backlog. We're often reticent about asking God about the little things, like praying for wisdom on how to present time-value-of-money to my Personal Finance students or to get the perseverance to sit down and grade thirty Econ exams. Since it isn't at the level of praying for the lost or for Aunt Lucy on her sickbed, we think that we need to wait in line while the high-priority prayers are answered. God's trans-time. He's got all the time in the world, so there is no waiting line in Heaven. You've got God's full attention. Go ahead and ask. Big or small, He's got the time and resources to respond.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Monopolies, Oligopolies and Regulation-Josh Claybourn pointed out this Paul Musgrave piece in Hoosier Review that gave praise to Nixionian economics. Josh wants a libertarian response. Will dynamist do, Josh? First, let's start with the Brad DeLong piece on the California electric sewer-pit that started Mr. Musgrave on his errands. Traditionally, electric utilities were dealt with as regulated monopolies, where the state government set the rates that utilities could charge their customers, but did so at a rate that would insure a fair profit for the utility's stockholders. This led to somewhat inefficient electric utilities, since the cost-plus nature of setting rates didn't encourage utilities to be efficient. In the last decade, many states have started to deregulate electric utilities. California came up with a cock-eyed "deregulation" scheme where wholesale rates of bulk power transfers between companies were somewhat free to rise and fall at market rates but where retail rates are still set by the government. The lack of new plants in California over the last decade coupled with a growing economy led to an electricity shortage a year and a half ago. The wholesale rates went up, but the retail rates stayed low, forcing many California utilities into bankruptcy. The California state government then proceeded to set up some long-term power-purchasing agreements at what looked to be favorable rates at the time, but prices have fallen since then, making the contracts an albatross around Gray Davis' neck. Let's start with the quote of DeLong's that Musgrave cites
The existence of very many very large firms in our economy demonstrates that there are lots of circumstances in which you would rather have "command" than "market" governing local resource allocation. Is there any reason to think that the inelastic demand for and inelastic supply of electricity makes it one such?
Demand for electricity is inelastic (insensitive to price changes), but supply need not be inelastic in the long term. In the short term, supply is inelastic, since there are only so many power plants. However, in the long term, additional plants can make the supply more elastic. Emphasis on can, for that assumes that the system allows new plants to be built. Enviros will fight any new plants and NIMBYs will join in to slow down the process. A streamlined licensing process as well as increased deregulation will tend to produce more electric plants, thus increasing supply. A command economy for electricity is slow to react to needs, for a Utilities Commission may not be interested in responding if they are controlled by forces that oppose added supply, either for economic or ideological needs. A heavy-handed commission can bankrupt a company by setting rates too low, forcing a government takeover and turning business decisions into political ones. A business in a competitive market will react to customer's needs while a commission will react to their political backer's needs. How then do we insure a competitive market? By guarding against monopolies and oligopolies (too few competitors). Some pure monopolies, such as cable TV, electrical distribution and water are candidates for a regulatory approach, where a fair profit is offered in return for a governmentally fixed price. However, outside of utilities, the markets are better vehicles of looking after the end consumer than government boards. The package market is a good example. Innovation came from FedEx and UPS, not the Post Office, for the government monopoly didn't need to do much innovating. We might need to take a second look at anti-trust law and try to keep oligopolies from forming; it's easier for two or three big competitors to avoid a "price war" than it is if ten businesses are in the market. The application of anti-trust law has been erring on the side of allowing oligopolies for the last 20 years, even the Clinton Justice Department didn't do that much more intervention that the Reagan or Bush 41 or 43 administrations. If Musgrave is looking for a thinking-man's conservatives, he'd be better to go back ten decades rather than three. As much has he's been given a bad name by the McCainiacs, Teddy Roosevelt was possibly the last classic liberal. In the 19th century, liberalism was taking power away from the aristocracy and giving it to the public at large. His trust-busting of a century ago was an extension of that form of liberalism. The nomenclature changed shortly thereafter, as classic liberalism became called conservatism and liberalism became taking power from individuals and giving it to the state. Such statism was the cornerstone of the New Deal; Nixon and Eisenhower ware part of a breed of mid-century conservative statist who was conservative on cultural issues but interventionist on economics; sort of an anti-libertarian. It's a bit ironic that the breed is now called "Rockefeller Republicans" for it was the nouveau-aristocrat John Rockefeller whose Standard Oil was Enemy #1 of the trustbusters-his grandson Nelson became the caricature of a conservative statist. Watergate, Vietnam and J. Edger Hoover's FBI got liberals angry with Nixon, thus making him look like a conservative, but his politics were more anti-libertarian than conservative in the modern definition. We need a conservatism that holds to the cultural and spiritual touchstones that matter yet leave room for improvement in society. Statists don't innovate well; they may manage the status quo well, but aren't the people to modify it. That is the advantage of a free-market system in that new ideas are tried on a small scale and are ramped up when the work; if they don't work, they don't work on a small scale. When a command economy makes a boo-boo, it's a big boo-boo; even the "best and the brightest" recruited to run things from Washington don't have as good a batting average as the market as a whole. I think dynamist economic policy needs to take a long look at anti-trust policy. The dynamist has the libertarian distaste for government intervention, but a bit of well-placed governmental power might prevent oligopolies and monopolies from forming. While large corporations are good for enabling big projects and generating economies of size, they can start running into hierarchy costs and start exhibiting oligopolic behavior. A way to a thinking-man’s conservatism that Musgrave's looking for is to use the light touch of anti-trust policy, blocking mergers where oligopoly costs outweigh the synergies and economies of size, rather than the heavy-handed regulatory approach of a utilities commission. The centralization of many industries, such as airlines and broadcasting is starting to create oligopolies and new aristocrats that run counter to a dynamic economy. While I'm uncomfortable about Washington running things, I'm less thrilled with Microsoft or AOL-Time Warner running things, either; I can at least vote on what happens in Washington. We need more Bull Moose and less Tricky Dick.

Edifier du Jour-Ephesians 2:19-22(NASB)
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
There is a peace of mind that comes from knowing that you are family. Being loved and accepted is part of the package of being in a functioning family. This allows you to not be looking over your shoulder or second-guessing about where you stand in the family of God. We're part of the family and part of the temple that God lives in. It's a house that ain't going nowhere, because Jesus is the cornerstone. It doesn't matter what storms or earthquakes will come, the temple will stay up. I remember seeing a piece a few years ago (well before the current election) on Janet Reno's childhood house, hand-made by her mom. That house was very well engeneered, standing up to hurricanes that knocked down everything else in the neighborhood. Mama Reno's got nothing on Jesus-even a 10-meg nuke won't take down our Father's House.

What's the Catch?-Iraq now says that they will allow inspectors. Here's the letter Iraq sent to Kofi Annan, which says that Iraq is ready to "allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions." However, I think I see the kicker here-"... the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections." The Iraqis can buy time by vetoing any inspector it doesn't like in the "practical arrangements" section. They have played this game in the past, not liking American or British inspectors who would do their job too well. If the UN doesn't get a clarification that the members of the inspection team will be made by the UN and not Iraq, then we're back to square one.

Monday, September 16, 2002

Revising the Vocabulary-Part Two-Antiassimilationists-Kinsey went after militant multiculturalists as well-here's her take
America has been a multicultural society all along. Recently (in my lifetime), people calling themselves "multiculturalists" have hijacked the word. They are now using it to mean that each culture should stay to itself, have nothing to do with its neighbors and reject any trading with or merging with other cultures. We already have a perfectly good word for this idea. It is called segregation. I hereby propose that we start calling multiculturalists what they really are: segregationalists. The ideology that espouses cultural segregation may then be called, quite accurately, segregationalism.
Two better words come to mind that don't have the bizarro twist of turning Al Sharpton into George Wallace; separatists and antiassimilationists. Using seperatist points out that they want to keep the cultures separate. However, the multiculti crown does want some contact-they want the broader culture's money and they want the broader culture to have a sense of perpetual guilt so that the money keeps flowing. However, the money and guilt will only keep coming if you keep the minority culture from merging with the broader culture, so it's in the culture vulture's interest in keeping their flock from becoming part of the broader culture and stop seeing themselves as a victim of that culture. Thus, I will argue that antiassimilationist will be my recommendation for the Sharptons of the world.

Revising the Vocabulary-Part one-Subsets of Racism-Kathy Kinsey has a good conversation starter to revamp the political vocabulary. Here's the origional Saturday evening post and here's her follow-up this afternoon. Here's her first bugbear-racism
The term racism used to describe the idea that another race was inferior, and to be hated or despised. It applied to anyone who judged people only according to race. It seems, nowadays, to have degenerated to mean "you don't like me". Racism, in the original sense, does exist, and should be fought. But, if I think your culture sucks bigtime, it isn't racism. Maybe we could call it culturalism (or good judgment), but not racism. If one religion denigrates another, it is not racism, it is religious bigotry, or maybe one-true-wayism. If you demand to be treated better than others because you are a particular race, you are a racist. If you demand to be treated better than others because you are a particular religion (or because you are religious and others aren't), you are engaging in religious bigotry (I need a good sound-bite term for this -- any suggestions)?
Cultural critiques would head under the heading ethnocentric, preferring one's own culture to others. Denigrating another religion could be either bigotry or apologetics, depending upon how informed the critique is. Calling Judaism a "gutter religion" is bigotry; saying that that have an incomplete understanding of salvation is apologetics. Demanding better treatment for your religious background might be called phariseeism. I'll look at the other two items later-my class starts in fifteen minutes.

Midday Musings-Had a strange call-a AP reporter out of Miami Googled his way into a post from last Tuesday (I can see it hit at 12:26 from my hit log) and called me at Warner Southern asking about "elderly poll workers being a bit dense" about the new polling machines. I told him was just reiterating what I had heard and seen in various media broadcasts and didn't want to be seen as some sort of expert on the topic-the people I saw in Winter Haven were competent. Check out Mr. Claybourn's essay on the Augustinian Just War framework and laying out a case for a just war with Iraq. His membership in the Posse is confirmed in spades. Posting's going to be a bit scanty today, as I have a four-hour Managerial Accounting class this evening to prep for.

Edifier du jour-Ephesians 1:18-23
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Two songs running through my mind when I look at this passage. The first is Open the Eyes of My Heart. We do want to be able to see Jesus in his full glory and have the confidence that the world and our lives are in good hands. A lot of our fears would be taken away if we understood that. He's Got the Whole World In His Hands was the second song called up on my mental jukebox, although Lombardi lyrics from Jerry Kramer's Instant Replay come to mind on a second tier. We say that Jesus is lord of all, but we tend to forget that when things get tough. We either want to make him less-than-omnipotent or less-than-omniscient so that we can make the bad patches a goof of God, since He wouldn't want to have us go though all this stuff. No, he does have everything in His hands. We can take comfort in that.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Which Multinationalism?-Here's an interesting piece from Robert Kagan on multilateralism-it's got a WaPo letterhead, but was on the Winter Haven News Chief's web site. Here's three good paragraphs that seem to be Orrin Judd bait.
Clearly multilateralism has different meanings on either side of the Atlantic. Most Europeans believe in what might be called principled multilateralism. In this view, gaining U.N. Security Council approval is not a means to an end but an end in itself, the sine qua non for establishing an international legal order. Even if the United States were absolutely right about Iraq, even if the dangers were exactly as the Bush administration presents them, Europeans believe the United States would be wrong to invade without formal approval. If the Security Council says no, the answer is no. Not many Americans would agree. Most Americans are not principled multilateralists. They are instrumental multilateralists. Yes, they want to win international support. They like allies, and they like approval for their actions. But the core of the American multilateralist argument is pragmatic. As Baker puts it, "the costs will be much greater, as will the political risks, both domestic and international, if we end up going it alone." This would seem unarguable. But Baker's multilateralism is a cost-benefit analysis, not a principled commitment to multilateral action as the cornerstone of world order. The press refers to Baker and Powell as foreign policy "realists." But remember, realists in the tradition of Hans Morgenthau and George Kennan don't actually believe in the United Nations. And, in fact, very few American multilateralists are as committed as their European friends to building an international legal order around the United Nations.
That nails it fairly well. If the UN wants to go where the US wants to go, so be it, but we're willing to go it alone or with a much smaller posse if we need to. The EUnuchs see the UN as a future world government, while the US sees it as a place to patch together ad hoc coalitions to go after the bad guys of the world.The US sees the UN like the early Bablyon 5 of free agents .nations working or not working together to solve problems, Europe would like it to be the Federation of Star Trek. These are two different paradigms, based in part of the different values of Europe and the US. Europe, or at least the Euroweenies who run things, likes centralization while the US likes decentralization. When applied to the UN, the US would see it best used as an ad-hocracy, patching together a posse of countries to solve a paricular problem. The EU people want it to be a centralized world EU, with very limited local autonomy. We're not going to square that circle any time soon.

Standing on Principals-There were a pair of 9-11 memorial services in the Woodlands area of metro Houston. An evangelical gathering drew between 7-10,000 and a interfaith gathering drew 1500-2000, according to the Houston Chronicle piece.The evangelical gathering was open to anyone, but "the 31 evangelical churches sponsoring one 9/11 commemoration welcomed Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians -- as long as they accepted that the central theme was praise of Jesus Christ." The bias of the editors comes through in the headline-"Religions fail to join as one for 9/11 event." It's hard to join together in worship if you can't worship your Lord and Savior. If we have different beliefs of what God is, it's hard to join as one to worship, since we're worshiping different things. Only if you have an univerasalist bias would you concider that a failure.

"Over on the Left, you can see the wild North Plains Euroweenie"-The Russians and French don't seem to mind, but the Democrats don't want an October Surprise. We seem to be headed for a late-October, early-November ultomato with Saddam, which would help the GOP if things go well. However, the Democrats might be put in a tough situation if they insist on waiting until after the election to sign off on an attack. If the French and Russians are on board, the standard unilateralist rhetoric that liberals like to pull will be rendered moot. If we have a UN resolution backing intervention, it will be hard for Democrats to resist without looking like wusses.

He Has Risen-From the Sick Bed-Jeffery Collins is a-blogging again. Keep praying for his health.

Edifier du Jour-Leviticus 23:26-32, Numbers 29:7-11(NASB) Sundown tonight kicks off Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It's worth looking at these verses this morning.
26 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27 "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28 "You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29 "If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 "As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 "You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 "It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath."
Monday (Jewish days start at sundown rather than midnight) is that 10th of Tishri. It's a day of rest for observant Jews. Baseball fans will remember the story of Sandy Koufax having to miss World Series starts due to Yom Kippur. This is for the collective sin of the Jewish people as well as for individual sins. A look at the mechanics is useful-here's the Numbers section.
12 'Then on the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work, and you shall observe a feast to the LORD for seven days. 13 'You shall present a burnt offering, an offering by fire as a soothing aroma to the LORD: thirteen bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old, which are without defect; 14 and their grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams, 15 and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16 and one male goat for a sin offering, besides the continual burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.
The male goat in verse 16 was used as a ceremonial scapegoat. Here's a Jewish web site's description of how the goat was used
The ritual continued with the High Priest sprinkling blood on the curtain of the Holy of Holies as an act of purification. Next, the remaining goat was slaughtered and additional blood sprinkled on the curtain and around the base of the altar. The scapegoat was then led through the temple's gate to a waiting priest whose job it was to take it to predetermined spot about ten to twelve miles away. Along the way, there were ten stations with food or drink in case the tired priest needed to break his fast. When the priest came to the final station, he pushed the goat off a cliff. Using a system of signal flags, the priest leading the animal would message back to the temple that the sins of the people were forgiven as the red wool around the goat's horns turned miraculously white.
The goat died to take away the sins of the people. Sounds like Someone you know? To modern Jewish consternation, the Talmund has the story of when the red cord stopped turning white-it was the Yom Kippur after Jesus was crucified. He was the scapegoat for all time, the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Today and tomorrow, lets take some time to reflect on our sins and what Jesus' death means to us. For the Jew, the Day of Atonement comes each year in the fall. For the Christian, the Day of Atonement came on Good Friday two millennia ago; we simply commemorate the day each spring. The chorus to Kim Hill's When I Remember comes to mind
When I remember what You've done; When I remember the shedding of Your blood; I can't help but worship You For all You've done.
Let's worship and thank him for that singular Day of Atonement on Golgotha.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?