Tuesday, September 30, 2008

sing for change

I'm doin' it! I'm singing for change! Yes we can! And remember, it starts with one small voice ...

Thanks Bob.

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just the facts

Here is "Just the Facts" on the recent presidential debate.


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preaching the gospel

From Steve Mathewson (emphasis mine);

Earlier in my life and ministry, I’m afraid that when I read Romans 1:16 I only thought of the gospel in terms of conversion. But the more I read Paul, I realize that the gospel is all-encompassing because salvation is all-encompassing. Salvation has past, present, and future aspects. It involves justification, sanctification, and glorification…

So when Paul challenges Philippian believers to stand firm in the face of opposition, he calls them to “live in a manner worthy of the gospel” (see Philippians 1:27). When Paul challenges Peter’s legalistic behavior in Antioch, he accuses him of “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” (see Galatians 2:14).

The point is, then, that the gospel is never something we outgrow. It’s at the core of Christian living. It’s at the core of what God is doing to save us – including the past, present, and future aspects of this great salvation. The answer to our struggles with greed, immorality, legalism, jealousy, hatred, and selfish ambition is the gospel…

Whatever challenges or problems we are facing in our churches, the solution takes us back to the gospel. That’s why I’m eager to preach the Holy Scriptures which present the gospel. What a message! I’m eager to preach it in 2008 and beyond!


This is true because we are faced with both the Gospel of the Cross and the Gospel of the Kingdom - the latter requiring the former.

social concerns

D.A. Carson spoke recently at Bethlehem Baptist Church. One of the points he covered was the perceived trend in our churches to be consumed by social concern. Is the Gospel plus caring for the poor an inseparable couplet? The writer of the post provides the following report (emphasis mine).

He [Carson] cautioned that if the gospel was merely assumed (and not clearly articulated), our passion for social justice would overshadow the gospel. While we are not intentionally exalting social concern over the gospel, people learn what we are excited about (gospel over caring for the poor). Carson warned, "Our passion must first be the gospel and not assume it to be understood." He continued, "We must be careful to keep the gospel central and not turn our responses to the gospel as the main target."

Furthermore, Carson exhorted these Christian leaders to spend our time on prayer and the ministry of the Word and allow our people to begin and maintain efforts in social concern. He said we must distinguish between what the church as church must do and what the community of believers in the church must do (I did not personally see the difference but it seemed to suggest that the pastor was exempt from exemplifying an outpouring of the gospel into the community through social efforts).

Our calling, Carson said is to do good in the city (Jer. 29), because the person has an eternal destiny and we care for them. We are all poor beggars telling other poor beggars where they can find bread. Don concluded this section by warning us not to make the issues of gospel and social concern antithetical.

This writer rightly cautions that we should take care that the pastor is not perceived as exempt from doing the work of the Kingdom. At the same time I don't think (based on the report) this was Carson's point. I understand him to say our social action is not a church program. Instead, social action is a necessary outflow of a community properly engaged in the Gospel. As a Church (and even as individual believers), our passion is the Gospel. Subsequent evidence of this is our passion to set free all who are in any kind of bondage to the kingdom of darkness. This includes not only spiritual freedom but financial, emotional, physical, etc. freedom. And this manifests both in the miraculous and the non-miraculous, i.e., the use of the common means that God has provided us with. But the point is the priority. Many are more in love with serving others than Christ-likeness. Many are so in love with serving others in their practical needs that in the overall narrative they fail to address spiritual needs. And many others, while not falling into that trap, because they fail to communicate the real drive behind our action, they are raising up a generation that misses the point.

I've made this point before and I'll restate, not all good works are Kingdom works.

Monday, September 29, 2008

freddie and fannie

Hey - I realize that all things political are biased but as I watched the news the past few days I couldn't help but think "what a mess Bush has allowed". As I read this report and watched the video (again, realizing there is bias), I at least see there is more to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac story.

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christian maturity

In the Enjoying God Ministries newsletter yesterday, Sam Storms wrote:

There are several ways to measure Christian maturity, but perhaps none so revealing as how we respond to the demands of God when we're down. All too often we use our pain to justify sin. We appeal to how badly we've been treated or victimized or point to what we regard as injustice in order to ignore or evade our ethical responsibility.

Of Paul's words in 2 Cor 13.11-13 he writes:

... at the close of 2 Corinthians (13:11-13), [Paul] says to a church made sorrowful by sin, "rejoice"! That is why here he appeals to a church fractured by self-seeking, "aim for restoration"! Without the slightest hesitation he calls on them to "comfort one another, agree with one another" and "live in peace"! And he expects those who harbor suspicion and ill-will to set aside their differences and "greet one another with a holy kiss"! The three verses that concern us read as follows:

"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

There are six imperatives, each of which is undergirded by the same promise.

(1) Rejoice! As counter-intuitive as it may seem, and notwithstanding the many reasons one may feel justified for sulking in self-pity, we are to rejoice (cf. Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16). I'm reminded of how Paul described his underlying motivation in ministry back in chapter one. In accounting for his change of travel plans, he made clear that everything he did was to increase and deepen their joy in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:23-24). As much as they thought Paul was curtailing their freedom or inflicting undue distress or stepping beyond his rightful authority, he was actually working to remove obstacles to genuine joy and re-directing their lives to a place where the fullness of God's blessing and power and grace can be felt.

One can almost hear some of the Corinthians respond: "Rejoice? Are you kidding me? After what you've just put us through? How do you expect us to experience genuine joy? You've rebuked us, questioned our understanding of the gospel, and threatened to come with a rod of apostolic discipline, and now you tell us to rejoice! There's only so much an apostle should ask of ordinary folk like us!"

I think Paul would have said to them, "But pursuing joy is often painful. It frequently requires personal sacrifice and a loss of carnal comforts and a change in one's thinking and heart-felt humility and repentance from sin and a severing of unhealthy relationships and a willingness to subordinate short term worldly pleasures for long term spiritual satisfaction. So, yes, rejoice! Rejoice that God is your Father and Jesus your Savior and the Spirit your strength. Rejoice!"

(2) Aim for restoration! Be made complete! Many divisions and disagreements exist among you. Don't settle for splintering as if you can't hope for more. Unity and mutual forgiveness are essential. Look closely for the relational damage that has been inflicted and heal it. Search out the spiritual stress fractures in your body and mend them.

(3) Comfort one another! Many are hurting from sin and conviction and feel cut off and abandoned. Others are suffering the consequences of false teaching and the deception of those who say they are apostles and are not. And when you think that you've run dry of comfort or that it is too demanding or that you'd be happy to comfort others if only they'd comfort you first, recall that God is the "Father of mercies and God of all comfort" and that he will comfort you in all your anguish so that you "may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction" with the very comfort with which you are comforted by God (see 2 Cor. 1:3-4).

(4) Agree with one another! Be like-minded! Think the same thing! Don't settle for agreeing to disagree (cf. Phil. 4:2; cf. also Rom. 12:16; 1 Cor. 1:10). "Modern evangelicals who share a common allegiance to the Scriptures," notes Carson, "would do well to foster this sort of attempt to come to one mind and thought as to what the Scriptures mean. Too many of us are so threatened by our fellow believers or are so bound up with our denominational distinctives, that we are afraid to be reformed by the word of God or too proud to be corrected by those with whom we disagree. The apostle expects us to work at the business of being of one mind" (184-85).

This does not mean, of course, that community life is impossible unless we all agree on eschatology or that our witness for Christ will be forever ineffective until we achieve a consensus on every secondary doctrine. But it does mean that we must strive for unity on the essential truths of the faith and that our common vision as a church and our commitment to the gospel must never be compromised. Coming to agreement with one another would also make easier fulfilling the next imperative.

(5) Live in peace! Put an end to conflict and bickering. Some may question Paul's sincerity on this point. After all, has he not been disruptive in Corinth by challenging the false teachers? Has he not created turmoil by identifying unrepentant sin and holding all accountable for their complicity in it? Yes. But such "disruptions" and "turmoil" are often a necessary medicinal antidote to restoring the sort of "peace" that is peace indeed. Peace at the price of purity is no virtue. Peace attained only by theological compromise is but an artificial calm and will not sustain people through persecution and suffering.

(6) Greet one another with a holy kiss (v. 12)! There is no parallel for this action in the religious life of the synagogue of that day. The "holy kiss," therefore, was a Christian innovation (see also 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Cor. 16:20; Rom. 16:16; 1 Peter 5:14a). This is not a kiss of erotic affection but one that transcended, indeed ignored, gender and race and social status and signified reconciliation and forgiveness and mutual affections, all indications that they had put things right in their relationships, or were at least committed to doing so.

But what is the point of Paul's statement that "the God of love and peace will be with you" (v. 11b)? Love and peace are undoubtedly attributes of God. Love and peace are to characterize us in our relations with one another because they are first and most fundamentally seen in God. But there's more to Paul's portrayal of what God is like.

Some believe that v. 11b identifies the result or perhaps even the reward of their following the six moral injunctions. If you do this, God will do that. If you want to experience his presence, obey him. There's certainly a measure of truth in this. There are numerous occasions in Scripture where obedience and holiness and fervency of faith result in greater intimacy with the Lord and a deepened sense of his presence. The assurance that "God will draw near" to us is predicated on our first drawing "near to God" (James 4:8). It is those who are "pure in heart" who are told they shall "see God" (Matthew 5:8). But I'm not persuaded that this is what Paul has in view in this passage.

I'm more inclined to think that Paul's words are his way of identifying the promised resources by which they are enabled to fulfill the imperatives. In other words, it's as if he says, "Lest you think this is an impossible task, a requirement that will never be fulfilled, I assure you that the God from whom love for one another and peace in the body of Christ come will be with you to provide the very things he requires. God is always present to fulfill in us whatever he requires from us. God does not merely command, but supplies the resources essential to obey. Thus "God is not only characterized by love and peace; he actually imparts these virtues to empower believers to fulfill what is required of them (v. 11a)" (Harris, 935).

As spiritually dysfunctional as the Corinthians may be, as confused about the nature of apostolic ministry as they obviously are, God is more than ready and able to supply them with the love for one another so essential to life in the body of Christ. As divisive and cantankerous as they've been, the God who is himself peace can provide all the power they need to set aside petty disagreements and to overcome selfish ambition. Let us never forget that whatever God requires, God provides!

porn again

In Paul’s day, he accused some people of worshiping their stomachs as their god, and in our day it appears that our god has simply moved a short distance south. ... Simply, according to God, marriage and sex are related, connected, and exclusive. Sex as God intends it is for one man and one woman in marriage with the overarching purpose of oneness. Subsequently, by definition anything that contradicts God’s intent is sinful. Thus, sinful acts include homosexuality, bestiality, bisexuality, fornication, friends with benefits, adultery, prostitution, rape, polygamy, sinful lust including pornography, prostitution, rape, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, and anything else invented next to try and escape the clear teachings of Scripture. ~ From the introduction to Mark Drisoll's Porn-Again Christian: A Frank Discussion on Pornography & Masturbation for God’s Men.

Driscoll will release this book a chapter at a time on-line and then make it available as a PDF.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

hating the truth

I have a friend who in a recent conversation threw out the worn out, "how would people react to Jesus if He showed up today?" I say worn out because the context was how screwed up the Church is and that we would reject Him. I had to remind her that it is Truth the is rejected and this has been the case for all time.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds. - Mt 11.18-19

Those that are not His cannot recognize truth regardless of the form it takes while those who belong to Him cannot miss it. And it's interesting that those who hate the truth (whether hiding in the church or not) go through extremes to create half-truths, e.g., "a glutton and a drunkard". In doing so, that is in making these accusations, they speak volumes about themselves and the condition of their heart.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the debates

Yep ... I fell asleep 2/3's through it last night but there was no shortage of news this morning. Here's the transcript and below is what I found funny and/or interesting.

"John, you're absolutely right."

McCain was a bit slow especially in the beginning and the earmarks/spending mantra quickly became a broken record. But at least he took time to read the name on his bracelet before he got on TV. Ok, that's a bit meaningless but it didn't come off as looking sharp (which generally Obama has nailed). I thought Obama hid a bit behind Biden, was mistaken about being able to prevent another 9/11 via respect and restoring standing, and as the video above points out, I'm not sure what the repeated "John is absolutely right" was intended to do.

In the end, I thought McCain sounded experienced and compassionate while Obama struck me as book smart and lawyerish (is that a word?). As I thought about how some of my brothers and sisters in Christ would take this I wondered about the emerging gang. They seem to lean toward Obama because of his use of story and his place in the story. Yet I related to McCain as the story teller while Obama was the party line teller.

Net, I'm a surprised because I expected to hate everything Obama said (which I didn't) but love his presentation and identify with him (which I didn't).

And now, from my friends at FactCheck.org, the summary of misstatements.
  • Obama said McCain adviser Henry Kissinger backs talks with Iran “without preconditions,” but McCain disputed that. In fact, Kissinger did recently call for “high level” talks with Iran starting at the secretary of state level and said, “I do not believe that we can make conditions.” After the debate the McCain campaign issued a statement quoting Kissinger as saying he didn’t favor presidential talks with Iran.
  • Obama denied voting for a bill that called for increased taxes on “people” making as little as $42,000 a year, as McCain accused him of doing. McCain was right, though only for single taxpayers. A married couple would have had to make $83,000 to be affected by the vote, and anyway no such increase is in Obama’s tax plan.
  • McCain and Obama contradicted each other on what Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said about troop withdrawals. Mullen said a time line for withdrawal could be “very dangerous” but was not talking specifically about “Obama’s plan,” as McCain maintained.
  • McCain tripped up on one of his signature issues – special appropriation “earmarks.” He said they had “tripled in the last five years,” when in fact they have decreased sharply.
  • Obama claimed Iraq “has” a $79 billion surplus. It once was projected to be as high as that. It’s now down to less than $60 billion.
  • McCain repeated his overstated claim that the U.S. pays $700 billion a year for oil to hostile nations. Imports are running at about $536 billion this year, and a third of it comes from Canada, Mexico and the U.K.
  • Obama said 95 percent of “the American people” would see a tax cut under his proposal. The actual figure is 81 percent of households.
  • Obama mischaracterized an aspect of McCain’s health care plan, saying “employers” would be taxed on the value of health benefits provided to workers. Employers wouldn’t, but the workers would. McCain also would grant workers up to a $5,000 tax credit per family to cover health insurance.
  • McCain misrepresented Obama's plan by claiming he'd be "handing the health care system over to the federal government." Obama would expand some government programs but would allow people to keep their current plans or chose from private ones, as well.
  • McCain claimed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had drafted a letter of resignation from the Army to be sent in case the 1944 D-Day landing at Normandy turned out to be a failure. Ike prepared a letter taking responsibility, but he didn’t mention resigning.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

the lion and the lamb

51Yswurp4Jl. Sl500 Aa240 In Seeing and Savoring Jesus, John Piper uses The Lion and the Lamb - simply powerful ... quoted below.

A lion is admirable for its ferocious strength and imperial appearance. A lamb is admirable for its meekness and servant-like provision of wool for our clothing. But even more admirable is a lion-like lamb and a lamb-like lion. What makes Christ glorious, as Jonathan Edwards observed over 250 years ago, is “an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.”

For example, we admire Christ for his transcendence, but even more because the transcendence of his greatness is mixed with submission to God. We marvel at him because his uncompromising justice is tempered with mercy. His majesty is sweetened by meekness. In his equality with God he has a deep reverence for God. Though he is worthy of all good, he was patient to suffer evil. His sovereign dominion over the world was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission. He baffled the proud scribes with his wisdom, but was simple enough to be loved by children. He could still the storm with a word, but would not strike the Samaritans with lightning or take himself down from the cross.

The glory of Christ is not a simple thing. It is a coming together in one person of extremely diverse qualities. We see it in the New Testament book of Revelation: “The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (5:5). Here is the triumphant lion-like Christ ready to unroll the scroll of history. But what do we see in the next verse? “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (verse 6). So the Lion is a Lamb—an animal that is weak and harmless and lowly and easily preyed upon, and sheared naked for clothes, and killed for our food. So Christ is a lamb-like Lion.

The Lion of Judah conquered because he was willing to act the part of a lamb. He came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday like a king on the way to a throne, and he went out of Jerusalem on Good Friday like a lamb on the way to the slaughter. He drove out the robbers from the Temple like a lion devouring its prey. And then at the end of the week he gave his majestic neck to the knife, and they slaughtered the Lion of Judah like a sacrificial lamb. But what sort of lamb? Revelation 5:6 says, the “Lamb [was] standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns.” Notice two things. First, the Lamb is “standing.” It is not slumped in a bloody heap on the ground as it once was. Yes, it had been slain. But now it is standing—standing in the innermost circle next to the throne.

Second, the Lamb has seven horns. A horn is a symbol of strength and power throughout the book of Revelation (12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 12), as well as in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 18:2; 112:9). And the number seven signifies fullness and completeness. So this is no ordinary lamb. He is alive from the dead, and he is completely mighty in his sevenfold strength. He is, in fact, a lion-like

We see this with trembling in Revelation 6:16, where men call to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from . . . the wrath of the Lamb.” And we see it in Revelation 17:14, “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and
King of kings.”

So Christ is a lamb-like Lion and a lion-like Lamb. That is his glory—“an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.” This glorious conjunction shines all the brighter because it corresponds perfectly with our personal weariness and our longing for greatness. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:28-29). The lamb-like gentleness and humility of this Lion woos us in our weariness. And we love him for it. If he only recruited like the Marines, who want strength, we would despair of coming. But this quality of meekness alone would not be glorious. The gentleness and humility of the lamb-like Lion become brilliant alongside the limitless and everlasting authority of the lion-like Lamb. Only this fits our longing for greatness. Yes, we are weak and weary and heavy-laden. But there burns in every heart, at least from time to time, a dream that our lives will count for something great. To this dream Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. . . . And behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The lion-like Lamb calls us to take heart from his absolute authority over all reality. And he reminds us that, in all that authority, he will be with us to the end of the age. This is what we long for—a champion, an invincible leader. We mere mortals are not simple either. We are pitiful, yet we have mighty passions. We are weak, yet we dream of doing wonders. We are transient, but eternity is written on our hearts. The glory of Christ shines all the brighter because the conjunction of his diverse excellencies corresponds perfectly to our complexity.

Once, this lamb-like Lion was oppressed and afflicted. He was led to the slaughter. Like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7). But at the last day it will not be so. The lamb-like Lion will become a lion-like Lamb, and with imperial aplomb he will take his stand on the shore of the lake of fire, where his impenitent enemies will “be tormented . . . in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb . . . forever and ever” (Revelation 14:10-11).

the election to nowhere

FactCheck.org couldn't wait as they normally do to share The Whoppers of 2008 [so far]. I'm looking forward to getting back to the normal level of political deception.

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sovereign election

What do you see here? Do you focus on the destruction of many or the salvation of one?

Sovereign Election

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i am persuaded

I am persuaded that I shall obtain the highest amount of present happiness, I shall do most for God’s glory and the good of man, and I shall have the fullest reward in eternity, by maintaining a conscience always washed in Christ’s blood, by being filled with the Holy Spirit at all times, and by attaining the most entire likeness to Christ in mind, will, and heart, that it is possible for a redeemed sinner to attain to in this world. ~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne, quoted by Andrew Bonar, Robert Murray M’Cheyne


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

finally - the gospel

I love this 3 post (1/2/3) series by Greg Gilbert on What is the Gospel? as summarized and brought to my attention by Justin Taylor. Here is Taylor's summary in its entirety.

I've often repeated something I once heard from John Piper: being a good theologian is all about making good distinctions. And I think Greg helps advance the discussion by doing just that.

Even though many are asking, "What is the gospel?" Greg rightly discerns that there are actually two distinct questions being asked here:

  • What is the gospel? In other words, what is the message a person must believe to be saved?
  • What is the gospel? In other words, what is the whole good news of Christianity?
Greg goes on to distinguish between the Gospel of the Cross (i.e., the narrow sense of “gospel”) and the Gospel of the Kingdom (i.e., the broad sense of “gospel”). The former, he argues, is presented in the NT as the gateway/fountainhead/see of the latter. The only and infallible means to have the broader gospel blessings is through the narrow gospel foundation.

And he makes this crucial point:

To proclaim the inauguration of the kingdom and the new creation and all the rest without proclaiming how people can enter it---by repenting and being forgiven of their sins through faith in Christ and his atoning death---is to preach a non-Gospel.

See the third post especially for a number of implications that follow from this. What follows is the barebones outline--though you'll want to go and read the whole thing.

1. It is wrong to argue that "the gospel" is the declaration of the kingdom.

2. It is wrong to say that "the Gospel of the Cross" is not the gospel, or less than the gospel.

3. It is wrong to say that "the Gospel of the Kingdom" is somehow gospel-plus, or a distraction from the real gospel.

4. It is wrong to call a person a "Christian" simply because they are doing good things and "following Jesus' example."

5. It is wrong ever to say that non-Christians are doing "kingdom work."

6. The ultimate goal of any mercy ministry---whether done by an individual Christian or a church---has to be to point the world back to the gate.

7. Many in the emergent church---for all their insistence about how astonishing and surprising their gospel is---have missed entirely what really is astonishing about the gospel.

8. Evangelistic, missiological, and pastoral emphasis in this age belongs on the gospel of the cross—on the fountainhead, the gateway of the broader gospel of the kingdom.

thanks bob

Oh no ... thanks to Bob Hyatt I now have a second consecutive post saying something nice about the enemy [don't jump - I'm being intentionally stupid]. Anyway, Bill Clinton is now making sense to me ... talk about turning my world upside down!

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even handed politics

Whether I agree with Lawrence Lessig here or elswere is irrelevant - this is the way to communicate and discuss politics (or any issue for that matter). I sensed real respect and consideration and focus on factual analysis over rhetoric.



John Piper nails this one on the macro purposes of suffering. Here's his post in its entirety.

Recently I wrote that we seldom know the micro reasons for our sufferings, but the Bible does give us faith-sustaining macro reasons. It is good to have a way to remember some of these so that when we are suddenly afflicted, or have a chance to help others in their affliction, we can recall some of the truths God has given us to help us not lose hope.

Here is one way to remember. Five R’s (or if it helps, just pick three and try to remember them). The macro purposes of God in our sufferings include:

Repentance - Suffering is a call for us and others to turn from treasuring anything on earth above God.

Luke 13:4-5 - Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Reliance - Suffering is a call to trust God not the life-sustaining props of the world.

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 - For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Righteousness - Suffering is the discipline of our loving heavenly Father so that we come to share his holiness.

Hebrews 12:6, 10-11 - The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.... He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Reward - Suffering is working for us a great reward in heaven that will make up for every loss here a thousand-fold.

2 Corinthians 4:17 - This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

Matthew 5:11-12 - Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Reminder - Suffering reminds us that God sent his Son into the world to suffer so that our suffering would not be God’s condemnation but his purification.

Philippians 3:10 - ...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings.

Mark 10:45 - The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

lies lies lies

Is it down to this, everyone is lying so who is lying the least? I'm working very hard with some of my friends to get them to understand that in the world of politics, there are few if any simple, unpacked statements that are either true or false. Stop acting like the world by passing judgement on people based on hearsay, etc..

Everything has baggage and all is seen through worldview stained glasses. Watching politics in action highlights the fallenness of humanity. I see only a small number with integrity and I'm not naming them in fear that you will ruin that.

Here's Parableman's take on the Obama Sex Ed bill and subsequent ads.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

creepy politics

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speaking of things growing ...

Speaking of unwanted things growing, this disturbing picture was on facebook just now ...

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oh no ... it's growing

Yep - Calvinism is spreading out of control. Here's one Arminian's view on the matter.

Phillip at Reformed Voices quotes R.K. McGregor Wright relative to prayer for Arminians v. Calvinists.

All evangelicals pray for the salvation of individuals, fully expecting that the effective prayers of the righteous can accomplish much (Jas 5:16). But how can Arminians pray for the conversion of an individual person if God would have to override the free will to convert that person? The most Arminians could pray for would be neutral, nonthreatening things that do not infringe upon the 'rights' of the sinner.

Calvinists can happily pray for specific people to be converted, because they know quite well that if God does not in mercy intervene to free sinners from spiritual death, they will never be saved at all. God may have willed that particualar prayers will be part of the chain leading to a person's salvation. Prayer is both reasonable and effective, precisely because God is in control and can override the human will to answer them.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008


[T]he message of biblical eschatology will be seriously impoverished if we do not include in it the present state of the believer and the present phase of the kingdom of God. In other words, full-orbed biblical eschatology must include what we might call "inaugurated" [present or realized] and "future" eschatology. ~ Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology

That is to say that our faith, the Christian faith, is eschatological. If we are to speak of it properly, we must always consider the past, the present, and the future. To amplify one over the others would be a distortion and result in incorrect conclusions.

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the root

The plain truth is that a right understanding of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity. Without it such doctrines as justification, conversion, sanctification, are “words and names” which convey no meaning to the mind.

The first thing, therefore, that God does when He makes anyone a new creature in Christ is to send light into his heart and show him that he is a guilty sinner. The material creation in Genesis began with “light,” and so also does the spiritual creation. God “shines into our hearts” by the work of the Holy Spirit and then spiritual life begins (2 Cor. 4:6). Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day.

If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies. I believe that one of the chief wants of the contemporary church has been, and is, clearer, fuller teaching about sin. ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness

To be clear, we must be Christocentric in all our thinking and being. The words above are not our focus but understanding the concepts both come out of a right relationship with Christ as well as facilitate a right relationship with Him. I become concerned when fellow believers wrongly diminish all He is or all things of faith to concepts of love or social action or any number of ways we try to redefine God. He is greater than all of that. So love, social action, etc. are also important but like the above, they are not our focus - Christ is.

jesus sighting

Jesus has been spotted on the ceiling of a weight-loss clinic.

Friday, September 19, 2008

he's self-evident

Divine truth can be self-authenticating. As John Piper states;

Jesus, as he is revealed in the Bible, has glory - an excellence, a spiritual beauty - that can be seen as self-evidently true.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. - 2 Co 4.4-6


From Charles Martin at Explorations ... the Palin Rumors.

  1. Yes, she is Governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the Lieutenant Governor. No, she’s not currently Mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was Mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.

  2. Yes, as Governor of Alaska, she’s the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard. And yes, her professional military subordinate is quite impressed with her in that role.

  3. And yes, the New York Times says the job of Governor of Alaska is one of the harder, and more powerful, jobs in state government.

  4. Yes, there are people in Alaska who think she’s too liberal.

  5. Yes, she did giggle when someone called Lyda Green a “bitch.” Yes, Lyda Green is a cancer survivor. Yes, it was the same Lyda Green who tried to force a scheduling conflict that would make Palin miss her son’s high school graduation. Yes, this would also be the Lyda Green who complained no one had asked her about Palin during the vetting process.

  6. Yes, she did push for and approve the Wasilla Sports Center. Yes, it did cost a lot of money. (People keep saying $20 million, that article says $14.5 million, but then they also added a $1.2 million dollar food service/kitchen piece. This year, after Palin was out of office as Mayor.) Yes, the city went into debt to do it (how did you buy your house, bunkie?) and raised the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent to pay for it. Yes, the city is paying it off early. Yes, there is an ongoing dispute about title (following a struggle with the Nature Conservancy and another buyer. And yes, at the time it was built, Wasilla had a Federal judge’s decision that they had title to the land. Here’s a place to think a little, folks: if Wasilla got a $15 million sports center, and got a mortgage for it, then the city incurred more longterm debt, you bet. It also got a capital asset. You do it with a mortgage; a city does it by setting up bonds and a tax base to service the bonds. Same thing. Whether it was wise or not is another question, but the bonds and tax increase were approved by a special election by the people in Wasilla.

  7. Yes, she did want authority to have wolves culled from the air, because they were taking too many moose and caribou. Which people hunt for food in the back country in Alaska. No, she isn’t shooting them herself. I mean, not that she couldn’t, but I’m sure she doesn’t have time. (Thanks to bluemerlin in the comments.)

    Look, this is one of those that I’m tempted to categorize under “cripes, what city folks will believe.” You don’t sport hunt from the air; this isn’t some fascination with “blood sports.” This is wildlife management; the authority wasn’t general, it was for only a limited number of wolves, and it was to be done by people with state-issued permits. Here’s how this happens in the wild in a predator-prey model: the predators build up to the point that they cut the population of the prey animals dramatically. They then starve. The prey animals then build up again. Repeat. Only, in this case, the predators who would starve include Alaska’s native (and Native) human population.

  8. No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.

  9. No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. (It’s worth noting that drug addiction is a medical disqualification for service.) He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.) It also wasn’t because he had been caught for some juvenile crimes (see the end of the list.) That “join the army or go to jail” thing doesn’t happen much any more, and in any case he didn’t enlist until two years after the supposed vandalism thing.

  10. No, Willow and Piper aren’t named for witches on TV. Among other things, Willow was born before Buffy came on TV, and Piper was born before Charmed was a popular girls name in 1994. In any case, try to settle on one theory, okay: she can’t both be a witch and be a crazy AoG fundamentalist, can she?

  11. Yes, Trig’s name may be misspelled. Isn’t it usually “Tryg” as in “Trygve”? In any case, I doubt he’s named for the Secretary General of the UN (1948-1952), either. But at least that was before he was born, unlike the others.(Thanks to Chris, via his blog.)

  12. Yes, it appears that she has a Big Dipper tattooed on her ankle. She lost a bet.

  13. No, she’s never been in any porn as far as anyone can find (and God knows I get enough google hits on those very topics.) I would think the Big Dipper tattoo would be a giveaway.

  14. No, no one seems to be able to even find swimsuit pictures of her from her beauty queen days; God knows I looked. The bikini pictures that are around are photoshopped, just like the Vogue cover I have up.

  15. No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska independence Party, although her husband once was

  16. No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. And on page 14. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times’s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.

  17. No, she was never a Pat Buchanan supporter; even when Buchanan claims she was, she was on the board of Steve Forbes’a campaign in Alaska. Yes, Palin was a Steve Forbes supporter in 2000.

  18. No, she’s not anti-semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office. (Contrary to popular belief, the usual Evangelical thinks Israel has a right to exist, granted by God.)

  19. No, I don’t think she’s being “indoctrinated by Lieberman and AIPAC as we speak”; I don’t get the feeling that being indoctrinated is something that Palin does well.

  20. Yes, it seems unlikely that she’s going to be in hiding for the next two weeks seeing as she’s been in rallies twice in the last two days. Or at least it’s going to be real rough, given that she has three media interviews scheduled today (6 September) alone. Note: Since then she’s been interviewed on several occasions, and it’s still not quite two weeks.

  21. Yes, it does appear that Palin’s local pastor preached about an end time when God will judge everyone, even Wasilla, Alaska, and the United States. Duh. This is called the book of Revelation, and while I don’t believe it personally, I don’t see it as a disqualifier for the hundred million or so Baptists, Methodists, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Catholics, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Lutherans (traditional and Missouri Synod), African Methodist, and so on Christians in the US.

  22. Yes, I do sometimes wonder about the state of Andrew’s health. All of this is true, but it screws up the numbering. The next update will introduce a new ordering with a new numbering.

  23. No, she’s doesn’t believe that the Iraq War was directed by God. Yes, she did pray that proceeding with the war was God’s will: “they should pray ‘that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.’” (Ever hear the phrase “Not my will, but Thine, be done”?) Yes, this apparently freaks some people right out. But it’s worth mentioning that Obama has also prayed that he was acting in line with God’s will. Here’s a little hint for the confused here: if someone prays for rain, that doesn’t mean they think it’s already raining.

  24. It’s a little unclear who Buchanan supports now. At one point, he seemed to be supporting Obama. (Buchanan did think her speech was amazing, but then so do 80 percent of the people who saw it.) Buchanan did say “I stand with Obama” after Obama’s acceptance speech. Buchanan sure doesn’t like McCain though.

  25. Yes, she was apparently pregnant when she got married

  26. No, so far there’s no confirmation she had an affair while she was married, and they’ve denied it pretty strongly. No, she wouldn’t be the first Christian woman who got a little on the side, if it were true.

  27. No, she wasn’t named as a co-respondent in a divorce; there’s no evidence she had an affair with her husbands’ business partner. The partner tried to have his divorce records sealed because he was being harrassed by journalists who used them to get his phone number. The National Enquirer seems to still be pushing this one.

  28. Yes, barring immaculate conception virgin birth (whatever), Bristol appears to have had sex with her fiancee. No, Bristol didn’t receive only “abstinence-only” sex ed.

  29. Yes, I have it on reliable report that Sarah Levi’s mom has been heard screaming “Way to go Levi!” at her future son-in-law son. No, it doesn’t appear to have been when Bristol broke the news to her family.

    Note: I originally understood this story to be about Sarah, not Levi’s mom, in the context of hockey games. As such, it’s shouldn’t be in a Sarah Palin Rumors story, but I like the story too much to delete it.

  30. yes, her 17 year old daughter is pregnant; no, the baby’s father is not an eighth grader; no, having sex at 16 is not statutory rape in Alaska. And no, there’s no way that a 17 year old can be 5 months pregnant as a result of having sex before she was 16. Learn to count for God’s sakes.

  31. yes, she did fire the public safety guy, Monegan — but he said in the Anchorage paper that, for the record, she never, and no one else in her administration ever, tried to make him fire her ex-brother-in-law.

  32. and yes, the state trooper (her sister’s ex-husband) she was worried about did: tase her 10 year old nephew; drive his state patrol car while drinking or drunk; did threaten to “bring her down”; and did threaten to murder her father and sister if they dared to get an attorney to help with the divorce.

  33. yes, the state trooper was suspended when he was put under a court protective order

  34. no, the trooper wasn’t fired

  35. yes, she did fire the Wasilla Chief of Police as Mayor; yes, it was because he was lying to the City Council.

  36. Yes, she did try to cut her own salary as Mayor by $4000 a year; yes, she had voted against the $4000 a year raise while on the City Council. Yes, she did hire a city administrator; she’d tried to get that through while in the City Council, and was apparently part of her platform when she ran for mayor.

  37. No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers; yes, she did increase it by “only” 354 percent instead of 454 percent, as part of a multi-year capital expenditures program. No, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected their story. Even after this was pointed out in the comments on the story.

  38. No, she didn’t cut special needs student funding; yes, she did raise it by “only” 175 percent.

  39. yes, she did try, clearly unsuccessfully, to get Bristol married off to her fiancee before the story came out

  40. yes, she did ask the librarian if some books could be withdrawn because of being offensive; no, they couldn’t; yes, it was “rhetorical”, at least as was reported contemporaneously in 1996[1] ; yes she did threaten to fire the librarian a month later; no, that wasn’t over the books thing but instead over administrative issues; no, the librarian wasn’t fired either; yes, the librarian was a big supporter of one of her political opponents; yes, the librarian was also the girlfriend of the Chief of Police mentioned above; no, this is not the first time in the history of civilization that someone has been threatened with being fired over a political dispute

  41. No the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.

  42. No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example:

    “This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”

  43. No, I don’t understand why a fake list is supposed to fill me with dread, either.

  44. no, it wasn’t won’t be [bad tense, hasn't happened yet] a shotgun wedding; Bristol and Levi been engaged for a good while according to Levi’s mother. It was either an accident or just an unconventional order.

  45. yes, she’s an was an Assembly of God Holy Roller. No, she doesn’t attend an AoG church now. Yes, she did leave the AoG because they were getting too weird for her.

  46. No, she’s not anti-Mormon. No, not all AoG churches are anti-Mormon. (AoG is even more hard-core about allowing each pastor and congregation to make their own decisions than the Baptists are.) (Thanks to AnonAmom in the comments.)

  47. No, she’s not from another planet. No, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but you wait. Okay, I have now heard it.

  48. yes, she apparently believes in some variant of Intelligent Design.

    Note: This started an argument with my best friend, who is a Biology professor and rather more of an atheist than I manage to be. He thinks this is code for “Creationist”. But let’s look at what Palin actually said:

    In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms: “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.” She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    An AP article also makes it clear that Palin hasn’t pushed the idea in Alaska schools. Here’s the point, one which the AP seems to have missed themselves. (Another rant for later is on the state of science education among journalists.) “Creationist” generally has a lot stronger meaning than simply believing in a Creator. It’s usually used for people who reject the notion of evolution at all. Palin’s strongest statement on this has been “I don’t pretend to know how all this came to be.” But pretty much anyone who believes in a Deity will end up with some kind of “intelligent design”; even a complete Cosmic Clockmaker Deist thinks of a Designer, a Grand Architect of the Universe. Both Obama and Biden are professing Christians, who believe in a personal Deity, a Creator. So what’s the difference? Only what people have made up about what they think Palin must believe.

  49. no, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate. She did, however, say it shouldn’t be part of the curriculum.

  50. No, she doesn’t believe in “abstinence only” education. Yes, she thinks abstinence is an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Duh. Yes, she believes kids should learn about condom use in schools.

  51. Yes, she did smoke marijuana, when it was legal in Alaska. Yes, she apparently did inhale.

  52. yes, she kills animals and eats them, and wears their skins

  53. yes, she was a beauty contest contestant

  54. yes, she was once a sportscaster

  55. yes, she has a college degree in Journalism, but I won’t hold that against her, as she seems to have found honest work as well

  56. yes, she sometimes wears her hair up; no that’s not a “beehive”

  57. yes, her husband is Not A White Person (he’s a Yup’ik; an Eskimo but not an Inuit as my Inuit cousins have taken some pains to explain)

  58. yes, she has on occasion, as Mayor, tried to get money from the federal government.

  59. yes, she did finally turn down the money for the bridge. Yes, that meant changing her mind about it.

  60. yes, she was vetted extensively, not just in three days — I’ve got links to press reports about people coming to Wassila on 29 May, and we had her on our Veepstakes at PJM from the first day we ran it.

  61. yes, she want to a bunch of colleges before getting a degree. No, that’s not illegal. Yes, she seems to have made something of herself anyway.

  62. no, they didn’t talk to a lot of the R’s power structure during the vetting; that probably has to do with the fact that she beat them in elections and sent a bunch of them to jail caused a couple of them to leave the government, admit wrongdoing and pay fines. (Corrected because they didn’t apparently actually go to jail. Thanks to Frank for the correction.)

  63. Yes, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter. Duh. No, none of Obama’s, McCain’s, nor Biden’s speeches were impromptu off the cuff things either.

  64. Yes, she did put the Governors plane on eBay. No, that’s not how it was finally sold. Yes, McCain did say it wrong. Bad McCain.

  65. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t have such control of Alaskans that people are afraid to say bad things about her. (What, are you nuts? Look at this list.) No, I don’t think it’s likely that she called Obama “Sambo”. (Good God, man, I’m ten years older than she and I barely remember “Little Black Sambo.”) Yes, it seems unlikely to me that she’s be real racist and marry a Yup’ik (or a part Yup’ik.) But yes, people are capable of amazing things. Yes, I’m sure there are people who don’t like her — I’ve talked with some myself. And no, I don’t think this waitress would have been thrilled to be called an “aboriginal”. And yes, if she called Hillary a “bitch”, I’m pretty confident is wasn’t the first time anyone in politics has said that.

  66. No, she’s not a “global warming denier”, and when the crush dies down remind me to explain why the very phrasing “global warming denier” is anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, and a clear sign of a desire to impose your beliefs by coercion. But in the mean time, while I do believe that she has expressed some skepticism that warming is wholly human-caused, the existence of the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and the Alaska Climate Change Strategy work demonstrate that she’s considering the problem and has brought together people more expert than she to advise her.

  67. Yes, Todd Palin did have a DUI. Twenty-two years ago. Get a grip.

  68. No, Sarah Palin’s brother isn’t in jail. Yes, there was a rumor that her brother was in jail. (If he were, it would seem she was in good company with a brother in trouble, see, eg, Billy Carter and Roger Clinton.) But in fact no one seems to have a source for this except for comments posted places like CNN; many of those comments have now disappeared. (Thanks to Galynn in comments.)

  69. Yes, Sarah Palin’s pastor apparently does believe that gays can “repent” and be cured of homosexuality. No, believe it or not, even fundamentalist Christians don’t have to believe every litle thing their pastor believes. Yes, Palin seems to be more libertarian about this. In any case, according to the interview with Greta van Susteren, this isn’t something he emphasizes.

  70. Yes, contrary to press reports, Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law plans to vote for her and the R ticket (when interviewed on Inside Edition.)

  71. No, the fact that some 17 year old was arrested for malicious mischief at the right time doesn’t mean Track Palin was. One of the actual perpetrators was interviewed by the New York Daily News, and he says unequivocally that Track wasn’t involved. The National Enquirer says “unnamed judicial sources” say otherwise. You pick which you believe.

  72. No, she didn’t try to charge rape victims personally for rape kits. This is one of those complicated ones with a tiny hint of truth behind it. First, the Chief of Police in Wasilla (not Palin) did apparently have a policy of asking a victim’s health insurance to pay for the rape kit as part of the ER visit. This, it turns out, is policy in a number of states, including Missouri and North Carolina. Second, the way this became an issue was after the then-governor of Alaska signed a bill forbidding it; this law was signed before Palin was Governor and no one tried to reverse it while she was Governor. Third, what the CoP in Wasilla wanted to do was charge the perpetrator as part of restitution.

  73. Yes, she did say that she figured if “under God” was good enough for the Founding Fathers, it was good enough for her. No, in context I don’t think that means she thinks the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

  74. No, she didn’t violate operational security when she mentioned her son was to be mobilized for iraq on 11 September. That was an announced, public departure ceremony. The way this works is you’re mobilized, then go to a US base for conditioning and final training,and then actually go overseas.

  75. Yes, she is apparently against an expansion of casino gambling in Alaska. No, she hasn’t tried to make home gambling illegal.

  76. No, Palin didn’t institute a “windfall profits” tax on the oil companies. She modified the existing severance tax, which works more or less like a sales tax on resources taken out of the ground. (A windfall profit tax, of course, is based on profits.) Just by the way, how is it she’s both “in the pocket of the oil companies” and supposedly instituting a windfall profits tax anyway?

  77. Yes, Todd Palin works for BP Oil. There is a rumor around that he was some kid of executive; it’s not true. He was originally a plant supervisor, and after the concern about conflict of interest, voluntarily was reduced to be a night shift plant operator, a regular technician job. In any case, he took leave from BP when Sarah became Governor, since she would be negotiating with BP, in order to remove the potential conflict of interests.

  78. No, British Petroleum/BP wasn’t the sole sponsor of her inaugural. It was among 20-odd sponsors. In any case, they certainly didn’t get their money’s worth if they were trying to use the inaugural to buy influence; Palin’s renegotiation of the severance tax cost them a pile of money.

  79. No, Palin didn’t eliminate or “void” the Alaskan WIC program as Newsweek claimed. Warren Throckmorton explored this in detail; the truth is that the WIC funding increased during Palin’s time in office; what was cut was a $15,840 separate line request for office supplies and literature. Based on his work, Newsweek was forced to issue a clarification.

  80. No, Trig isn’t an alien either.

  81. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t think that dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve 4000 years ago, In fact, this was a purposeful satire that comes from a post actually entitled Fake Governor Palin Quotes. This has, however, kept neither Matt Damon nor Maureen Dowd from propagating them as fact.

  82. No, Palin never said she and Todd would kill as many as 40 caribou at a time. That was from the same damn collection of fake quotes. No does it make any sense: can you imagine field-dressing 40 caribou?

  83. No, she did not cut the Special Olympics funding in a recent budget, except in the Washington sense of “didn’t increase it as much as someone wanted.” Warren Throckmorton shows is was actually a 10 percent increase over the previous year; voxitar in the comments gives a link to the previous year’s budget of $250,000.

    These have gotten sort of silly, though: she has a line-item veto power, and every last one of the cuts she made can be spun, by a political opponent, to say that she is hurting something that sounds good. She cut a new fire station building; she must be against fire departments. She cut an audio system for a grade school; she must be against education.

    But then, if she cut nothing she wouldn’t be a fiscal conservative, would she?

  84. Yes, she did bill the Alaska State Government for per diem on days when she was “home.” This is how it works: she is maintaining two households. The state law defines her official residence in Juneau as “home”, so when she’s up in Wasilla, she’s “traveling”. That’s the way the law is written, and it appears that she has documented and handled her expenses legally and appropriately, even if it seems odd. And yes, her expenses have been anywhere from a third to a fifth of the expenses of the previous Governor. The Washington Post suggests this calls into question her claim to be a fiscal conservative; personally, I think cutting expenses by 70 to 80 percent seems like a pretty good claim to the title.

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born alive

Oh oh ...

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hockey moms

Wow! Hockey moms strike back with the truth ... it's gettin' ugly. Clearly Palin's claim to hockey momhood is a lie at best.

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jesus returns as lightning

Lightning This just in from TBNN.

"Jesus" Returns as Lightning

Park City, Alabama - Amateur photographer Malcolm Fhorbes believes he has captured a truly supernatural appearance of Jesus Christ. This photo, taken on the shore overlooking Daphne’s Bayfront Park was snapped at just the right moment. “I was reading Luke’s Gospel in chapter 17 just a few seconds before I took this picture,” says Fhorbes. Even through the lens I could see the resemblance to our Lord. Combine that with the fact I was reading in the Bible about lightning, and well, there you are.”

The remarkable photograph appears to be in the form of a man walking on water. “I only wish he had framed up enough to capture the face!” sighed Malcomb’s pastor, Rita Preston of 1st Unity Church of Park City. “I just know it would have been the sweetest, most accepting and loving, lightning sort of face.”

“Since when did Jesus become bow-legged?” snorted detractor Harold Wallace, a local Park City barber. “Next you know, we’ll be havin’ all the weirdoes comin’ down yeaha lining the beach for another glimpse. We get lightning yeaha right reg’lar. No tellin’ wha folks ah be a tellin’ themselves they been seein’ out thar.”

Malcolm believes otherwise. “This was a divine appearance. I saw it with my own eyes; I know this is real.”

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my kinda church

I always said that if I ever found a church that agreed with everything I thought I would run away - run, not walk.

My-Kinda-Church 2
Cartoon by Nakedpastor.

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I generally hate the kind of emails that contain the stuff below but in this case ...

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.
6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.
9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a-head.'
14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium, at large.
20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
21. A backward poet writes in-verse.
22. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.
23. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
24. Don't join dangerous cults, practice safe sects!

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god exists

I love (that's code for I agree/align with) this post by Michael Patton - FRIDAYS WITH AQUINAS: CAN IT BE DEMONSTRATED THAT GOD EXISTS. Here it is in its entirety.

Article 2. Whether it can be demonstrated that God exists?

Objection 1. It seems that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated. For it is an article of faith that God exists. But what is of faith cannot be demonstrated, because a demonstration produces scientific knowledge; whereas faith is of the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Therefore it cannot be demonstrated that God exists.

Objection 2. Further, the essence is the middle term of demonstration. But we cannot know in what God’s essence consists, but solely in what it does not consist; as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. i, 4). Therefore we cannot demonstrate that God exists.

Objection 3. Further, if the existence of God were demonstrated, this could only be from His effects. But His effects are not proportionate to Him, since He is infinite and His effects are finite; and between the finite and infinite there is no proportion. Therefore, since a cause cannot be demonstrated by an effect not proportionate to it, it seems that the existence of God cannot be demonstrated.

On the contrary, The Apostle says: “The invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). But this would not be unless the existence of God could be demonstrated through the things that are made; for the first thing we must know of anything is whether it exists.

I answer that, Demonstration can be made in two ways: One is through the cause, and is called “a priori,” and this is to argue from what is prior absolutely. The other is through the effect, and is called a demonstration “a posteriori”; this is to argue from what is prior relatively only to us. When an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause. And from every effect the existence of its proper cause can be demonstrated, so long as its effects are better known to us; because since every effect depends upon its cause, if the effect exists, the cause must pre-exist. Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us.

Reply to Objection 1. The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith, but are preambles to the articles; for faith presupposes natural knowledge, even as grace presupposes nature, and perfection supposes something that can be perfected. Nevertheless, there is nothing to prevent a man, who cannot grasp a proof, accepting, as a matter of faith, something which in itself is capable of being scientifically known and demonstrated.

Reply to Objection 2. When the existence of a cause is demonstrated from an effect, this effect takes the place of the definition of the cause in proof of the cause’s existence. This is especially the case in regard to God, because, in order to prove the existence of anything, it is necessary to accept as a middle term the meaning of the word, and not its essence, for the question of its essence follows on the question of its existence. Now the names given to God are derived from His effects; consequently, in demonstrating the existence of God from His effects, we may take for the middle term the meaning of the word “God”.

Reply to Objection 3. From effects not proportionate to the cause no perfect knowledge of that cause can be obtained. Yet from every effect the existence of the cause can be clearly demonstrated, and so we can demonstrate the existence of God from His effects; though from them we cannot perfectly know God as He is in His essence.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

mclaren on obama

Brian McLaren is voting for Barack Obama. Here is his reason number 1 - "framing the story". While I do not arrive at the same conclusion, I find his thinking interesting.

My top reason for supporting Barack Obama for president centers in the narrative I believe he frames his life and work by, in contrast to the narrative John McCain frames his life and work by. To me, this issue of narrative (or framing story, for readers of my book Everything Must Change) means far more in a president than whether he claims to be liberal or conservative, religious or nonreligious, Christian or otherwise, Democrat or Republican.

Read the full post here.


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missionaries - before and after

This is wonderful!


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the undomesticated jesus

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. ~ C. S. Lewis

10 commandments for discussion leading

These ten suggestions for discussion leading come from David Rudd.
  • Prepare good questions
  • Create a climate of acceptance
  • Actively listen
  • Affirm all expressions of opinion
  • Peel the onion with questions
  • Be careful not to take sides
  • Allow for humor and rabbit trails
  • Don't be afraid of silence
  • Deal with discussion killers
  • Be a facilitator, not an expert
Good list - anything missing?

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microwave your group

Here are some ways to microwave your small group from SouthEast Christian Church reposted by David Rudd.

  • Throw a Party at a Restaurant for the Next Birthday in the Group
  • Go See A Pro or Semi-Pro Sporting Event Together
  • Chill out with a Backyard Barbeque
  • Go Bowling
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast and Service Project
Simple - but doing things like these go a long way toward relationship building. I have recently been to a service project, professional beach volleyball game, dinner, lunch, movie, watched football on TV, etc. with one or more members of my group. I am constantly reinforcing that it is about community rather than the meeting. The meeting is only 2 hours out of a 168 hour week.

I've always taught that one of the key attributes of a good group leader is availability. People need to connect and they need someone to model how simple it can be. They need help understanding that it can be as easy as including others in stuff you would normally do.

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