Thursday, December 30, 2004

A Great Point 

On the subject of postconservative theology or postmodern theology Phil Steiger, from my old stomping grounds of Colorado Springs, has written a perceptive post. It includes this point:
So what kind of worldview does not allow for reformation? In short, any worldview which cannot get outside of itself to make judgments about the world cannot support a reformation from a wrong state of affairs to a right/better state of affairs.

(Emphasis his)
Exactly. Once I've destroyed the rock out from under my feet, all I can do is drift with the tide.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami aid 

Hugh Hewitt says that World Vision is the best place to give donations for the Asia disaster relief, and I'm taking his word for it. I don't want my money going to the UN or any of its organizations, and I frankly don't much trust the Red Cross these days either.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Tsunami 

23,000 dead and counting. Ten countries affected. Billions of dollars lost. In just a moment, a disaster many times greater than 9/11 hit us, and nothing could have been done to stop it.

We get so arrogant sometimes. Even in this disaster, people are saying "if only we'd had an early warning system, we could have avoided a lot of the damage." And perhaps that's true. If they'd had a warning system in place for something that had never happened in that geographic area, then some might have been saved. It's like saying we should have a blizzard warning system in Hawaii, you know, just in case.

Faced with evidence of our essential punyness compared to the world we live in, so many still feel the need to try to reassert control. And so anytime anything goes wrong in our society, somebody has to get sued. Because we have a right to a trouble-free life, and if anything intrudes on that trouble-free life, it's because someone wasn't doing their job. But the truth of the matter is, there is still a tremendous amount about this world that are outside of anyone's control. There's a big burp on the ocean floor, and many thousands die, just like that.

It's also tempting, I think, for us to say to ourselves, "those were Godless dark-skinned foreigners that died. Nothing like that could happen here in America." I think Scripture answers that quite effectively:

Luke 13:
2 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?
3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
4 "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

I Am More Important than Instapundit 

He said it himself:
He also catches on (actually, I think Hugh was one of the first to make this point, in a post on his blog) to the importance of what Chris Anderson is calling the Long Tail -- that in the aggregate, the vast hordes of small blogs with a few dozen readers are more important than the small number of big blogs with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Oh, in the aggregate...

Well, it's a good post anyway. It sounds like a good book, too.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A soldier's interaction with Rumsfeld 

I am linking to this story because I have no doubt at all that it will never get picked up by the MSM.
...Remarkably, the young soldier, who had just lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion, came to the defense of the Secretary of Defense, stating "Mr. Rumsfeld, I want you to know, that you are doing a fantastic job. I know that you are taking a lot of heat for the problems with getting armor for vehicles. I want you to know that things are vastly improved. Our vehicles are great, and I have never searched through junk piles for scrap metal.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I just uploaded three new sermons. The link is on the sidebar. There are two Christmas sermons, as well as a sermon from John 6 on the meaning of the Lord's Supper. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


So, I'm checking out Google Ads, just to see about getting a few bucks for bandwidth costs. They're on the sidebar. Click on 'em, just for fun, why don't you?

The ones I saw when I just loaded it up were for "The Passion" and for a free Jesus video. How's that for irony? Please click on my ads, but please don't buy those products, as I consider them idolatrous.

UPDATE: Oh great, one of them's even by a Mormon.


Also, there is a Google Search Bar at the bottom of this page. Please use this search bar for all your searching needs.

Come on. Do a brother a solid.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Don't Go Looking for Trouble. Trouble will find You just Fine. 

I hope nothing in the last post would be construed as meaning I don't like Christmas. I love Christmas, and it would be a crying shame if it were truly eradicated from the public square.

Also, while a good bout of persecution has often been good for the church, I don't think we should go looking for it. I don't think we should give up on this country; not by a long shot. All I'm saying is, when the enemy's paratrooping into the heartland, maybe securing Puerto Rico isn't our biggest concern.

Suffering is sanctifying, if received with submission to God's will. Suffering of itself usually just makes people bitter and mean. Sometimes Christians think that because Jesus promised us suffering and persecution, that we should go looking for it. But that isn't submission to God's will. God will bring us all the suffering He knows we need to be perfected- we don't need to go drumming up extra suffering for ourselves. So it is with the church as well. That last article was not intended to mean that the church ought to try to go drum up some freelance persecution on its own. That's like the Middle Ages monks that would go beat themselves with sticks and wear really uncomfortable clothing and think they were getting closer to God by doing it. It probably would have been a lot more sanctifying for those monks to get out into society and try to raise a family and make a living.

Persecution of itself doesn't mean a lot. Yes, true Christians have frequently been persecuted. But Mormons were persecuted too, and so were Arians and Nestorians and Zoroastrians. We learned in church history about the Catholic persecutions of the Albigensians and the Waldensians at the same time in the south of France, one of which was a proto-Reformed group (Waldensians, I think) and the others were heretics. Some people seem to think that persecution would be the badge of legitimacy for the church, like if only some of us could start getting thrown in jail then we'd know we were doing God's will. Maybe we should just get back to reading our Bibles instead.

So we should fight for our society, and for Christmas, and for God in the public square. I just think we Christians could be a lot smarter about how we fight that battle.

Amos 5:
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!
20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Secularist Christmas 

One of the most irritating things to me about modern American Christians is that we frequently think that having a Christian culture is our God-given right. We feel a deep sense of loss of privilege when our Christmas trees are banned or our nativity scene thrown out of the town square. We should certainly feel saddened by the loss of so much of what formerly characterized America, but I don't think we should be surprised or offended. After all, true Christianity has typically operated in cultures that were deeply hostile to it, and American Christianity has been the rare and brief exception. It seems to me that America is reverting back to historical norms.

Joe at EO has an interesting suggestion- let them have it. Let them have Christmas. Let them have all of the trappings of the holiday, and "...maybe then we can finally show them Christ."

It's an idea worth thinking about. If Christ and Christmas and God and our heritage were finally totally banished from the public square- the chaplains out of our military, the monuments in Washington redesigned or destroyed, the money re-minted to say "in Washington we trust"- maybe then the reality of our situation would be very clear. We could then treat this culture as it is- one desperately in need of evangelism. A float saying "Merry Christmas" doesn't address that situation in the slightest.

The church has frequently been persecuted in the past. We are being persecuted now. We are not being thrown in jail or tortured- not in this country, anyway- but there are sizable portions of this country who would silence us, suppress us, and even imprison us in order to remove all opposition to the dream of man. We should not be surprised. Jesus told us this would happen, as did Paul and Peter and James and John. We Christians need to start recognizing where the battle really is being fought. Jesus is being taken out of the public square because He was taken out of the hearts and minds of a great many of our countrymen, including many of those standing in pulpits and claiming to represent Him, a long time ago. Let’s make sure Jesus is enthroned in our own hearts, and in our families and churches, before we start worrying about some parade or some old stone monument.

Many will interpret this last election as a sizable shift back to more Christian roots, whether they think that’s a good or bad thing. While I am very happy that it was Bush and not Anybody But Bush, this election was no such shift. Perhaps it was a slight correction against some of the more blatant raving lunacy of the left, this country is no more Christian than it was ten years ago. Will it really change much, if there are 1.5 million abortions or just 1.2 million? Does it mean we’re more Christian if some judge is allowed to have a Ten Commandments plaque? We can dress it up some and maybe we buy ourselves a little more time by doing that, but eventually Christians are going to have to start fighting the right battles, and with the right weapons. We are going to have to start fighting for the real Gospel, for Biblical truth, and we will have to start with ourselves; then our families and churches; and then we can start worrying about our country again.

There’s still an awful lot of good in this countries, as countries go. I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for the freedom that we have. As my dad says sometimes, in America anyone can be as good a Christian as we want to be.

My point is, let’s spend more time getting the beam out of the eye of the church- bad doctrine, terrible worship, awful morality- before worrying about the speck of dust that is a float with no manger on it.

Andrew on government 

No, not that Andrew.

Andrew from Dead Men's Voices, a worthy read. He quotes Orwell:
"Here comes a candle to light you to bed. Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

- George Orwell, 1984"
And uses it as prelude to discuss some of the new aspects of the education bill supported by Bush and both houses of Congress and both parties.
You see, little Jimmy is no longer full of zest and boundless, boyish energy, now he is AD/HD. Little Suzie is no longer just quiet and shy, now she is clinically depressed. Teenaged Johnny is no longer just being rebellious and belligerent, now he is experiencing bipolar mood swings, aggravated by guilt resulting from the "fanatical" religious practices of his parents. Good stuff, good times. What am I talking about? Why, President Bush's brilliant initiative funded recently through the spending bill which mandates mental health screening for every child in America.

Good stuff, there. Andrew's dead right. We're dreaming if we think that government involvement in our child's mental health will be a positive thing. It will, naturally, be presented as free of ideology, but we know there's no such thing. Mental health is already being used as a club to suppress undesirable mindsets (and to justify lost elections). Faith is regularly labeled delusion by our so-called betters in academia. And giving this power to the same people who also have the power to remove my child from my home virtually at their whim, and who will benefit financially and politically from doing so, is a terrifying thought, frankly. The only ideology that could be in charge of this sort of thing that would be actually helpful to our children would be the same ideology that would teach that a child's mental health is best guarded by parents, and thus never use the power. But people with that ideology aren't actively seeking the job, and therefore we will get the busybodies, the elites, the activists who believe passionately that the little monsters must be protected from their parents' ignorance and fanaticism.

Once again, I find myself greatly comforted by reliance on a sovereign God who holds the hearts of men in His hands. Which will, of course, be used as evidence of my own delusion one day, no doubt. "A comforting belief? A faith which gives him hope? He must be schizophrenic!"

Friday, December 10, 2004

From Atheist to Theist 

Here's a fascinating interview (via The Corner) between Gary Habermas and Anthony Flew, on Flew's conversion from Atheism to Theism. There's a lot I disagree with Flew about, particularly his dismissal of the moral argument, which I strongly believe to be the best argument for the existence of God. But check this out about the teleological argument:
" HABERMAS: So of the major theistic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological, the only really impressive ones that you take to be decisive are the scientific forms of teleology?

FLEW: Absolutely. It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.

I bet Rusty will enjoy that.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Women in Combat 

Looks like the US Army is going to sneak women into combat through the back door. Mackubin Thomas Owens has a fantastic column on how they are doing it, and a reminder about why it's a terrible idea. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Channeling Lileks 

Today I saw my first "big media" article published. Okay, maybe not big media, but old media, anyway. I got an article published in the Limon Leader. Hooray!

This is a paper that is about half high school sports news. The rest of it is community items, classifieds, reports on town council meetings, and even some notes about who visited which aunt in what town. Pretty exciting stuff. But the advantage of a paper like this is that it has exactly zero chance of being scooped by national papers or Internet sources. There is literally no place to go for news in Limon except the Limon Leader.

I heard it said once that the future of print newspapers will likely be local news that can't be found anywhere else. If that's so, then the Limon Leader is the wave of the future.

The article was the beginning of a new feature in the paper called "The Pastor's Corner", and is written by different pastors in town each week. The fun thing about this article was that while I was writing it, I could talk about this being a "one column day", like another blogger with a slightly larger readership than mine.

I bet he doesn't have to write sermons and Bible studies, though.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Irresistible Grace, Or Effectual Calling 

Jollyblogger continues his series on the five points of Calvinism, also known as TULIP (or RUPEP for the Jollyblogger). This is an excellent post on the fourth point. I don't really share Jollyblogger's concern for the wording- I think if you understand what's meant by irresistible grace, then there'll be no problem. But he does a good job of defining what it means and what it doesn't mean.
...this doesn't mean that God makes us believe against our wills, it means that God shapes our wills so that we want to believe. Nor does it mean that God withholds His grace from those who want to believe. It is not as if there are those who are saying they want to believe in Christ and God refuses them.

Read the whole thing.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

UCC ad- cover for networks, maybe? 

I find this decision on the part of NBC and CBS not to run an ad by the United Church of Christ very confusing. Apparently they thought that the ad was too controversial, because it made it clear that everyone was welcome at their churches, including gays or lesbians.

Here's a quote from the UCC's news article on the event:
"We find it disturbing that the networks in question seem to have no problem exploiting gay persons through mindless comedies or titillating dramas, but when it comes to a church's loving welcome of committed gay couples, that's where they draw the line," says the Rev. Robert Chase, director of the UCC's communication ministry.

I too find this ironic. All of a sudden homosexuality is too controversial for NBC and CBS?

I haven't seen the ad, but I've read the text, and apparently all it's saying is just what they said- that gays are welcome at UCC. Now personally, I think gays should be welcome at any church. They would be at mine, just like any other sinner in need of repentance. Obviously, the UCC means more than this by their ad, that the gays will be accepted as gay at their churches, and I'm not on board with that. But why the sudden concern from NBC and CBS?

Maybe they're trying to reform their images as liberal apologists. Maybe they're trying to stem the ratings slide by doing more to appeal to middle America, and maybe it says a lot about what they think middle America is like that something like this would be appealing to them. I'm about as conservative as it gets on the homosexual issue, but I wouldn't have cared if the UCC had run this ad. That's who they are. Do they think Middle America will be shocked to suddenly discover that the UCC is pro-gay?

This really reads to me like a clumsy, ham-handed way for the networks to try to paint themselves as more conservative. And I don't buy all this "climate of fear" stuff that people are saying in response to this. The network that runs "Will and Grace" is all of a sudden concerned about moral outrage and unpopular political ideas?

UPDATE: Ted Olsen has an article here about the controversy, and says that the networks rejected the ad because they reject all "advocacy ads" and this one appears to advocate one side of a political controversy over the other and not out of any fear of backlash.

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