Blog Archive


Wednesday, December 23, 2009
If your church is like mine, you've likely noticed a tendency in the oldest generation to sit in a certain spot in the sanctuary, to go to a certain worship service and/or Sunday school, and to generally have different tastes than the younger members. In fact, my church, a rather large one (3000 attendees per Sunday), has an early "traditional" service almost completely devoted to those of a senior citizen age (who all go en masse to a group Sunday school afterward). Meanwhile, on the other end of the age spectrum, it also offers a Sunday night "alternative" (at least for now, eventually "alternative" becomes "traditional") service primarily geared toward 20-somethings.**

As anyone who's been around churches for awhile will tell you, this is nothing new. Ever since Absalom got tired of sitting with his parents David and Maacah at the front of the Tab and wanted to sit with the cool kids up in the balcony while Grandpa Jesse sat two rows beyond the reach of his hearing, people have naturally tended to flock together according to their age. And nothing is inherently wrong with that inclination. But what happens when the Church begins to intentionally divide according to age groups or put old people "out to pasture"... isn't there a likelihood that a form of ageism will set in where youth is treasured more than age and experience? I've been thinking a lot about that recently because my own church struggles a lot with including the elderly in the life of the church. It has a great focus on bringing together different ethnicities and cultures, yet it seems that the unwritten rule when it comes to age is that once you turn 65, you're expected to be seen and not heard.

This ageism is rampant in our society (the size of homes are ever increasing yet no one seems to able to find room to house Grandpa or Grandma... the family on Gran Torino seems less and less a parody of real life) and, in some ways, the Church isn't far behind. This blogger discusses this issue further.
In our efforts to multiculturalize the church -- which is a great effort and a godly one -- let's not forget the need to multigenerationalize the church. Is your church monogenerational? If not, are your seniors second class citizens in your church? If so, what can you do to fix this?

The kingdom of God turns the tables on business as usual, and this includes church business as usual. The countercultural call of the kingdom requires a revolutionary ageism, where we actually honor our elders above ourselves and our youngers, actually honor those we are most tempted to deem having outlived their usefulness.
So how can we be intentionally multigenerational?

**To the credit of the alternative service planners, they did have a worship service a couple months ago where they invited the senior citizens in the church to worship with them.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So a priest in the UK is telling his congregation that if they're struggling financially, they should shoplift. But make sure it's a big chain and not a local small business. Somehow, I don't think the apostle Paul would appreciate what the Western Church has come to.
Monday, December 21, 2009
For any soccer fans out there... some of these are amazing!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Dear reader(s),

If you would like to read a good Gospel-centered blog, check out my friend Bryan's blog here. I also link to it on the left (The Weight of Glory).
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Here is a really sad article about C&E (Christmas and Easter) Christians.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It's not man-made.
Here is an excellent post on the need for self-effacing humility on the web, particularly among Christians.
I am a man divided against myself; I want to be the centre of attention because I am a fallen human being; I want others to know that I am the special one; and as long as the new me and the old me are bound together in a single, somatic unity, I will forever be at war with myself. What I can do, however, is have the decency to be ashamed of my drive to self-promotion and my craving for attention and for flattery and not indulge it as if it were actually a virtue or a true guide to my real merit. I am not humble, so I should not pretend to be so but rather confess it in private, seeking forgiveness and sanctification. And, negatively, I must avoid doing certain things. I must not proudly announce my humility on the internet so that all can gasp in wonder at my self-effacement. I must make sure I never refer to myself as a scholar. I must not tell people how wonderful I am. I must resist the temptation to laugh at my own jokes. I must not applaud my own speeches. I must deny myself the pleasure of posting other people's overblown flattery of me on my own website, let alone writing such about myself. I must never make myself big by clinging to the coat-tails of another. In short, I must never take myself too seriously.
Like this writer, I too have noticed on some sites an obvious lack of humility, particularly among "Emergent" bloggers. But when it comes to humility, pointing out the logs in the eyes of others is not the job of Christians, nor is it the point of the above post. As with all other sins, contemplatively looking inward must be the default mode when addressing pride, not finger pointing at the tax collectors in our midst. Pride is the sin that is ever before me, the thorn in my side, as it were. I long for acknowledgment from others, I pine for people's approval, I hope that someone will hear about that time I did something nice for a needy person. I find that at every turn, when I want to selflessly do something good for another, pride is standing nearby, waiting for a chance to sing my own praises. I constantly try to earn grace and approval from others, rather than just accept it undeserved from my Father. As the writer above says, I am NOT humble and should not pretend to be. May we recognize the truth of Romans 7:24-25 and echo John the Baptist's wish that Christ become greater while we become less.
While most people shudder at the idea proposed in my last post, far fewer would likewise recognize the evil implications of a hatred of humanity and loathing of life. One such implication is the now rampant abortive purge of those with "birth defects" like Down's Syndrome and cystic fibrosis. It is estimated that between 70 and 90 percent of all babies with Down's Syndrome are killed in utero... even though such children usually live a very long and enjoyable life. Obviously, such abortions have little to do with concern for the baby and everything to do with the social comfort of the parent(s). I tremble at the holy wrath that God must have at this atrocity.

Similar numbers of cystic fibrosis babies are also being murdered in the womb. And while that disease does tend to lead to an early death and other health complications (though medical science has improved the lives of those with CF; in 1959 CF children lived six months, in 2006 their life expectancy was 36 years), it's still a very treatable, manageable disease in many cases. For example, here is a moving story from the British Daily Mail showing the perspectives of a mother and her CF-inflicted daughter and how happy they both are that the mother decided to let the baby live.
The phrase 'quality of life' is bandied around freely, but who's to say what that actually means? Might not people with disabilities of varying kinds enjoy life in a different way from the able-bodied, and also contribute in various ways to society?
Wow. How many more decades before people start realizing that the overpopulation scare is a joke?
Trevin Wax over at the Kingdom People blog is having his annual Christmas Giveaway where he randomly selects a reader to win the ten books he liked the most this year, PLUS an ESV Study Bible(!). Check it out!
Monday, December 14, 2009
My wife and I went to see Clint Eastwood's new film, Invictus, this past weekend. The movie tells the true story of Nelson Mandela's coming to power in South Africa and how the national rugby team helped unify the country. Morgan Freeman plays Mandela perfectly, and Matt Damon does a pretty decent job as the captain of the rugby team. It's a very good movie overall, teaching a great message about forgiveness and reconciliation. The only thing I found wanting was the complete lack of any reference to God. In fact, it's a largely humanist piece; the title of the movie comes from a poem of the same name which ends with the words "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." Outside of that nitpick, it's a well-made, uplifting film.
To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing

For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just
The Archbishop of Canterbury continues his path to complete irrelevance.
He said that fear paralysed individuals, corporations and governments from making the choices needed to affect real and lasting change.

"We are afraid because we don't know how we can survive without the comforts of our existing lifestyle. We are afraid that new policies will be unpopular with a national electorate. We are afraid that younger and more vigorous economies will take advantage of us – or we are afraid that older, historically dominant economies will use the excuse of ecological responsibility to deny us our proper and just development."

Yesterday church bells in Denmark and other countries rang 350 times to represent the figure many scientists believe is a safe level of carbon dioxide in the air: 350 parts per million.
In other news, Tony Blair said that it doesn't matter if the science isn't reliable, we still have to act. Could you explain this to me?
Theodore Dalrymple and Melanie Phillips both wrote good pieces this week on the oppression of Christianity in the UK and the multiculturalism that feeds it. From Dalrymple's column:
THE reason for the difference in approach [to Christianity as compared to minority religions] is an officially-sponsored indifference or hostility to anything which might be considered part of the European and British cultural and religious heritage, combined with a tender regard for any non- European and non-British cultural heritage.

This is now so marked a trait that it could almost be called racist. No British minister would go to Brick Lane in East London and say it was horribly Bangladeshi but a British minister had no compunction at all in complaining of an institution that it was “horribly white”.

British intellectuals, as George Orwell once remarked, have long harboured a hatred of their own country and its culture. This attitude has deeply infiltrated the political class and has therefore come to affect legislation. All cultures are equal except ours, which is the worst.

The first thing to notice about this attitude is that it is insincere. Those who adopt it are not genuine admirers of other cultures, for genuinely to admire other cultures it is necessary seriously to study them. To know another culture is not just a matter of slipping down once in a while to a restaurant that serves its cuisine: it is very hard work indeed and the more different that culture is from one’s own the harder the work it is.

So when members of our political class express their adherence to multiculturalism they are not expressing their love of other cultures, they are expressing hatred of their own and it is this which explains the discrepancy in the way a Christian who derides Islam can now expect to be treated by comparison with a Muslim who derides Christianity. The hatred of that section of the political class for their own country’s culture, traditions and past is insincere in another sense also.

By expressing that hatred they imagine themselves to be exhibiting their own moral superiority for all the world and especially the intelligentsia, to see. Their hatred is actually moral exhibitionism. We all know the kind of odious patriot who believes everything in his own country is best merely because it is his own and who therefore despises every thing about all other countries, from their language to their cooking to their way of dress.

Our political class is a mirror image of this kind of person but preens itself on being morally superior to him.
We are fortunate enough to be the inheritors of a tradition as great as (though not necessarily greater than) any that exists in the world. Why should we reject it? I write these words from India, where it is far easier to find genuine and knowledgeable admirers of British culture than it is among our own political class. This surely is the saddest possible commentary on our condition.
From Phillips' column:
In recent times, there has been a string of cases in which it is no exaggeration to say that British Christians have been persecuted for expressing their faith.

In July, Duke Amachree, a Christian who for 18 years had been a Homelessness Prevention Officer for Wandsworth Council, encouraged a client with an incurable medical condition to believe in God.

As a result, Mr Amachree was marched off the premises, suspended and then dismissed from his job. It was a similar case to the Christian nurse who was suspended after offering to pray for a patient’s recovery.

Christians are being removed from adoption panels if they refuse to endorse placing children for adoption with same-sex couples.

Similarly, a Christian counsellor was sacked by the national counselling service Relate because he refused to give sex therapy sessions to gays.

What this amounts to is that for Christians, the freedom to live according to their religious beliefs — one of the most fundamental precepts of a liberal society — is fast becoming impossible. Indeed, merely professing traditional Christian beliefs can cause such offence that it is treated as a crime.

Take, for example, the case of Harry Hammond, an elderly and eccentric evangelical who was prosecuted for a public order offence after parading with a placard denouncing immorality and homosexuality — even though he was assaulted by the hostile crowd he was held to have offended.

Or look at the case of the Vogelenzangs, a hotelier couple from Merseyside, who last week were cleared of a ‘religiously aggravated’ public order offence after being prosecuted for insulting a Muslim guest.

While their behaviour may have been offensive and unwarranted, it is nevertheless a source of wonderment that for the police, ‘hate crime’ doesn’t seem to occur whenever Christianity is pilloried, mocked and insulted — as happens routinely — but only when a minority faith is in the frame.
The curious fact is that Labour’s hostility to faith is highly selective. It does everything it can to protect and support minority creeds while appearing to do everything it can to attack Christianity.

The root of this double standard is the unpleasant prejudice that minority faiths hail from cultures where people are less well-educated and so cannot be blamed for their beliefs. This, of course, is a deeply racist attitude, and is commonly found on the Left.
[A]mong the intelligentsia, the animosity to religion runs even deeper than the upside-down value system of the multicultural agenda. It springs from the fixed view that reason and religion are in diametrically opposite camps.

Anyone who prays to God must therefore be anti-reason, anti- science and antifreedom - in other words, an objectionable, obscurantist nutcase.

But this is the very opposite of the truth. Rationality is actually underpinned by Judeo-Christian beliefs.

Without the Biblical narrative, which gave the world the revolutionary idea of an orderly universe that could therefore be investigated by the use of reason, science would never have developed in the first place.

And it was the Judeo-Christian belief that all individuals are made equal in the image of God that gave rise to human rights and democracy.

Of course, terrible things have also been done in the name of religion. And equally, people without religious faith can believe in freedom and equality, and lead moral lives.

But that’s because they draw upon a culture that rests on religious foundations. Strip away those foundations and what’s left would be a brutalised and chaotic society.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Doug Wilson has been reviewing (by chapter) Twilight, the first in a series of vampire-romance books which have spawned an extremely popular couple of movies. In his most recent review, Wilson connects some dots and explains why this book is so popular among young women and why it is so dangerous to the less discerning among us, particularly our kids.
So let's talk about how these books train young women to respond to abusive relationships in all the wrong ways. In this chapter, Bella faces up to what she might have to do if Edward Cullen is in fact a vampire.

"[One option would be to] tell him to leave me alone -- and mean it this time. I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative. My mind rejected the pain, quickly skipping on to the next option" (p. 139).

Any pain is preferable to the pain of having the destructive male gone. Got that? You can think up a lie to tell the nurses at the ER when you go down there to have that black eye looked at. There has to be another option to quickly skip on to, right?
[L]et me put a few background observations on the table. In an earlier post, I described this as "cartoon porn for the emotions." Let me explain what I mean by that. Lust is not a sin that afflicts one half of the human race, leaving the feminine half entirely unaffected. Because men are male and women female, because men are convex and women concave, their desires are correspondingly fitted to their natures. Men want what they want, and women want to be wanted that way. Men desire and women desire to be desired. This is a matter of emphasis, obviously. I am not saying that men don't have a need to be desired, or that women don't desire. These desires are both present in both sexes, and they are both weighted differently. And that weight is different enough to drive men and women into very different forms of personal destruction. Men destroy women very differently than women destroy men. But they both do it, and the recipients of these destructive powers are the hormones with feet that are currently frisking around them.

Now Bella is a perfect screen onto which women can project these sorts of desires. She is nondescript; she is klutzy. She is no great beauty; she is ordinary in the extreme. Now take someone like that, someone who does not appear ever to have been desired in any significant way, and put her in a position where she is all of a sudden desired in every significant way. If a woman can be desired in a particular way, Bella is desired in that way. She is desired that way with no practice in handling it, blam, right out of the blue. She is now desired for sex, she is desired for her blood, she is desired as an object to protect, she is desired as an object to destroy, she is desired for her smell, she is desired by multiple predators and buffoons, and on and on it goes. And right at the center of this maelstrom of cosmic lust is a plain Jane high school girl. Now, three guesses why this whole thing is so popular with needy women.

Men have to be told, as Proverbs says over and over, that to desire a particular kind of woman is to desire destruction. Women have to be secured against the flip side of this same kind of destructive pattern. To desire to be desired by a certain kind of man is to desire destruction. As wisdom says, all who hate her love death (Prov. 8:36).

So gather round, girls, (says Meyer) and let me teach you some stinking lies. Why buy the book? If a man treats you terribly, it is all because he loves you. If a man confesses he might kill you, you should just stay with him forever and a day. If a man abandons you without explanation, it is because he loves you so much. If your lover needs to be changed, it must be possible for you to change him. And anyways, after that doesn't work out, it would be better to be swallowed up by his problems than to be without him. Anything but going without him.
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
From perhaps the most Cross-centered modern worship song...
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Monday, December 07, 2009
"Here is your political litmus test. Regardless of real amounts, would you rather have the whole population have the same basic income (give or take 5 percent), or would you want seventy-five percent of the people to have twice that amount, and twenty-five percent to have ten times that amount? Which is your ideal?

If the former, then whether or not you are, your worldview is riddled with envy -- and repentance of some sort is in order. If the latter, it is also important to remember that this discrepancy of income is not a problem to be solved, but is rather a description of the solution to the equally distributed miseries created by the levelers and haters who insist on the first option.

Reagan once said that socialism would only work in two places -- in Heaven, where they don't need it, and Hell, where they already have it."
- Doug Wilson
This is right on. I've found that when I've debated capitalism with a free market hater, I can usually dig out the root of envy in his political worldview after only a few minutes. It doesn't take long before "I had medical bills that I couldn't possibly cover, so why shouldn't those who are better off help me out?" slips into their argument or something along those lines (though not always from their own personal experience). The basis of socialism (or anti-capitalism) is covetousness.

Few sins have caused more human suffering than envy. It fomented the rise of communism in Russia, it made the Holocaust possible, and enabled the Hutus to wipe out the Tutsis in Rwanda. All because people broke the tenth commandment.
Friday, December 04, 2009
"When through the deep waters I call you to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with you your trouble to bless,
And sanctify to you your deepest distress."
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I believe it's been a couple years since I did a "Best Of" list, so no time like the present to remedy that. What follows will be a list of the movies I most enjoyed in 2009 (primarily movies newly out this year or that came out in 2008 but I didn't see until this year).

In no particular order...
  • Star Trek - Solid restart for the classic space series. This was a very likeable, enjoyable film. The new actors accurately captured the old characters. I can't wait for the upcoming sequels.

  • State of Play - A well-done, smart thriller which hides its cards better than most thrillers these days while avoiding cliche plotlines. Plus, it has Jason Bateman, who is awesome even in small roles.

  • Duplicity - Another smart thriller, the team of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen as con artists keeps you guessing, but the payoff is worth the wait if you can keep track of the plot, which at times is a bit hard to follow.

  • Gran Torino - Quite possibly the best movie I saw this year. See here for my review. It's difficult to praise this movie too much.

  • Valkyrie - In this historical WWII film, Tom Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, a leader in the Nazi Party who attempts the nearly successful assassination bombing of Hitler. I'm a sucker for a well-done, historical movie, and this one didn't disappoint.

  • Defiance - While we're on the subject of historical WWII films, check out this little gem. Starring Daniel Craig, it tells the riveting story of a group of Jews that survived for a time in a Polish forest. It's not as historically accurate as Valkyrie, but it does get the main points right. Worth a rental.

  • New in Town - I figured I would put one chick flick-ish movie on here, and since few such films are worth much more than target practice, it didn't take long to decide on the one to make this list. New in Town takes place in Minnesota, starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. It's a very funny film ("Whatever you do to my daughter I will do to you") that at first pokes a little fun at Minnesotans and their quirks (real or Hollywood imaginary) but in the end is respectful to those Scandinavian Midwesterners and just plain ol' clean fun.

  • Taking Chance - Fantastic movie that depicts a Marine (played well by Kevin Bacon) escorting the body of a dead Marine home to his family. Emotional, apolitical, and very heart-warming, this film is one of the few great war-related movies from the past decade.

  • Seven Pounds - A tear jerker, this drama starring Will Smith is a great movie, even though Christians have to reject the apparent moral of the story.

  • Slumdog Millionaire - The hype may be a bit much, but it is quite good.

  • Changeling - This film is in the odd position of being one of the best movies I've seen in the past couple years while also being one that I am least likely to ever watch again. The subject material (a kidnapping of a child) is not one easy to stomach, particularly as a parent, and the intensity to this Clint Eastwood-directed movie left me feeling emotionally and psychologically drained. It is REALLY good, but be prepared.

  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Another difficult-to-watch movie, the ending can be seen coming from a mile away, but it still catches your breath all the same. A solid Nazi concentration camp piece.

  • The Counterfeiters - Speaking of the Nazi concentration camp genre, this little relatively unknown foreign flick won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film last year. It tells the very interesting story of the Jews who were enlisted by the Nazis to counterfeit the British pound and the American dollar.

  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop - Okay, I'm sure someone reading this thinks I've moved on to a worst movies list, but this comedy was actually pretty good. In an era that seems to only produce vile stupidity when it comes to comedy, this clean and funny film is worth a Redbox dollar rental.

  • District 9 - This unique sci-fi film is well-done and well-worth checking out on Netflix. Be aware that it is quite gory in spots.

  • (500) Days of Summer - This charming and original romantic comedy is the best of its genre that I've seen since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or 10 Things I Hate About You. Like those other two, it's really funny, relatively clean, and quirky in all the right spots.

  • A Serious Man - The Coen brothers' most recent work, this modern retelling of the Book of Job (with some modifications to the plot) is brilliantly funny in spots (as most Coen movies are) while moving and thoughtful in others. Side note: it was filmed here in Minnesota (the Coens grew up here) and the school scenes were actually shot just a couple miles north of my house.

  • Tell No One - This French film is a very good thriller that begins to make more sense near the end. Like several on this list, not one you will likely find at a Redbox.

  • Appaloosa - Great Western with Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen.

  • The Proposition - This film is actually a couple years old, but I just saw it for the first time last night and it's really good. An Aussie Western, it follows the story of three outlaw brothers and the lawman (and his wife) sworn to take them down.

Well, I probably missed a couple other good ones, but that should about cover the movies I found worth my time and/or money in the past year. If you have any others to add or have thoughts regarding the ones on this list, add them in the comment section below.

"Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing thy power to save,
when this poor lisping, stammering tongue
lies silent in the grave."
Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dalrymple discussed this week in the Salisbury Review the steady decline of British life into a Soviet-like state. It’s pretty sad to see how far they’ve fallen. Lessons for us Americans to learn, no doubt.

It is surprising how often victory turns out not to bring with it the advantages expected and hoped for, or to have an ambiguous and even harmful effect upon the victors. Who would have thought, for example, that within a few years of the conclusion of the Cold War Britain would have undergone so much creeping Sovietisation? No doubt a Soviet military conquest would have brought about a swifter and much more complete Sovietisation than did the crumbling of the Soviet Union; but there is no doubt that in the realm of practical reason the Soviet Union won the Cold War hands down, at least in Britain.

Who would have guessed that, within fewer than twenty years, the British would be more comprehensively surveyed as they went about their daily business than the poor Soviets ever were? That, once they stepped outside the confines of their house, almost all that they did would be photographically recorded? Attending murder trials as I do from time to time as an expert witness, I am astonished by how many of the movements of the accused (and of other witnesses) are recorded on video cameras, for production if necessary at some time in the future. We now live our public lives entirely on camera; every person in the country has his Boswell which is the surveillance camera.

Who would have thought, at the downfall of the Berlin Wall, that a British government would seriously consider recording all telephone calls and monitoring the use of the Internet by all citizens? Who would have thought that it would even dare propose that a centralised dossier on each and every child in the country should be kept? Who would have thought that it would likewise propose an identity card system that enabled the recording of untold information about each and every person, and what is more propose to charge the citizen for the privilege of being thus spied upon? Who would have thought it would have run advertising campaigns to ask citizens to denounce one another if they thought they were cheating on social security, thus introducing into Britain what might be called the Pavlik Morozov conception of truth-telling?

Doug Wilson has some very good thoughts on keeping Christ in one’s political activism.

I would therefore offer three bits of advice, encouragement and counsel to those Christians who are in the trenches of political activism.

First, be avowedly and openly Christian and evangelical. This falls under the heading of "bring the maps this time." Don't fight for "traditional values" or for the sentiments of your "faith community." Don't be a lobbyist for any kind of vanilla bleh. Go through a process that the secularists will attempt to describe as "radicalization." Connect everything to the Lord Jesus Christ. The secularists will see this as bloodthirsty fanaticism, and the only way to get them to shut up on that point would be to change your name to Abdullah and start shooting actual people. Then they would pipe right down and would stop rushing to judgment. But since you can't do that, just settle down and wait for the slanders.

Second, if it is pro-life activism or opposition to the ongoing normalization of sexual perversions, then keep on keeping on. Do this because it is the right testimony to offer a lost and decaying world. God has called you to be faithful, which may or may not be successful. As these things go, earthly success will only come if God grants a great reformation to the church, such that you get reinforcements. But whether He does that in our era or not, it is still the right thing to do. Faithfulness looks successful sometimes (Heb. 11: 33-34) and sometimes the first appearances don't make it look that way (Heb. 11:34-38). But the important thing is to be approved by God. He is the one who issues the only well done that ultimately matters (Matt. 25: 21, 23).

Third, if it is Christian activism outside those sorts of big E on the eye chart issues, then we need to study and learn. There are many areas where well-meaning Christians have gotten involved in politics in ways that are inconsistent with a Christian world and life view. Here are some areas where (in my view) we have almost as much to learn as the secularists do. We are still hunters and gatherers on these grasslands, and so we have no business telling anybody else how to build a city. We don't know. To be specific, I believe that evangelical Christians have a lot of growing up to do when it comes to the issues of economics (free grace means free markets), the difference between defensive and aggressive war (the latter of which is a great engine of avarice), the distinction between sins and crimes, and the illegitimacy of pillaging taxpayers to fund our versions of compassion. Many Christian activists sold their souls during the Bush years, and now that the wickedness of Obama is upon us, they are having trouble getting them back again. And it is hard to fight with any vigor when your soul is gone.

"Not the labors of my hands can fulfill your law's commands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; you must save, and you alone."
What praise song or hymn is this from? No Google cheating...
Monday, November 30, 2009
UPDATE: Joe Carter, a former staff member on Huckabee's election team, weighs in on this issue here.
Almost two years ago, I wrote a series of posts on the Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, excoriating him on many of his political positions. One of my main complaints with the man as a presidential candidate (note: I think he's a nice guy on a personal level, but so is Obama) was his propensity to undermine the judicial system by releasing murderers and other dangerous convicts for no apparent reason than his love of "compassionate conservatism" and clearly no real grasp of a Biblical view of justice (Wayne Dumond was the most (in)famous of his monumental screwups). So it was not too surprising to me when I found out today that the main suspect in the murders of four police officers near Seattle this weekend was released by the Huckster in 2000. What was he released from, you ask? From a 108 year sentence for multiple aggravated robbery convictions. He was paroled on the say of Governor Huckabee TWICE {see comment section for more on this}, the second time after being convicted again of robbery. All because Clemmons wrote a nice letter to Huck telling him how he had been raised in a Christian home and was a changed man.

I don't know what his political aspirations are, but let this be a reminder that Mr. Huckabee is not fit for the office of Commander in Chief!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
This new idea from Focus on the Family is one of the dumbest, most anti-Christian ones I've seen from a Christian organization. They've created a website where people can go and rate the service at retail stores based on their use of "Merry Christmas" or the lack thereof. And then, based on the ratings from everyone, people can know which stores to boycott. Seriously, is this what Christianity has become in this country? Are we to the point where we take offense at NON-CHRISTIANS(!!) not recognizing our Lord? As one blogger put it, "if you think people using the word Christmas somehow makes our materialistic holiday extravaganza more pure you are probably not paying attention very well." Focus on the Family should spend an entire year with their faces buried in 1 Corinthians 6.

A pox on this site and any other ideas this terrible.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kevin DeYoung has an excellent piece regarding the Gospel in (it appears) response to Shane Claiborne’s recent letter to unbelievers in Esquire. Read Claiborne’s piece first then check out DeYoung’s response. It’s spot on.

The New Gospel generally has four parts to it.

It usually starts with an apology…

Then there is an appeal to God as love…

The third part of the New Gospel is an invitation to join God on his mission in the world…

And finally, there is a studied ambivalence about eternity…

This way of telling the good news of Christianity is very chic. It’s popular for several reasons.

1. It is partially true. God is love. The kingdom has come. Christians can be stupid. The particulars of the New Gospel are often justifiable.

2. It deals with straw men. The bad guys are apocalyptic street preachers, Crusaders, and caricatures of an evangelical view of salvation.

3. The New Gospel leads people to believe wrong things without explicitly stating those wrong things. That is, Christians who espouse the New Gospel feel safe from criticism because they never actually said belief is unimportant, or there is no hell, or that Jesus isn’t the only way, or that God has no wrath, or that there is no need for repentance.

4. It is manageable. The New Gospel meets people where they are and leaves them there. It appeals to love and helping our neighbors. And it makes the appeal in a way that repudiates any hint of judgmentalism, intolerance, or religiosity. This is bound to be popular. It tells us what we want to hear and gives us something we can do.

5. The New Gospel is inspirational. This is what makes the message so appealing to young people in particular.

6. The New Gospel has no offense to it. This is why the message is so attractive. The bad guys are all “out there.” This can be a problem for any of us. We are all prone to soft-pedaling the gospel, only presenting the attractive parts and failing to mention where Christ does not just comfort but also confronts. And it must confront more than the sins of others. [emphasis added]

This is no small issue. And it is not just a matter of emphasis. The New Gospel will not sustain the church. It cannot change the heart. And it does not save. It is crucial, therefore, that our evangelical schools, camps, conferences, publishing houses, and churches can discern the new gospel from the old.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
This is great. Apparently, some emails got leaked or hacked from a Climate Research Unit in the UK which prove that climate scientists are a bunch of lying scam artists. What a surprise.
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mark Steyn has an excellent piece on the Fort Hood terrorist attack (for that is what it was). 

[W]e … are now reflexively conditioned to ignore the flashing neon sign. Like those apocryphal Victorian ladies discreetly draping the lasciviously curved legs of their pianos, if a glimpse of hard unpleasant reality peeps through we simply veil it in another layer of fluffy illusions.

Two joint terrorism task forces became aware almost a year ago that Major Hasan was in regular email contact with Anwar al-Awlaqi, the American-born but now Yemeni-based cleric who served as imam to three of the 9/11 hijackers and supports all-out holy war against the United States. But the expert analysts in the Pentagon determined that this lively correspondence was consistent with Major Hasan’s “research interests”, so there was no need to worry. That’s America: Technologically superior, money no object (not one but two “joint terrorism task forces” stumbled across him). Yet no action was taken.

On the other hand, who needs surveillance operations and intelligence budgets? Major Hasan was entirely upfront about who he was. He put it on his business card: “SOA.” As in “Soldier of Allah” – which seems a tad ungrateful to the American taxpayers who ponied up half a million bucks or thereabouts in elite medical school education to train him to be a Soldier of Uncle Sam. In a series of meetings during 2008, officials from both Walter Reed and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences considered the question of whether then Captain Hasan was psychotic. But, according to at least one bigwig at Walter Reed, members of the policy committee wondered “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents”.  So he got promoted to Major and shipped to Fort Hood.

And 13 men and women and an unborn baby are dead.

Well, like they say, it’s easy to be wise after the event. I’m not so sure. These days, it’s easier to be even more stupid after the event. “Apparently he tried to contact al Qaeda,” mused MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “That’s not a crime to call up al Qaeda, is it? Is it? I mean, where do you stop the guy?” Interesting question: Where do you draw the line?

The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder. “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said General Casey, the US Army’s Chief of Staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” A “greater tragedy” than 14 dead and dozens of wounded? Translating from the original brain-addled multicult-speak, the Army Chief of Staff is saying that the same fatuous prostration before marshmallow illusions that led to the “tragedy” must remain in place. If it leads to occasional mass murder, well, hopefully it can be held to what cynical British civil servants used to call, during the Northern Irish “Troubles”, “an acceptable level of violence”. Fourteen dead is evidently acceptable. A hundred and forty? Fourteen hundred? I guess we’ll find out.

“Diversity” is one of those words designed to absolve you of the need to think. Likewise, a belief in “multiculturalism” doesn’t require you to know anything at all about other cultures, just to feel generally warm and fluffy about them.

The brain-addled “diversity” of General Casey will get some of us killed, and keep all of us cowed. In the days since the killings, the news reports have seemed increasingly like a satirical novel the author’s not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch 22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind: If you’re openly in favor of pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put down your emails to foreign jihadists as mere confirmation of your long established “research interests”. If you’re psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there’s no terrorism angle, because, in our over-credentialized society, it doesn’t count unless you’re found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.

Ezra Levant, my comrade in a long battle to restore freedom of speech to Canada, likes to say that the Danish cartoons crisis may one day be seen as a more critical event than 9/11. Not, obviously, in the comparative death tolls but in what each revealed about the state of western civilization. After 9/11, we fought back, hit hard, rolled up the Afghan camps; after the cartoons, we weaseled and equivocated and appeased and signaled that we were willing to trade core western values for a quiet life. Watching the decadence and denial on display this last week, I think in years to come Fort Hood will be seen in a similar light. What happened is not a “tragedy” but a national scandal, already fading from view.

Friday, November 13, 2009
I have a feeling that this idea is going to catch on big time.
And now for something completely different... or not.
Lord Smith of Finsbury believes that implementing individual carbon allowances for every person will be the most effective way of meeting the targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

It would involve people being issued with a unique number which they would hand over when purchasing products that contribute to their carbon footprint, such as fuel, airline tickets and electricity.

Like with a bank account, a statement would be sent out each month to help people keep track of what they are using.

If their "carbon account" hits zero, they would have to pay to get more credits.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
NBC gives new meaning to the phrase "green screen" next week, spreading a pro-environmental message across five of its prime-time entertainment programs.
Trainers on "The Biggest Loser" will instruct their clients to buy organic produce and bring their own mugs to the coffee shop.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Dr. Dalrymple has a superb (I'm running out of superlatives to describe his columns) piece in this month's New English Review. He hits on something that few non-Christians ever realize: that if there was complete justice in this world, "we should all be in a pretty pickle." Dalrymple isn't referring to justice from God, but the general concept of justice in this life. Thankfully, we are rarely held fully accountable for our actions. Yet everyone clamors for it from others while hoping never to be demanded of it themselves.
One of the Fabian’s suggestions, to bring about a more equal society and thereby lessen poverty was to increase and extend inheritance tax. The money raised would be distributed in one way or another to the poor (minus deductions, of course, for the pay, perquisites and pensions of those who had to administer it, a proportion not likely to be small). For, as he said, it was unfair that some people, by accident of birth, should inherit wealth while others should inherit nothing.

It seemed to me obvious that, underlying and if you like impelling the proposal was our old and trusted psychological friend, the one who never lets you down, namely resentment. Why should some people, no better than I and sometimes much worse than I, be better off than I, merely by chance, that is to say by accident of birth? Why should some people be handed on a plate what I have to work all my life for, or indeed in some cases more than I can ever hope to earn and accumulate?

Nothing could be less fair.

It is unfair, but is it unjust?
There are many unfairnesses in life that we must learn to put up with, if we are to have any chance of happiness or even of tolerable contentment. For example, I should like to be taller, better-looking and more intelligent and gifted than I am. Every time I meet someone better-looking than I, taller than I, or more talented than I, which I do very regularly, I experience a brief spark of envy. What did they do to be as they are, my superiors? Why did providence, or chance, endow them with characteristics so much more attractive than my own? Needless to say, I never stop to think that, just possibly, some people might ask the same of me when they meet me.

But the differential endowments of nature are unfair, not unjust, because (at least as yet) no human intervention can prevent them. The inheritance of wealth is not like this: it is a human arrangement that could be abrogated if not easily, for political reasons, at least with some effort. And if injustice is unfairness brought about by human means, then inheritance of wealth is unjust. Ergo, inheritance of wealth ought to be forbidden because it is unjust, and we must always seek justice.

The question, then, is whether we should always seek justice to the exclusion of other desiderata. Is it true that justice always and everywhere trumps other considerations? I think the answer is no.
Read the rest here...
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
It seems the global warming... scratch that, climate change folks can't seem to keep their science consistent. First they say the earth is going to continue warming until we all die or the aliens come back to get us, and are proven spectacularly wrong with a decade of cooling. Second, they blame that warming, er, cooling, er, "change" on CO2 levels created by mankind only to now admit that CO2 has little to do with it.

To those climate change fans (for lack of a better word) reading this, what say you? Honestly, setting aside the politics of it all, if you were told that a group claimed that an apocalypse is coming but all of the "facts," rhetoric, and pseudo science they used kept being proven wrong and the group even admitted it, would you really still lean toward believing that their overall thesis is correct???

Makes me wonder who the real "flat-earthers" truly are...

The Prosperity Gospel from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009
The Religion of Peace strikes again.
Friday, October 30, 2009

Last week's Law and Order episode was one of the most pro-life programs I've ever seen on network TV. Usually, the main L&O show is pretty even-handed when dealing with political issues (unlike it's retarded SVU cousin), but last week's episode was almost entirely pro-life, giving only lip service to the pro-abortion side. Here are a couple key quotes from the show (delivered by two main characters):
“I grew up thinking Roe v. Wade was gospel. Now… I don’t know where my freedom ends and the dignity of another being begins.”
"I used to think that human rights advocates would extend some to the unborn, but I don't think that anymore."
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Theodore Dalrymple has a modest proposal...
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe.
[Doug] Wilson isn't one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just "metaphors." He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn't waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he "allows" it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing." - Christopher Hitchens at
Monday, October 26, 2009
I was riding through southern Indiana this weekend and saw a billboard with this on it: "Secondhand Smoke = Child Abuse"

I wonder how many people actually believe that... unfortunately, I fear that the government's campaign to save people from themselves and limit all forms of freedom has brainwashed many to believe that the billboard is correct.

I'm of a rather different opinion. For one, the evidence that secondhand smoke has long term negative side effects is dubious, at best. Most studies have shown no clear connection to increased health risks (not that the government or media would ever tell you this). Secondly, if we start blurring the lines of what constitutes child abuse (just like the terms "rape" and "hate" have long lost much of their meaning), how long will it be before some busybody turns a parent in for buying their children candy, since candy is obviously not healthy and if abused can lead to poor health in the future? As Christians, we should fight for the freedom of our neighbors to do as they please as long as it truly doesn't do serious damage to another and always err on the side of their freedom to live as they choose and to parent as they see fit. Christians should not be about using the government to force by compulsion that which only Christ can win over by grace. THAT is what truly conservative Christians are about when they engage in politics: improving people's lives and protecting those who can't protect themselves. Conservative Christians are not about forcing the Bible on others, not about making people moral in deed while still immoral in spirit, not about foisting a theocracy onto unbelievers. The law never brings freedom; this is as true of human law as it is of God's law.

Theologian Martin Niemöller's famous poem might be appropriately modified here:
First they came for the smokers, and I did not speak out—because I did not smoke;
Then they came for the donut eaters, and I did not speak out—because I did not like donuts;
Then they came for the gun owners, and I did not speak out—because I did not own a gun;
Then they came for the parents of obese children, and I did not speak out—because my children were fit;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.
See if you can get all 10 questions correct...
Friday, October 23, 2009
This looks like a good website for devotionals, something one can never have enough of.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I recently finished John Owens' book, Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (found as the first of three Owens books in the linked-to book), and found it one of the most helpful and challenging books I've ever read. In it, Owens explains in depth what the Apostle Paul meant when he said Christians should be "putting to death the deeds of the body" through the strength of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13). Christians tend to forget that last part: the Holy Spirit. We hate feeling guilty, so in our own strength we work to kill (or more accurately, subdue) certain sins that beguile and annoy us, rather than first repent, have God kill our flesh in Christ, give us a new heart, and then rise to abundant life. Only after having faith in Christ can we ever hope to make successful war against our flesh. But that war will never end while we exist in this life, and the victory against our flesh won't ever be fully complete while we still draw breath.

It's not an easy read (both Owens' use of highbrow English and the thoughts he propounds are difficult to digest), but one you will find both wonderfully rewarding but terribly convicting. The Church needs to read books like this instead of junk like The Shack or Your Best Life Now.
Hmm, something about this doesn't make a whole lot of sense...
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Mark Steyn had an excellent piece this week discussing the new morality prevalent among the liberal intelligentsia. Instead of condemning actual evil deeds, they condemn made-up quotes.
If you say, “Chairman Mao? Wasn’t he the wacko who offed 70 million Chinks?”, you’ll be hounded from public life for saying the word “Chinks.” But, if you commend the murderer of those 70 million as a role model in almost any school room in the country from kindergarten to the Ivy League, it’s so entirely routine that only a crazy like Glenn Beck would be boorish enough to point it out.

Which is odd, don’t you think? Because it suggests that our present age of politically correct hypersensitivity is not just morally unserious but profoundly decadent.

Twenty years ago this fall, the Iron Curtain was coming down in Europe. Across the Warsaw Pact, the jailers of the Communist prison states lost their nerve, and the cell walls crumbled. Matt Welch, the editor of Reason, wonders why the anniversary is going all but unobserved: Why aren’t we making more of the biggest mass liberation in history?

Well, because to celebrate it would involve recognizing it as a victory over Communism. And, after the Left’s long march through the institutions of the West, most are not willing to do that. There’s the bad totalitarianism (Nazism) and the good totalitarianism (Communism), whose apologists and, indeed, fetishists can still be found everywhere, even unto the White House.
But don’t worry, the new Fairness Doctrine will take care of the problem.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This ought to worry us all.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In case you've had your head in the sand recently, our venerable Commander in Chief Barry Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize last Monday. The timing of the announcement came about 36 hours after Saturday Night Live had eviscerated the president in its opening skit (see here for the hilarity). As if imbued with an incredible sense of comedic timing itself, CNN quickly FACT-CHECKED the SNL routine. Oh, for the days when they would just laugh along when SNL ripped Bush. Now they're stuck defending their messiah to their own liberal brethren.

Mark Steyn had this to say about this new turn of events.
The most popular headline at the Real Clear Politics website the other day was: “Is Obama Becoming A Joke?” With brilliant comedic timing, the very next morning the Norwegians gave him the Nobel Peace Prize.

Up next: His stunning victory in this year’s Miss World contest. December 12th, Johannesburg. You read it here first.
Given the [CNN's] ever more exhaustive absence of viewers among the non-flight-delayed demographic, perhaps Wolf could make it a regular series.
Reflecting the new harmony of US-world relations since the administration hit the “reset” button, The Times of London declared the award “preposterous” and Svenska Freds (the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society) called it “shameful.”

There’s something almost quaintly vieux chapeau [old hat] about the Nobel decision, as if the hopeychangey bumper stickers were shipped surface mail to Oslo and only arrived last week. Everywhere else, they’re peeling off: The venerable lefties at Britain’s New Statesman currently have a cover story on “Barack W Bush”.
In a recent speech to the Manhattan Institute, Charles Krauthammer pointed out that, in diminishing American power abroad to advance statism at home, Obama and the American people will be choosing decline.

There are legitimate questions about our war aims in Afghanistan, and about the strategy necessary to achieve them. But eight years after being toppled, the Taliban will see their return to power as a great victory over the Great Satan, and so will the angry young men from Toronto to Yorkshire to Chechnya to Indonesia who graduated from Afghanistan’s Camp Jihad during the 1990s.

And so will the rest of the world: They will understand that the modern era’s ordnungsmacht (the “order maker”) has chosen decline.

Barack Obama will have history’s most crowded trophy room, but his presidency is shaping up as a tragedy — for America and the world.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Bring on the Yankees!

The Wall Street Journal points out just how idiotic the Cash for Clunkers program ended up being (not that any conservatives are surprised, we all predicted this).
Monday, October 05, 2009
This is such a great picture...

Friday, October 02, 2009
Dalrymple wrote an excellent piece this week regarding one effect of the hate-crime legislation (and the accompanying idea of protecting certain groups ahead of others).
[T]he seriousness of an offense committed in Britain now depends upon who the victim is. If a person is not of an identifiably protected group, he or she is not entitled to police intervention against abusive stone- and bottle-throwing youths. He is not entitled to protection at all.

The Guardian’s article appears to accept that such behavior, so long as it targets a member of an unprotected group, is merely undesirable—“anti-social” rather than obviously criminal. The rule of law is fast evaporating in Britain; we are coming to live in a land of men, not of laws.
Or is he just a Christian who sees things in a unique way? Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs attempts to answer that question based on a recent interview that Rob Bell did for the Boston Globe. In it, Bell says the following:
Q: OK, how would you describe what it is that you believe?
A: I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That's a beautiful sort of thing.

Q: Is religion a part of that?
A: At the heart of the Christian story is resurrection, the belief that this word is good, and that, as a follower of Jesus, a belief that God hasn’t abandoned the world, but is actively at work in the world. Even in the midst of what can look like despair and destruction there is a new creation present.
There you have it, the gospel to Rob Bell is rank moralism, nothing more. Al Mohler recently wrote this on the false gospel of moralism:
In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this -- the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.

Sadly, this false gospel is particularly attractive to those who believe themselves to be evangelicals motivated by a biblical impulse. Far too many believers and their churches succumb to the logic of moralism and reduce the Gospel to a message of moral improvement. In other words, we communicate to lost persons the message that what God desires for them and demands of them is to get their lives straight.
The seduction of moralism is the essence of its power. We are so easily seduced into believing that we actually can gain all the approval we need by our behavior. Of course, in order to participate in this seduction, we must negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes. Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. That is considered sufficient.

Moralists can be categorized as both liberal and conservative. In each case, a specific set of moral concerns frames the moral expectation. As a generalization, it is often true that liberals focus on a set of moral expectations related to social ethics while conservatives tend to focus on personal ethics. The essence of moralism is apparent in both -- the belief that we can achieve righteousness by means of proper behavior.

The theological temptation of moralism is one many Christians and churches find it difficult to resist. The danger is that the church will communicate by both direct and indirect means that what God expects of fallen humanity is moral improvement. In so doing, the church subverts the Gospel and communicates a false gospel to a fallen world.
The Gospel is not "come be a better person and save the environment while doing so." The GOSPEL is "come die to yourself and self-wrought mortification and put your trust in Jesus, that you might truly live." Rob Bell denies this gospel and thus denies Christ.

He also denies God's sovereignty and omniscience:
Q: What have you learned from thinking about suffering?
A: For a lot of people, dominant questions center around, ‘Why is this happening? Why me? Why now?’ Unfortunately, the religious voice often enters into the discussion at an inappropriate time – ‘God just planned this.’ Really? Your God planned this, not mine.
This is just more of the Open Theism that is so rampant among today's Christians. "God doesn't control every little detail, He just adjusts to changing circumstances on the ground." Deism is what I call it. Or, as Phil Johnson says in his post:
Bell has no agenda to "restore the true meaning" of the term evangelical, much less encourage a revival of true evangelical belief. In fact, Bell has made a career of attacking historic evangelical convictions—laying siege to the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, the wrath of God against sin, the authority and perspicuity of Scripture, the necessity of the virgin birth, the coherence of the biblical testimony about the Resurrection, the exclusivity of Christ, and whatever other historic Christian doctrines Bell finds politically incorrect.
If any popular figure "in the evangelical movement" (or on its copious fringe) deserves the label "heretic," it is Rob Bell. The guardians of evangelical politeness don't like that kind of candor, but when a secular newspaper like The Boston Globe is publishing pieces implying that the best, most promising alternative to right-wing civil religion is a mish-mash of Open Theism and performance art—and that whatever "evangelicalism" is, it must be one or the other of those two abominations, it's time for people with historic evangelical convictions to speak up clearly and make the biblical message heard again.
Here's a bit more from pastor-blogger Jared Wilson. The highlights:
The problem with Bell's definition [of evangelical] is not that it outlines a practical faith or that anything he's highlighting is bad or wrong, only that what he outlines contains no object of faith and highlights work to do rather than work completed. And I don't know about you, but work completed is always better news than work undone.
Jesus doesn't need you or me to be embarrassed for him or his followers. He doesn't need our help. We don't have to butter people up before we bring him out. He's not a time share or Amway or something.

If I get hit by a bus just after preaching a Jesusless exhortation to hold hands and be sweet to change the world with positivity, you have my permission to wish the bus had hit me before I preached.

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! And woe to you too, Rob Bell.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Hmm, I hope they figure out a way of catching this besides strip searches...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Here is a report put together highlighting the positions and views of more than 700 scientists, all of whom have worked for the United Nations with regards to climate... so much for consensus.
Friday, September 25, 2009
"The world is waiting, pregnant with the possibility of another future than
wars and rumors of wars." - Shane Claiborne
Is this true? Does history or the Bible lead us to believe that there could be a future on this planet where war is a thing of the past? Or is Claiborne...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"Red, yellow, black and white, they are equal in his sight"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
My parents just returned yesterday from a vacation to the UK. During their time there, they came across an elderly woman who had fallen on the side of a street. A few people were crowded around her, while she lay bleeding profusely from a head wound. My mom, a nurse, proceeded to begin CPR on the woman with the "aid" of someone who claimed to know CPR. The injured woman had no pulse and was not breathing, just to give you an idea of how serious the injury was. Shortly thereafter, the ambulance arrived (after two other ones had driven by). That's when everything went downhill. First, the EMTs showed little urgency in their care, taking their time getting to the injured party. Second, they had almost no clue about what to do. My mom had to continually remind them to keep doing the oxygen "bagging" and chest compressions, and they were greatly distracted by the head wound and bandaging it up when it was obviously not the most important issue at hand. Lastly, they had a defibrillator (which has a much higher percentage of success than just your basic CPR) but it was in the ambulance and they didn't go get it, nor did they immediately take the woman to it. My parents don't know what happened to the woman, but it seems highly likely that she did not survive. To be fair, the woman may have died no matter what care was provided her, but it is no understatement to say that the trained professionals paid to care for her did little to save her.

My mom also had an opportunity to talk with a group of women at a Bible Study over there and health care came up. She mentioned some of the typical things women get regular checkups for. For example, they were amazed that here in America, women begin mammagrams at age 40, while in Britain, they don't start until age 50. Same thing was true for a few other tests; the British are advised to wait a lot longer than Americans to begin preventative testing. She told them that when a government is paying the bills, it will obviously limit "unnecessary" testing and procedures to as few as possible. They said they didn't realize that Americans got such good care.
Monday, September 21, 2009
So now Christian apologetics is illegal in Britain.

HT: Steve M.
Friday, September 18, 2009
A great post on why Christians should not support a distributist economy like the Jews had with the year of Jubilee and what not in the OT.
Here's a great little article on how even the global warm-mongers are now admitting that the earth hasn't warmed in over a decade and how they aren't intellectually honest enough to admit that this puts a big damper on the likelihood they have any clue what they're talking about when it comes to climate as a whole.

Personally, I think a homeless bum on the street has a better chance of predicting the global temperature for the year 2035 than the James Hansens of the world. I said a few years ago that they would be proven wrong shortly, and so they have. Unfortunately, because they have the media behind them still, they are able to still somewhat spin this as a "just a pause" situation. However, thankfully more and more people are seeing through the lies, deception, and really bad science.
Here is an excellent post on the differences between Michael Jordan's acceptance speech into the NBA Hall of Fame and David Robinson's speech. Below you can view the two speeches. Jordan's is breathtaking in its self-indulgent, vindictiveness, while Robinson's displays the grace and love that defined his career.

Matt. 19:30

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Almost half of American doctors would consider retiring or quitting medicine if Obamacare passes... I thought the White House was claiming that doctors were behind the bill. Oh well, just more lies from Obama, nothing new.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This is a man who should be honored well above the Ted Kennedys and Michael Jacksons of the world.

[UPDATE: More on him here.]
Monday, September 14, 2009

In high school...

In college...
Friday, September 11, 2009
"In the eight years since 911, about 10.4 million Americans have lost their lives through the atrocity of abortion. This was about 1.3 million a year -- over 3,000 a day. Those who perpetrated 911 killed 3,000 in one day, and they perished at the same time. But the ghouls in charge of our judicial system, and the one we elected to appoint new justices to the top of that system, preside over 3,000 deaths a day, every day, non-stop. Just since 911, we have conducted over three thousand 911s ourselves. And just like the terrorists, we have a cloak of self-justification. The only difference is that we need a much bigger cloak.

But keep the distinction between horizontal and vertical in mind. Agreeing that Yahweh had a judgment to bring against Israel, one that He justly brought by means of the wicked Assyrians, is not the same as saying that the Assyrians had the right to do what they did. We are a stiff-necked people, and it is only through the mercy of God that we are not consumed." - Doug Wilson
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
So Yale University recently had those infamous cartoons which depicted Muhammad removed from a book on the subject because of a "fear of violence." It's informative to think about this: the liberal academia, which constantly tells us that Islam is a religion of peace, won't print some relatively benign cartoons because they are scared of violence. Where does this violence come from? I thought Muslims were peaceful. So you see, while they may protest otherwise, liberal elites are actually the most prejudiced of all against Muslims and in so doing, confirm that which they deny.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Dalrymple has an excellent discussion on the subject of crime and the prevention thereof in the New English Review this month.
In Europe, the United States is often used as a trope for all that is bad about the modern world, and in particular as an example of a savage, unsocial world, a kind of Wild West of the soul, where everyone is selfish, concerned only for his own advantage, indifferent to the fate of others, crassly materialistic, and so on and so forth. Although no European visitor ever claims to have seen such a thing for himself, many Europeans conceive of the United States as a land in which, if a person is injured or falls ill in the street, he is left to die there if he is not privately insured.

I am not myself an idolater of the United States. I do not believe that all that is American is best. It is neither a model to be imitated in all things, nor a model at all costs to be avoided. Its manifest failings are exceeded by its manifest virtues: but it requires discrimination to decide what is worthy of emulation and what of avoidance. Generally speaking, we in Europe get things exactly the wrong way round.

For me, the high imprisonment rate in the United States is a sign of social health, not of social disease. Of course, I do not approve of any miscarriages of justice or of incidents of brutality that occur in American prisons: but when I compare the confidence and resolution with which America faces the problem of criminality with the vacillation in most of Europe (some countries excepted), I cannot help but be struck by the difference, which is all to our disadvantage. The American system, for all its faults, is prepared to draw a line; European systems, on the whole, are not. But my view is exactly the opposite of what most Europeans, or at any rate educated Europeans, and no doubt many Americans, think.
[S]ocieties such as several western European ones that cannot summon the confidence to set apart those who have persistently shown themselves unwilling to abide by the most elementary rules, and which prevaricate and beat their breast wondering how they and not the law-breakers are really to blame, may truly be described as decadent.
Friday, September 04, 2009
This is what happens when we cede moral and parental authority to the government.
This piece in The Atlantic is brilliant and if you only read one thing about the health care issue, make it this! I'm not sure I entirely agree with the author's solutions (I'd prefer to keep most health care coverage voluntary), but otherwise it's a very sound discussion of the actual problems inherent in the American health care system.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Jonah Goldberg wrote a good piece this week on the global warming topic.
Last month, in another study, also released in Science, Oregon State University researchers claimed to settle the debate over what caused and ended the last Ice Age. Increased solar radiation coming from slight changes in the Earth's rotation, not greenhouse gas levels, were to blame.
No, I'm not denying that man-made pollution and other activity have played a role in planetary warming since the Industrial Revolution.

But we live in a moment when we are told, nay lectured and harangued, that if we use the wrong toilet paper or eat the wrong cereal, we are frying the planet. But the sun? Well, that's a distraction. Don't you dare forget your reusable shopping bags, but pay no attention to that burning ball of gas in the sky -- it's just the only thing that prevents the planet from being a lifeless ball of ice engulfed in darkness. Never mind that sunspot activity doubled during the 20th century, when the bulk of global warming has taken place.

What does it say that the modeling that guaranteed disastrous increases in global temperatures never predicted the halt in planetary warming since the late 1990s? (MIT's Richard Lindzen says that "there has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995.") What does it say that the modelers have only just now discovered how sunspots make the Earth warmer?

I don't know what it tells you, but it tells me that maybe we should study a bit more before we spend billions to "solve" a problem we don't understand so well.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Mark Steyn wrote a brilliant piece this week on the passing of Ted Kennedy and the lack of honest reflection going around about his life.

We are enjoined not to speak ill of the dead. But, when an entire nation – or, at any rate, its "mainstream" media culture – declines to speak the truth about the dead, we are certainly entitled to speak ill of such false eulogists.
We are all flawed, and most of us are weak, and in hellish moments, at a split-second's notice, confronting the choice that will define us ever after, many of us will fail the test. Perhaps Mary Jo [Kopechne] could have been saved; perhaps she would have died anyway. What is true is that Edward Kennedy made her death a certainty. When a man (if you'll forgive the expression) confronts the truth of what he has done, what does honor require? Six years before Chappaquiddick, in the wake of Britain's comparatively very minor "Profumo scandal," the eponymous John Profumo, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for War, resigned from the House of Commons and the Queen's Privy Council and disappeared amid the tenements of the East End to do good works washing dishes and helping with children's playgroups, in anonymity, for the last 40 years of his life. With the exception of one newspaper article to mark the centenary of his charitable mission, he never uttered another word in public again.

Ted Kennedy went a different route. He got kitted out with a neck brace and went on TV and announced the invention of the "Kennedy curse," a concept that yoked him to his murdered brothers as a fellow victim – and not, as Mary Jo perhaps realized in those final hours, the perpetrator. He dared us to call his bluff, and, when we didn't, he made all of us complicit in what he'd done. We are all prey to human frailty, but few of us get to inflict ours on an entire nation.
When a man is capable of what Ted Kennedy did that night in 1969 and in the weeks afterward, what else is he capable of? An NPR listener said the senator's passing marked "the end of civility in the U.S. Congress." Yes, indeed. Who among us does not mourn the lost "civility" of the 1987 Supreme Court hearings? Considering the nomination of Judge Bork, Ted Kennedy rose on the Senate floor and announced that "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit down at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution."
If you had to identify a single speech that marked "the end of civility" in American politics, that's a shoo-in.

If a towering giant cares so much about humanity in general, why get hung up on his carelessness with humans in particular? For Kennedy's comrades, the cost was worth it. For the rest of us, it was a high price to pay. And, for Ted himself, who knows? He buried three brothers, and as many nephews, and, as the years took their toll, it looked sometimes as if the only Kennedy son to grow old had had to grow old for all of them. Did he truly believe, as surely as [some] do, that his indispensability to the republic trumped all else? That Camelot – that "fleeting wisp of glory," that "one brief shining moment" – must run forever, even if "How To Handle A Woman" gets dropped from the score. The senator's actions in the hours and days after emerging from that pond tell us something ugly about Kennedy the man. That he got away with it tells us something ugly about American public life.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »