Saturday, April 30, 2005
Friday, April 29, 2005
Most of the blogs I read consistently are the ones that have a PDA version that works with my Treo 600. Powerline and Instapundit have this. This way I can read blogs while I'm waiting at a stoplight or in a doctor's office. It's handy. One day all blogs will be read on my phone. And the Glory of the Lord will be revealed. (no blasphemy intended).
I need to be spending time with my wife and kids.
These days when my kids are young are passing quickly, never to return. So I'm out playing catch with my son, or working on my daughters science project or letting my other daughter ride on my back.
Someday I'll blog like a leaky faucet. But for now it's blog as catch can. I shoot for at least one post a day.
Thank you, gentle reader, for your attention.
It made an impression.
Notes From The Exile: "I hate to castigate Blogger, especially since I am using their platform to write this entry, but the features of Wordpress and benefits of not sharing the server are wonderful. If you have any PHP/MySQL experience I recommend giving it a try. I might even purchase some basic hosting from Brinkster and get an official URL, because you can host more that one blog on the same server as well."
Instapundit.com -: "Just this morning, the Insta-Daughter mentioned an angle (learned from The Sims) that the essay omits: 'When you marry a maid, you get someone with excellent cooking and cleaning skills.' These are highly valued in the Sims world, where their absence is made extremely apparent. She also reported that one of her married Sims is having an affair, and that it's working out badly for all concerned."
Heh, not bad. I assume Sims get VD too, unlike the show Friends.
Talk about Art imitating life. If you can call a video game art.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
The full-page ads in major U.S. newspapers were inspired by new government data questioning government assertions that obesity causes nearly as many deaths as smoking, according to the Center for Consumer Freedom, which paid for the ads.
The group, based in Washington, does not disclose names of its donors, though spokesman Mike Burita said casual dining restaurant chains 'are predominant sources of funding for us.'
A spokesman for Darden Restaurants Inc., the nation's largest casual dining company and owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, could not say whether Darden was among contributors to the group.
Applebee's International Inc., another major casual dining chain, also could not say whether it contributes to the group, a spokeswoman said.
The group spent about $600,000 on the ads, which appeared on Monday in the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune. Ads are also to run in Newsweek magazine and on billboards in the Washington-area metro system. "
I'll bet Michael Moore won't be doing any hard hitting documentaries on the group behind this effort.
I told you it was a cheap shot. Forgive me.
MISCONCEPTION: Kids are messed up emotionally. FACT: Teen suicide rates have been declining for the past 10 years. Nine of 10 teens describe themselves as 'usually happy.'
MISCONCEPTION: Kids are beyond the control of their parents. FACT: More than 90% of teens now say they 'get along' with their parents, and nearly 80% say they get along 'very well' or 'extremely well.' One survey found 82% of teens reporting 'no problems' with any family member vs. just 48% who said that back in 1974, when parents and teens were far more likely to argue over basic values.
MISCONCEPTION: Kids are having trouble in school. FACT: Eight in 10 teens now say it's 'cool to be smart,' and the average SAT score is the highest it's been in 30 years.
Adults who work directly with today's teens know about these new trends, especially the growing attachment to parents and teamwork. College admissions counselors now talk about the prevalence of 'helicopter parents' who 'hover.' So do military recruiters. And the military brass have noticed something else: 'We're seeing a huge cultural shift away from the word 'I' to the word 'we' in this new generation of young people coming in,' U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, head of U.S. forces in Europe, observed in a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy."
There's no I in team.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The Pope We Never Knew - Christianity Today Magazine has this untold and fascinating account of the long developing partnership between a Roman Catholic renewal movement in Poland and Campus Crusade for Christ. This was typical of the connections between the late Pope John Paul II and Protestant Evangelicals.
Whatever you and I might make of the theology or long term effects of this alliance, it is at the very least historic and profound.
Digging in China - Christian History: "In about 1625 some Chinese digging the foundations of a house near Xian, China's ancient capital, chanced upon a black marble monument. The Chinese characters inscribed at the top said, 'The Monument Commemorating the Propagation of the Ta-ch'in Luminous Religion in the Middle Kingdom.' Syriac characters on the stone described the arrival of a missionary, Olopen (or Alopen), in 635. The text also named Chinese emperors who had supported this religion and listed the religion's leaders, including one bishop, 28 presbyters, and 38 others, likely monks."
Turns out that Christian Missionaries in China date back much further than Hudson Taylor.
See this link for more.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Second, for individuals aged 25-59 the risks of premature death from being underweight are substantially greater than those of being overweight and they are also slightly greater than those of being obese. For those aged 60-69 the risk of dying from being underweight is much higher than from being even significantly obese, that is with a BMI > 35. Again, the total number of premature deaths due to obesity is 25, 814, while the mortality attributable to being underweight is 37, 746. If anything this points to an epidemic of not fat but thin caused death."
Now would be a good time to buy Krispy Kreme stock.
Soon scientists will have the credibility of politicians if they keep making false claims like this. Maybe it's politics that's driving the science anyway (see here)
The second person, wearing a blue flight suit, is alive but badly hurt.
The cameraman orders him to stand up, but the survivor says he has a broken leg and asks for help.
The militants appear to help him up, and tell him to run away.
Then they shoot him at point blank range and he collapses.
They continue to shoot the body, shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Great)."
This summer I led a learning activity which portrayed this kind of evil in God's name. I thought then that the students who participated probably doubted whether things like this happen in the real world because they don't happen in the U.S.
They do happen.
To anybody who said: “But that’s false!” the Nazi shouted, “That’s just your opinion, and who are you, compared to Der Fuehrer?”
To anybody who said, “But what you are doing is unjust!” the Nazi shouted louder, “Says you, swine.”
Relativism means this: Power trumps."
Read the whole thing.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Who is Ratzinger? Here is my personal testimony, for what it is worth. This very powerful ecclesiastical figure, even then the No. 2 in the Vatican hierarchy, warmly received us, an unimpressive group of French orthodox Protestant/Reformed theologians, for two hours. In the first hour, in fluent French, he gave a magnificent overview of the state of theology and of the dangers of German liberal theology in particular. His critique of Bultmann was superb. We Protestants then took an hour to present the case for orthodox Protestant theology. Cardinal Ratzinger listened with rapt attention. Our time together was not a casual, nor perfunctory audience, but a genuine theological exchange. I was impressed by his intellect, by his linguistic ability (fluency in at least five languages), by his theological wisdom and by his openness to biblical theology. As we left, we gave him a bound copy of Calvins Institutes, and he graciously accepted my article on the apostle Paul as the last apostle (see photo). Clearly my article did not change his mind about the papacy, but I have it on good authority that he has been reading the copy of Calvins Institutes.
So that was that, I thought. However, the next day while sight-seeing in Rome I happened to meet his secretary, a French priest. How did the Cardinal enjoy our visit? I asked. Without hesitation he replied: The Cardinal said he wished there was a seminary like that in the Catholic Church.
I have rarely thought about that moment, until today. As the presiding Cardinal announced in Latin: Habemus papam .Josephus , I knew it was Ratzinger and I stared at the photo I have had on my study wall for many years, drawn strangely in to an event of global proportions.
I began to put things together.
When Ratzinger said in his homily at a pre-conclave Mass in St. Peter's, denouncing the essence of paganism: "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires";
When, in his first address from the Vatican balcony he spoke of the joy in the risen Lord, trusting in his permanent help;
When, in his first papal homily in the Sistine Chapel, addressing all Christian churches, he said: I take this opportunity to send all of them my most cordial greetings in Christ, the only Lord of all;
I did think: Thats the same Ratzinger I met for those two hours seventeen years ago.
How do Protestants respond, seeing that Rome often masks the pure Gospel of grace and sometimes places Christ behind Mary and even the Pope? The massive glistening white marble statue of Mary on a hill dominates the city of Santiago, Chile, with the head of the Serpent under her feet, while a small figure of Christ on a little cross below, to the left, is hardly visible.
How do we respond? This morning, Robert Godfrey, historian and President of Westminster Seminary in California (where I am adjunct professor and scholar in residence), ended our daily chapel by announcing the name of the new pope. He then did something few Protestants do. He prayed that the Spirit might lead Benedict XVI into a deeper and fuller understanding of Scripture and the Gospel.
Knowing what I learned about this man in that short but meaningful encounter, surely this prayer is not in vain.
Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet
Well said. I have realized recently that I tend to think of judges as monarchs: those with trancendant authority, removed from democratic politics, and above criticism.
Well I think that's wrong. Monarchy is what Americans left when they left Europe. It's interesting to compare the way judges are portrayed in popular culture as opposed to CEO's or other executives. Judges are portrayed like royalty: with some foibles but above the rest of us, particulary in matters of wisdom. CEO's are routinely portrayed as corrupt and selfish.
Given human nature, surely the truth is in between. But what causes this melodramatic streak in pop culture. Perhaps we all need to have a priesthood over us. Secular people look to judges to represent them regarding the deep things of life. Religious people look to Pope, Pastor, Guru or Shaman for the same.
I've long seen secularism as equivalent to a religion. If other "religious" leaders can be criticized for being too political, does this mean only secular priests can speak to political issues? Perhaps this is already true in the minds of many.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Thanks for the link and the pub Andrew. I love the Theoblogian term as well. I've enjoyed getting to know your blog as well.
Yeah it noticed last week that I was getting a lot more traffic than normal on my blog. It wasn't an avalanche. More like the ice water that get's dumped on a coach after winning a game.
I noticed that most of the referral pages were from Wired News and lo and behold, there, my blog was quoted.
I'm such an amateur that I could just as easily have missed the whole thing.
Campus Crusade is slowly growing in it's web presence with sites like www.everystudent.com and others.
Blogging is still an unfamiliar term to most CCC staff however. I think this might be primarily due to the fact that most staff interact with students directly or with email. And most student blogs are simple diaries that end up orphaned over the long haul.
Still I think blogging is here to stay and will be an increasingly important part of campus life. Check out the Carnival of Education blog if you don't believe me.
It's interesting the parallels between this dire prediction and the predictions of chaos that preceeded the Protestant Reformation. There was much chaos in Europe, but it was a good thing in the end I believe.
Time will tell.
It is also interesting to think of the parallels between "Epic" and the Tower of Babel from the Hebrew Bible. That didn't end quite as well.
Will you be "on the grid" or will you hide cash under your matress?
Time will tell.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
'We are moving,' he declared, toward 'a dictatorship of relativism . . . that recognizes nothing definite and leaves only one's own ego and one's own desires as the final measure.'
The modern world, Ratzinger insisted, has jumped 'from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, up to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and on and on.'"
I think this analysis is on the mark.
This doesn't have to be a political blue state/red state issue - although there are obviously some important geographical implications here for the parties. But when are people going to realize the skewed nature of the costs of living in these states?
Sooner or later, real estate prices in the Northeast have to start going down. People just aren't going to be willing or able to pay $450,000 for a closet.
And the same goes for California, incidentally. I have a friend with a house less than 1/2 the size of mine in California. And his is no where NEAR downtown, and is still going for over half a million. Mine is twice as big, lot 3 times as big, much nicer, 40 years newer - and is around $200,000. And my commute is less than his.
Location, location, location."
Monday, April 18, 2005
USATODAY.com - Youthful seekers try to find: "Two studies released this week document the extent to which teens and young adults are teeming with spiritual curiosity, tolerance for religious differences and willingness to tap multiple sources for wisdom and guidance.
One study, released Wednesday, is the most comprehensive ever done on the subject. Researchers from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA base their conclusions on survey responses from 112,232 freshmen at 236 diverse colleges and universities.
A complex picture emerges. On the one hand, students show a hearty interest in spiritual matters: 79% say they believe in God, 69% say they pray, and 76% say they are searching for purpose or meaning.
On the other hand, respondents confided some uncertainty and discomfort. Fewer than half reported feeling 'secure' in their current views on spiritual and religious matters. And students strongly committed to doing acts of charity and living by an ethic of caring showed higher levels of psychological distress than their less socially concerned peers."
"They are searching for answers to big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose in life? What will happen to me? Will I leave my mark in this world?" says Helen Astin, co-principal investigator of the study with her husband, Alexander Astin. "No one, including ourselves, ever thought of that as being an important aspect of student life. I hope we'll get to know the students better and look at them in a more holistic way."
If we were to hear of any other institution in the United States that had those kinds of statistics, we would be outraged. If less than 6 percent of universities or government institutions were integrated, we would say there is something seriously wrong."
I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that there is more intellectual diversity in American Churches than in American universities.
Still, the fact that most churches remain generally monoracial is an embarrassment to those who attend them.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Friday, April 15, 2005
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Friday, April 08, 2005
The Belmont Club: "I believe that historians in retrospect will understand the Iraqi insurgency was not something spontaneously ignited by outbreaks of looting in Baghdad in the aftermath of OIF, but a meeting engagement between two prepared forces. Iraq, as Princeton's Michael Doran observed, was intended to be the graveyard of America's counteroffensive against terror. Instead the enemy dug the grave for themselves. What we are seeing now is not simply the rout of a few armed men, but terror's greatest defeat in modern times."
How's that for a meme. In the months and months and months and months that crawled by while George Bush "rushed" to war, trying to gain the support of a corrupt UN and morally bankrupt Europe, terrorists gathered en masse in Iraq because they understood it as the front line of the war between Islamist terror and Western Civilization. Isn't it interesting that terrorists have a more accurate handle on geopolitical realities than some American Presidential candidates. I guess that's why they remained candidates.
I remember when the Bush administration started talking about the need to "drain the swamp" of terrorism by attacking states that harbored and promoted terrorists. Afghanistan was first, Iraq was second. This seemed to me to make a lot of sense from the very beginning.
I don't know if the Bush administration had any idea how successful they might be in this policy. It seems now that all the bugs gathered in the swamp of Iraq and our brave fighting men and women have pulled the plug and the scum has drained considerably, not just in Iraq but in the whole region.
The free peoples of this earth are safer as a result.
If you want to see someone get it wrong, read this:
"Progress and peace in the Middle East? We should only live so long."
Well, we did.
I'm trying to post something directly on blogger instead of using the awesome "Blogthis" feature in Firefox, and it's not working!
I'm tempted to take the suggestion of Franki.
I use gmail as a quick and dirty offsite backup. I have a critical database that I weekly save in a gmail draft email. It is saved online so if my house burns down I can still retrieve my dbase.
That was true for him, Bush said.
'No doubt in my mind the Lord Christ was sent by the Almighty,' Bush said. 'No doubt.'"
I'm sure the elites will love this. It's like George Washington or Lincoln was talking or something.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
“Students are putting their faith into action by helping meet the physical needs of the less fortunate by delivering the HolidayCare Boxes,” said Ryan McReynolds, director of the Denver Christmas Conference. "
Check this out. Who knew! I was ego surfing Google and lo and behold!
This is why anyone who "works" in "influence" (e.g., Ministry, Politics, Education, Marketing, Parenting, ;-) should take Blogs very seriously.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
This is not just because men are in crisis in society. There's also fewer men out of doors because they are inside playing Halo and looking at porn. I know from experience that young men are increasingly uncomfortable dealing with real people and prefer digital "people" who are far more "user friendly". This is not healthy.
Monday, April 04, 2005
This should be interesting.
Poll after poll supposedly proves that most Americans agreed with removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.
I kept thinking that couldn't be right. People must misunderstand the issues or the questions are not clear enough.
Well I'm not crazy.
This, finally, is a Zogby poll via Power Line: "'If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water,' the poll asked.
A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes."
I didn't think I was crazy. When my common sense disagrees with "polls", I stick with common sense. Apparently it really is "common" sense.
"Not only am I not on board. I would be happy to see the NIV sail into the sunset if it could be replaced by the ESV as the standard preaching, reading, memorizing Bible of the English-speaking church."
TNIV or ESV? I need to buy some new bibles!
Sunday, April 03, 2005
The first is that reason is amoral. Reason is only a tool and, therefore, can just as easily argue for evil as for good. If you want to achieve good, reason is immensely helpful; if you want to do evil, reason is immensely helpful. But reason alone cannot determine which you choose. It is sometimes rational to do what is wrong and sometimes rational to do what is right."
To comment on Dennis' article: A friend recently told me about how pigs act. Pigs are smart but they are ruthlessly selfish. They are smarter than horses or dogs but are, well, pigs because they use their intelligence strictly for selfish wants.
It is interesting that in the Hebrew Bible, the OT, Pigs are "unclean". It's as if God is saying, "don't be like this, I've made you for something greater." God knows that reason is not enough.
Read the whole thing.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
It's interesting to me that this student had to talk with Campus Crusade students to find the kind of intellectual "diversity" he thought college would be about.
I'm proud to say that I train students in just such "open debate about all kinds of issues".
Friday, April 01, 2005
Return of the Mac: "And open and good is what Macs are again, finally. The intervening years have created a situation that is, as far as I know, without precedent: Apple is popular at the low end and the high end, but not in the middle. My seventy year old mother has a Mac laptop. My friends with PhDs in computer science have Mac laptops.  And yet Apple's overall market share is still small."The most interesting part of this article is that hackers are using Mac's again and that means that we all will be using them in the future.
Hmm. I've always been a Mac guy at heart. It's not McRyanMac for nuthin ya know. Maybe my next laptop will be a Mac.
We report, you decide.
How Liberalism Failed Terri Schiavo:
"A true adherence to procedural liberalism--respecting a person's clear wishes when they can be discovered, erring on the side of life when they cannot--would have led to a much better outcome in this case. It would have led the court to preserve Terri Schiavo's life and deny Michael Schiavo's request to let her die. But as we have learned, the descent from procedural liberalism's respect for a person's wishes to ideological liberalism's lack of respect for incapacitated persons is relatively swift. Treating autonomy as an absolute makes a person's dignity turn entirely on his or her capacity to act autonomously. It leads to the view that only those with the ability to express their will possess any dignity at all--everyone else is 'life unworthy of life.'You don't want to be a political party that is seen as killing the weak and infirm.
This is what ideological liberalism now seems to believe--whether in regard to early human embryos, or late-stage dementia patients, or fetuses with Down syndrome. And in the end, the Schiavo case is just one more act in modern liberalism's betrayal of the vulnerable people it once claimed to speak for. Instead of sympathizing with Terri Schiavo--a disabled woman, abandoned by her husband, seen by many as a burden on society--modern liberalism now sympathizes with Michael Schiavo, a healthy man seeking freedom from the burden of his disabled wife and self-fulfillment in the arms of another. And while one would think that divorce was the obvious solution, this was more than Michael Schiavo apparently could bear, since it would require a definitive act of betrayal instead of a supposed demonstration of loyalty to Terri's wishes."
Just like you don't want to be a political party that is seen as being soft on terrorism.
"Imagine, for example, that the Schindlers had agreed with Michael Schiavo that Terri's time had come, that she would never have wanted to live like this, that the feeding tube keeping her alive needed to come out. Chances are, there would have been no federal case, no national story, no political controversy. Terri Schiavo would have been buried long ago, mourned by the family that decided on her behalf that death was preferable to life in her incapacitated state. Under law, such an outcome would have been unproblematic and uneventful, so long as no one had claimed that Terri Schiavo's previous wishes were being violated. But morally, the deepest problem would remain: What do we owe those who are not dead or dying but profoundly disabled and permanently dependent? And even if such individuals made their desires clearly known while they were still competent, is it always right to follow their instructions--to be the executors of their living wills--even if it means being their willing executioners?This is the fundamental difference: if you are religious, you tend to think of life as a gift and the dignity of that life is not dependent on you ability to exert your individual will, it is dependent on the will of God.
For some, it is an article of faith that individuals should decide for themselves how to be cared for in such cases. And no doubt one response to the Schiavo case will be a renewed call for living wills and advance directives--as if the tragedy here were that Michael Schiavo did not have written proof of Terri's desires. But the real lesson of the Schiavo case is not that we all need living wills; it is that our dignity does not reside in our will alone, and that it is foolish to believe that the competent person I am now can establish, in advance, how I should be cared for if I become incapacitated and incompetent. The real lesson is that we are not mere creatures of the will: We still possess dignity and rights even when our capacity to make free choices is gone; and we do not possess the right to demand that others treat us as less worthy of care than we really are."
If you are secular, then God's will does not exist. What else is there but the will of the individual to give the individual life meaning. So when the will of the individual is compromised, so is the dignity of the life.
That's why the Schiavo case is related to abortion and euthanasia and the great moral debates of our age, because it is rooted in our worldview of what gives dignity to humanity: God's will or human will?
In abortion, the will of the mother trumps the will of the fetus. In Euthanasia the will of the individual to end their own life trumps the will of God to say that life should be preserved even if it means suffering. In the more sinister possibilities of Euthanasia the will of the surviving "loved ones" or "society" trumps the will of the individual being killed if the individual can no longer express their "dignity" in a way that satisfies those left with the power to decide life or death.
I think this suicide is the modern emblem of secular dignity in death as Earnest Hemingway's suicide was a forerunner. Now Terri Schiavo's death is "peaceful" and "beautiful" because someone decided to kill her, because she decided that she would want to be killed (or so they say).
It is troubling to me that in my own heart I want the right to disregard whatever God's will may be to make my own decisions. This is where all of us start in relation to God. The reality is that my decisions invariably skew selfish, and hurt others. That is why guidance from the Bible about God's will has become so important to me to keep me from selfishly hurting others.
Secular people and skeptics say that the Bible can't be trusted to let us know the will of God and only fools would submit their will to the illusory will of religious God.
Terri Schiavo is dead. From where I sit those who believe the Bible are doing a better job fighting for others lives than the secular. It seems that even the secular are beginning to agree.