Saturday, February 28, 2009

Edwards last words to his congregation

I was just listening to a sermon by my friend Brian Albert who pastors the Calvary Baptist Church just across town. In his sermon he recounts how Jonathan Edwards was voted out of the church he pastored for 23 years. Yes, I'm talking about THE Jonathan Edwards who preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". THE Jonathan Edwards who was used of God to help ignite the Great Awakening in the new colonies some 250 years ago. THE Jonathan Edwards who is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. After 23 years, the church voted him out. Gotta love those congregational churches! (Sorry Brian, I couldn't resist!)
Maybe if Edwards sported a chin beard things would have turned out different?

Anyways, and more importantly, Pastor Brian briefly alluded to the last sermon Edwards preached before leaving the church thus whetting my appetite to read the whole sermon, which I just did. You can read it here. I was struck by the final words Pastor Edwards spoke to the flock he loved very much:

Christ did once commit the care of your souls to me as your minister; and you know, dear children, how I have instructed you, and warned you from time to time. You know how I have often called you together for that end, and some of you, sometimes, have seemed to be affected with what I have said to you. But I am afraid it has had no saving effect as to many of you, but that you remain still in an unconverted condition, without any real saving work wrought in your souls, convincing you thoroughly of your sin and misery, causing you to see the great evil of sin, and to mourn for it, and hate it above all things, and giving you a sense of the excellency of the Lord Jesus Christ, bringing you with all your hearts to cleave to him as your Savior, weaning your hearts from the world, and causing you to love God above all, and to delight in holiness more than in all the pleasant things of this earth. And I must now leave you in a miserable condition, having no interest in Christ, and so under the awful displeasure and anger of God, and in danger of going down to the pit of eternal misery. — Now I must bid you farewell. I must leave you in the hands of God. I can do no more for you than to pray for you. Only I desire you not to forget, but often think of the counsels and warnings I have given you, and the endeavors I have used, that your souls might be saved from everlasting destruction.

Wow. Powerful words.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A sad twist...

Some time ago I blogged on my hope that President Obama would take Kathleen Sebelius off our hands in Kansas. Her adamant support from one of the most prolific abortionists, George Tiller, has been a burden to our state for the last several years. The picture above of our governor shaking hands with her good friend (to call him a "Dr." is an insult to legitimate doctors)-hands that regularly dismember nearly full term babies-literally makes me shudder when I look at it for too long.

My hope was for Obama to appoint her to the Secretary of Commerce post. Instead, he appears poised to appoint her to the Secretary of Health and Human services.

Consider what the Department of Health and Human services states as it's purpose:
THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS) is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
Wow. What a sad and strange twist...Appoint a person who advocates the killing of babies in the womb (or partially out, as the case may well be) to a position that is supposed to help those who are least able to help themselves! Even more ironic is appointing someone who refuses to acknowledge clear scientific proof on when human life begins to a position that is supposed to champion "human services". She doesn't even know what a human being is, but will be the secretary of "human services".

It would be good for the State of Kansas to be rid of Mrs. Sebelius, but I'm afraid she'll only advance our nations downward moral spiral by moving to Washington.

Calvin on John 17:6

I framed this picture of John Calvin and put it right outside my office door. His chin beard is most impressive, don't you think?
As you have probably surmised, I am studying and preaching through John 17, the High Priestly Prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please consider John Calvin's comments about John 17:6 as it relates so closely to what I posted a few days ago-

John 17:6 I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Christ declares that the elect always belonged to God. God therefore distinguishes them from the reprobate, not by faith, or by any merit, but by pure grace; for, while they are alienated from him to the utmost, still he reckons them as his own in his secret purpose. The certainty of that election by free grace lies in this, that he commits to the guardianship of his Son all whom he has elected, that they may not perish; and this is the point to which we should turn our eyes, that we may be fully certain that we belong to the rank of the children of God; for the predestination of God is in itself hidden, but it is manifested to us in Christ alone.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What am I? Help from David Wells

I have enjoyed several books by David Wells, I am now reading "The Courage to Be Protestant". It's very informative and helpful.

Like Wells I have struggled with the label "Evangelical" because of how meaningless the term has become with myriads of protestants who label themselves as such. I do not oppose the use of labels, but they can be very misleading.
So what am I? I resonate very closely with what David Wells says early in this book:

I think of myself as a biblical Christian first and foremost, as in continuity with Christians across the ages who have believed the same truth and followed the same Lord. The period in which these truths were brought into the most invigorating, health-giving focus was the Reformation.

I therefore think of myself as Reformational in the sense that I affirm the solas: in Scripture alone is God's authoritative truth found, in Christ alone is salvation found, it is by grace alone that we are saved, and this salvation is received through faith alone. Only after each of these affirmations is made can we say that salvation from start to finish is to the glory of God alone. These affirmations do not stand simply as solitary, disconnected sentinels, but they are the key points in an integrated, whole understanding of biblical truth. This is what gives us a place to stand in the world from which to understand who we are, what the purposes of God are, and what future lies before us. These are the things that historic Protestants believe, and that is what I am.

Wells goes on to observe:

This is what I think offers the only real hope for our postmodern world. Not only so, but it carries in it the best help for the evangelical world in its wounded and declining state today. I do not know what the evangelical future will be, but I am certain evangelicalism has no good future unless it finds this kind of direction again. This will take some courage. The key to the future is not the capitulation that we see in both the marketers and the emergents (two classes of Evangelicals Wells sees as causing the decline in Evangelicalism). It is courage. The courage to be faithful to what Christianity in its biblical forms has always stood for across the ages.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obama's speech evoked various thoughts

I watched President Obama's speech while while doing my elliptical work. He spoke for 50 minutes followed by a lot of hand shaking allowing me to get a much needed ten extra minutes of workout time in.

As I watched the speech I scrawled out phrases that came to mind, I'll share them now:

Best communicator since Reagan

Elegant spokesman

Passionately sincere

Ideologically idealistic

Change from Bush, but not change from Washington politics

Inspirational for a great many

Energy, Health Care, and Education reform

Unfundable agenda

No earmarks? Seriously? Did he really say that? I think he believes it.

Pompous grins from California

What does Sully have to do with this?

The Government will lead you

Taxes won't be raised ,"Not one dime", 3 or 4 times. Ironic and puzzling.

Outnumbered jeers

"if we", "if we", "if we", really means "If the government"

A room of smiley people who can't see that America is in decline.

Do I know God through Christ?

In John 17 the Lord Jesus prays for the glory of God. The first and fifth verses contain essence of His petition:

John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Verses 2-4 basically show why God the Father will answer the prayer of God the Son. There is so much that can be said about John 17 and these opening verses, I only scratched the surface in two recent sermons:

There is such profound depth contained in John 17 which has led me to believe it is the greatest chapter in the bible. The first five verses touch on the mutual glory of God the Son and God the Father, the co-eternality of the Father and the Son, the exaltation of the Son, sovereign election, and how we may have eternal life. That's just the first five verses! I want to emphazise a couple reasons why the content of John 17 is so important for me as a believer:

1. John 17:1-5 touches on various biblical themes which teach a deep reality about my personal salvation

- I am a believer in God through Christ entirely based on the GRACE (undeserved favor shown to me, a sinner, who deserves God's wrath) of God

-I am a lover of God because of what Christ accomplished as ordained by God the Father, not because I have mustered love for God from within myself.

- My salvation, my eternal life, is based on a long settled agreement between the Father and the Son, not because of something I have done to gain such favor with God.


- My security for now and eternity is based on the sure delight of God for the Son.

- My security for now and eternity is based on the accomplishment of God’s will by Jesus.

- My security for now and eternity is one of the chief ways God has chosen to glorify Himself

2. While containing profound doctrinal depth in John 17:1-5, verse 3 displays a beautiful simplicity about the basis for eternal life.

- I know God by knowing Christ.

- For all the depth of the doctrine and theological insight i gain from this passage, I should not miss the simplicity of the gospel message as Jesus says it:

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

"Am I Elect?", "Who are the Elect?", aren't really the most important questions I can ask.

Do I know God through Christ? This is the question I must ask and answer (by God's grace, of course)!

It is true- only God's Elect will come to know God through Christ, so answering the question "Am I Elect"? can only be done by answering "Do I know God through Christ"?

Happy Birthday Nico!

Today is my middle son Nico's birthday. Despite his mature appearance, he's 8 years old today.
Dear Nico,
Take good care to observe the commandment and instruction that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, and to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Joshua 22:5)
Love, Daddy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pink on the High Priestly Prayer

I am thoroughly enjoying John 17. I love this statement from A.W. Pink concerning this prayer of our Lord Jesus:

“The prayer we are now about to meditate upon is a standing monument of Christ’s affection for the Church. In it we are permitted to hear the desires of His heart as He spreads them before the Father, seeking the temporal, spiritual and eternal welfare of those who are His own. This prayer did not pass away as soon as its words were uttered, or when Christ ascended to heaven, but retains a perpetual efficacy.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Foster/Adoption Update

Many of you have been praying for my family as we have been finishing the process of becoming licensed to be foster parents in Kansas.

At the end of January we received our full license to care for children 0-5 years old. It was a long, arduous process. Our particular license allows us to foster two children (a sibling pair) long term and for shorter term emergencies we can have three. If any of the children we foster become adoptable, we'll have the first opportunity if the Lord leads us in that direction. We definitely want to adopt eventually, however we also want to be foster parents for small children, so by God's grace we'll probably do both. We'll see. There's just so much need.

So now we are waiting for our first "placement". It could happen tonight, next week, or next month. There's no way to know. I hope we're ready.

There are a few prayer requests, if you have opportunity to lift us before God's throne:

1. Pray that God would give us-our whole family, the boys included- grace to love and care for any child or children that come in to our home.

2. Pray that our sons would not see another child as an intrusion or someone who will take their parents attention away but as one who they can show the love of Jesus to.

3. Pray for Shari as she will bear the brunt of the daytime foster parenting. Any child under five will take some getting used to again.

4. Pray that we have opportunity to share Christ with foster children and their parents as we assist in the process of re-introducing the child back in to their home when the time is right.

Thanks so much!

How long will the Vatican allow this mockery?

A college friend of mine was raised by his grandfather. He seemed to handle it alright, but his little sister (7 years younger) totally worked her aging grandfather. She would constantly test Grandpa doing things she knew were against the rules. He would raise his voice a little to make her comply, but if she offered any resistance he didn't really back down, he just acted like nothing had happened. It was both frustrating and sad to watch. Here was this dignified older man being mocked by this little girl.

The longer the Roman Catholic Church and her Pope allow Nancy Pelosi to run around calling herself an "ardent" Catholic, the more it reminds me of the above scenario.

The following was reported by today:

Pelosi, Pope Have No Meeting of the Minds

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Wednesday morning, but may not have had a meeting of the minds if the two statements from their offices are any indication.

No journalists were at the 15-minute encounter and the Vatican and the speaker's offices have not released any photos. However, according to their statements it appears the pope and the politician attended two different get-togethers.

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development," the Vatican wrote, having released the statement moments before the two met.

Several hours later, Pelosi's office gave her take on the tete-a-tete.

"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," Pelosi said in a statement released hours after the meeting.
"In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."

The pontiff has a long history of urging Catholic politicians to toe the line on abortion, and has said that those who don't shouldn't take communion. Pelosi supports abortion rights and says she's never been denied communion at her church in San Francisco.

In 2002, the Vatican issued a doctrinal note on "The Participation of Catholics in Political Life," which states rather succinctly that politicians who profess to be Catholic have a "grave and clear obligation" to oppose any law that attacks human life.

That note was approved by John Paul II but signed by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He's now the pope.

The speaker does not share that belief, and even got into a verbal slugfest with American bishops last August after her statements on a news program about the Church's view of when life begins.

"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said at three months, we don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose," she said at the time on NBC's "Meet the Press."

She then added that the Church has only held the view for 50 years or so that life begins at conception. The remarks earned her widespread corrections by Catholic clerics.

Obviously Rome doesn't care about the rogue schismatic who blogs under the name of the valiant mouse-warrior Reepicheep, so I bid Roman Catholics who value their church's teaching on human life to make their voices heard to their priests, bishops, and the Pope. If enough members of the Roman Catholic church voice their disagreement with the notion of leaving Nancy Pelosi "in communion" perhaps some disciplinary action might happen. For all my differences with Roman Catholicism, all of Christendom should follow her example in advocacy for the unborn at the grassroots level. I am critical because I believe practicing discipline on members who so publicly and blatantly violate the church's teaching will have a profound positive impact on the culture at large (not to mention their church). The Roman Catholic Church has an opportunity like no other church to make a global statement for God's righteous standard.

It may seem unlikely in a hierarchical church like the RC Church to see an ecclesiastical action come from a groundswell, but I'm convinced the Vatican pays attention to opinions. Why else does the Pope hesitate to discipline politicians like Pelosi? Fear over membership loss has to be the main motivator in letting Pelosi and others mock the church like she does. It's not enough that she is "pro-abortion", she promotes and advocates abortion. She advances abortion in the U.S. and abroad. Determining Pelosi's guilt is not a complex case. It seems there is a fear of backlash among quite a few Roman Catholics if Pelosi and others like her are excommunicated.

Did I mention Pelosi's view of birth control? Her view of homosexual practice?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Football brilliance

Lionel Messi is having an incredible season for Barcelona.

The Argentine phenom has been playing professional soccer at a high level since he was 16. Diego Maradona (arguably the greatest player of all time, next to Pele anyways) has dubbed Messi his successor. Here are a few highlights from Messi's career. He has already added several more this season, I'll post a reel of those when the season is over.

Even if you are not a soccer fan, you have to recognize the athletic brilliance of Messi.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Praying in every circumstance

John Calvin said it beautifully, “There is no time in which God does not invite us to Himself," which is the main sentiment in James 5:13-14

James 5:13-14 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Very simply, there are three occasions that should prompt prayer:

1. If you are suffering

2. If you are cheerful

3. If you are sick

These three occasions make up our common experience as human beings. So, in other words- pray at all times! We go through times of suffering or general hardship, times of cheerfulness, and times of sickness. No matter where you find yourself, God invites you to Himself through prayer. Jesus encourages prayer at all times (Luke 18:1) and Paul says to do so without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). Paul most closely mirrors the thoughts of James when he writes:

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints...

James, like Paul, doesn't only encourage private prayer, it is to be a community event also. Yes we are called to pray privately, just as Jesus did from time to time, but we are also to enlist others in prayer for us and for God's glory.

James says to pray when we are suffering, which is reference to hardship and trials we undergo. If you find yourself in such a hardship, bring it to God in prayer. Have others pray for you also. James says to "praise" when you are cheerful. Praising God is a prayer acknowledging the greatness and goodness of God, among other attributes. Such times of cheerfulness are usually in relationship to a time of peace and clear blessing from God. We can tend to forget praise in such seasons. Praising God during times of cheer isn't just for you, it's so others who may be in times of suffering can witness the blessings of God upon you and rejoice with you in the midst of their trial. Finally, when we are sick, and most likely seriously sick, we should call for the elders to come and pray and anoint us with oil for healing. Obviously it is not always God's will to heal us of our sickness (see Paul and Timothy), further, no one will escape final sickness, however bodily frailty and God's healing (immediate or gradual) is a constant reminder of our need to depend on God, to seek His strength, and to pray.

So James bids us to pray every circumstances which serves as an acknowledgement of the sufficiency of God in our lives.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dejavu all over again?

I am just starting to research this more fully, but my initial observation reveals some eery economic similarities between Presidents Hoover, Carter, and Obama.
Get ready folks, it's going to be a seriously rough ride.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Incomparable Luther

Ran across this statement from Luther today:

"Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?" -- Martin Luther

Monday, February 9, 2009

"It is only the government that can..."

Earlier today, President Obama said-

"It is absolutely true that we can't depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth," he said. "But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life. It is only government that can break the vicious cycle where lost jobs lead to people spending less money which leads to even more layoffs."

I view this statement very troubling on many levels. What do you think?

I'm a simple guy, I admit it. The reason our economy is faltering has to do with America consuming (spending) too much and producing (selling) too little.

People are freaking out and holding on to what money they have and not buying more stuff. The house of cards is starting to come down. A government spending frenzy will only dig a deeper hole for us. Any "jolt" this "spendulus" package gives will be extremely short lived and will carry a huge credit card bill very soon.

The answer- let things fall from where they are. Yes, it will be terribly painful effecting everyone negatively at first, no doubt. The market will have to correct. We (the U.S.) will have to start producing things the rest of the world needs and wants and we'll have to exercise some restraint in what we buy.

Again, I am a simple guy, I admit it. The government can't solve this with the current approach.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A-Rod revelation rips off the scab...again

Alex Rodriguez was named as one of the 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, the year before Major League Baseball banned steroids and other performance enhancing substances...yawn.

At this point, so what?

It's a fair guess to say many, if not most, of the major power hitters in the 90's through to 2004 were probably roided up. It disgusts me, but with player after player coming up dirty in that era, I've basically resigned myself to always view 1994-2004 with an asterisk in my mind- the steroid era. The stats from these years are bloated and thus should be considered when players from this epoch start breaking records or are considered for the Hall of Fame. I am happy to see one of the earliest offenders, Mark McGwire, get fewer and fewer votes each year his name appears on the Hall of Fame ballot. I hope he never gets in. He shouldn't. I hope the voters stay strong against Barry Bonds when he comes up. Bonds is a shame because he had Hall of Fame numbers before he started taking steroids. His biggest crime has been the perpetual lies and disrespect he continues to heap on the game that made him great. He may well be in jail when he's Hall eligible.

My theory on roids and performance enhancers in Major League Baseball goes like this: several contributing factors converged to give us the tainted 1994-2004 era. Roids were used before 1994, however, '94 is the year of a very damaging MLB strike. Fans did not come back to the gates quickly after that long strike and revenues were down significantly. At the same time various new "designer" drugs were becoming easily available and very difficult to detect by outdated league methods. With the league's guard down technologically and the desire for increased revenue in the minds of every owner, players started roiding up and no one was too quick to stop it. There was a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" thing going on in MLB. It started to look fishy when McGwire gained 30 pounds of bulk in the mid 90's, then destroyed the home run record. Many point to the 1998 "home run race" season as the savior of baseball since the 1994 strike. Surely owners didn't want the rising ticket sales to end. Yeah, sure, it was only Andro that Big Mac was downing. Yeah, right, whatever.
Well, overlooking McGwire in 1998 was one thing, but it became outright grotesque when Bonds jealously followed and outdid McGwire's example gaining 30 pounds of his own and several hat sizes by 2000. In 2001 Bonds annihilated McGwire's single season home run mark. In 2007 we were forced to watch him awkwardly break Hank Aaron's all-time home run total. The obvious steroid use of Barry Bonds -fueled by a jealous greed to break McGwire's single season HR mark- is what made ignoring the steroids problem in MLB impossible. In 2004, due to a growing public outrcry accompanied by unprecedented governmental scrutiny in the form of hearings on Capital Hill, the league officially banned steroids and other chemical enhancers. Annual home run totals have plummeted since 2004.

Oh, back to A-Rod, or A-Fraud, or A-Roid. I'm not surprised. I doubt anyone is. Unlike McGwire and Bonds, he still has a solid 5 or 6 prime years in him, maybe more as a DH. He can easily rack up Hall of Fame numbers in that time. What he does in the next week or two will likely decide his Hall of Fame fate. If he calls a news conference and fesses up like Any Pettite did. I think he'll come out of this fairly well in the long run, since this era is tainted already.

As for A-Rod, the Yankee, I'm somewhat indifferent. He tested positive while a member of the Texas Rangers, not as a Yankee, for whatever that's worth. I was not in favor of acquiring him despite his immense talent. I was rather hoping the Yanks would use the money to pass on Damon at center field and pick up Carlos Beltran the next season. There would have been plenty of good third basemen to pick up instead of A-Rod. The Yanks acquired A-Rod just to spite the Red Sox, and quite obviously it backfired. Now we're stuck with him because no one else can afford him. Obviously I hope the Yanks return to the throne this year, but I could take or leave A-Rod and his high drama.
1994-2004 was a sad, embarrassing era for professional baseball. This recent revelation about A-Rod only rips open the scab again. It will be a while before the scab is allowed to become a scar.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ideological Entertainers...that's all

I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio from 1993-95 because my fellow co-workers had his show on daily (I worked at a bank). I thought Limbaugh was pretty intelligent, possessing generally solid analytical skills and I found myself agreeing with him on many issues. The chief problem with Rush Limbaugh was his seeming belief that a certain brand of politics or a particular ideology was the gospel. If elected officials would govern the way Rush thought, everything would be great.

Ultimately I turned off Rush because political ideologies are not the real answer to man's manifold needs, particularly his ultimate one- the forgiveness of sins. Secondarily, I found my attitude growing increasingly negative while listening to his daily onslaught against the Clinton administration. It wasn't healthy for my sanctification. I don't begrudge Rush Limbaugh, and from time to time I'll see him interviewed and generally appreciate his insights, but still, I think it's unfortunate how much Christians seem to hang on this guy's every word. I don't know his faith commitment, but if he does trust Christ and is a member of a solid, faithful, church, I am unaware and it doesn't come through in what he says. There's no sign of a holistic biblical worldview, that's for sure.

Two other commentators that I find myself agreeing with on various matters don't strike me as intelligent as Limbaugh but are enjoying quite a following these days, especially by many of my Christian friends. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. I have always thought Bill O'Reilly was an intellectual lightweight. He's a crafty lawyer for sure, but in reality he's an entertainer looking to strike a populist chord just a touch right of center. As for Sean Hannity, he was tolerable when Colmes was on the show to keep him fairly honest, but now that Colmes is gone- I think his show absolutely stinks. It's pathetic. I can't figure out who would like Hannity's approach. Again, like Rush, neither of these guys possesses a Christian worldview, they espouse some nebulous political ideology as the answer to man's problems. Sorry guys, you're missing it too.
Here's the deal- they have "shows". They are entertainers. More specifically they are "ideological entertainers" which is all the medium of television really allows. Quick quotes, sound bites, fast interviews, images flashing, show over in 30 minutes.

The three guys I enjoy listening to don't have their own shows, but seem to appear all over. Ron Paul for his economic insights, Newt Gingrich for his understanding of congressional dealings and international affairs, and Allen Keyes for his rock solid commitment to God-honoring morals. Further, I catch glimpses of a Christian worldview possessed by Keyes at least. Paul has a solid personal statement of faith and I have heard that Gingrich has experienced some kind of personal renewal in his professed Christian faith in very recent years. I don't know for sure. The "news show" stuff on television isn't all bad, however turning ideology in to entertainment is a blurry, weird thing that is having a profound effect on our culture. What would Neil Postman be saying?

So, whether it's Hannity, Colbert, Matthews, Olberman, Maddow, Anderson, Huckabee, The View, Oprah-right/left, liberal/conservative, whoever or whatever: they are all ideological entertainers.
Listen with great caution, if you really must listen at all.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The merit of the Chin Beard grows (so to speak)

Continuing my series on the resurgence of the timeless chin beard in recent times, I bring you additional examples. Perhaps the most "American" representation of the chin beard is embodied in Uncle Sam seen above. Surely a symbol of strength the world over.

There can be no doubt- The Count is the greatest of all Sesame Street characters. One might argue his chin beard may well be the most obvious reason for his mathematical success.

At first glance, given his physique, you might have thought this was a picture of me saying goodbye to Shari and one of my sons, but alas, it is not. It is Leonidas from the movie "300" about the Spartans. While he sports a moustache lessening his overall coolness, the vivid form and structure of his chin beard is so impressive I could not leave it out.

The late Karsten Solheim was the founder of PING golf clubs. Solheim had a carefully crafted chin beard Colonel Sanders himself could not rival! My appreciation for Solheim actually goes beyond his sweet chin whiskers. Solheim was VERY generous toward various Christian organizations including my college, Moody Bible Institute. He was a man used greatly by God.

While rank pagans, who could deny the great taste of the Egyptians when it came to stellar looking coffins? King Tut's is no exception. A gold chin beard! Wow.

There is no doubt about two things related to basketball phenom Kevin Garnett:
1. He is a better player having now joined the Celtics.
2. He was way cooler looking with his straggly chin beard as a member of the T-Wolves!

I'm not a big "Praise and Worship" genre fan, but I would be amiss not giving a chin beard shout out to David Crowder. Tremendous.

Certain closing pitchers have learned how intimidating a mean looking chin beard can be, and we all know how important intimidation is for every day life as well. Joel Zumaya has a nice one.

Bobby Jenks does also, not sure about the color though.

Again, in the spirit of local credit for sweet chin whiskers, I give you none other than long-time chin-beard sporter- Chris "Barnezy" Barnes. The dude looks studly with the chin beard.

I even have to admit our beloved youth pastor once sported a stylin' chin beard back in his college days. Brian's current facial hair schizophrenia should not take away from this noteworthy accomplishment in his past. As for the dyed blond hair? Oh well.

Another Pelosi Gem

In an effort to scare people in to thinking the Federal government is the only hope for fixing the ailing economy, get a load of what Speaker Pelosi says- "every month we don't have a stimulus package 500 million Americans lose their jobs"!

This is an incredible statement given the current total U.S. Population is under 330 million people.

Why didn't the CNN correspondent catch it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Honeymoon Euphoria can be dangerous

Begin rant...
Recent polls have showed the general public disagreeing with President Obama's first two executive orders. Read here.

According to polls, 58% of the public disagrees with Obama spending U.S. Taxpayer money overseas to fund abortions. While this percentage is sadly low, it is still a majority greater than the one that elected him to the White House.

According to polls, 54% of the public disagrees with Obama's order to close Guantanamo inside of a year, that's about the same percentage of the population that elected him.

So, his first two "presidential" actions are opposed by most Americans. Interesting. What is concerning to me is how, despite disapproving of his two executive orders (made within the first 48 hours of his presidency), the article referenced above states something that is supported by his 73 % approval ratting-

"Despite clear disapproval to the two executive orders, an overwhelming majority of Americans said they supported the president's first actions as president."

Wow! That says a whole lot about the scary mindset of our country. We're in a weird, euphoric, honeymoon-like state that seems to be fine overlooking two very bad executive orders because we just love him so much. It's like he can do anything and people will still approve of his job performance. I say we're in a scary place politically right now.

Add to the unpopularity of his executive orders his promotion of the joke of an "economic" stimulus package that is now being debated. A current Gallup poll is showing a growing skepticism about the President's plan. It contains billions in wasteful, ridiculous, non-long term economy-growing spending that will likely do little to stave off the impending crisis and a lot to strap our children (forget grand children, pay day is coming very soon for us all). Yet, despite the apparent widespread discomfort with the various potential $800-900 billion stimulus plans that are being debated, it seems inevitable something on this scale will get passed. It has to...right? I mean the President thinks so. He inists.
For the sake of our collective, national future, I seriously hope people get over this crazy, irrational, honeymoon mindset that seems willing to allow whatever our new messiah wants to promote.
end rant...

Tree Removal

As a former tree trimmer and remover, I find this just plain cool.

Update: This gets cooler each time you watch it. No one can say this isn't cool.