Showing posts from 2006

The Grass Withers and the Flower Fades

No, I am not being paid by the floral industry to write this.

Why do women like flowers? Why do guys like buying them for women? To address the quesiton, why do women NOT like utilitarian gifts (many generalizations will be made in this post, I understand I'm speaking generally about cultural norms, and there will be exceptions, including many women would would love a Kitchenmade mixer for Christmas). Utilitarian gifts have a purpose, they may convey a kind or caring sentiment, but their primary purpose is to be used.

Not so with flowers. The sole reason to give a gift of flowers is to demonstrate love for someone. They have no other use, and the temporal nature of a flower only serves to enhance the sentiment. I give you this rose to signify my love, it will be beautiful for a day or two, and then it will decay, and I will send you more flowers in the future, because I can never stop telling you just how much I love you. In this way, flowers are the ideal "just because …

Of Mammon and the Rapture

A short update will have to suffice, since I do not have the time for a full ramble. I would love my reader's thoughts on this:

Convert or Kill: Violent Left Behind Video Game Prompts Controversy

I wish to God I was making this up. What would be the response of fundementalist christianists if Walmart carried a video game along the following fictitious lines:

Holy Jihad: Caliph Edition
Campaign for the prophet Mohammed (not depicted) to spread Islam to the world. Enhance Allah's Kingdom by spreading the Quran using persuasion if necessary, the sword if all else fails. Remember, we're in a battle against the forces of Shaitan.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, the Christianists will now have their own real time strategy game where we fight to spread the faith. Because you know, Age of Empires has just waaaay too much gratutious sex and nudity.

What's next? Allow me to hypothesize.
Left Behind, Prequel Edition "As the Rapture approaches, take the culture war to the streets…

There are two kinds of egotists: Those who admit it, and the rest of us.

Anyone who knows me know that I admit it. But sometimes it's wise to admit it to oneself as well. Charles Spurgeon said, "Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self." So in one sense self-awareness is the fundamental operating condition of a humble spirit, and I am not repudiating my thoughts on this blog where I've expressed, sometimes (or often) quite strong opinions when I feel I have insight to offer.

But have you ever felt those moments when God just humbles you, when out of the blue something pops up to remind us that no matter how far we've come, we have a ways to go in the Imitation of Christ? I had one today.

I got an email from a former classmate at college. He introduced himself, said I probably don't remember him, but that we were at school freshman year together. He said that he has a picture of us and several other people together at a class outing to a historical site, and that every time he sees it he stops to pray for us all…

To My Anonymous Exhorter: A Response

As my below post makes mention, I was recently reprimanded by an anonymous comment calling into question my post Re: Lahaye and Jenkins.

I feel a response is necessary. I will excuse the length of this response on the grounds that I am not only responding to the critiques of my opinions of the series, but also I expound my view of engaging the culture we live in. I do not know if my original commentator is a regular reader of my blog, or someone who stumbled across that post while looking for the Left Behind fanclub, but no matter, his/her comments merit attention.

I will reproduce the comment below in italics, and intersperse my reply point by point.

I agree with you - that the church in America is theologically atrophied. That's a good word picture.

Thank you, I'm glad my essential point got across.

But I'm afraid that the passion with which you write to communicate your very valid points are overshadowed by your use of a certain word - which in most Christian circles, evan…

An apology to my readers and a few miscellenia

To sum up, an omnibus post.

Ok... It went something like this. I get spam on my blogspot. I enable comment moderation. I completely forget about it in the course of my busy life. I log into the new version of Blogger today, and have 68 comments awaiting moderation...

So, in short, no I have not been censoring anyone. I approved every comment that wasn't a spam advertisement. Thank you all for your interest, I had no idea so many people read my ravings.

And one note, which is certainly not an apology, but perhaps an explanation. One sincere reader objected to my use of the word "g-ddammed" in my essay on the commercialization of Christianity vis a vis Lahaye and Jenkins. If I had been being flippant, I would certainly apologize. I was not, I was and remain in dead earnest.

To quote Lewis: "One listener complained of the word 'damned' as frivolous swearing. But I mean exactly what I say--nonsense that is damned is under God's curse, and will (apart …

Even ex-KGB guys can be cool


Remember Remember the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I See No Reason Why The Gunpowder Treason Should Ever Be Forgot

But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coe…

"Sorry about the nuclear test"

For all of you who have ever had to swallow your pride and apologize for something, this post should make you feel better... Can you imagine being the leader of a nation and have to tell a Chinese newspaper, "sorry about the nuclear test?" How embarrassing is that? Well apparently that's just what dear Kim has done. Does this shed more light on whether NK's test went badly? Can you imagine pulling off the most sabre-y of sabre rattlings, and then apologize for it if your gamble actually paid off? That's what I thought... Now, if I was a prince who decided to test a nuke, maybe I would go ahead with it, and then propose to come back to talks, but only from a position of strength, "Yeah, I tested it, it worked, now let's talk and don't treat me like a petulant child." But no, I wouldn't apologize. Interesting.

Kim, if you really want to prove you're a leader to be reckoned with now that you say you're in "the club," y…

Scary Movie 7: Google Style

Wow, you're very lucky, two posts in one day! And this one even has footnotes!

Since YouTube, after its recent acquisition by Google, has decided to flag this video for objectionable content,1 drastically cutting its viewership, I thought I'd put up an alternative lin. Click here if you want to see the Scary Movie version of Democratic foreign policy missteps under Clinton. Oh wait, Google owns Blogger now too... ScheiƟ! Will they censor this post as well? Larry and Sergey, please don't be offended. Now that I do have your attention though, one word of advice: Please use your admittedly excellent search engine to find the top result for "censorship." "It is most commonly applied to acts that occur in public circumstances, and most formally involves the suppression of ideas by criminalizing or regulating expression. Furthermore, discussion of censorship often includes less formal means of controlling perceptions by excluding various ideas from mass comm…

Not with a bang but a brown-out...

"Not with a bang but a brown-out..." that might be T.S. Eliot's estimation of how Kim Jong Il's egocentric policies will come home to roost. Not in a nuclear confrontation or west-led coup d'etat, but when his starving people realize, as did the peoples of the Soviet Bloc, that their leader will sacrifice them for his own political aggrandisement. Since satellite photos are so cool, here's one Donald Rumsfeld revealed earlier this week, showing the disparity between North and South Korea, with power being shut off in the North after 9PM. But what's the little dot? Oh, it's North Korea's capital, where power is maintained, presumably so Kim can still have that late night film-fest with his enormous DVD collection. Maybe all that nuclear research should have gone into nuclear power so Koreans can actually turn on the lights, instead of being funneled into nuclear brinksmanship.

Unwed Pregnancy and Christ's Church

For Shame

It's about time someone had the... testicular fortitude to say this to the Church. Read it and weep for our inadequacies in engaging the least among us. Then let's get on our knees before our Creator and confess our sins of hypocricy and commit ourselves to living our lives with love, remembering it is only by grace we can approach Holiness. There but for that grace goes each one of us, we were not saved because we lack the capacity to err in the same ways as our fellow man, but because of it. Our ability and desire to reject God is what necessitated propitiation. Deep inside every Christian (sometimes just below the surface) are the same human appetites which could easily cause us to conceive illegitimate children, steal from our fellows, and even, dare I say, discover an illicit love for one of our own sex. The only thing that saves us from judgment is Christ, and if we truly believed that and kept it foremost in our minds, we would experience a truly radical…

You Defied the Will of the People...

Senator Reid was quoted this week saying: "President Bush defied the will of the American people and crushed the hopes of millions...", yada yada yada.

The issue was stem cell research, but that is neither here nor there.

Our president DEFIED the will of the people in vetoing a bill the majority of American polled support? Good for him. When did our nation become a complete democracy rather than a representative republic? While the common man and the media are quick to remind us of the necessity of checks and balances, they forget that at times they themselves are the ones who need to be checked. The authors of our Constitution knew this, as evidenced by their discussions of the passions of the people in the Federalist Papers. The president's veto is not just to preserve the general will by striking down acts of Congress with which the people are not in agreement, it is also to provide a more judicious voice whose job it is to counter act the caprice and whim of elect…

The Irony of Dangerous Precedents

Army Officer Refuses Participation in "Illegal" Iraq War

And this is exactly why some conservatives' defense of MichaelNew was the very worse way to oppose the peacekeeping mission in Macedonia, or in fact any UN mission. In arguing that individual soldiers have the moral authority to circumvent decisions of state, New and his lawyers opened a pandoran box of issues with grave implications for the coherance of military efforts in western democracies. They have submitted raison d'etat and the necessity and motivations of uno solo to democratic vote in the minds of the enlisted men, in fact a vote by an Army of One. This approach was, in my opinion, motivated by opposition to the political ends for which President Clinton was using US involvement, rather than a sincere objection on behalf of principle. Accordingly, New et al. questioned the very principles upon which the military is based. To conservatives who would draw a delineation between Lt. Watada and Mr. New…

The Cult of Coulter

The Coulter Code
-- Jerome Eric Copulsky
Ann Coulter has been much in the news lately. With her recent best-selling tome, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, it seems that the notorious bomb-throwing cover girl for conservatism has turned Grand Inquisitor. The subject matter of her book -- the idea that liberalism is a religion -- merits a sighting here, and not only because it demonstrates the increasingly "religiosecular" ambivalence of our world that Martin E. Marty wrote of two weeks ago ("Religiosecular Meditations," June 19).

"Liberalism," Coulter informs us, is a "church," complete with its own creation myth (Darwinism), priests (public school teachers), doctrines (infallibility of victims), sacraments (abortion), and so forth. Coulter's liberals subscribe to a pantheistic doctrine, renouncing the biblical distinction between human beings (made in the image of God) and the rest of creation, thus rendering biblical morality impossible -…

July 4th

It's not about the barbecues.
It's not about fireworks.
It's not about waving the flag at a parade.
It's not about a cool concert on the Capital lawn.

Thank you.

The Most Underreported Story of the Year

Someone asked me what the most underrepoted news story, in my opinion, was for the last year. And I think this has to be it:

Large Asteroid Will Miss Earth Tomorrow

You never really do hear about all the bad things that could happen but don't.

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog

Thys haue to be yne of the most amusynge and satyrycal blogges ich haue yver red.

Why I'm Glad I'm Not a Southern Baptist

Southern Baptist Resolution

"RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages"

I guess somewhere in the inerrant translation of the KJV version of the Scriptures, the following passage must have been omitted.

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the …

When I grow up...

When I grow up I want to be:
Dr. Robert Stacey
Dr. David C. Noe
Dr. Erik Root
Dr. J. Kevin Culberson
Dr. M. Todd Bates

Christianity Today: Shakeup at Patrick Henry College

5 Departures on Patrick Henry Faculty Pose Question: Are Christianity and Liberal Arts Contradictory Missions?


We Believe...

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
And his kingdom will have no end

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
Who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one …

Our Captain

Our captain set out to sea. Upon his final sail.
A funeral pyre of Viking fame, whose spark could never fail
To set ablaze the hearts of us who served our captain well
That pyre lit a flame eternal, kept pure for years to come
    Our capt'n lies cold and dead my son
        but his soul burns evermore
            Within the hearts of you and I
                And those who led he well.

And from those sons of a gun to their sons, And to the sons
of their sons, they taught well the captain's tale
Mark well these words my son. Seek the Way,
Stand for truth, and pilot your ship well
    And then you'll be a captain fit
        To bear the title of such a man
            As he whose cold dead hands
                Have set our longitude

And then one day the port of those who slew our captain dead
Saw cresting over every wave the black sails of our crew
And the sons of the sons of the sons of them
Who served on the captain's ship, rekindled the flame
of the funeral pyre, kept pure for so ma…

Oh Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! My Captain!
Walt Whitman


O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
        But O heart! heart! heart!
                O the bleeding drops of red,
                        Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                Fallen cold and dead.


O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
        Here Captain! dear father!
                This arm beneath your head;
                        It is some dream that on the deck,
                                You’ve fallen cold and dead.


My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My fat…

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,.
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my ch…

I hear of Jack everywhere...

I am Jack’s confused sense of being misunderstood.

I am writing today to extol the virtues of one of the most widely praised and universally misunderstood Christian writers. Those who know me well know I refer to C.S. Lewis.

Lewis has been seized upon by many in the protestant branch as the answer to Catholic academia. We can now look smugly at our Catholic brethren and say “see, we protestants have a thinker too.” But when it comes down to it, we tend to shrug him off as “just the guy who wrote Screwtape Letters and the Chronicles of Narnia. And he had some wacky ideas.” You will find this theory postulated by those who are the least familiar with Lewis’ corpus of work. Instead they rely on objections such as these: “I hear Lewis became a Catholic before he died,” “Didn’t he lose his faith after his wife died,” “He had ‘Beer and Beowulf’ evenings with his grad students.” “Wasn’t he good friends with that Catholic Tolkien, (to which I reply, Tolkien led him to faith),” “Lewis was…

Four Years in the Face of Eternity

Just a candle in the wind
A spark in the night
Only one grain of sand
in the whirlwind of time

Just a word in the Book
Quiet cry in the wild
One moment in time
Only a glint in His eye

And yet why do we think
That our time is our own
His work a budget line
In the ledger of life

We're just
a candle in the wind
A spark in the night
Only one grain of sand
In the whirlwind of time

Tiny seed in the field
Only a word of Truth
Life lasts a moment then
We whither as a grass

When you owe your all
how can you offer less
When forever's on the table
How can we hedge our bets

Four years is a scene
On the Author's stage
We play our tiny part
and exit in the dark

A life full of love
passes like a breath
In deaths lonely rattle
But Love walks on

So let me place the bet
And play my hand
Just live my part
Played to the heart

What are four years
when the stake is a soul
When so many harvests
Takes ten times more

So I'll give the years
Which look long to one
who can't fully read
the Script He penned

If I budget You a minute

Not Disqualified: "I cultivate my flowers and burn my weeds."

The following is not prompted by any one incident or by being called to accountability. It is also not an invitation to an open public debate on the merits of arguments against the "vice" in question. It is rather the culmination of a long growing intent to set forth a public defense of something I enjoy. Like Spurgeon, I feel I can no longer quietly participate in something that does not grieve my conscience without either accepting I am committing an unclean act, or that I believe that I am acting outside of God's will. I am a Christian who smokes (and reads "heathen" books, enjoys the occasional drink, listens to "secular" music, watches R rated movies, and fellowships in an Anglican church, but all these are neither here nor there, though the application is similar). Read it in that light.

"Well, dear friends, you know that some men can do to the glory of God what to other men would be sin. And notwithstanding what brother Pentecost has sa…

New Armor for a New Church

And they devoted themselves to the pastor's teaching, to fellowship dinners, to the breaking of bread (once a quarter) and to the skits. (Acts 2, Revised Modern Church Version)

The Spiritual Armor of a Christian in the Modern Church

The Backplate of Unity:
We already have a breastplate of righteousness, I want a backplate to protect myself from "loving" sniping from behind. Or maybe I'll just sit in the back row.

The Shin Guards of Accountability:
So that you don't bark your shins when kicking a fellow believer when he's down.

The Bib of Fellowship:
For potlucks, fellowship dinners, ladies missionary brunches, men's prayer breakfasts (where the most substantial prayer is before the breakfast), love banquets, dessert nights, and snack time. When you're breaking bread, you don't want to get any on you.

The Mouth Guard of Love:
Like a TV Guardian for your mouth, keeps your language clean. Also waters down all criticism to an "encouragement opportunit…

The Everlasting Gospel

The Everlasting Gospel
By William Blake (1757–1827)

THE VISION OF CHRIST that thou dost see
Is my vision’s greatest enemy.
Thine has a great hook nose like thine;
Mine has a snub nose like to mine.
Thine is the Friend of all Mankind; 5
Mine speaks in parables to the blind.
Thine loves the same world that mine hates;
Thy heaven doors are my hell gates.
Socrates taught what Meletus
Loath’d as a nation’s bitterest curse, 10
And Caiaphas was in his own mind
A benefactor to mankind.
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read’st black where I read white.

Was Jesus gentle, or did He 15
Give any marks of gentility?
When twelve years old He ran away,
And left His parents in dismay.
When after three days’ sorrow found,
Loud as Sinai’s trumpet-sound: 20
‘No earthly parents I confess—
My Heavenly Father’s business!
Ye understand not what I say,
And, angry, force Me to obey.
Obedience is a duty then, 25
And favour gains with God and men.’
John from the wildernes…

We Must All Hang Together....

Save Professor Root.
That is all.
More to come.

Or not. New assignment. Grow a damned backbone.

Happy St. Valentine's Day

And so, a Valentine's Day thought:

For those of you without a sense of humor, get one.

Upturned Tables

Forget merchants in the temple, now, the merchants have become the temple.

The week, proving that when it comes to whoring out faith on the altar of Mammon, plenty of popular writers and speakers are willing to play the pimp: Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. They've followed the cash-cow 12 part "most expensive tract of all time" Left Behind series with at least two prequels.

Chalk Left Behind up in the same category as the Mantra of Jabez, "Jesus is my Homeboy," WWJD and Thomas Kinkade. Though that estimation probably isn't completely fair to whoever came up with the homeboy line, since he probably posesses more artistic nuance than is expressed in Left Behind.

The efficacy of the tract style approach to evangelism aside, what's the point of making someone buy 12 books at at least $20 each, if saving lost souls is the true goal? It would be interesting to see what would have happened if all the time, money and energy poured into these mediocre pieces of f…

A pint of the good stuff

A bottle of Guinness was spilt on the floor
When the pub was shut for the night
Out crept a mouse from his little hole
And sat in the pale moonlight

He lapped at the frothy brew
Then back on his haunches he sat
And all night you could hear him roar
"Bring on the f***ing cat!