Saturday, September 29, 2007

is it safe to go into the water?

No, my friends. No, it isn't.

Scary, huh? I'll be thinking twice the next time I have the opportunity to swim in some lake.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Angel balances a ball of light on her nose

it's finally up

After living in our own house for a year, we've finally put up our proclamation.

Okay, my wife put it up...

more Chihuly glass

As I mentioned earlier, I took my daughter to a birthday party at the Children's Museum of Indiana. They have an amazing exhibit of Dale Chihuly's work, and here are some more photographs...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Are there Nazis in the U.S. Navy?

"The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air," Tony Perry reports in Monday's edition of the LA Times. "The four L-shaped buildings, constructed in the late 1960s, are part of the amphibious base at Coronado and serve as barracks for Seabees."

The article continues, "But once people began looking at satellite images from Google Earth, they started commenting about on blogs and websites about how much the buildings resembled the symbol used by the Nazis."

Mark D. Roberts on pastoring

Mark D. Roberts has written a series on what it's like to be a pastor. He is leaving Irvine Presbyterian Church after pastoring there for over sixteen years.

to sleep, or not to sleep

Well, isn't this good news.
Worried that too little sleep might be impacting your health? Don't overdo it. Presenting their findings today to the British Sleep Society, researchers outlined a stark conundrum: lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, too much sleep doubles the risk for non-cardiovascular-related deaths.

I'm sleep-deprived during the week. I catch up on the weekends. Perhaps this means I'll never die!

the latest Bushism

Offering a grammar lesson guaranteed to make any English teacher cringe, President George W. Bush told a group of New York school kids on Wednesday: "Childrens do learn."

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centerpiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.

Admit it. You'll miss them when he's gone, won't you? I'm sure you don't have to worry, because he'll provide plenty on his inevitable speaking tour.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

5 years young...

Tim Challies' blog passes a milestone. It should soon be attending kindergarten, or whatever it is they call it up in Canada.

the influence of food

One of the many books in my current reading cycle is The United States of Arugula: The Sund-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. Author David Kamp charts the development of the modern gourmet food market, beginning with the rise of James Beard and Juilia Child.

On page 40, he writes:
But [World War II] unleashed a tide of pro-French sentiment well beyond the provinces of the wealthy and the well-traveled. Though it was this very war, and the collaborationaist Vichy regime specifically, that later engendered the "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" epithet popular among twenty-first-century American Francophobes, the truth is that World War II and the decade that followed it represented a high-water mark in Franco-American goodwill. The GIs who fought in France became besotted with the country they were liberating: the French reciprocated, expressed their love of America.

Ah, the far-reaching effects of cuisine! Will food bring America and France back together this time, or will something else have to do it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

putting crushes aside and speaking truth to Mahmoud

Here is the text of Columbia University president Lee Bollinger's remarks before he gave the microphone to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What would Bollinger have said had Columbia not been so excoriated over the past week? It's interesting to think about, but largely meaningless because, obviously, we can only examine what he did say.

Ann Althouse examines what Bollinger said.

Bollinger explained his reason for inviting the Iranian president: those who believe that this event never should have happened, that it is inappropriate for the University to conduct such an event, I want to say that I understand your perspective and respect it as reasonable. The scope of free speech and academic freedom should itself always be open to further debate. As one of the more famous quotations about free speech goes, it is “an experiment, as all life is an experiment.” I want to say, however, as forcefully as I can, that this is the right thing to do and, indeed, it is required by existing norms of free speech, the American university, and Columbia itself.

So having Ahmadinejad speak was somehow a "requirement" of free speech? Why wouldn't he give the stage to anyone who wished to speak? I seriously doubt someone would be allowed to stand on the stage and share the Gospel, or to merely recite the Sermon on the Mount or the Ten Commandments.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Forget Obama. I got a crush on Mahmoud.

I certainly believe that in a democratic society, the citizens have a fundamental right to question the actions of the President. To paraphrase Michael J. Fox's character from The American President, it's our responsibility because this is our president. We have a right to voice our concerns and to vote for those who we think will best lead the country.

However, I don't think we should pay that much attention to what leaders of other countries are saying about our leader, especially leaders of certain countries which have a history of ill will towards us. I believe things are seriously warped over at Daily Kos if one of his "diarists" thinks it's worthwhile to examine Bush through the lens of Ahmadinejad.
I know I'm a Jewish lesbian and he'd probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush Administration that make me swoon...

I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy. Even still, I can’t help but be turned on by his frank rhetoric calling out the horrors of the Bush Administration and, for that matter, generations of US foreign policy preceding.

If Bush was speaking "blunt truths" about Admadinejad, would they post about that? I know, I'm stupid for even asking such a question. Of course they wouldn't.

Marcel Marceau, 1923-2007

And the world was silent.

He once said, "Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

birthday party at Children's Museum

The Sweet One and I were able to go to one of our favorite places in the city - the Children's Museum. We were invited to one of her classmate's birthday celebration, and since it was being held at one of Indianapolis' best sites, we had no choice but to attend. (OK, we would have gone to the party no matter where it was held. It was so much more special, though, at the Children's Museum)

Naturally, I took my camera with me.

We saw frogs...

... masks...

... and a T-Rex.

Friday, September 21, 2007

proof that some bizarre stuff can be found out there

No, Hillary isn't.

Top 20 theological pick-up lines.

This discussion over at Pyromaniacs.

Ochuck's love poems.

I think the folks over at Think Progress have been so blinded by their contempt for President Bush that they can't distinguish between when he's speaking literally and when he's speaking metaphorically.

A.J. Jacobs is shaping up to be the guy who does some outrageous activity and then writes about it. First, he wrote a book on his journey through the Encyclopedia Britannica. Now, he's written a book about how he followed rules in the Bible for a year. Since he's Jewish, it's probably safe to assume he stuck with the Old Testament and ignored the New Testament.

CT interview

Christianity Today interviews Mark Driscoll. Go here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I almost teared up just now

My youngest daughter (she'll turn 3 next month!) is watching Finding Nemo. I watched the very beginning with her, and I very nearly became extremely emotional. You know what happens. Marlin loses his wife and all his children, except for Nemo.

I've seen the movie countless times, and it still tears me up inside.
What about you? Are there certain scenes in a movie that get to you, no matter how many time you watch them?

"Seize the time, Meribor. Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again."

In a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's first trek through the stars, Entertainment Weekly has listed what the editors believe to be the top ten best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'd be hard-pressed to muster any disagreements with the episodes they chose, but I do think #1 and #2 should switch places. In the history of television cliff-hangers, nothing beats Dallas' second season finale in which a mysterious gunman shoots J.R. Ewing, but ST:TNG's "The Best of Both Worlds" comes awfully close. (The title quote comes from the #3 episode, "The Inner Light.")

link love to Cindy

One of the best aspects of blogging is being able to connect with other people, through other blogs as well as my own. I am very glad to have such a connection with Cindy Swanson. Not only are we linked through the blogging world, but we're linked in the Real World as well: her son attended Cedarville University, my undergrad alma mater.

If you haven't yet visited her blog, what are you waiting for? Get there now! She's positive, she's fun to read, and her love of Jesus is very evident.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

i'll be there

No, I am not endorsing smoking.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

humble orthodoxy

Thabiti Anyabwile on an upside down orthodoxy:
Humble orthodoxy begins with our approach to truth itself. Is it possible to practice a humble orthodoxy without being careful in our approach to the truth? I don’t know; maybe.

But this is certain, we’re better off to begin with the right approach than to begin with haughty hearts and have to be corrected by God. Here are six things—three statements about our relationship to orthodoxy and three statements about humility before the Word—to consider in our approach to the Word of God and biblical orthodoxy.

You gotta go to the link for the rest.

(HT: Frank Turk)

a dream

I have the opportunity to fulfill one of my personal dreams. It seems like such a small thing compared to so many other things that I could do, but this dream is one that I've had for quite a while. I'm guessing that some will consider it silly, but it's mine.

Stay tuned...

buh-bye, TimesSelect

The New York Times is (finally!) ridding itself of TimesSelect, which charged for online access to many archival and opinion articles. TimesSelect, which began two years ago, cost $7.95 per month for those who didn't subscribe to NYT. This is certainly good news for the many who like to link to articles and interact with them.

UPDATE: I checked at 12:30 AM on 8/19/07. It appears to be gone.

sometimes i wish therapy could be done this way...

Monday, September 17, 2007

the newest tourist site

The place of Larry Craig's downfall. Honestly, I'm amazed at what people think is worthy of visiting these days. I doubt that people go to that airport specifically to visit the restroom. It would be more of a wouldn't it be cool to take a picture while I'm here thing.

Constitution Day

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

there's a couple ways to view Kathy Griffin's latest statements

The sacred and the secular. Both have their points, but I agree with the sacred view more.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you haven't paid enough attention to pop culture. However, that may be a good thing.

Ten Tidbits 5

01. Here's something for when all the bookshelves are filled: Bookinist," a mobile reading chair, with enough built-in storage to hold 80 of your favorite books nearby."

02. Ronald Reagan: A Graphic Biography (HT: Joe Carter)

03. Want to really impress the guests at your next dinner party? Learn 27 different ways to fold a napkin.

04. How to write consistently boring scientific literature (via Metafilter)

05. Ann Althouse has a great picture of New York City from this past Patriot's Day

06. Here he is, Ladies and Gentlemen! The pocket piranha! (via Neatorama)

07. Apparently lost for fifty years, the skinny gene has been found.

08. If you need this to help you remember, you have some serious memory problems.

09. If you believe in Open Theism, I guess you wouldn't have a problem when this kind of thing happens.

10. One of the most perfect endings to a TV show:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

addicted to blogging

64%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Free Dating Site

Is Fred so yesterday?

After reading Ruth Marcos at WaPo, you just might think so.

"She touched faces and would bring everything to mouth. She would go up to people, sniff them and touch their cheeks.”

Nine-year-old Raea Gragg would exhibit odd behaviors in her earliest years. She refused to make eye contact, and would smell objects indiscriminately. She was checked for a variety of illnesses, from the autism spectrum to anxiety disorder. She was even given anti-depressants.

What was her true diagnosis?

Though she had already had two eye exams, finding her vision was 20/20, this year a school reading specialist suggested another. And this time the ophthalmologist did what no one else had: he put his finger on Raea’s nose and moved it in and out. Her eyes jumped all over the place.

Within minutes he had the diagnosis: convergence insufficiency, in which the patient sees double because the eyes cannot work together at close range.

Experts estimate that 5 percent of school-age children have convergence insufficiency. They can suffer headaches, dizziness and nausea, which can lead to irritability, low self-esteem and inability to concentrate.

Doctors and teachers often attribute the behavior to attention disorders or seek other medical explanations. Mrs. Gragg said her pediatrician had never heard of convergence insufficiency.

Dr. David Granet, a professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, said: “Everyone is familiar with A.D.H.D. and A.D.D., but not with eye problems, especially not with convergence insufficiency. But we don’t want to send kids for remedial reading and education efforts if they have an eye problem. This should be part of the protocol for eye doctors.”

GodblogCon 2007

This year's GodblogCon is being held in Las Vegas at the blogworld & new media expo. Some of the speakers will be Al Mohler (keynote), LaShawn Barber, Joe Carter, and Rhett Smith.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The New York Times 9/11 Archives

Pastor John Piper lists three 9/11's you need to know.

Pastor Mark Daniels shares his thoughts on 9/11.

"You Americans, you're all the same. Always overdressing for the wrong occasions."

This past Sunday's VMA's were pretty unmemorable, except for Britney Spears' performance, memorable for all the wrong reasons. We did get to hear one important thing, however: the title of the Indiana Jones 4 movie. See here.

Thank you for your contribution. By the way, you're not a fugitive of the law, are you?

Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign has decided to return $850,000 of donations procured by Norman Hsu, "the disgraced Clinton campaign fund-raiser who recently fled arrest and is now under investigation for his fund-raising practices." Clinton's people advised that they would conduct background checks on "bundlers — the dozens of individuals who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors on behalf of a candidate, as Mr. Hsu had done for Mrs. Clinton." Nice to see the senator's desire to show some ethics, but did she really need the media to bring this to her attention?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Jim Wallis interview has an interview with Sojourners' Jim Wallis.

For the uninformed among you, Wallis is now guest-blogging at Letters from Kamp Krusty.

"Key Life" leader lights up

Oh, no! He's smokin'! It's okay, though. Steve Camp says t'aint a sin.

I know this post sounds rather snarky, but I am serious when I say that I agree with Steve Camp on this. I don't think it's smart to either start or to continue smoking for health reasons, but I don't consider it a sin.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Colts 41, Saints 10

The NFL Kick-off happened last night. The New Orleans Saints came to town with hopes of beating the reigning Super Bowl champion Colts, only to have a crushing defeat. The score was 10 all at the half, but the Colts offensive line came alive in the second half.

The season has begun!

It is kinda funny that the Colts would score 41 in their first official game following their win at Super Bowl 41.

Be sure to stop by Stampede Blue.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

proof that Christians have no creative "marketing" ideas

This shirt. Is it an "evangelistic tool?" Is it an insult, showing that Christianity is a religion "even a caveman/neanderthal can believe?" Who can say?

AND: This. Because not everyone can work at Dunder-Mifflin.

bow down to your iDol

The iPod touch. Everything but the phone. Oh, yes, and the iPhone is getting, less expensive.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

"I'm running for president of the United States."

Said right Fred.

I think this was a good move for him. On the night of yet another GOP debate, Thompson was able to bring attention to himself. Making the announcement on the Tonight show worked well for Arnold Schwarzeneggar, so I'm sure Thompson thinks it will work well for him. Thompson may take some initial heat for missing all the debates so far in 2007, but I don't see it really affecting him in the future. Honestly, how much of the public has been paying attention to the debates?

Joshua Claybourn sees Thompson as the great Republican hope.

Whatever happened to Kerouac?

I realize that's I said I would be blogging through On the Road, but I've been so taken with this book lately, I haven't read much of it. I will get back to it, though. For now, satisfy yourself with this article.

Here is Kerouac with Steve Allen:

there's a sponge by my spleen!

Indiana hospitals and surgery centers committed 85 serious and preventable errors last year, according to the final report of the state's new system to record medical errors.

The most common errors were 26 instances of serious bedsores that developed after a patient was admitted to a hospital and 23 instances of a foreign object, such as a sponge, being left inside a patient after surgery.

State officials say such information is vital to helping doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals work together to help improve patient safety. They say the new reporting requirement, ordered by Gov. Mitch Daniels to start in 2006, will ultimately pay off in improved patient care.

Good news for my hospital, though. We had zero errors.

God loves Iowa

I'm quite certain that God does indeed love Iowa, but this is going a bit too far:
God's will is for Iowa to have the first-in-the-nation caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson told a crowd here Monday.

"Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary," Richardson, New Mexico's governor, said at the Northwest Iowa Labor Council Picnic. "And I want you to know who was the first candidate to sign a pledge not to campaign anywhere if they got ahead of Iowa. It was Bill Richardson."

Is he merely pandering to religious folks, or is something more going on?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day fair

We attended the Labor Day parade in Westville (Illinois) yesterday, just a few miles south of where my in-laws live in Tilton. As is usually the case with most parades, the older veterans were the first ones to walk:

There were many police cruisers, sheriff cars and ambulances in the parade, all with sirens blaring. We saw firetrucks both traditional red...

... and yellow.

No small town parade is complete without the ones running for local office:

Do you see how high the temperature rose?

quote for the day

"We are never more like the Devil than when we lie."

Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church in Chicago

Calvinism and the collapsed bridge

There's an important discussion of which you should be aware. Is God in control of everything that happens, or do some things happen that He does not intend? How you answer the question depends greatly upon your views of God's power and of history.

Pastor John Piper of Desiring God Ministries sees the Minnesota bridge collapse from a few weeks ago as evidence that God is at work in the world.

All of us have sinned against God, not just against man. This is an outrage ten thousand times worse than the collapse of the 35W bridge. That any human is breathing at this minute on this planet is sheer mercy from God. God makes the sun rise and the rain fall on those who do not treasure him above all else. He causes the heart to beat and the lungs to work for millions of people who deserve his wrath. This is a view of reality that desperately needs to be taught in our churches, so that we are prepared for the calamities of the world.

The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.
Greg Boyd points out what he believes to be errors in Piper's line of thinking. He concludes:

There’s undoubtedly plenty of blame to go around for why this bridge collapsed, ranging from fallen cosmic powers to a wrongly prioritized government to the wrongly prioritized people who elected these officials into office without holding them sufficiently accountable. But if you accept that God created a world with free agents, the one being you don’t need to blame is God.

If, on the other hand, you don’t accept that the cosmos is populated with free agents who can therefore make decisions that are contrary to God’s will, then you have an even greater problem. (This is the camp the pastor whose blog I’m discussing is in). For in this case one has to explain how everyone can deserve to die when everything every person has ever done, however sinful, was part of God’s great plan from the start!

Not only this, but if angels and people don’t have free will that can go against God’s will, then it’s no longer adequate to say God “allowed” a bridge to fall. You have to say God “caused” the bridge to fall. Other agents may have been instrumental in bringing about the collapse of the bridge, but they only did what God’s sovereign plan decreed they do. So one is fudging words to say God “allowed” the bridge to fall and that God is not to blame for the bridge falling.

In the end, this view requires that we accept that God punishes people with catastrophes – and then eternally in hell -- for doing precisely what he predestined them to do. Good luck making sense out of that!

I suggest it's far more biblical, and far more rational, to simply say that in a fallen, oppressed world, bridges sometimes collapse -- and leave it at that. Rather than trying to see the vindictive hand of God behind catastrophes, it’s wiser to simply acknowledge that the world is an oppressed place where things sometimes go tragically wrong and focus all of our mental and physical energy turning from our self-centered ways to carry out God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Dr. Roger Olson of Truett Theological Seminary believes that God's character is distorted if seen through Calvinism's lens.

A well-known Christian author and speaker pastors a church within a mile of the collapsed bridge. To him and his followers, God foreordained, planned and indirectly (if not directly) caused the event.

A popular Christian band sings "There is a reason" for everything. They mean God renders everything certain and has a good purpose for whatever happens. The pastor and the band are Christian determinists. Both happen to adhere to a form of Protestant theology called Calvinism.

This theology is sweeping up thousands of impressionable young Christians. It provides a seemingly simple answer to the problem of evil. Even what we call evil is planned and rendered certain by God because it is necessary for a greater good.

But wait. What about God's character? Is God, then, the author of evil? Most Calvinists don't want to say it. But logic seems to demand it. If God plans something and renders it certain, how is he not culpable for it? Here is where things get murky.

Some Calvinists will say he's not guilty because he has a good intention for the event -- to bring good out of it, but the Bible expressly forbids doing evil for the sake of good.

Many conservative Christians wince at the idea that God is limited. But what if God limits himself so that much of what happens in the world is due to human finitude and fallenness? What if God is in charge but not in control? What if God wishes that things could be otherwise and someday will make all things perfect?

That seems more like the God of the Bible than the all-determining deity of Calvinism.
Prosthesis believes Olson wants to make God in his own image:

We all have a tendency to try to make God into our own image. We want God to act in the way that we think is right. And when God doesn't meet our own expectations, the curse of the fall leads us to think that we, rather than God, is right.

If we can take anything away from Olson's essay, it is that Calvinists need to be careful in how they articulate God's sovereignty. God has given humans authority over his creation. We are responsible for caring for it, tending to it, and cultivating it. When a bridge falls, you better believe that one or more of God's caretakers royally screwed up. But you also better believe that no thing, no event, no bridge collapse, no deaths of 98 year old great-grandmothers, can happen apart from the will of our Father.

Rick Phillips believes Olson has written some "damning words":

So here we have it, from the keyboard of one of the most prominent postconservative thinkers today: He objects that the biblical God is frightening (as if a more preferable God would not be frightening) and he cannot tell the biblical God from the devil. Things really are much worse than we thought out there in post-evangelical land. It argues to me that Reformed theologians must be more bold and aggressive in our biblical portrayal of the true God. And we must take up this more aggressive stance not merely to win the debate with our postconservative fellows, but for the sake of their souls.

Monday, September 3, 2007

new schizophrenia drug

The Eli Lilly company seems to have manufactured a drug that's going to work well in the fight against schizophrenia - a drug that counters the symtoms of schizophrenia without producing the side effects other drugs have caused. The drug is still in the testing phase, and it will be a few years before we know more. Still, this is some good news.

Happy Labor Day!

Let's all celebrate our ability to work by taking the day off!

And on this Labor Day, let's remember that even children need to work. Just click here to see what I mean - uh, I mean what Pastor Brad means.