Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last day of the year, and of the 2000's, is finally here

It took a while, didn't it? It seems like January 1, 2000, was such a long time ago. What were you doing on this day, ten years ago? Working yourself up into a frenzy with all the fear about Y2K, or were you as calm and cool as Barack Obama probably was?

Anyway, here's to the 2010's! May you find them to be fun and adventurous. And you would probably do well to take the prophet Micah's advice: do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

"I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have."

This is from the first page of an autobiograpy I'm reading, entitled Open:
My name is Andre Agassi. My wife's name is Stefanie Graf. We have two children, a son and daughter, five and three. We live in Las Vegas, Nevada, but currently reside in a suite at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City, because I'm playing in the 2006 U.S. Open. My last U.S. Open. In fact my last tournament ever. I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.
I know this word I'm about to say is way overdone, thanks to Keanu Reeves, but still: Whoa. Even though he played tennis spectacularly well, Andre says he hated it. He hated a game which brought him fame and fortune, and landed him into the history books and on countless magazine covers. A game that he played professionally for well over a decade. A game that gave him an Olympic gold medal. And it was this game he hated.

Okay, Andre, I'm hooked. Serve me up the rest of your story. No foot faults, please.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Nine" to be pulled from theaters in numerous cities

Is Nine failing in spite of itself, or because of itself? It's a musical, which is always a risky business at the box office - for every Chicago that does quite well, there's a Rent that just doesn't. It has six Oscar winners - Daniel Day Lewis, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Dame Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, and Penélope Cruz. It's based on a Tony-winning stage production, which itself was based on the celebrated Italian film .

So, why is it seen as a failure?

Friday, December 18, 2009

everyone goes crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man

Wow. So Generation-Y men (or Generation Next, or the Millennials, or whatever they're called these days) are turning out to be natty dressers.
Today the well-off 55-year-old is likely to be the worst-dressed man in the room, wearing a saggy T-shirt and jeans. The cash-poor 25-year-old is in a natty sport coat and skinny tie bought at Topman for a song. Young men are embracing the “Mad Men” elements of style in a way that the older men never did, still don’t and just won’t. The result is a kind of rift emerging between the generation of men in their 20s and 30s and those in their late 40s and 50s for whom a suit was not merely square but cubed, and caring about how one looked was effeminate.
I guess that says something against my own generation - "Gen-X" - which is supposed to be full of slackers and sloppy dressers. Or maybe it says something about the baby boomers, since they aren't dressing much better these days. But it's difficult to tell from here in Vermilion County, Illinois, where the ghett0 and biker looks are prevalant. Maybe I'd notice more if I was further north, say, here.

Looking through Wikipedia, I discovered that my two daughters, who I thought would be part of the next generation after me and my wife, skipped over the fashionable Y and went straight to Z.

Be careful about where you attend to personal issues

Have you been licked by the spirit of the buffalo?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poor Joe Lieberman

One liberal author wants him to shut up when he's just trying to work, while another liberal author demands that he lose his job altogether. What's an independent to do?

I suggest that the people of Connecticut boycott Michael Moore. Don't buy his books, don't read his website, and don't watch his movies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is Hannukah mentioned in the Bible?

Indeed.
Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

I think it's significant that Hannukah is referred to as the Feast of Dedication, and not eight crazy nights.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

what is the church?

The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better, and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God's wonderful mess - the place where he radically transforms hearts and lives.

Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change, pg. 116

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"I found it compelling and very well done."

Stanley Fish on Going Rogue:
My assessment of the book has nothing to do with the accuracy of its accounts. Some news agencies have fact-checkers poring over every sentence, which would be to the point if the book were a biography, a genre that is judged by the degree to which the factual claims being made can be verified down to the last assertion. “Going Rogue,” however, is an autobiography, and while autobiographers certainly insist that they are telling the truth, the truth the genre promises is the truth about themselves — the kind of persons they are — and even when they are being mendacious or self-serving (and I don’t mean to imply that Palin is either), they are, necessarily, fleshing out that truth. As I remarked in a previous column, autobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves.

The questions to ask then are (1) Does Palin succeed in conveying to her readers the kind of person she is? and (2) Does she do it in a satisfying and artful way? In short, is the book a good autobiographical read? I would answer “yes” to both.

You might be asking, who is this Stanley Fish guy? Answer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

known by the fruit

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:43-45

Friday, December 4, 2009

"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that."

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin apparently thinks that two wrongs make a right.
Speaking to the conservative talker Rusty Humphries today, Sarah Palin left the door open to speculation about President Obama's birth certificate.

"Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?" she was asked (around 9 minutes into the video above).

"I think the public rightfully is still making it an issue. I don't have a problem with that. I don't know if I would have to bother to make it an issue, because I think that members of the electorate still want answers," she replied.

"Do you think it's a fair question to be looking at?" Humphries persisted.

"I think it's a fair question, just like I think past association and past voting records -- all of that is fair game," Palin said. "The McCain-Palin campaign didn't do a good enough job in that area."

McCain's campaign counsel has said the campaign did look into the birth certificate question and, like every other serious examination, dismissed it.

Palin suggested that the questions were fair play because of "the weird conspiracy theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn't my real son -- 'You need to produce his birth certificate, you need to prove that he's your kid,' which we have done."

Wait a minute. Asking about Trig's birth certificate and parentage wasn't fair, but continuing to ask about Obama's birthplace, despite the existence of evidence showing that he was born in Honolulu, is fair? I guess not all conspiracy theories are created equal. Or maybe some are more equal than others.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

hunting a tiger

CJ Mahaney offers some excellent words in response to unfolding drama of Tiger Woods' life.
As expected, the allegations of adultery involving a public figure are attracting a media pile-on. This is a big story with a big audience and it’s a story that will not disappear soon. Tiger Woods is being hunted by the media.

But let us make sure we do not join the hunt. A Christian’s response to this story should be distinctly different. We should not be entertained by the news. We should not have a morbid interest in all the details. We should be saddened and sobered. We should pray for this man and even more for his wife.

And we can be sure that in the coming days we will be in conversations with friends and family where this topic will emerge. And when it does, we can avoid simply listening to the latest details and speculations, and avoid speaking self-righteously, but instead we can humbly draw attention to the grace of God in the gospel.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

7 ways to save

We just finished up Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University at church tonight, but you don't have to attend all 13 weeks of that to learn some steps and improve your financial situation. Make your New Year's resolutions early and start saving now by using these methods. Sure, they are pretty much all common sense, but the thing about common sense is that it's usually pretty practical.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jesus is hope incarnate

We cannot treat the Bible as a collection of therapeutic insights. To do so distorts its message and will not lead to lasting change. If a system could give us what we need, Jesus would never have come. But he came because what was wrong with us could not be fixed any other way. He is the only answer, so we must never offer a message that is less than good news. We don't offer people a system; we point them to a Redeemer. He is hope.
From Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, Paul David Tripp, pg. 9

On every day, and not just Thanksgiving, we have something - Someone - to be truly thankful for: a Redeemer that came to lead us out from Darkness and into Light.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Climategate

And just when I was starting to really warm up to those adorably preachy kiddies, I read about this. And I weep, and I feel so cold. Because I just can't be skeptical of scientists, right? I mean, that would be sacrilege.

UPDATE: It's not a scandal if we ignore it, right?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey, married people: want to improve your sex life?

Land an airplane on the Hudson River, and have no fatalities or injuries. Then you can have "rock-star sex," whatever that is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Psychiatry vs. Talk Therapy

I've recently read an excellent biblical counseling book, Counsel From the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson. I think it's an important contribution for the Christian counselor, encouraging those who struggle with life to look to the cross of Christ for hope and redemption. I've certainly benefited from it in my counseling sessions with fellow believers.

But I do want to bring up one topic that Fitzpatrick and Johnson, as other biblical/nouthetic counseling writers have done, address in the first appendix (pp. 183-191). They make convincing apologetic arguments for the need of biblical counseling model when meeting with fellow believers. They briefly discuss some of the concepts of the major players of psychology, Sigmund Freud and Albert Ellis among them. Then they write the following paragraph on page 185:
Of course, in recent years all these therapies (and hundres of others like them) have been gobbled up by materialistic determinism and the pharmacological giant of biopsychiatry. The materialistic determinist's anthropology is very simple indeed: all you are is a bag of interacting chemicals, and all your problems can be diagnosed and solved by observing and balancing your chemicals. Talk therapy? Nonsense! Take the right pill and you'll feel better!
I received my master's degree in mental health counseling from Wight State University (Fairborn, Ohio) over fourteen years ago. I served at two different community mental health centers during my practicums and internship for my undergrad and graduate programs - both were in Ohio, located about 30 minutes away from each other. I worked for another mental health center after graduating from WSU, located in the same region as the other two MHC's. I was employed as a crisis counselor for a major hospital in Indianapolis at two different time periods, totalling eight years. I currently work for a mental health center in eastern Illinois.

During my career, I have either worked closely with or had contact with numerous psychiatrists. I'm guessing at least 75, but probably more. I have yet to meet one psychiatrist that would say, "All your problems can be daignosed and solved by observing and balancing your chemicals." I currently work with a doctor who graduated from Harvard, and he would tell you (as he has told me) that psychiatry must be combined with "talk therapy."

Perhaps there are doctors out there with that belief. I haven't met every single practicing psychiatrist in the world, so I wouldn't know. But I have worked in three states (so far), and I have yet to meet one who believes that.

35-34

Thanks, Bill.
It was the most improbable victory for the Colts (9-0) in their 18-game regular-season winning streak, which is now tied for the second-longest in league history with, of all teams, New England.

The Colts trailed by 17 points early in the fourth quarter. This marked the first time Belichick’s Patriots had lost when leading by at least 13 in the final period.

“When you see them going for it on fourth down, you get a little nervous, but our defense blitzed them, pressured them and got the stop,” Manning said. “It certainly changed our philosophy. In practice, we’re going 60 or 70 yards. So we figure we’re going to have to go five, six, seven plays. In the huddle, I said, ‘Obviously, we need a touchdown, but let’s not be in a hurry.”

The Patriots didn’t dare second-guess their coach, though everybody else did.

“That fourth-down play, that’s one of your best plays, and you go to one of your best guys,” Brady said. “We’ve got our offense on the field. We have over 450 yards of offense at the time. We’ve got a lot of great players on our offense. They stopped us.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the Vikings have advanced

One of the nicer things about life in a small town is that community spirit can really shine. The town of Danville, the seat of my county, is cheering for its high school football team, the Vikings. They're heading for the semifinals.
With the victory, Danville (12-0) ties the school’s all-time win mark set by the state runner-up team in 1976.

“It means that we are going to semis,’’ B.J. Luke said of the win. “It means that we are back to being one of the top programs in the state of Illinois.’’

Up next for the Vikings are the No. 1-rated New Lenox Providence Catholic Celtics, a 44-14 winner over Crete-Monee.

“I don’t know if the Chicago Catholic League champion have ever had to come to Danville to get to the state championship,’’ B.J. Luke said. “We are fired up to have them and hosting their outstanding program. We know that they are a great program. We know they are the hands-down pick to win this thing, but they still have to come to Danville. I think my guys will be ready to play.’’

Saturday, November 14, 2009

a voice, a chime, a chance sublime

I'm getting in the mood for Christmas music.



How about you?

And speaking of Christmas music, Christianity Today has their annual roundup of this year's new Christmas CD's. And if you want to know about last year's releases, too, then just go here. We usually buy one new Christmas CD a year, but last year we bought two: Faith Hill's Joy to the World and Casting Crowns' Peace on Earth. But I didn't like either of them as well as Relient K's 2007 release, Let it Snow Baby... Let it Reindeer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

76 years ago today, the first photograph of Nessie was taken

Here. Judge for yourself. Nessie is in the eye of the beholder.

I wonder if climate change will affect Nessie. No doubt some top scientists are debating that very issue.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"The world's top scientists agree that climate change is the most serious threat to ever face our planet."

All the top scientists in the whole world agree on this. There is no disagreement among them. None whatsoever. The top scientists - the top ones of the world, mind you - all agree about climate change. And they think that climate change is very, very, very, horribly rotten.

But don't take my word for it. I'm not one of those top scientists. For Mother Earth's sake, listen to the children.



I have a few thoughts about this:

  1. I guess the scientists who would disagree about climate change being the most serious threat to ever face the earth are not top scientists. Because if they were top scientists, they would agree. Those scientists would conform their own personal beliefs with the idea that nothing - nothing! - is more serious right now than climate change. But because they refuse to conform, they can't be a top scientist. If only they would get on the bandwagon.... then they'd be top. Or at least, you know, pretty close to the top, anyway.
  2. Are these the children of all those top scientists?
  3. One child declares, "Droughts and floods and hurricanes are getting worse." What does this mean, exactly? I take it to mean that droughts, floods, and hurricanes have inflicted more destruction and damage than they have in the past, when people weren't burning fossil fuels and polluting the air and water. But do we have scientific evidence of this? Do we know conclusively that droughts, floods and hurricanes are much worse than they were 100 years ago... or 500 years ago... or 3,000 years ago?
  4. If my children don't agree with these children, does it mean that they're not top children?
  5. "Really cool animals like polar bears and walruses will lose their habitat." Pity all the uncool animals that lose their habitats. No one cares about them.
  6. The children urge the American president to join with leaders of other nations for a meeting in Copenhagen ("That's in Denmark."). They tell us, "The rest of the world is ready," but then they only list eight countries. Hmm. I didn't know the world only had nine nations.
  7. I think I'll change all my "global warming" tags to "climate change" tags. Then I'll become a top blogger.
  8. Thanks, Anchoress.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Very few people in this world know the day and hour of Death's visit

John A. Muhammad is among those who knew. Unlike his victims, who had no idea that Death would be calling on them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

You know what I'd like to eat right now? A really good brownie...

What is God's favorite color?

I'm sure you've wondered about that. It's beige.

Waldenbooks is leaving Danville

Very sad news today for Vermilion County book-lovers. Dragon's Horde announced a few weeks ago that it would be shutting the door by November 20. And now it looks like Waldenbooks will be leaving the Village Mall.
The Waldenbooks at the Village Mall is one of 200 mall-based Waldenbooks stores that the Borders chain plans to close, according to an announcement Thursday. The Borders Group intends to close the stores in January, although the list of stores is not final and is subject to change, pending finalization of agreements in coming weeks, according to the company's news release posted on its Web site Thursday.

Cindy Compton, general manager of the Village Mall in Danville, said late Thursday afternoon she had not yet spoken with Borders officials and was awaiting their call to discuss the situation. "Our position is that we will see what we can do to convince them to reconsider our site," Compton said. "They have been a wonderful, valuable tenant."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Since the start of the Afghan war in 2001... the base has also lost at least 75 of its soldiers to suicide."

Fort Hood in Texas, the scene of a horrific event earlier today, has had its share of tragedies.
The base's former commander, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, used his tenure at the helm of the sprawling post to mount a broad campaign to reduce the incidence of PTSD and suicide among the soldiers on the post.

At Gen. Lynch's direction, the base constructed a new Resiliency Campus spread out over a series of buildings near the base's chapel. The new facilities include a Spiritual Fitness Center for soldiers to meditate, rest and think, and a Cognitive Enhancement Assistance Center that offers counseling and other life-planning services.

The base also houses the Army's Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program, which aims to help soldiers deal with stress and the return to peacetime life.

Despite the efforts, however, Fort Hood continues to be hit hard by suicide, PTSD and other related problems. Through October, 10 Fort Hood soldiers had taken their lives in 2009, the second-highest tally in the Army behind Kentucky's Fort Campbell, which had 16 suicides.

If you are a believer in Christ, please pray for the families of those who were killed, for those who were wounded, and for the alleged shooter and his family as well. It is a Christian's duty to do this.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Clinton wishes he had left White House in a coffin"

That's the headline for this story, which I read and thought: Did Bill Clinton want to emulate JFK so much that he wanted to be assassinated while in office? But, no, it was just a silly headline.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Monday he would have preferred to leave the White House in a coffin because he loved being commander in chief, but signaled his political life was over.

"It's good that we have a (term) limit. Otherwise I would have stayed until I was carried away in a coffin. Or defeated in an election," Clinton said at a conference in Istanbul. "I loved doing the job."

Monday, November 2, 2009

10 Million Words

Uh, oh. Looks like somebody wants to join A.J. Jacobs and Julie Powell in the Let's-do-something-outrageous-and-write-a-book-about-it Club. I mean, I don't actually know if he'll write a book about his experience, but it's the kind of thing Jacobs and Powell would admire. I just wonder, how will he find time to spend with his wife and kids?
America’s bestselling books tell us, I’m sure, who America is, who her people are, at this time and place. Surely they will give me a glimpse into the world’s most powerful, the world’s most fascinating nation.

So why am I doing it? That is a fair question and one that does not offend me in the least. There are a few answers. First, I love to read and this project gives me an opportunity to read a lot. That, as I see it, is a good thing. Second, it is a challenge and I like to face a good challenge. I expect this project to involve at least ten million words of reading–break that down and you’ll see that it comes to at least three books per week over the course of an entire year. Third, I am interested in the cultural and worldview implications of all of these books. They will provide, I’m sure, a snapshot of where America is at as she enters a new decade. And for me, as a Canadian who spends a fair amount of time wandering the United States and who has family living in the United States, this stands to be particularly interesting.

Good luck, Tim.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

For Halloween 2009, the Obamas were a "middle-aged dad" and a "leopard"

Halloween at the White House:
The first lady was dressed as a leopard, with a smear of eyeliner, fuzzy ears and a spotted orange-and-black top. The president was dressed as a middle-aged dad, with a black cardigan, checkered shirt and sensible brown slacks. Together they handed out treats on the steps of the north portico of the White House Saturday night, sending some trick-or-treaters into fits of shock and joy.

Isn't the president already a middle-aged dad? With the sweater, I'm thinking he looks more like Bill Cosby than some generic dad. I supposed the sweater would have to be really colorful to get the Cliff Huxtable look right.

We didn't have too many trick-or-treaters around here. Just two groups of kids, about ten all total. I guess a lot of people are opting for community events. Our church hosted what was called "The Switch," with games and candy - and a Gospel presentation, of course. Quite a few kids in ninja costumes this year.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"In many ways, he's sent from God because the world's a mess."

Sting identifies Obama as the savior of the world.
The British singer, who released the seasonal album "On A Winter's Night" this week, said he's fascinated by American politics, Obama, and also by Obama's opponents on the right.

"It's aggressive and violent and full of fear," he said of the backlash against Obama. "They don't want change, they want things to feel the same because they feel safe there."

Sting, 58, said he's hopeful that the world's problems can be dealt with, but is frustrated that "we seem to be living in a currency of medieval ideas."

"My hope is that we can start talking about real issues and not caring about whether God cares about your hemline or your color," he said. "We are here to evolve as one family, and we can't be separate anymore."

There's always a bigger fish in the sea

One great white is mauled by another. I guess the moral is this: if you think you're Big and Bad, there's probably somebody Bigger and Badder.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why you playing with that, Levi?

You read this kind of thing, and you think, What has happened to his life? Is he a pawn? Is someone using him? Can a 19-year-old man think for himself, or is someone doing the thinking for him? Will he regret this ten years from now... five years from now... two seconds after he puts his clothes back on?
Rex Butler, a lawyer for the 19-year-old father of Sarah Palin's grandchild, says it is a "foregone conclusion" Johnston will pose nude for Playgirl and is now getting gym-ready three hours a day, six nights a week, working out with an Anchorage body builder, the Associated Press reports.

How long does it take to be fully and completely "gym-ready?"

Ah, I see I'm not the only one concerned about Mr. Johnston.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hitch on the lessons of religious debates

Christopher Hitchens writes about what debating Christians in general (and Douglas Wilson in particular) has taught him:
I haven't yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a "script" that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven't been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell's old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven't yet agreed on the terms.

Wilson isn't one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just "metaphors." He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn't waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he "allows" it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing.

You can find information on the DVD Collision here, even if you don't see the point.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Them eyes

It is far better for you to look at them than for them to look at you. (Thanks, Instapundit)

Oh, no! It's THEM!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mental illness, stigma, and Alex Forrest


Glenn Close has a great article for HuffPo on the stigma of mental illness.

Even as the medicine and therapy for mental health disorders have made remarkable progress, the ancient social stigma of psychological illness remains largely intact. Families are loath to talk about it and, in movies and the media, stereotypes about the mentally ill still reign.

Whether it is Norman Bates in Psycho, Jack Torrance in The Shining, or Kathy Bates' portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Misery, scriptwriters invariably tell us that the mentally ill are dangerous threats who must be contained, if not destroyed. It makes for thrilling entertainment.

There are some notable exceptions, of course -- Dustin Hoffman in Rainman, or Russell Crowe's portrayal of John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. But more often than not, the movie or TV version of someone suffering from a mental disorder is a sociopath who must be stopped.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

a balloon and his boy

If you're going to go on national TV and say that what happened wasn't a hox, be sure that everyone's in agreement about that. You could have trouble if they aren't.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Could you classify Obama's presidency so far as an "Epic Fail!"?

It sure seems that way. Three of his big ideas - Cash for Clunkers, Chicago 2016, and healthcare - have all been busts. Healthcare is a work in progress, I guess. But he doesn't seem to have increased his support for overhauling the system since he gave his big speech to Congress.

What can Barack fail at next? Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Socialism wins!

In Greece! You know, the country that's, like, the birthplace of philosophy or something. Yeah, that Socrates dude must be proud.
With 88 percent of Greece’s 10 million votes counted, according to The Associated Press, the Socialist Pasok Party was leading with 44 percent of the vote to 34 percent for the center-right New Democracy Party, a margin expected to give the Socialists their largest victory ever and a comfortable majority in Parliament.

“Today we set off together to build the Greece we want and need. We have no time to waste,” the Socialist leader, George Papandreou, said in his victory speech. “We want it, we can do it, we will succeed.”

“Nothing will be easy,” he added. “But I will always be honest and upfront with the Greeks.”

And he'll stay away from the hemlock, I imagine.

"Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion."

This has to be one of the most hilarious - and saddest - statements I've heard that have come out of this whole Roman Polanski fiasco. And it's from a guy who blatantly pushes his films for Oscar nominations, just so he can rack up those little gold statues. Talk about superficial...

I really don't need to add anything to the discussion on Polanski's portal into perversion, but I've liked what I've read from these people.

Twitter can be so surreal. I'm having a "conversation" with the son of this man and this woman.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Duran Duran should feel very happy about this.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If you live another 20 years, you could become immortal. I'll be 58 years old in 20 years. I don't think I'd want to look like I'm 58 for forever. Maybe 25.

Rob Bell wants his own definition of "evangelical"

Rob Bell, author of Velvet Elvis (my copy is currently resting, still unread, in a box in a storage facility with many other books), is defining the term evangelical in a new way. He said that he will "embrace" that word "if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing."

So, in Bell's mind, it really doesn't matter if a person is a confessing Christian, Muslim, Taoist, or Hare Krishna. Or even an athiest. As long as she wants to "work for change in the world," or she is "caring for the environment," or she has a "hopeful outlook," she is an evangelical.

Hmmm. Bell brings to mind someone else who saw differences in the meaning of words.



(HT: Pyromaniacs)

Was Eve the "Mother of Humanity"?

No, Ardi.

Ardi will be our Mother until the next discovery, that is. Then whatever that new discovery is, will be our Mother.

And we shall go on and on and on, lsearching for and finding our Mother in strange and new places.

Ken Burns' documentary on the National Park System is now playing on PBS stations

Is anyone watching this? I've tried to for the past two nights, but it's been so mind-numbingly boring that my interest quickly wanes. And it's a shame, really, because I have a great affinity for the parks. I've been to several of them, including this one and this one. But this one holds my affections above all others.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does anyone - besides Whoopi, of course - know the difference between "rape" and "rape-rape?"
I had an itch on my one hand, so I used the other hand to scratch it. When the itching ceased, I ceased scratching.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

50 States, 50 Films

I'm a little late in checking out 50 Movies for 50 States featured by the Rotten Tomatoes crew, but it's still fun. To complete this list, they chose "films that we feel really showcase each state in the Union." Here are the states/films that I've visited/seen:

  • Alabama - Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Arizona - Raising Arizona
  • Colorado - Red Dawn
  • Connecticut - The Ice Storm
  • Georgia - Gone With the Wind
  • Illinois - The Blues Brothers
  • Indiana - Hoosiers
  • Iowa - Field of Dreams
  • Kansas - The Wizard of Oz
  • Massachusetts - Good Will Hunting
  • Nebraska - Children of the Corn
  • New York - King Kong (RT means only the original, but I've seen all three)
  • North Carolina - Bull Durham
  • North Dakota - Fargo
  • Ohio - Bye Bye Birdie (I'm from Ohio, so I've had to have seen this one, right?)
  • Oklahoma - Oklahoma!
  • Pennsylvania - Rocky
  • South Carolina - The Patriot (They couldn't find a good movie to represent the state?)
  • South Dakota - Dances With Wolves
  • Utah - Broken Arrow (No Mormon movies out there, huh?)
  • West Virginia - We Are Marshall
  • Wyoming - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (I've even been to Devil's Tower...)

Twenty-two pairings. Not too bad. It's a totally subjective list, of course. I mean, Broken Arrow is a standard action flick, and not a good one at that, so why does it get to represent Utah? And no listing for Washington, DC. The most likely choice for DC be Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which I haven't seen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mike Seaver vs. Charles Darwin

Actor Kirk Cameron plans to distribute his latest "book" across university campuses. Actually it's not his book, but a famously authored work for which he penned the intro: Darwin's Origin of Species. In his intro for Origin, Cameron connects Darwin's theories to Hitler's practices.

Not unexpectedly, Cameron and partner Ray Comfort have received critical reviews for this project.

"It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."

If you have a metal detector in your storage bin somewhere, don't get rid of it. Use it. You never know what you might find.

An amateur treasure hunter prowling English farmland with a metal detector stumbled upon the largest Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found, a massive seventh-century hoard of gold and silver sword decorations, crosses and other items, British archaeologists said Thursday.

One expert said the treasure found by 55-year-old Terry Herbert would revolutionize understanding of the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic people who ruled England from the fifth century until the Norman conquest in 1066. Another said the find would rank among Britain's best-known historic treasures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Was Adam a real person?

Tremper Longman, an Old Testament professor at Westmont College, believes it to be "an open question as to whether or not Adam was a literal, historical figure, and that to 'insist' that Gen 1-2 conveys this is dependent on a 'very highly literalistic' reading." In other words, the Adam of Genesis 1-4 may very well be a symbol, or a representation, of a group of persons.

Well, not everyone believes that it doesn't matter if Adam was a real person or not, as James Anderson makes clear. Jeremy Pierce seeks further clarification on this matter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today could be your last day on the earth

According to this site, anyway.

The sentiment remains true, though. Somewhere - out there, in the real world - it is somebody's final day on the earth.

Perhaps it is yours. Are you ready?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Did a blogger receive preferential treatment?

Andrew M. Sullivan, the British author, editor, and political commentator, is one of the best-known figures in the new-media elite, and his blog, The Daily Dish, is among the most popular on the Web. But a federal judge says Sullivan did not deserve preferential treatment from prosecutors who dropped a marijuana possession charge after the journalist was recently caught smoking a joint on a federally owned beach on Cape Cod. (source)

Andrew posts a response here.

Ann Althouse, a popular blogger in her own right, has had a few squabbles with Sullivan, and she wants to talk about the news report.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

09/09/09

Tomorrow will be a very special day. At least, according to some people.
Modern numerologists - who operate outside the realm of real science - believe that mystical significance or vibrations can be assigned to each numeral one through nine, and different combinations of the digits produce tangible results in life depending on their application.

As the final numeral, the number nine holds special rank. It is associated with forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative, according to numerologists.

So, when tomorrow dawns, find the time to be forgiving, compassionate, and successful. Don't be arrogant or self-righteous, okay?

Monday, September 7, 2009

U.S. Open 2009

As we make our way through the second week of the U.S. Open, let's stop for a moment and look at the tournament's stories. Tennis in New York - technically in Flushing Meadows, Queens - is usually filled with intrigued, sometimes filled with Cinderella stories, and always filled with excitement. The Wife loves to watch the matches of grassy Wimbledon, but I prefer the American-packed confines of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Roger Federer
The Swiss mister has become redundant, hasn't he? He broke Pete Sampras' record a few months ago, and now he has 15 Grand Slam champion titles. If he wins this tournament, he will make it 16, and he will have been the victor here six times in a row. Roger never has to fall down again after winning the championship point. There's no reason to. He's done it all, and I hope he continues to dazzle us with his prowess and power.

Kim Clijsters
Hey, Kim! I thought you retired a couple years ago, but it's great to see you back! And you're doing so well, too. Knocking off Venus was quite a feat. But I shouldn't really be surprised. After all, you know how to win in America - you were the Champ only four years ago, and you may be the one again. Good luck against Na Li!

The American Men
There will be no American men in the quarterfinals. There has been at least one American male present since the tournament began 128 years ago. But not this year. No American men in the U.S. Open quarterfinals! Not this year - not in 2009. So thanks for all you've done, guys - Andy, James, John, Sam, Taylor, and everybody else - to break a 128-year-old record.

Melanie Oudin
If you love Cinderella stories, there's no bigger one at the Open this year than Melanie's. Hardly any tennis fans knew her name six months ago, but they all know it now. She's the youngest player since Serena Williams (way back in 1999) to make it to the quarterfinals. She beat two big (and very Russian) names - Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova - to make it this far. And what's the word written on her shoes? "Believe." Oh, yes, Melanie - we do believe in you.

American commentators
So you're a professional tennis player, and your days of competitive play are behind you. You wonder what you're going to do next. Not to worry. Just take a cue from Lindsey Davenport, Mary Jo Fernandez and Justin Gimelstob - become a commentator! They followed in the footsteps of Mary Carillo and Johnny Mac, and you can too.

the President's speech to the children

This is the most dangerous speech in America right now. Or the most controversial speech, at least.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
This is what was getting some people so riled up? These words were making some people plan to have their children stay at home, adding an extra day to their Labor Day Weekend? President Obama's speech seems pretty good to me: stay in school, be strong, and work for your community and country.

And, yes, I agree with Al.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Don't they like Bejeweled?

People are abandoning Facebook in droves.

There is a dark side to Facebook, that's for sure. So, be careful what you write, and be careful of your photos. Be mindful of where you go, and how long you are there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

This church ad brought to you by the Devil

Well, this certainly seems creative, doesn't it?

Viewers are encouraged to check out the congregation if they have questions about God, the Bible or church or just need somebody to talk to. The non-denominational congregation describes itself as "a different kind of church" that's relevant, loud, creative and isn't about religion. Empathizing with those who feel going to church means being scolded, subjected to boring sermons and leaving with less money, Metro South Church says it doesn't blame others for not wanting to attend.

"We think one of the biggest barriers to getting to know God has been the church itself," the church website states. "It's predictable and cold at best."
Maybe just a little bit glib, too. But I believe: if you're going to be The Church, then be The Church. Don't just say, "We're The Church."

It's like what Kate Beckinsale's character says in the classic film Van Helsing: "If you're going to kill someone, then kill them. Don't stand there talking about it."

Monday, August 31, 2009

the Kennedy seat

OK, Joe Kennedy. You are the son of RFK, and your uncle - an esteemed Senator - has just passed on. Are you going to step up and claim the Kennedy Senate seat?
“Joe Kennedy, as emotionally drained as he must be, cannot help but be moved by the outpouring of affection and respect that has come from people all over the country in the last several days,’’ said Dan Payne, a longtime Democratic media consultant. “I’m not saying he is going to run, but he wouldn’t be human and he wouldn’t be a Kennedy if he didn’t give serious thought to running for the so-called Kennedy seat.’’
Yeah. The so-called Kennedy seat. Because it's not a Kennedy seat at all. It was a Senate seat - one of two - held by a Kennedy for a very long time. It was only his temporarily, and it isn't his anymore now that he's gone the way of all the earth.

Speaking of Kennedys, I'm most interested in how this particular one will do. He's had such a history with alcoholism, drug use, and a bipolar disorder diagnosis. I hope he effectively utilizes the supports that are there for him.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Carrie" on TCM

I was flipping through the channels tonight, looking for something interesting. A familiar movie title caught my eye, so I stopped on TCM - Turner Classic Movies. "Carrie." I thought, Now there's a classic horror movie I haven't seen in a while. But I don't remember it being in black and white. And I don't remember the dude who played Zeus in "Clash of the Titans" being in it. Where is Sissy Spacek? Where is John Travolta?

Yep. A completely different "Carrie."

I wasn't able to watch the whole thing - just the very end of it. Apparently it's educational as well as entertaining. The description by DirecTV read this: "A farm girl moves to Chicago, meets men and becomes a stage star."

Wow! If a girl - and particularly a "farm girl" - wants to become a stage star, all she has to do is move to Chicago and meet a couple men. I wonder what a "farm boy" has to do?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Goodbye, John Hughes

No one made a teen film quite like you, with such memorable characters as Ferris Bueller, Samantha Baker, and John Bender. You will be missed.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Who is the Joker?

What I want to know is this: are the same people who are outraged about this, the same people who were pleased with this?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Counseling and the Church

If I lived in the Louisville KY area, I would most probably attend this church. Because they appear to preach the Gospel, and because they seem to have a strong counseling ministry. Sojourn will be hosting a two-day conference next month - The Gospel: Counseling and the Church. Author and speaker Paul David Tripp will be giving the keynote address. I may have to talk to my wife about attending.

RELATED: The best of Christian Biblical Counseling - a listing of Christian counseling organizations.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tim Tebow: virgin Heisman winner

The celebrated, Heisman-winning college football quarterback is gracing the cover of the latest Sports Illustrated. He talks about his football and his faith, and his father talked about his beginnings:

Watching Tebow zip passes into the seams of opposing defenses, lower his shoulder in short yardage and exhort his teammates like King Henry V on St. Crispin's Day, one might think that he was put on this earth just to run coach Urban Meyer's spread offense. Watching him pace the floor of a gymnasium packed with 660 wayward men hanging on his every syllable is to realize that regardless of what position Tebow eventually plays in the NFL, and for how long, the football phase of his life is merely a means to a greater end.

The man on the other end of the line is calling from the Philippines. He has taken time from his missionary work to reply to a reporter's e-mailed questions. Now Bob Tebow has a question of his own: "Have you heard the story of Timmy's birth?"

Even if you have, it's worth hearing from the mouth of his father: "When I was out in the mountains in Mindanao, back in '86, I was showing a film and preaching that night. I was weeping over the millions of babies being [aborted] in America, and I prayed, 'God, if you give me a son, if you give me Timmy, I'll raise him to be a preacher.'" Not long after, Bob and Pam Tebow conceived their fifth child. It was a very difficult pregnancy. "The placenta was never properly attached, and there was bleeding from the get-go," Bob recalls. "We thought we'd lost him several times." Early in the pregnancy Pam contracted amebic dysentery, which briefly put her in a coma. Her doctors, fearful that medications they had given her had damaged the fetus, advised her to abort it. She refused, and on Aug. 14, 1987, Pam delivered a healthy if somewhat scrawny Timothy Richard Tebow.

"All his life, from the moment he could understand, I told him, 'You're a miracle baby,'" Bob recalls. "'God's got a purpose for you, and at some point I think He's going to call you to preach.'

"I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback."

Tebow's also answering questions about his sexuality, questions that aren't usually asked of college - or even professional - players:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

a trip to Monticello

Maira Kalman writes - and draws - of her experience in visiting the home of a remarkable man, the second President of the United States. I've been to his home only once, on a trip to Washington with my parents and grandmother years ago. I remember the bed, though, that separated his dressing room and his study.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

For the past two decades, Michael Jackson has been known for his weird lifestyle and accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. But once upon a time, he was known solely for his music. That is how I will choose to remember the man.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Archie picks...

Veronica! Oh, how great the agony of Betty!

Spend your money like a millionaire

A frugal one, that is.
Millionaires make up just 2 percent of the population. They get a bad rap during recessions for being wasteful with their money and are frequently used as examples of excess. It's the millionaires that you don't see that you can learn from in times like these. I call them the frugal millionaires and interviewed 70 of them to uncover ways we can all be smarter with money.

Nearly 70 percent of the economy is based on consumer spending. To keep the economy going we need to keep spending but not waste money in the process. This is where the frugal millionaires come in. They've been smart with their money all along and haven't lost it all and had to remake it. These are the kind of people you want to learn from when it comes to spending your money.

If you can afford to purchase a new car every month, you can afford to buy Cameron's house

Ferris Bueller fans, take note: Cameron Frye's house is for sale. The house used for the film is actually near Chicago, as opposed to the house used as Ferris' home - which is in Long Beach, California.

For those of you - like me - who fondly remember this film during your high school days, please don't feel old when I tell you that Cameron is 52. Alan Ruck was 29 when he played the depressive high school student with the marvelous car. Oh, yeah.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Movies

Like most patriotic Americans on Memorial Day weekend, I usually spend a good bit of time watching movies. On the big screen in the community cineplex. On the small screen in my bedroom. From Blockbuster for $3.99 (for a whole week), or a nearby Redbox for $1 (for one night). Doesn't matter. At some point or another, I'll watch one movie - or two or three - from beginning to end.

I've seen two so far.

Saturday night's film was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, rented from the Redbox. Button was filmed in such a gorgeous manner, with such a beautiful city (New Orleans) and such striking actors (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Julia Ormond, and Tariji Henson), that I was completely taken aback by how utterly boring I found it. Pitt and Blanchett seemed to have no chemistry together. Should I not have expected more from them? Pitt and Henson were nominated for Oscars, but I didn't find their performances to be particularly moving. I found the most striking character to be the tugboat captain Benjamin worked for, and I mourned his passing because he was the only character who seemed full of life and vitality.

When Blanchett's Daisy tells Pitt's Benjamin that he is "perfect," I almost expected him to say, "Well, of course I am - I'm Brat Pitt!"

Last night's film was Night at the Museum, shown on the ABC Family channel. I was charmed by the film when I first saw it a few years ago, and it still has its pleasures. I think it'd be great fun to have an Easter Island head around the house, but I wouldn't let it get away with calling my "dum-dum." I particularly enjoyed seeing Dick Van Dyke (a Vermilion County native!) and Mickey Rooney as two of the "bad guys" of the film. Has there been another film where Van Dyke has been the villain? Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't think there is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Always be ready, no matter what you're wearing


Obviously this soldier was a Boy Scout at one time. Their motto is "Be Prepared."

(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

If you're poor, you're gonna pay more

The high cost of poverty.
Poverty 101: We'll start with the basics.

Like food: You don't have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or Trader Joe's, where the middle class goes to save money. You don't have three hours to take the bus. So you buy groceries at the corner store, where a gallon of milk costs an extra dollar.

A loaf of bread there costs you $2.99 for white. For wheat, it's $3.79. The clerk behind the counter tells you the gallon of leaking milk in the bottom of the back cooler is $4.99. She holds up four fingers to clarify. The milk is beneath the shelf that holds beef bologna for $3.79. A pound of butter sells for $4.49. In the back of the store are fruits and vegetables. The green peppers are shriveled, the bananas are more brown than yellow, the oranges are picked over.

(At a Safeway on Bradley Boulevard in Bethesda, the wheat bread costs $1.19, and white bread is on sale for $1. A gallon of milk costs $3.49 -- $2.99 if you buy two gallons. A pound of butter is $2.49. Beef bologna is on sale, two packages for $5.)

Prices in urban corner stores are almost always higher, economists say. And sometimes, prices in supermarkets in poorer neighborhoods are higher. Many of these stores charge more because the cost of doing business in some neighborhoods is higher. "First, they are probably paying more on goods because they don't get the low wholesale price that bigger stores get," says Bradley R. Schiller, a professor emeritus at American University and the author of "The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"The Incident"


Yes, friends, another season of the best show on television - Lost - has drawn to a close. Last night, we got to see what happens first when a hydrogen bomb named Jughead explodes (a flash of white light!), Jacob in white and an unnamed man in black sitting on a beach, Jacob meeting with several Lostaways in their LBTI's (life before the island), Bernard and Rose living out their "retirement," and Ben making sure yet another person meets a very sticky end (How many people has he either killed himself or ordered to be killed? Too many to count).

I probably won't be posting a full review of the episode, but even if I did, I probably wouldn't do as much justice to it as Jennifer Godwin or Alan Sepinwall.

Only 7 more months or so until Season Six! Destiny Found!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Evangelical Outpost

Joe Carter has returned. And he's not alone.
Matthew Anderson—one of my oldest blog buddies—will be joining me as a senior editor. Together we hope to help shape these young writers, honing their writing and reasoning skills and preparing them to provide thoughtful reflections on culture, politics, and religion from an evangelical Christian worldview. Our goal is to make EO an incubator for developing intriguing opinions and introducing interesting individuals.

In the process, we plan to bring you an engaging and entertaining mix of content, from book reviews and essays to opinion pieces and link lists (i.e., the return of 33 Things) and much, much more. We especially want to provide critical reflection on matters—daycare, cremation, etc.—that few of us stop to consider. Most of all, though, we plan to introduce you to interesting people—our contributors, our commenters, and our friends in the community of Christian bloggers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Star Wars Day!

Before it's over, I have to post this:

The American Patriot's Bible

Finally! A Bible for every red-blooded American!
THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW 'A LIGHT FROM ABOVE' SHAPED OURNATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot's Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation's history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.

This is the Bible that the world has waited for! All those other countries can go to... well, you know where they can go.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mine That Bird wins the 2009 Kentucky Derby

I love stories like this: someone (or in this case, some horse) - who no one thought would be capable of much - does something amazing.
Mine That Bird dug up a miracle, stunning the field to win the Kentucky Derby with a dynamic stretch run through the mud at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old colt and jockey Calvin Borel found room along the rail deep in the stretch Saturday then pulled away to give the 50-1 long shot one of the biggest upsets in the 135-year history of the race.

UPDATE: Stop by Mark Beech's place at Sports Illustrated for his thoughts on today's race:
Folks, there is no sporting event in America quite as great as the Kentucky Derby. Nearly every other one worth mentioning is contested by millionaire athletes who are nothing like you, me and the guy down the street. But the Kentucky Derby brings those two worlds together. Mine That Bird beat eight horses who sold for at least $200,000 at auction. Two of those horses sold for more than $2 million. The crown prince of Dubai had two horses in this race. Mine That Bird also bested a colt who is the only horse owned and trained by a retired Louisville high school principal, as well as one owned by diet queen Jenny Craig. No other event in America makes a folk hero quite as quickly as the Kentucky Derby. It's not the greatest two minutes in sports for nothing.

"...almost the most fun a kid can have."

Enter a strange and exciting world. A world which Bill O'Reilly beckons you to come and enjoy.

She paid $540 for those?

The First Lady shows off her new footwear to the patrons of a Washington food bank.

Mrs. Obama, we know that your husband is pulling down $400,000 a year now, so you can afford those shoes. But if you're going to buy shoes with that kind of pricetag, please make sure they are pretty. And that you're mindful of where you wear them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Jesus is to be mass-produced, imprinted on metal, given a reflective coat and sold for money."



His crown of thorns will lie just beneath the "FLORIDA" across the top of the plate; his outstretched arms will be truncated to the left and right by the tag numbers, so that one does not actually see the cross, the nails, the wounds — no, we would not have that! The words "SUNSHINE STATE" will be stamped across his unscathed, unlashed torso. And yet, if even this censored Passion is still too strong for one's taste, the Legislature is producing an alternative "faith" plate as well, that one with a stained-glass window, a prettied-up cross and the slogan, "I Believe."


"A Scary Thing Happened"

The government wants to help you cope by offering you art therapy. Really bad art therapy.


You know, I'd probably be completely traumatized if I was (1) reading a book with drawings of a plane crashing into buildings, (2) looking out my window to see that what was shown in my book was happening right outside my home, and (3) watching it being broadcast on TV - ALL AT THE SAME TIME. I'd probably need hundreds of these books to help me recover.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beauty and Joy in the face of Death

Thanks to the Jollyblogger for pointing us this moving set of pictures, chronicling the very brief marriage of Katie and Nick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I was born in a large creek, and now I speak normally

What?!? What the devil is Brownie talking about? Well, you'll have to turn to this to figure it out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Valor


Valor
Originally uploaded by Good Brownie
This is part of a monument at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.

"People might think they're cute, but they're a menace. They're multiplying like crazy - that's what they do."

Bunnies on the loose, terrorizing Florida residents.
Dozens of rabbits, the spawn of Easter gifts from as far back as 2002, now run wild in a field of two-story condominiums.

Actually, wild is an exaggeration. “I have two that let me pet them,” said Denise Callahan, 55, out for a walk on Wednesday with her dog, Gigi. “One’s Peter; the other’s Mama.”

A few feet to her right, a snow-white rabbit with dark eyes sniffed the sand near a boat trailer. Behind her, a chubby brown one hopped past a parked Hyundai. Clearly, in a neighborhood of mostly parking lots and small apartments, these bunnies felt at home.

Not everybody feels terrorized, apparently.

"We, Frenchies, are well-known for our flatulance."

Martha Stewart's dogs Francesca and Sharkey, both French bulldogs, are as much into blogging as she is. They began blogging on February 27, 2009, and have somehow found a photographer to keep up with their, ahem, adventures. I suppose you would lead a somewhat adventurous life if your were Martha's canine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Columbine Revisited

A decade has past since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on their murderous rampage.
The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver's Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren't in the "Trenchcoat Mafia," disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn't been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and "fags."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Truly This Man

And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you." But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?" For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out again, "Crucify him." And Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

Mark 15

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Better that one man perish...

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.


John 11:45-52

Monday, April 6, 2009

Craig v. Hitchens

Doug Geivett has a report on the recent debate, on the existence of God, between Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig. Craig is the author of "God is Not Dead Yet," an article that appeared in Christianity Today last July.

"The End of Christian America"

That's the cover story for the latest edition of Newsweek, which usually has a Christian-themed article for Easter time.
While we remain a nation decisively shaped by religious faith, our politics and our culture are, in the main, less influenced by movements and arguments of an explicitly Christian character than they were even five years ago. I think this is a good thing—good for our political culture, which, as the American Founders saw, is complex and charged enough without attempting to compel or coerce religious belief or observance. It is good for Christianity, too, in that many Christians are rediscovering the virtues of a separation of church and state that protects what Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island as a haven for religious dissenters, called "the garden of the church" from "the wilderness of the world." As crucial as religion has been and is to the life of the nation, America's unifying force has never been a specific faith, but a commitment to freedom—not least freedom of conscience. At our best, we single religion out for neither particular help nor particular harm; we have historically treated faith-based arguments as one element among many in the republican sphere of debate and decision. The decline and fall of the modern religious right's notion of a Christian America creates a calmer political environment and, for many believers, may help open the way for a more theologically serious religious life.

Al Mohler, who was quoted for the article, writes about his reaction to it here.
I appreciate the care, respect, and insight that mark this essay by Jon Meacham. I also appreciated our conversation about an issue that concerns us both. Still, I hope I did not reflect too much gloom in my analysis. This much I know -- Jesus Christ is Lord, and His kingdom is forever. Our proper Christian response to this new challenge is not gloom, but concern. And our first concern must be to see that the Gospel is preached as Good News to the perishing -- including all those in post-Christian America.

Dan Kimball, pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA, offers his thoughts here.
So I think maybe there is a decline of a certain shape and sub-culture(s) of "Christian America" as the article states. But at the same time, there is a rising and surging of missional church leaders, church planters, and Christians who have already recognized that we are in a "post-Christian" America as the article states. But that recognition has simply fueled creativity, prayer and passion for mission and because God is God, people are coming to a saving faith in Jesus. So it is ironically quite an exciting time period in the midst of this gloomy title and cover. It feels as though some expressions of church and Christianity maybe is fading out. But
at the same time there is excitement and energy and hope as churches who have already recognized what this article says about being in a "post-Christian" country - and have made changes to become churches on mission.

I am so optimistic for the future and have great hope. Yes, there is a "decline and fall" as the article states of certain types of "Christianity" and church perhaps. But there is also a rising and resurgence of missional churches and missional Christians. Churches and Christians who are rethinking what it means to be "be the church" and to be the church on mission. It may mean rethinking how we go about things since we do live in a "post-Christian" world. It may not be as easy or routine as it has in the past. It may shake up some of our ecclesiological catagories that we have constructed. But it should only spur us onward in adventure, not get us depressed looking at a spooky black cover with red letters.