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


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.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I, Blogger, take thee, Commentor

The NYT has a nice article on a very modern romance: Ann Althouse, whose blog averages around 500,000 visitors a month (I visit several times a day!), had agreed to marry Laurence Meade, who has left comments on her blog over the years.

Congrats, Ms. Althouse and Mr. Meade!

"I suppose my agent did something unusual in telling me who they really wanted. And telling me that I was the third choice."

"I was very, very aware that I was not the first or second choice. I mean, ordinarily, agents don’t do that, and I must admit in my case, it did make it hard for me. Because I didn’t get the sense of humor, really, didn’t understand it very well. It’s not my type of humor, so the director had to kind of coach me through everything I did. It’s by far what I’m best known for on planet Earth. No day goes by without someone commenting on it to me. It turned out to be one of the most beloved films. People had the most astonishing response to it. Apparently by following Rob Reiner, by trying to imitate him—he would do [my lines], and then I would imitate him. And I must have done it adequately, as people compliment me on it on a daily basis."

Actor and playwright Wallace Shawn gives an interview about his movie roles, including his most famous one as Vizzini in The Princess Bride.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's Day

Have you fooled someone today? Has somebody fooled you?

Huffpo has a brief history of April Fool's Day, along with fix recent hoaxes. I remember the "Taco Liberty Bell" announcements.