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


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.


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.