Saturday, March 25, 2006

Merde alors!

Cajuns Ponder Life Without Crawfish

Dat's not so good, hunh? Son! Cher, we gots to have dem mudbugs, oui? But de Good Lord, he provide, non? Jes' you wait some. Dey come back, oui, dey will.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

If there were any doubt remaining...

...about the nature of Islam, I think it's pretty well dispelled by this quote:

Afghan Clerics Demand Convert Be Killed:
"Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.

Emphasis added. If moderate Muslims are insisting that a man die because he has decided to think for himself, then it's pretty clear that Islam is no "religion of peace."

VERY cute picture

ht: HH
Just go see it.

Huh? Say WHAT?

Iraqi Insurgents' Raid on Jail Thwarted - Yahoo! News

Let's compare a couple of sentences:

Emboldened a day after a successful jailbreak, insurgents laid siege to another prison Wednesday. This time, U.S. troops and a special Iraqi unit thwarted the pre-dawn attack south of Baghdad, overwhelming the gunmen and capturing 50 of them... (emphasis added)

Although the raid failed, the insurgents' ability to put together such large and well-armed bands of fighters underlined concerns about the ability of Iraqi police and military to take over the fight from U.S. troops.
"Underlined" according to whom? The Associated Press?

Iraqi police captured a couple dozen bad guys, therefore America's "strategery" has failed?!?!?!

Just for the record - I am getting really, really tired of the MSM's aiding and abetting.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A useful Catch-22?

The case of Abdul Rahman has President Bush"deeply troubled."

Very good news. Looks like the Afghan government will find a way to back out by finding Rahman "mentally unfit to stand trial" - after all, he'd have to be crazy to admit to being a Christian, knowing it could get him executed, right?

Hopefully they've never heard of Jim Elliot, who said, "He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose."

Finally some good news from Europe and NPR

Heard in the radio this morning that the case of the Afghan man facing a death sentence for converting to Christianity is getting some serious traction. Italy called in the Afghan ambassador for a - dare I say it? - "come to Jesus meeting" to tell the Afghan government that Italy might have to rethink its committment to rebuilding Afghanistan. Germany - secular Germany! - did something similar, according to the report.

Very good news indeed. I'd like to hear President Bsh say something publicly about it, though.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Whew! That's a relief!

I used to be really concerned about my kid's incessant whining, but no more. :-)

Monday, March 20, 2006


Michelle Malkin points to the story of an Afghan Christian on trial for his life in that country. Under Afghanistan's Islamic constitution, he faces the death penalty for converting to Christianity 16 yeras ago.

This is an outrage. I expect Christians to be persecuted and martyred, but not in countries where Americans have bled and died to give them freedom.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

NT06 - Hebrews 7, which clarifies some things but leaves others muddy

Hebrews 7 clarifies a problem I had in chapter 4 abou high priests having to offer sacrifices for their own sins. Chapter 7 makes it clear that Jesus, being holy and blameless, was not so encumbered. Therefore his sacrifice on our behalf was wholly acceptable to God.

But it still leaves unclear the phrase about Jesus "learning obedience" through suffering.

I need to look up this Melchizedek character, too. Verse 3 describes him as "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."

Strong stuff.

The National Security Strategy of the United States

No kiddin'.

I'm sure he's just crushed.

Jessica Simpson snubs Bush

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Paging Ms. Morissette, Ms. Alanis Morisette...

1,600 More SAT Scoring Problems Found. Oh, the irony.

NT06 - Heb 6, in which a lot seems to hang on a single word

Skeptics like to claim that there are so many differences between copies of the New Testament manuscripts that you can't trust the text. Christians counter that the many variants actually make it easier to ferret out the most likely original wording, and in any event, no major point of docrine hangs on a textual variance.

But then we run into Hebrews 6, which warns that a person who has been saved and then falls away cannot be bought back to repentence because they are re-crucifying Christ and holding Him up to ridicule.

Because. That's really scary stuff - it seems to say that if you once make shipwreck of your faith, you're permanently hosed. That's pretty major.

But wait - the NIV footnote says that some manuscripts say while, not because.

While leaves some wiggle room. It allows for a fallen-away believer to come back if they stop, um, falling away. But that's not just wiggle room - it seems like a very different doctrinal point entirely. Can believers who fall awy be reunited, or not? That seems like a binary question. It's either-or, isn;t it? And if because - the harsher reading - is correct, what does that say about God's grace? (Isn't there a passage somewhere about an unforgivable sin?) And what does it say about our supposedly sure hope?

We are very fortunate that we have more than one English translation. Let's look at some others.

The NASB uses since: they can't repent since they scorn Christ. That also give the sense of, if they'd only stop, they could be brought back. The KJV says, seeing that. That also implies an action that is currently happening.

Not an action in the past that has irrevocably set the course of the future.

NT06 - Heb 5 - this is wierd

Hebrews 5 contains some strange ideas. It begins by noting that high priests are fallible and have to offer sacrifices for their own sins. Then it goes on to say that Jesus "learned obedience" by suffering, and was "made perfect." Only then did he become the source of eternal salvation.

And then the author gets all condescending on us, saying that we need baby food! (Of course, he's talking to a particular audience, but STILL...)


NT06 - Hebrews 4, in which we are called to work hard at resting

The author of the book of Hebrews reminds us that God's eternal rest is a reward, planned from before hte beginning of time. It's not that we can earn it by good works - the text does not say that - but we can miss out on it by disobedience.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A new dimension in sidewalk chalk

Julian Beever does simply amazing things with chalk in public places.

A gauntlet is thrown

Hat tip to the MouseFrau. :-)

Stay-at-home mom Jennifer Roback Morse challenges "traditional" feminists to a battle of wits over whether women are more or less fulfilled by working outside the home.

Fair warning - she's not unarmed. This particular stay-at-home mom has a Ph.D. in economics and was tenured at George Mason University. She left "all that" to move across the country when her husband got a new job.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Live like you were dyin'

Kirby Puckett was my age. A few years ago we lost a friend to hemorrhagic stroke. He'd just gotten married a few weeks before, and was out walking with his bride when he dropped. Just like that, he was gone.

I heard a country song on the radio last night, "Live Like You Were Dying." The narrator is talking to a fellow who "got the news" and "spend hours staring at the x-rays." Narrator asks, "Man, what'd you do?" and he lists a bunch of things, such as"finally opened up the Good Book" "became the husband I wasn't often enough." The chorus was, "I went skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbin', I went two-point-seven seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu. I spoke sweeter, loved deeper .... Son, I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying'."

Ah - here's a link. (Mind the popups.) Gotta love Google.

A great sentiment, live like you were dying. That assumes of course, that you have advance notice of your demise. But as we saw with our friend Angus and now with Kirby, you don't always get that "two-minute warning."

George Elliot, the martyred missionary depicted in the recent film "End of the Sword", had this to say about living on the edge of death: "It's never too late to become the person you might have been." And, "Live your life so that when the time comes to die, all you have to do is die."

Advice worth taking.

Monday, March 06, 2006

John Seely Brown, guts and throat

How often do you get a chance to talk to the man who invented the mouse? John Seeley Brown was the keynote speaker at the ODCE conference this week. I live-blogged his talk until my laptop's battery ran out.

Brown was talking about how massive online games such as World of Warquest have players from all over the world, and players necessarily learn how to transcend culture. He also pointed out how multimedia literacy is and is going to be a big deal.

I flashed on our guest preacher on Sunday, who talked about how a Bible translator in New Guinea figured out that a particular tribe saw the center-of-the-self in the throat, rather than the heart (as in modern Western thought) or in the gut (as in classical Greek thought.) "Ask Jesus to come live in your throat" made perfect sense to them.

Media literacy requires shared experiences. To persons who were young adults in the 1960's, a half-second image of a Huey helicopter likely causes a visceral reaction - Hueys are a prototype image of the Vietnam war. It immediately brings up a whole host of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. But to a younger person, it may be just a helicopter, with no particular affect (note spelling).

The kennings of medieval Norse verse similarly drew on the expectation of a shared cultural reference. "The sea-steed sailed o'er the swan-road" referred not only to a ship on the sea, but a particular ship with a particular master, and the tragic doom he faced.

After the keynote, I asked JSB about this idea. He referred back to the fact that in massive online games, the players do in fact share experiences; they do in fact share cultural references - within the context of the game. This context does not transfer directly to the real world. It sort-of-transfers through imagining that the real word is like the game worlds in some respects.

But he had also noted that when indigenous peoples are exposed to Western science, they accept the Western definition of, say, a rainbow, side-by-side with the traditional definition, with no apparent difficulty.

I'm not quite sure if I'm satisfied with his answer. (Can you tell I'm thinking out loud?)

We're all in this together

Apparently the Red Green Show is over. 300 episodes, and no more. (When did that happen?!?!) The website lives on, at least, and if you're up Ontario way you can even see some of the original sets. (Of course, you can see a lot of that stuff nearly anywhere north of the 44th parallel.)

Friday, March 03, 2006

NT06 - Heb 3 - a warning against unbelief

Hebrews 3 contains a strong warning about the consequences of a hard, unbelieving heart. "They shall never enter my rest," says the author, quoting Psalm 95:11.

Strong stuff, especially since the people Psalms is talking about are the Israelites of the Exodus. Despite their miraculous salvation by God's own hand, they repeatedly, continually turned away from Him over a period of decades.

How fickle is the human heart! We so easily forget what God has done for us. It is good that God is merciful and compassionate. As Psalm 130 says, if He kept a record of sins, we would be undone. But the blood of Christ has washed away all our sins, removed them as far as the east is from the west.

A little Friday afternoon weirdness for you

Stop alien cow abductions!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Funny, the mind's eye

Actor Jack Wild Dies at 53. Jack played the Artful Dodger in the movie Oliver!, and he was the child start of H.R. Pufnstuf, one of my favorite shows as a child. I used to imagine that he was my best friend. He just seemed to be a really cool kid.

Funny, though, I don't remember him looking like this. I remember the mop of hair, but the face is really unfamiliar to me. Strange.

NT06 - Heb 2 - The best Big Brother ever!

Hebrews 2 contains an amazing promise: Jesus considers us who believe in Him to be his brothers.

Some syncretists (folks who want to mash all religions into one) use this as "proof" of the notion that "we all are (or can become) gods/God."

I think that's a silly interpretation. Brothers (and sisters) are individuals. They are not the same person - not even identical twins. They are different. I've got two boys. While you can easily see the family resemblance, they are each unique.

We also have several friends who are adoptive parents. Especially, children who are adopted into a family may be very different from their siblings.

While they clearly do not share the same nature, they do share equally in the love and support that the family provides, and they will share in the inheritance. And what an inheritance!

Seems I'm not the only one...

...who reads Tom Clancy novels.

An Italian Panel has decided that the plot of Clancey's 2002 semi-thriller Red Rabbit is correct - the USSR ordered the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.

I'm shocked. Shocked.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NT06 - Hebrews 1

I'll get caught up on the rest of Acts, I promise. But now it makes sense to get on track with Hebrews, the next book in our through-the-New-Testament-in-one-year plan.

Hebrews 1 begins with no preable or pastorly introduction, no "Greetings in the name of Christ." The writer cuts to the chase, immediately addressing the issue of whether the Son of God is an angel, or something more. Quoting from the Psalms, the Histories, and the Torah (but curiously not the Prophets - yet), the writer argues that Jesus has divine authority above that of the angels.

So let me see if I got this straight

26 killed and 58 wounded in Iraq means that the country is spiraling toward civil war, but "only" 400 cars burned in French suburbs on a given night means the situation is stabilizing.

Doubleplusungood, eh, Winston?