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Archive for the ‘Twenty Items’ Category

1.  Ouch, a man uses a gun to scratch his back and ends up shooting himself.  I wouldn’t know if there is a good way to explain that to friends and family.

HT: Smart Pastor

2.  The Pill kills babies, some little known information from the American Life League

3.  Web trends – a recent Barna report shows:

  • 78% who access a computer has sent an e-mail.
  • 33% have used IM in the past week.
  • 23% have a personal webpage or a profile on a social networking site (Facebook, MySpace, etc).
  • 10% have a blog, but 14% have commented on another person’s blog in the last week.
  • 38% of evangelicals have listened to a sermon via podcast in the last week.
  • Evangelicals use of Web 2.0 mirrors the trends seen across the board.

HT: Monday Morning Insight

4.  Something I need to learn to do better.

5.  One reason (of three given) to avoid using inconsistency as a mark against an idea or person.

Everybody’s inconsistent, so nobody denounces inconsistency consistently.

Source: 22 Words with Abraham Piper

6.  Stepping out if faith is hard to do, but comes with growth.

Stepping out in faith always brings clarification of God’s plan. When Ananias went to see Paul (then Saul), he received additional information (read Acts 9:10–21). As Saul submitted himself to the ministry of Ananias, he found out more about God’s plan for his life. You’re “a chosen instrument of Mine.” I’m going to use you “to bear My name” (9:15). Saul hadn’t known that before. (He had never read the book of Acts!) He knew nothing of what was in store for him until Ananias took that initial step of faith. Both men discovered that God Himself chose Saul to be His instrument and that intense suffering would mark his ministry. That’s the way God operates.

Source: Chuck Swindoll’s Blog

7.  Redefining Community?

HT: Out of Ur

8.  Effective evangelism… not so much.

You know I think it would easier to say everybody without Jesus, (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16-17).

Sports fans?  Really?  I guess since I entered a March Madness pool before the last NCAA tournament I’m in trouble.

HT: Ragamuffin Soul

9.  This made me laugh out loud.  Hillary Clinton – Unelectable.  You can download this musical gem here.  To listen to this song in a pop-up click here.

10.  Please continue to pray for Parkersburg, IA that was leveled by an EF5 tornado over Memorial Day Weekend.  My friend Eric’s wife’s grandma lives there and thankfully her house was spared.  They went up to help with clean-up and you can see some pictures of the aftermath on his blog.

11.  Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is.  A handy guide by Prodigal Jon.

12.  I am still appalled by this video.  Pastors behaving badly in the pulpit.  Contemptuous speech has no place in the pulpit.  Fr. Michael Pfleger needs to be reeled in by the Chicago Diocese.

Edward Gilbreath has some excellent thoughts about this controversy.

13.  Bishop Harry Jackson & Tony Perkins – “The Truth in Black and White: California ‘Marriage'”

Source: Family Research Council Blog

14.  Will Smith on Marriage and Divorce

During an interview on Ellen:

Divorce just can’t be an option. It’s really that simple – if you just remove the option. Because if you have the option, one day that person’s going to make you want a divorce. You absolutely get to the point that you’re done, and the only thing that keeps you continuing is that there’s no other option.

From a Reader’s Digest interview:

RD: You and Jada have been married nine years and, by all accounts, are very happy. What’s the key?
Smith: Communication. And divorce cannot be an option.
RD: Your first marriage ended in divorce.
Smith: That is probably the most painful loss of my life. I quit. I could have fixed it. It really was not that bad.
RD: Some would say there’s no reason to stay if a marriage isn’t good.
Smith: Once you say that, you’ve lost. With Jada, I stood up in front of God and my family and friends and said, “Till death do us part.” So there are two possible outcomes: We are going to be together till death, or I am dead.

I’ve already been a fan of his movies.  I’m impressed.  This is rare, but encouraging talk coming out of Hollywood.

HT: Evangelical Outpost

15.  Evidently evangelism is a hate crime in the United Kingdom at least according to a police officer there..

A police community support officer ordered two Christian preachers to stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham.

The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a “hate crime” and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned. The incident will fuel fears that “no-go areas” for Christians are emerging in British towns and cities, as the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in The Sunday Telegraph this year….

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

“He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”

The ministers claim he also advised them not to return to the area. As he walked away, the PCSO said: “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned”.

West Midlands Police, who refused to apologise, said the incident had been “fully investigated” and the officer would be given training in understanding hate crime and communication.

HT: Stand to Reason

16.  I like Michelle Malkin and I read her blog when I get a chance.  But the brouhaha that erupted over Rachel Ray wearing this scarf that is thought to be a keffiyeh in a Dunkin Donuts Ad is ridiculous.  I mean come on! Dunkin Donuts ended up pulling the ad.

Looking at other keffiyehs that are pictured in a follow-up post… it doesn’t even look the same!

HT: The Point

17.  John Mark Reynolds on the Presidential Race (now confirmed to be John McCain vs. Barack Obama) – “Five Reasons Both Candidates Will Lose“.

18.  The 2008 United Methodist Church General Conference is adopting a more pro-life stance on abortion.

19.  Breaking news on Michelle Obama?

20.  The 10 Worst Movies About Jesus.  HT: Michael Spencer

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1. Would you like to improve your reading ability?  Here are seven pleasurable ways.  HT: Jake Bouma

2.  Prodigal Jon explores why society tends to picture God as angry in his post “Painting God mad” at Stuff Christians Like.

3.  Flatulence is now considered bullying.  Jr. High boys of the world… beware!  (HT: Nuke)

4.  Evidently Obama’s uncle fought for the Soviet Army so he could liberate Auschwitz.  Velvet Hammer blogs on other Obama lies – numbering now 51 in this campaign.  Do we see a pattern here?

5.  Pistol Pete on what makes a great blog.  Caffeinated Thoughts has the honor of making his blogroll.

6.  A “Christian” T-Shirt concept that hasn’t quite caught on:

Source: Naked Pastor

7.  Straight Talk Express?  See below.  I don’t want it to be said that I give GOP politicians a free pass here.  There is much to criticize about John McCain as well.

HT: Stephanie

8.  Organic Faith shared some thoughts about Dr. Tim Keller’s message to last year’s Gospel Coalition regarding how pastors are losing focus in the pulpit.

Dr. Tim Keller said last year in a teaching to the Gospel Coalition that the difference between Gospel-centered preaching and lifeless pulpit talk is a focus on Jesus. He said that his wife told him that his best sermons are those that focus on the transforming power and example of Christ. He basically hit on an issue that I have been concerned about for a while. In the effort to be relevant, it has become all too common for preachers to deliver good messages on moral teachings instead of Jesus-focused calls to divine transformation and human repentance.

That is so true.  May that never be said of my ministry in the pulpit.

9.  Anne Jackson asks, “what is something you feel you can’t say in church, or around other Christians?”  She gets some humorous and serious responses. 

Some responses that caught my eye:

  • Anne started things off – “I suck at reading my bible.”
  • I can relate to Pete who said, “That sometimes when there is a dramatic pause in my message, and I look like I’m waiting on God to give me something really powerful to say, I’m not. In reality I’m just wondering if I zipped up my zipper before I went up on stage.” (I laughed out loud at that one.)
  • “Most people I know who claim to follow God are really sucky people who don’t care about anything but themselves and their comfort. It makes me not want to follow their rules.”
  • “When I’m leading worship, I sometimes think of all 31 flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.” (Huh?  Ok then.)
  • “How I feel more alone than ever, when someone gets up to the mic and talks about the deep friendships that can be found in church small/care groups . . . and that just has NOT been my experience.”
  • “That law is easier than grace … just tell me what to do and not do and I’ll give it my best shot.  Grace is too big, to wide open and scary.”
  • “I don’t like Beth Moore Studies.” (It seems like every women’s Bible study I hear of is doing one.)
  • “Stop making Christianity a scapegoat for not developing a personality. Quit being judgement, flaky, egotistical, mean, rude, fake in the name of a God who was none of those things.”

HT: Rodney Olson

10.  An interesting way to get people to church.

And it is at a BAPTIST church!!!!  They reported their largest attendance ever (just kidding).

HT: Crummy Church Signs

11.  If you haven’t already found this gem, I highly recommend the Christian Classics Ethreal Library where you can read works by some great dead people.

12.  Here at Caffeinated Thoughts I am concerned about your health.  Nintendo is coming out with the Wii Fit.  Exercise for video game junkies.  Nice.

13.  You know you spend too much time blogging and commenting when…

HT: Smart Pastor

14.  I am all about networking.  It is in the name of the ministry I serve.  I have been a member of the National Network of Youth Ministries since 1998.  I have benefited from the youth ministry networks that I have been a part of or have led in my youth ministry career.  Since moving back to Des Moines six years ago I have been disappointed by the lack of a vibrant cross-denominational network for pastors in Des Moines.  Sam Rainer (a recent Southern Seminary grad – congratulations Sam!) blogs about the benefits of pastors who get together.

15.  No kudos for Indiana Jones…. just read over on Greg Stier’s blog some harsh, but likely well deserved, criticism of Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I was tuned in from the opening scene through the final scene. But, and I hesitate to make this declaration, I hated Indiana Jones.

There I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, Harrison Ford did a great job in reprising his role as the combative and compelling archaeologist. Shia LaBeouf did a fine job as a whippersnapper whip snapper in the making. And the villain, Cate Blanchett, was very good at being vey bad. But the real villains in this movie were not the old school Communists of Russia but the lame writers of the movie screenplay. Indy should have hunted them down instead of the Crystal Skull and given them a good shalacking.

Please don’t misinterpret. I am a HUGE Indiana Jones fan. I really wanted this movie to be great. In the first thirty minutes of the movie I thought that it could be. The next thirty minutes made me start to doubt. Doubt turned into resignation over the next 1,800 seconds. The last cringe-inducing, please-don’t-go-there segment made me want to reach through the screen, grab Spielberg by the lapel and ask him, “Why? Why? Why?” The director of E.T. should go home, sit in front of his old school typewriter (the one he typed the screenplay of Jaws with) and bring back a plot worthy of his considerable talents.

I guess I’ll wait for the DVD, LOL.

16.  Are you frustrated with no signs of spiritual growth in teens?  Tim Schmoyer gives three reasons why youth pastors (and parents too) may feel this way.

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Forgetting that growth is a process.
  • We are watching the process close up.

17.  David Innes of King’s College suggests that John McCain should tap Bret Schundler, the three-term mayor of Jersey City, NJ as his running mate.  An interesting suggestion, I’m not so sure a Mayor would be a good choice, but I do like his credentials.

18.  Gay Marriage by Judicial Decree – Stuart Taylor, Jr. on the recent California Supreme Court decision.  (HT: Mere Orthodoxy)

19.  Rick Warren – It is your skill, not preaching and prayer that will grow your church.

Ugh.  I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.

HT: Irish Calvinist

20.  Quote: Abraham Piper at 22 Words

If unapplied theology is worthless, we shouldn’t claim to believe truth with arguments, until we’ve proven we believe it with our lives.

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1.  Just incase you haven’t had enough already… another political ad asking questions about Senator Barack Obama.

HT: Nuke

2.  Because I didn’t do any political items in the last edition of Twenty Items of Interest.  I present to you… the many faces of Hillary Clinton.

HT: Kevin Stilley

I hope you enjoyed this picture as much as I did.  Ahem, moving along…

3.  I discovered, thanks to Brent Thomas, a blog called Stuff Christians Like.  It is a strange mix of the serious and the humorous.  One serious blog post is on “Lying because I love you”  He said many Christians do it, but if we are to be honest with ourselves we lie to protect ourselves not the other person involved.  The non-serious post is “turning ushers into the Secret Service” it made me laugh out loud.

4. Brooke Bouma blogged about Einstein videos – are they bad or not?  I think every once in awhile they are fine, but I swear it seems like some people raise their kids on these things.  So the end result will likely be a bunch of people with like two-second attention spans (ok I’m exaggerating).  Seriously though, have you noticed that the number of cases of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) increased with the number of children’s TV shows increasing?  Do we not think there is some correlation?

5.  it drives me nuts when people don’t use caps in e-mails and blogs.  like it is some hip, cool postmodern thing to do.  what do you think?  use caps or not?  is it really that burdensome to use caps?  are they too sexy for capitalization?  are we afraid that we will pull a pinkie to reach over and press that shift key?  the chicago tribune talks about using caps versus not using caps.

it is a pet peeve of mine along with the e-mails i get THAT ARE IN ALL CAPS LIKE THAT PERSON IS SCREAMING AT ME, but i digress.

6.  A dad has been jailed for six months for daughter (now 19) skipping school and not graduating.  A judge ordered her father to be responsible for her education when she was 17.  Apparently he will be in jail until she passes her G.E.D. which apparently she is unable to do.  Crazy… while I think parents need to be held accountable when the kids are younger –  I think a 17-year-old needs to take responsibility for her actions.  My thoughts are why are we, as taxpayers, footing the bill for a kid’s education when that kid clearly has no desire or motivation to be there?  That is why I am, in principle, against raising the compulsory age of education to 18.  (Source: Alisyn Camerota)

7.  Hey NEWS flash!!!!!!  Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are vastly different than born-again Christians!  Duh.  Somebody actually paid to have this survey done?

8.  Bible names top the list for newborn boys.  Names like… Jacob, Michael, Joshua, and Matthew were the favorites.  I think that is awesome.  My wife and I have been kicking around having a fourth child, and I think if we do and the baby is a boy we should name him Nimrod, a great Biblical name.  We like being different.  I also think that Ham is a good name.  I am also partial to Riphatgh, Togarmah, Dodanim and Methuselah.

9.  Apparently there is a Jedi Church, and Darth Vader was spared jail time for attacking its founder.  To my readers from Great Britain… I thought the U.S. religious scene could be pretty weird, but I have to say this is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in some time.  May the force be with you!

10.  One of our mentors, Darin Wogen, shared his testimony at our banquet last week.  He did an awesome job!

11.  My friend Eric is concerned about Evangelicals who seem to be grasping for political influence and power.  Particularly with the Evangelical Climate Initiative and their seemingly quick embrace of the global warming rhetoric.   I won’t use the word he used for these Evangelicals actions because I try to keep my blog family friendly ;).

12.  I encourage you to read Out of Ur’s commentary on the Evangelical Manifesto.  Richard Land shares why he didn’t sign it.

13.  John Edwards endorses Barack Obama… gee I’m shocked (please read sarcasm)!  You can read a first hand account of this earth-shattering news at One Mom’s blog.  Why exactly is Hillary Clinton still in this?

14.  Bob Barr announces his candidacy for President of the United States on the Libertarian ticket.  He is taking an anti-Iraq stance.  This may slow a flow of conservatives who don’t want to vote for McCain from going to him, but may garner support for Blue Dog Democrats who are against the war.

HT: Kevin Tracy

15.  Pistol Pete blogs on mysterious love letters found that could possibly be between Judas and Mary Magdalene.  It made me laugh out loud.

16.  I love this cartoon… Appreciation by David Hayward

17.  Interesting post by Velvet Hammer about the connection between Nazism and Islam.

18.  It’s official… Californians no longer live in a democracy, but an oligarchy.

19.  This commercial reminds me of when my son was born.  The nurse took him over to clean him up and while he on the table she had to jump to miss this nice arch of pee.  Yep… that’s my boy.  This kid has a great future putting out campfires.

HT: Joe Carter

20.  Brian McLaren’s non-sequitur.

McLaren answers a question about truth:

Obviously that’s a challenge. The flip side of that question is look at the Catholic Church: For all of its orthodoxy, it could have bishops covering up for molesting priests. And evangelicals, for all their claims of orthodoxy, can be barbaric to gay people and can blindly support a rush to war in Iraq and can be, as we speak, fomenting for war with Iran. … Obviously, I have a lot of critics and they often say, ‘You’re wanting to water down the Gospel to accommodate to post-modernity.’ I say, ‘No, I really don’t want to do that. But what I do want to do is acknowledge first the ways we’ve already watered down the Gospel to accommodate modernity.’ … I think the naivete of some of those critics is that they’re starting with a pure pristine understanding of the Gospel. It seems to me we’re all in danger of screwing up.

Melinda at Stand to Reason points out that a common mistake that emergent types tend to make regarding absolute truth – that it is taken to mean that we are infallible in our knowledge of the truth.  That isn’t what it means though.  Absolute defines the truth, not our knowledge.  She suggests that we should refer to absolute truth (which Josh McDowell defines as “something that is true for all people, in all places, at all times.”) as objective truth.

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1.  Epistemic Hubris

Have you heard this from someone recently? That “WE CANNOT KNOW, with certainty, what God has revealed so anyone who thinks he does is proud? We must, rather, (they say) embrace God as mystery?”

In light of this shouldn’t we be asking the following: Is not this assertion itself a dogma with affirmations and denials? Is not this itself a statement of knowledge? Is “we cannot know with certainty” not itself an assertion of KNOWLEDGE (a dogmatic assertion) as THE WAY to look at Scripture? Whether conscious of it or not, this is what is called “double-talk” and those who believe this are doing the very thing they claim to despise, even in the very speaking of it.

Good point!

HT: Reformation Theology via Christian Striver

2.  Crisis in Swaziland

One in three Swazi women have suffered some form of sexual abuse as a child; one in four experienced physical violence, a new United Nations survey revealed.

The study by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the first of its kind conducted in a country where anecdotal evidence suggests an alarming number of female children are victims of abuse. More disconcertingly still, the mushrooming population of orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland provide yet more opportunities for sexual exploitation to occur.

In two years, 200,000 Swazi children will have been orphaned by AIDS – more than one-fifth of the current population, according to UNICEF. With HIV prevalence at 33.4 percent among people aged between 15 and 49, the country has the world’s highest infection rate. As a result, life expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years in the 1990s to just over 30 years today.

Source: IRIN

HT: Seth Barnes – he lists ways you can help, so check his blog post out.

3.  And just because… Love for the Ewoks – awesome tribute of these furry creatures from the Return of the Jedi.

HT: Joshua Griffin

4.  Pray for Myanmar

Source: NASA

I would encourage you to donate too – Food for the Hungry is a great organization who plans to respond to the needs there.

John Piper also lists six ways we can respond.

5.  The Federal budget crisis is explained over at SmartChristian.com.

6.  Al Mohler wrote earlier this week about the birth of Trig Paxson Van Palin on April 18.  He is the son of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.  Palin’s son, Trig, was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome.  It didn’t matter to the Palin’s, they chose life.

The Palins would not even consider aborting their baby. “We’ve both been very vocal about being pro-life,” Governor Palin said. “We understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential.”

She loves her baby boy and is proud of him. “I’m looking at him right now, and I see perfection,” Palin told the Associated Press. “Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?”

Some ethicists now go so far as to argue for a “duty” to abort a baby with a Down diagnosis. This is an assault upon the dignity of every human being. The fact that so few Down syndrome babies now make it to birth is a sign that America is making its own pact with the Culture of Death.

HT: Justin Taylor

7.  John Piper asks “Do People Bore You?”  He wants to encourage us to move toward people as the lack of doing just that is a barrier to personal evangelism.

8.  You can read about the history of unbelief as M.Z. Hemingway writes “Skepticism, Agnosticism and Atheism: A Brief History of Unbelief” over at Modern Reformation.

The last two years have been good for atheism. A rash of books making the case for unbelief, including Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion (2006) and Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007), have sold millions of copies. Strident atheist Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, one of his atheistic tomes designed to rescue children from belief in God, was made into a movie. Even pop star Elton John got into the act, calling for a ban on religion. Leaders of the so-called New Atheism are aggressive and proselytizing. They don’t just condemn belief in God; they also condemn respect for belief in God.

But how new is the New Atheism? It is said best in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “There is nothing new under the sun.” To be sure, explicit and public atheism is a somewhat new phenomenon. But atheism, agnosticism, and good old-fashioned doubt have strong and lengthy histories worth learning. Because atheism is parasitic on theism and even more on Christianity, to learn the history of atheism is to learn the history of the church.

Take the New Atheist creed of “no heaven, no hell, just science,” which articulates the widely held division in modern thought between faith and reason. To fully understand the story of that division, it is wise to consider the creation of the world as told in Genesis. We learn from Moses that the Creator is distinct and different from the created world. Where ancient mythologies saw gods as personifications of natural phenomena such as rain and fire, ancient Israel viewed nature as separate from God and man. God created nature and man was its steward. Nature is not to be worshiped, God alone is. Nature and the natural process in and of themselves are not divine. God, apart from a few notable exceptions, doesn’t speak to his people through nature but through historic events such as deliverance from Egypt. It is wise to remember as we proceed that this separation between nature and God is a biblical precept.  (Be sure to read the rest)

HT: The Wittenberg Door

9.  Stand to Reason’s publication – Solid Ground, offers a crash course on critical thinking.

HT: Barry Carey

10.  Matthew Lee Anderson asks, “can men and women be friends?”  He doesn’t think so.

My provisional answer, which is driven largely by my experience, is that any young people seeking to find a spouse would do better (oddly) to cultivate friendships with their same sex while viewing the opposite sex through a strictly romantic lense.  Keeping the roles and relationships separate allows us to have more clarity on our own feelings and behaviors in each relationship.  I have seen many a person (guy and girl!) unwittingly become emotionally tied to someone who was “just a friend,” only to be heartbroken when they pursued someone else.

Men and women seeking to marry should not deny the role that sexuality plays in their interaction with the opposite sex.   To do so is ultimately to fall prey to a gnosticism–that is, a denial of the body–which ironically leads to a weakened ability to control the impulses of the body.  Is there any wonder why affairs often start between people who claim to be “just friends?”

I don’t agree with his position entirely, while I do recognize his concerns.  I do think platonic relationships are possible between the sexes.  Since I am a married man I exercise caution – like never meeting privately when alone… pursue relationships as a couple, not an individuals, etc.  Even in my role with Serve Our Youth Network (when I sometimes have to meet with females for recruitment/networking purposes) I do not meet with individual females even in public at night – it seems too date-like.

What do you think?

11.  Michael Patton is asked if he allows women to teach men.  I don’t agree entirely with his position, but I liked his reasoning.

12.  C.J. Mahaney did a blog series on Modesty – check it out.

13.  Tim Challies’ review of Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution.  Pretty insightful, and pretty much brings to light some of the concerns that I have with Shane Claiborne while at the same time recognizing that he does rightly criticize the North American church and that is needed.

14.  Great quote from Puritan theologian John Owen which serves as a warning for pastors.

“It is not to learn the form of the doctrine of godliness, but to get the power of it implanted in our souls. And this is an eminent means of our making a progress in the knowledge of the truth. To seek after mere notions of truth, without an endeavor after an experience of its power in our hearts, is not the way to increase our understanding in spiritual things….Men may have in their study of the scripture other ends also, as the profit and edification of others; but if this conforming of their own souls unto the power of the word be not fixed in the first place in their minds, they do not strive lawfully nor will be crowned.”

HT: Irish Calvinist

15.  Joe Carter’s thoughts on the Evangelical Manifesto.

16.  Here are 12 spiritual lessons from Narnia: Prince Caspian.

17.  Christ Against the Multiculturalists by Stephen H. Web

A snippet below… read the whole thing.

Here is how the game is played: They will first try to convince you that you are a racist, a sexist, and an enemy of social justice. Then they will argue that the victims of racism, sexism, and cultural elitism have a privileged view of these issues. It is as if the victim of the crime were to be given the first, last, and only word in a trial, with no cross-examination and no other witnesses called. Your job as a student in the multicultural classroom is to grant unquestioned authority to those who come from underprivileged or marginalized backgrounds. You have to do this because, you will learn, because Western culture has exploited every other culture, and your experiences are so shaped by Western culture that you cannot question those who criticize you. And thus you will become a good cultural leftist (which is the shape liberalism takes in the academy), or, if you are not convinced by these arguments, you will learn how to fake it for the sake of getting a good grade.

All of this is profoundly anti-Christian, which is why Christian students are typically the most radical questioners of higher education. Because Christians believe in a universal human nature, they also believe they can make universal truth claims about human nature. That does not mean that every statement about human nature is true. Of course not! A central part of education is learning how to argue by testing your own ideas about human nature against the ideas found in great books and the ideas espoused by your teachers and fellow students. Christians believe, for example, that because we are created in the image of God, every single person is of infinite worth, but Christians also believe that humans are fallen creatures, in need of grace and forgiveness. Christians are thus able to appreciate both the majesty and the misery of human actions. That is a powerful framework for questioning what you read and hear. What Christians do not believe is that every culture has its own truths and that the only way to learn about another culture is to refrain from seeking the universal truth.

18.  Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason shares that relativism is alive and well in the church.

19.  How not to be involved in your kids’ lives.  HT: Dennis Babish

20.  Here is not just a crummy, but downright heretical church sign.

HT: Suzannah Paul via Crummy Church Signs

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1.  Greg Boyd, senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN and professor of theology at Bethel University posted a review of Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth.  Tolle has recently partnered with Oprah to do a online religion class that is based on this book and has been controversial.  He does a great job dissecting the book and pointing out where it is inconsistent with a biblical worldview.

2.  This commercial parody would probably more accurately reflect Planned Parenthood’s worldview.

3.  Florida’s Senate Passes Evolution Academic Freedom Act.

The Florida Senate voted 21-17 Wednesday, following a strong majority vote in the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, to submit the Evolution Academic Freedom Act for vote in the House.

If passed, the new bill will give full protections and freedoms for teachers and students in Florida schools to share views in the classroom that challenge some or all parts of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The new bill was largely prompted by legislators after the Florida Board of Education decided to begin requiring the instruction of evolution in schools earlier this year.

Many teachers and students reportedly felt marginalized, discriminated, or ostracized if they shared personal views that ran counter to Darwinism.

Read the rest – Source: Christian Post

4.  This is completely nasty.

5.  Hillary Clinton… a prayer warrior?  Ummmm.  I highly doubt it.

Chuck Colson Greg Boyd

Shane Claiborne

6.  Evangelical Politics – Three Generations: Shane Claiborne, Chuck  Colson, and Greg Boyd are part of panel discussion at the National Pastors’ Conference moderated by “Speaking of Faith” radio host, Krista Tippett.  You can download the audio here (right click and select “save as”).  You can watch the video here.

7.  Joe Carter posts on “10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design” read part 1, part 2, and part 3.  Great series… check it out!

8. From the Friendly Atheist – “20 Things that Christians Do In Church That Annoy Me

9.  Great advice from Abraham Piper in a guest post on Between Two Worlds.  Made me rethink how I do my syndication feed.  I’ll start syndicating the entire post.

HT: Abraham Piper – 22 Words

10.  Steve Brown interviews Tony Jones on “What is the Emergent Church?”

Reformer John Calvin 11.  Calvinism 101?  Try these articles on T.U.I.L.P. – Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.

12. More on Calvinism, Thomas McDill, assistant professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at  Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, wrote a guest post at Justin Taylor’s blog on the good he sees in the resurgence of Calvinism among young evangelicals.  The catch here is that he is an Arminian (so he offered some cautions as well).  HT: Ben Witherington

 

13.  John Piper encourages us to make much of Christ with this economic stimulus package that is coming in the mail.

14.  The Church of the Nazarene  has their own rap song.  Ummmmm…. interesting.

I think the EFCA needs a rap song too.

HT: Withallyourmind.net

15.  Keith Buhler shares five bad reasons not to see Expelled.  The movie is great, and you should ignore the pro-evolution brouhaha over it.  Just go see it and make up your own mind.

16.  By the way, men and women are different.  C. Michael Patton discusses on his blog the theology of men and women and their roles, and so he compares and contrasts the two major positions on this matter: complementarianism and egalitarianism.  Great post for a hot to handle topic.

17.  While I don’t agree with all of Rob Bell’s theological positions I do like some of the NOOMA videos, below is one of my favorites – “Rich”.

Part I

Part 2

18.  We should be so thankful everything that we take for granted here in the United States.  As I’m writing this I’m sucking down a Caribou Coffee Chocolate Northern Lite Cooler – $4.40 (before tax).  Reading this article about Myanmar refugees living in Thailand, I am reminded that many people exist on way less a day that what this drink cost me.

Trying to figure out who is working with refugees there I found that Strategic World Impact, a Christian relief organization headquartered in Bartlettsville, OK, is doing some good work there.  Also Baptist World Alliance is bringing attention to the crisis there.  Though they don’t have a website (at least not what I could find), Kawthoolei Karen Baptist Bible School and College is working alongside these refugees as well.

HT: Ellen Stevens

19.  Being a reformed evangelical when discussing Calvinism with some Arminian brothers and sisters I’m often asked, “Why evangelize if God has predestined those who are saved?”  Bob Hayton has a great blog post on this topic sharing how Calvinism informs evangelism

Despite what many have said or heard, Calvinism does not negate or downplay evangelism. Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, William Carey, and Adoniram Judson were not exceptions to the rule. Rather, they are simply some noteworthy examples of evangelists and preachers who were both Calvinistic in theology and evangelistic in practice.

Of course, Spurgeon said it best. When asked why his doctrine of election did not move him to preach only to the elect, Spurgeon replied: “If you’ll go around and pull up their shirttails so I can see if they have an E stamped on their back, I will.”

20.  Larry James has been blogging on Race in America – here’s the first post of that series at Everyday Citizen.

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1.  Barack Obama is now a pop culture icon.  Presenting Barocky the Movie.

Oh yeah, I’m inspired.  I’m actually enjoying watching Clinton and Obama bludgeon each other.

HT: Amanda Carpenter

For a must see video on Obama (with serious content) go here.  HT: Eric via e-mail.

2.  What a waste of tuition – Randolph College in Virginia made a class trip to a Nevada brothel.  Exactly what are they supposed to learn?

HT: Kevin McCullough

3.  Oh yes, a pick on Obama post…. David C. Innes, Assistant Professor of Politics at King’s College in New York City blogged – “Obama, All Too Human

Several things were striking about Wednesday night’s debate in Pennsylvania. The two candidates drove home the point that we have either known for a long time (Hillary) or are coming increasingly to see (Obama) that they are both liars, i.e. ordinary politicians. At one point Obama was saying something disingenuous, and the viewers could hear Hillary burst out with a laugh off screen. That was all she needed to say.

Read the rest.

4.  Want to get Nancy Pelosi out of Congress?  Then support Cindy Sheehan.  I understand Kevin’s logic, but the thought of supporting Sheehan made me vomit in my mouth a little.

5. More Obama pile on…. sorry, I. CAN’T. HELP. MYSELF.  My favorite cartoon is below.

 

6.  Random cute puppy picture

I had to break up the political thing somehow.  He kind of looks like a big rat doesn’t he?

HT: Way Cool Pictures

7.  Steve has an interesting take on the FLDS ranch raid in Texas.  We need to think about the slippery slope this raid may have legally

FYI: I am glad the raid occurred (because I do believe abuse was going on), but I think Steve brings up a very good point.   What about due process?  Where is the person who made the phone call?

8.  Why being a “follower of Jesus” is not enough.  Stephen Murray thinks so.

When I probe behind the phrase on so many blogs…I discover something that is rather disturbing. It is disturbing by its omissions rather than by what it affirms. Usually these posts speak about Christ’s calls to uplift the poor, look after the marginalized, love one’s enemies, turn the other cheek etc. etc. And at this point I’m loving it and rejoicing in the supreme moral vision of our Lord Jesus that extends to so many of our current issues in this broken world… 

But step back and take a closer look – what’s missing? When I step back what I don’t often see is a cross, I don’t see nail pierced hands, I don’t see a thorn scraped brow. Ultimately I don’t see the glorious substitution of Christ in my place whereby I can truly call myself a follower of Jesus – because he has purchased me with his very own blood. Rather I see an ethical Jesus, a Jesus who knows right from wrong but has no way to deal with a problem that stretches so much deeper than right or wrong behaviour. I see a moral first century Rabbi inspiring people to be more moral – and it’s deeply disturbing.

9.  This is a conference I wish I was able to attend.  Good news though!  All of the main sessions of Together for the Gospel 2008 can be downloaded for free.  You can go here to hear sessions by Ligon Duncan, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, R.C. Sproul, Albert Mohler, John Piper, and C.J. Mahaney.

The message (right click link and choose “save target as”) by Thabiti Anyabwile, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman on “Bearing the Image: Identity, Work of Christ and the Church” was especially powerful.

10.  Douglas Neiswonger reconciles 2 Peter 3:3-9 with the doctrine of election.

11.  Britain’s Got Talent had a 13-year old sing who had an amazing voice.

His voice won’t stay like that for long… my voice started cracking when I was in 7th grade, but it should still very, very good.

12.  Video of a Hamas leader saying,  “President Carter’s visit gives us increased legitimacy…”  Yeah, that is exactly what we want a terrorist group to feel.  Thanks Jimmy!

13.  The Book of Hope is a charity that helps bring the Gospel to people throughout the world.  When I was a youth pastor we did this for a Jr./Sr. High School down the street – every kid in that school received a booklet of the Life of Christ.

A second video featuring their ministry in Poland.

We should also be involved in compassion projects as well like Blood Water Mission, World Vision, Compassion International, etc.  I would think this would be a great project for Vacation Bible Schools though.

HT: Compassion in Politics

14.  You know we all need to learn to say what we mean.  I am still learning this lesson with my kids.  HT: High Calling Blogs

15.  What were they thinking?

I don’t think they really gave this much thought.  While I don’t care for IRS rules on the type of speech that comes out of churches.  I must say out of all the crummy church signs that I’ve seen.  This takes the cake.

HT: Kevin Tracy and Crummy Church Signs.

16.  CNN hires a conservative as a political contributor.  I’m looking out the window for the flying pigs.  I live in Iowa after all.  You never know.

HT: Jenn Sierra

17.  Seth Barnes & I had e-mailed a couple times back and forth.  He shared a story of mine in a post about fathers exasperating their children… something I’ve been known to do.  He also has a great post on “how to repent to your children.”

18.  Dan Kimball blogs about how we need to be engaged in social justice concerns… our good works, but we can not forget eternity and our commission to share the Gospel in words, which he says is often where the emerging church goes wrong.

What I am wondering about, is how do we avoid patterns of the past when the church jumps strongly in the realm of focusing on the gospel’s impact for this earth and in this life – but slowly neglects teaching and reminding people of the gospel’s impact about the reality of eternal heaven and eternal hell in the life to come after we die?

19.  Sign me up!  Oh wait… too late.  The Archdiocese of New York has launched a marketing campaign (“The World Needs Heroes”) to address the decreasing number of young men who enter priesthood. They have also advertised during Knicks games too. 

FYI: The above ad is fake, but hey it could be effective.  HT: Mike Anderson

20.  Is there a connection between the movie Cloverfield and the Emergent Church?  Craig Detweiler seems to think so.

If you hate Cloverfield (or don’t even know what it is), then you probably loathe emerging Christians. If you like Cloverfield, you’re likely to dig the emergent conversation. Both deliver on their grand promises in a novel way (that is decidedly not for everybody). But why does the film (and the emergent folks) inspire such antipathy? Why can’t we appreciate the next generation’s re-imagination of tired clichés?

Read the rest.

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1.  John H. Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College & Graduate School, lectures on “Genesis and Cosmology” (click his picture to get to his lecture and power point presentation).

It expanded my view of Genesis 1 and its context.  He contends that Genesis 1 doesn’t address the time span for matter or structures being made (Dr. Walton affirms that God does create matter and structures), but rather Genesis 1 addresses God bringing order out of disorder, creating functionality out of non-functionality.  We look at Genesis 1 and see God creating structures, when an ancient Israelite would have looked at Genesis 1 they would look at functions – we have a difference of worldviews.  He says that Genesis 1 doesn’t address creation ex nihilo.  In the Q & A time afterwards he says that Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1 does.  Very interesting lecture.  I still have questions.  The one that moved me originally from having an old earth position to a young earth position was this – “how could there be disease and death before the fall of man and God’s creation being corrupted by sin?”  He didn’t address that.

HT: Tim Olson

2.  Chuck Colson on the Demise of Marriage in Great Britain:

According to a new report by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, the proportion of Britons getting married “has collapsed to a record low,” and that is a quote. One critic of the current government called it “a disaster for children, families, and society.” But, unlike natural disasters, this disaster is completely man-made.

In 2006, there were approximately 237,000 weddings in Britain—the fewest since 1895, when Victoria was still queen and Britain’s population was about half of what it is today. In fact, “the proportion of men and women getting married is below any level found since figures were first kept nearly 150 years ago.”

The marriage rate for British men is 22.8 per 1,000 and for women 20.5 per 1,000.

Related to this is a Break Point commentary that talks about the economic costs of family fragmentation – the rise of divorce and unwed mothers.

As I said earlier, the costs of this family fragmentation are not limited to the children. As one expert wrote, “Divorce and unwed childbearing create substantial public costs, paid by taxpayers.”

How much? A minimum of $112 billion a year. That is more than a $1 trillion a decade in “increased taxpayer expenditures for antipoverty, criminal justice . . . education programs,” and lost tax revenues.

What is more, the “human and social capital” lost from family fragmentation has an economic impact that goes far beyond government expenditures.

3.  Former Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee launches his new political action committee – Huck PAC.  You can also get to it at his previous domain name – http://www.mikehuckabee.com.  Check out his blog post on the Fair Tax posted on 4/15/08 (for those readers outside of the U.S. that is our tax day).

4.  Mark Driscoll on why he hates religion.  Great video!

Amen and Amen!

HT: Steve Randall

5.  Why Rob Bell makes me angry: a pastoral response to Velvet Elvis.

While I wanted to throw Velvet Elvis across the room at times while reading it, I’m not so sure I’d go quite as far as Pat Abendroth, the senior pastor of Omaha Bible Church, (where Erik Raymond the author of Irish Calvinist is on staff).  He does make some good points though as to why Bell makes him mad.

  • Because he preaches an anti-gospel.
  • Because he writes off the virgin birth of Jesus as non-essential.
  • Because he downplays the vital role of conversion.
  • Because he does violence to the clear words of Jesus.
  • Because he is the pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church

You’ll have to read the post to read why he makes the points he does.  I was also troubled by how Bell handled the virgin birth, and how he does downplay conversion.  I’m not so sure that I would completely agree with Bell doing violence with the clear words of Jesus.  Sometimes they are not as clear as one would think if you do not look at them from the original historical context.  That is true with all scripture, not just Jesus’ words.  On the other hand, Scripture is also timeless and speaks today as well.

What do you think?

6.  Puritan Prayer for Preachers – adapted from The Valley of Vision

My Master God,
I am expected to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;

Yet I long that people will be edified with divine truth,
that an honest testimony will be given for you.

Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and passion.

Present to my view things pertinent to my subject,
will fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a deep emotion to accompany the words I speak,
and grace to apply them to people’s consciences.

Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over my performance.

Help me to offer a testimony for yourself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting your mercy.

Give me freedom to open up the sorrows of your people,
and to set before them comforting consolations.

Give your power to the truth preached,
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.

May your people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings,
that people might be made holy.

I myself need your support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of your grace,
and be able to do something for you.

Give me then refreshment among your people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer,
or be harsh in treating Christ’s death, its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.

And keep me in tune with you as I do this work.

I need to pray this often.

HT: Justin Taylor

7.  Looking ways to get your kids excited about missions?  Tia over at Desiring God’s blog suggests 10 ways.

8. Here’s something to augment your quiet time – a meditation on grace in Psalm 119.

9.  Al Mohler regarding the real issue with Sen. Obama’s comments:

Take a look again at the words most often cited from Sen. Obama’s comments:

“It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

I will let the political pundits have their day with this. My interest is theological, for Sen. Obama has given us a near-perfect expression of a functional view of religious belief. In other words, Sen. Obama said that “religion” is a coping mechanism for hard times — lumping religion with other issues his audience members were presumably to find strange and alien.

A functional view of belief assumes or “brackets” the question of whether the beliefs are true. One who holds to a purely functionalist view of religious conviction is not concerned with the truthfulness of these beliefs, but only with the effects the beliefs have on the believer, both privately and in social contexts.

HT: Barry Carey

10.  C. Michael Patton on blogging to the glory shame of God:

I believe that we are to defend the faith. I believe that we are to contend for the faith. One of my great loves in theology is the discipline of apologetics. But sometimes our zealousness for our faith can have the opposite effect and actually undermine our witness. We can shame God.

I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this.  You can read a second post he did on this topic.

11.  The Iowa General Assembly wants to mandate a core curriculum for public and private K-12 schools.  The model core curriculum draws heavily from Dr. Willard Daggett, a controversial education consultant based in New York.  You can watch a video that highlights a number of factual inaccuracies and distortions in his speeches, and an article about the controversy.  It has already passed the Iowa House.  If you live in Iowa, contact your state senator ask them to kill this bill.

HT: From Their Own Mouths

12.  Charles Krauthammer says that the U.S. needs to develop a holocaust declaration to deter Iran is using nuclear weapons that it is well on it’s way to developing.  Could we be facing a second Cold War made further complicated by Islamic Extremism?

HT: Kim Moreland at The Point

13.  Want to know how to sin with money?

14.  Oprah’s favorability rating takes a dive from 74% to 55%.  I think people are getting tired of celebrities thinking we take our cues from them when it comes to who we support.

HT: Anthony Randazzo at World

15.  Roger Overton at The A-Team Blog interviews David Wells, author of The Courage to Be Protestant.

16.  Mormon Coffee highlights faith-promoting perceptions of the LDS church as it tries to distance itself from the polygamy scandal/shakedown  happening at the YFZ Ranch in Texas operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

17.  I missed this earlier.  John McCain on Letterman.  I enjoyed this only because it was great to see David Letterman get made fun of.

HT: Paul Edwards

18.  The Internet Monk, Michael Spencer asks are American Christians persecuted?  I would agree with him that we are not compared to many other places, and the persecution that we do face isn’t “for righteousness sake,” (Matthew 5:10).  However in the beatitudes Jesus does broaden what persecution means.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you,” (Matthew 5:11-12, ESV, emphasis mine).

Of course the caveat is being persecuted “for righteousness sake” and being persecuted on Jesus account.  Thoughts?

19.  Joe Carter offers a Christian view on capital punishment.  I agree with his assessment of Christians applying Mosaic law to the debate.  What do you think?

20.  According to Ephesians 2, our children don’t need leading… so why the sign?

I wonder how effective this is in getting people to attend their parenting classes?

HT: Crummy Church Signs

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