Christians have always struggled with the tendency to pit prayer and meditation on Scripture against action. Those who do so always lose. If we emphasize prayer to the detriment of action, we overspiritualize life and become passive. If we emphasize action to the detriment of prayer, we live as practical atheists. Neither option is sound, and both will lead to a damaged way of life. Far better to couple prayer with action, to bathe action in prayer, and so to live in a combination of trust and dependence.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
When you are afraid, it is 'shoot first, ask questions later', and behind all of this is the attitude that my life is more important than the life of the other person, especially the maniac with the gun. I disagree with this whole premise. Every person is a person of sacred worth, and every person is someone for whom Jesus died. Period.
Have a care and read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Greg Boyd weighs in.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Baptist pastor Vyacheslav Kalataevsky has been denied permission to remain in his native town of Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan. According to Forum 18 News, "Kakataevsky's visa application to remain with his wife and family was rejected by the Migration Service and he will have to leave the country. He is due to leave on a flight to Moscow on December 11." Officials have refused to explain the reason for denying the visa, Pastor Kalataevsky explained to Forum, "But of course it is linked to my activity as a believer. Everything that has happened to me since 2001 is related to that." Pastor Kalataevsky was released in November after eight months in prison. Pray for his family during this difficult time.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
At the heart of this disdain for new human life is a lack of faith in our capacity to solve our problems.
Or an unwillingness to acknowledge the one who can.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
From A&LD: An interview with Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass Trilogy. Though Pullman is essentially an atheist, (why is it that atheists always look like that?) the interview is interesting as an inside perspective on the story, and sheds some light on Pullman's inspirations and worldview. Obviously, his rejection of God is disturbing. Also, I really don't understand how he can say this:
The Lord of the Rings is essentially trivial. Narnia is essentially serious, though I don't like the answer Lewis comes up with. If I was doing it at all, I was arguing with Narnia. Tolkien is not worth arguing with.
I think he has grossly underestimated Tolkien's work. 'Trivial' is the last adjective I ever thought I'd hear applied to The Lord of the Rings.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
In July 2004, Google began quietly scanning and digitizing Michigan's library. Five months later, in December 2004, the company officially announced the "Google Print for Libraries" project. (After the effort hit snags and received some bad press, it was rebranded "Google Book Search.") Google partnered with five major libraries--Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, Oxford's Bodleian, and the New York Public Library--in an attempt to scan the pages of 15 million volumes. These digital books would be kept and indexed in a Google database, which would be made available, for free, to the public.
The scope has changed in the intervening years. Initially Google planned to scan the 15 million books in six years. That projection was revised upwards to more than 20 million books, and the New Yorker recently reported that Google is now aiming to scan at least 32 million books, besting the number of titles in the largest bibliographic database, WorldCat. It hopes to finish within ten years. As one Googlehead told the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin, "I think of Google Books as our moon shot."
The whole thing is quite similar to what is happening to the music industry, right down to the copyright lawsuits.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Christians through the centuries have avoided both pacifism and militarism: holding to a "just war" concept that killing is never good but is sometimes best.
"Never good, but sometimes best." Just think about that for awhile.
(HT: Kingdom People)
Thursday, November 29, 2007
It would appear that beauty functions as sort of handmaiden to the truth in the process of discovery. She either ushers one into the presence of her master, or testifies to our place in the presence of greatness. If that be the case, then it might also be the case, as Chandrasekhar suggests in his work, that a mind trained or gifted with a strong aesthetic sense, one that can recognize beauty when she is revealed, is one that is particularly equipped to make the sorts of discoveries that form the foundations of our most profound and productive understandings of the universe. In other words, those who know beauty when they see it will be the best physicists.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I pray for you, my children, that you will all see with the eyes of eternity—that through the trials and tribulations of life—specifically marriage—you will never have the shade of a doubt that, from all eternity, God planned for you to be with the one you have pledged to be faithful to. Guard your hearts and never allow the slightest strain of, “Well, maybe”, or “What if”, to enter your minds. Your unconditional commitment to your marriage, based on a total conviction of God’s sovereignty in bringing you together, is its greatest strength!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
CHHATTISGARH STATE - On November 19, Hindu militants attacked a church, tied up and beat the pastor unconsciousness, and burned down a recently constructed church building in Manduwa in Chhattisgarh State, India. There are no reports on the present condition of Pastor Sudharu. The Hindus accused the church of being involved in the conversion of tribal people in the region. According to reports, missionaries in this remote area face regular threats from Hindu militants. Pray for the continued witness of this church. Pray for healing for Pastor Sudharu as he recuperates from the assault.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I thought the part about older siblings developing their knowledge by teaching the younger made a lot of sense. Teaching is the best way to learn.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
In September, the National Security Service of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced the arrest of several "foreign spies" and "native citizens working for a foreign intelligence service." VOM sources say those arrested are Christians and not spies. VOM sources have identified the following nine Christians who have disappeared and are believed to have been arrested by government authorities: Mr. Chul Huh (34), Mr. Chun-Il Jang (39), Mr. Myung-Chul Kim (36), Ms. Young-Su Jin (32), Mr. Nam-Suk Kang (48), Mr. San-Ho Kang (36), Mr. Suk-Chun Suh (29), Ms. Mi-Hae Park (30) and Ms. Young-Yae Lee (37). The whereabouts of these individuals is unknown. It is possible they have already been tried and executed. Pray the loved ones of those arrested will find peace in the fact that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose. Pray that North Korea's leaders will come to repentance and faith in Christ.
Monday, November 19, 2007
"It's easy to think of Bethlehem as the center of the world," says Mayor Batarseh. "This can't be a place where calm never exists. If the world is ever going to have peace, it has to start right here."
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Writing has become a critical part of my spiritual development. I write about things I’ve learned, and the desire to keep having things to write continually motivates me to seek to learn more. I think Saint Augustine said this best: “I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress by writing.”
Friday, November 16, 2007
We need a generation of men to teach themselves to have vision. We need these young men to set out to do something big with their life, something challenging, something calculated to bless and help as many people as possible according to their gifting and interest. We need these young men not to drift around and fool with girls' hearts and play at life, but to assume responsibility, seek out challenges, and strategize to mature as men.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
In July 2007, an Iranian Christian couple was sentenced by the Justice Court of Revolution to be whipped, two years after they were accused of attending a house church. According to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), "The couple was arrested on September 21, 2005, by government agents. They had gathered in a house, in a town northwest of Tehran (gohar dasht) for their regular prayer and devotional time." The FCNN reported, the woman was born into a Christian Assyrian-Iranian family, while the man converted to Christianity long before their marriage. Following the arrest in 2005, the couple was required to check in with authorities on a regular basis until the court decided their punishment. FCNN reported that on one occasion when the wife met with authorities, she was abused and decided not to return. According to FCNN, "After a few days, in September 2007, two female and four male agents went to this couple's house and showed them a letter from the court saying they should execute the sentence of whipping right there in their house. This couple is under high mental pressure right now." The Voice of the Martyrs is providing assistance to this couple. Pray for this couple and Christians in Iran who face great challenges because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Ask that the Holy Spirit will give them peace, health and protection during this difficult time.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
On October 23, Pastor Victor Periera and a group of local villagers were beaten by Hindu militants. The militants were angered because the pastor had organized prayer meetings attended by Hindu tribes in the Thane district of Maharashtra state. Pastor Periera was conducting a prayer service at a local church when the attackers stormed the building. The attackers shouted curses at Christianity and beat the pastor and several believers. The pastor's rib was broken in the attack. Pray for Pastor Periera's healing. Ask God to give believers in India boldness to share Christ with nonbelievers, despite persecution.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Sometimes it is as if we evangelicals have applied our sense of individual conversion on a national scale. It is as if we seek to convert America. We cannot do this. We are not a divinely led nation in the sense that Israel was, and thus we do not possess a spiritual identity in the same way that Israel did. Our country is a complex mix of good and bad, right and wrong, and a political theology that leads us to in some way "save" our country on a mass scale is bound to fail. Better for us to push ahead in our kingdom work, to labor with enthusiasm and energy to advance the kingdom and spread the gospel, and work for the application of truth and justice in our society. America is not saved yet--and in fact, she never will be. But there are millions--no, billions--out there who can be saved, and we need to focus our efforts on them.
Read the whole thing.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationsists. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders. The real isolationists are those who choose to use force overseas to promote democracy, rather than seek change through diplomacy, engagement, and by setting a positive example.
I do not believe that ideas have an expiration date, or that their value can be gauged by their novelty. The test for new and old is that of wisdom and experience, or as the editors wrote "historical reality," which argues passionately now against the course of anti-Constitutional interventionism.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
What I do know, though, about Revelation is that the focus of the book is not ultimately a “theology of the end times” designed to fascinate us with details we can chart on a map. The focus of the book is on the unveiling of Christ and his bride. Read Revelation to find out about the end of the world and you might miss Christ - the center and focus of all Bible prophecy.
Maybe one day I will better understand Revelation. Until then, I’m satisfied to leave the eschatological speculation to the pro’s. Better yet, I’m going to keep my eyes on Jesus - the One who is coming soon.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
UPDATE: AU weighs in.
On September 5, Eritrean authorities tortured to death 33-year-old Nigsti Haile for refusing to recant her Christian faith while being held at the Wi'a Military Training Center. Haile is the fourth Christian killed in Eritrea in less than a year. Compass Direct News reported, "She was one of 10 single Christian women arrested at a church gathering in Keren. They have spent 18 months under severe pressure. Haile was killed for refusing to sign a letter recanting her faith." In May 2002, government officials called in the leaders of all evangelical churches in Eritrea and told them they would not be permitted to hold further public services. Only the "historic religions" of Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Islam have been allowed to hold public worship since that time. Compass Direct says that more than 2,000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned. Not a single one of them has been formally charged or had a public trial, and all have been denied legal representation. Amnesty International released a report yesterday that said most of the more than 2,000 imprisoned Christians have been held for more than two years in harsh conditions, with little or no medical care. Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort the family of Nigsti Haile. Ask God to protect and encourage Christians in Eritrea, especially believers imprisoned because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
While the New Testament calls on followers of Jesus to love, bless and serve our enemies rather than use violence against them, it also acknowledges that God uses the sword-wielding capacity of governments to keep sin in check. For example, four verses after Paul tells disciples to love and serve enemies and to leave all vengeance to God (Rom. 12:17-21), he goes on to say that God orchestrates governments to exact vengeance on wrongdoers (Rom. 13:4). In other words, he’s saying that God will use governments to do things God explicitly forbids disciples of Jesus to do.
In this light, it seems to me there is in principle no inconsistency in a Christian being personally committed to non-violence and yet embracing the opinion that a particular government should in some tragic instances go to war or use violence in other contexts. (I’m not saying I personally believe this, only that there’s no inconsistency in believing this way).
Read the whole thing.
Friday, September 7, 2007
A TIME Magazine article about the spiritual struggles of Mother Theresa has sparked some discussion in the blogosphere about what it means to "practice the presence of God." Here's some thoughtful, honest posts from Michael Spencer and Dan Edelen - both definitely worth reading. Also see MercatorNet.
The chorus of the song you referenced contains that Scripture “He makes all things good.” Either we believe that’s true, because He said it, or we believe it’s not. If it’s not, not only is God not powerful, but He’s a liar, and He’s not that good.
It’s just like believing that God became a man, woke up after death and somehow freed me from the consequences of my sin. The Church is built on believing in things that don’t always make a lot of sense.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Where do the New Atheists get this silly notion that they are heirs of the Enlightenment? ... The rationalists of the Enlightenment era were able to trust in reason precisely because they were theists or deists and believed in a transcendent, rational God. To think otherwise was considered, as the philosophers often noted, the height of absurdity.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Gelernter would profit from reflecting about a remark often attributed to Voltaire: if you want to found a new religion, you should arrange to be crucified and rise from the dead on the third day.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
KASHMIR – On July 29, five men from the Molvis Al-Hadis Mosque in Baramulla threatened Pastor Bashir Masih, and other believers preparing for Sunday worship. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in India, "The five men threatened the believers and instructed them to vacate the house, which is also used as a house church, within a month since it is located near a mosque." In the past, Muslim extremists have assaulted Pastor Masih's disabled son and Muslim village authorities have allowed extremists to block drinking water to Pastor Masih's home. Pastor Masih was a Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2005. His house church, Shalom Prayer House, was started in 2005. Pray for Pastor Masih's family and Christians in India who remain steadfast in their faith, despite persecution.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Knowledge of Greek and Latin allows us, through some mysterious power of transformation, to glide through the keyhole and into the other side, where suddenly everything comes alive and continues to instruct and entertain about the unchanging human condition. And what a lesson it is in the world of Thucydides, and Euripides, and Horace and Tacitus! Like stale air before a fresh wind, immediately gone is the falsity of the modern politically-correct age.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Our Christian institutions must push pupils to take intellectual dominion of their world, to develop a hunger for learning, to mold students into tenacious devotees of biblical faith who use their powers of reason in pursuit of God's glory. We ought not to be known for being schools where tests are easy and A's come readily. We should turn out students of the highest caliber, students who love learning not the sake of success, or even for the sake of learning itself, but for the sake of God's glory. We are to take dominion of the earth, right? This mandate was not given only to gardeners. It was given to us all, and it applies to every corner, every intricacy, of life. Let us fulfill it, and learn the truth, and ask good questions, and pursue knowledge until the day our own understanding is perfected.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Pakistani officials have stopped all Bible classes for Christian prisoners in a Punjab jail, isolating an inmate who taught the classes and barring a local pastor from his weekly visits. Compass Direct News reports, "Protestant Pastor Munir Phool has been refused entry to Kasur city's district jail for his weekly visits since June 25, when Catholic prisoner Dil Awaiz was put in a high-security cell and tortured. Awaiz told Phool that Muslim inmates became angry when a Christian prisoner drank from one of their water glasses. The authorities retaliated by forcing the Christian prisoner to drink out of a glass used for cleaning toilets. Later, the authorities had Awaiz beaten and thrown in a high-security cell and deprived contact with other Christian prisoners." Pray for a speedy recovery for Awaiz and for Christians in Pakistan.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
If I don’t instill in my son that we go without certain things we want so we can use the money to help others in need, then it doesn’t matter how many Bible verses he’s memorized, he’s been deprived of the heart of God. I fear that too many Christian parents brainwash themselves and their kids into a sense of entitlement that stomps on the Gospel. God help us should the next generation be even more stingy than we’ve become.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Christians in Iraq are experiencing a rise in persecution from Islamic extremists. According to a Christian Broadcasting Network News (CBNNews.com) report, Reverend Canon Andrew White, an Anglican minister from Baghdad, told a committee on religious freedom that Christians have been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Rev. White said in the last three to four months conditions in Iraq had deteriorated considerably. He added that he was given disturbing news at a congregational meeting this month. "Things are bad for everybody in Iraq. I said to them (church members), 'tell me what has happened over the past week.' And the people went through what had happened, and I realized that 36 of my congregation in that past week and been kidnapped. None of them have been returned," Reverend White said. Pray God protects and encourages Christians in Iraq. Ask God to send the Holy Spirit to refresh believers who face hardships everyday.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
On June 22, a mother and her young child were barred from their home as court executors sealed the Baptist church premises in Shymkent where they live to prevent the church from meeting. According to Forum 18 News Service, the move followed the church's refusal to abide by a court order halting its activity merely because it does not wish to undergo state registration. In Semey, Baptist Pastor Viktor Kandyba, his wife and their 12 children were threatened with the seizure of half their home after the pastor refused to pay a fine for leading unregistered worship. Pray for Christians in Kazakhstan.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Still, something like this may have it's uses. I can see substantial advantages for both travel and study. Maybe I'll get one after they come down in price and feature a bit more functionality.
Friday, July 20, 2007
In light of the recent movie on Wilberforce’s life (“Amazing Grace”) I’ve received several communications from people wondering how Wilberforce’s achievement fits into my radical distinction between the kingdom of God and politics. Some apparently think my perspective stands in conflict with the example of Wilberforce – as though I’d possibly be against what he did. This is not at all the case.
When you turn from the New Testament to modern scholars, remember that you go among them as a sheep among wolves. Naturalistic assumptions, beggings of the question . . . will meet you on every side—even from the pens of clergymen.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
If we are going to talk about the ‘primacy’ of anything in man’s grasping of his world, let us speak of the primacy of the imagination. The very act of perceiving our world necessarily involves the imagination. There is no such thing as mere perception.
It so happens that Peter Kreeft also has an excellent lecture on this.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
If you are interested in Reformation theology, but don’t have time to look through the primary source material, George’s book is where you should turn.
On July 5, two Pentecostal pastors were shot and killed by suspected members of the guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in the village of El Dorado. According to the latest reports, Pastors Humberto Mendez and Joel Garcia were taken from their homes by a group of men wearing camouflage clothing. Their bodies were found the next day. Pray God comforts and provides for these families. Ask that the Holy Spirit would convict the hearts of the persecutors and draw them to Christ. Pray for believers in Colombia.
Monday, July 16, 2007
What did I learn from nature? It's fallen. Instead of fruit trees, the ground grows thorns and prickly things. There is almost nothing edible in the forest, and even that which is edible is fairly lousy. Except the occasional blackberry, but even that gift comes with thorns. Even clear mountain streams can prove lethal if the water is not filtered and treated before drinking.
The Bible teaches that "the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:20-21). So even the beauty of nature is tainted with the corruption of the fall. I could not see God as clearly as I wished in nature because it is fallen as I am fallen. Sin permeates the natural world and obscures the glory of God.
So as I walked over the cursed land I dreamed of a day when the Creator will liberate His creation from bondage. I imagined a day with no more thorns, chiggers, mosquitoes, and ticks. Even the earth longs for the day of redemption. Together we groaned for the return of the King.
On Sept. 12, 2001, it was easy to believe that we would suffer dozens of major attacks on U.S. soil over the next six years, and almost impossible to imagine we would suffer none. Instead of being the opening blitz of a "long, global war," 9/11 was a freak event that may never be replicated.
After I watched the video my initial gut reaction was one of "go get em, take one for the team. What's that pagan doing 'praying' in our Senate", but as I sat for several minutes trying to decide how I really should feel about this incident I wonder if my initial reaction was correct. I am familiar enough with political Christian activist to understand their reasoning. They were trying to protect America from this pagan, and one part of me emphasizes with their plight. But does America need protecting from Hindu's or Mormons or JW's or Muslims etc? What I believe about false religions is all over this blog, so it goes without saying that I disagree with this man. However, doesn't our constitution give him as much right to pray to his false godsssssssssssss' as I have to pray to the real one? Honestly I am surprised this is the first time a Hindu has opened the Senate in prayer. These political Christian organizations (which may be an oxymoron, I am still working on that) shout from the rooftops that we have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. Ultimately, whatever legislation is going to protect us from Hindus is also going to protect them from Christianity. As much as I disagree with Rajan Zed he has a right to pray in spite of the fact that doing so violates the 1st commandment. As well the 3 people arrested have the right to stand on the floor of the Senate and protest. That is what makes our country great.
I will add no commentary at this time, except to point out that this incident provides an interesting opportunity to think about these matters.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
When I returned from
I saw I was living in excess. This happens to most all that visit people living well below the poverty line. Seeing people living on next to nothing lead me to question the lifestyle of Americans. First of all, how do you cut back but how do you give the cut back amount. The sensation that I was living richly has not hit me in Kenya. I think it is because I already learned the lesson. This statement seems cocky but read on. I do not deserve to be wealthy, go to a university, be born in Cuba but I was. It does one no good to feel guilty because it this way. Believe me, many of them find more joy than we do. Accept this fact; everything that is your has been given to you by God. Now it is your responsibility to deal with it responsibly. So I have a couple points to live by America
- Steward your blessings wisely
- Cherish blessing don't put a death grip on them
- Don’t look down on those with less material wealth
- Let your life speak louder than your money
It is okay to have fun in life and to own things that cause enjoyment but make sure you can exhibit self-control when it comes to spending money.
WORLD on stupid signs:
So I'm driving home from Starbucks a minute ago, when I see a very weird sign. It was one of those orange Men at Work-style diamonds. Except this one says:
CREW WORKING IN TREES
There's a stand of eucalyptus trees alongside the road, separated from the asphalt by a phalanx of orange cones plus a wide sidewalk. But I see the sign, right? So now I'm craning forward, looking up and right, trying to catch a rare multiple-grown-men-in-trees sighting.
And if I'm looking up in the trees, I'm not watching the road. And if I'm not watching the road, isn't that more dangerous than if, say, I wasn't aware there were men in the trees, and I just drove past, giving the orange warning cones a goodly berth like the conscientious motorist that I am?
Humans are not two separate substances, but have two parts, and an ability of one part is that of forming ideas starting from what we sense, imagine, and remember; all of the latter though are functions which involve the brain. Our immaterial intelligence is thus meant to work in conjunction with our body; it is not meant to exist as an independent entity. The immaterial part of us will continue on after we die, but it is not a complete human person.
Getting back to the significance of chimps having a lot of the same DNA people do, first, to talk about DNA is to talk about something material. However, as I argue above, those who think that this proves there is no real differences between the two species are working on the faulty assumption that humans, like apes, are purely material beings.
The mature Christian is the one whose commitment to holiness transcends the principial level and extends into the practical level. Let me be very down-to-earth here, and repeat something I've said recently on this blog (not that anyone's noticed, but I'll repeat it to myself). We who blog as young men preparing for the ministry reveal that our commitment is only principial when we blog as if we have sixty years in the pastorate behind us, or as if we possess a doctorate in Wisdom Concerning All Things. We are not truly patient when we write in this way, for we are showing that we are not willing to wait for the experience that will authenticate such words and invest them with authority. Like the runner who starts a second early, we are cheating. We're getting ahead of ourselves. We need to slow down and ease off the polemics.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Voice of the Martyrs’ contacts in Iran report increased persecution for Christians in Iran. Several Christians have been imprisoned, interrogated and threatened. VOM sources said, “Iranian security forces prompted by the Islamic leadership and Iranian president are trying to wipe out Christianity in Iran. They are angry many Iranian Muslims are choosing to follow Christ.” Pray God protects and sustains Christians in Iran. Ask God to use the testimonies of those being persecuted to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him
I went to place the package inside and she asked me: "Does that guy not know how to write?"
Monday, July 9, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scott have settled the religious vilification case they had been fighting in Australia’s state of Victoria for the past five years. According to a press release by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Islamic Council of Victoria and Catch the Fire Ministries have agreed that citizens have the right to “robustly debate religion” and “criticize religious beliefs” within the limits of the law. The pastors have spent more than $500,000 defending their right to present their views and insights about Islam. Pray for Christians in Australia and other parts of the world to be bold witnesses for Christ despite attacks against them.
Caplan is the sort of economist (are there other sorts? there must be) who engages with the views of non-economists in the way a bulldozer would engage with a picket fence if a bulldozer could express glee.
The argument of his book is that economists and political scientists have misunderstood the problem. They think that most voters are ignorant about political issues; Caplan thinks that most voters are wrong about the issues, which is a different matter...
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
You guys have never really cared about how you fit into the whole “CCM” aspect of the music industry. Do you see the current state of Christian music as having improved since you signed with a major record label ten years ago?
Todd Bragg: In some ways yes, but mostly no.
Garett Buell: I really think CCM could use more thinking, more creativity (not to mention the complete demolition of the name “CCM”) I think Christians in particular have a hard time being unique, and different from then next person. I don’t know why but, who said being born again meant losing your individuality? So with that said, why does everything on the radio sound like the same band with a bunch of singers?
Monday, July 2, 2007
When you’ve pursued all the learning, read all the books, made all the intellectual commitments to faith, you expect that somehow there will be an evoking of the emotion that will conform to what it is you claim to believe in your mind or intellect. But in truth, that feeling is often not there, or has temporarily lapsed. In a culture that operates so much by emotion, how do we take both our knowledge and our emotions and unify them into a framework of morality and information?
Saturday, June 30, 2007
For me, Húrin has served the purpose which Christopher Tolkien explains in the preface: that a reader only casually acquainted with the earlier Ages of Middle Earth might become more interested in the people and drama which filled that world. I still can't remember which of the families of Elves is which (and I'm not helped here by the family trees at the back of Hurin which revealed what I've always suspected: that all their names begin with "F"). But I'm drawn in by a story which touches even peripherally on each of the major players in the First Age of Middle Earth. And I'm ready to go back again to the stories of the earlier Ages of Tolkien's world to discover some of the grandeur, to witness some of the "many defeats and many fruitless victories" which Elrond speaks of.
Friday, June 29, 2007
On June 19, 2007, The Voice of the Martyrs confirmed reports that believers in Iran are being detained, interrogated and in one case, imprisoned, because of their faith in Jesus Christ. According to VOM sources, this new wave of persecution is coming against Christians who meet to worship God in the privacy of their homes. VOM sources said, “We have confirmed reports that several believers have been interrogated and one house was stormed by an elite police team that confiscated a computer, several CDs and Christian materials. A Christian was arrested in this attack, and remains in prison.” Pray believers in Iran will remain steadfast in their faith despite this new wave of persecution. Pray for the release of the believer in prison and for protection for all Christians in Iran.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Imprisoned Pentecostal pastor, Dmitry Shestakov, has been transferred to a harsher labor camp in Navoi, Uzbekistan. The new camp is a longer distance from his wife and three children. In May 2007, Shestakov was sentenced to four years in an open work camp, in Andijan, for "religious activity." Christians in Uzbekistan told Forum 18 News, "The authorities claim he misbehaved in the open work camp and that’s why they ordered his transfer to a harsher camp. We believe this was deliberately set up." Forum 18 News reports that Pastor Shestakov’s transfer comes as authorities prepare administrative trials against members of his congregation in his home town of Andijan in the Fergana Valley in eastern Uzbekistan. Pray for Pastor Shestakov and his family. Ask God to watch over them during this difficult time.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Yep, print is dead: ironically available in hardcover.
More obituaries -
Thousands of individuals rarely pick up books anymore, trading the heavy, physical medium for something accessible everywhere and any time: the Internet. Those without experience on the Internet will protest the day when readers banish books to a dark corner of their rooms, but I, for one, will applaud that day, for it will herald the arrival of a new era; one where people both contribute their literary works and read the works of others with a higher frequency than ever before.
I really believe that most writers just want an audience. (We want to pay the bills, too, but we already have day jobs for that.)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
There is no particular spark, no single bolt of lightning, errant campfire or careless cigarette flicked out a window that caused this conflagration. We walked into a dry, cracked land, where the two arteries of Mesopotamia have long pulsed water and blood through scorched lands into the sea. In a place where everything that is not already desert is tinder, sparks tend to catch fire.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
I found a nice copy of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, two more Dostoevsky titles, Chesterton's Father Brown Mystery Stories, and a pristine copy of The Gifts Of The Jews, by Thomas Cahill, author of How The Irish Saved Civilization, which I already have. Also selected a beautifully worn hardback copy of Lloyd C. Douglas's Magnificent Obsession, which I didn't have yet, as well as a short history of weaponry with this intriguing subtitle:
Being a short history of war and weaaponry from earliest times to the present, noting the gratifying progress made by man since his first crude, small-scale efforts to do away with those who disagreed with him.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
Warning: side effects may include goose bumps.
Why do men need so much alteration? The Christian answer - that we have used our free will to become very bad - is so well known that it hardly needs to be stated. But to bring this doctrine into real life in the minds of modern men, and even of modern Christians, is very hard. When the Apostles preached, they could assume even in their Pagan hearers a real consciousness of deserving the Divine anger. The Pagan mysteries existed to allay this consciousness, and the Epicurean philosophy claimed to deliver men from the fear of eternal punishment. It was against this background that the Gospel appeared as good news. It brought news of possible healing to men who knew that they were mortally ill. But all this has changed. Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis - in itself very bad news - before it can win a hearing for the cure.
I hate wedding registries, mainly because they make no sense. The giving of wedding gifts, presumably, began in the dawn of time when parents and friends realized that newlyweds were poor and had no forks...
Our culture of affluence has grown far beyond forks and tablecloths and hope chests...
Heh, I'd have to agree. I've actually felt this way for a good while.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Thursday, June 7, 2007
When we talk about community in the Church, we simply do not understand what is at stake. As long as I have been a believer, I have seen all kinds of communities, but very little community. Our lack of reliance on God (since we usually have cash to pay for anything that faith would ordinarily cover) translates into a lack of reliance on others within the Body of Faith.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Well, maybe sometimes.
1930: Define rhythm.
1960: The movement of music in time, including tempo and meter, is called _______.
1990: The movement of music in time, including tempo and meter, is called:
2000: The movement of music in time, commonly called rhythm, makes you feel:
A. I don't understand the question.
B. I think this is an unfair question.
C. I don't know what the word rhythm means.
D. It doesn't matter how I feel, as long as it is my own authentic feeling.
Monday, June 4, 2007
It’s June, when America tells itself to read something on the beach. Now, I don’t subscribe to this theory of reading. In An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis rips into those who read “to pass the time.” The idea of reading on planes and trains and beaches is the kind of reading where we want our mind distracted, rather than altered. The long and short of Lewis’s theory is that a book should be read so that it might change us, might link us up together more like we were before the fall. The whole idea of summer reading, in my experience, runs counter to the idea of literature as change agent. But then again, it’s still reading. And like my friends say about the Harry Potter books, at least they get people reading.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
And not appreciating knowing how to use your hands is worse.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Dawkins confuses religion and the use of religion – I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt intellectually and assume he does so deliberately -- in order to promote his thesis that religion is evil. Religion itself is not evil – just as science is not evil – but it can be used for evil purposes, just as science can.
Using religion to convince the 9/11 terrorists to commit mass murder by knocking down the World Trade Towers was a profoundly evil use of religion. Using airplanes to carry out that evil was a profoundly evil use of aeronautical science. However, Dawkins looks only at the evil uses of religion – never the good it effects -- and only the good uses of science – never the harms it does. A balanced ethical approach requires us to recognise both the goods and harms of both religion and science, and to try to stop the evil uses and to promote the good ones of each.
Read the whole thing.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
There are two great lies that I've heard / The day you eat of the fruit of that tree / You will not surely die / and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican / and if you want to be saved / you have to learn to be like Him....
My first allegiance is not to a flag / a country, or a man / my first allegiance is not to Democracy or blood / it's to a King and a Kingdom....
I read in 1 Corinthians 11 that the woman's head is to be covered in worship. The modern Christian consensus tells me that is a relative and obsolete command, dealing with some first-century problem in the city of Corinth. My high-school literary skills tell me otherwise: The command is rooted in creation (verses 7-9) and in nature (verse 14). And if that weren't ironclad enough, I am to cover my head "because of the angels."
The angel detail is so cryptic, so off the wall, so without explanation, that it becomes the strongest argument of all. Where is the "cultural relativity" case now, where angels transcend all historical agitations?
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 18, 2007
- "Educating Rudy"
- Direct response to the Guiliani confrontation
- In this must-read article, LVMI explains and applauds Ron's conservative, common-sense stance on international relations
In the heat of the moment, this former New Yorker wanted Mayor Giuliani to stalk across the stage and slap Mr. Paul silly. But on reflection, I grudgingly concede that Mr. Paul did us all a favor. He had the guts to suggest before a hostile audience that America needs to think harder about how projecting military power around the world in our customary manner creates blowback. As emotionally satisfying as Mr. Giuliani's response was, indignation is not an argument, and 'How dare you!' is not a response. Mr. Paul was substantially correct and deserved better.
The Voice of the Martyrs sources in Pakistan report that Muslim radicals have introduced a law in Parliament that any Muslim who converts to Christianity should be killed. Although the details are sketchy, intercede for this situation and ask God to move so this law does not go into effect. Pray God encourages Christians in Pakistan to be a witness for Him in spite of persecution.
CHARSADDA – On May 7, 2007, Christians in the Charsadda District received letters warning them to shut their churches and convert to Islam. The letter that set a 10-day deadline said, "All Christians should convert to Islam within 10 days or leave Charsadda. We will execute all of you if you don't convert to Islam." Copies of the handwritten letter were delivered to two churches and several Christian homes in Charsadda. Even though the police have been alerted, Christians in the area are concerned for their safety. A similar letter was delivered to believers in Mardan district. Pray God gives Christians in Charsadda courage to stand for Him. Ask for protection and peace to surround them during these uncertain times.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
It is interesting that when a candidate comes out on top during these informal voting sessions everyone automatically concludes that their supporters are "clogging the polls." Either we're facing brazenly selective statistics, or else the whole thing is a gigantic waste of time.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Perfect love, we know, casteth out fear. But so do several other things - ignorance, alcohol, passion, presumption, and stupidity. It is very desirable that we should all advance to that perfection of love in which we shall fear no longer; but it is very undesirable, until we have reached that stage, that we should allow any inferior agent to cast out fear.-C.S. Lewis
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
- On April 22, Pastor Jayasheelan and eight other believers were beaten by more than 90 people at a prayer meeting in Rajankunte Village. After surrounding the house, the mob shouted slogans and threatened to burn it down if the Christians did not meet them outside. After Pastor Jayasheelan and the others came out of the house, they were beaten and kicked while the police looked on. The pastor was struck on his head, back and hip. The other believers were also injured. They were later jailed in the Central Jail and released after two days. The believers befriended the other prisoners while they were in jail and shared the gospel. Some of the 20 prisoners received Christ.
- On April 29, Pastor Walter Masih was attacked by Hindu extremists while returning home after Sunday worship. Two young men asked the pastor if he could tell them about Jesus and while the pastor was sharing with them, a group of more than 15 young men started beating Pastor Walter with sticks. This happened in front of Pastor Walter's 7-year-old daughter. While he was being beaten, Pastor Walter prayed loudly for the extremists and this further infuriated them.
Monday, May 7, 2007
For my own part I hate and distrust reactions not only in religion but in everything. Luther surely spoke very good sense when he compared humanity to a drunkard who, after falling of his horse on the right, falls off it next time on the left...
A thing does not vanish - it is not even discredited - because someone has spoken of it with exaggeration. It remains exactly where it was. The only difference is that if it has recently been exaggerated, we must now take special care not to overlook it; for that is the side on which the drunk man is now most likely to fall off.- C. S. Lewis