Thursday, December 30, 2004

BOOK REVIEW. David Heddle, who has a great blog over at, has written a book and I am going to review it. David is a physicist and a student of the Bible. His current series on early church history is both educational and fascinating. You should go there and read it. His book is a novel. It this age of technology, he sent it to me electronically and I will read it on my laptop computer. I plan to start on New Year's Eve.

I admire almost anyone who can complete a book, whether ficition or non-fiction. I have started several, but never completed one. It is a large amount of work. Congratulations, David.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

CREEPY STUFF IN THE NEWS. A woman in Maryland has had her own grandchildren. Really. When her daughter and son in law could not conceive, this woman volunteered to carry the babies. The doctors fertilized her daughter's eggs with her son in law's sperm and an embryo was created. The embryo was implanted in the grandmother, who is 55 years old.

The grandmother has now given birth to triplets, as is often the case when doctors mess with the natural process.

So, the gestational mother is the genetic grandmother. The genetic mother is the gestational sister. That sounds like a bad country and western song, doesn't it? Or life in Arkansas?

I find this all creepy and unsettling. I am not much of one for messing with the reproductive process anyway. But, this raises a lot of issues that doctors cannot resolve by chemistry.

I think I prefer that babies come into the world in the normal way and we let God decide who has kids and who does not. Wow, there is something the Pope and I agree on.

There is something we don't agree on, however, and it is creepy item number two. The Pope is trying to bury the axe with the Orthodox church, so he in un-burying some saints. John Chrysostom and Gregor Nazianzen were big in the Orthodox church. They were buried in Constantinople, now Istanbul. When the Catholics were tuning up for the Fourth Crusade, they took a detour to Constaninople in 1204, sacked it, and stole the bones of these two saints. They also raped women and children, stole art, gold, and silver, spreead animal excrement in the cathedral, and generally amused themselves at the expense of the Orthodox. The Pope had already excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople about 150 years before. However, there is not much that can be done about that now. The bones of the dead saints are a different matter.

One problem, however is that John Chrysostom is also a "Doctor of the Church" for the Romans.
Therefore, it is thought that the Pope will hang onto some of John's bones. They call them Relics by the way, which sounds much better than bones, corpses, dead bodies, and other more accurate descriptions.

Can you imagine a bunch of Baptists digging up Spurgeon and carting his corpse around?

The world is a creepy place.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

THE VALUE OF EXPERIENCE. Good judgment comes from experience. Most experience comes from bad judgment.

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.
QUOTE OF THE DAY. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies." Gore-Lieberman campaign manager Donna Brazile. Well, Donna, you just can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Sunday, December 26, 2004




8:1-4 (No Condemnation)

This great verse tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. “Condemnation” means a judicial declaration that you are guilty of sin and must face punishment. You might here a news report that a murderer was condemned to death. That person has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced the punishment of death.

In our situation, we are found guilty of being sinners and condemned to death unless we believe in Christ. John 3:18 tells us that whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

However, those who are “in Christ” are not condemned. God does not look at us and see as sinners He condemns. He sees us “in Christ”. So, you do not need to live your life as if God is mad at you or condemning you. He may discipline you along the way, but he will not condemn you.

This applies to those who are “in Christ”, those who have believed in him and been changed into children of God.

Verse 2 begins to tell us why we are not under condemnation. It is because we have been set free from the law of sin and death. (I do not think he is speaking of the commandments and ordinances here as the law of sin and death, but the power of sin in the lost person’s life.) Those who are saved live by the Spirit. Here he says the law of the Spirit. We have been set free from sin, death, and condemnation under the law because we have been saved to live by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 3 reminds us that the law was powerless to make us righteous because our sin natures weakened it or prevented it. Sinful people do not see the law as the path to righteousness. They see it as an unfair limitation on their freedom and will.

So, God fulfilled the requirements of the law by sending his Son in human flesh to be a sin offering (NIV), or “for sin” (ESV), or “on account of sin (NKJV). Christ fulfilled the law by living without sin. Hebrews 4:15 says he was tempted in every way just as we are, yet lived without sin. Christ also paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross for us.

This again shows God’s justice, although this passage does not mention it specifically. Verse 3 says that he condemned sin in sinful man. God is, therefore, the just judge of sin. But, the righteous requirements of the law were fully met in us. They were met when we accepted Christ as Savior by faith so that his righteousness was credited to us.

Who is “us”? It is the saved, the converted, the church. Verse 4 calls us those who live not according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit. Those who have believed and been redeemed, are now guided by the Spirit and do not live according to the sinful nature.

In John 14:16, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to us who believe. He is our Counselor or Helper (parakletos). He will provide us with encouragement, counsel, and strength. John 14:26 says the Holy Spirit will teach us. John 15:23 says the Father and Jesus himself will come and make their home with us.

8:5-8 (Flesh v. Spirit)

Paul offers us a contrast between those who live by God’s Spirit and those who live according to the flesh, or the sin nature. They do not want the same things. Galatians 5:17 tells us the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with ech other.

Here are the traits of those who live according to the sinful nature. First, they have their minds set on what that nature desires. The sinful nature desires stature or significance, and physical gratification in food, drink, drugs, and sex. These desires lead to the acts described in Galatians 5:19-21 and Matthew 15:19. So, we should not be surprised that people want to get drunk, take drugs, have sex outside of marriage, lie, cheat, steal, boast, and seek to justify it all. That is what the Bible says they will do.

Second, the mind of the sinful person is death. It is death in that it seeks the life of sin that leads to eternal death, and that is spiritually dead today. That life leads to dead thinking and dead feeling. Notice it is contrasted with the life and peace of the believer. The life lived according to the sin nature is ultimately meaningless and useless, so it leads to depression, emotional deadness and detachment, and confusion.

Third, the sinful mind is hostile to God. It is hostile in the sense that it is the opposite of what God wants for us. It is also hostile in the sense that sinful man opposes God and seeks to remove his influence. Welcome to America, where people want a king sized God eraser for our society. They want to remove the crèche from the lawn, God from the pledge, Christians from public discourse, and the Creator from Creation.

Fourth, the sinful mind cannot submit to God’s law and cannot please God. The sinful man can only become reconciled to God through accepting the work of Christ on his behalf and receiving salvation from him.

In contrast to the sinful mind or the person controlled by the sin nature\flesh, we have the person who lives in accordance with the Spirit. What are the traits of this person?

First, this person has their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The believer may stumble and sin, but his or her overriding desire is to do God’s will, to do what the Spirit desires. In John 14:15, Jesus said “if you love me, you will obey what I command.” The Believer, because he loves the Lord, wants to obey him by doing his will and living according to God’s instruction. He reads the Bible and applies it to himself. If the Bible says God loves humility and opposes pride, he examines himself for arrogance and conceit, repents if he finds it, and submits himself to God to sanctify his attitude. He becomes humble through the work of grace in his life and his submission to Jesus through his love for him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells the Spirit is transforming us into the Lord’s likeness with ever-increasing glory. The Spirit produces in us that fruit listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Second, the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. We have eternal life, we have spiritual life, because we have crossed over from death to live by faith. In John 14:27, Jesus told the Disciples “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry about our physical life, for God knows what we need. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The mind of the Believer is in peace, because he trusts God with his present and his future, because he communes with God through the Spirit and he is a God of peace, and because the Believer, through the Spirit, learns the priority of living for God rather than for himself, and that brings order and peace to life.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

SCROOGING TOWARD CHRISTMAS. Go here to read Tech Central Station's many versions of The Christmas Carol.

The Christmas Carol, you may recall, is that Dickensian classic that virtually no one in America has ever actually read. Of course that is not saying much, as the vast majority of Americans have never read anything except the cable television guide. Most Americans have heard about the story and many dandy versions have been shown on television (that great conveyor of American culture or what passes for it).

I watched one that had Captain Picard in it (from Star Trek The Next Generation in case you have been in a convent for the last decade or so). I like Captain Picard because he was an Englishman playing a Frenchman in Outer Space (the real thing, not France) on American television. But, TV likes Picard, Patrick Stewart, because he has that lovely British accent which has a profound effect on Americans. Our forefathers hated the English accent so much they hid behind trees and shot at the English with muskets shouting "Speak English, you limey immigrants".

Now, however, Americans hear an English accent and they act like cats around catnip. People with accents just sound smarter, don't they. This is especially true if you grew up in Arkansas. (That was where Captain Kirk grew up. That is why he always spoke in those choppy, short sentences.)

I was disappointed with Pat's version of the play, however, because I kept thinking he would rip off that ridiculous night gown and have his Captain Picard uniform on under it. He would tap his communicator and yell "security to the Captain's quarters". (Actually, he did that all the time when Tasha Yar was security chief, so they quit answering. Or she would answer and say she had a headache.)

Then he would yell "phasers on stun" and shoot the ghost, who would really be a Klingon warrior in disguise.

Then Tiny Tim would rush in and restore order. He would look like Rike and Scrooge would call him Number One. Number One would say "God bless us everyone".

Picard would say "make it so".

Wouldn't that be great?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

SOLUS CHRISTUS. Jesus said to his disciples, Thomas in particular, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He was speaking of the way to heaven and the Father.

On other occasions, he said it in different ways. He told Nicodemus anyone who believes in him would have eternal life. He told the Samaritan woman at Sychar whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst and that water will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life. He told Jews who were plotting to kill him that whoever hears and believes his word has eternal life and will not be condemned, but will cross over from death to life.

He told the crowds he would give them food that endures to eternal life and that he is the bread of life. He said everyone who looks to him and believes in him will have eternal life and Christ will raise him on the last day.

Peter understood the message. In his first sermon, he said salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. There is no other name under heaven given to us by which we must be saved.

John understood the message. He said those who receive Jesus, those who believe in his name, receive from Jesus the right to become children of God.

Paul understood the message. He said the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The writer of Hebrews understood. He said we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.

James understood, though some have questioned. He said the Father chose to give us birth through the word of truth.

Jude understood it. He called Jesus our only sovereign and Lord, and ended his letter by saying “to the only God our savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore.”

There have always been those who cannot take Jesus at this word. Oh, they might believe he is the way to heaven, but surely something should be added. They usually add works of some sort, or ceremonies. The Jewish Christians wanted to add circumcision. Paul said no. Some want to add baptism, or membership in their church.

Some want to add good works. It is a shame that those who claim Peter as the founder of their religion do not understand the issue as Peter himself did. That made "Solus Christus" one of the cries of the Reformation. The Reformers wanted to return the church to Christ’s teaching: I am the way.

Some will accept Christ as the way, but want to include others. But Jesus said no one comes to the Father except through him. There is no other way. All roads may lead to Rome, but they do not all lead to eternal life.

Let’s cling to Jesus’ words today. He is the way. Let’s cling to the cry of the Reformation: Solus Christus.

Semper Reformata.

HOMEWARD BOUND. Go HERE to see a moving tribute to our troops. Here are the words to the song:

Homeward Bound

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning,I’ll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

If you find it’s me you're missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return.
To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning, and in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.

In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,I’ll be homeward bound again.

-Music and Lyrics by Marta Keen

Before you open the gifts and eat the Christmas meal, say a prayer for those on duty in lands far away.

'TIS THE SEASON. Americans tend to believe something magic happens at Christmas that spreads good will among the populace. There was even a movie where the lead character exhorted the nation to extend this good will all year long.

Although there is a certain amount of gift giving and well wishing among friends, family and colleagues, I believe this general sentiment of good will is illusory. It is a figment of the imagination fueled by movies, sentimental songs, and delusional egg nog drinking.

We have, for example, been observing the holidays by having our cars robbed and vandalized. The College Girl's car was the first victim. Late night crooks bashed in the window and ripped out her stereo. This cost us some insurance deductible, rent car expenses, and lost time. Then, she parked my car in front of the house when she returned from college in it, only to have the window bashed in and her guitar stolen. Car insurance won't pay for the guitar, so add that expense to the previous mix.

I was working hard to get in the spirit this year. Usually I just don't make it, or don't make it there until Christmas Eve. I usually have deadlines at work, worry about how much money I'm spending, dread the choir Christmas party, and worry if the Little Woman will like my present to her.

This year, I even listened to some Christmas music, which normally drives me crazy. Really, if someone came here from another planet and listened to songs about sleighs, chestnuts, bells, and snow, they would think the whole population was on dope.

Anyway, I drank my coffee from the Christmas mug, wore the Christmas socks (although I wouldn't cross my legs), and generally tried to tune it up for Christmas.

Then, the two break ins.

Now I am back to thinking more about the depravity of man than I am peace and good will.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

FROM GEORGE MULLER. "While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now, while preparing the eighth edition for the press, more than forty years have since passed away. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as a habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning.

Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord. I began, therefore, to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events, I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the Word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even an hour, I only then begin really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.

I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials in various ways than I had ever had before; and after having now above forty years tried this way, I can most fully in the fear of God, commend it. How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon one!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

FOR MY PREACHER FRIENDS. "Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest. You cannot break men's hearts by jesting with them, or telling them a smooth tale, or patching up a gaudy oration. Men will not cast away their dearest pleasures upon a drowsy request of one that seemeth not to mean as he speaks, or to care much whether his request be granted." Richard Baxter

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

RELIGIOUS PRINICPLES. So, Buddha walks into a stop and rob and buys a hot dog and a large cup of coffee. The clerk rings up the sale and says "that'll be $9.50".

Buddha hands him a ten. The clerk takes the ten, puts it in the cash drawer, shuts the drawer, and says, "have a nice day".

Buddha says "hey, what about my change?"

The clerk says "sorry, change must come from within".

Sunday, December 12, 2004


7:1-3 (An Analogy From Marriage: Your Relationship To The Law)

Paul continues his discussion of the believer’s relationship to the law. The believer’s position is freedom from the law because he or she died to the law in Christ. Paul also uses the analogy of the marriage bond to explain it.

In verse 1, Paul states that the law only has authority over a person while that person lives. Death brings a release from the obligations of the law.

As an example, Paul holds up the married woman. (He probably used the woman rather than the man, because men were able to obtain divorces in Jewish law and women were not. See Matthew 5:31-32.) If she marries, she is bound to that man as long as he is alive. If she marries another man, she violates the law and commits adultery.

However, if her husband dies, she is freed from the law of marriage. She can marry again without transgressing the law.

7:4-6 (Freedom Through Death)

Just as the woman was freed from the law of marriage by death, so believers are freed from the law, and the sin it produces in us, by death. We die to one husband, sin, to live to another, Christ.

Verse 4 tells us we died to the law through the body of Christ. When we were baptized into his death, we died to sin. It no longer controls us. We died, not to live to ourselves, but to live to God. Remember how often the Bible talks of Christ as the Bridegroom of the church.

Paul says the purpose of our dying to sin is that we will bear fruit to God. I think this needs to be part of our evangelistic message. God does not offer us grace and freedom from slavery to sin so that we may live for ourselves. You might not know that if you got your preaching from television and a lot of popular books. His primary goal here is not your personal fulfillment, or the release of your negative feelings, or your physical health, or the accumulation of earthly treasure.

No, he offers you freedom from slavery to sin so you will bear fruit to God. Bearing fruit will bring glory to God. Jesus said, in John 15:8, “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” In verse 16, he said “you did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” Ephesians 2:10 says we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 1:12 and 14 says we were redeemed so that we might be for the praise of his glory.

You exist as a new creation is Christ in order to bear fruit that will bring glory to God. That fruit is the transformed life lived under the dominion of the Holy Spirit, which manifests itself in your personality, in your character, in your speech, in your work, in your good deeds, and in your personal holiness.

Galatians 5:22-24 says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Matthew 5:16 says to let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The first question of the Westminister Shorter Cathechism is: what is the chief end of man? The answer is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Verse 5 tells us that, before we were saved, we bore fruit for death. We were controlled by the sinful nature and the law aroused our sinful passions, and we bore fruit for death. We are now free from that.

Verse 6 tells us that we still serve. Before salvation, we served as under a written code. But now we serve in a new way of the Spirit.

Let’s go back to the bride thing for a minute. Just as Christ’s death frees the individual believer from sin, and as he works to sanctify each believer, he is sanctifying the whole church. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us that Christ gave himself for the church, as a husband for a wife, to make the church holy, cleansing her, and presenting her, the church, to himself holy and blameless. He prepared us to be prepared for him.

We long for his return, as a bride would long for the return of her groom, her husband. Revelation 22:17, when the prophecy of his return is complete, tells us the Spirit and the bride say “come”.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus warned us that the bridegroom would not return for a long time, and may would fall asleep. But, we should rather keep watch, for we do not know the day or the hour of his return. We want to be ready for him.

Revelation 19 tells us that, when the wedding of the Lamb has come, the bride will have made herself ready. She will be dressed in fine linen, bright and clean, that was given her to wear. That is a symbol of the righteous acts of the saints.

Revelation 21 uses the same image, showing the Holy City, the new Jerusalem (is this a picture of the church?) coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Isaiah 62:5 tells us God will rejoice over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.

Friday, December 10, 2004


I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas.
Mommy and Daddy are mad.
I'm gettin' nothin' for Christmas,
'Cause I ain't been nothin' but bad.

Think of it as Total Depravity for Tots.

PASSING DOWN THE REDEMPTION STORY. At the annual Passover Seder, Jewish families say: In every generation, each person must look upon himself or herself as if he or she personally had come out of Egypt. As the Book of Exodus says, “You shall tell your children on that day: it is because of what the Eternal One did for me when I went forth from Egypt.” Ephesians 1:7 says "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE. Not everyone shares the Christian values that permeate our American culture. In Madison, Wisconsin, the state capitol grounds, decorated for Christmas, also sport a Winter Solstice sign posted by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The sign reads as follows"At this season of the Winter Solstice may reason prevail.
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

The FFRF feels it needs to balance all the religious symbols of Christmas. The foundation, and its leader, Anne Nicol Gaylor, are confused, however. Gaylor said "The nonreligious are 14 percent of the U.S. population. If religious activities are going to take place in the Capitol, then there should be representation of the views of Wisconsin's nonreligious citizens as well."

However, most winter solstice celebrations were religious. They were expressions of pagan religions, some of which have been revived today. The fact is, there have not been many “non religious” celebrations of this sort.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said its sign "reminds citizens of the real reason for the season" -- the Dec. 21 Winter Solstice, which is the shortest and darkest day of the year. That might be a good thing. The Catholic Church appropriated the winter solstice celebration by deciding to celebrate Christ’s birth at the same time and keep the “faithful” out of the pagan celebrations. It did not work. The Faithful just merged the two and kept celebrating. So, you have the pagan tree, presents, partying, lights, and feasts, but you go to church to keep the veneer from peeling from the pagan traditions.

The pagans probably worry too much. Each year the veneer cracks more. Our celebrations are less and less Christian and more and more pagan. Which do you hear more about these days, the birth of Christ or the shopping? I’ll bet your church even sings secular songs at their Christmas concert.

It is comforting to know that even the pagans and irreligious need God. The back of the FFRF sign has a sign taped on it that says "Thou shalt not steal."

Sometimes, you just have to appeal to a higher authority.

God bless Anne Nicol Gaylor, who cannot decide if she is a religious pagan or an irreligious Christian, or what. May she be one of the sheep who hear the voice of the good shepherd and comes into the fold of eternal life.

WHO'S THE BOSS. “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!' " Abraham Kuyper.
OXYMORON ANYONE? Only the government would do this, surely. While researching the law on a particular issue, I came upon the "Interim Final Rule".

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WHAT AMERICANS BELIEVE. A recent Newsweek poll reveals the shocking truth of American religious beliefs. Newsweek reports that seventy-nine percent of Americans believe in the virgin birth, that is Jesus was born to Mary without the intervention of a human father.
The poll also revealed that sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that the entire Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, from the angels appearing to the shepherds, the Star in the East, the Wise Men from the East, and the virgin birth is historically accurate.

Here is other startling, but good, news:

1. 93 percent of Americans believe Jesus Christ actually lived;
2. 82 percent believe Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God;
3. 52 percent believe Jesus will return to earth someday (only 21 percent do not believe it) Bad news for the premills, only fifteen percent believe Jesus will return in their lifetime. I guess that goes to show that even Hal Lindsey can only be wrong so many times before people quit listening.

Before euphoria sets in, however, can we determine what effect this belief has on us as a society? Only 11 percent of those surveyed believe our culture very closely reflects Christian values, but 53 percent believe it somewhat reflects Christian values.

Newsweek also reported that 86 percent believe organized religion has a “a lot” or “some” influence on American life.

Here is a result that will set scientists, humanists, and liberals teeth on edge: Sixty-two percent favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools. A strong minority, Forty-three percent, favor teaching creation instead of evolution.

I sure Newsweek itself is stunned and dismayed by this information.

Well, then, what conclusions can we draw from this information? I’ll address that in the coming posts.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I’M MARRIED TO PETER PAN. “Peter was quite gay again. He had no sense of time, and was so full of adventures that all I have told you about him is only a halfpenny-worth of them.” She works, she shops, she socializes, she drives all over the Metroplex, talking on the cell phone all the while, takes meals to people, runs errands, worries about the kids, calls her mother, cooks gourmet meals, and treats the dog like a baby, all with a great deal of energy, limitless optimism, enthusiasm, love, and an insatiable thirst for more.

She will plan two days of activities for the next hour, cannot figure out why she could not do them all, and be genuinely disappointed. The essential story of her being is that of the 15 minute break on a trip to New York, when she used it to run up the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty, take a picture, and run back down.

She did not tell me this story before we were married.

She may wear out, but she won't burn out.

More likely, I'll wear out and she'll keep going.

I just can't help but love her.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

HELLO AGAIN. Yea, I got on! I have not been able to get Blogger going from that place I spend time at during the day all week. What a relief. All those comments, pent up inside. Imagine what its been like for my family.

Here is a good one. Microsoft woke up and decided to make software for bloggers. They say they want to make blogging "mainstream". Hello? Is anyone there awake? There are zillions of bloggers all over the world. That's mainstream, baby.