Thursday, June 30, 2005

TRAVELS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE. My young friend, Levi, a student at Criswell College, is at Oxford. You can see his pictures here. He has many papers to write, so I am praying for inspiration for him.

He will soon be joined by another friend, Dr. Scott Swain, a professor at Southwestern Seminary. He attended my Sunday School class until he was recruited to teach a similar class at another church. I am hoping Scott and Levi meet up sometime while they are there.

When you add that College Daughter is in Spain and the Baby is going to Canada, I am feeling staidly domestic. However, after the College Daughter had her luggage lost and got airsick, I felt pretty good about staying home.
ANOTHER BLIND HOG FINDS A NUT. In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media. The Times of London (online).
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN. I am back in town, though not at work. I have not taken two consecutive weeks off in years. It feels pretty good. Added bonus: since Monday is July 4, I also get that off.

I came back yesterday for a meeting at work. The boss is trying to upgrade my position. It went well and I am grateful for it. It is always nice to know your boss supports you.

We managed to take Tall Boy on the last leg of our vacation, so he has kept the Baby happy and content. They are quite cute together.

And, yes, I started getting back into the routine by going to our favorite Starbucks last night.

Monday, June 27, 2005

TRAVEL UPDATE. We have returned from Aggie Land and have been home for the week end. We sent to see Batman Begins on Friday. That was fun. We met the Son-In-Law and his family for dinner Saturday night. His father, affectionately known as Radar, his mom, his brother the band director, and newly pregnant sister-in-law all came and we had a great time. We met at an Outback. The prime rib was yummy.

It was a nice feeling. With the Baby is preparing to leave for college, he College Girl gone most of the summer on various ventures, the Oldest up North performing, and my mother moving to Wichita Falls, to counter the feeling that the family is shrinking by spending time with this part of our extended family.

The only moment of sorrow was when the sister-in-law of the son-in-law told everyone at the table she was the only one there that did not vote for President Bush. We had to have a moment of silence before we could continue. Radar has promised to find a good counselor for her.

We are supposed to be leaving right now to take the College Daughter to the airport. We are just waiting for the Little Woman to get back from her errands so we can go. Then we are going to spend a couple of days running around out of town again.

I'm warming up to this idea of not working.

I here the hotel has wireless, so I will try to keep you informed.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Why is it important that we know that Jesus was fully God and fully man, even while on earth? Because the heresy keeps popping up that he was not God. Let me give you some examples.


The first guy to know is Arius. Around the year 319, he was a priest in Alexandria. He began to teach that Jesus was not fully divine, but was less than the Father. He taught that Jesus did not exist through all eternity, but was created (begotten?) by the Father as an instrument of creation and then salvation.

Although the bishops opposed his views, they caught on. Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea became his patron. However, he was heroically opposed by one of the early church leaders, Athanasius. Athanasius spent his entire life opposing the Arian philosophy. At times it appeared Arianism might prevail, and he was called Athanasius Contra Mundum (against the world). He was exiled 5 times.

The Emperor Constantine called the council of Nicaea to settle the issue. The council was attended by several hundred pastors and bishops and voted overwhelmingly (all but 2) to condemn Arius and confess that Jesus was of the same substance as the Father. The Nicene Creed came from this council.

Here is the creed:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe God is a single person, not a Trinity, who does not know all things and is not everywhere. He first created Michael the Archangel through whom He created all other things. This creative work took God 42,000 years. After Adam sinned, God instituted a system of redemption. When it came time for the savior to be born, Michael the Archangel became a human, in the form of Jesus. Jesus grew and kept all the laws of God and never sinned.
This attempt to recognize only the Father as God and relegate Jesus to the status of many only, is sometimes called.Monarchianism. Monarchianism teaches that there is one God as one person: the Father. Orthodox Christianity is Trinitarian and teaches that the Trinity is one God in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In addition to Jehovah’s Witnesses, others in this group include Christadelphians and Unitarians.
Christian Science also denies that Jesus is God.

The Jesus Seminar was originally formed in 1985 under the sponsorship of the Westar Institute to “renew the quest of the historical Jesus.” Thirty scholars participated in the first meeting and approximately 200 people now call themselves “fellows.” There is not much new in what they do, but the Jesus Seminar received extensive coverage in such periodicals as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, as well as on network television.

The founder of the JS is Robert Funk. He said the following in a Keynote Address to the Jesus Seminar Fellows in the spring of 1994:

· "Jesus did not ask us to believe that his death was a blood sacrifice, that he was going to die for our sins."
· "Jesus did not ask us to believe that he was the messiah. He certainly never suggested that he was the second person of the trinity. In fact, he rarely referred to himself at all."
· "Jesus did not call upon people to repent, or fast, or observe the sabbath. He did not threaten with hell or promise heaven."
· "Jesus did not ask us to believe that he would be raised from the dead."
· "Jesus did not ask us to believe that he was born of a virgin."
· "Jesus did not regard scripture as infallible or even inspired."

Notice: at the heart of his claims is that Jesus is not God. His claims also show you why it is important that we cling to the truth that Jesus is God. If he is not, Funk’s other points become valid, that he could not save us from our sins or promise us heaven based on his resurrection.


Now fast forward again to the last few years and the stir caused by the Da Vinci Code. Again there is nothing new in the premise of the book, but publicity from magazines and television have presented it as if it is a newly discovered truth, rather than a pot boiler based on the same old ideas.

In fact, the book seems to be, at a minimum, based on the theories of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail,written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, published in 1982 and popularized bya BBC TV documentary. It is not accepted by scholars as accurate. The Da Vinci Code, makes reference to this book, and uses several of the above claims as key plot elements. The writers of HBHG have attempted to sue Dan Brown for plagiarism, on the grounds that his book uses their research and at least one of the characters.

The book makes the claim that until the Council of Nicaea in 325, that the church viewed Jesus as a man and that the council changed the doctrine to state that Jesus was God. What the council did, however, was acknowledge that the view of Jesus presented by himself, the apostles and the early church was the deity of Christ, and that Arius had invented a false doctrine that must be condemned.

Jesus certainly claimed to be God, it was why the Jews had him killed.

The apostles presented Jesus as God.

Peter, immediately after the resurrection preaches that Jesus is both Lord and Christ (see Acts 2:36). The term “Lord” means deity or God. Peter was just repeated what Jesus taught him, as Jesus applied the same scripture to himself that Peter was preaching from, Psalms 110:1 (see Luke 20:41).

John clearly says “the Word was God” in the very first verse of his gospel.

Matthew records that the angel told Mary that Jesus fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah 7:14 in that he was “God with us” (1:25). He records Jesus’ power over nature, sickness and death. He records Jesus claiming to be Lord of the Sabbath (12:8). Jesus was transfigured before the 3 disciples. You could go through all the gospels and find examples. Paul also clearly presents Jesus as God.

The confession of the church from the beginning was Jesus is Lord. The word for lord is “kyrios”. The Greek translation of the Old Testament which we call the Septuagent (LXX) used Kyrios (kurios) for Yahweh, the tetragrammaton, the name of God the Father.

When Caesar decided to be worshipped, he was referred to as lord\kyrios. The confession was Caesar Kyrios. Jews would not make the confession, for they would not say Caesar was God the Father.

Christians applied the Greek term “Kyrios” to Jesus. They also would not confess Caesar Kyrios, on Kristos Kyrios. They died for it. It is an appalling disrespect for the Jesus Seminar Fellows to say these martyrs did not believe Jesus was God when they died for that very confession.
It is ludicrous for Dan Brown or Robert Funk to claim otherwise in light of the scripture. However, their influence is felt. In 1998, Jesus Seminar Fellow, Marcus Borg, spoke for three days at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Myers Park is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Myers Park Baptist Church education minister Bill Doles, in introducing Borg, said that Myers Park is "open to new light."
These ideas will never go away. They will come back again. If we do not learn and teach the truth, the church will be lead astray by false teaching.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH. I received this from the Oldest Daughter and thought I'd share it with you.


My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now timeto begin the reckoning.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are>some of the countries listed there.

The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening. Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China. I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York .

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil

Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now. We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we'll be drilling for oil in Alaska - which will take care of this country's oil needs for decades to come. If you're an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care. It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens.

Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, "darn>tootin." Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America.

To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget.

To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic. God bless America. Thank you and good night.
HOME FROM AGGIELAND. We finished our trip to College Station. The Baby registered for classes, got a post office box, participated in yell practice, and generally saw the campus.

The Little Woman and I took our picture under the Century Tree. The legend says if you kiss under the tree you will stay together forever. We did it in 1972 and it has held true so far.

We saw two families from our church there, also taking their daughters around. The Baby will have no problem having friends and contacts.

The College Daughter is supposed to make it home today before leaving for Europe to study abroad. Then the Baby will go to Canada for a mission trip. The Oldest is, of course, still up north performing for the summer.

My children lead exciting lives.

I am proud of them all.
NICE DOGGIE, DIE! DIE! Have you heard the news about PETA, the so called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Suffice it to say, I don’t think the animals will agree with their name.

Last week, two PETA employees were charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty each. They were discovered dumping the dead bodies of 18 animals. The employees had just obtained the animals from an animal shelter. Then, they found 13 more dead animals were found in a van registered to PETA. It turns out there have been a number of dead animals dumped in the area. PETA employees told people at the shelters they would find homes for the dogs and cats. I guess the really meant “eternal resting place”.

This has happened before, by the way. In 1991, PETA killed 18 rabbits and 14 roosters it rescued by breaking into a research facility. Why did they kill the animals? The same reason most ordinary people give for dumping pets. "We just don't have the money to care for them," said then PETA-Chairman Alex Pacheco. Reports filed with the State of Virginia show that PETA has killed more than 10,000 animals between 1998 and 2003.

In 2003, PETA “upped the ante”, killing in excess of 85 percent of the animals it took in. I guess this is what they use their $20 million budget for. Well, that and having billboards made of the Dixie Chicks posing nude.

It gets kind of grisly. Read this quote from PETA official Ingrid Newkirk about working in an animal shelter: "I would go to work early, before anyone got there, and I would just kill the animals myself. Because I couldn't stand to let them go through (other workers abusing the animals). I must have killed a thousand of them, sometimes dozens every day." It sounds like a horror movie doesn’t it? Oh, and this is the same woman who complained to Yasser Arafat because a terrorist killed a donkey while trying to kill people.

You might be comforted somewhat by this. Newkirk had herself sterilized. She opposing having children and feels the world would be better off without them. I think the animals might feel better off without Newkirk or her PETA friends.

I hope they don't ever decide to "help" me.

Monday, June 20, 2005

ANOTHER BAPTIST ON THE ROAD. I am wearing out the highway. Saturday, the Little Womand and I drove up to Camp Walk on Water in Oklahoma and retrieved the Baby. She has been there fore 2 weeks training to be a camp counselor. It is about a 4 hour drive. We picked her up and drove back. I got a Starbucks and worked on my sunday school lesson until 1:30 in the morning.

Today we drove down to College Station for New Student Conference. That's right: the Baby is becoming an Aggie.

I am blogging from my hotel room in the Hilton. The adverstised high speed internet. I brought the laptop and hooked it up with their handy dandy EZ Air Wireless Connection Device, and it works pretty well. The College Daughter met us and has taken the Baby for ice cream. We are going to dinner at the restaurant where the College Daughter works, taking the College Daughter's boyfriend and meeting the Baby's roommate and her mother as well.

The a\c is cranked up and the Little Woman is taking a nap. Her stomach was rebelling from lunch on the road. I'm praying the nap cures her.

Tomorrow we have meetings and activities all day, as we do on Wednesday. Then it is back to Cowtown.


Friday, June 17, 2005

CONVENTION BLOGGING III. The SBC is the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Of course, we do self report. The convention is the largest gathering of evangelical Christians in the world, not that we would ever brag about something like that.

There are zillions more Catholics in the U.S. than Baptists, but we are twice the size of our nearest competitor, I mean sister denomination.

What most of us realize is that, despite our lead in size, SBC growth is stagnant. Or, in laymen’s terms, we aren’t growing. Not only that, but we cannot find many of our members. They are on the rolls, but they have wandered off and we cannot find them.

SBC President Welch says the denomination is in the “doldrums”. In an amazing bit of candor and self awareness, Welch also said the denomination faces a challenge to determine whether it is on the right path. I do not think I ever heard the SBC leadership admit something could be wrong, especially with their leadership.

Of course, the first place every SBC President and leader goes when facing this lack of growth is evangelism. “If our convention will extend itself out toward the people — wherever they are — and emphasize the main thing, which is the spiritual good of them and their families and the good of the people around them, then the convention will rally to itself for the greater good,” he said." If you read that sentence carefully, you will see it does not really mean anything. But, I think he meant to say Southern Baptists need to be more evangelistic.

Welch did admit that the annual number of baptisms in the convention had been largely unchanged for decades. He finds this "a worrisome sign because baptism is “the first giant step in discipleship, a relationship with the Lord and Christ.” One of the problems might be that we almost never recruit disciples. We tell people to pray a prayer and they will avoid hell. I cannot remember an evangelistic sermon where the preacher said be a disciple. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I think we are.

“If this convention does not have a significant uplift, then it has every reason to pause and ask itself, ‘Do we have deeper problems than we realize?’” Welch states. He has made a renewal of evangelistic outreach the cornerstone of his administration. The problem with that approach is, evangelism has been the cornerstone of every SBC initiative for a long time. We promote it, we train people for it, and we make them feel guilty if they do not do it.

But they still do not do it. And that is what Welch should think about. Why are they not? And, did they ever?

I don't think they ever did. I know lots of old Baptists. Very few of them have been actively evangelistic. Most of the converts have been one in "revivals", crusades, Vacation Bible School, and special events. The problem is, many people today will not go to these special events to be confronted with the gospel.

So, President Welch has two problems he can chew on. First, realize the truth about evangelistic method and history. Second, consider that our theology of evangelism may just be wrong and may have been wrong for a long time. And now it is coming home to roost.

Welch was elected last year partly on a pledge to seek 1 million new baptisms. The SBC has never baptized even half that many people in a year. They won't this year either. Even if every Southern Baptist on the roll went out every Tuesday night all year long they would not baptize that many.

Welch also said “We are suffering because of good people doing good things at the exclusion of the main thing ... getting outside of the walls of the church and reconnecting in New Testament Jesus terms with the people of the world and meeting them at the point of their greatest need. That’s the greatest cry.” Here, President Welch, is part of your problem. The main thing is not evangelism. The main thing is worship. A people that do not worship will not evangelize, because they have no motivation. And, people will not be drawn to a church that does not worship, because it is just a motivation seminar for more witnesses.

Remember, if you are losing money selling widgets, selling them faster and harder won't make you more money. The SBC thinks if it does the thing that isn't working harder and harder, it will work.

I once heard it said that stupidity was doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting a different result. I don't want to be harsh, but the principle if worth noting.
TERRI SCHIAVO AGAIN. Although I said I could not bear to blog anymore on the Terri Schiavo tragedy, the release of her autopsy prompts me to comment further. Some people point out that the damage to her brain was irreversible, and are trumpeting that as justification for killing her by starving her to death.

They are missing the point.

We are all doing to die. That doesn't mean our "loved ones" can decide when or how. If so, I might have been history long ago.

Please note that the autopsy also says the frontal temporal and temporal poles and insular cortex demonstrated relative preservation. That means her cortex was still functioning and her brain may have been working in the area that controls higher level thinking. The damage was in the area that controls motor skills. It does not matter whether she could get better, but that she was alive.

Some think it is possible Terri was aware of everything being done to her. The neuropathologist whose assessment is included in the report, said there is no way of determining through an autopsy whether a person was in a persistent vegetative state.

The report also states that the examiner found no evidence to support Michael Schiavo's theory, frequently referred to as fact by the news media, that the collapse in February 1990 was caused by an eating disorder. The autopsy report states no one ever witnessed Schiavo binging and purging. Family members said she ate a big meal the evening prior to her collapse and was not in a position to secretly purge the meal.

Terri's family stated the autopsy report showed that "Terri was not terminal, that Terri had no living will, that Terri had a strong heart and that Terri was brutally dehydrated to death."

It's hard to argue with them.
CONVENTION BLOGGING II. I feel ever so much better. The Presbyterian Church in America annual meeting also considered a motion to take their children out of public school. They defeated it.
CONVENTION BLOGGING I. The Southern Baptist Convention is in session. It is almost as scary as the Texas Legislature.

The convention is composed of messengers sent by individual churches to meet and make decisions that much of the denomination will ignore completely. Southern Baptists believe in the autonomy of local congregations. Most Southern Baptists believe in the autonomy of individual believers.

Although the convention is composed of messengers that include clergy and laity, the convention is run by the clergy and for the clergy. Preachers hold all the leadership positions. The President is always a preacher and he appoints other preachers to all the important positions. Sometimes a board will have some lay persons on it, but never in large enough numbers to dilute the preacher vote.

This causes one of two reactions in lay people. The first group apprehensively waits for the convention to do something really embarrassing that gets trumpeted in the newspapers and that they have to explain to their friends. One example is the boycott of Disney, which most Americans see as the most family friendly organization around.

The boycott was largely ignored by Baptists, who continued to go to Disney World and go to see Disney films. I remember, in fact, being in a church committee meeting with a woman in the early years of the boycott, and she was wearing a Disney t-shirt. I pointed out the boycott and she was embarrassed that she did not think to wear a different shirt. She was not embarrassed that she went to Disney World with her kids.

The second group largely ignores the meeting and they ignore the resolutions that are passed, just like the Disney deal. A lot of people, especially women (who are in short supply in the denominational leadership), were upset when the convention modified the BAPTIST FAITH and MESSAGE to say women should submit to their husbands. They knew the Bible said it, but they hated to have it said out loud because some poor guy might think it applied to him and try to enforce it at home.

Practically speaking, it would be better to have men submit to their wives, because women attend church more and do most of the service work at church, even though they are not deacons, and could tell their husbands they had to help. However, pretty much everybody ignored it so it didn’t matter anyway, a lot like the convention in general.

This year the first big issue is public schools. Everyone knows the public school does not do much to further Christian principles, despite the hand wringing of the American Civil Liberties Union and other left wing bigots. They teach your kids evolution (at least as best they can; we have yet to have a teacher that could explain it or answer questions, except Dave Perry, who is a creationist.) They may give your kid a condom, tell them where to get an abortion, host a dance playing nasty music, urge them to accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle, and maybe even urge them to find their spirit guides.

Other than that, public school is a pretty good place, at least other than the violence, sex, drugs, and general hip hop culture.

So, wouldn’t you figure if the SBC did not like Disney, they would hate public school? Well, no, of course not. The President of the SBC, Bobby Welch, said it would be wrong for Southern Baptists to withdraw their children from public classrooms. When the President does not like a resolution, it is hard for it to get to the floor.

It is irrelevant, anyway. The masses are not going to pull their kids out of public school, because they cannot afford private school. (see discussion above about ignoring the resolutions.)
The messengers evidently will get to “debate” a resolution complaining of immorality in public schools. I put “debate” in parenthesis, because my guess is no one is going to get up and argue that public schools are bastions of morality.

Also, debates in the convention are pretty well orchestrated. If you are speaking against something the powers that be want, you will likely never be recognized. They have microphone stands that are numbered. You stand there, maybe even wave your arms, but no one calls on you. Ask Dr. Fred Malone if you don't believe me.

Meanwhile, Pastor Whosit or Dr. Whatsit gets recognized before he even hobbles down to the other microphone, and you wait for him to get there and make outrageous, ambiguous, or untrue statements you cannot rebut.

Then, everyone will worship together, or talk out in the hallway, and go out to dinner and eat very well.

More of this fair and balanced reporting later. See, it's my blog. I don't have to wait for the President to recognize me. Nah nah.
JESUS SEMINAR II. Go here to read about it. It's hilarious.
LAWYER JOKE. The Godfather finds out his bookkeeper has stolen $10 million. The bookkeeper is deaf, which the Godfather considered an asset as he could not be able to hear anything he'd have to testify t0 in court.

When the Godfather wents to shakedown the bookkeeper about his missing money, he brought his attorney, who knew sign language. The Godfather asked the bookkeeper: "Where is the 10 mill you embezzled from me?"

The attorney, using sign language, asked the bookkeeper where the 10 mil is hidden. The bookkeeper signed back: "I don't know what you are talking about."

The attorney told the Godfather: "He doesn't know what you're talking about." The Godfather pulled out a 9 mm pistol and put it to the bookkeeper's temple. He said: "Ask him again!"

The attorney signed to the bookkeeper: "He'll kill you for sure if you don't tell him!" The bookkeeper signed: "OK! You win! The money is in a brown briefcase, buried behind the shed in my cousin Enzo's backyard in Queens!"

The Godfather asked the attorney: "Well, what'd he say?"

The attorney replied: "He says you don't have the guts to pull the trigger!"

Thursday, June 16, 2005

DOING IT FOR MONEY. Jennifer Wilbanks, famous runaway bride, is making money off her flight from nuptials at the expense of her fiancé, her town, the police and the American public. She disappeared back in April, making it appear that she was kidnapped while jogging. You can imagine the anguish her parents and fiancé must have felt. People in her town went on searches to find her. The story was carried nationally.

If that was not bad enough, she called the police from New Mexico, claiming that she was abducted and sexually assaulted.

After putting all these people through all this trauma, she will accept a $500,000 deal to tell her story. We already knew she lacked empathy and conscience, now we know she lacks shame.

Prostitution comes in many forms.

Following close on her heals is Mark Felt, a\k\a Deep Throat, and his daughter. Felt ratted out President Nixon to reporters, not for conscience sake, but because he was passed over for promotion. (Felt was also disgraced later in his career with a criminal conviction. It will be interesting to see if the liberal hero worship that this book and movie are bound for will mention the conviction.)

Felt is more profitable than Wilbanks. He is getting $1 million. Since he is 91, one might speculate that his daughter will receive the profit from this secret.

Speaking of lack of character, is it not interesting that, although Bob Woodward protected Felt’s identity all these years, Felt did not even let Woodward break the story?

Money trumps loyalty and gratitude as much as it trumps shame.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

DEVOTED BUT IGNORANT. California Congressman Chris Cox has been nominated by President Bush to be the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cox says he is a devoted student of Ayn Rand. Ms. Rand, you might remember, is famous for her philosophy called "Objectivism" and for writing several long books, including Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

There is one problem, however. Mr. Cox admits he has never read one of Ms. Rand's books.
Cox, however, has never read a Rand novel.

Does this make you groan? This is what we have become: a place where you can claim to be a devoted student of or violently opposed to ideas you have not studied or even read. Ignorance has moved up from bliss to virtue.

Monday, June 13, 2005

HEALTH CARE BLOGGING. It's not as bad as you've been told. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that health care costs rose 7.5 percent in 2004. This is a big impovement over 2002, when costs rose 11.4.

The Bureau also reports that growth in costs for employers for health insurance has slowed. The cost per employee per hour worked is the unit of measurement. From March 2001 to March 2002, it rose 11 percent. From March 2002 to March 2004, it rose 9 percent per year. From March 2004 to December 2004, it rose 3 percent.
CALVINIST QUOTE OF THE DAY. That the Lord hath from eternity purposed within himself and decreed to manifest his own glory in the making and ruling of the world; that there is a counsel and purpose of his will which reaches all things, which have been, are now, or are to be after this. This is clear, for he works all things "according to the counsel of his own will." Hugh Binning.
CHINA FACTS I. With all the talk about how great China has become and how they are moving into the mainstream, I think I will look for some facts about China to share, as I do not think it is a good place to be. Here are the first ones.

There is no freedom of the press. Zhao Yan of the New York Times' Beijing bureau was arrested last September and has been held without trial ever since. China regularly shuts down access to parts of the Internet and keeps citizens from posting on blogs.

China promotes inaction by the U.N. on Darfur, where a genocide against Christians and other non-Muslims is occuring. China has 4,000 troops in Sudan, protecting its oil interests.

China protects Kim Jong-Il of North Korea and has turned him into an international threat, primarily to irritate the United States and Japan.

How warm and fuzzy do you feel now?

The hero of the Chinese government is Mao, the biggest mass murderer of all time. He killed ten times more people than Hitler.

China is the biggest international thief of copyrights and patents.
LAWYER JOKE. A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was
told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the Lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the
following reply (Actual letter):

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client's loan >application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title >back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows (actual letter):

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased, by the U.S. , from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France , which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella.

The good queen, Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus ' expedition. Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana

God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back, to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be Satisfactory.

Now, may we have our loan?"

The loan was approved.

I like this joke because the lawyer is not the butt of the joke, because it was told to me by my friend, Harold Samuels of Euless Tx, and because it covers government, law and religion. So, almost everyone can laugh at themselves or get offended.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

PEDOPHILE PRIESTS. The U.S. Roman Catholic Church has now paid out, or promised to pay, more than $1 billions, that's with a "b", for settlements relating to priests who are sexual predators and pedophiles. There have been 11,500 abuse claims against priests since 1950.

As high as that number is, it is still not the ceiling, as there are hundreds of unsettled claims still pending.

Last week, a diocese in Kentucky established a compensation fund of $120 million.

The guy that has always had the correct take on this is Thomas Doyle, who left his church career to represent victims. He warned the Catholic bishops way back in 1985 that costs would eventually exceed $1 billion, but the bishops did not believe him. One bishop even told him no one would ever sue the church. I guess he isn't from here. Americans will sue their own mothers, why wouldn't they sue someone who harbored child molesters?

Interestingly, Catholics have continued to give to the church. Although the number of givers has decreased, the amount given has remained stable. This just shows that Catholics, as most Christians, give because they believe it is their duty to do so, not because the people taking their money are worthy of it. Even with the giving, you cannot support $1 billion in extra costs and maintain things they way they were. Several dioceses are selling property, including Boston, where Cardinal Law created such a mess by trying to cover up the scandal. I guess he did not read "All The Presidents Men". Three dioceses have filed petitions in bankruptcy courts. Look for more to "follow suit".

Whoever thought there would be an organization called "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"? Still, the Church would suffer a greater public relations nightmare if plaintiffs would take the cases to trial. All the settlements have been reached before trial. If you think Michael Jackson is ruined, imagine having 10 trials per year where victims testify about sexual abuse from their priest.

Another scary thought is this: many victims of sexual assault, especially as children, do not sue because of the humiliation and the emotional trauma. So, it is likely that there are many victims out there who have not come forward.

Do not look for this to end any time soon.
Dr. David Heddle has posted my review of his new (and first) novel on his blog, He Lives, today. You can read it here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

CALVINIST QUOTE OF THE DAY. And surely, if the singing be tempered to that gravity which is fitting in the sight of God and the angels, it both lends dignity and grace to sacred actions and has the greatest value in kindling our hearts to a true zeal and eagerness to pray. Yet we should be very careful that our ears be not more attentive to the melody than our minds to the spiritual meaning of the words.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin put the words to one of my great concerns. It often seems as if the line between performance and worship is blurred in the church. The ovations come from the loudest music with the biggest ending. Singers emulate the mannerims of pop and rock performers. Musicians and writers use contemporary formats under the argument that more people will listen if it sounds like radio rather than church.

I think there is a lot of good modern music that is worshipful. But the danger should be realized, rather than dismissed, and precautions should be taken.
Now that John Kerry's Yale transcript is floating around, the hilarious truth emerges that, in addition to his being a lackluster student, his best subject was, of course, FRENCH!! I knew it, I just knew it!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Boston Globe is claiming that John Kerry has turned over a complete set of his service records, including the form 180 he refused to release during the campaign. You have to wonder why he would release it now and if he really released it all. First word from the BG is that there is nothing much new in there. If so, why did he not release them during the campaign?

Monday, June 06, 2005

CALVINIST QUOTE OF THE DAY. He died to teach us believingly and boldly to submit to death. He was buried, to teach us not overmuch to fear a grave. He rose a again to conquer death for us, and to assure those who rise to newness of life, that they shall be raised at last by his power unto glory; and being made partakers of the first resurrection, the second death shall have no power over them. He lives as our head, that we might live by him; and that he might assure all those that are here risen with him, and seek first the things that are above, that though in themselves they are dead, "yet their life is hid with Christ in God; and when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory." Richard Baxter
FOLLOW THE MONEY. Mark Felt evidently took his own advice. He allegedly gave that advice to Bob Woodward during his investigation of the Watergate scandal. Felt, now 91, has decided to cash in on his secret.

His daughter, Joan Felt, 61, seems to play a role in this also. She evidently persuaded her father to reveal his secret identity as Deep Throat.

Joan now lives with her father in Santa Rosa, Calif., and has for the past 13 years. Joan said
"There were many reasons why we decided to do it. I won't deny that to make money is one of them."

Saturday, June 04, 2005


1:1-2 (Greeting)

This greeting is from the servants\slaves to the saints. The servants are Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ. Paul saw imself as belonging completely to Christ in body, mind and spirit and was subject to him in everything. The saints, literally the set apart ones, are the believers in Philippi. They are set apart by God to live holy lives and proclaim God’s glory. See 1 Peter 2:9

Paul specifically greets the overseers and the deacons. Both words are plural, indicating the church had more than one of each. The word translated “overseer” is “episkopos”, meaning a watchman, one who watches over the congregation. In Acts 20:28, for example, the overseers are told to keep watch over themselves and the flock. 1 Timothy 3:2 gives us the qualifications of the overseer.

It appears to be synonymous with “presbyteros”, translated as “elder” in Titus 1:5. . Titus 1:5-7 gives a similar list of qualifications for the elder. And Paul switches to “episkopos” or overseer in verse 7. “Presbyteros” also seems to mean “old man”. Some translate the word as “bishop”.

1 Peter 5:1,2 instructs elders to be shepherds of the flock.

This duty is to be modeled on Christ, who is called the shepherd and overseer of your souls.

The deacons are those who are commissioned to care for the temporal concerns. That is why we refer to those men chosen to serve in Acts 6:1-6 as deacons, although the passage itself does not call them that. It does use the word “serve” when it says “serve tables”. 1 Timothy 3:8-13 lists the qualifications of the deacon.

1:3-11 (Prayer For The Philippians)

Paul’s prayer reveals his affection and his concern for the Philippians. Paul prays for their love, their knowledge, and their righteousness. This is a list of what he prays for:

1. Paul thanks God for them every time he remembers them (v.3);
2. He prays with joy because of their partnership with him in the gospel and because God is working in their lives (v.4-5);
3. He prays that their love will abound more and more (v.9), that it will abound with knowledge and depth of insight (love and knowledge going hand in hand); the result of that will be that they are able to discern what is best, that they will be pure and blameless (without offense) until the day of Christ (the reason he died for us – Ephesians 5:25-27), and filled with the fruit of righteousness (the righteous life; or good works) that comes through Christ. This will all result in glory and praise to the Father, which is the ultimate goal.

Verse 6 teaches us that God will work in our lives until the end. That process of sanctification will produce knowledge, insight\discernment, resulting in holiness and righteousness, all of which glorify the Father.

Psalm 138:8 says “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever.”

1 Corinthians 1:8 says He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1:12-18 (Advancing The Gospel)

The Philippians might have thought the cause of Christ had suffered a setback because Paul was imprisoned. This could have been due to the fact that, when Paul was in prison in Philippi, God delivered him miraculously by an earthquake. You can read about that in Acts 16:16-28. But Paul said the opposite was true; he imprisonment was serving to advance the Gospel. This happened in two ways.

First, the imperial guard and everyone else knew that Paul was in chains for Christ. Paul could not have penetrated the guard and the royal household with the gospel if he were a free man. They would not have allowed him in. But God had him brought right into Caesar’s special guards, where he witnessed for Christ. Philippians 4:22 says “all the saints send you greetings, especially those of Caesar’s household.”

Paul was living the truth of Romans 8:28. We are often tempted to despair because what we can see indicates things are not going well, but God is always working to accomplish his purpose. Jesus told us this in John 5:17 and we must have faith in him to do it. Remember how Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph suffered, but God used it to accomplish his purpose.

Second, others stepped up to breach boldly because of Paul’s example. There were those who acted out of rivalry, but it sill resulted in the preaching of the gospel. Paul is not bothered by their motive, he just rejoices in the proclamation of the gospel.

1:19-20 (Paul’s Deliverance)

Paul also rejoiced because his imprisonment will result in his deliverance, through their prayers and the help of the Holy Spirit. I do not think he meant deliverance from prison, although many do, but deliverance from failure. His only goal is that he will not be ashamed, that he will not fail to honor Christ in his circumstances. He wants to honor Christ in his body, whether he lives or dies. Whether he is set free, or imprisoned, or tortured, or killed, he wants to suffer it in a way that honors Christ.

1:21-26 (Living or Dying)

Paul knows there is a chance he will be executed. As Paul looks at whether he will live or die, he is torn between the two in deciding which is best. For he feels that to die is to his gain, as he said in verse 21. he would depart and be with Christ, which is far better.

Two points are worth noting here. First, Paul tells us that, at death, we go to be with Christ. Our body may go into the grave, but our spirit goes immediately to be with the Lord. The second thing is, Paul has such an intense and personal relationship with the Lord that he wants to be with him. He does not see Heaven as an abstract concept. He does not see salvation as just avoiding Hell. Rather, he has this desire to be with Christ in person and to enjoy his fellowship and presence.

Paul concluded that it was better to remain and work with the Philippians in fruitful labor. He would help them with their progress in the faith and cause them to rejoice that God had allowed him to come to them again. For him, to live is Christ. It is his reason for living.

Let’s think a moment about death and what it is. We are told in Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” So, man had a body and a spirit given by God. When man sinned, God decreed death for the body, so the body and the spirit would be separated. In Genesis 3:19, he said you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Solomon acknowledged this in Ecclesiastes 12:7, when he said the dust returns to the ground it came from and the spirit returns to God who gave it. In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul refers to being away from the body and at home with the Lord. There is no soul sleep and no purgatory. Jesus himself, in Luke 16:22, spoke of one who died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side, in a place separated from Hell by a great chasm that cannot be crossed. In Luke 23:43, he told the criminal on the cross he would be in Paradise with him that day.

I think Hebrews 12:22-24 tells us what that would be like. It says “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

1:27-30 (Worthy of the Gospel)

Paul exhorts them to live a life worth of the gospel whether he is with them or not. This manner of life looks like this:
1. they are standing firm, not waving in faith or doctrine;
2. they are united, of one spirit, striving side by side;
3. they are not frightened by their opponents;
4. they are granted the privilege of suffering for Christ; and
5. they are engaged in the conflict with the forces of evil.

Paul continually exhorted others to live worthy of the gospel and of Christ. He said this in Ephesians 4:1 and Colossians 1:10. In Romans 12:1, he said to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. How we live is important. We must live to bring glory to God and to demonstrate the life changing grace Christ brought to us. This includes standing firm, so that we do not fall and bring disgrace to Christ. It works better when we do it together, striving in one Spirit rather than in dissention. We do not side on the sideline, but get engaged in the battle, even knowing we may be called on to suffer. Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 5:11 that we are blessed when we are persecuted. In Acts 5:41, the disciples rejoiced that they had been counted worth of suffering disgrace for the Name. 1 Peter 4:13-14 says “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, s that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

Paul said their courage in the face of persecution was a sign that their persecutors would be destroyed, but they will be saved.

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us of the battle and God’s equipping to fight it.

Friday, June 03, 2005

CALVINIST QUOTE OF THE DAY. "Christ all in all? Then if we have an interest in Him, it should satisfy and content us though we have nothing or though we are nothing. Why? Because if we have Christ we have all. Though you lack parts, friends, estates, outward comforts, know Christ is to be your all, and is He not enough? As He said, Am I not better to thee than ten sons? So Christ says to the soul, "What do you lack? You lack this comfort and the other comfort, but am I not all in all to you, and better than all?" Yea, be willing to be made nothing, for all is made up in Christ." Jeremiah Burroughs

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Muslims are still killing Muslims. In Kandahar, Afghanistan, an Arab suicide bomber set off a bom inside a mosque during a funeral. At least 20 people were killed and 42 people were wounded. Blood and body parts covered a wide area.

The bomber was a member of al-Qaida and the Taliban, although the Taliban have denied responsibility for the bombing. The bomb was set off near where the Muslim attendees remove their shoes before praying. No word yet that Muslims around the world will protest and riot as they did when the U. S. was accused of mishandling the Koran. I wonder if any copies of the Koran were destroyed or damaged by the blast.
"I've tried to lift France out of the mud. But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I can't prevent the French from being French." Charles de Gaulle.