Monday, November 30, 2009

The bad business of Planned Parenthood is explained at Inside Catholic. This non-profit corporate conglomerate made a profit of $85 million.

Shouldn't it be called Planned Childlessness?

Note the part about "medical abortions" at home. I guess their new slogan will be "Planned Parenthood: We'll Come to You and Kill Your Baby for you."
View from the space station. I'd love to say I took the picture for you on my last trip.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Chinese government is persecuting and harassing churches. Here is the story of one church.

Each month the Texas Bar Journal, the magazine for lawyers not bartenders, published a column called TECHGEAR. It features a lawyer and his or her favorite tech items and websites. This month featured Roslyn R. Tippet, a sole practitioner in Coppell. One of her favorites is: The Pioneer Woman. It is clearly oriented toward women, but she is a good writer and her story of meeting her husband is very good. Joanna, I think you will really like it. try it out.
Tim Challies interviews scientist Edgar Andrews.
There is an interesting article in Humanities about General Lew Wallace, the author of Ben-Hur.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fox News ran an interesting story on its website about the feud between the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and several RCC politicians over the issue of abortion in health care reform legislation. The story evidently originated with the Associated Press.

The spark for the latest skirmish is Bishop Thomas Tobin’s request that Rep. Patrick Kennedy (yes, of that Kennedy clan) not to receive Holy Communion because of he supports for abortion rights, which the RCC opposes.

The interesting part to me is that the story reveals in a microcosm the religious thinking of so many Americans.

Tobin is the orthodox believer in absolute truth. He believes in the historic RCC faith and the right of the church to discipline those who stray from it. He feels this is a vital moral issue that is directly impacted by the theology and belief of the RCC. One woman of a group of people interviewed to comment, agreed. She said "If you're going to be a Catholic, be a Catholic.”

However, the Postmodern theology was also represented. One man said "If they believe they're a true Catholic, who's to say that they're not?" In other words, I can believe what I want and call myself what I want and know can refute that, even the leaders of my church. This is my truth (or in this case, Patrick Kennedy’s truth) and it is as valid as yours despite the fact that you are a bishop. Kennedy has in fact said his disagreement with the church hierarchy does not make him any less of a Catholic. That is tantamount to saying the RCC cannot define the terms of its own faith or religion, which certainly is not the position of the RCC. Maybe Kennedy should become a Baptist.

Postmodernism has infected most denominations. Many in the SBC who profess to believe in “soul competency” really believe in the Postmodern concept of defining your own truth with there being no absolute truth to know.

One of the strongest elements in American Christianity is Pragmatism. That is, go with what works, whether or not it is theologically sound. This element was also well represented in the story. For example, Michael Sean Winters, who wrote "Left At The Altar: How the Democrats Lost the Catholics and How the Catholics Can Save the Democrats," was quoted as saying he opposes abortion, but bishops are not making “appropriate distinctions when penalizing people over abortion”. In simple terms, the Bishops should only penalize the really bad people, not the politicians (pause for snickering). He noted a difference between an abortion doctor and a politician who wants to legalize abortion. The better comparison here would be a politician who wants to tax people to pay for other people’s abortions as part of mandatory health care legislation. Abortion is already legal and the legality of it is not the issue in this current debate. But, the basis of his point is that you can support abortion as long as you do not perform the actual surgery without being culpable. That, of course, is nonsense. If politicians do not make abortion legal, abortion doctors cannot legally and profitably perform a million or so of them annually.

Nonetheless, you see his Pragmatism. His position is yes, abortion is wrong, but as long as I do not personally touch it, it should not hamper my ability to succeed in my job, which happens to be politics.

Another quoted Pragmatist was former Democratic New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. He is a Catholic. Yet, he supported abortion rights. He gave an interesting speech back in 1984 to the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic institution, and took a supremely Pragmatist view of the moral issue. He maintained that Catholic politicians should not be pressured by the RCC, their own church, to support work for anti-abortion laws. Why? Because, of the political consequences, namely, pro-abortion folks would not vote for Catholics because they know the politicians would live out their religious convictions and vote according to Catholic dogma. In other words, if you had to vote according you your professed faith, you might lose an election, and that is too much cost to pay for your beliefs. That, my friend, is Pragmatism. Belief must take the back seat if there are consequences.

Of course, you realize the problem here. These politicians are not true Catholics in the sense of belief. If you believe abortion is wrong, you believe life begins at conception and killing life is murder, you cannot support it even if it means you have to give up being a hog at the trough.

I am glad the RCC bishops are growing a spine, even if not complete. If faith means anything, it must be lived out in daily life no matter what your job. As James 2:26 says, faith without works is dead.

And you know where a dead gets you.
PSALM 24: Prelude to Worship

This Psalm deals with the Lord coming to his Tabernacle. It may have been written when David brought the ark to Jerusalem, or in later commemoration of it. It then deals with what kind of person may come into the Lord's presence and worship him and receive his blessing.

Verse 1 says the earth belongs to the LORD. He owns it. It is his. Every thing in the earth and every one who lives in it is his. They are his possession.

Why does he own it? Verse 2 tells us. It is because (or "for" in this verse) he made it. "Founded" and "established" are metaphors for beginning a city or building a building. The Bible often speaks of the foundations of the world. For example, Psalm 102:25 says "In the beginning, you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands." The writer of Hebrews quotes this verse in Hebrews 1:10. So, the "foundations" means the beginning, the time of creation.

God’s creation of the world is an important concept in Scripture. Genesis 1:1 begins the whole Bible with the statement that God made the heavens and the earth. It then proceeds to show us that God created all things on the earth and all of the things in the heavens. As we discussed before, "heavens" means the sky and space, not just "Heaven" where God dwells. The God we worship is the Creator.

So, the one who makes it owns it. Deuteronomy 10:14 says "Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth and all that is in it." In Job 41:11, God said "Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole of heaven is mine." Paul even uses this argument when he writes about election in Romans 9:20: "But, who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

The implication here is that, since God created us and therefore owns us, he is to be worshipped and he determines who may come to worship him.

Verses 3-6, then deal with the issue of who may come into God's presence and worship. David asked the question, who may ascend the hill of the Lord or who may stand in his holy place. He alludes to the tabernacle here. David brought the ark to Jerusalem and made a tent for it there on the hill. (2 Samuel 6). To go to the tabernacle, you had to ascend the hill of the Lord. To stand in the holy place, in the tabernacle, you had to be clean. He specifically addresses clean hands, a pure heart, and a soul not given to idol worship. You see a very similar approach here to Psalm 15, which asked who could dwell in the sanctuary.

"Hands", "head" and "heart" are often named in the Bible but are actually representative of other things. Here, "clean hands" does not refer to washing, but to actions that are right. If you steal something, you do not have clean hands. A "pure heart" does not mean one with no plaque in the arteries, but a person of pure motives. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said "blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God". This means you come to truly worship, not to be respected or to look good or to socialize with your friends or to make business connections or to look for clients. Thus, the one who could come to the tabernacle was one who had not acted sinfully, one who was not coming out of improper motives. Also, one could not worship idols. God commanded that only he be worshipped.

We can see that the one who could come into God's presence in the tabernacle had to be holy. We know God is holy and cannot tolerate sin in his presence. (That is Isaiah's vision of Christ in Isaiah 6.) Verses 5-6 tell us this person will receive a blessing from God, worshipping God and being in God's presence.

Verses 7-10 are the herald's cry of the coming of the Lord's presence to the city of Jerusalem. This may have meant the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem by David. We know the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle according to Exodus 40:34. The gates to the city of Jerusalem are opened so the Lord may come in. He is referred to as the "king of glory". He is strong and mighty in battle. He has led Israel to victory over Egypt, over the Canaanites and all who oppose them. He is the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Hosts, who is sovereign over all the powers of the universe.

The covenant people, Israel here, have the great privilege of worship in the presence of the Lord Almighty. But they must be holy to come into his presence. Not every one in Israel qualified. This was acted out in the Old Testament by the sacrifices which cleansed of sin. Before the High Priest could come into the holy place, he had to be purified. The people all came offering sacrifices for sin.

Of course, by this time in our journey through the Old Testament, you know I am going to look for Christ in the passage. I did and I found him.

The New Testament tells us the world was made by Christ and for Christ. John 1:3 is well known for this: "All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." Paul gives a great explanation of this in Colossians 1:16-17: "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether throne or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him." They were all created for him, to bring him glory. He took part in creation and it all belongs to him. All will bow before him one day for this reason. He is entitled to be worshipped.

Those who worship God receive the blessing of his presence. Where does Christ dwell today? He is with us when we gather as his body. Who gets to come into his presence? Does the sinner? No, just as in this Psalm, it is the one who is clean and the one who worships no other god. If we believe in Christ, we are clean. We are not clean because we have been perfect, but because he has cleaned us. Even more accurately, he has declared us clean and he has imputed his cleanness to us.

We believe in Jesus not only as savior, but as Lord, and as the only Lord. David said the worshipper could not lift up his soul to what is false. God commanded that there we have no other gods (Exodus 20:3). Jesus said loving God with all of our being is the greatest commandment. This principle has not changed from Old Testament to New Testament. We cannot worship the gods of self, money, success, power or pleasure. See what Paul tells Timothy about this in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Some believe this Psalm to apply to the ascension of Christ into heaven. For those who observe the liturgical calendar, such as Catholics and Anglicans, this Psalms often read on Ascension Day or Ascension Sunday. However, since it deals with those men and women who will come into his presence to worship him, I would apply it to his second coming. He will come as king and will be worshipped. Revelation 21 shows the holy city coming down out of heaven and says the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people. This is the blessing of his presence. The tabernacle and the temple are types of this presence of God with man, they foreshadow it.

This chapter goes on to say who will not be there, who is not clean. Revelation 21:8 says "But for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderer, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

Receive Christ and place your trust in him. Then you can sing with David and welcome the return of the King.

Friday, November 20, 2009

G.K. Chesterton, "I had always felt life first a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller."

"The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein;
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers."
Psalm 24

God made the earth. He made it and he owns it. He may do with it what he will. The same goes for those live on the earth. They are his and he has and claims the right to do with them as he will.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanks to Joanna at Grace in the Home, for voting my blog as “over the top”. Most people would say it is “out there”. Joanna is a very nice and very talented person. I am not sure what "over the top" means, but, since Joanna is very nice, I assume it is a good thing.

The price for the vote is to answer questions. I am terrible at this. I either lie because I want to look good, or give funny answers to entertain, or over think the questions and get seriously conflicted over the best answer and therefore do not answer at all. But I will, for once, try to be cooperative. Here are my answers.

* Where is your cell phone? Briefcase
» Your hair? short
» Your mother? In Wichita Falls
» Your father? dead
» Your favorite food? Whatever is in front of me at the time
» Your dream last night? none
» Your favorite drink? Coffee
» Your dream/goal? Write a book
» What room are you in? office
» Your hobby? Reading and discussing theology
» Your fear? Failure of any sort
» Where do you want to be in 6 years? Don’t know, don't care
» Where were you last night? Diet class, grocery store, & home
» Something that you aren’t? good
» Muffins? Banana nut if I ate muffins (which I do not)
» Wish list item? Trip to Breckinridge Colorado
» Where did you grow up? All over
» Last thing you did? Proof read Claire’s book review
» What are you wearing? Suit
» Your TV? Forensic shows
» Your pets? Wife’s “free” dog
» Friends? Generous, gracious, better than I deserve
» Your life? In yet another transition phase
» Your mood? restless
» Missing someone? Yes
» Vehicle? sedan
» Something you’re not wearing? My wedding ring (too big)
» Your favorite store? Gift shop in the glass factory in Louisville Ky
» Your favorite color? black
» When was the last time you laughed? At lunch
» Last time you cried? last Monday night at a prayer meeting
» Your best friend? Other than my wife? David Jacks.
» One place that you go to over and over? Starbucks
» One person who emails you regularly? David Jacks
» Favorite place to eat? Spiral Diner (not to be confused with Viral Diner)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Even the Washington Post has reservations about the cost of Obamacare. Today’s paper runs an editorial by Robert Samuelson that captures the problem succinctly.

Here is the home run:

"The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he's doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both."


The Little Woman and The Baby headed out for Mississippi this week end. The Baby’s in-laws had a wedding shower for her. I stayed home with the dog.

The Boys were in the house!

The Baby left on Thursday, anxious to spend some time with her Intended. The Little Woman left Saturday morning. We had a moment. She did not want to leave and I did not want her to. We spent 5 minutes in a “swaying hug” in the kitchen saying good-bye.

I know that, when everyone is gone, I will camp out with a book or in front of the television all day if I do not get going. So, I headed out to do errands. It takes so much time just to do a few and it makes me more tired than working out.

First, I met some guys at church for a walk around the neighborhood looking for mission projects. Then we had coffee and talked about it all for a while. I took clothes to the cleaners. Who knew I had so many shirts?

Then, it was off to Target. I bought a red microwave the TLW had her eye on. We gave the one in the kitchen to the Baby and her Intended for their apartment. I hope it fits. It is old and about the size of a Toyota Yaris, but not as sleek.

I found the microwave and they had several boxes of the red ones. I wrangled it into the shopping cart and made for checkout. The checker said “oh, you got the red one!” I explained it was for TLW. She thought I was sweet. So, I carted it to the car feeling like a really sweet guy. I hope TLW likes it. It heats my diet dinner just fine.

Next, I needed to take food to a friend who has had surgery. It was actually for his daughter, Adrian, who was at home studying. TLW had made a chicken pot pie, having gone to the trouble to ask Adrian what she liked. What a gal. She also made bread dough for me to finish. Guess what? Bread dough is really gooey, if that is a word. I was a little freaked out by how gooey it was and how much it stuck to my hands.

I put a bunch of flower on a board and dumped the dough on it. After rolling the dough around to get floured, I cut it into 3 pieces and rolled them until they were as long as the baking stone. Then, I braided the 3 into one. That is scriptural, no? A cord of three strands…

After baking, I had 2 really nice braided loaves. Now I felt not only sweet, but really domestic. Larry Thompson: sweet and domestic.

No, I am not furnishing towels for you to wipe the coffee off your monitor. Control yourself.

I took them over and had a visit with Adrian. I resisted saying “Yo, Adrian” when she came to the door.

As it turns out, Adrian can talk as much as I can, which is saying a lot (pardon the pun).

Then, it was off to pick up the Actress daughter who is appearing in Sweeney Todd. I took her to dinner at Pei Wei in Montgomery Plaza and we had a good time. We, of course, finished off at Starbucks, right there in the Plaza, also.

Finally, it was back home for Bible study, getting ready to teach Psalm 23 at Sunday School. Whew. Somewhere around midnight I nodded off.

Sunday was teaching. Then a great worship service with an emphasis on heaven. After church, I spent some time talking to Jeff and Jessica about Sweeney Todd, which they had seen the night before. They are both very literate about theater and music. It made me appreciate the talent of the Actress even more.

At home, I used my culinary skills to heat a diet dinner for one minute in the new, very red, microwave. Afteward, I sat down and patted the dog and fell fast asleep for about 3 hours! This is why I should not sit down when I am alone. I only woke up because it started raining.

I cleaned up the kitchen, did the laundry and picked up so it would not look like bachelor father when TLW came home.

Oh, and I put the seat down.
We don't have anything like this in Fort Worth.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I heard this today:

"A wise person learns from others' mistakes, but a foolish man says he must make his own."

and thought about how we make the same mistakes over and over in every generation.

Learn from the wisdom of the Bible. Learn from history. Learn from those older than you. They are not infallible, but they have been through it. When you have been through a situation, you have a perspective that one without experience cannot have.

Our politicians would be wise to heed this advice. Our church leaders should as well.

Well, all of us, then.

watch this rather chilling video from CNN of British Muslims (Arabs living in London) who demand that England become a Muslim state and turn Buckingham Palace into a mosque.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Tim Challies is sex blogging. And doing a good job of it. His wife is co-blogging. It is worth the read.

Monday, November 09, 2009


The U.S. House of Representatives passed a health care bill (everyone says "reform", but we'll see; I prefer Orwellian nightmare). It is charitably called the "Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009 (H.R. 3962)".

The vote was very close, 220-215.

Only one Republican, Rep. Joseph Cao of Louisiana, voted for the bill.

39 Democrats voted against the bill.

Representative Chet Edwards of Waco, Texas, was one of those. He said, "Given the huge federal deficits facing our nation, I believe there is too much new spending in this bill … I also have concerns about a government-run 'public option' insurance company and question whether this bill goes far enough in actually reducing health care costs for working families and businesses."

The process also showed that Roman Catholics are more influential in congress than Southern Baptists. The RCC favors universal health care and opposes abortion being part of it. They prevailed in both areas. The original bill included money to subsidize abortions, but an amendment to prohibit it, with some exceptions, passed 240-194. Otherwise, the bill would likely have failed.

The House says its bill will cover 96 percent of the nation's eligible population. It will cost $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It includes the controversial public option and will require employers to provide coverage. Many business owners are unhappy about this. I provided health insurance to my employees when I had my own business, at least after I realized its importance. I believe employers should try to do that, as group plans are cheaper than individual plans. Very small employers may just not be able to afford it.

Hospitals have actively lobbied for the bill, because it means revenue to them. Treating the uninsured and non-paying public is a big drain on every hospital's resources. People without insurance generally never pay a penny on their bill.

However, hospitals are now worried that the rates will be based on Medicare rates, which are very low. States are worried that the expanded eligibility for Medicaid
(150 percent of the federal poverty level) at a time when states are struggling with severe budget shortfalls.

Republicans in the senate do not intend to roll over. They say they will start from scratch, not using the House bill as a starting point. Even some moderate Democratic senator think the House bill is unacceptable.

This may take a while. Senators have repeatedly said they would not deliver a bill by the end of the year despite urging from the president. No floor debate has even been put on the calendar.

All of those with opposition to the House bill will intensify lobbying in the Senate. Abortion advocates will surely be all over the Senate, seeking to make taxpayers pay for abortions even if they oppose abortion. Those who think the whole thing is too expensive will also be noisy.

Democracy is messy even when it tilts toward socialism.

Friday, November 06, 2009

"For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine… He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death. When He was a man, He played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile."

Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos? (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1949), 4.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Democrats health care bill is now at 1,990 pages and growing. That is so typical it keeps the stereo type going. This will be so complicated and create so much bureuacracy it will make the European socialist governments look steam lined.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm Back

Last week, I went to visit the Seminary Daughter, who has blessed us with our first grand child, a beautiful daughter. We tried to help out, running errands, shopping, cooking meals and doing dishes. And, whenever possible, holding the baby. She is a cutie.

I have not thought much about blogging while this was going on. I thought a lot about my daughter and son-in-law and my grand daughter.

Then I came back and faced a mountain of work that piled up while I was gone. I wish the elves would do my work when I am away.

But, I am over the hump, now, and my mind is back into its normal restless gear, so I am sure blogging will resume.

But, it is nice to forget about politics and problems for a while. And what is more important than a new life coming into the world? I wonder if, when God created Adam and Eve, the angels peered at them with the same wonder with which we gazed at his sweet baby.

The world would likely be a better place if we all concentrated on the wonder of life and the miracle of children and the love of family, and less on money, power and fame.

May God grant you a week of joy in your relationships, whether family or friends.