Sunday, April 30, 2006

Impending 'Da Vinci Code' Movie Release Spurs Religious Debate

I'm speaking on this topic tonight. Interesting and relevant, amazing how people will believe any old conspiracy theory, or that everything is a conspiracy theory!

A line from Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" tells you why it's easily the most disputed religious novel of all time: "Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false."

With 46 million copies in print, "Da Vinci" has long been a headache for Christian scholars and historians, who are worried about the influence on the faith from a single source they regard as wrong-headed. Read More.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Why will men drive around lost for hours instead of just stopping and asking for directions? P.O.’d Wife

From the evangelical outpost.

Dear POW,
When I took my vows as an advice columnist I swore to always tell the truth. So while I’ll probably get in trouble for letting you in on our secret, I have to be completely honest: We're not really directionless, we’re just pretending to be lost.

The suprising truth is that we just drive around in circles acting confused because we know how much this behavior infuriates women. Admittedly, it’s ridiculously passive-aggressive. But it’s also a lot more fun that you could imagine. When we pass the same gas station for the thirteenth time and mutter, “Well, it’s got to be around here somewhere…” we do it just to see the look on your face. That pained, frustrated expression you make when you’re trying to keep from losing your last fingerhold on sanity is priceless.

The best part of the experience, though, is when we get together with other men and compare stories about how our wife's head almost exploded while we were pretending to search for a street address. Somehow when we’re pulling this stunt we retain the ability to be completely stoical and straight faced. Yet when we share this tale with our buddies we start giggling like Japanese schoolgirls.

It's a biological fact that all men are born with innate sense of direction; we couldn’t get lost if we tried. What makes it even funnier is that we often confess to having this ability and yet no woman ever believes us! That is why we are able to pass on this lark down to our sons, and generation after generation, women fall for it every time.

MP536: The Spiritual Journey of U2

This is a class being taught at Fuller Theological Seminary (my alma mater) Sounds really interesting.


Friday, April 28, 2006


A definition, courtesy of the

Arminianism was developed from the writings of Jacobus Arminius (1559-1609). Known as “the quiet Dutchman”, Arminius’ writings emphasize free will, and subsequent Arminian theologians developed a five-point rebuttal of Calvinism’s TULIP (but without the nifty flower acronym):

Natural Ability (the Imago Dei is marred but not obliterated; however, humanity is dependent of the Holy Spirit for new birth)

Election (based on God’s foreknowledge of who would respond with free will to the Gospel)

Unlimited Atonement (salvation is available to all, but effective only for those who respond)

Prevenient Grace (preparatory work of the Holy Spirit enabling humanity to respond to the Gospel), and

Conditional Perseverance (believers are empowered for victorious life, but are capable of turning from grace and losing salvation)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hardball With Jed Clampett

There is much wisdom coming out of Beverly Hills.

Here for the interview!

Kids-4-Gas: Trade Your Nagging Brat For A Full Tank

For those who are struggling to fill up the old suburban.

LOS ANGELES -- Since local gas stations began accepting children as payment for a month's worth of gas last Saturday, thousands of enthusiastic moms have already dumped off their annoying kids at the pump and took off to the mall with tanks full of gas. The new Kids-4-Gas program, successfully introduced by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is meant to ease the burden on poor families while simultaneously fix most logistical problems related to overpopulation. Read More.

"I'm not a racist, but..."

This article describes much of the antisemitism that is going around today. You would think people would learn. You have those who hate Jews, or Muslims, Blacks, Whites, Christians etc. You name it someone hates it. May those who hate experience the peace of Christ.

The suggestion that jews control the world by proxy - particularly by manipulating the media and by secretly directing the policies of other countries - is a widespread, and racist conspiracy theory with a long history. It is a view which is very much alive, on the far right and the far left, and - indeed - the far green.

To take a recent example Abdurrahman Jafar, the RESPECT Mayoral candidate, claimed yesterday in the Muslim Weekly, that Tony Blair had lied about "how Israel has been formulating and directing UK and US foreign policy". Read More.

Sickening Incompetence:The World Bank needs to clean up its act when it comes to preventing malaria.

Malaria is a scourge in Africa. Many of the students I taught would tell me how many times they would catch it. A huge problem is that many people are mal nourished and in poor health so when they catch malaria it kills them. It can be eradicated, and should by using DDT.

The World Bank is publishing inaccurate data to save face rather than face up to its failure to control malaria. Worse still, it is promoting ineffective treatments in India, resulting in the death of an unknown number of children. The Bank is incapable of disease control work and it should leave the field to more competent agencies.

In the 20th century, malaria all but vanished from the developed world. Chloroquine and DDT helped eradicate the disease in North America and Europe, and brought it to a nadir worldwide. In Africa and parts of South Asia and South America, however, the effort was thwarted by lack of basic infrastructure. Today, sub-Saharan Africa is home to 90 percent of reported cases. Read More.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

World Christian Trends 2005

Very informative.

The starting point for a clear assessment of where the church is in the world is to make sense of the enormous amount of information collected by churches every year. Read More.

Gasoline Price History

This puts the recent price of gas in perspective.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Fatah, Hamas at loggerheads

It is possible that we may be witnessing the beginning of a Palestinian civil war.


Ephesians Study Notes

These notes are quite good.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Humanitarian Argument For Border Closure

Interesting, this is at Captains Quarters. Raises a perspective I hadn't really thought of before.

While conservatives argue for closing the southern border and enforcing the law to deport illegal immigrants, our opposition argues for a supposedly more humane approach of either completely open borders or the granting of amnesty to the twelve million who have already come to the US. That argument wins on the basis of understandable sympathy for poor people who want to escape crushing poverty in their native land, primarily Mexico; it makes the conservative argument sound heartless and cruel.

But is it really? An e-mail I received this evening from Eusebia Flores at Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas in Guerrero, Mexico argues the exact opposite -- that the lure of American dollars literally subsidizes the abandonment of Mexico and families by the men who could otherwise have helped transform the destitute Mexican economy:

Dear friends in the United States....

We are Mexican women from villages in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero.

Our brothers and husbands have left us for work in the US.

We strongly support closing the US-Mexico border to illegal entry.

We did not want our men to leave and we want them to return to us.

As we struggle as women, against the difficulty of our situation, we focus all effort on building a business to sustain ourselves and our children.

But we need the help of our husbands and our brothers to re-unite our families and to help us develop economic opportunity in the traditional fashion jewelry production industry that is the heritage of our parents.

Please close the US Border to illegal migration and send our men home to us. Thank you.

Best wishes from Mexico to all persons of good will.

We should continue to be friends and respect each other.


Eusebia Flores
Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas
Tecalpulco, Municipio de Taxco de Alarcon; Guerrero, Mexico

Read More.

Leniency for 'ignorant' woman who hurt baby

The relativizing of culture: An extreme case.

A BANGLADESHI woman who shook a baby boy so violently that he suffered brain damage walked free from court yesterday because a judge conceded that she did not know how to behave in the West.

Rahella Khanom, 24, caused the five-month-old boy in her care to suffer fractures to his breast bone and ribs as she tried to rid him of evil spirits, Southwark Crown Court was told. Read More.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Moo Tube

For those who insist on the most cutting edge tech.

Moo Tube

Hamas seeks closure of Kalkilya YMCA

Hamas wants to impose its own brand of sharia law and seperate itself from evil elements. So they now would like to close down that evil "christian" organization the YMCA.

Islamic religious leaders in this city have signed a petition calling on the new Hamas cabinet to shut down the local YMCA under the pretext that it is involved in "missionary activities." The Hamas-controlled municipality has expressed its support for the call. Read More.

Another victory in the centuries-long struggle against bigotry and oppression

Thank goodness this insensitive name was thwarted!

Another victory in the centuries-long struggle against bigotry and oppression can be celebrated today, as "community leaders" - led by Simba Tongogara (pictured) - have forced capitalist land developers in Bristol to abandon an appallingly racist name that had, with incredible insensitivity, been chosen for a local shopping centre.

After much consideration, and fully cognizant of the risk of deeply disturbing readers, the Daily Ablution has decided to reproduce the revolting designation in full - not from a sense of sensationalism, or in order to offend, but to illustrate the extent to which the racism that permeates all levels of today's society continues to fester. While discussion of such matters may be unpleasant at times, it is only in educating ourselves - emancipating ourselves from mental slavery, as it were - that the problem can be overcome.

Unbelievably, the shopping centre was to be called Merchants Quarter. Read More.

Origin of the terms "Emerging" and "Emergent" church

For enquiring minds:


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What Muslims Hear at Friday Prayers


Is there really a clash of the cultures between Islam and the West? SPIEGEL documents Friday sermons from mosques around the world. As imams guide their congregations, they praise the delights of paradise, sow the seeds of doubt in government authority -- and sometimes preach hatred. Read More.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal

If you would like to know what the middle east is like on the ground Totten is a thoroughly enjoyable read.


Mexico Harsh to Undocumented Migrants

This puts things in perspective, apparently the US isn't actually all bad and harsh.

Considered felons by the government, these migrants fear detention, rape and robbery. Police and soldiers hunt them down at railroads, bus stations and fleabag hotels. Sometimes they are deported; more often officers simply take their money.

While migrants in the United States have held huge demonstrations in recent weeks, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Central Americans in Mexico suffer mostly in silence.

And though Mexico demands humane treatment for its citizens who migrate to the U.S., regardless of their legal status, Mexico provides few protections for migrants on its own soil. The issue simply isn't on the country's political agenda, perhaps because migrants make up only 0.5 percent of the population, or about 500,000 people - compared with 12 percent in the United States.

The level of brutality Central American migrants face in Mexico was apparent Monday, when police conducting a raid for undocumented migrants near a rail yard outside Mexico City shot to death a local man, apparently because his dark skin and work clothes made officers think he was a migrant. Read More.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The frightening truth of why Iran wants a bomb

This article will give you pause. Fortunately God is in control, still frightening, however.

Last Monday, just before he announced that Iran had gatecrashed "the nuclear club", President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disappeared for several hours. He was having a khalvat (tête-à-tête) with the Hidden Imam, the 12th and last of the imams of Shiism who went into "grand occultation" in 941.

According to Shia lore, the Imam is a messianic figure who, although in hiding, remains the true Sovereign of the World. In every generation, the Imam chooses 36 men, (and, for obvious reasons, no women) naming them the owtad or "nails", whose presence, hammered into mankind's existence, prevents the universe from "falling off". Although the "nails" are not known to common mortals, it is, at times, possible to identify one thanks to his deeds. It is on that basis that some of Ahmad-inejad's more passionate admirers insist that he is a "nail", a claim he has not discouraged. For example, he has claimed that last September, as he addressed the United Nations' General Assembly in New York, the "Hidden Imam drenched the place in a sweet light".

Last year, it was after another khalvat that Ahmadinejad announced his intention to stand for president. Now, he boasts that the Imam gave him the presidency for a single task: provoking a "clash of civilisations" in which the Muslim world, led by Iran, takes on the "infidel" West, led by the United States, and defeats it in a slow but prolonged contest that, in military jargon, sounds like a low intensity, asymmetrical war. Read More.

Iran suicide bombers ‘ready to hit Britain’

In Islam to die a martyr in jihad is the only sure way to get to Paradise (heaven) thus no shortage of martyr volunteers. This is a religious war that is being fought, it is the aim of Islam to rule the world because it is mandated by the Koran. On the flip side Muslims that are already in western countries are often the only one's that can be evangelized, and many are finding Christ. Bottom line, there is no room for hatred in the Christian's heart, we must pray for Muslims everywhere that they will know Christ.

IRAN has formed battalions of suicide bombers to strike at British and American targets if the nation’s nuclear sites are attacked. According to Iranian officials, 40,000 trained suicide bombers are ready for action.

The main force, named the Special Unit of Martyr Seekers in the Revolutionary Guards, was first seen last month when members marched in a military parade, dressed in olive-green uniforms with explosive packs around their waists and detonators held high.

Dr Hassan Abbasi, head of the Centre for Doctrinal Strategic Studies in the Revolutionary Guards, said in a speech that 29 western targets had been identified: “We are ready to attack American and British sensitive points if they attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.” He added that some of them were “quite close” to the Iranian border in Iraq. Read More.

Demonstrations on Immigration Harden a Divide

Very, very interesting:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 14 — Al and Diane Kitlica have not paid close attention to the immigration debate in Congress. But when more than 100,000 mostly Hispanic demonstrators marched through Phoenix this week, the Kitlicas noticed.

Representative J. D. Hayworth, Republican of Arizona, said he had seen "an incredible backlash" to the immigration demonstrations.

"I was outraged," Ms. Kitlica told J. D. Hayworth, the Republican who is her congressman, as she and her husband stopped him for 20 minutes while he was on a walk through their suburban neighborhood to complain to him about the issue.

"You want to stay here and get an education, get benefits, and you still want to say 'Viva Mexico'? It was a slap in the face," Ms. Kitlica said, adding that illegal immigrants were straining the Mesa public school where she teaches. Read More.

Free Speech?

It's interesting that free speech is desirable for most people unless they disagree with the message. This is a classic example.

University Prepares Response to Abortion Display Vandalism, Prof to Retire:

Officials at Northern Kentucky University are preparing an official statement to faculty and students at the college in response to a professor and her students vandalizing a pro-life display meant to oppose abortion. Meanwhile the professor involved is slated to retire in a few weeks.

Last week, NKU British literature professor Sally Jacobsen and several of her students destroyed a display of hundreds of crosses pro-life students have put up in the grass outside the student center to talk about the 47 million unborn babies who have been killed via abortion. Read More.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

He is Risen!

Matthew 28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

Persecution update

Courtesy of Momentum magazine:
This is a really good resource for those interested in missions.

Worsening: Belarus is ruled by Soviet-style totalitarian
dictator, Aleksandr Lukashenko. Popularly elected in 1994,
he has since then maintained his grip on power through
propaganda, repression, fraud and violence. In late 2002
Belarus adopted the most repressive Religion Law in all Europe.
Unregistered religious groups are illegal, and registration
is severely restrictive. In 2003 Lukashenko decreed that
his Soviet-style official Belarusian ideology must be taught
across the nation to give Belarus ‘immunity’ from ‘infection’.
In October 2004, Lukashenko won a rigged referendum
that purportedly gave him both a mandate and the right to
amend the constitution and run for re-election in 2006. In
December 2005 the government passed an ‘urgent’ amendment
to the Criminal Code, making it illegal to ‘discredit
the Republic of Belarus’. It has been at great risk that reports
of systematic KGB-orchestrated religious persecution
have continued to leak out of Belarus. (WEA)
Denied Identity Card: When Chinese house church
historian Zhang Yinan applied for a passport in order to
attend a prayer breakfast in Washington this month, he was
harassed and arrested. After his release, Lushan County
Police Bureau retained his personal documents and prayer
journals, refused, accusing him of overthrowing the government
and claiming to study the journals for evidence.
Escaped: Active Christian leader for several years in a
large Chinese city until 2004 – first in the state controlled
Three Self Patriotic Movement church, then in an unregistered
house church—was monitored, chased and harassed.
He finally tired of being on the run and is now an applicant
for political asylum in a Western country. Even now, it is too
dangerous to reveal his name.
Won: Two young Coptic Christian women whose father
had converted to Islam when they were infants have won a
court battle in Egypt to retain their official religious identity
as Christians.
New hearing: Egyptian sheikh Bahaa el-Din Ahmed
Hussein Mohammed El-Akkad was arrested on April 6,
2005 but has yet to be officially charged. Imprisoned for
11 months, his fate was to be decided at a court hearing on
February 19. “In all of his interrogations, they are accusing
him of saying things against the prophet Mohammad, or the
Quran, or the prophet’s friends,” his lawyer commented.

The Left, Online and Outraged

The WaPo profiles very angry left wing bloggers. Their views don't make me so much angry, though I usually disagree with them, as sad for them. What must it be like to live with so much bitterness? I sincerely hope that they can overcome their anger. They need Christ. For those reading who are Christians, never let anger take root, it will destroy you. And for those who don't know Jesus, He will help you to overcome your bitterness and anger. He doesn't want anyone to live that way.

In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day. Read More.

Iran issues stark military warning to United States


Iran said it could defeat any American military action over its controversial nuclear drive, in one of the Islamic regime's boldest challenges yet to the United States.

"You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it," said General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the head of the Revolutionary Guards and among the regime's most powerful figures.

"The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error," he told reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian conference in Tehran. Read More.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Anger, confusion run high after Delhi blasts

Just talking about violence. Here's more from the other side. Amazing.

As the twin blasts set off utter chaos and a near-stampede situation in the historic Jama Masjid complex in New Delhi on Friday, what emerged unmistakably from the incidents were bewilderment and anger against the perpetrators of the attack.

Angry devotees inside the mosque and others, who rushed to the spot from nearby areas shouted 'Allah Ho Akbar' (God is Great) as they sought vengeance against perpetrators of the blasts at the 17th century monument. Read More.

Christian killed in knife raids on Egypt churches

It's interesting that the Copts, who have been in Egypt for centuries are now facing persecution. Violence seems to be spreading out all over. Where's this going to end? How is this going to impact the Church? I don't know. At the same time I see this as an opportunity for the church to expand into areas where we aren't allowed to go. If we believe that Jesus is for everyone than we believe that the church will be able to reach those who don't truly know Him.

Attackers armed with knives went on the rampage in three Coptic churches in Egypt's second city of Alexandria today, killing one worshipper and injuring at least a dozen more.

The assailants, each armed with two knives, are believed to have slashed randomly at Christians attending Friday Mass in the simultaneous attacks. Police later said they had arrested three men.

The attacks triggered clashes between Christians and Muslims in the Sidi Bishr district, the site of the Saints Church where at least ten people were injured, two seriously.

Police said three people were wounded at the nearby Mari Girgis (St. George) Church, and four attacked at a church in Abu Qir, several miles to the east.

"The attacker stormed the church armed with a knife and shouted ’There is no God but Allah’ and ’Allah is the greatest’ before stabbing the worshippers," one of the Marie Girgis church employees told an AFP reporter at the scene. Read More.

Oriana Fallaci Has Enrolled in the Society of Jesus

Very interesting article concerning Islam and the Catholic Church.

One of the four topics considered by Benedict XVI and the cardinals during their day “of reflection and prayer” at the last consistory, on March 23, was Islam.

Or, more precisely: “the position of the Catholic Church, and of the Holy See, in the face of Islam today.”

The discussion was held in private, but some of the cardinals afterward remarked that much more concern was shown than in the past over the challenge that Islam presents to Christianity and the West, and that there was general agreement with Benedict XVI’s energetic opposition to terrorism and the violation of religious liberty. Read More.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Row over 'crucifix' protest

This is amazing, thought I had heard at least most of it. PETA plans to symbolically crucify activists to protest eating meat. Can you imagine if they were protesting Muslims and not Christians?

A row erupted on Thursday over plans by animal protectionists to symbolically "crucify" three activists with animal masks in a Good Friday protest outside Vienna's St Stephan's Cathedral.

The militant pro-animal group PETA said the activists would be suspended from crosses with crowns of thorns on their heads.

The slogan of the protest action would be "We suffer and die for your sins of nourishment." Read More.

Via Crucis Grid Blog: Station 10- Jesus is stripped of his garments

After experiencing many Easters as a Christian, I still struggle to fathom the love of God. That the Father would let His Son be sacraficed, and that the Son would willingly do the will of the Father is, to me, incredible.

As we contemplate what Christ did for us, may we be able to impact others for Him.

"Jesus arrives at Golgotha. The soldiers take away the cross-beam from his shoulders and neck. Jesus is relieved from this weight. He stands there motionless. Everyone around him is doing his job. He just waits. They move around.

Jesus looks up and sees the two thieves already in their place. They are screaming with pain. He looks down again and, keeping his eyes fixed to the ground, awaits his turn. Suddenly the soldiers came. He knew it was his time.

They took off his clothes. They threw them in a heap nearby. Jesus is again humiliated. He stands there almost naked. The bloodstained body showed to all those present the bruises and the open wounds of the lashes. He started shivering. The northerly breeze was chilling his sweating body.

They had placed the cross-beam on the ground in front of him, while the soldiers were debating what to do with his garments: "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." (Jn 19,24) This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing"(Ps 22,18). So this is what the soldiers did.

And Jesus lifting up his eyes to heaven repeated the prayer: "But you, O Lord, be not far off! O my Strength, come quickly to help me!" (Ps 22,19)."

More stations of the cross at Via Crucis.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Via Crucis Grid Blog: His Third Fall

Courtesy of The Way of the Cross.

Station 9

He is almost there. Breathless and speechless, Jesus moves on. Every now and then he is pushed by the guarding soldiers. Every now and then someone shouts out from the crowd. They are already there.

They had prepared the necessary tools for the crucifixion. He can already hear the screams of the two other prisoners who had left the fortress with him. They are crucifying them.

The soldiers are running around keeping the people at bay. Others are guarding the northern side of Calvary lest someone might fall in the garden below. The Jewish guards and the members of the Sanhedrin together with some elders of the people are there too. They wanted to make sure that this impostor gets what he merits.

And again he stumbles. They laugh at him and mock him. The soldiers push him. But he does not give up.

He rises again, steadies himself, walks the last metres separating him from his final destination - the Place of the Skull - Golgotha (Jn 19,17) and softly prays: "The Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Ps. 27,1-4)

A Prayer

Dear Jesus, here I am wondering what has happened to all those with whom you had shared your life during the ministry. I am wondering why Peter denied you, why Judas betrayed you, why all the others left you, except for John. I am wondering why Peter had to hear the cock's crow to realise he was mistaken. Was it not enough to hear your voice warning him?

And while Judas despaired, Peter repented. Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, looking at your disciples I realize how weak I happen to be and how many a time I left you too, sometimes acting cowardly like Peter to avoid risking my "reputation". Other times I went even further and betrayed your love!

All this, Lord, you carried on your shoulders to help me rise again. Please Lord, fill my heart with strength so that whenever I feel like falling I realize you want me to stand upright in your path!

More Via Crucis stations

The Arguments Against Striking Iran


Read Here

Climate of Fear

I love a good contrarian article. Here's one on global warming.

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes? Read More.

Easter Life and the Facts of History

By Doug Groothuis:

Easter commemorates and celebrates a historical event unlike any other: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But what is the significance of the resurrection? Can we know that it really happened? Read More.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

when is 'community' community?

When is community, community? This is a question I have been grappling with. The New Testament seems to take the concept of community for granted (see Acts). What makes community authentic today? One area is when we can come to the realization that relationships are more important than being correct. We must also come to an understanding that we are not the most important person (aspects of servant hood). Others can actually be more important than "I" or "me."

It's my firm belief that the concept of family needs to re-enter our vocabulary of the church and community. Until this happens i believe authentic christianity will remain elusive.

Malcolm Chamberlain has an interesting take on community, here.

Sharia in Netherlands?

A Dutch think tank doesn't seem to mind the concept of Sharia law in the Netherlands. Amazing.

An unjustified fear of and aversion to Islam exists in the Netherlands. Instead of continuing to drag the name of that faith through the mud, there should be far more criticism of friendly countries such as the US, Israel and Russia, the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) concludes. Read More.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Global Warming

This is a hot button issue. To be honest I am not sure what to think on this issue. We do know that the earth has warmed up several times and cooled off. Are we experiencing global warming? Al Gore thinks so and of course he also invented the internet. This article is a contrarian piece that caught my eye.

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Read More.

Beauty of the Trinity

"The Trinity is beautiful.

By common consent, great is the beauty of holiness. God himself is that beauty than which nothing greater can be desired, to give Anselm’s “maximal being theology” an aesthetic spin. Because God, unlike creatures, is not compounded of separable parts, he does not have a beauty with which to be beautified. Rather God simply is the beauty which he has." Read More.

"The Genetic Bonds Between Kurds and Jews"

And now for a lesson in genetics...

In 2001, a team of Israeli, German, and Indian scientists discovered that the majority of Jews around the world are closely related to the Kurdish people -- more closely than they are to the Semitic-speaking Arabs or any other population that was tested. Read More.

How Best to Speak About the Authority of Scriptures in our Times -

For those who are familiar the innerrency debate has been raging since the turn of the 19th century. While it is not as vociferous as it once was it is still with us. The problem we face today is that it answers questions that are no longer being asked. How to deal with this? I'm not sure, but this article raises some interesting points.

I consider the “inerrancy” of Scripture discussion tacky. It brings up “old debates” like dirty laundry that have little applicability to the issues we confront in today’s culture. It is tired, overworked and well-worn conversation. Yet it continues to raise ire … among us evangelicals ... even the emerging churches. More.

Christian Coalition shrinks as debt grows

Looks like the Christian coalition is in real financial trouble. Read.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

National Geographic's Gospel of Judas Special

This blog comments on the national geographic special and finds a few problems.

I've been watching National Geographic's special on the Gospel of Judas (see here for my first post with links to all sorts of information on this work). I'm trying to catalogue all the unscholarly things they've been saying. I think I missed at least one, but there's plenty here to criticize. More.

The Judas Gospel (Another Article)

Suppose that sometime around the year 3,800 A.D., someone wrote a newspaper that began: "According to a recently-discovered document, which appears to have been written sometime before 1926, Benedict Arnold did not attempt to betray George Washington and the American cause, as is commonly believed. Rather, Benedict Arnold was acting at the request of George Washington, because Washington wanted Arnold to help him create a dictatorship of the proletariat and the abolition of private property." More.

Sudan Refuses to Stop Attacks

We are witnessing extreme suffering, and no one seems to want to intervene. Another Rwanda anyone?

April 9, 2006: The continuing raids by Sudanese tribesmen have sent over 50,000 Chad civilians fleeing from their villages. Some of the Sudanese raiders belong to tribes with branches in Chad. Same thing with the victims. Like Sudan, Chad has tribes that consider themselves Arab, while others consider themselves just African. There has always been animosity between the two groups, although intermarriage, rape and slavery have resulted in both groups looking much alike, and sharing languages and customs. More.

Muslims Muzzling Memphis

Very interesting. BTW this is in Memphis Tennessee not Egypt.

Universities, for those of us who lecture on campuses, are the battleground for the heart and soul of the next generation of leaders. They are the battleground where we must fight to win back the opinions and allegiance of American college students. This is made harder when Islamists in both the college and local communities try to intimidate us and deny our free speech on campuses in some of the least likely places. Read More.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Gospel of Judas -- A Special Report

This is the best article on the Judas issue I have read. This "gospel" is very interesting for our understanding of 2nd century gnosticism but is irrelevant for our understanding of Jesus and his relationship with Judas. If you would like to download and english translation click here.

The Gospel of Judas is a portion of a centuries-old codex (book) written in Coptic (an ancient Egyptian language). Included in this codex are other documents known to be Gnostic. This suggests that the contents of the Gospel of Judas may well be Gnostic, an assumption confirmed by the evidence of the text.

The Gospel of Judas does not claim to be a firsthand account by Judas. He is not the narrator, but a chief participant, along with Jesus. The other disciples appear in this gospel. That are insignificant and in fact condemned by Jesus Himself.

The Gospel of Judas, in an earlier form than we have it now, was known among second-century orthodox Christians. Irenaeus of Lyons, who wrote an influential refutation of what he considered to be heretical Christian ideas, said this in Against Heresies. Read the Whole Thing.

Update: Found another good article here.

You used to be one: A theology-based policy for immigration

Very interesting article concerning a very emotional issue.

If evangelical Christians in America don't get with it pretty soon on the subject of immigration, they may well end up as embarrassed and impotent as Republicans are in California when Hispanics happen to be in the room. Read More.

Bush 'is planning nuclear strikes on Iran's secret sites'

I have absolutely no idea if this is true, if so it is scary. To be honest I don't know how this can be handled. It's quite frightening how the middle east situation has become so explosive.

The Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran, to prevent it acquiring its own atomic warheads, claims an investigative writer with high-level Pentagon and intelligence contacts.

President George W Bush is said to be so alarmed by the threat of Iran's hard-line leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, that privately he refers to him as "the new Hitler", says Seymour Hersh, who broke the story of the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. Read More.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What to listen on an Ipod

This is why I don't want an Ipod.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More About The Gospel of Judas

More on Judas.

For several weeks now, t
he National Geographic Society has been touting a TV special on 'The Gospel of Judas.' Today, the society has revealed the text of a second-century papyrus copy of the document. As described in a New York Times article, the Gospel of Judas is 26-pages in length and a Coptic translation from the Greek in which it's thought to have originally been written about one-century before. More.

Via Crucis 2006

This coming Sunday April 9th, will be the start of a worldwide blogging effort to mark the Stations of the Cross. If you’d like to be part of this event by posting a devotion or two during Holy Week, check in at Via Crucis 2006. I am going to be blogging on April 13th. The two stations I will be commenting on are: (9) His third fall and (10) He is stripped of His garments. Hope everyone takes a look at all of the blogs, it should be very inspirational.

Canadian Market Sizzling Over Hot Pepper Nasal Spray

Those who know me, know I love spicy food. Little did I realize how verastile chili peppers are!

Albany, NY (PRWEB) March 13, 2006 -- When “Sinus Buster” hot pepper nasal spray was first introduced to Canadian consumers in mid 2005, it became an instant hit. Within 6 months, Sinus Buster went from retail obscurity to being featured on the shelves of more than 300 stores throughout Canada. SiCap Industries, the company that manufactures Sinus Buster claims their unique product is well on its way to becoming the number one sinus & headache product in Canada. Read More.

Biblical Expert: Gospel of Judas Probably Bunk

This puts this text in context.

An expert on ancient Egyptian texts is predicting that the "Gospel of Judas" — a manuscript from early Christian times that's nearing release amid widespread interest from scholars — will be a dud in terms of learning anything new about Judas.

James M. Robinson, America's leading expert on such ancient religious texts from Egypt, predicts in a new book that the text won't offer any insights into the disciple who betrayed Jesus. His reason: While it's old, it's not old enough.

"Does it go back to Judas? No," Robinson told The Associated Press on Thursday. More.

Ancient Manuscript Suggests Jesus Asked Judas to Betray Him

Interesting. This is a gnostic text. Keep in mind that there many texts that purport to be written by different apostles, and obviously weren't. This type of literature is called pseudapigrapha, and means something that is claimed to be written by someone (in this case judas) but is not. In other words we shouldn't pay much attenton to it except in how it helps us understand the gnostics and what they believed.

An ancient manuscript rediscovered after 1,700 years may shed new light on the relationship between Jesus and Judas, the disciple who betrayed him.

Rather than the traitor Judas is portrayed as in the New Testament, this document — the "Gospel of Judas" — indicates that he acted at the request of Jesus to help him shed his earthly body. Read More.

Join In

Really neat idea on observing the passion week.

Holy Week observances , which this year begin on 9 April 2006 and end on 15 April 2006, originated in Jerusalem in the earliest days of the Church, when devout people traveled to Jerusalem at Passover to reenact the events of the week leading up to ehat we now know as the Resurrection. I'd like to invite you to be part of a grid blog during this year's Holy Week, using our blogs to reenact, relive, and participate in the steps of Jesus Christ through what our many traditions have called the Via Crucis - the Stations of the Cross. Read More.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lincoln’s Five-Legged Dog:

Very interesting article concerning "gay marriage." Is it in fact a marriage at all. The evangelical outpost weighs in and says no. I would further argue that marriage between a man and woman is ontological, in other words it is an aspect of our being. I believe that the two cleaving to become one cannot be dismissed easily. Never mind whether I consider homosexuality a sin or not it cannot be accepted on ontological grounds, an aspect of what we are being male and female.

In this way I agree with the article, just calling something a marriage, don't make it so!

Abraham Lincoln was fond of asking, “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” “Five,” his audience would invariably answer. “No,” he would politely respond,” the correct answer is four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.”

Like Lincoln’s associates, many of our fellow citizens appear to fall for the notion that a change of name causes a change in essence. A prime example is the attempt to change the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions. Simply calling such relationships “gay marriages”, they believe, will actually make them “marriages.” Such reasoning, however, is as flawed as thinking that changing “tail” to “leg” changes the function of the appendage.

In order to understand whether marriage can be legitimately redefined by the government we must first understand its relation to the state. Fortunately, we only have two options to choose from. Marriage is either an institution that has an existence and autonomy apart from the state or it’s a construct that only comes into being after being created by positive law.

If marriage is autonomous and separate from the state--the common view for the past 5,000 years--then the government cannot simply define the term in any way it chooses. Because the two institutions stand apart, they can decide whether to recognize the legitimacy of the other but they cannot delineate each others boundaries. In this way, the relationship is similar to nation-states. The U.S. government, for example, can decide to “recognize” the state of Israel but it cannot redefine the country in a way that contracts its border to exclude the Gaza Strip. The U.S. either recognizes Israel as it defines itself or it rejects its legitimacy altogether.

Whether they would articulate it this way, I suspect this is what most Americans mean when they claim that the government does not have the right to redefine marriage. The fact that such an argument even needs to be made shows how degraded and confused both language and law have become.

But what if marriage is a social construct that is created by the state? If we assume this is true then we must admit that the state has the right to change and redefine the meaning of marriage in any way it chooses. Naturally, this would be good news for gay marriage advocates. It is also be welcome news for polygamists and those in incestuous relationships. After all, if the government is allowed to expand the definition in order not to discriminate against homosexuals, then it should not exclude other groups either.

Gay marriage advocates, however, bristle at the idea that polygamists should have the same “rights” that they seek for homosexuals. While they lobby for a redefinition of marriage, they want to do so in a way that includes same-sex unions but will still exclude other minority interests that they themselves do not recognize as legitimate. Their reasons for closing the marriage gate behind them are remarkably similar to the ones given by their opposition. Unfortunately, the irony of their “bigotry” appears to be lost on them.

Naturally, it would take a radical reinterpretation of both history and law to draw the conclusion that marriage is solely a creation of the state. But if such a view is espoused then it opens other areas for possible reinterpretation. Can I as a blue-eyed, light skinned Caucasian petition the government to “redefine” my race in order to take advantage of affirmative action programs? If not, then what would be the argument against such a redefinition? If the boundaries of marriage can be stretched then shouldn’t other institutions be open as well?

And why should the government have sole control over the lexicon? Why shouldn’t the common man -- like me -- be able to redefine words in whatever way we choose? Think of the possibilities! I could call my dog’s tail a leg, take him to the dog track, and make a fortune by winning every race. No matter how fast the other dogs ran they wouldn’t be able to keep up with my five-legged canine.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Not doing well

A movie I absolutely will not see is Basic Instinct 2. It's nice to see that it is not doing to well.

At the box office this weekend, Ice Age 2 clobbered Basic Instinct 2 hauling in $70 million dollars, compared with less than $3 million for the Sharon Stone movie. One film is about a prehistoric creature’s struggle to survive and find love, the other is the animated sequel to the movie Ice Age.

Islam's Imperial Dreams

This article looks at the historical roots of Islam and its underpinnings. Conclusion? Islam is imperialistic.

When satirical depictions of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper sparked a worldwide wave of Muslim violence early this year, observers naturally focused on the wanton destruction of Western embassies, businesses, and other institutions. Less attention was paid to the words that often accompanied the riots--words with ominous historical echoes. "Hurry up and apologize to our nation, because if you do not, you will regret it," declared Khaled Mash'al, the leader of Hamas, fresh from the Islamist group's sweeping victory in the Palestinian elections:

This is because our nation is progressing and is victorious. . . . By Allah, you will be defeated. . . . Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing. Apologize today, before remorse will do you no good. Read More.

Inside the "Religious Right"

Very interesting article on the religious right.

I would like to give some perspective on the "Religious Right" for FP and any of his readers that might care. I have found that few people really understand the "Religious Right" or even try to.

I am sure that I am going to open myself up for some criticism of my past experiences but they are what they are and I want to be as honest as possible. I am probably as qualified as any to give an analysis of the "Religious Right". Read the rest.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Climate theology and its exponents

This article puts global warming in perspective.

"There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically," begins the April 28, 1975, Newsweek article reprinted today on the opposite page. But this wasn't a prediction of global warming. A new Ice Age worried Newsweek and its reporter, Peter Gwynne. Read More.

Apostates from Islam

Another interesting article on what happens to muslim apostates. Religion of peace indeed.

THE NEWS THAT, DESPITE the Afghan parliament's last-minute attempts to prevent him from leaving, Abdul Rahman has been given asylum in Italy has drawn a global sigh of relief. But now is not the time to forget the issue. The case of Rahman--an Afghan Christian tried for the capital crime of apostasy--is not the only one, even in Afghanistan, and is unusual only in that, for once, the world paid attention and demanded his release. But there are untold numbers in similar situations that the world is ignoring. Read More.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Another piece of Limoge that I found. To me this is stunning.

The golden era of Limoge was from 1880 till about 1937. Limoge is still manufactured today but it is not of the same quality.

A U2 Eucharist?! Why Not?

OK, this ought to get some people hopping, good and bad, concerning music in worship.

Any Christian who has ever been to a U2 show can tell you it can be one of the most worshipful experiences of your life. Something about hearing 20,000 people sing the 40th psalm together really changes how you look at things. Read More.

Must say I am also a huge U2 fan. Though I am not so sure about this.
Any thoughts?