Monday, December 31, 2007

washington's culture of corruption

6 democrats, 1 rino, 2 republicans, and 1 of unknown party.

via the right place

2007

the year in review: serious, and... not so much

link revamp

once again, i'm not satisfied with the arrangement of my blogroll, so i'll be rearranging it soon. hopefully the categories will be broadened to imply more equality and less hierarchy. also, some links that had 'fallen through the cracks' should be returning (no offense was intended if you happened to be de-linked), and the overall list will likely expand.

mo'HAM-mad in the Bible

Oddly, the fakir pig is mentioned in both Old and New Testament.

...and a thought-filled new year

though i would try to not use this blog's title in everyday conversation, this article raises some very good points (italics and bolds mine):
Christians are often scoffed at for their "fideistic" approach to origins. We are told we rely on Sunday School faith spoon-fed to us down through the generations. We argue for the existence of God based on our own misappropriation of biology and neuroscience, to name a couple of examples. We supplant "viable evidence" with our own ignorance that "such and such can't be the case without God", so we simply fill those "gaps" of ignorance with our magical formula: "God did it!"... or so that's what we're told.

Apparently we don't measure up to Atheistic Materialism's standard (a standard taken for granted and accepted as "self-evident"). They rely on the scientific method, logic, and sensory experience. "Clearly, all we are able to know is accessed through the physical world, therefore there is no reason to believe in the supernatural, right?

Sunday School's over, time to turn our brains on and evaluate our beliefs... and let's not get bamboozled in the process. Agreed?

"'Reason' is simply an intellectual tool, rather than an ultimate standard of knowledge, and as such will be affected by the regenerate or unregenerate condition of the man using it" -Greg Bahnsen, Van Til's Apologetic, pg 146

How many times have you been told by an unbeliever in the midst of an apologetic debate: "Let's be neutral"? As though taking a step back, breathing deeply, then exhaling will suddenly make things "neutral" and the unbeliever and Christian can get along epistemologically. The truth of the matter is that "neutrality" in the mind of an Atheistic Materialist is an assumed autonomy that is never argued for, merely accepted. Atheistic Materialists berate Christians for being irrational and demand we meet the standard of Rationality... as if Logic was supreme, above us and above God (if there is a God).

Reason is a method, not the standard of truth
. A way of identifying valid or invalid arguments or thinking processes. In the sense that it is a way of measuring, you can say it is "neutral" if you simply mean "objective"... but our use of it certainly is not neutral...

So when you run into an Atheistic Materialist who tells you that you're irrational, and that the impetus is on you to meet the standard of rationality, you need to recognize he means "you need to meet my standards of autonomy". He has certain beliefs about logic, about reasoning, and he utilizes his faculties in such a way that is controlled by other assumptions. No belief is held independent of another. Each belief is a principle networked among a web of others. We need to evaluate that "web". It should be a bit clearer now that our Atheistic Materialists are not being neutral. They are, in fact, demanding you follow their bias, so we can't simply argue brute facts (there's no such thing), and we can't discuss evidence as though everyone agrees about what constitutes evidence: We must evaluate the measure. Atheists don't go by evidence and Christian by faith (that is the so-called faith of irrationality we're accused of)... rather, Atheists reject a certain kind of evidence and adopt a different kind... whether or not their evidence is valid is determined by the validity of their measure for what constitutes evidence.

Yes, this is where we are talking at the presuppositional level.

Atheistic Materialists will appeal to science and logic. Do they have the foundation that makes their atheistic structure stable? What we need to ask is this: "Based on your assumptions about the world (origin of the universe by chance, life by chance) how is the scientific method intelligible?" We also need ask "If all there is is matter in motion, and we exist as a result of random chance, what makes logic intelligible?"

It is here that most Atheistic Materialists will start scratching their heads...

The scientific method also relies on the trustworthiness of our senses. I would like an explanation from an Atheistic Materialist on how it is that random collisions of chemicals produce "trustworthy" sense experience. Yet more often than not, something as basic as this is taken as a "given". When you get an Atheistic Materialist against the ropes on these issues (uniformity and the trustworthiness of our senses), he will say we can trust these things because we have always trusted them in the past... which is a major fallacy of begging the question. Perhaps our senses have "always worked in the past" because our faulty senses are telling us so. Atheistic Materialists don't have a foundation for making predictability intelligible, yet they use it... and then they project from past experience into the future and will take particular experiences and generalize that experience as though there is a connectedness with others... a connectedness that is inexplicable when you consider everything in the universe is a product of random collisions and chemical reactions... yet the Atheistic Materialist will trust that there is a connectedness, that there is predictability and all of this by relying on their senses during the whole process. It should be apparent that their underlying presupposition of chance doesn't provide them any reason for trusting their sensory experience. Likewise, the presupposition of chance doesn't afford them the blessing of uniformity and predictability.

How about logic? If we are simply matter in motion, what of logic? What determines rationality?

There are many Atheistic Materialists that will bemoan the Christian's belief in the immaterial, or spiritual. "To say something is immaterial", says the Atheistic Materialist, "is to say that thing is not anything. If it is something", he asks, "by what mechanism does the immaterial interact with our material brains?"

If reason is a byproduct of biological processes, is reason material? Some Atheistic Materialists would say "no" and others "yes". I would say on the one hand the Atheistic Materialist has a problem if logic is an immaterial byproduct because his worldview makes interaction between the material and the immaterial impossible. He might say that "supervenience" is the way in which logic and our brains interact, but that still leaves you with an amorphous non-substance that cannot *show* you how they interact. If it is a byproduct of biology, then logic ought not be generalized (i.e. universalized) by particular laws. Differing biology would produce different reactions, meaning logic isn't uniform, necessary, or universal. To apply a standard solely dependent on the individual's biology to the external world would be arbitrary...

It should be clear that Atheistic Materialism requires an illogical leap of faith for its zealots to conclude from chance, and matter in motion, that science and logic are intelligible consequents.

The Emperor is truly naked and his boisterous antics should make his nakedness all the more amusing. He makes great demands on others and parades himself about but we're too concerned about what nasty things he'll say to point out the obvious. His strong belief and, by God's common grace, ability to reason do not give credibility to his claims. Christians, stop giving Atheistic Materialists a pass on "neutral" items such as logic, evidence, and ethics. There are no gimmes here. If an atheist wants to prove his claims, he must make his claims intelligible.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

MCTA-ops

Spatula City BBS tells how the military might celebrate the holiday:
Re: General Claus' Visit

To: All Personnel

1. An official visit by MG Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December 20xx. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit:

a. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal command channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the office of OSURG, Veterinary Services.

b. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December 20xx. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from CIF prior to 1900 hours, 24 December 20xx.

c. Personnel will utilize standard ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. This item will be drawn from the servicing dining facility.

d. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit Safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December 20xx, ATTN: AEAGA-S, for approval.

e. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their beds to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. ODCSOPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference LO No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, 2 February 20xx, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. Division chiefs will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown prior to start of official clatter.

f. Prior to 2400, 24 December 20xx, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

g. ODCSLOG will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of MG Claus' driver who, in accordance with current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF-56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, on Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen."

2. MG Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 19 December 20xx, and issued on DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-In.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of division chiefs.

CHRISTOPHER K. RINGLE
Colonel, US
OIC, Special Services
(slightly edited)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas To All!

...and to all, tidings of a holiday blog slowdown. travelling will probably limit my internet access until new year's eve. so, to (yule)tide you over:


Excerpts from John 1:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it...

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name...

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John testified about Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'"

16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.

17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

don't forget *tags* for your presents!

When I started blogging, I didn't like the idea of tagging, but House of Eratosthenes has a nice seasonal one going and I'm feeling much less Scrooge-ish this year. Besides, who am I to resist another Rovian conspiracy?

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1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Wrapping if at all possible. See also "it's the thought that counts."

2. Real or artificial tree?
Real in theory, artificial in practice. Grandmother had always put up what I though must have been one of the first artificial trees ever made. It was probably from the late 40's - early 50's, and by the mid 90's it had started to shed "needles" half as bad as a real one.

3. When do you put up the tree?
No particular schedule. Never before Thanksgiving, at least once on Christmas eve.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Again no schedule. I think once it was down by Dec 23 because of travel plans, to as late as mid-January.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Taste is ok. There's no alcohol in the family households though.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Though I loved that dirt bike (think this 30 years ago) at the time, in retrospect it's a tie between the TS1000 and the TS2068 the following year.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. We used to have one of those open-one-tiny-window-each-day-of-december-thingys, but we can't find it now.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I've never ever liked sweaters, but despite being quite vocal on that point as a child, I was still given a couple of them - which were probably never worn.

9. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards?
Oops, that reminds me...

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Grinch (the animated 1966 version, NOT that jim carrey abomination).

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
As soon as I notice something suitable for someone on the list. I've bought something as early as March intended to be given away the next Christmas. But most of it kicks in about late November. This year I finished on Dec 21st.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
That's hard to narrow down. It's easy to say anything home-cooked, including Grandmama's -> Dad's dressing, turkey, pumpkin pie, Dad's chili or enchiladas,... the list goes on. Also, I'm a huge fan of macaroni & cheese (Skinner & Velveeta, not any of that boxed junk), and everybody who cooks for me for the holiday knows that.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Seems like red was the preferred color.

14. Favorite Christmas song?
Silent Night

(update: just for fun i started tracking back through the tags, and someone along the line edited down the list. here's the additional questions as found at newscoma, with my answers)

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
some part of the family will be travelling. when i lived with my parents we usually traveled to either of the grandparents' homes. now the celebrations tend to center at my sister's house - since it's easier for me to drive solo than for her to pack up with her kids.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
umm, hmm... oh, i can now

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
usually a star, or some non-angelic shape.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
"Santa" on Christmas morning, but usually open gifts whenever travel plans permit - usually on the eve evening, but it has been as early as Dec 9 and late as Jan 5.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Crowded malls, and the traffic around them.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
No.

21. What do you leave for Santa?
For once, a traditional answer: milk & cookies

22. Least favorite holiday song?
That blasted chipmunk who wants a hula hoop. (Chipmunks are just rats with a good hairstylist.)

23. Favorite ornament?
a set of frosty glass ornaments with glitter glued on them that I remember from my second Christmas.

-----

Paying it forward, I tag:

Dustbury
Flying Space Monkey
Local Malcontent
Mish Mash
Mountaineer Musings

Rules are:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season, good health to you & all close to you, and long life to everybody who loves it and respects it in others.

-----

update 2: following up on this thread on new year's eve, i saw that some bloggers had added a couple of questions. if i use this next year, i'll fold them into the main list.




24. Favorite family tradition?

25. Do you go to a midnight mass or church service?

26. Most memorable good deed you witnessed or participated in during the holidays?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas to All

this year with 17% less litigation!
The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the deChristification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America's founders were opposed to the "establishment" of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: the new republic did not want President Washington serving simultaneously as Supreme Governor of the Church of America, or the Bishop of Virginia sitting in the US Senate. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote that the "separation" of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red-and-green party napkins. But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

on physics and miracles

Viewpoint has an interesting... view... of how miracles may not automatically contradict the "laws of nature". Using a computer programming analogy:
...perhaps the implied claim that miracles violate or supercede the laws of nature is not necessarily correct. Miracles like those recorded in the Gospels could actually be an expression of the laws of nature and still be miraculous all the same.

Imagine an engineer who designs and builds a computer (the universe). Along the way he programs that computer to produce certain images (living things) on the screen. Suppose that upon some of these images the engineer bestows the gift of consciousness. The software program is information (laws of nature) that governs how everything in the computer functions. When the computer is booted up the software causes the computer to produce screen images which behave in accord with the constraints imposed by the information contained in the software program.

Now suppose that integrated into that program are certain if/then commands which only express themselves under certain highly specific conditions. They might have the form: If P then Q unless R. If R never occurs, P > Q would seem to all observers in the screen to be the algorithm that governs the functioning of the computer. If R never occurs then whenever P happens Q happens.

If, however, R does on one occasion occur then in that instance Q would not follow upon P and everyone who witnessed the "breakdown" would be astonished. It would appear to the conscious screen images that the program had spontaneously been altered or violated even though it was not. It would appear to them that a miracle had occurred...

It could well be that the laws of nature are like information or software that the Cosmic Engineer has designed to run the universe in the fashion described above. If so, it could also be that at least some miracles would not be exceptions to physical laws, but rather expressions of the way the laws manifest themselves in certain very extraordinary circumstances.
I would add one... point... though: A programmer could also easily allow "user input" to the program.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

even more inconvenient truth

"Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tocqueville the Seer

Roger Kimball has a point and a quote from Tocqueville:
The state's near monopoly on instruments of violence is merely one token of a much broader and deeper calculus of control. Tocqueville got to the nub of the issue in his famous paragraphs, in Democoracy in America, on "Democratic Despotism" Where old-fashioned despotism tyrannizes over men, democratic despotism infantilizes them. Such despotism would, Tocqueville writes
resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it likes citizens to enjoy themselves provided that they think only of enjoying themselves... It willingly works for their happiness; but it wants to be the unique agent and sole arbiter of that; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? … [This power] extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; … it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
Food for thought, no?
Yes! Welcome to Brave New World! You can grind people under the heel of a jack boot, but eventually they tire of that and will shrug it off. But the possibilities of distraction are endless. Environmentalism = Social Justice = Fordism. Religion may be the opiate of the masses, put the members of some congregations do not even know they are in church.

The Leftist says, "I am good, you are not coming up to the standard of good, but I am exempt from that standard."

The Christian says, "I am bad, I am forgiven for being bad because of the sacrifice of Jesus, with His help I am trying to come up to the standard of good, and this is what the standard is."
via Wilson Fu

Thursday, December 13, 2007

no news is good news

and the converse is true

---

update: true lies, continued.

more inconvenient truth

Once again, don't believe Algore:
The scare over global warming, and our politicians’ response to it, is becoming ever more bizarre. On the one hand we have the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change coming up with yet another of its notoriously politicised reports, hyping up the scare by claiming that world surface temperatures have been higher in 11 of the past 12 years (1995-2006) than ever previously recorded.

This carefully ignores the latest US satellite figures showing temperatures having fallen since 1998, declining in 2007 to a 1983 level - not to mention the newly revised figures for US surface temperatures showing that the 1930s had four of the 10 warmest years of the past century, with the hottest year of all being not 1998, as was previously claimed, but 1934.
via CrosSwords

Thursday, December 06, 2007

immigration plan

spacemonkey has an idea so crazy, it just might work!
Step 1: The path starts where the illegal immigrant currently is. It will vary from individual to individual. This is an obvious step because if it started somewhere else there would be no way for these hard working, well intentioned people to begin.

Step 2: Next the path to citizenship leads to a country where they hold legal citizenship. This part of the path should be simple for the illegal immigrant to identify and follow as it can involve the same means of transportation that brought them to the Step 1 location. Answers to questions such as "where was I born" and "where do I send my checks?" will be clues to locating a suitable country. This is an important step as it removes their illegal status as well as their immigrant status. What if they are very far from a land where they have citizenship? Good news! The path also does not discriminate on the basis of distance to the illegal immigrant's home country. The path to citizenship did not drag them here, the path will however drag them out of here.

Step 3: The path proceeds to a US consulate or embassy in the nation they end up at (see step 2). On arrival there, the intended emigrees should be escorted directly to the back of the line. This is the traditional and time honored place in line that they have earned. There is no skipping down the path or in the line! The work begins here and it's paperwork. A process has been designed to enable them to petition for legal entry into the U.S. The document created by this process is called a VISA. Until a VISA is obtained the path ends, as it is the ticket for the rest of the path.

Step 4: Now that a VISA has been obtained, the path leads back to the U.S. through a legal border crossing or port of entry. There are several kinds of VISA but they will all allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. 100% sneak-free! It is the document that an undocumented person doesn't have. Some VISAs also permit non citizens to reside in the US legally for a set period of time limited by certain conditions such as law abidance, student status, employment and a few others.

Step 5: The path now doesn't have a particular direction other than from a place of residence to a place of employment. But as long as they reside in the US for the period of time required by law, learn the native language, take and pass the citizenship test and swear the oath of citizenship, then they will have followed this novel path to citizenship.

It isn't a perfect path but for over 231 years not uncounted and not untold thousands upon thousands of their former and our current countrymen and countrywomen have been using it successfully. We truly are a nation of immigrants. But if it were a nation of illegal immigrants we would not be one nation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

eco-fascists

update & bump: No Oil For Pacifists has more related facts & commentary.

--

via Mark Steyn, more comments about the eco-fascists:
Everyone's favourite comment on the eco-fascists is, or should be, that of President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic: "What is at risk is not the climate but freedom…I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning"…
But I wondered if you were also familiar with this wonderful passage from C.S. Lewis:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Apart from amending this to "the SUPPOSED good of its victims", I'd say that pretty much covers it, wouldn't you?

----

I personally get confused by eco-logic in this global warming debate. They claim to want to save the world, and by extension millions of people, from the ravages of man-made climate change. Yet, as recent history shows, the policies they espouse will result in the certain culling of millions of us, possibly billions. So they are willing to kill billions in order to possibly save millions. I'll take my chances with the climate, thank-you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

giving thanks

Psalm 107, NASB

1 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
      For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
      Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
3 And gathered from the lands,
      From the east and from the west,
      From the north and from the south.

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
      They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
5 They were hungry and thirsty;
      Their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
      He delivered them out of their distresses.
7 He led them also by a straight way,
      To go to an inhabited city.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
      And for His wonders to the sons of men!
9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
      And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
      Prisoners in misery and chains,
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God
      And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
      They stumbled and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
      He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
      And broke their bands apart.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
      And for His wonders to the sons of men!
16 For He has shattered gates of bronze
      And cut bars of iron asunder.

17 Fools, because of their rebellious way,
      And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
      And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
      He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
      And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
      And for His wonders to the sons of men!
22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
      And tell of His works with joyful singing.

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
      Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the LORD,
      And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
      Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
      Their soul melted away in their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
      And were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
      And He brought them out of their distresses.
29 He caused the storm to be still,
      So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
      So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
      And for His wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
      And praise Him at the seat of the elders.


33 He changes rivers into a wilderness
      And springs of water into a thirsty ground;
34 A fruitful land into a salt waste,
      Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He changes a wilderness into a pool of water
      And a dry land into springs of water;
36 And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
      So that they may establish an inhabited city,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
      And gather a fruitful harvest.
38 Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly,
      And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39 When they are diminished and bowed down
      Through oppression, misery and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt upon princes
      And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
41 But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
      And makes his families like a flock.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
      But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.

43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
      And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.


via Bible Gateway

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

early thanksgiving

Mark Steyn reminds us of some things to be thankful for.
"The New World" is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on earth, to a degree "the Old World" can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists. We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together (emphasis mine). Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent's governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of "the west"'s nation states have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they're so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas — Communism, Fascism, European Union...

I find it sweetly touching that in America even political radicalism has to be framed as an appeal to constitutional tradition from the powdered-wig era. In Europe, by contrast, one reason why there's no politically significant pro-life movement is because, in a world where constitutions have the life expectancy of an Oldsmobile, great questions are just seen as part of the general tide, the way things are going, no sense trying to fight it. And, by the time you realize you have to, the tide's usually up to your neck.

So Americans should be thankful they have one of the last functioning nation states. Because they've been so inept at exercising it, Europeans no longer believe in national sovereignty, whereas it would never occur to Americans not to. This profoundly different attitude to the nation state underpins in turn Euro-American attitudes to transnational institutions such as the U.N. But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens — a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan — the U.S. can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply. Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere. When they sign on to an enterprise they claim to believe in — shoring up Afghanistan's fledgling post-Taliban democracy — most of them send token forces under constrained rules of engagement that prevent them doing anything more than manning the photocopier back at the base. If America were to follow the Europeans and maintain only shriveled attenuated residual military capacity, the world would very quickly be nastier and bloodier, and far more unstable. It's not just Americans and Iraqis and Afghans who owe a debt of thanks to the U.S. soldier but all the Europeans grown plump and prosperous in a globalized economy guaranteed by the most benign hegemon in history.

That said, Thanksgiving isn't about the big geopolitical picture, but about the blessings closer to home. Last week, the state of Oklahoma celebrated its centennial, accompanied by rousing performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's eponymous anthem:

"We know we belong to the land And the land we belong to is grand!"

Which isn't a bad theme song for the first Thanksgiving, either. Three hundred and eighty-six years ago, the pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that too is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker's dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii. Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

further confirmation

...that global warming is a hoax.
By John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel

It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the “research” to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.

Environmental extremists, notable politicians among them, then teamed up with movie, media and other liberal, environmentalist journalists to create this wild “scientific” scenario of the civilization threatening environmental consequences from Global Warming unless we adhere to their radical agenda. Now their ridiculous manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue for CNN, CBS, NBC, the Democratic Political Party, the Governor of California, school teachers and, in many cases, well informed but very gullible environmentally conscientious citizens. Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the Global Warming frenzy with one 15 minute documentary segment.

I do not oppose environmentalism. I do not oppose the political positions of either party. However, Global Warming, i.e. Climate Change, is not about environmentalism or politics. It is not a religion. It is not something you “believe in.” It is science; the science of meteorology. This is my field of life-long expertise. And I am telling you Global Warming is a non-event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam. I say this knowing you probably won’t believe a me, a mere TV weatherman, challenging a Nobel Prize, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning former Vice President of United States. So be it.

I have read dozens of scientific papers. I have talked with numerous scientists. I have studied. I have thought about it. I know I am correct. There is no run away climate change. The impact of humans on climate is not catastrophic. Our planet is not in peril. I am incensed by the incredible media glamour, the politically correct silliness and rude dismissal of counter arguments by the high priest of Global Warming.

In time, a decade or two, the outrageous scam will be obvious. As the temperature rises, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super storm pattern all fail to occur as predicted everyone will come to realize we have been duped. The sky is not falling. And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next twenty years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend.

See John’s full blog story here. See John’s forecast blog on the KUSI site here.
via igst

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

a lost art?

mish mash revives the art of the sonnet. hie thee hence!

Monday, October 29, 2007

miss liberty?

You'll probably need a permit to read this.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

those annoying evangelicals

why can't they keep their dogma to themselves?!?
Al Gore embodies a type that usually turns up in high school or university faculties, what we can call the evangelical liberal. These folks believe they have received the revealed truth about everything, and so are entitled to hector and harass the rest of us with blustering sermons whose real purpose is to demonstrate their righteousness and superiority. What is worse, their revealed truth does not come from God or a traditional faith, but supposedly from a rational examination of principle and empirical evidence. Thus they combine the worst traits of religious fanaticism and crackpot scientism...

And Gore’s environmentalism, as laid out in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, was and still is nothing more than a tissue of worn-out Romantic clich├ęs, bad intellectual history, and vaguely socialist complaints about industrial capitalism and the horrible life it has inflicted on us unfortunates, the sort of stuff one hears from a TA in a freshman English course...

Then came 2000, the “stolen” election, and the Bush administration’s subsequent rejection of the ludicrous Kyoto treaty. Now Gore’s wounded ego, his hatred of George Bush, and his romantic environmentalism all found the perfect public issue in global warming... So now Gore, previously in the news only for growing a beard or a gut, had an issue that allowed him more loudly to indulge his self-selected role as prophet, something he admitted to in Earth in the Balance: there he wrote that his purpose is “to fully search my heart and mind about this challenge to which I feel called — and in the process to summon the courage to make a full and unreserved commitment to see it through.” The rhetoric of evangelical Christianity is obvious. One wonders, though, how much “courage” it takes for a multi-millionaire and out-of-work politician to preach to a media choir that already shares many of the same prejudices and bigotries indulged by Gore. Seasoned with Bush hatred, Gore’s cinematic rants on global warming were a shoo-in for an Academy Award voted on by a cohort not exactly known for critical thinking skills, educational achievement, or even the ability to distinguish fact from fiction, as proven by the “documentary” award given to Michael Moore’s fictive pastiche Bowling for Columbine.

And now has come the global imprimatur of Western self-loathing, Bush hatred, and anti-Americanism, the Orwellian named Nobel Peace Prize. Jimmy Carter, who hasn’t met a dictator whose boots he won’t lick, got his in 2002 during the run-up to the Iraq war, right after he scolded the President as a warmonger. Mohammed El Baradei — he of the impotent International Atomic Energy Agency, another Bush-scolder whose “diplomacy” has accomplished nothing other than giving the Iranian mullahs more time to get the bomb — got one too in 2005. Then there’s the literature Nobel awarded that same year to rabid lunatic Harold Pinter, whose anti-Americanism makes Iran’s Ahmadenijad sound like a Republican Rotarian on the fourth of July. And let’s not forget the most shameless Nobel of all, the one given in 1994 to Yasser Arafat, the corrupt thug with Israeli, American, European, and Arab blood up to his elbows. How anyone could feel proud being in that company defies comprehension.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

updated list

Randall Hoven updates his list of media dishonesty (previous lists linked here).

Here is part of the introduction:
Did you know that Time magazine and other news organizations had a Vietnamese communist on full-time staff in Vietnam during that war? Do you remember that ABC, CBS and NBC have all rigged cars or trucks with explosives or other devices to make them look dangerous on TV, or that Consumer Reports lied about the Suzuki Samurai enough to put it out of business? Do you know that multiple "veterans" of the Viet Nam and Iraq wars who told of atrocities there were never even in the military? Did you realize reputable news organizations such as the Boston Globe and Reuters cannot tell the difference between a real soldier and a toy doll, commercial pornography and soldiers committing rape, a burning tire dump and a bombed building, a fired and an unfired rifle round, or footage of the North Pole and a clip from the movie Titanic?

When it comes to President Bush, the media have lied about his National Guard service, lied about his serving a plastic turkey to troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving and then made a big deal about that phony story, lied about his speeches, quoted him by removing the words he actually used, and admitted they would use a harsher standard with him than his opponent John Kerry. To this day, they criticize his administration's handling of the Katrina crisis, which was actually one of the most successful rescue and recovery efforts in history, but barely mention their own huge and egregious mistakes in reporting on that event.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

pro-choice?

echo zoe shows how it depends on the context

Friday, September 21, 2007

it's getting darker

the winds of war are getting stronger than before, and the last thing we need is this windbag's visit.

i wouldn't be surprised if he shows up wearing a dynamite vest...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

director's cut

viewpoint has an alternate vision:
You'll recall that in the climactic episode of The Lord of the Rings there was a walled city in which perhaps thousands of people, including many women, children, and elderly took shelter from inhuman savages who had laid seige to their fortress. The attackers thirsted for the blood of the hapless inhabitants and were eager to utterly destroy them and their city.

Those who huddled in terror within feared they would be horribly raped, tortured, and killed in the most gruesome fashion, but they took hope from the fact that they were protected by a phalanx of great warriors who had come from distant lands to defend the city from the savages who howled their threats from beyond the walls. The warriors were very brave and highly skilled in the art of war, but they faced enormous difficulties and what seemed to be overwhelming odds.

So, one night they decided that protecting those who shivered in fear in their hiding places really wasn't worth the cost and they considered leaving. "But what of the poor women and children in the fortress?" some asked. "Aren't they depending on us? Haven't we promised we'd protect them? Won't they be slaughtered if we abandon them?"

The reply came down from their superiors that "these people should be able by now to fend for themselves, and if they can't that's their problem, not ours." Thus the mighty army rode out that night under cover of darkness, fleeing to safety, and the people inside the fortress wept bitterly as the savage beasts swept in and brutally murdered them all.

Actually, that last part didn't happen in the movie, but only because the warriors in the story weren't listening to Harry Reid and MoveOn.org.

details

after a good initial impression (and one possible setback), fred thompson's website now has many more details of how he stands on the issues.

Monday, September 17, 2007

he's baaaaaack

...and he still puts an extra "h" at the end of the name of this blog.

maybe it's for balance?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fred's In

update: okay, maybe he's not the candidate real conservatives would hope for. we'll see...

Fred Thompson is apparently running for President.

We've heard lots of speculation and hardly any specifics, but this first part of his platform looks pretty good:
The Framers drew their design for our Constitution from a basic understanding of human nature. From the wisdom of the ages and from fresh experience, they understood the better angels of our nature, and the less admirable qualities of human beings entrusted with power.

The Framers believed in free markets, rights of property and the rule of law, and they set these principles firmly in the Constitution. Above all, the Framers enshrined in our founding documents, and left to our care, the principle that rights come from our Creator and not from our government.

We developed institutions that allowed these principles to take root and flourish: a government of limited powers derived from, and assigned to, first the people, then the states, and finally the national government. A government strong enough to protect us and do its job competently, but modest and humane enough to let the people govern themselves. Centralized government is not the solution to all of our problems and – with too much power – such centralization has a way of compounding our problems. This was among the great insights of 1787, and it is just as vital in 2007.

The federalist construct of strong states and limited federal government put in place by our Founders was intended to give states the freedom to experiment and innovate. It envisions states as laboratories in competition with each other to develop ideas and programs to benefit their people, to see what works and what does not.

This ingenious means of governing a large and diverse nation prevailed for more than a century. But today our Constitution and the limited, federalist government it established, are considered by many to be quaint or out of touch with the world we live in, to be swept aside by political expediency.

The Supreme Court sometimes ignores the written Constitution to reflect its view of the times. So does Congress, which routinely forgets that our checks and balances, the separation of powers and our system of federalism are designed to diffuse power and protect the liberties of our people. Before anything else, folks in Washington ought to be asking first and foremost, “Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?” But they don’t.

The result has been decades of growth in the size, scope and function of national government. Today’s governance of mandates, pre-emptions, regulations, and federal programs bears little resemblance to the balanced system the Framers intended.

...

When you hold firm to the principles of federalism, there’s another advantage: our federal government can better carry out its own defining responsibilities – above all else, the security of our nation and the safety of our citizens. Sometimes I think that our leaders in Washington try to do so many things, in so many areas, that they lose sight of their basic responsibilities.

We saw some improvement in the post-1994, “Contract with America” takeover of Congress – strings to federal programs were cut, more federal programs were being turned over to states, historic legislation to reduce unfunded mandates became law, and we rolled back the Clinton anti-federalism executive order. But in recent years we’ve seen backsliding.

...

It is not enough to say that we are “for” federalism, because in today’s world it is not always clear what that means. What we are “for” is liberty for our citizens. Federalism divides power between the states and government in Washington. It is a tool to promote freedom. How we draw the line between federal and state roles in this century, and how we stay true to the principles of federalism for the purpose of protecting economic and individual freedom are questions we must answer. Our challenge – meaning the federal government, the states, our communities and constituents – is to answer these questions together.

Friday, August 31, 2007

juche ideal

update & bump: via IGST, the winds of war were blowing last month, and we didn't even know it...

Take a look at Kim Jong Il's paradise on earth, read this Orwellian biography of their dear leader, then tell me again why anyone believes they can negotiate with him.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

news credibility...

is less than zero.

here's
three
lists

with dozens of examples why.

(...and they have the nerve to complain that their ratings are down.)

Randall Hoven concludes:
  • These offenses have been going on for years, long before the internet. But there does seems to be a rise in the number of reported offenses in recent years. Did the number of offenses go up, or did the fraction of discovered offenses go up?
  • In a good number of these cases, the errors were caught by non-journalists, sometimes communicating over the internet.
  • The Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize just ain't all they're cracked up to be.
  • If this is the visible part of the iceberg, just how big is the iceberg?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

gone but not forgotten

this blog has not been completely abandoned. i'm still just completely out of motivation to attempt to write anything worthwhile...

Friday, July 06, 2007

It Is Well

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well,
with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well,
with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well,
with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well,
with my soul.
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

(written by a man who had more to mourn than i)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Constitution Party

Via a rightfully angry Miss O'Hara, the Constitution Party looks like an idea whose time has come... or whose time has been around since 1787...

(comment moderation is still in effect, and trolls will be ignored)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

blogroll categories

you may notice that there are now fewer categories in my blogroll. the majority of links have been put into the 'main roll'. this in no way intended to reflect poorly on anyone listed. it's just that a single category of 'humorous', 'cool', 'popular', (or any other single word) is inadequate to describe many of them.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

graphic content

I was inspired by a convergence of ideas* recently, and created a graphic to express the thought. Feel free to use it however you want, I'd just appreciate a link back here if you do.



(* thanks to Local Malcontent and Anonymous Atheist)

Friday, May 04, 2007

late summary

In this post I announced my intention to clarify and expand on some of the comments made in this post. However there have been various delays (obviously); some in my control, some not. In the meantime as I considered how to clarify those ideas, it seemed that they all turned into refutations of arguments which would only lead to further arguments, civil or otherwise. Even the best of them were little more than paraphrasing what C.S. Lewis has already said much more eloquently.

One theme did run throughout those various topics which is worth mentioning: If a person refuses to believe the Source of truth, any further discourse would be hollow words, biting and devouring one another in the sophistication of logic. No one may be saved or condemned by mere argument, but on the foundation of their faith, and faith in anything within the world - no matter how noble it appears - is doomed.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

cancer cure?

original post march 2007:

New Scientist reports hopeful news on the health front:
It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers... dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.

It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells. Tumours in rats deliberately infected with human cancer also shrank drastically when they were fed DCA-laced water for several weeks.
update & bump April 22 2007:

Though there is still potential for DCA to become a cure, the hype may be premature. Other articles pro and con here, here, here, here, here, and... lots more.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

sifting

The previous post drew many comments from one atheist, with several overlapping issues being mentioned. Though I tried to respond to each, I did so in a hasty and disorganized manner. The next few posts will separate and try to clarify some of those issues. Topics may include:

Separation of church and state.
Morality vs Relativism.
Old Testament laws.
Faith requirements for all belief systems.
Reliability of ancient texts.
and others.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Return of the King-Bashing

Molten Thought points to an American Spectator article about a dangerous trend:
While (blasphemous modern "art") and Church-bashing documentaries are frustrating, there is something that is more offensive still. That much of the media in the U.S. and Europe are politically liberal is a given. What is becoming increasingly alarming is the anti-Christian slant with which they present the news and its growing influence on some Americans...

This manipulation of public opinion is at work as we speak. Is the practice of infanticide called abortion a political hot potato? If so, it's (reported as) the fault of the followers of Jesus, and not those who actually take innocent life. Are diseases like AIDS killing thousands? Don't look to those who encourage sexual licentiousness; (they) blame the Catholic Church for not handing out condoms in Africa. Terrorism? (It's reported as) merely payback for Christian-American repression and/or the Crusades.

But could this disinformation policy practically affect the thinking of the huge majority of Americans who claim to worship Jesus Christ? Too much of the public seems to be acting out these nefarious ideas, the worst of which is the doctrine that people must keep their faith -- the Christian one only, thank you -- out of public life lest they be considered religious fanatics. After all, everyone knows that "more people have been killed as a result of religious wars" than any other, right?

The 20th century was the bloodiest, most savage epoch in recorded human history, yet little of the carnage was a direct result of religious pursuits; quite the opposite. Most of the regimes responsible for the deaths of untold millions were those that discarded Christianity in favor of the State. The extent of suffering in the service of Communism, Socialism and Nazism was unprecedented; as was that of those who opposed them.

Our constitutional republic, with its safeguarding of religious liberty and God-given rights, is one of the only forms of government that can stand in the doorway of such ferocity. As we presently see, there are certain religions whose tenets are totally incompatible with protecting those rights for all. Our Christian heritage -- tempered by the experiences of our European forefathers -- paradoxically guarantees the rights of others to disparage its Founder with impunity.

But this does not mean we must accede to their irrational fears and hatred for those whose charity toward them springs from the heart of Jesus Christ. As history has painfully demonstrated, less Christianity leads to more violence and hate, while true adherence to the Gospel can only bring the peace and love of which liberals so fondly speak.

missing

Sad report: the Mish-Mash blog seems to have gone away, hopefully only temporarily. The last entry was sometime around Thanksgiving 06, and hosting was suspended about a week ago. His... unique... brand of humor will be missed.

p.s. some of the graphics for this site were hosted on his site, and so are now missing, most noticeably the title bar. this will be fixed in the near future.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

among other things...

Viewpoint points to fifteen reasons that it's far more rational to believe in God than to disbelieve:
  1. The exquisite fine-tuning of the cosmic parameters, forces and constants.
  2. The existence in the biosphere of specified complexity (i.e. biological information).
  3. The fact of human consciousness.
  4. Our sense that we are obligated to act morally.
  5. Our belief in human dignity.
  6. Our belief in human worth.
  7. Our belief in human rights.
  8. Our desire for justice for others.
  9. Our need for meaning and purpose in life.
  10. Our longing for life beyond death.
  11. Our sense that we have an enduring self.
  12. Our sense that we are free to make genuine choices and that the future is not determined.
  13. Our sense that the universe must have had a cause and that it didn't cause itself.
  14. Our sense of guilt.
  15. Our sense that reason is trustworthy.
...and if you already believe, these articles are also good.

update: Theosebes reports on both the irrational and rational. One relevant quote from the rational:
Director of the Human Genome Project Dr. Francis Collins reflects on his spiritual journey from atheism to belief: "I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist's assertion that "I know there is no God" emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God's character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God's son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

slow updates

sorry i haven't posted much lately. it's tough to come up with new posts when everything that is really worthwhile has already been said.

p.s. although, a couple of reminders are in order...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

the meaning of 'saint'

I used to think that the definition of 'saint' was something like this:
"A person who lived a perfect life. You should try to emulate them - even though that's impossible."
Upon closer reading, though, it seems the definition of 'saint' is closer to this:
"A convicted felon who has been pardoned by the King."
or perhaps:
"A (formerly terminal) cancer patient, who was completely cured by the Great Physician, and who refers other terminal patients to Him."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

hallelujah

"Not by might nor by power, but by His Spirit"
More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is under way throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia:

Iraq: More than 5,000 new Muslim converts to Christianity have been identified since the end of major combat operations. ... Also, more than 1 million Bibles [were] shipped into the country since 2003, and pastors report Iraqis are snatching them up so fast they constantly need more Bibles.

Afghanistan: only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000.

Kazakstan: only three known Christians in 1990, but now more than 15,000.

Uzbekistan: no known Christians in 1990, but now more than 30,000.

Iran: In 1979, there were only 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity, but today Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders tell me there are more than 1 million Iranian believers in Jesus Christ, most of whom meet in underground house churches.

Sudan: More than 1 million Sudanese have converted to Christianity just since 2000, and some 5 million have become Christians since the early 1990s, despite a radical Islamic regime and an ongoing genocide. ... Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening? "People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead," one Sudanese evangelical leader told me.

Egypt: Some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the JESUS film a year in the early 1990s. But last year they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape.

Friday, February 02, 2007

hunger and thirst

Every Thought Captive continues along the thoughts of the Beatitudes:

Matthew 5:6 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Luke 6:21, 25 - Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. . . Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

As we read through the beatitudes, we must keep in mind that Christ is teaching us about His kingdom. These beatitudes are characteristics of the true child of God, those who have been born again. These are not descriptions of the exceptional “super-spiritual” Christian. These are characteristics that all Christians possess in varying degrees. As we look at this characteristic, ask yourself if it can be found in your life. If it is absent from your life, you should fear for your soul and cry out to God for mercy and salvation. If these cannot be found in you, then Christ is saying, “Woe unto you!” instead of “Blessed!” He is pronouncing upon you a curse. May this cause you to repent and turn to Christ for salvation.

Let’s look at the order of the beatitudes covered thus far. A true believer is poor in spirit. He knows that he is helpless, that all of his supposed righteousness is but filthy, repugnant rags before God, and that nothing good dwells in him apart from Christ. Moreover, he weeps over the sin in his life. He possesses a broken and contrite heart. Furthermore, seeing himself as nothing, he is meek and humble, treating others with gentleness and self-control. Now, as he has realized the depravity in his hearts, he sees that the only solution is to be righteous, to be freed from the sin which separates him from God. He desires to be like Christ.

The idea of hunger and thirst speaks of a deep longing and strong desire that aches desperately to be satisfied. In using the imagery of hunger and thirst, Jesus is conveying the importance righteousness is to our lives. Righteousness is as necessary to our spiritual lives as food and water is to our physical lives. Without food and water, death is inevitable. Without righteousness, spiritual death in an eternal hell is inescapable. The use of such language also illustrates that what we need is something outside of ourselves. Just as we are dependent upon food and water that is external to us (if not then it is self-destructive), so we must be dependent on a righteousness outside ourselves. All forms of self-righteousness must be deemed as not genuine righteousness. We must see them for the filthy rags that they are. The only true righteousness is the righteousness found in Christ. Because of His death and resurrection, we are declared righteous by faith. Moreover, as we are being conformed to His image through sanctification, we exhibit more of His righteousness in our lives. It is this conformity to Christ that all true believer hunger and thirst.

We see throughout the beatitudes the refrain, “Blessed is the man who . . .” drawing our attention to happiness and blessedness, for which everybody longs. Everybody wants to be happy, but they hate the only source of true happiness. They want the blessings that only God can give, but they don’t want God. They want to go to heaven, but they don’t want God to be there. Instead of following after God, people seek to fulfill their hunger for happiness in every way imaginable except the only way that will lead to real blessedness. Instead of thirsting for holiness, without which no one can see God (Hebrews 12:14), the source of all true joy, their self- centeredness drives their desire for happiness in and of itself. They seek to satisfy this hunger through family, wealth, entertainment, fame, health, academics, worldliness, religion, athletics, esteem of men, morality, sensuality, and a host of other things, but none of these bring happiness. None of them will quench the thirst for happiness.

The hunger and thirst that is found in unregenerate fallen man is sinful. Every intent of the though of his heart is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). The fact that every desire of man’s heart is wicked and sinful highlights the necessity of regeneration. Man cannot change these desire through their own power. God must take the heart of stone which hates Him and turn it into a heart of flesh that loves Him. This change is regeneration. If you have been saved, then your heart has been changed. Your desires have been changed. You now desire righteousness. As I have heard one preacher put it: “If you have a new relationship with God, then you have a new relationship to sin.” If you have been regenerate, then you will hate the sin you once loved. There has been birth into all true believers a desire to be like Christ, to be holy. Sin is still present in his life, but he no longer relishes it as he once had. The sweet flavor that sin once had has become putrid. He feels the tension that Paul expressed in Romans 7: For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil I hate. We see the sin in our life and are appalled, and we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

This beatitude is a great comfort to true believers, especially when distraught by the presence of sin in his life. Sometimes we can become so distressed over the sin that is in our lives and over our lack of conformity to Christ that we can begin to doubt whether we have been born again. But, if we are concerned about such things, than there is evidence that we have been born again. If we see ourselves as already righteous, as “full now” (Luke 6:25), then we have every reason to doubt. Why? A true believer will desire to be righteous. He will be “hungry now” (Luke 6:21). So, if you are content with yourself, and your little dab of Christianity, your touch of religion, I would fear for your soul. But if you are hungry and thirsty to be like Christ, than be encouraged, not only because you have evidence of regeneration, but also because you have the promise of having that hunger satisfied at the appointed time. Everyone whom God has effectually called out to be His children, He has declared righteous, and they will be ultimately glorified. After regeneration, the process of sanctification begins and will continue until the end of the Christian’s life on earth.

This process of being made righteous involves means. The evidence that one truly does hunger and thirst after righteousness can be seen in how ardently he is using God’s means to attain godliness. Moreover, evidence can be seen in how much he avoids things which hinder sanctification.

Prayer, Scripture and the fellowship of the church are the weapons of our warfare which God has given us. These are the means by which we take our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ. These are the means God has given to us to conform us to Christ. We are commanded not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We must realize that we are more worldly than we realize, and we are influenced by the world more than we care to admit. Yet, if we desire to be righteous then we will be active in seeking to be righteous. Yes, it is all of grace and not of ourselves, but there are still means. Let us not forget that. How, then, do we renew our minds? By reading the Word of God. If you truly hunger and thirst for holiness, then you would love the nourishment of God’s Word. Do you love the preaching of the Word? Do you spend time in Scripture? If you regularly neglect God’s Word, it could be that you have no desire for righteousness and are void of saving faith.

Another means God has given us is prayer. Do you go to the Father in prayer? Do you pray for holiness? If you can go days without praying, perhaps it is because there is no hunger for God, revealing the wicked, unregenerate heart within you.

God has also given us other believers as a means of sanctification. Do you love the church? John wrote in his first epistle that if we say that we love God, yet hate our brother, then we are liars (4:20-21). God has called us out into local bodies. We are to encourage one another unto godliness. We are to hold each other accountable. We are to lovingly rebuke one another. If it is your habit to forsake the church, you are probably not saved.

God also uses trials in our lives to make us righteous. This particular means differs from the three mentioned above in that the of three should be actively pursued daily. The means of trials, on the other hand, are more passive. Our response to them, however, is very important and revealing of our true desire for righteousness. I won’t tarry to long here. I will cover it more thoroughly as I write on the beatitude that deals with persecution. Our hunger to be like Christ should be stronger than our desire to avoid pain and hardships. No trial, however severe it may be, should be disdained if it is to make us holy. Our thirst for righteousness should cause us to fall on our knees and cry out, “Lord, whatever it takes; I want to be like Christ!” Trials can drive us to our knees and create in us a greater dependence upon Him. They can work in us such a Christlikeness that they can be seen as sweet and precious gifts from God. That is why we can “consider it all joy” (James 1:2) when we encounter various trials.

Are there things in your life which hinder sanctifiaction? Television and the Internet are filled with all kinds of immorality which has enslaved many professing Christians. For some, the content of TV viewing and Internet use is fairly neutral, but the amount of time spent engaged in them may reflect improper stewardship of free time. Close friendships with worldly people can put before you negative peer pressure, hindering your walk. There are many things which could be in your life which is working against your sanctification. I encourage you to examine your daily activities and if there is anything there which should not be there. If you do hunger and thirst for righteousness, then get serious about it. Take action! Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Look to Jesus!

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Beatles Half-truth

In one sense it is true that "all you need is love" - not in the base sense of the 60's movement, but rather as George Wiegel and Viewpoint explain:
"...the perception of Christian ethics (is too often) dour and negative, but I think this is a stereotype due largely to the fact that too many people have not really thought about Christian ethics beyond a simple perusal of the Ten Commandments.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 22 that the whole ethical teaching of Scripture is summed up in two positive imperatives: We are to love God (Commandments 1-4) and love our fellow man (Commandments 5-10). What can be more affirmative, liberating, and upbeat than that?

Some people object that the Biblical emphasis on sin is negative and oppressive, but this opinion is, I think, based on a faulty view of what sin is. Because we are enjoined by Christ to love, to fail to do so is a moral fault. Any act which is harmful to oneself or another is wrong, or "sin," because it violates the command to love. The Biblical text simply elaborates on all the ways that people do harm and enjoins us to avoid those. It also gives us the "Golden Rule" as a guideline for knowing whether a particular act is just or compassionate.

Thus, so far from being dour and negative, the moral teaching of the Bible is extremely positive. The command to love others expresses itself in at least two ways: The Old Testament emphasizes the need to love by doing justice to others, and the New Testament emphasizes the need to love by showing compassion to others.

Of course, it's not always easy to know the right thing to do in a given situation... Even so, despite the difficulties, together these two imperatives form an ethical system unsurpassed for its simplicity and beauty."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

worthwhile charity

If you want to donate your time or money to a worthwhile charity, may I recommend Mission Arlington.

(the link will also be added to the sidebar)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

prayer

Finally, something worth posting: a prayer, attributed to Martin Luther:
"Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord, fill it.
I am weak in the faith; strengthen me.
I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor.
I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether.

"O Lord, help me.
Strengthen my faith and trust in you.
In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have.

"I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor.
I am a sinner; you are upright.
With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness.
Therefore, I will remain with you of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Out with the old

Things have changed.

I can no longer in good conscience continue to blog in the typically sarcastic, usually angry, and often hateful tone that I have used here at Hatless in Hattiesburg.

The reasons for this decision are difficult to explain clearly, but may be deduced from the most recent series of posts, as well as this earlier post.

Although I still believe that the causes I wrote for (such as anti-abortion, anti-islamofascism, anti-big-brotherism, etc.) are correct, the hateful and arrogant way I tried to oppose and expose them likely did more harm than good. Even my more (allegedly) humorous posts served only as a distraction from more worthy words and goals.

I do not know what the future holds for this blog. I do not plan to shut it down or rework it any time soon, but posts will not be written here in the voice used previously. If there are any new posts here, my goal will be to only write of whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent or worthy of praise, and no more filthiness, silly talk, or coarse jesting.

May each of you and your loved ones have a truly blessed New Year!