August 02, 2008

Liberty University Students for Obama???

Recent article on a ynchburg TV station concerning a student who is the head of an organization called LU Students for Obama.

Now, the rest of the story.... more...

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July 29, 2008

Sense of Humor, Anyone?

OK, now people are starting to annoy me. I just got home, and as I was checking my Twitter feeds noticed that Scott Kurtz had somehow annoyed the Christians in his audience. Now, I'm a Southern Baptist minister, mind you, so I'm always itching for a good fight. I fired up Google Reader and checked out Scott's latest PvP comics.

Seriously, now. Is that what we're getting upset about?? I was all set to take offense and unfollow Scott, and that's all I get???

OK, even more seriously -- I'd actually figured it was something more than this, but I wasn't going to unfollow anyone, or stop reading PvP. Folks, if we stop reading or buying or using everything that offends us, our lives are going to be pretty boring and pathetic. Yes, I think that people should at least respect core beliefs. But Scott does have a point when he Tweets, "No Christians would be emailing me about respecting core beliefs today if I was mocking wiccans or athiests [sic]."

Religious liberty is about everyone, kids. Religious tolerance is about everyone. We don't have to agree with them, we don't have to like them, we can be all about trying to show them that they're wrong. But at least in the USA, they can be as wrong as they want to be. I don't have to agree with them, or like them, but you'd better not mess with their right to say what they want. Point is -- we should be emailing him if he offends Wiccans or atheists, if we're going to email him about being offended ourselves.

And if you were offended by those panels, you'd better not read Lark News, or Tom In The Box.

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July 22, 2008

RSS Cruise

I'm revisiting this category since I'm on vacation and don't feel like writing something substantial today. And I'm sorry for ypos that I know will creep in -- the laptop I'm using doesn't have FireFox on itl, and I don't have the cool spellcheck thing here

Christianity Today's music section has a piece about Centricity Records. I love Centricity -- they're one of the few labels out there that were willing to talk to a little podcaster like he was an important part of promoting their artists. They get podcasting like few other labels do. And the music is good.

There aren't many labels right now that get new media, or even electronic marketing and the use of the Internet. They have a MySpace page, they have a website. But beyond that, they're stuck in the old school attitudes toward marketing. They are missing the whole "Web 2.0" boat, and that's a shame.

The Internet is getting back to it's social roots. It's returning to the Usenet days, when community was built around a subject. I'm not sayi8ng anything really new here, but it bears emphasizing -- to make full use of new technology, you've got to be social, you have to have a new media strategy beyond "ignore them, and they'll go away."

Because guess what? They will go away. And you'll lose. Watch what's happening with the music industry right now. They're going nuts trying to figure out how to deal with digital music and portable MP3 players. The radio industry is trying to figure out how to deal with people who want to listen to their own playlists and not the station's playlist. So far, all they've done is stick their fingers in their ears and make "nanananananana" noises, hoping this new technology will go away. They've been doing it since high-speed Internet connections made streaming music (and video) possible. They'll still be doing it when the next big thing comes out. ANd eventually, they'll go out of business.

I'm thankful for labels like Centricity, who actually get it. It means that artists will have options in the future. And it means that the rest of us will, too.

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July 17, 2008

Prayer Request

I'm a bit shocked by this, and I am sorry I haven't mentioned it before now.

Some of you are familiar with Songstress7 from News From The Great Beyond. I've known her almost since I started blogging. She was my biggest cheerleader when I was in the King of the Blogs competition. Heck, she even offered me a place to stay one year when I was debating going to GodBlogCon.

She lost her husband very suddenly, and very unexpectedly, this week. We need to keep praying for her and her family, now and in the weeks and months to come.

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July 03, 2008

Contemporary vs. Traditional: The Worship Wars

I often find myself sitting on the fence during the Worship Wars(tm). I love loud music. I like loud, distorted guitar solos. I like to rock out on occasion -- often enough that I frequently embarrass my daughter (hey, I'm just doing my job, there).

But I also really enjoy the whole "high church" worship experience. If I heard most of the music in my iTunes library done in church, I'd probably feel a bit uncomfortable. I don't find anything wrong with it, it's just not me.

That's why different churches have different worship styles. The differences don't matter enough that we should condemn each other for them, but they ARE different enough that they can interfere with our worship experience. I've always thought that we should let people worship with the music that they are comfortable with -- as long as the teaching in their church is Biblical, there's no problem there.

I read a couple letters recently at the Vintage Faith blog on this topic that were interesting to me:

I am no music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday's new hymn - if you can call it that - sounded like a sentimental love ballad one would expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you insist on exposing us to rubbish like this - in God's house! - don't be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need.
That letter sounds familiar to anyone who is trying to balance contemporary and traditional worship styles. In fact, there are probably a few worship leaders who think they actually GOT that letter not long ago.

That letter was written in '63. 1863. And the name of the hymn that the folks were complaining about is "Just As I Am." The Worship Wars(tm) have been going on a lot longer than we think, and will continue long after we're dead. Our grandchildren will probably complain about the new songs in church -- "Why can't we sing more old classics like 'Lord I Lift Your Name On High'? What's wrong with the good, old-fashioned hymns that our grandparents sang?"

We need to realize what is a personal preference and what isn't, and stop getting so wrapped up in our personal preferences.

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July 01, 2008

RIAA Shows How Inane They Really Are

So the RIAA, in court, really said this. I'm not making it up -- it's too stupid.

Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners' rights online.

In other words, it's hard for us to prove that the people we're accusing actually DID, in fact, trade songs illegally. So we shouldn't have to prove that they did it.

The sound you just heard was your rights being incinerated, folks. If the judge actually buys this, corporate America won't have to prove anything in court to win a lawsuit against you. In fact, I could sue anybody for anything I want, and just tell the judge that if I had to actually prove the accusations had any basis, I wouldn't be able to go after the people who were doing the stuff I was upset about to begin with. Does that make any sense to anybody?

It shouldn't. But RIAA wants it to. They want a judge to rule favorably on it, so it becomes legal precedent. And then, since anyone with an iPod has pirated music (yes, they actually have said that), they can sue anyone with an iPod. Then they can sue anyone with a computer, since computers are used for music piracy. Can you say "slippery slope," boys and girls?

Every so often I start to think that maybe I'll start listening to commercially available music, stuff on major labels. Then something like this happens, and reminds me that they really don't want someone like me as a customer. So I'll keep listening to and supporting independent and small-label bands, and hope that the folks at RIAA and the major labels destroy themselves quickly rather than slowly.

{EDIT -- wow -- a misplaced /blockquotes tag can really mess things up. My commentary/translation got mixed in with RIAA's statement, and I apologize.}

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Atheists, Semantics, and God

According to a recent Pew Forum survey, 21% of American atheists believe in a god. 6% believe in a personal God, 12% believe in an impersonal force, and 3% aren't sure. 10% of American atheists pray at least once a week. 12% believe in heaven.

Obviously, these statistics are a bit confusing. Atheists are, by definition, people who do not believe that there is evidence of a god, and reject belief in one. From a- "without" + theos "a god." Seems pretty clear to me.

Many of these atheists are a bit less dogmatic than Dawkins and his militant, fundamentalist atheist crew. It seems to me, though, that 21% of Americans who claim to be atheists don't understand the meaning of the word, and are instead agnostic.

Atheism at least implies a rejection of the possibility of the existence of any god whatsoever. The very concept of god becomes a merely human construction, born of a primitive desire to explain the unexplainable in nature. Modern man has no need of such definitions -- we're smarter than that, say the atheists.

But now it seems that 21% of those smart people don't even know the definition of the word atheist.

Now I have no problem with atheists praying; I'd just like to know who they're praying to. I didn't know that the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was growing all that quickly today, and I certainly wasn't aware that it's adherents actively prayed to the FSM.

Lest this post seem to harsh toward these pseudo-atheists, it should be noted that 55% of American agnostics say they believe in a god, with 14% believing in a personal one, 36% in an impersonal one, and 5% not quite sure.

A summary of the report is available here, and there are some other interesting statistics. For example, 14% of people identifying themselves as Jewish do not believe in God. 21% of Evangelicals don't believe in a personal God. 19% of all Protestants surveyed believe God is an impersonal force, like in Star Wars.

The real problem with a survey like this is that you really don't know how the questions were worded, and right now I really don't have time to read the entire 268 page report. If I have a chance this week, I'll take a look at the 18 page summary, and see if it gives any clue about how the questions were framed.

In any case, it looks like we've got some work to do here.

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June 26, 2008


This Saturday, I'll be making the trek all the way to Hilliard, Ohio (just outside Columbus, about an hour and a half away) for the very first Podcamp Ohio. A full day of New Media geekery.

I'll probably be doing some Twittering about what's going on, so you should probably follow me if you want to know what's going on there.

I'm looking forward to it. I don't get to go to the New Media Expo (other side of the country, may as well be the other side of the world right now), so it will be great to interact with other podcasters. And who knows -- next year, I may do a session of my own.

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June 10, 2008

King James Onlies at the SBC??

I'm not at the Convention this year (just like last year, and the year before, and ...), but now I really wish I was. I'm enjoying the live and semi-live coverage I'm getting from bloggers (and Ed Stetzer live-Twittering the event), and it really makes me wish I was there.

Especially when I read of a proposed resolution like this one (hat tip to Wes Kenney at SBC Today): "A motion to forbid the use of the Holman Christian Standard Bible on the platform of the convention, as it asserts that the Bible contains verses that should not be there."

I have questions about this resolution (and I'm not sure if the actual resolution is available anywhere online, since it wasn't proposed beforehand). Are they saying that the HCSB has extra verses, or are they saying that the HCSB is saying that some verses in the Bible shouldn't be there? If the latter, is this aproblem with the footnotes? My NKJV often says that "Older manuscripts do not include this verse" or something similar in the footnotes -- is the NKJV out as well??

I DO, however, like the resolution to charge online students the same as residence students at SBC seminaries.

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June 06, 2008

June 6, 1944

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.

From General Dwight D. Eisenhower to the soldiers and sailors leaving for the beaches of Normandy 64 years ago this morning. May we never forget the sacrifice these men made in the name of liberty.

D-Day casualties are estimated at 8,443 (according to this site).

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June 02, 2008

Freebie Alert

TWO things to share here. First, one of my favorite Christian bands, downhere, is offering their last album for free. Go to their site, enter your name and email (they've had mine for a year or more and I've never gotten any spam from them. They're good people and you can trust them with your email address). Then get your free copy of Wide Eyed and Mystified.

Second, it's time for's monthly giveaway. This month, you get an audio copy of Pilgrim's Progress. Follow this link and enter the promo code JUN2008 when you check out.

Of course, if you follow me on Twitter, you already knew about this stuff. See, Twitter really is good for something -- when it's working, anyway.

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Webcomics Update: Art Reflecting Life

Haven't really done a webcomics-related post in a long time, just because I'm trying to keep this blog on topic. Then I started wondering what the topic was again, and that had me confused. Now I'm ok, though, and realized that if I'm going to comment about culture in any effective way, webcomics are certainly on topic. Not all the time, of course, but some times.

One comic I read faithfully is Ctrl+Alt+Del. It's a comic you either love or hate, it seems, and I've enjoyed it, though I've wondered sometimes where the funny was. The latest plotline has main characters Ethan and Lilah awaiting the birth of their first child and planning their marriage, all at the same time. Ethan is a bit (understatement) immature, and is often distracted, so it's been funny. And without commenting on the order of operations (pregnancy then marriage), it's been an interesting read.

Today, a curve ball was thrown. more...

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May 24, 2008


I'm changing comment systems. I'm sick of having to delete 50+ SPAM comments every day, if not every 4 hours.

I'm going to try to install Disqus, so I am closing all comments on all posts right now. If it doesn't work, I'll look for something else. The existing comments won't go anywhere, and I'm not sure if I can import existing comments into the system yet, so this will be for posts going forward.

Sorry, folks. I'm not happy about having to do this either, but I'm spending way too much time deleting SPAM.

{edit} So I can't do what I want to do. I can mark all future posts as 'comments closed' but can't change the old ones. I'm working on another option, and hope to use Disqus. The more I look at it, the more I like it.{/edit}

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May 21, 2008

Conservatives Ready to Throw Christian Group Under the Bus

A perfect example of why Christian groups need to be cautious when hitching themselves to a specific political party or ideology is the Christian Coalition's battle with free market advocacy group FreedomWorks over Net Neutrality.

The Christian Coalition, along with other conservative groups like Gun Owners of America and the National Religious Broadcasters, is concerned that internet providers will start offering high-speed data transfer rates only to organizations that can afford to pay a premium, adversely impacting grass-roots organizations. The Coalition supports net neutrality, which would make such discrimination illegal. By taking this position, the Coalition finds itself working with long-term foes like, and against folks like FreedomWorks.

Rob Wasinger, chief of staff to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), went so far as to say that the Christian Coalition has moved "off the reservation," and that net neutrality is not "a red-meat-conservative issue."

Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition characterizes this as a simple disagreement. "ThatÂ’s one of the issues where friends get to disagree."

If only it were really that simple. Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks says, "“We would gladly welcome them back into the fold if they all of a sudden realized that 'We have to get back on the right side of the ball here.' Nothing personal.”

The problem, apparantly, is that they don't think the CC is pulling it's weight on social issues. Wasinger is concerned that teaming with people like is adversely affecting the CC's impact.

It seems to me like the conservative powers that be are upset that the useful idiots are having an independent thought, and they're ready to dump them. "Come back to us when you can toe the line, and understand your role." We don't need partners like that.

Net neutrality is an idea I am behind. I don't like excessive regulation of business, but it's clear to me that without some legislation, small groups (including churches, private schools, etc.) are going to be left in the dust. Freedom of speech is at stake. This is where government needs to step in and pass good laws that protect companies and individuals who don't have the clout to protect themselves.

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Give It Away!

Tim Challies is giving away $200 to spend at Monergism.

May Giveaway

What are you still doing here???? Go enter!

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May 16, 2008

The Future Of the CCM Industry

Charlie Peacock has an outstanding analysis of the future of the CCM industry. Go read the whole thing when you have a minute, but I wanted to throw a few excellent quotes out there:

Christian music’s alliances with mainstream entertainment corporations will all prove eternally less than successful, since they all bet first on the power of the market to deliver results and not the hand of God—something God has never been fond of. (See Bible for evidence.)
This has been a common complaint about the state of the industry. Steve Camp has said similar things in the past. The problem as I see it started when we stopped thinking of Christian music as a ministry and started thinking of it as an industry. If it's an industry, you partner with whoever will help your bottom line. If it's a ministry, you realize that your bottom line has nothing to do with money.
When convenient or strategic, Christian artists will return to using the term gospel in order to describe their music. “Ccm” has faded as an accurate moniker and will disappear altogether.
I've seen this already. Artists are either using the 'gospel' label or they describe their music in terms of "secular" genre tags like "emo" or "metal" or "hardcore" -- things like that. There are increasingly few Christian artists who identify themselves as CCM artists; many don't even self-identify as Christian, even those who are explicitly so lyrically and ministerially. If you don't believe me, browse through MySpace. There are still some artists who self-identify as Christian, and some of those are quite good, but by and large the major acts don't do it, whether out of frustration with the industry or because they are trying to be accepted first as musicians, or perhaps some less noble reason.
Christian music with “worldview” lyrics is dead in the church and reborn in the world where Christian indie and major label artists will carry the torch. The majority of Christian music fans and gatekeepers in the church proved too immature or disinterested to discern whether or not a lyric was speaking to a topic from a Christian worldview. The problem of maturity and literacy will continue.
And podcasters will lead the way. Take a listen to The Bored Again Christian or The Habanero Hour for some Christian worldview music that you won't hear anywhere else. And, of course, you can check out The PewCast too. I play a different genre than Just Pete or Brent play is all.
But I think that this is the wisest thing that Peacock says, "... the real and trustworthy future of Christian music is Christ. Find out what HeÂ’s interested in, and let that be the musicÂ’s future."

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R.C. Sproul on the Exclusivity of Christ

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May 07, 2008

The Evangelical Manifesto

The Evangelical Manifesto was released today, and the Christian end blogosphere is abuzz with comment. At the end of this post I'll list the articles I've seen on the subject; I'm certain that there are many more that I've missed, so if you've seen one or written one yourself, let me know in the comments and I'll add it in.

On the whole, this is a very positive document, and one that I support 100%. Evangelicals have been defined by our politics for far too long; it is time we're defined by our theology, since evangelicalism is after all a theological movement. My hope is that it becomes more than just another piece of paper that is ignored in a few weeks; that it becomes a pattern of behaviour among Evangelical Christians.

Just a few thoughts on specific quotes from the Manifesto: more...

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May 05, 2008

Christianity Without Christ

In light of some recent topics here, I present GetReligion's story about Gretta Vosper. Interesting article about an interesting minister.

I almost used scare quotes there, but decided not to. She probably does minister to people. But I think she falls short of the Biblical definition of the term -- she seems to leave out a central need when meeting peoples' needs: the need for a Savior.

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May 04, 2008

How Inclusive Is God?

In the comments of my post on Jeremiah Wright (which has been a great discussion, by the way), this statement was made:

The common Christian idea that non-Christians are all damned just strikes me as incompatible with the mercy and justice of God.

The speaker is asserting that the "other sheep" that Jesus mentions in John 10:16 are people who aren't creedal, confessional Christians, but instead are people who are simply good enough, and are trying to follow the "social gospel." I'm probably oversimplifying things a bit; read the comments on that post for a complete picture.

So the question is this: just how inclusive is the God of the Bible, anyway? After all, it says that He's not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, right? God is love, right? So He'll let everybody in, right?

That's what we want to believe. That's what is most comfortable to believe. A God who lets everyone in.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 07:42 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
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