September 19, 2004

Blood Boiling

Check out this over at The Owner's Manual.

Quality people, those union Democrats. Really believe in tolerance.

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Study of Mark: Mark 5

(I figured it had been so long, I'd go ahead and do tha whole chapter today).

I'm also not going to cut and paste the whole chapter. Go here and read it.

Jesus starts off the chapter by showing His sovereignty over demons by casting them out. The demoniac has been afflicted for some time, and has either left or been run out of the city. He lives among the tombs -- caves, in other words. The Bible also makes sure we know just how strong this guy was -- his shackles and chains had been broken many times before. Nobody wanted to mess with the guy.

The demons know exactly who Jesus is. Verse 7 -- "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." The demons are begging for their survival -- they are afraid that Christ has come to finally condemn Satan and his followers to the pit or all eternity. Christ knows that that time has not yet come. But He delivers the man from the demons.

I don't know why He sent the demons into the swine. I DO know that this caused the people who owned the swine to be VERY upset at Him. Maybe these people were Jews who weren't supposed to be tending pigs (unclean animals), and Christ was rebuking their rebellion. In any case, when word got around about what had happened, people came to check things out. I think their reaction is interesting. "... they were afraid. ... And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region." They didn't know who this guy was, but they knew they didn't want Him around. He was causing problems. He was making them re-evaluate the way things were.

That's what Jesus does when He enters our lives. We have to re-evaluate things. Our priorities change. Our goals change. Even our speach may change. Our attitudes and outlook change. Christ challenges us to think the way He thinks. And many people don't like that. They are afraid of changing the way they think. They don't want to view the world the way Christ does -- as sinful people in need of a Savior. They don't want to feel what He felt as He looked over Jerusalem. They want to continue to pursue their own goals and dreams, and not subordinate them to Christ's will. And they know that Christ requires them to do exactly that.

Unfortunately, many Christians don't recognize that. We pray the prayer, walk the aisle. We get dunked. We sign a membership card. We go to Sunday School. And Christ never makes an impact on our lives at all. We are living with the form of Godliness, but we deny it's power. Power over our world, but also it's power over us. Our challenge is to live each day, more and more conformed to the image of Christ, and to see everything the way He sees it.

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September 18, 2004

This Week in Church History

September 22, 1931

While riding to a zoo in the sidecar of his brother's motorcycle, C.S. Lewis made the most important decision in his life. He converted from mere theism to Christianity.

"When we set out I did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and when we reached the zoo I did."

Lewis had been having ongoing discussions with J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson about religion, and became convinced of Christianity's truth through them -- though I'm sure that Tolkien was disappointed that Lewis joined the Anglican church, rather than espousing Tolkien's own Roman Catholic faith. Lewis joined the church and took his first communion on Christmas Day that year.

I doubt that anyone knew the influence that Lewis would have on Christianity and Christian thought. His work Mere Christianity is an incredible logical defense of Christianity, that doesn't become dogmatic or lead to any specific denomination. His Narnia series introduces children to key Christian truths, including the resurrection of Christ. His Screwtape Letters have become a Christian classic. He continues to influence Christian thought to this day, though his theology would be considered far from evangelical today.

No big moral lesson in this one -- I'd just recommend everyone go out and buy a copy of Mere Christianity, if you don't already have one. And read it. And share it.

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September 17, 2004

Welcome, Visitors!

I'm getting a bunch of hits from people looking for information on hurricane Ivan. I hope you'll stick around, read a bit of the blog, and MAYBE become a regular reader (I DO have some of those!).

My Mom lives in the Chevallier subdivision off Gulf Beach Highway, almost in Alabama (maybe 10 minutes to Orange Beach, probably not even that far). She got to go to the house today, but couldn't stay. The houses there had a lot of shingle damage, but I haven't heard of much more. The bridge into Alabama is closed because of flooding. Orange Beach and Perdido beaches were hit hard.

I don't have a LOT of info, so I'll give you some links that will help you out.

  • Pensacola News Journal: Probably the best source for info. If you want information on a specific area, check into the forums. My sister got some info about my Mom's house from someone on the forums. People are helping out there. There are also pictures.
  • PCCBoard: There are several threads about the storm, and especially the condition of the campus of Pensacola Christian College. They have some resources from people "on the ground" in Pensacola, so you'll be able to get some info there. Tell them 'phoenix' sent ya'!

If you know of any more resources, PLEASE leave me a comment and put the link there. I'll monitor the comments and update the list periodically. AND I'm gonna see if there's a way to keep this post at the top of the blog for a few days.

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God, Sovereignty, and the Really Bad Week.

This week started off bad. I got to Louisville Tuesday and realized I'd forgotten 1) my toiletries kit, including soap, deodorant, and toothbrush, and 2) my "dress" shoes -- suede, but nice-looking, for class. I also only had one towel. One. Praise God for dryers.
Tuesday afternoon I bomb my Philosophy quiz, because I studied the wrong stuff. Then it got worse, as I started to realize Ivan was going to hit Mom.
Wednesday, my car died.
Thursday, I spent worried about Mom, and wondering how I was going to get home with no car. And how I was going to PAY for said car.

Today, I realized how stupid I was to be that worried -- except for worrying about Mom, I mean. Car's fixed, and we had the money to pay for it. I wore shorts and sneakers to class, and it didn't kill me (you have to understand -- I have trouble doing business casual, let alone casual casual, in a classroom setting. Leftover from the shirt-and-tie days at Liberty). A new travel kit from WalMart cost me $6.10 after tax -- and I got everything I needed, including soap.

My problem was that I forgot that God is in charge. I was so stressed about how I was going to fix things, and what I was going to do, that I forgot that I am not in charge. God is. God was in control all week long. All I had to do is realize it, and get my hands off the controls.

I talked about temptation last Sunday night at church, and how sometimes God uses temptation to try us, to get us ready for His use (Deut. 8:2). Maybe I should have listened to myself.

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
(Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV)
And, yes, God already knows how we'll do. The purpose of the test is to make sure that we know what we can do.

BTW, got word from Mom. Some shingles are missing, the screen that went over the pool is messed up, but otherwise, the house is in OK shape. After looking at some of the pictures on, and seeing some of the mess that used to be buildings near her, I was REALLY concerned. She's still going to be three weeks without power, so she may be headed here, or to my sister's place in Tampa. But it could have been SO much worse.

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Ivan Update

I heard from Mom yesterday. She couldn't get down to the house because of a gas leak on Gulf Beach Highway -- and yes, that's as close to the water as it sounds. Some people on the opposite side of the road from her had major damage from the storm surge, but I don't think she's close enough to the gulf for that. I'm just hoping the roof is still on when she gets back.

I have no idea when I'll be headed down there. In fact, right now I don't even have a car -- it's having fuel pump replacement surgery done on it to the tune of almost $600. Ah, the carefree life of a seminarian!!

On the bright side, I think I did well on my first Hermeneutics exam. I guess that's something, anyway.

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September 16, 2004

Breaking (sort of) News!

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced Sept. 16 the establishment of the Center for Science and Theology along with the appointment of renowned philosopher of science William A. Dembski as its first director.

I actually heard about this at 11 this morning, but I didn't have time to post it until now. Otherwise, i might have even scooped Baptist Press on this one, if only by a few seconds.

That's why I need to get that wireless card for my PDA.....

I'm looking forward to taking a class or two from Dr. Dembski. Of course, it may take me longer to graduate if I do that ...

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Training camp for the 2004-2005 NHL season has NOT started as usual. The story is here from

I'm looking for a script that will count up from today, just to keep track of how many days without hockey I have to go. I figure withdrawl will start sometime in early November.

{edit} Already, I want to say more about this. This will be fairly uncharacteristic of this blog, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance.

Gary Bettman' comments are an interesting read. Of course, Bob Goodenow contradicts pretty much everything he says. And Trevor Linden gives a good view of the players' perspective.

I'm really not sure where I stand on this. I don't like unions -- in fact, I think that in most cases, labor unions have outlived their usefulness. I think that there are cases where labor unions have actually (long term) cost their members their jobs, because of unwillingness to cooperate with "management". I think that atheletes in general are overpaid -- I recognize the fact that their athletic careers are short, but I haven't seen many former athletes who weren't able to get a good job after their retirement from competition. I can understand them opposing a salary cap, and I don't really think a salary cap will work as well as the owners think it will.

I think the fact that the NHLPA didn't strike shows that they are willing to work things out with the owners. If the owners stick to their idea of a salary cap -- in whatever form -- we won't have hockey this year. I'm a bit irritated with both sides -- they've had a long time to try and work this out, and so far they are as far apart as they were when they started.

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September 15, 2004

Who would YOU believe??

Interesting article from National Review about the CBS document scandal. My favorite part, though, is right at the end:

Well, if you agree with Rather, maybe you should give just a smidgen more slack to George W. Bush about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Bush's sources were more solid by several orders of magnitude than Rather's, and yet it is "obvious" to so many that Bush lied while Rather deserves the benefit of the doubt. George W. Bush had the head of the CIA, the intelligence agencies of all our allies, the Clinton administration, the United Nations, and most of the establishment media generally backing his understanding of the threat from Iraq. Dan Rather had a couple shoddy Xeroxes — not all of which were examined thoroughly or at all. He interviewed a partisan — Ben Barnes — a huge backer of Kerry whose story has changed several times. But because many who hate Bush believe he lied, they are willing to believe any lies that confirm what they already know to be true.
And that's the way it is. Dan Rather is going down with his rapidly sinking ship.

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September 13, 2004

Why Do We Do It?

Just scanned this article about Bloggers not getting rich off their blogs. I was kinda shocked that anyone found this newsworthy. There are a LOT of bloggers out there -- some better than others, some just better informed, some just really lucky. I don't know of anyone who is trying to do this for a living. If they are, I feel sorry for them.

So if it's not to make a living, why do it? Why spend the time? Why spend the money?

I can only speak for myself. I KNOW it isn't about money. I used to be a marketing major, and now I'm in seminary, so I'm not even doing my REAL job for the money. It's not even really about the fame (though it would be neat to be walking down the street and have someone say "Hey! You're that View from the Pew guy, aren't you?").

I discovered blogging through an article I read online -- I don't even remember where. I started scanning blogs, and found Christians in the blogosphere. Christians with attitude. Christians with a message that they were getting out. And I thought "I want in on that!"

I had been hosting my own web site for a while. Had some articles that I had written up, but nobody was really reading them. It wasn't enough for me to just write this stuff -- I wanted someone to read what I was writing. I had something to say, and there were people who would listen -- I was sure of it.

I was also sure that I didn't want to spend a bunch of money. I was dumping over a hundred a year into my site, and had no results to speak of. I also wanted to make sure I'd stick with this blogging thing. So I headed over to BlogSpot, and signed up. I haven't shut up since :-)

And people read this stuff, too! I can remember getting my first comment (thanks, Rebecca). I watched my stats like a man obsessed (still do), and saw the number of hits I was getting. Not many, compared to most blogs. But a lot more than my "real" site. People subscribed to my feed. I got compliments posted on other sites.

And now, I'm hooked. If I don't post something, I get mad at myself -- I feel like I'm letting people down. Whenever I read something interesting, the first thing I think of is "I can blog that." My blog has given me a forum that I'd never had before. And sometimes, I think that I can make an impact. Somewhere. Somehow.

And I think that's why many people blog. To make an impact. Maybe not the teenagers who post things like "OMG hez such a QT!! 2 much 4 me!!" are trying to change the world. But there are folks out there trying to make a difference, and they, in the long run, are the future of this thing we all call the blogosphere. I'm just hoping to be part of that second group.

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Come Hear the Symphony

The Best of Me Symphony is up a The Owner's Manual, so head over there and check it out. This week is hosted by The Young Ones -- who I hadn't seen in a VERY long time! Of course, my early education in British comedy was through the PBS station in Washington DC (WETA), so that might explain it.

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Storm Tracking

Blogging might be a bit light in the next few days. My Mom lives in Pensacola, FL, and it looks like Ivan might be headed up her driveway.

We've talked her into heading for shelter further inland, but she doesn't really want to leave. I was planning on heading down there this evening/tomorrow early morning, but she doesn't want me to come.

So far, she hasn't even gotten plywood for her windows, because she doesn't know how to put it up, and probably couldn't do it herself anyway. Of course, her neighbors are all ready for the storm.

So most of my Internet time is going to be spent at, watching the storm and it's projected path. And hoping it blows a different direction -- preferably backwards out to sea.

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September 12, 2004

Carnival Time Again!

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will behosted at Rebecca Writes. If you have a blog, this will be agreat way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature,but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) innature from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

email Rebecca at rstark(at)

Provide the following:
Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cut off date is Tuesday night at 12AM EST.

Don't forget to encourage a friend to contribute, and have them stopby and join the Christian Carnival mailing list at

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September 11, 2004

Ain't She Sweet?

This is my daughter, taken at Easter this year. I'm trying out the Hello! thing from Picasa to see how well it works. Posted by Hello

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Cheap Shot to the Right

Steve Gushee has a great article in the Palm Beach Post. He talks about Noah and the Flood, the covenant that God made with man after the flood, what caused the flood, etc. Unfortunately, he ruins the whole article (at least for me) in the second paragraph.

Some conservative Christians will insist that Hurricanes Frances and Charley were (and Ivan might be) the result of God's will to punish us for some litany of behavior of which they disapprove. They are not only mistaken about divine climate control, but they make a mockery of the very Scripture they believe is without error.
Is anyone else wondering who the heck he's talking about?

I'm a conservative Christian. I hang out with conservative Christians. Heck, I'm married to a conservative Christian. I read lots of things written by conservative Christians. I haven't heard this one. Nobody I've heard of has mentioned the whole punishment for sin thing -- mainly for the exact reason that Gushee mentions in his article. God promised not to punish us that way any more. That's how we know that the storms that have battered Florida are because of odd weather patterns, not divine justice.

Unfortunately, Gushee takes a wonderfully-written column, a piece rare in journalism in that it takes theological truth seriously, and turns it into a vicious and (from what I can tell) unfounded attack on a LOT of people.

Maybe, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, there's a preacher who is writing his sermon for tomorrow. He's got the only satelite dish in his little town, and he's been watching the events taking place in Florida. His flock is familiar with Florida -- they've heard about Baywatch, after all, and Doc Sanders went there for that convention, so they KNOW the immorality that goes on there. So he decides to tell them that God has decided to judge these evil Floridians for their fornication and perversion. As he writes this, he can hear the AMENs ringing out in the pews.

Maybe this is the guy that Steve Gushee has in mind. Maybe Steve Gushee even believes that this guy is representative of "conservative Christians". But I can assure him, and you all, that conservative Christians aren't this stupid. And we're getting pretty tired of people treating us as if we are.

Maybe if Gushee had started the column off with something like this:
I was listening to Preacher X the other day, and he said something that disturbed me. He said that the hurricanes in Florida were ...
I'd have had less of a problem with that. I'd have an idea that there was actually someone that he had in mind, who said this idiotic thing, and I could go off on them about their stupidity. Unfortunately, all we get is "some conservative Christians will" do this.

I wonder if he even heard anyone say this, or if he just decided that it sounded good, and would get him some praise from the people who read his column. If that's the case, he's no better than the hypothetical preacher in my story -- changing and shaping the facts to suit his audience, with no regard for the truth.

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9/11 Three Years Later

This is pretty much a required post today. All over the blogosphere, people are writing about 9/11 and its impact on them.

Three years ago, I was in front of a classroom full of highschool sophomores. I didn't even know about the attack until almost 10 AM, because I was teaching. Actually, long-term substituting for my wife, who had just had our daughter a month before. She was here in Ohio because her grandmother had dies -- I had flown home on September 10th, so I could teach.

Second period was my planning, so I walked into the Social Sutdies faculty room, where the TV was on to Fox News (as usual). I saw the familiar outline of the World Trade Center, and smoke coming from the top. I was glued to the TV until the bell rang for third period.

Of course, by then the kids all had heard. The rest of the day -- in fact, for most of the rest of the week -- we watched the news and talked about what happened. "Are we at war?", "Are they going to attack here?", "Is the school safe?" -- all questions I had to deal with, and "I don't know" wasn't a good enough answer. "At war with whom? These are terrorists", "Why would they attack a little town south of Atlanta? What do we have here?", "If the school wasn't safe, they'd send us home" (which was exactly what they were hoping for). Soon, classes turned into a series of lessons on the modern history of terrorism (Entebbe, the '72 Olympics, etc.), the motivations of the Islamic terrorists (US support of Israel, out troops in Saudi Arabia, etc.). It took a little effort, but I found a way for the kids to learn something out of the ordeal.

Of course, when I got home I was different. My first concern was for my wife and newborn daughter, who were 13 hours away. We spent a lot of time on the phone that night, then I called my Mom and sister. I was most worried about Mom, who lives a mile from NAS Pensacola. She was fine, but had noticed a LOT more aircraft in the air than ever before. And there was heavy security at the gate when she went to the national cemetary to visit my Dad's grave.

A lot has happened in the last three years. We are accepting some things that we never would have before. Some of the things we should expect, since we are at war. Some of the things we need to make sure stop when peace is restored. But I think that it is very safe to say that in another 50-100 years, historians teaching US history will differentiate between the US pre-9/11 and the US post-9/11. Because this nation will never be the same again.

I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing or not.

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September 10, 2004

A Dangerous God

I cruised over to Credenda:Agenda this evening -- something I hadn't done in a while. The cover title started me thinking: "God the Dangerous".

First thing I thought of was an allusion made by Derek Webb. In The Chronicles of Narnia, the children ask if Aslan is a safe lion. They are told No, he is not safe. But he is good.

Is God safe? How do we define safe? Safe, as in people won't want to kill us for believing in Him? Too many people have been martyred for us to seriously believe that. Safe, as in people will think good things about us? You should know that isn't true; if you don't, you haven't spoken about Christ in public recently. People don't like it when they are confronted witht he truth of God's love, and Christ's death for them. They will think you are not intelligent. They will think you are a dupe. They will think you have no independant thought. You aren't modern (or postmodern) enough.

Safe, as in people will let you practice your religion as you are led by your conscience? Ask ministers in Canada who want to speak out against homosexuality, but cannot without breaking the law. Ask the house churches in China. Ask the underground church in Russia.

God is not safe. Christianity is not safe. We know that it is good -- and our job is to let the world know it, too. Sometimes we don't do such a good job. Sometimes we don't admit that we did anything wrong, even when we have. The world watches us, to see what kind of God we serve, by our actions. We must make sure that we show them the right one. Not the safe one.

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September 09, 2004

LOTS going on ...

First of all, the Christian Carnival is up at Fringe. I didn't really write anything that I thought was Carnival-worthy, so I'm not there. Lots of other people DID write some good stuff, though, so head over there and read.

Second, I was remis in reporting on the Best of Me Symphony, which is up at The Owners Manual. That's another thing I really want to get back into -- I'm just having a hard time finding good stuff from six months ago. If any of you have any suggestions, let me know.

Speaking of which, my email address is over on the right side, if you want to drop me a line. It seems to be spam-bot proof -- we'll see.

I'm painfully aware of the lack of good posts lately. I'm working on my first real research paper as a graduate student -- and the first research paper I've done in a VERY long time; marketing majors do projects involving surveys and a different kind of research! I think the last real research paper I did was in Philosophy, on the worldviews presented in the series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Got me an A-, and helped save my grade in the class, but there wasn't much research involved (hence the minus in the A-). it was a VERY good paper, though -- I gave it to a high school teacher of mine to read, and never saw it again, so I can't post it (in whole or in part), which stinks, 'cause it was really good.

You may see some observations and things on inerrancy and inspiration here in the next week or so -- that's what my paper is on. When the rough draft is done (probably next week some time), I'll post a copy somewhere, and maybe some kind folks can read it and let me know how bad it is.

I also know that the Mark study is way over due -- I'm hoping to have that up on Saturday. I have a TON of reading to do for my Systematic Theology class, but I should be about caught up very soon. Then the blogging MIGHT get back to normal.

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September 08, 2004

Mea Culpa 2

Parableman posted a great response to my blog about the rise of the Godbloggers. I'm a bit upset at myself, becasue about the only thing my post showed was that I don't read enough good Godbloggers -- and that I forgot about a few good ones that I DO read.

Thought about just deleting my post, but I figure I'll leave it up to remind myself to do better digging next time. I DO thing that Godblogging has potential to increase in both visibility and popularity, and I think there are a few really good Godblogs out there (Like Parableman, EO, Bene Diction, and others that I DID mention), and there are some smaller blogs that have some potential (click a few links on my blogroll to see some). Somewhere in there is this blog. This blog is kinda like a little dog -- lots of bark, not many people pay attention, and then WHAM!! -- it bites you on the leg.

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September 07, 2004

It's Carnival Time Again!!

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will behosted at Fringe.

If you have a blog, this will be agreat way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process orhighlight your favorite post from the past week.To enter is simple.

First, you post should be of a Christian nature,but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) innature from a Christian point of view.
Secondly please send only onepost dated since the last Christian Carnival.
Then, do the following:

email me at jeremiah.lewis(at) with a subject of Christian Carnival
Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cut off date is Tuesday, 11pm EST.

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