February 28, 2005

My Apologies

To the poor, twisted individual who ended up here after searching for Christians and Speedos in Yahoo. I don't know what you expected, but I know you didn't get it here. It frigtens me that you might have found it somewhere else ...

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The More Things Change ...

... the more they stay the same. Consider this quote, taken from Andrew Fuller's letter to the chairman of the East Inia Company concerning Christian missionaries in India:

I have observed with pain, sir, of late years, a notion of toleration, entertained even by some who would be thought its firmest advocates, which tends not only to abridge, but to subvert it. They have no objection to Christians of any denomination enjoying their own opinions, and, it may be, their own worship; but they must not be allowed to make proselytes. ... They do not propose to persecute the Christians of India, provide they would keep their Christianity to themselves; but those who attempt to convert others are to be exterminated. Sir, I need not say to you that this is not toleration, but persecution.
This was written in 1807, when the East India Company was protesting the missionaries in India -- accusing them of fomenting revolution and rebellion after some of the company's sepoy troops mutinied. Thomas Twining, of the famous tea Twining family, wrote to the chairman of the East India Company urging him to not allow missionary activity in India any longer. British Baptist missions were under attack, and unjustly so.

But it could have easilly been written yesterday. As long as Christians keep our faith to ourselves, we are allowed to exist. When we start obeying the command of Christ to teach the nations to obey His commands, we need to be eliminated. In many parts of the world, Christians are eliminated in the most precise meaning of that word; they are killed. We have not reached that point in the US yet, though many things I have read on the Internet show me that many people are not opposed to that idea at all. Here, we are told simply that our beliefs have no place in the public forum, since they are religious in nature.

This is not tolerance. This is not simply an issue that Christians should be involved in. This is an issue that people who are interested in true tolerance of all beliefs should pay attention to, and protest against.

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February 25, 2005

I was Waiting for Something Like This ...

A bill in Maine attempts to protect homosexual fetuses from "discrimination."

Essentially, you can kill your baby all you want in Maine -- as long as it's straight. If it's going to be gay, then you can't do that, because it's a hate crime.

It is the public policy of the State that the State not restrict a woman's exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability except as provided in section sections 1597-A and 1597-B.
Thank you Dean Hamer. This is all your fault.

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February 22, 2005

Google Me!

I'm taking a look at the things people have typed into search engines to get here. I don't get as many bizarre ones as some people do, but some of these are interesting.

'difference in fundamentalists and evangelicals': #2 in Yahoo!, not even top 50 on Google.
'Al Mohler God gene': #1 in Google, not in the top 50 on Yahoo!
'Christians in public schools': #38 on Yahoo! (they must have ben looking at every link to get here!), not in the top 50 on Google. And I thought I'd said enough on that issue ...
'View from the Pew': I'm #1 on both. Wasn't always that way!
'open source theology': #3 on Google, #2 on Yahoo! I bet the guys over at Open Source Theology don't like what I had to say about it.

Think that's all the mindlessness for now. Currently in progress: the completion of the Faith and Reason series (promise!), the series on the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and something on "Baptist distinctives" -- the things that make a Baptist a Baptist and not a Presbyterian or something else. And it's NOT going to be a diatribe against anyone who isn't Baptist, either! I have too many friends (online and off) who aren't Baptists to go in that direction. Might even get a TWiCH up, and the Mark study!

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Someone who Needs some Prayer

Never thought I'd be linking to an MTV story, but I think this is important.

"Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch, who has chosen Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end," a statement from the band reads. "Korn respects Brian's wishes, and hopes he finds the happiness he's searching for."
I'm hoping that Christians will react to this in several different ways:

  • Pray for Brian Welch. Pray that he can grow in his faith without being thrown into the "new born again Christian former rock star" limelight. We tried to do that to Alice Cooper, remember?
  • Pray for the rest of Korn. Pray that through Brian's witness (even if it's simply walking away from a great gig to follow Christ) that they will be impacted, and they may come to find the peace that Brian has.
  • DON'T start talking about "ulterior motives" behind his conversion. People in the spotlight don't convert to Christianity and leave their current gig for monetary reasons. I got tired of hearing this about Deion Sanders, and I didn't even really like him.
He's already involved in a church, which is a good thing. I'm praying that he can grow there, and praising God for his conversion.

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Some Fun with Bookmarks

Blatently ripped off from Jared and the Songstress.

1. Open the bookmarks list in your favorite web browser and note the bottommost entry (which may or may not be the last one you added), even if it's inside a folder. Copy the bookmark title, along with the URL, into a post or comment.

2. Count up your list from there, and select every fourth bookmark, until you've picked another four. Add them to your post or comment.

3. Publish the list of five bookmarks and wait for the world to marvel at your eclectic and sophisticated interests!


Your Guide to Bathroom Design and Remodeling -- I was feeling ambitious, OK? We even went out and bought the tile -- it's still in boxes.
The Shakespeare Classroom -- You DID know that my wife and I both teach (well, I did until this past fall). What do you expect?
Beatles Christmas Records -- I downloaded all of these this year and burned them onto a CD for us to listen to while travelling.
The Homestar Runner Wiki -- He IS the fastest runner, after all.
Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut -- If you haven't read it yet, you need to. One of my favorites, even though the kids didn't get it when my wife taught it.

Those are my five. How about you?

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February 16, 2005

The Mandatory Valentines Day Post

And it IS mandatory. All married blogging males MUST at least refer to Valentines Day on their blog, else they will incur the wrath of the Wife. At least it's in the copy of the rules I got ...

We actually celebrated over the weekend, with a trip down to Charleston, WV to Town Center Mall and Bennigans. The Carribean Crab Cakes are quite good, by the way, and if you get a side of fries they make a rather filling meal. Spent the whole day together, just the three of us (can't have Valentines Day without my little Valentine, too!).

And yesterday was our anniversary. Yep, guys, I managed to combine the two holidays that every male forgets into (almost) one day. AND I get roses dirt cheap the day after Valentines Day, so what are you gonna do? Still not sure why we picked February to get married (other than the reason I just gave, which I remember telling her when we were discussing dates).

It snowed two days before we got married. I was flying to Lynchburg from Atlanta, and was meeting my sister in Charlotte. My flight was delayed because of bad weather, and the flight to Virginia was delayed too -- there was a blizzard. So we ended up staying in Charlotte overnight, and worrying everyone that we wouldn't make it the next day, either.

But we did. Got an early flight out, got to Virginia with no further problems, and got hitched on February 15, 1997. So Happy Valentines/Anniversary, Thanea -- even if I didn't get this done on time (what else is new, right?).

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February 15, 2005

A Good Reason -- Really!!

You might have noticed I missed a few days. No, no blogger angst this time. No scholarly excuses, either. I've been playing a game.

Not just any game. Shot Online golf.

The game might remind some people of Tiger Woods 2004 -- but I never played that one (I'm a Links 2003 man myself). You play, earn money and experience. Money buys you new clothing, hair, or clubs. Experience makes you better. Every hole you play, you get a little of both. The game is in open Beta right now, but I haven't run into many problems so far. And I've been levelling up pretty quickly. Which is why I haven't been writing much.

But I'm not addicted. I can quit any time I want to -- really. But I only need to win another 50,000 Ng (the in-game currency) to be able to afford new irons. And I need me some new irons...

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Kristoff Has Bought into the 'God Gene' Farce

Checking in with my very favorite New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, today, I was amused to notice that, this one time, he's been scooped by some of us religious nuts.

He's written a column about "prominent American geneticist" Dean Hamer, and his 'God gene' idea. Kristof likes the idea, it seems -- it explains why so many people decide to be irrational enough to actually believe in this God character -- "... faith may give people strength to overcome illness - after all, if faith in placebo sugar pills works, why not faith in God?"

And I tend to agree that this really, in the long run, doesn't matter.

Of course, none of that answers the question of whether God exists. The faithful can believe that God wired us to appreciate divinity. And atheists can argue that God may simply be a figment of our VMAT2 gene.

But what the research does suggest is that postindustrial society will not easily leave religion behind. Faith may be quiescent in many circles these days, or directed toward meditation or yoga, but it is not something that humans can easily cast off.

A propensity to faith in some form appears to be embedded within us as a profound part of human existence, as inextricable and perhaps inexplicable as the way we love and laugh.
But, of course, loyal readers of this blog will remember that Dr. Al Mohler has already talked about this book of Dean Hamer's -- waaaaay back in October. And I talked about him talking about it here. So this is really old news. Maybe Kristof should read more Godblogs.

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February 12, 2005

Mindless Rambling ....

And a little bit of a Blogroll Cruise for good measure.

First, a little randomness. I've been leaving BlogExplosion alone for a bit, conducting an experiment. I wanted to see what impact being close to the top 1000 in the TTLB ecosystem was having on my actual hits, rather than just links. I have noticed a slight increase -- of course, me not posting anything for five days didn't really help endear me to any new readers (HEY, come back! I'm writing stuff now! PLEASE!!!). Now I've decided I like the little line graph going UP on statcounter, so I'm back on the 'Splosion. And I remember what I didn't like about it the last time -- a lot of people with nothing much to say (kinda like me today, huh?).

Stones Cry Out is talking about First Principles. I find myself disagreeing with the principle that conservatives adhere to custom, convention, and continuity. I'm not what I would consider a conventional person. Custom is a wonderful thing, but it isn't a rule of my life. I DO like continuity, though, since I am a (budding) historian. Continuity for its own sake, though, is wrong. I'm looking close at the other ten principles here, and if I think it's warranted I'll put a post together about my thoughts on the subject.

Scott over at the Crusty Curmudgeon reminds me that yesterday was the feast day of Caedmon, which the Celtic/British history nut in me should have remembered. I have an excuse -- I've been reading a LOT more "modern" (18th century and later) church history recently. I think this summer will be time to pull out the Bede again.

Rebecca must be reading my mind. Go read this post. We argue about doctrine, disagree about everything under the sun -- but we are still brothers and sisters in Christ if we have the same trust in Christ for our salvation. I'm getting ready to put a study together on "Baptist Distinctives" that I hope I'll get to do at church, and I got to thinking about them. I realized that while I think they're all important things, I am good friends with people who would disagree with me on just about all of them. And these are people whose salvation I do not question, and whose walk with Christ is beyond reproach. God doesn't mind if they're wrong ;-)

The King of the Blogs tourney is still running, and they've had a ruling monarch last long enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. And rumor is that a former monarch (who is working on a new template) is considering an attempt at regaining his throne. . . Or maybe he's just pulling people's chains, who knows. He's strange that way ......

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BlogSpot Must Be Listening

... to the judges at the KotB tournament, anyway. They've changed the Blogger comment thing so that you don't have to have a Blogger account anymore to leave comments on a blog with their comment thing turned on.

I still like Haloscan better, though. BlogSpot still doesn't have trackback, for example.

I really don't have anything else to say, but I wanted everyone to know about that -- it was advertized on the Dashbard page when I logged in.

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February 11, 2005

A Mad Emperor am I?

The irony of this quiz result is that I was going to use this guy in my last King of the Blogs defense, to answer the challenge post about who I would base my rule on. Unfortunately, I forgot the guy's name until two days later when my wife mentioned him. Yes, we are both history geeks, so we DO have conversations like that all the time.

I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?
From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.
This guy actually declared himself Emperor of the United States. From what I've been able to gather, he was in reality pretty harmless, and left the folks in Washington alone. The people who lived near him humored him, and he didn't really give anyone any trouble, but he never really did much of anything, either.

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February 10, 2005

Briefly ...

I heard a little about this story on the way to school this evening. Once I got here and had dinner, I figured I would check into it a little.

Is anyone else VERY disturbed about this? The fact that someone can go to the FBI and claim that your sermons are inciting violence, and the FBI then shows up and gets transcripts or recordings of your messages bothers me more than I want to even think about.

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February 09, 2005

I'm Back

I've been struggling for the past several days with a lot of stuff. For a few hours today I was thinking about shutting down the blog -- but I'm not. It's hard to describe what I was feeling, because a lot of it was nothing at all (which is far more frightening than feeling something), but I think that this Steve Taylor song probably does a pretty good job of it.

The Finish Line

Once upon an average morn
An average boy was born for the second time
Prone upon the altar there
He whispered up a prayer he'd kept hid inside
The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods on a gilded wheel
"These will vie to take your place
But, Father, by Your grace I will never kneel"

And I saw you, upright and proud
And I saw you wave to the crowd
And I saw you laughing out loud at the Philistines
And I saw you brush away rocks
And I saw you pull up your socks
And I saw you out on the blocks for the finish line

Darkness falls, the devil stirs
And as your vision blurs you start stumbling
The heart is weak, the will is gone
And every strong conviction comes tumbling down
Malice rains, the acid guile
Is sucking at your shoes while the mud is fresh
It floods the trail, it leaves you dry
As every little god buys its pound of flesh

And I saw you licking your wounds
And I saw you weave your cocoons
And I saw you changing your tunes for the party line
And I saw you welch on old debts
I saw you and your comrades bum cigarettes
And you hemmed and you hawed
And you hedged all your bets waiting for a sign

Let's all wash our hands as we throw little fits
Let's all wash our hands as we curse hypocrites
We're locked in the washroom turning old tricks
Deaf and joyless and full of it

The vision came, he saw the odds
A hundred little gods on a gilded wheel
"These have tried to take Your place
But, Father, by Your grace, I will never kneel
I will never kneel"

Off in the distance, bloodied but wise
As you squint with the light of the truth in your eyes
And I saw you, both hands were raised
And I saw your lips move in praise
And I saw you steady your gaze for the finish line
Every idol like dust, a word scattered them all
And I rose to my feet when you scaled the last wall
And I gasped when I saw you fall in His arms at the finish line

Written by Steve Taylor © 1993 Warner Alliance Music/Soylent Tunes ASCAP
You can download the MP3 (legally) at this website.

School tomorrow, so I'm off again until Saturday. But this time, I WILL be back Saturday.

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February 04, 2005

Blogroll Cruise: 2/4/05

  • Midwestern Mugwump offers a critique of the Iraqi insurgents who apparantly have taken a GI Joe doll hostage.
  • Eternal Perspectives gives us another perspective on the whole Unity in Christ issue. We are to be united in Christ -- what exactly does that mean? Does it mean we support everyone who claims the name, or do we have divisions based on doctrine?
  • Sacra Eloquia, which is the Crusty Curmudgeon's less-crusty blog, has a great Intro to Philemon post that MIGHT end up being used by yours truely at some point in a Sunday School class (or possibly sermon ...). If this one isn't in your blogroll, you're missing a great blog.
  • And make sure that you check out the Southern Baptist Bloggers aggregator that I've set up -- and let all your SBC friends know about it.
I'll probably do the trackbacks for this post later on.

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News Cruise

A few other people have noticed that the US military seems to be involved in religious torture. I'm a little upset that more people aren't makeing this an issue. We need to seriously ask the questions that Jeff Jacoby asks -- "Are Americans OK with using religious humiliation as tools of war? How about religious torture?"

Marcus Sheffield has a good editorial in the Chatanoogan about not counting on AMerica being the new incarnation of the Kingdom of God. He reminds me about Christ's words in John 18:36.

I'll be doing the Blogroll Cruise in a bit. My medication has worn off, which is a good thing, and I'm not in pain anymore (not much pain, anyway). I might be able to manage something original soon, who knows. I missed classes this week, because I couldn't handle sitting in the car for three hours, then sitting in class for three hours. If they'd let me lay down in class, I think I'd have gone. Not much chance of that, though. I'll be back to full strength next week, though.

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February 02, 2005

A Few Random Thoughts

... from an oxycodone-fogged mind.

Monday was surgery day -- the hernia I had in September of 03 came back, and I wanted to get it fixed before it got too bad. I waited five years to get that one fixed, and it was NOT pretty. Also had to spend a week in the hospital after the surgery. This time, it was outpatient, so I'm home, but I'm still hurting. I SHOULD be OK to drive to school tomorrow, though, as long as I don't take my medication before I try to drive.

I've been reading a lot of Andrew Fuller lately, for class. I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- this is someone that everyone should be familiar with. He was a driving force in turning around the English Particular Baptists in the 18th Century, at a time when hyper-Calvinism had really taken hold and was hindering church growth. His apologetic and polemic works are outstanding, and incredibly well-thought-out. And his sermons are inspiring. I may set up an Amazon "So you want to ..." list with some recommended books on him for those who are interested, but that probably won't be until Saturday or Sunday.

Work on the new template has been nonexistant lately, but I know a little better what I want to do. The creative part is almost over, so now I actually have to try and build the thing. And I think everyone will like it -- if nothing else, the colors will be a bit easier on the eyes. And the newspaper links are going away.

Time magazine's 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in American wasn't quite what I was expecting. I think that Joe Carter's series at Evangelical Outpost is much better. But one think got me thinking -- both lists show how diverse the evangelical community is. You have to wonder what would happen if all these people got together and worked together in a more concerted effort to share the Gospel with the world. Of course, many of them would have some theological differences that they would have to work out (or agree to disagree on) first.

Well, I'm due for more medication, and after that I doubt I'll be able to blog anything even remotely coherent. Might be back this evening or later tonight. If not, I WILL be posting on Saturday. I might even have the rest of my "Faith and Reason" series finished ...

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 01:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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