February 17, 2007

Amazon Reviewer Ranks

This is just a quickie, but I started laughing just now when I pulled up my Amazon Reviewer ranking. I've cracked the top 5,000 -- I'm in a huge tie for #4167. That isn't what made me laugh. What made me laugh is who the person is right above me on the list, also at #4167:

4167 David T. Wayne "aka The 'JollyBlogger'" (Glen Burnie, MD United States)
Reviews written: 46
(REAL NAME)

I am a father of three and husband of one and I pastor Glen Burnie Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Glen Burnie, MD. I am an avid reader of theology and fiction. My particular theological interests are in the area of eschatology and sanctification, or whatever theological topic I happen to be wrestling with on a particular day. I also happen to enjoy the study of apologetics and am a confirmed ... more


Now I've written 81 reviews, and he's got 46, so he must be a better reviewer than I am. Or maybe he just reads things more people are curious about -- I tend to get a lot of computer titles. I need to review more fiction -- which I will be doing next week, right here! I finished the latest Jasper Fforde book, The Fourth Bear, and I'll be reviewing it next week -- probably Wednesday.

And I'll get that one on Amazon, and maybe I can overtake the JollyBlogger.

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February 09, 2007

Commercials ...

I'm an advertising geek -- I admit it. And I'm one of those people who proudly admits to watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. But this year, Madison Avenue let me down.

Now, I've got to admit that I wasn't able to watch the game this year. We didn't get home until VERY late in the 4th quarter, so I'm having to watch the commercials on the internet. The 'Beer-stealing Crabs' ad from Budweiser just made me hungry (where's that Old Bay, anyway?). The Blockbuster commercial with the mouse was pretty funny. But my real favorite was the Doritos 'Live the Flavor' ad. A budget of less than $15, and only 4 days from concept to final cut. Brilliant! Doesn't hurt that it was made by fellow LU grads, either.

And there's the rub. The big, expensive ads were eclipsed by an amateur production whose budget was less than the catering bill for the other guys. Once upon a time, the Super Bowl was as big an event for advertisers as it was for football teams. Not anymore, it seems. The big boys aren't willing to field their best stuff for the Super Bowl anymore, it would seem.

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February 04, 2007

Book Review: Does God Still Do Miracles?

Does God Still Do Miracles? is written by Dr. Brad Burke, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. In other words, it's written by someone very familiar with medicine. That's a valuable viewpoint to have in the debate about miracles.

Dr. Burke's premise is that there are a lot of people claiming miracles where they don't exist. He doesn't say that God doesn't do miracles today -- he is simply saying that a lot of what we think are miracles are not. The problem lies in how we define a miracle.

C.S. Lewis defined miracles as "... an interference with Nature by supernatural power." Dr. Burke goes a bit further, agreeing with John MacArthur's definition of a miracle as "an extraordinary event wrought by God through human agency, an event that cannot be explained by natural forces." For the purposes of the discussion in this book, with the types of miracle claims Burke is examining, MacArthur's definition serves the purpose better than Lewis'. Burke is attempting to examine specific miracles of healing, especially as manifested among faith-healing televangelists like Benny Hinn.

Many people have examined the faith-healing phenomenon before. The value in a book such as this is that the faith healers are being examined not by an agnostic or an atheist, but by a Christian. The goal is not to debunk belief in God, but to show that the "miracles" wrought by faith healers do not fit the definition -- they are explainable by natural forces, when they are verifiable at all.

The most fascinating part of the book for me was the discussion of the psychological aspects of healing, especially when connected with faith healers. We tend to forget that we've been designed by the ultimate Designer, and He has equipped us with the ability to heal ourselves in many, many cases. Dr. Burke presents a very persuasive case that many people who experience miraculous healings have, in fact, simply allowed their bodies to do what God designed them to do.

Word of faith folks will not like this book -- Burke skewers their "name it, claim it" theology quite well, giving examples of people whose faith is never in doubt but who did not receive the expected physical healing. He reminds us of faith healers who apparently didn't have enough faith to be healed themselves, because they died of heart disease, cancer, etc. And we're reminded that Christ's miracles were done with one purpose -- to give glorify God. Too often, modern miracles are done to glorify the man. That, in and of itself, should be a warning sign to discerning Christians.

Dr. Burke has done the Christian community a valuable service with this book, and the series that it's a part of, An MD Examines. The books are very easy to read, but contain important information that all Christians should have.

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February 03, 2007

This Week in Church History

February 4, 1555.

John Rogers was a good Catholic, born when everyone was a good Catholic (or a heathen). He also lived at a time when many were questioning the unscriptural practices of the established church.

Rogers was given a church position after he finished his education, but soon resigned. There were things that he was being taught that he could not reconcile with Scripture, and felt he could no longer serve the church. And that was where he was very wrong.
more...

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