New Page: Discussion

Not that I’m trying to go the way of ESPN in regards to their shameless self-promotion, but I have added a new page to this here blog.

Some blogs have a comments policy which outlines what may or may not be said (amazing that those who tout their tolerance can be anything but as they refuse to post comments which they simply don’t agree with), but this is not the route I wanted to take with this page.

So without further ado, here is “Discussion”.

Doug Giles challenges Evangelicals who support Obama

Evangelicals for Obama? Not according to Townhall columnist Doug Giles who challenges any evangelical to biblically support their backing of presidential hopeful Barack Obama in his latest column,

“Obama’s on Fire for Jesus (the Jesus of His Own Imagination)”

The only problem is that according to the Senator’s voting record, it will prove impossible to support his views at least from a Biblical perspective, which to evangelicals is the only one that should truly matter, the Bible being God’s Word and all.

Impossible unless said support is primarily rooted in emotionalism, as I myself have observed. Emotionalism impairs our ability to reason and ultimately our commitment to God.

Giles’ style is a bit abrasive but he competently makes his point. Here’s the last part of the column,

How a true believer in Christ (as defined by Scripture) can say he or she believes in what Jesus, the prophets and apostles said and side with such a liberal politico simply because he is “charismatic and youthful” is beyond me.

I’d love to have an evangelical Christian (as classically defined) who backs Obama wade in here on the comment thread and defend (biblically):

1. Obama’s voting record on life and marriage

2. his allegiance to a clearly anti-white, anti-Semitic, anti-American pastor/congregation

3. why B-HO, if he doesn’t buy into what his minister of mayhem propagates, doesn’t officially leave the congregation and disassociate himself from his mad maharishi and his bigoted beliefs?

C’mon . . . hit me with your best shot.

The Bible meets Google Earth

Thought this was pretty slick,

“The Bible According To Google Earth”

though not as slick as the following comment by one of the artists,

“We like to disorientate audiences a little with all our work. And with this piece we felt technology now allows events which may or may not have happened to be visualized and made to appear dramatically real,” said The Glue Society’s James Dive.

Don’t Read the Bible Aloud on the Bus

According to this story,

“Woman Escorted Off Bus For Reading Bible Aloud”

A woman in Forth Worth was kicked off the bus for reading her Bible out loud to her kids.

I can’t say if this is “persecution” or not, it probably isn’t. I did find a comment attributed to a transit company’s rep interesting,

“Anyone who is loud will be asked to be quiet,” said representative Joan Hunter. “That is a standard policy across country in the transit industry.”

It’s interesting to me because I ride public transportation to work every day here in Houston and people yakking away on their cell phones is extremely annoying, yet to this date I have not heard any driver ask any of these folk to be quiet.

You know it’s bad when you hear the words “Hey, I’m on the bus…” because you know that a conversation which will last the entire hour bus ride will ensue.

You know it’s going to be really bad when the first person they call can’t talk and they go to the next entry in their Contacts.  Of course, it gets progressively worse as more Contacts either can’t talk or don’t pick up their phones.

A conversation which will reveal to anyone within hearing distance all sorts of details about a total stranger’s life which the rest of us would just be as happy as to remain ignorant about.

A former co-worker who also rides the bus to work and got fed up with these folk made a suggestion. To start reading something (anything) out loud to the talker in the hopes that he/she stopped chatting away.

While uncharitable it seems like an interesting social experiment so long as you don’t use a Bible.

Chris Tomlin coming to you from Tim Tebow’s iPod

Gene Menez of SI.com interviewed Heisman Trophy candidate Tim Tebow.

“Talkin’ with Tebow”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or could care less about college football or sports in general, Tebow is the versatile quarterback of the University of Florida Gators.

tebow-scores.jpgAP

Tebow scores against Ohio State in last year’s National Title game.

Versatile because he is the first player in college football history to throw for 20 touchdowns and run for 20 touchdowns.

He truly is an outstanding player and given the fact that Tebow is a devout Christian and my penchant to root for so-called running quarterbacks I’m a big fan.

If he wins the Heisman I wonder if he’ll be the first Heisman trophy winner to be homeschooled?

Here is a couple of questions I found interesting,

SI.com: Do you still read the Bible every day?

Tebow: Yes

……

SI.com: What do you want for Christmas?

Tebow: You know, I’ve never been someone to be picky or want anything. The best thing about Christmas for me is having all my siblings come home and spend time and hang out with them. That’s the big thing for me for Christmas. Oh, my mom has to cook ice cream Rice Krispie Treat pie when I go home. That’s what I want for Christmas.

………

SI.com: (Laughs) OK. Thanks. What’s getting the most play in your iPod right now?

Tebow: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t get asked that question. Let me see. Hmm. I’m trying to think. I like George Strait. He gets played on there a lot. Kenny [Chesney] gets played on there a lot. I’m a big country fan, so a lot of country stuff. Chris Tomlin gets played on there a lot. No. 1, though? You know what? I’d have to go with Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney.

I wonder how many Tebow fans know who Chris Tomlin is? (Ironically enough, Chris Tomlin’s “Give us Clean Hands” started playing in my iPod as I was finishing this post up)

Self-Righteousness: A Pillar of Unbelief

Often the charge is levied at religious people (in America it’s Christians since it is, on the surface, the prevalent faith) that they are self-righteous prigs who like nothing better than to impose their morality on everyone else and sapping the “fun” of out of everything. Sometimes the accusation is justified albeit for the wrong reasons.

It’s somewhat comical to watch religious people lob this label on one another. Among Christians much of this brotherly bickering could be curtailed with a cursory look at Romans 14, but I digress.

Currently reading Gene Edward Veith’s, “Loving God with All Your Mind” and are finding it to be a stimulating read.

In one of the chapters he talks about self-righteousness and the way he explains it shed some light on the fact that this disease is not limited to religious folk.

Veith writes,

The most dangerous illusion of them all is self-righteousness. This is the true barrier to Jesus Christ. All rejection of God’s grace takes this form. Those who refuse the free forgiveness of God through Christ do so because they do not see themselves as needing that forgiveness. They do no admit that they are sinners. They deny that they are desperately lost.

God’s Law in its purity works not only to shape society and to show us how we are to live, but also reveals our sinfulness and awakens in us our need of a Savior (Romans 7, Galatians 3).

And yet we try to convince ourselves, even in the midst of our sins, that we are basically good, in fact better than most people. We justify ourselves, and in our complacency and self-sufficient pride we shut out the grace of God.

Mike Libecki and an old RAF officer

Mike Libecki is a rock climber who according to this story, “is on a one-man quest to conquer remote lands untouched by humans.”

Caught the piece on Nightline a few minutes ago and was fascinated by the incredible footage Mr. Libecki filmed as he climbs.

From the report,

He is drawn to extreme climbing not only as a way of discovering the unknown but also for the intensity of living in the moment and being totally consumed by the wilderness around him. “I’ve explained it as living in the ultimate now,” said Libecki. “Experiencing the ultimate moment of reality, where you’re so involved, you’re so entwined in what you’re doing, it’s so exotic that you’re not thinking in the past or the future. It’s just a ride of ultimate reality.”

After hearing this quote I was reminded of the words an “old, hard-bitten officer” in the Royal Air Force whom CS Lewis encountered after giving a talk. The officer’s words Lewis recorded for posterity in his classic, Mere Christianity,

I’ve no use for all that stuff [theology]. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!

Wonder if they truly felt the presence of the God who is there? Wonder if they would concur with the words of the Apostle,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Torah and Wahhabism

Saw the following headline at the Drudge Report,
“Saudi punishes gang rape victim with 200 lashes”

As I read the story my Western mind was taken aback by some of what I was reading,

The 19-year-old woman — whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms — was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for “being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape,” the Arab News reported.

The story reports that the 90 lashes became 200 because,

the judges had decided to punish the woman further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”

As much as I wanted to cast judgment on the policies of the Saudi government (whether or not it is warranted is another issue), I remembered something from the Old Testament.

More specifically in the Torah, that is the Law of Moses. To narrow it down even further, in the book of Deuteronomy (22:23-25),

If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her,

then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die.

I write this post understanding that this type of text is fodder for those who shake their fist at God and dismiss Him as some bloodthirsty tyrant (at best) or a non-entity (at worst). Context is typically ignored when one is content to wallow in the mire of unbelief.

However, if we can move past the realm of emotionalism for a bit, is there a difference between what the Saudi government did in this case and what is written in the Torah?

Why God, Why?

This question has been asked by many people who find themselves in a variety of circumstances.

Usually the question is asked when things go completely south in this stage we call our world.

Curiously enough, the question is hardly asked when things are going well.

Admittedly, it is sometimes asked under irreverent conditions, for example, by a Red Sox fan watching that dribbler treat Billy Buckner like a Roman arch.

In other instances, the question is legit as in the death of a child or in the aftermath of a particularly gruesome infamy (the Holocaust) or even natural disaster (the tsunami which hit Thailand back in ’05).

I don’t intend to fully explore the intricacies of what is often referred to as the “problem of evil” or “the problem of pain” [I think CS Lewis did a more than adequate job in his aptly titled tome, "The Problem of Pain", so for a treatise check it out].

Of course for a concise answer to this so-called eternal question, click here or here.

I bring this up because recently through an interesting set of ahem, “circumstances”, I found myself at the book written by the prophet Habakkuk (circa 605 B.C).

The book is basically a dialogue between the prophet and God. In the first 2 chapters, Habakkuk argues with God because God’s ways seem unjust to the prophet. It seems like it’s the story of a man trying to comprehend the ways of God, Habakkuk was not the first and well, he is definitely not the last.

The first 4 verses of this book consists of Habakkuk’s first complaint.

The prophet basically asks the question that crowns this post. Of course, not in those exact words but the idea is clear,

The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw.
How long, O LORD, will I call for help,
And You will not hear?
I cry out to You, “Violence!”
Yet You do not save.
Why do You make me see iniquity,
And cause me to look on wickedness?
Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises.
Therefore the law is ignored
And justice is never upheld
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore justice comes out perverted.

The answer LORD gives is stunning, but I’ll save that for a later post (Of course nothing is preventing you from checking it out).

So AT&T allegedly gave the Feds a Peek…

And perhaps that should be a cause for concern for some of us who live in this here land of the free and home of the brave, and perhaps some among us whose ISP is AT&T.

Check out this story from the Seattle Times, “AT&T gave feds access to all Web, phone traffic, ex-tech says”.

The law which was allegedly violated by AT&T is actually listed in the above story,

The 1986 Stored Communications Act forbids telephone companies and computer-service providers from giving the government records showing who customers had dialed or e-mailed without a warrant or court order. Because the law allows consumers to recover a minimum of $1,000 for each violation, AT&T and a handful of other companies could be on the hook for billions of dollars in civil liability, some experts in telecommunications law have said.
Seattle Times archives

If what the ex-AT&T tech in the story says is true, then yeah his former company might have broken the law.

Of course this brings up certain questions: If you have nothing to hide then what’s the big deal if NSA takes a look at your surfing habits? The Apostle’s words come to mind,

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; –Romans 13:3

What is the big deal when such procedures may help the government nab a few folks who are in the business of killing Americans? (Of course you can believe that these folks don’t exist)

I know, I know this land is a land of laws and all that, but wouldn’t you folks who cling to this like it’s the end all be all, would your fears be smoothed over if the Feds revealed the surfing habits of some pastors so then you can revel in Christian hypocrisy?

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