Tuesday, July 29, 2003


A current dig in a Roman temple in London has turned up an amazing find:

2000-year-old cream in a metal container with genuine Roman fingerprints. Chemical analysis should tell us more about what the cream was for. Did I say it was amazing?

[Link via LRC]

A new USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows a backlash on gay issues following the recent Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas sodomy law:
Asked whether same-sex relations between consenting adults should be legal, 48% said yes; 46% said no. Before this month, support hadn't been that low since 1996.

That's good to see, but I still believe the fundamental battle on special rights for homosexuals has been lost. I do think Hollywood is overplaying its hand, however, with the ubiquity of homosexuality in tv and movies. We'll find out soon with shows such as 'Boy Meets Boy'. Some people literally know no shame.

Just when you thought it was safe to tie one on, a new study indicates that tight neckties can lead to glaucoma.

My advice, wear a bow tie. It may still cause glaucoma, but at least you'll look better on the way.

Friday, July 25, 2003


Scientists have a theory for the origin of life. [nudge, nudge, wink, wink]

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I ran across these interesting weblogs today. Take a look; it's well worth your time:

Ladies Against Feminism


The Homeschooling Revolution

Kudos to Judge Moore:
In his statement Tuesday, Moore said, "We have consistently maintained that federal courts have no authority to forbid the acknowledgment of God under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or to prohibit the recognition of God in the Constitution of Alabama.

"To prohibit the acknowledgment of God, upon Whom our justice system is established, is to undermine our entire judicial system."

I pray he sticks to his guns.

Have you been curious about what all the fuss with Israel is about, at least with many evangelicals? Gary North explains it all in a sobering way. North (who I have my own issues with) makes a point I had never considered before:
There are approximately 20 million people in the United States who devoutly believe that there is a very real possibility that they will not die. Their belief rests entirely on the existence of the State of Israel. This is why they regard current affairs in the Middle East as a life-and-no-death matter.

While I'm fairly familiar with the doctrine of dispensational premillenialism and its effect on the foreign policy position of many, a real obsession with not dying had not occurred to me. He also explains the rather grim repercussions for Jews in Israel in order for these eschatological fancies pan out.

I believe it is possible that I may not die, that the Lord may return in my lifetime. Paul's pleas of 'Maranatha' (Lord, come quickly) indicate to us that is something every Christian should legitimately look to. But there's no foreign policy position I can take that will have any effect on His timing. I believe the time is set, but I cannot know it. I must live my life as though it could end at any time, or that the Lord may return at any time. That has nothing to do with the state of Israel.

Strategically, Israel can be beneficial to U.S. interests. They are certainly a beseiged American ally. But I do not believe that the modern state of Israel is 'special' in any way. It is simply one nation among many in the world. They can also make mistakes.

The dispensationalists essentially hold that Jesus's work on earth in the first century was a failure; He meant to establish His kingdom, failed to do so so put a band-aid on the plan by establishing the church instead. Why, if God is so weak that man can thwart His plans, should we expect Him to be able to succeed with this fall-back premillenial plan I'm not sure. A weak God is not the God I serve, but that's the God of dispensational premillenialism.

[Here's a nice chart that helps explain dispensational eschatology. Think of it as an end-times flow chart.]

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


SUV supporters counter the anti-SUV 'What would Jesus Drive?' ads with a message--and some humor--of their own. I appreciate their wit.

Roman Catholic priest Paul R. Shanley of Boston is now reported to have paid to rape boys and sharing them with other men:
One alleged victim said in an affidavit that a man he met as a teen through his church would send him to Shanley, who would molest him and send him back with an envelope of money, some of which the boy would keep.

The "deliveries" continued over many years, according to the affidavit. When the alleged victim was 17, he said, the priest began taking him to bars, and would bring the teenager for games of spin-the-bottle with groups of older men.

Now the fact is that sin will rear its head anywhere. One cannot indict all Catholic priests because of the (severe) failings of a few.

What this does do, however, is show the dangers of 'institutionalizing' religion. The Catholic church--along with many other denominations--has a bureaucracy worthy of the grand dreams of Hillary's health care plan. When that happens you find institutions that are interested only in perpetuating themselves rather than in fulfillling the role for which they were founded. Government agencies, for example, never go away--their full time job becomes justifying their existence. This helps us understand very clearly why predators such as Shanley were protected for decades.

That's why when we read the New Testament we find no evidence of denominational superstructures; we find no complex hierarchy. We find the local church overseen by elders. When we go beyond that we'll always run into trouble.

Monday, July 21, 2003


Pleasant Hill, one of a small number of 19th Century villages where the religious sect known as Shakers lived, is just a few miles down the road from me. It's a wonderful place to visit, beautifully restored and kept. Sometimes they do recreations of Shaker worship there. It's interesting insight into their religious world.

Saturday, July 19, 2003


A Lexington, Kentucky Bank One employee has quit his job over ads targeting homosexuals. Their print ad shows two lesbians embracing one another accompanied with a plug for the bank:
Scott Speray said: "It's one thing to not discriminate; it's another thing to openly promote it" -- an apparent reference to the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

"I don't regret it at all," he said. "It's too bad more people don't stand up for what they believe."

At this point, the homosexual lobby has effectively won the societal battle.

Well, don't bank on it, but at least it doesn't seem to be for Bob Guccione and Penthouse magazine. Of course with mags like that there's only one way to go but down, and that's where they've been heading, according to "Steve Greenberger, a senior vice president and director of print media at Zenithmedia, a media-buying firm:
“The circulation’s been declining, and the editorial content is a lot raunchier than most clients will accept. Even alcoholic beverages and tobacco companies are saying, ‘This is starting to be too much’.”

Somehow I suspect society will recover from its overdue demise.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Tolkien & Me

What does JRR Tolkien have in common with me? He and I both attended Exeter College, Oxford. Well, he was a real student there and I was just in a summer school, but hey!--a guy takes what he can get. I just found the Exeter College, Oxford - Virtual Tour online. I stayed in the New Quad section, although they've changed it some since I was there. My dorm was in the row running parallel to Broad.

It's been twelve years since I was there. I'll make it back one of these days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


The theatrical trailer for Mel Gibson's movie about the crucifixion of Jesus is now online.

[Thanks to Mitch for the link.]

The family of a young boy who recently died believe they have his guardian angel on film. Theosebes believes not.

Jeffrey Tucker has an idea how to save civilization. I must admit, however, that I do like a polo shirt.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Kirk the Catholic

Touchstone magazine has a nice article about my old boss, Russell Kirk, and his spiritual journey: from a chilhood of religious ambivalence to a young adulthood of skepticism finally reaching a Stoic Catholicism.

While I certainly disagree with the religious path Dr. Kirk took--I have profound problems with the Catholic Church--I do agree with something he told me about his religious choice. He commented that he saw that there needed to be a final authority in religion. When Dr. Kirk looked at the Protestant world he saw a rampant individualism bordering on anti-nomianism, which resulted in the ever growing number of denominations that pollute the religious landscape. He saw a solution to the problem in the authority of the pope. I agree with the problem; I dispute the validity of his solution.

There is no more sensible political writer in the 20th Century than Russell Kirk. His religious beliefs were an essential part of that. If you're not familiar with him that article is good place to start.
Should the government pay for church renovation? In this instance, yes, I think so.

Friday, July 04, 2003


I'm sure Rabbi Gamaliel didn't intend it at the time, but his first century A.D. parody of Matthew's Gospel provides further evidence of the trustworthiness of the Biblical account. The Kansas City Star has a nice article giving an overview of evidence conveniently ignored by folks like the Jesus Seminar and the popular press:
Buried in ancient texts of Jewish historical works are fragments of evidence that appear to show the first book of the New Testament actually was written by one of Jesus' apostles.

One of these texts also challenges a long-held assertion that no ancient text except the Bible mentions Jesus' birth.

Taken together, the information lends support to the claims of some Christian scholars that Matthew actually wrote the Gospel bearing his name, a Gospel that more than the three others emphasized Jesus' Jewish roots.
The article is worth reading. It underscores an important point: Faith in Jesus Christ is a reasonable faith.

[Link via LRC]

Despite worries (including here at theosebes), the valued treasures of Nimrud were not looted from the Iraqi Museum after all:
“These treasures were never stolen, we knew where they were all the time,” the senior central bank official in charge of the vaults said.
Now it was nice of them to let everyone know when charges were flying during the early days of U.S. occupation. Understandably the treasures were only displayed for an hour then stashed back away.

When we were in New York last week I was able to visit the wonderful exhibit at the Met: Art of the First Cities. It's well worth your time. My 3-year old and 10-month old were not as interested as lingering over the glass cases as I was, so my visit was not extended.

Biblical Archaeology Review has updates on both the Iraqi looting and the Met exhibit.

A Baptist preacher in Forest, Ohio asked God for a sign, and this is what happened:
A member of the First Baptist Church said a guest evangelist was preaching repentance and seeking a sign from God when lightning struck the steeple....
Cheney said the lightning traveled through the microphone, blew out the sound system and enveloped the preacher, who wasn't hurt.
Now that's results! Of course there was $20,000 worth of damage. Oh, and the building caught on fire.

[Link via Drudge.]