Wednesday, May 18, 2005

WHERE IN THE WORLD is theosebes going? I hope for some on the ground blogging from the other side of the world soon. Pardon my lack of posting as I play world traveler.

Friday, May 13, 2005


You know that things have sunk to just about their lowest common denominator when accusations of 'hurting the children' are inserted in a debate. That's just what happened as the Kansas school board's hearings on evolution ended:
Topeka lawyer Pedro Irigonegaray defended the way evolution is taught, and argued that intelligent design is a thinly veiled form of creationism. He called it "a narrow sectarian theological view" that is opposed by most people, including mainstream Christians.

Irigonegaray also accused the board of abusing the political process by holding the hearings, which he called "a gigantic waste of time" and tax dollars. The state paid about $10,000 for the hearings - for the travel expenses of witnesses and for the services of a court reporter.

"Each penny taken by you, Mr. Calvert, for your witnesses, is a penny taken from Kansas children," Irigonegaray said. He went on to tell the board, "You have a responsibility to the children and to the future of this state - a responsibility that you have sadly - sadly - failed."

And even if Kansas decides to allow free discussion of evolution in the classroom opponents are encouraging resistance:
Steve Case, a University of Kansas professor who leads the panel, said that if the proposal were adopted, he would support school districts that choose to ignore the guidelines or refuse to give the assessment tests.

"I would encourage schools and districts to practice civil disobedience," he said.

To be expected, I suppose. Would it be appropriate for me to encourage civil disobedience by those who have been denied prayer in school, who are tired of the public schools' anti-family agenda in sex education classes or who, in fact, would like to see some actual critical consideration of hegemonic evolutionary dogma? Oh, that's right--the secularists always get to set the rules.

At least one Kansas board member was unimpressed by the evolutionists boycott of the hearings:
"I can only conclude that they don't have evidence (for evolution)," board member Connie Morris said.

Yes, you'd think that a group of people who want to defend teaching unquestioned evolution to our children could bother to show up and explain why that should be.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


The various Law & Orders are my favorite television shows. I've watched them so long I remember when there was only one of them! Last night (May 11) on an episode called "In God We Trust" the ne'er-do-well was a man who confessed to murdering his sister's black boyfriend nine years earlier in order to keep her from "throwing her life away." His lawyer was attempting to get the case thrown out in the interest of justice because the man had become a born again Christian, given up his $200,000/year job to work in a community outreach center, joined church, etc. His conversion was not a ploy. The lawyer argued he'd been redeemed, rehabilitated and contributed much more to society than he would in prison. Ultimately the judge refused to dismiss the case, the murderer pled guilty and his disappointed lawyer claimed that she could have hung the jury with the way the this country's been going, i.e., in the direction of religious belief.

The point of the show was quite overtly to challenge the supposed current direction of the country because the assumption seemed to be that those wacky Christians were likely to sympathize and let the guy go. That's where my suspension of disbelief began to founder. If I'm a criminal the last people I want on my jury are a bunch of church going born again Christian types. Even if the jury were convinced his conversion was sincere, I find it highly unlikely that any of them would nibble on this idea that working in a community outreach center was an acceptable substitute for prison (although, come to think about it...). Ultimately, we're supposed to be frightened by a theocratic America where criminal law is jettisoned in favor of letting recently converted criminals roam the streets.

As usual Law & Order was fun to watch. And now I have a little better understanding of the liberal-secular la-la land the NYC-LA axis inhabits.

Kudos to Eugen Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy for posting on a travesty of a homosexuality curriculum. You need to read his post, but here's a taste:
The Montgomery Count Public Schools are apparently trying to adopt a "Revised Curriculum" for sex education classes, aimed at rebutting hostility towards homosexuality. Unfortunately:

A. The curriculum involves the public school unconstitutionally taking a stand on theological questions (as the court correctly held). Consider this excerpt from a "Myths and Facts" handout that was part of the curriculum:

Myth: Homosexuality is a sin.

Facts: The Bible contains six passages which condemn homosexual behavior. The Bible also contains numerous passages condemning heterosexual behavior. Theologians and Biblical scholars continue to differ on many Biblical interpretations. They agree on one thing, however. Jesus said absolutely nothing at all about homosexuality. Among the many things deemed an abomination are adultery, incest, wearing clothing made from more than one kind of fiber, and earing shellfish, like shrimp and lobster.

Religion has often been misused to justify hatred and oppression.

This sort of thing is one of the big reasons why homeschooling strikes me as such a sensible thing. Go read the post.

Oh, and why does a school need to be addressing these issues, anyway?

[Thanks to Susanna from cotb for the link.]

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Baptist minister Chan Chandler of Waynesville, NC has resigned after he told "anyone who planned to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry to 'repent or resign.'"

Of course there's probably more here than we've been told, but if he did indeed say that he needed to go. As theosebes has documented before, overt partisanship has no place in the pulpit. I have no problem highlighting moral issues that certainly play themselves out politically, such as abortion or homosexuality. Sometimes you will have people who misunderstand even that.

Once when I mentioned abortion in a sermon (it was not even a sermon on abortion), I was later told by a member (who tended to have a lot of unique problems with things I preached on) that she didn't think the pulpit was any place for politics. I agreed that was true, but what I spoke on was morality. I didn't tell anyone who to vote for. Our Baptist friend needs to learn where that line is.

Using information from a CT scan, scientists have reconstructed the face of Tutankhamun, and he looked, well, a lot like we thought he did:
Three teams of forensic artists - French, Egyptian and American - built separate but similar models of the king's face using scans of his skull.

The French and Egyptians knew who they were recreating, but the Americans were not told where the skull came from.

The models of the boy king, who died 3,300 years ago, reveal a young man with plump cheeks and a round chin.

The models bear a striking resemblance to the mask which covered the mummified face of King Tutankhamun when his remains were found by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922 and other ancient portraits.

"The shape of the face and skull are remarkably similar to a famous image of Tutankhamun as a child where he was shown as the sun god at dawn rising from a lotus blossom," said Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

And it seems I've wasted a few hours of my life watching all those "Who Murdered King Tut" documentaries:
[The scans] suggested that the king was a slightly built, but healthy man of 19 when he died, but that he most likely died of complications from a broken leg, rather than being murdered as long suspected.

They think gangrene got him.

Depending on which side of the Exodus date debate you fall on, Tut may well have ruled near the time of the Exodus.

Great stuff.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

SPEAKING OF's the trailer for "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe." It looks very good.

Everyone welcome at the Church of Oprah:
"You really could put 'Reverend' in front of her name," said Brenda V. Johnson, a former librarian who had come with her friend, Marvel L. Smith, an elementary school principal. Both women were from suburban Prince George's County, one of the most affluent majority-black jurisdictions in the country.

"She just has the ability to connect on so many levels -- your emotional needs, physical needs, psychological needs," Johnson said. Smith added: "It's her humanity. Everybody goes through the same things she goes through, but she has the willingness to share it."

It's easy to make fun of what amounts to our great national quest for "empowerment" or "self-actualization" -- the terms themselves sound slightly ridiculous -- but that search is a great force in modern American life....

Oprah's great gift, and the foundation of her lay ministry, is her understanding that even women who have enjoyed great success in their personal and professional lives can still struggle to find meaning and fulfillment, and that they can learn from Oprah's own search for the same things.

Oprah gets fat, Oprah goes on a diet, Oprah loses the weight, Oprah gains it back, Oprah loses it again, maybe this time for good. Oprah fights an ongoing battle with her hair. Oprah's relationship with her significant other seems to lack something, since she and Steadman never get married, but she hangs in there with him anyway. Oprah has a best friend, Gayle, who sticks with her through everything. Oprah makes charitable gifts. Oprah promotes books, mostly by women writers or with strong female characters, many of them difficult books that offer not comfort but more questions.

It all makes me want to cry and discuss my inner demons. *sniff sniff*

Much like a reporter sent to a lost Pacific isle to investigate the strange beliefs of the natives, the BBC's Justin Webb has beendispatched to Mississippi to witness honest-to-goodness religious people:
Mississippi is home to millions of trees, and not many millions of people.

It is a verdant, sweaty place. As your plane comes down to land there are glints all around of sunlight on still water, meandering rivers, reservoirs and swamps, where the line between the still brown liquid and the vegetation is blurred.

The state is mostly rural and poor, shacks and mobile homes nestling under the canopy of the forest, rusting pick-up trucks bouncing down dirt roads.

And churches, everywhere churches.

Yes, they have them in Britain, too, although they usually call them by their updated name: antique shops. Certainly the good Mr. Webb goes into the situation with a sympathetic view:
There are more churches per head of population in Mississippi than in any other state and, historically, you could argue, more racial prejudice, more unchristian behaviour.

I came to Mississippi assuming, in a European secular sort of way, that holy scripture, which once led Mississippi whites down the road of bigotry, was unlikely to be the state's saviour today.

On the radio the so-called family Christian station was explaining why God invented women and the Devil invented feminism.

Mr. Webb's article continues as a rollicking ball of naive liberal assumptions ("In a nation without anything but the most basic social services, without a National Health Service..." and "The American penal system is brutal, the sentences are long and the conditions harsh.") and wide-eyed wonder as Mr. Webb sees genuine love, concern and, well, Christian-like actions from those Mississippi people. Who'd a-thunk it?

Someday, sociology and anthropology students throughout Britain will study Mr. Webb's penetrating report.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A VERY COOL Map of Narnia. Suitable for desktop wallpaper.

Well, I popped my first mefloquine pill just moments ago. Now waiting to see if this side effect kicks in:
If you are taking mefloquine to treat malaria, you may vomit soon after you take the medication. If you vomit less than 30 minutes after you take mefloquine, you should take another full dose of mefloquine. If you vomit 30-60 minutes after you take mefloquine, you should take another half dose of mefloquine. If you vomit again after taking the extra dose, call your doctor.

Sounds fabulous. Of course, that doesn't include these possible side effects:
tingling in your fingers or toes
difficulty walking
shaking of arms or legs that you cannot control
nervousness or extreme worry
changes in mood
panic attack
hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
violent behavior
losing touch with reality
feeling that others want to harm you
thoughts of hurting or killing yourself

Some have accused me of losing touch with reality some time ago. Of course, I took it before I saw this.

I get to take one of these each week for the next eight weeks or so. And all so I don't get malaria. If nothing else I'm going to be turned into a horrible hypochondriac...

Friday, May 06, 2005


Kansas has become a real battleground state on the issue of teaching the origins of life. Evolutionists--and apparently the New York Times headline writer--see this as 'diluting' what has become the sacred creation myth of the secular:
The hearings by the Kansas State Board of Education- one part science lesson, one part political theater - were set off by proposed changes to Kansas's science standards intended to bring a more critical approach to the teaching of Darwinism. The sessions provided perhaps the highest-profile stage yet for the emerging movement known as intelligent design, which asserts that life is so intricately complex that an architect must be behind it. Critics argue that intelligent design has no basis in science and is another iteration of creationism.

That's right, evolutionists are actually boycotting the hearings, which is the intellectual equivalent of taking your ball and going home. Why are they doing this? Because they're actually being asked as scientists to argue why this one particular theory should be the only view that is presented to our children, why no dissent from any quarter should be brooked.

Scientists, and the press, act as if this is somehow making science class into an in-depth study of Genesis 1-2. But what school boards are considering is not quite so shocking:
If the state board adopts the new standards, as expected, Kansas will join Ohio, which took a similar step in 2002, in requiring that students be taught that there is controversy about evolution. Legislators in Alabama and Georgia have introduced bills this season to allow teachers to challenge Darwin in class....

While the proposed new standards for Kansas do not specifically mention intelligent design, critics contend that the proposed changes will open the door not just for those teachings, but to creationism, which generally holds to the Genesis account of creation.

It's an odd 'science' that will not endure investigation, criticism and scrutiny, but that is exactly what the evolutionist wants. A science class would be a poor one indeed that did not present the theory of evolution to its students. But that same science ought to be a search for truth. Closing the door to debate is the sure way to see that never happens.

UPDATE: Scrappleface finds the Darwinist herd seems to be thinning.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The best preserved Egyptian mummy ever discovered has been unearthed. Go look at the photos.

(Um, sorry about the bad pun...)
TODAY IS...the National Day of Prayer. Make it that way in your home every day.

Monday, May 02, 2005


The new pope will have his work cut out for him as he faces declining numbers in Europe:
[A]cross Europe, Catholicism is withering after decades of steady erosion from the forces of secularism, consumer culture, and the fallout from priest sex abuse scandals.

In some of Catholic Europe's largest dioceses in Germany, France, Italy, and Ireland, the percentage of Catholics who attend Mass regularly has slipped to as low as 20 percent, and in a few cities, like Paris, has reached as low as the single digits, according to figures compiled by the church.

The new pope, Benedict XVI, who hails from Germany, has said that the erosion of the church in Europe is one of the greatest challenges facing his papacy. He has called on Catholics to resist ''a dictatorship of relativism" in the modern, secular West that he believes has damaged the Christian foundation of Europe.

In his just-published book, ''Values in Times of Upheaval," the pope, who was then still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, ruminated on the besieged soul of Christian Europe. ''In order to survive, Europe needs a critical acceptance of its Christian culture. Europe seems, in the very moment of its greatest success, to have become empty from the inside. Crippled, as it were," he writes.

My opinion on this is very mixed. As someone who is not a Catholic and who views it as a false way to Christ, I certainly do not support a flourishing Catholic Church. At the same time, for cultural reasons I would much rather see a Catholic Europe than a relativistic atheistic Europe. My opinion is that Europe must sink further into decadence before it will be interested in being redeemed again. That's a process likely to take a few more hundred years. Right now the doors of opportunity seem to be in the second and third worlds rather than in the first.