Thursday, August 31, 2006


Italian Catholic exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth has declared Hitler and Stalin were possessed by Satan:
"The devil can possess not only individuals but also entire groups and populations. For example, I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed by the devil," he said.

"If one thinks of what was committed by people like Stalin or Hitler, certainly they were possessed by the devil. This is seen in their actions, in their behavior and in the horrors they committed," he said.

"Therefore, society also needs to be defended against the devil," he said.

Well, he and I are sort of on the same page. Anyone certainly can fall under the influence of Satan. Satan is a schemer, a liar, a murderer, a lion seeking whom he may devour. He is real and he is active. And you and I are on his target list. Does that mean they--or we--are possessed in the same way as the Gerasene demoniac was? Well, let's just say that someone who is a professional exorcist might have a reason to promote that idea.

In the same interview, Amorth throws Harry Potter in the same, um, cauldron:
"Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil," says Father Gabriele Amorth, the Pope's "caster-out of demons".

Well, at the risk of being accused of being lured by Satan's tools, I have to admit I like the Harry Potter books.

Uh oh.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

KATHERINE HARRIS UPSET the usual suspects with her recent comments on religion:
Separation of church and state is"a lie we have been told,"Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is"wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."

"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,"Harris said.

Her comments drew criticism, including some from fellow Republicans who called them offensive and not representative of the party....

Harris'campaign released a statement Saturday saying she had been"speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government."

Well, separation of church and state is a lie, God is involved in choosing our leaders and legislation has quite a bit to do with morality. I can't say I'm too disturbed with what she said.

Harris is running for the US Senate in Florida, and is most well-known for her role in the Bush-Gore recount in 2000.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Two members of the Fort Logan Church of Christ on a birthday trip were in the Lexington plane crash:
After years of marriage, the romantic spark between Clark and Bobbie Benton was still aglow.

They loved to travel together, and Clark Benton had arranged a trip to Aruba to celebrate his wife’s 50th birthday, said Wayne Galloway, minister of Fort Logan Church of Christ in Stanford, where the couple worshiped.

“She was really excited about going,” Galloway said. “(They were) a very loving couple.”

The Lincoln County natives were aboard Flight 5191 when it crashed yesterday morning.

“They were model Christians, just wonderful people,” Galloway said.

Both taught Bible classes at church.

Bobbie Benton was always ready with words of encouragement for others, and Clark Benton took on a leadership role in the congregation, he said.

I didn't know the couple, but I do know Wayne, who preaches at Fort Logan. He used to preach at the church in Nicholasville, Kentucky several years before I did. He and I also were on the same trip to Colombia in January. I know it is a terrible loss for the congregation in Stanford and for the Benton family. Keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Blessed Are the Pure In Heart', continuing my series on the Beatitudes. Only the pure in heart can see God. Jesus, from whom our pure heart must come, tells us that if we have seen Him we have seen the Father. As always, Jesus is the answer to every spiritual problem.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


The New York Times has a sympathetic article about clergy. The catch is, of course, that they're female clergy:
Whether they come from theologically liberal denominations or conservative ones, black churches or white, women in the clergy still bump against what many call the stained-glass ceiling — longstanding limits, preferences and prejudices within their denominations that keep them from leading bigger congregations and having the opportunity to shape the faith of more people.

Women now make up 51 percent of the students in divinity school. But in the mainline Protestant churches that have been ordaining women for decades, women account for only a small percentage — about 3 percent, according to one survey by a professor at Duke University — of pastors who lead large congregations, those with average Sunday attendance over 350. In evangelical churches, most of which do not ordain women, some women opt to leave for other denominations that will accept them as ministers. Women from historically black churches who want to ascend to the pulpit often start their own congregations....

Now why is it that these ladies would have such a problem? Apparently because they're pretty much the only people who actually want women in the pulpit:
People in the pews often do not accept women in the pulpit, clergy members said. “It’s still difficult for many in this culture to see women as figures of religious authority,” said the Rev. Cynthia M. Campbell, president of McCormick Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary in Chicago.

The Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, pastor of Crossroads United Methodist Church in Phoenix, said that at every church where she has served, people have told her they were leaving because she is a woman.

At a large church where she was an associate pastor, a colleague told her that when she was in the pulpit, he could not focus on what she was saying because she is a woman. A man in the congregation covered his eyes whenever she preached.

Just because they decide they want to preach doesn't mean anyone--or any church--has to listen to them.

Oh, and those troublesome Scriptural objections:
Conflicting interpretations of the Bible underlie debates over women’s authority and ordination. Opponents of their ordination cite St. Paul’s words in I Timothy 2:12, in which he says, “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” But proponents point to St. Paul again in Galatians 3:28, which says, “There is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Ms. Escobedo-Frank is familiar with the argument.

“People have written me in almost every church I have been in except the current one, and said, ‘Timothy says women can’t preach, so how can you?’ ” she said.

But no answer is given, of course. As Paul wrote both Galatians and the letters to Timothy, then I figure he likely didn't view his two statements as contradictory.

And what about those 'mainline' denominations that so readily accept women in the pulpit and in the leadership? Little more than museums to religious wishful thinking.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Forbes magazine has caused quite a bit of upset over an article giving men the advice: 'Don't Marry a Career Woman'. Rush was laughing about it on Wednesday and Naomi Wolfe was sputtering about it on the Today Show. Forbes has responded by posting a 'Counterpoint' article bashing 'lazy men'. Still, Michael Nor--the original article's author--makes some interesting points:
Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women--even those with a "feminist" outlook--are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Obviously crazy talk like that needs to be silenced. Next people will start saying that God has a design for marriage, and that marriage works better when it's followed. Nah--I don't guess anybody would go that far...
FALSE ALARM in the Netherlands where a dozen Indian Muslims were detained. India's not too happy about it, although apparently you had a group of excitable young Muslim men who were ignoring flight attendants while passing cell phones and hard drives around.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


TIME magazine asked 40 years ago, 'Is God Dead?' It was more wishful thinking than anything else, but it appears that God has made a remarkable comeback:
This comes as the world indeed becomes more modern: It enjoys more political freedom, more democracy and more education than perhaps at any time in history.

It is also wealthier. The average share of people in developing countries living on less than a dollar a day fell from 28 percent to 22 percent between 1990 and 2002, according to World Bank estimates.

But this has not led to people becoming more secular. In fact, the period in which economic and political modernization has been most intense - the past 30 to 40 years - has witnessed a jump in religious vitality around the world.

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, a greater proportion of the world's population adhered to the major religious systems in 2000 - Christianity's Catholicism and Protestanism, Islam and Hinduism - than a century earlier.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a bare majority of the world's people, precisely 50 percent, were Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or Hindu. At the beginning of the 21st century, nearly 64 percent were. The proportion may be close to 70 percent by 2025.

A century ago godless ideologies were on the march--Communism, then Fascism--but they were soon found to solve nothing, their policies leading to tens of millions of deaths in the name of history's progress. Of course, the renewed surge in religion has its own problems, primarily the issue of militant Islam. For those interested in the great direction of history, however, this serves to show that history is unpredictable with no 'march to progress'(or imagined 'Progress'). For those interested in God as well, we cannot be unaware of His own hand in the affairs of men.
THIS AMSTERDAM FLIGHT is the same one Bill Robinson and I took last year, and Bill took it again this year. I'll be interested to read what comes of it.

The New York Times has hit the panic button because "evolutionary biology" was omitted from a government list of acceptable majors for federal grants:
The omission is inadvertent, said Katherine McLane, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, which administers the grants. “There is no explanation for it being left off the list,” Ms. McLane said. “It has always been an eligible major.”

Another spokeswoman, Samara Yudof, said evolutionary biology would be restored to the list, but as of last night it was still missing.

And what possibly could be the cause of such an omission? Well it must be creationists, of course!
That the omission occurred at all is worrying scientists concerned about threats to the teaching of evolution.

One of them, Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University, said he learned about it from someone at the Department of Education, who got in touch with him after his essay on the necessity of teaching evolution appeared in The New York Times on Aug. 15. Dr. Krauss would not name his source, who he said was concerned about being publicly identified as having drawn attention to the matter....

Dr. Krauss said the omission would be “of great concern” if evolutionary biology had been singled out for removal, or if the change had been made without consulting with experts on biology.

Yawn. Tempest in a teapot. If there's any plot it's on the part of the evolutionists (including the NYT) to promote hysteria based on what is most likely a mistake that amounts to a typo. To read the article one would imagine that no one could possibly study genetics at all without doing so in the context of Darwinian evolution.

Monday, August 21, 2006


In a story that should be news nowhere at all, the media is shocked--Shocked!--that a church hasdismissed a woman Bible class teacher because, well, she's a woman:
The minister of a church that dismissed a female Sunday School teacher after adopting what it called a literal interpretation of the Bible says a woman can perform any job — outside of the church.

The First Baptist Church dismissed Mary Lambert on Aug. 9 with a letter explaining that the church had adopted an interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. She had taught there for 54 years.

The letter quoted the first epistle to Timothy: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

The Rev. Timothy LaBouf, who also serves on the Watertown City Council, issued a statement saying his stance against women teaching men in Sunday school would not affect his decisions as a city leader in Watertown, where all five members of the council are men but the city manager who runs the city's day-to-day operations is a woman.

"I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to" outside of the church, LaBouf wrote Saturday.

Mayor Jeffrey Graham, however, was bothered by the reasons given Lambert's dismissal.

"If what's said in that letter reflects the councilman's views, those are disturbing remarks in this day and age," Graham said. "Maybe they wouldn't have been disturbing 500 years ago, but they are now."

This ranks right up there with a story on a church opposing homosexuality. It's news only in the minds of those who have rarely if ever attended church. It is relevant insofar as such a move rankles modern society's sense of equality. One of these days there will be a move to punish churches for practicing beliefs--or stating such beliefs--in clear violation of the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion. LaBouf is likely to find already that such a move is not politically palatable, especially to a lot of people in New York.

Despite the typical mainstream press angle ("World Ends: Women & Children Hardest Hit"), it's good to see the media attention to the debt problem:
Alicia Ingram is only 22 years old, but she's already $27,000 in debt.

When she graduates from Georgia State University this fall, her entry into adult life will begin with a slow crawl from student loans to solvency.

"I feel like that kind of hinders everything ... where I'm going to live, how I'm going to live," says Ingram, who has delayed plans to attend graduate school. "It's having this burden of dishing out this money for something that I really hadn't expected."

I'm all for education, but if these colleges are really interested in kids' futures they need to stop leading them down the path of decades of debt.

Obligatory Dave Ramsey link.

After a drunken divorce, an Indian couple must separate, and she must remarry:
Islamic clerics in eastern India have ruled that a woman divorced by her husband in a fit of drunkenness can remarry him only after she takes another husband for three months, police said on Monday.

Ershad, a rickshaw puller, uttered the word “talaq,” or divorce, three times earlier this month while he was drunk, and when news leaked out in their village in eastern Orissa state, the clerics said they must separate.

“The couple had kept it under wraps and continued to stay together but the clerics ruled that since Ershad uttered the word talaq three times, it constituted a divorce,” district police chief Shatrughan Parida said over the telephone.

Under the rules, the woman, who is a mother of three, must marry another man and obtain a divorce from him before she can be reunited with Ershad, the clerics in the local mosque said.

The clerics have said the man the woman marries temporarily must be 70 years of age, Parida said.

Drunk or asleep: Don't say it if you don't mean it!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

PREACHING TODAY...'Treasures In Christ', Colossians 2:1-5. We can only enjoy the fullness of the blessings of Christ when we have the full assurance of understanding and knowledge of God's mystery.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I posted on the NYT Qumran article earlier this week (see post below), which discussed a new article and book outlining the evidence that the Dead Sea Scrolls cannot be tied to the Qumran community or the Essenes. Showing up in my inbox this morning, however, was an email from Ferrell Jenkins pointing me to Todd Bolen's response to the NYT piece. Mr. Bolen, shall we say, dissents from the revisionist view:
That Qumran was not home to the Essenes has been suggested before, with theories that identify the site as everything from a Roman villa, military fortress, fortified farm, and now a pottery factory. To be sure, Magen and Peled are respected scholars who have excavated at Qumran. But their view is clearly in the minority. When you read a statement like this, "There is not an iota of evidence that it was a monastery," red flags should be flying. That the majority of scholars would hold to a certain interpretation without one iota of evidence tells us more about the speaker than the theory. That the only outside scholar that the NYT quotes is Norman Golb should cause all the bells to be sounding. Anyone who has spent time in the area has to just bust out laughing when reading Magen's idea that these caves are “the last spot they could hide the scrolls before descending to the shore” of the Dead Sea. I can just picture these guys running away from the Romans and just stopping by Cave 1 to drop off some scrolls! Oh wait, we need some jars for these - quick, run to the pottery factory and bring some back here! Those who have been to Cave 1 will understand the humor more; it's not exactly "on the way" (Cave 2 even less so). The proximity of Caves 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 to the site is telling as well. They are all less than 50 meters from the inhabitation. The attempts to separate the scrolls from the site are an utter failure.

Certainly read the entire post. His points not only about the evidence itself, but also about balance in reporting on such issues are well taken. The moral of this story: always be on your guard when you read the New York Times!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


There's always been some question, but some are casting new doubtson the link between the Qumran settlement and the Dead Sea Scrolls:
two Israeli archaeologists who have excavated the site on and off for more than 10 years now assert that Qumran had nothing to do with the Essenes or a monastery or the scrolls. It had been a pottery factory.

The archaeologists, Yizhak Magen and Yuval Peleg of the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported in a book and a related magazine article that their extensive excavations turned up pottery kilns, whole vessels, production rejects and thousands of clay fragments. Derelict water reservoirs held thick deposits of fine potters’ clay.

Dr. Magen and Dr. Peleg said that, indeed, the elaborate water system at Qumran appeared to be designed to bring the clay-laced water into the site for the purposes of the pottery industry. No other site in the region has been found to have such a water system.

By the time the Romans destroyed Qumran in A.D. 68 in the Jewish revolt, the archaeologists concluded, the settlement had been a center of the pottery industry for at least a century. Before that, the site apparently was an outpost in a chain of fortresses along the Israelites’ eastern frontier.

“The association between Qumran, the caves and the scrolls is, thus, a hypothesis lacking any factual archaeological basis,” Dr. Magen said in an article in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

But if the residents of Qumran didn't write them, whence did they come?
For years, Dr. Golb has argued that the multiplicity of Jewish religious ideas and practices recorded in the scrolls made it unlikely that they were the work of a single sect like the Essenes. He noted that few of the texts dealt with specific Essene traditions. Not one, he said, espoused celibacy, which the sect practiced.

The scrolls in the caves were probably written by many different groups, Dr. Golb surmised, and were removed from Jerusalem libraries by refugees in the Roman war. Fleeing to the east, the refugees may well have deposited the scrolls for safekeeping in the many caves near Qumran.

The new research appears to support this view. As Dr. Magen noted, Qumran in those days was at a major crossroads of traffic to and from Jerusalem and along the Dead Sea. Similar scrolls have been found at Masada, the site south of Qumran of the suicidal hold-out against the Romans.

Of course, where the scrolls originated matters a great deal in our understanding of their context. There will be critics of these critics, too, certainly, but the evidence seems to be going against Qumran.
COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU? That ranks right up there with dark chocolate being healthy. Finally these scientists are getting the hang of this!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

MARY WINKLER IS OUT. Her lawyers are claiming spousal abuse. This is going to be ugly.

Airline security in Britain has had a brilliant idea: focus efforts on those likely to be actual security risks:
THE Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk.

The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background....

Sir Rod Eddington, former chief executive of British Airways, criticised the random nature of security searches. He said that it was irrational to subject a 75-year-old grandmother to the same checks as a 25-year-old man who had just paid for his ticket with cash.

Ya think?

I realize this falls outside the usual parameters of topics on theosebes, but after being in 17 different airports this year and watching guys who obviously are low risk being singled out for extra screening (including me), it's about time airports actually do the job of security and forget about affirmative action and quotas.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Reagan said 'trust but verify'. It applies well to religious giving as well:
Billions of dollars have been stolen in religion-related fraud in recent years, according to the North American Securities Administrators Association, a group of state officials who work to protect investors.

Between 1984 and 1989, about $450 million was stolen in religion-related scams, the association says. In its latest count — from 1998 to 2001 — the toll had risen to $2 billion. Rip-offs have only become more common since.

"The size and the scope of the fraud is getting larger," said Patricia Struck, president of the securities association and administrator of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Securities. "The scammers are getting smarter and the investors don't ask enough questions because of the feeling that they can be safe in church."

Yes, you should be able to trust in such situations, but if money is involved the crooks will show up. And if money is involved, even the faithful can be tempted.

At the congregation I attend the weekly contribution is counted by two to three men who are not the treasurer before it is handed over to him. The treasurer posts a monthly list of income and expenditures for all to see. The ultimate protection for everyone is complete financial transparency.

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

A discussion on what to do with a scientist who is (gasp!) a creationist has erupted at the Chronicle of Higher Education:
I just found out that one of the post docs in the lab is a creationist....Does anyone have any stories or advice on dealing with this? I am open minded about things, but I don’t see how I could trust someone’s research if the blindly reject facts in favor of beliefs (would you trust a priest who told you he didn’t believe in God?).

And a helpful reply:
Where did they get their PhD? By mail order... Sheesh.

Ah, the academy. Always marked by open inquiry and tolerance.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Every Man Complete In Christ' from Colossians 1:24-29.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A NEW WEBLOG is on the scene from Jason Cicero of Montgomery, Alabama imaginatively named Jason H Cicero. Jason and I were in India together both this year and last year.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I'm in full agreement with the idea, but something seems lost in translation...

[Pic from Ryan Porche via Mike Cope]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A JUDGE REFUSED to lower Mary Winkler's bond today.

Not to let the Episcopalians outdo them, the Lutherans are now facing their own homosexual clergy crisis:
A Lutheran bishop is asking the church to discipline an Atlanta parish pastor for defying church policy banning clergy from same-sex relationships.

Bishop Ronald B. Warren of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Southeastern Synod released a letter Tuesday explaining the action he is taking against the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta.

He said he made the decision after Schmeling told him he was in a same-sex relationship.

Schmeling, who could face expulsion from St. John's pulpit, said he doesn't agree with his church's policy for gay clergy.

He made his position clear to Warren when he first arrived at St. John's six years ago.

"The policy isn't working," Schmeling said. "Good and qualified people are being excluded from the ministry. In a congregation likes ours, this is not a divisive ministry."

Homosexuality has been a divisive issue for many mainline Protestant denominations that generally preach tolerance of gays — within limits.

These denominations have tried to avoid splitting by adopting variations of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, but such efforts are starting to fray.

Of course they're starting to fray. You can't coddle immorality with a wink and a nod and expect everything to coast along nicely. And this stands as a warning to everyone. We cannot be conformed to the world, but rather must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The mainline denominations continue to reap their whirlwind.

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4, NASB-u)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Okay, this this is pretty funny.

A couple of books I picked up in India are currently on my read list. I'm a little better than 100 pages into Hyderabad: A Biography, which you can pick up in trade paperback for about Rs. 300 at the Walden Book in Hyderabad, but then you have to factor in the plane ticket. On deck is Shantaram, a fictionalized autobiography set in Bombay. It looks intriguing.

I will also plug again White Mughals, which I read last year, and is set in Hyderabad around the turn of the 19th Century. I was privileged to visit the deteriorating Residency where it is set a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps that visit warrants its own post.

As for watching, and in a complete change in direction, I was solicited a few weeks ago to watch and review Season 1 of the sitcom Dharma & Greg in exchange for a free copy (this by way of full blog disclosure). Now why me, you ask? Because I had mentioned the show in an earlier post in an off-hand way. As it turns out, my wife and I actually do like the show pretty well, so I received it and left it for my wife to watch while I was in India. Alas, she did not have time. So doing my duty, I am mentioning it now, with a promise to write more when we actually get a chance to watch it. The advent of TV shows on DVD is actually a good thing, as you can pick your shows and watch them commercial free for a lot less than you'd pay for a month of premium cable that never has anything on it anyway.

Of course, it works out well for this post that 'dharma' is the teaching of Buddha who was from India; the world's largest monolith statue of Buddha happens to be in Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad, just down from the hotel where I stayed. Picture of said statue, which I took about 10 days ago, below (click for larger version).

Free Image Hosting at

Monday, August 07, 2006


Forget all that boring medical stuff, this is much more interesting. Scientists are using X-rays to reveal Archimedes' hidden writings:
Previously hidden writings of the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes are being uncovered with powerful X-ray beams nearly 800 years after a Christian monk scrubbed off the text and wrote over it with prayers.

Over the past week, researchers at Stanford University's Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park have been using X-rays to decipher a fragile 10th century manuscript that contains the only copies of some of Archimedes' most important works.

The X-rays, generated by a particle accelerator, cause tiny amounts of iron left by the original ink to glow without harming the delicate goatskin parchment....

It takes about 12 hours to scan one page using an X-ray beam about the size of a human hair, and researchers expect to decipher up to 15 pages that resisted modern imaging techniques. After each new page is decoded, it is posted online for the public to see....

The 174-page manuscript, known as the Archimedes Palimpsest, contains the only copies of treatises on flotation, gravity and mathematics. Scholars believe a scribe copied them onto the goatskin parchment from the original Greek scrolls.

Three centuries later, a monk scrubbed off the Archimedes text and used the parchment to write prayers at a time when the Greek mathematician's work was less appreciated. In the early 20th century, forgers tried to boost the manuscript's value by painting religious imagery on some of the pages.

This type of procedure can recover who knows how many lost documents, no doubt many with Biblical implications. And there's no harm to the manuscripts. Great stuff.
A NEW STUDY FINDS that teens who listen to raunchy lyrics are more likely to have sex:
Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.

"We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful" about sexual decisions and may influence them to make decisions they regret, he said.

I'm shocked--shocked!

[Link via Drudge]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Excel Still More' from 1 Thessalonians, a sermon that grows out of some lessons I did in India. Going at this one with no Powerpoint and no notes.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


The New York Times is downright giddy about megachurch pastor Gregory Boyd disowning conservative politics, and it's hard not to have sympathy for Boyd's stance as many churches have turned worship services into patriotism rallies:
He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.

“I thought to myself, ‘What just happened? Fighter jets mixed up with the cross?’ ” he said in an interview.

Patriotic displays are still a mainstay in some evangelical churches. Across town from Mr. Boyd’s church, the sanctuary of North Heights Lutheran Church was draped in bunting on the Sunday before the Fourth of July this year for a “freedom celebration.” Military veterans and flag twirlers paraded into the sanctuary, an enormous American flag rose slowly behind the stage, and a Marine major who had served in Afghanistan preached that the military was spending “your hard-earned money” on good causes.

Much of what he has to say is dead on:
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”

But then he also falls into the liberal trap of tacit acceptance of modern society's sexual obsession:
Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

Yes, it's high time that churches stopped acting as patriotism centers. As a preacher friend of mine pointed out, would Paul have cheered on the Roman Empire? At the same time, society's cultural (and sexual) ills cannot be free from critique. It does our country no good if Christian's are silenced.

Boyd has it half-right.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


More news on The Nativity movie, but also on The Resurrection:
And next Easter, Sony Pictures, the studio behind The Da Vinci Code, releases The Resurrection....The Resurrection will be based on a script from veteran screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd, who wrote such made-for-TV fare as Moses, Joseph, and Jacob. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series, is signed on as a producer.

Hmmm. Well, it sounds like The Nativity may be good. We may need to start lobbying for a Resurrection remake before its even released.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Chinese Government: Bad.
THE NATIVITY MOVIE teaser trailer is out. Not a lot there, but I have high hopes for this one.

Let's just hope the director doesn't go on a drunken anti-Herodian tirade...

(Thanks to theosebes reader and movie trailer hound Mitch for the link.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

AFTER 36 HOURS STRAIGHT in airports and on airplanes, I made it back yesterday evening from India (Bangalore-->Mumbai-->Paris-->Atlanta-->Birmingham). It was a wonderful trip, and I believe much good was accomplished. I'm glad to be home. I'm really glad not to be on an airplane. After a night's sleep I feel surprisingly good, but my sleep schedule is going to be a mess for a couple of weeks. Regular posting should resume shortly.