Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Forget Star Wars or Spiderman, Walmart is ready to offer Biblical action figures:
Instead of Spiderman or Bratz dolls, children in the US could soon be clutching a talking Jesus toy, a bearded Moses or a muscle-bound figure of Goliath.

From the middle of August, Wal-Mart, the biggest toy retailer in the US, will for the first time stock a full line of faith-based toys.

Actually, our daughters have had some prophet figures (complete with scrolls) for a couple of years. They really like them. Goliath and Samson I have no issue with. I'm not a big fan of a Jesus action figure, though. For obvious reasons, Jesus is different. Of course, the knock is that children will create fictional scenarios from historical figures.

What this really shows is the power of the religious community's buying power. If it wouldn't sell, Walmart wouldn't carry it.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Apparently if you superimpose 'The Last Supper' with its mirror image, and both are made partially transparent, a barely visible image of a woman holding a child appears. And to think we've missed it all these years.

Just in: If you completely change all the images in 'The Last Supper' you can get this. There's no question Leonardo intended it this way.

On a newly discovered blog (ie, newly discovered by me), Tertium Quid (my favorite political party) ponders the Southern accent and our moden society's attempt to homogenize it away.

From Burke to Kirk and Beyond has officially been placed in my favorites.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


A former church trustee and choir members has been caught with his hand in the collection plate:
A longtime member of a Union County church has been charged with stealing about $28,000 from the Sunday collection plate over an 11-year period.

William J. Biunno, 71, a former trustee and member of the choir at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church allegedly took the money during Sunday mass after it had been collected from parishioners, police Sgt. Vincent Gagliardi told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Friday's newspapers.

The church caught on late last year after one official noticed something unusual on footage from a surveillance camera inside the house of worship, authorities said. Since the camera wasn't at a good angle to see all of Biunno's actions, church officials added other cameras that clearly showed Biunno pocketing the money.

Maybe the church needs to start taking debit cards instead.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

IN OUR HOUSE of three daughters we have voted 'no' on Jones, and grammar isn't the main problem.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

PAGANS ARE DISTRESSED in England over the Cerne Abbas giant's new friend. Why, he'd probably like a donut.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I LIKE TO STAY behind the curve on technology, so I've just lately explored YouTube a little. When in India there's often a lot of early morning sleeplessness that leads to channel surfing. I've found that each trip has a commercial that I associate with it in my mind. They overplay commercials there, too! So I've discovered that YouTube actually has these commercials, though not in the best quality. I guess you can't have everything. So, if you're bored sometime today you can watch commercials for 7-Up, chewing gum and a job site. The song from the last one got stuck in my head pretty much the whole time on the last trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'The One True Church: What Is It? Who Is It?'. In light of the Vatican's restatement of the Catholic position of primacy of the pope and insistence upon apostolic succession are their claims correct? What we find in Scripture is that Jesus did not found a perpetual institution, but rather a people bound together by covenant based on His revealed word. Where we find a commitment to the word implanted, there we will find Christ's people, His one true church.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


We've all run into passages where translations differ somewhat. This can be frustrating, of course, but it can also be illuminating. I personally think comparing translations is one of the best ways to get at the meaning of text. It's often better than trying to over-research the etymology of various words in the passages. It's an approach that can create more problems than it solves as all sorts of possible--but highly unlikely--meanings are imported into the passage.

What's the best way to approach such a situation? Drew Kizer does an excellent job in analyzing Malachi 2:16, comparing the traditional translations with the English Standard Version's different take on a commonly used passage. I agree with his conclusion, but I think he also shows how to take a calm, open and reasoned approach to such a situation.

[And yes, I'm only a month late in reading his post. Sorry, Drew!]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Dismissing open-ended ecumenism, Pope Benedict (aka, Joseph Ratzinger) has reaffirmed the primacy of the Catholic Church:
Benedict made unity with Protestant and Orthodox churches a priority of his pontificate in his first message as pope in April 2005.

"However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants, but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith," the document said.

Central to that identity is the idea that eastern or Orthodox churches were suffering a "wound" because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope.

It said "the wound is still more profound" in "communities emerging from the Reformation" -- the Protestant and Anglican churches.

These were "not Churches in the proper sense of the word", but rather "ecclesial communities", it said.

The Vatican acknowledged that this teaching had "created no little distress in the communities concerned" and recognised the "many elements of sanctification and truth" in other Christian denominations.

But only Catholicism could be seen as the one "Church of Christ", it said, adding that it was "difficult to see how the title of Church could possibly be attributed" to them.

Insistence on the primacy of the Catholic Church--which in this reading is essentially one and the same with the primacy of the pope--is the position one would expect the Catholic Church to take. Although many are dismayed by this hardline position, should one expect the pope to issue a statement essentially stating 'we're not really sure we're right'? There has been far too much hand-wringing in religion, particularly on core doctrines as important as the Divinity of Christ, for example. If one does not believe the religion he practices is right, then why not sleep in on Sunday? Well, such a logical conclusion is exactly what has caused many in our modern world to do just that.

Ultimately, though, the claims of Catholic primacy are based on a pointless adherence to institutional age. It boils down to the idea that 'we're right because we exist.' I would suggest a better standard: 'we're right because we're doing what God reveals in His word.' The Catholic Church is a self-created institution that shows little similarity to the church illustrated in the New Testament, the church that Jesus promised He would build.

If you want to know who is following God according to His plan, then compare what is being done to His revealed word. That is not a comparison the Catholic Church--or many churches at all--would invite.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


The longknives are out in opposition to Surgeon General nominee Dr. James Holsinger. The NYT takes the normal position of endorsing abnormality and calling normality abnormal in their editorial of condemnation:
The Senate Health Committee will have to dig beneath the surface on Thursday to consider the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to be surgeon general. Dr. Holsinger has high-level experience as a health administrator, but there are disturbing indications that he is prejudiced against homosexuals....

What’s troubling is the view he once expressed — and may still hold — on homosexuality, through his activities as a lay leader in the United Methodist Church. On the church’s judicial council, he supported a minister who refused to allow a gay man to join his congregation and argued that a lesbian minister should be removed because church doctrine deems the practice of homosexuality to be “incompatible with Christian teaching.” His supporters say these rulings should not be read as his personal views because the council can’t change church doctrine. However, some council members opposed his views, and the bishops later rejected one decision.

Any deviation from accepting deviant behavior must be stamped out. With President Bush already weakened politically, I suspect this nomination will be pulled. On the other hand, he's a lame duck, anyway--what does he have to lose?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Finding the Answer In God' on Psalm 63. Even in a dry and weary land God is there. Even kings gain glory by honoring this God. We will only find the answer in Him.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Where did all these house cats come from? (I ask this question to my wife sometimes when our cat is sitting defiantly in my chair.) DNA tests indicate they all came from five females thousands of years ago:
Five subspecies of wildcat are distributed across the Old World. They are known as the European wildcat, the Near Eastern wildcat, the Southern African wildcat, the Central Asian wildcat and the Chinese desert cat. Their patterns of DNA fall into five clusters. The DNA of all house cats and fancy cats falls within the Near Eastern wildcat cluster, making clear that this subspecies is their ancestor, Dr. Driscoll and his colleagues said in a report published Thursday on the Web site of the journal Science.

The wildcat DNA closest to that of house cats came from 15 individuals collected in the deserts of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the researchers say. The house cats in the study fell into five lineages, based on analysis of their mitochondrial DNA, a type that is passed down through the female line. Since the oldest archaeological site with a cat burial is about 9,500 years old, the geneticists suggest that the founders of the five lineages lived around this time and were the first cats to be domesticated.

This seems to be a perfectly plausible scenario, although unproveable in its details. But while we find the house cat developing from a particular species of wildcat, what we also find is the cat came from, well, a cat. This is 'micro-evolution' in action, but evolutionists generally refuse to recognize the distinction. The reason? Since micro-evolution is easily demonstrated they can point to it and say, 'See--evolution is proved!' The problem is while we might prove a cat came from (surprise!) a cat, it is a bit more difficult to prove an extrapolation that a cat came from something else entirely.

Is evolution true? Well, it all depends on the evolution one is talking about.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'The Model Prayer' on Matthew 6:8-15 from my series on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus casts prayer as a kingdom tool to help bring the kingdom by recognizing God's authority and our dependence upon Him in matters spiritual and physical.

In a move I don't recall having ever seen before, Alabama Governor Bob Riley has issued an official prayer for rain proclamation:
Governor Bob Riley is encouraging Alabamians to pray for rain.

The Governor has issued a proclamation declaring June 30 through July 7 as "Days of Prayer for Rain" in Alabama, and he is asking citizens to pray individually and in their houses of worship for rain.

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty. This drought is without question a time of great difficulty for our farmers and for communities across the state," Governor Riley said.

In a time with outright government hostility toward religion such an official recognition is to be applauded. The proclamation reads:
WHEREAS, throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bob Riley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby encourage citizens of Alabama to pray daily for rain and proclaim June 30 - July 7, 2007 as Days of Prayer for Rain.

During this time, I encourage all Alabamians to pray individually and within their houses of worship for sufficient rain.