Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The folks at have integrated Google Maps with scripture in an ongoing process of identifying Bible places. It looks like a fun and useful tool.

Thanks to Mark Copeland for the link on his fine blog, Executable Preacher.
BACK FROM INDIA as of Monday at around 1:30 PM (CST) following about 36 straight hours in either airports and on airplanes, including a 16 hour non-stop from Mumbai to New York City. I'm trying to readjust to the 11:30 time difference, which ought to be sorted out in about a week.

There are exciting things going on in India from the Northeast to Mumbai to Hyderabad and Bangalore. I'll try to post a few pictures from the trip over the next few days.

It's good to be home.

Of course no one has ever looked into this, but now that the Jesus Seminar has faded from view, a new project is underway to to determine if Jesus existed:
Members of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, which is based at the secularist Center for Inquiry, near the University at Buffalo North Campus, want to reignite the debate with a different emphasis.

Many of the scholars involved with the "Jesus Seminar" examined the question primarily from a theological perspective, said R. Joseph Hoffman, who heads the committee and will organize regular meetings of historians, classicists and other scholars for the "Jesus Project."

Others involved at this point include Robert M. Price, a former "Jesus Seminar" participant, and Gerd Ludemann, a history professor in Germany, Hoffman said.

The new investigation will differ from the "Jesus Seminar" because it won't be hamstrung by theology, he said.

The committee regards the belief that Jesus was a historical person as a "testable hypothesis," just like any other historical question.

Hoffman announced the "Jesus Project" on Sunday at the conclusion of a conference on "Scripture and Skepticism" at the University of California at Davis.

Next up will be the enquiry into the existence of Julius Ceasar (Rogue General or Strawman of the Republic?).

Archaeologists have discovered remains of a villagenear Stonehenge:
A village of small houses that may have sheltered the builders of the mysterious Stonehenge — or people attending festivals there — has been found by archaeologists studying the stone circle in England.

Eight of the houses, with central hearths, have been excavated, and there may be as many as 25 of them, Mike Parker Pearson said Tuesday at a briefing organized by the National Geographic Society.

The ancient houses are at a site known as Durrington Walls, about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from Stonehenge. It is also the location of a wooden version of the stone circle.

The village was carbon dated to about 2600 B.C., about the same time Stonehenge was built. The Great Pyramid in Egypt was built at about the same time, said Parker Pearson of Sheffield University.

Julian Thomas of Manchester University noted that both Stonehenge and Durrington Walls have avenues connecting them to the Avon River, indicating a pattern of movement between the sites.

Stonehenge always lures me in.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Jalebi, or perhaps here in southern India, jangiri, makes a Krispy Kreme seem like a savory. They are made like a funnel cake, but smaller, then dipped in a syrup. Best hot, they're not at all bad cooled off. I was first made aware of them when watching Jeremy Piven's narcissistic Discovery program 'Journey of a Lifetime', when he ate them from a street vendor with Padma Lakshmi in Delhi. I thought at the time that I needed to try them. Thankfully, our hotel in Hyderabad makes them every evening, safer and handier (perhaps not as exotic, but you pick your spots) than a street vendor. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


VIJAYWADA--We have arrived at Vijaywada after a six hour drive from Hyderabad this morning. We are essentially having a mini-weekend meeting at the neighboring city of Guntur, with Berry Kercheville speaking tonight (Saturday) and me speaking on Sunday. Then we'll drive back to Hyderabad on Sunday afternoon. No one from our group has visited the church in Guntur since Bill Robinson did in 2004. We want to make sure to stay in contact with the bretheren there.

The picture at the left is not captioned 'Who is uglier?'. This is me in front of a giant statue of the monkey god Hanuman at a temple just outside Vijaywada. I also saw my first monkeys (live normal sized ones) in India along the way. The area we drove through is heavily agricultural with lots of rice being grown, but also cotton and other crops. It was the first time I had ever seen tobacco ready to be topped in January.

Monday, January 15, 2007


That's the picture I couldn't upload at Alfie's. They were reluctant subjects at first, but warmed up to the idea.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


That's what the handbill stuck in my hotel room door said, but I didn't think anything of it. Not being a lady I didn't figure it was really my concern. Until I realized 'Cloud 9' was an establishment right above my room. And 'Ladies Night' lasted until 2 AM. I can tell you, they partied like it was 1989 (not a typo). 'We Will Rock You' can really pound through the walls.

Tonight until 2:30 AM at Cloud 9 is 'Jammin'' with some act that I'm sure is destined for Indian Idol fame. I can hardly wait.

Today after teaching classes Bill Robinson and I had the world's worst taxi ride. The guy apparently is gearing up for a career as a New York City cab driver. He was a skinny young Muslim, and busily puffing away on a cigarrette when we got in. It wasn't long before he had the techno pop cranked up LOUD. Maybe he was the disc jockey from Ladies Night, I'm not sure. The drivers here love to cut their engine and coast downhill on the hilly roads. He loved it, too. He also seemed to revel in finding the most congested routes possible, the ones with lots of truck exhaust. Techno pop still pumping. All the while I was suffering through, shall we say, gastro-intestinal challenges, which added to my eagerness to arrive at the hotel. Apparently our cab driving friend was pleased with his job, though, as the promised fare of 60 rupees became 70 upon our arrival.

Signing off from Alfie's Internet Express. Next stop should be Bangalore on Monday.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Well, the 'Scotland of the East' at least: Shillong, India. After a three and a half hour corkscrew drive from Guwahati up a mountain with a constant stream of trucks heading straight at us we made it to Shillong. The road was so curvy I'm pretty sure we met ourselves going the opposite direction at least three times.

Here's a question: Why can several people be talking on their cells phones at a roadside mart halfway up the mountain to Shillong and I can't get a signal at Sammy's Grocery Store in Alabama?

This morning I discovered my stall-less shower had no hot water. Later I learned the hot water is turned on at 6 AM. Ah. Good thing I waited.

I have a fantastic picture that I've tried to upload, but no go. When I'm somewhere other than Alfie's Internet Cafe it may work.

More soon.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Are you able freely to decide on the most basic of choices, say, what to have for dessert? Many evolutionists say no. If we are simply randomly produced beings (I almost slipped and wrote 'creatures') then choice itself must also be an illusion as 'choices' are simply the result of chemical reactions in our brains. True choice must be a product of what the article calls 'magic', or a human soul. If we are randomly produced beings in the universe we can have no such thing. Of course, the scientific debate over choice itself has its own moral result as does the larger issue of evolution:
Einstein, among others, found that a comforting idea. “This knowledge of the non-freedom of the will protects me from losing my good humor and taking much too seriously myself and my fellow humans as acting and judging individuals,” he said.

No, we wouldn't want to take ourselves seriously as acting and judging individuals. That would wouldn't it?