Friday, October 31, 2008


My old boss conservative historian and cultural critic Russell Kirk loved Halloween. It was his favorite holiday. During the the Halloween I spent there the day was a major event. Dr. Kirk would dress up and the foyer to the Kirk home would be transformed into a spooky chamber. A wide-eyed boy looked around the room and asked Dr. Kirk, 'Do you live here?' Without missing a beat Dr. Kirk replied to the innocent, 'When we were alive we did.'

Dr. Kirk was an award winning writer of ghostly fiction, and his best known story was 'There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding'. Through the magic of the Internet, a reading of it by Dr. Kirk is available in streaming audio.

He would be pleased that he reads it to us beyond the grave. One of his favorite quotes came from his friend T.S. Eliot's poem 'Little Gidding': "the communication / Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

And maybe there was a King David after all

Writing on a shard dating from the time of David has been unearthed from a fortress overlooking the valley where David slew Goliath:
Archaeologists in Israel said on Thursday they had unearthed the oldest Hebrew text ever found, while excavating a fortress city overlooking a valley where the Bible says David slew Goliath....

Archaeologists from the Hebrew University said they found five lines of text written in black ink on a shard of pottery dug up at a five-acre (two-hectare) site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Experts have not yet been able to decipher the text fully, but carbon dating of artifacts found at the site indicates the Hebrew inscription was written about 3,000 years ago, predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by 1,000 years, the archaeologists said.

Several words, including "judge," "slave" and "king," could be identified and the experts said they hoped the text would shed light on how alphabetic scripts developed.

In a finding that could have symbolic value for Israel, the archaeologists said other items discovered at the fortress dig indicated there was most likely a strong king and central government in Jerusalem during the period scholars believe that David ruled the holy city and ancient Israel.
It will be interesting to see what the text actually has to say, however the additional finds that point to a strong king and central government during the time of David would be devastating to the so-called 'Biblical minimalists' who deny that thre was any such person as David, and he is simply a later mytholigical construct to promote Hebrew nationalism.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Highly Recommended Viewing

Does anyone not love Ben Stein? Well, I'm sure there are quite a few in the Academy and on the pro-Evolution side of things who don't now.

This year Ben Stein released his documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed on the balkanization of science and the crushing of free discourse on the topic of evolution. It is now out on DVD, and after (finally!) watching it last night I can only say: go rent it now! Our local Redbox had it, so your outlay can be as low as $1 (+ tax).

Stein interviews both pro-Intelligent Design scientists and Darwinists, asking the questions no one else wants to ask. He exposes the arrogance of the Darwinist Establishment and their blacklist tactics. Stein does an amazing job of connecting the dots between Darwinism, atheism and its worldview-political implications. Your jaw will drop at what he is able to get evolutionists to admit to, including their own thoughts about the possibility of Intelligent Design.

The documentary presents a similar argument to what Phillip E. Johnson uses in books like Darwin on Trial. But Stein does so in an easily digestable and highly entertaining (and hilarious!) way. Using resources and a production level rarely available to those who seek to express a view so unacceptable to the Left.

See it. Thank me later.

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'I Am...the Resurrection and the Life' from a series on the 'I Am' statements of Jesus in the gospel of John. Why did Jesus weep although He knew He was going to raise His friend Lazarus? Not only for His love for Lazarus, but because of the terrible power of sin and death that He came to defeat. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life--all life comes from Him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christian Persecution in India

Christian persecution, or at least the reporting of it, is on the rise in India's Orissa state:
The family of Solomon Digal was summoned by neighbors to what serves as a public square in front of the village tea shop.

They were ordered to get on their knees and bow before the portrait of a Hindu preacher. They were told to turn over their Bibles, hymnals and the two brightly colored calendar images of Christ that hung on their wall. Then, Mr. Digal, 45, a Christian since childhood, was forced to watch his Hindu neighbors set the items on fire.

“ ‘Embrace Hinduism, and your house will not be demolished,’ ” Mr. Digal recalled being told on that Wednesday afternoon in September. “ ‘Otherwise, you will be killed, or you will be thrown out of the village.’ ”

The violence seems to be systematic and growing:
Here in Kandhamal, the district that has seen the greatest violence, more than 30 people have been killed, 3,000 homes burned and over 130 churches destroyed, including the tin-roofed Baptist prayer hall where the Digals worshiped. Today it is a heap of rubble on an empty field, where cows blithely graze.

Across this ghastly terrain lie the singed remains of mud-and-thatch homes. Christian-owned businesses have been systematically attacked. Orange flags (orange is the sacred color of Hinduism) flutter triumphantly above the rooftops of houses and storefronts.

All very troubling, of course. The intense oppression does seem to be geographically focused, but the frenzy that leads to it can easily spread.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Finding Biblical Leaders'. As Hickman Mills continues its elder nomination process, a look at some of the men God used as effective leaders of His people: Moses, Nehemiah and Peter. All overcame obstacles, including self-doubt, prior commitments and past mistakes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Due to the baleful influence of Mark Bertrand's Bible Design & Binding blog I was introduced to the existence of R.L. Allan Bibles from Scotland. Now, I had lived my life in bliss without knowing about Allan's, but can happiness be complete without a Bible bound in tan highland goatskin? No reasonable person could argue 'no'.

Allan takes sewn text blocks and then gives them luxurious bindings in leathers of the highest quality. Since my recent conversion to using the English Standard Version (ESV) I, of course, needed (yes, I did) to acquire some actual copies for pulpit, office and home (yes, I did). So I placed my order for the then upcoming R.L. Allan ESV from (a recommended source) and waited. Then waited. And waited some more. Hey, it's tough to catch those goats in the Highlands!

Yesterday, the awaited tome appeared on my doorstep. It was, as they say, worth the wait. The leather is incredibly soft. Incredibly soft. It doesn't feel delicate, though. The Bible flows in your hands, with almost no stiffness at all right out of the box. There is no problem with it opening flat, a testament (ha!) to both the sewn text, but also to the quality of the binding job. Without question, this is the nicest Bible I've ever owned.

Now for a couple of quibbles, which is all these are. Some raised bands on the spine would have pushed the cover into even further heights. The visual appeal of the text would have been increased with just the slightest bit of wider margins (not wide margins--I'm talking 1/8" here), particularly at the bottom of the page and in the gutter. Clearly, compactness is a premium here, so I understand that the margins are first to go. However, when you're putting highland goatskin around in, bumping up the margins can add just a little more luxury.

The print (or would that be binding?) runs on these are limited, so if you want one best to order quickly. There's also black (but who wants black when you can have tan?!). And worth considering as a 'budget' option is the new Cambridge ESV Pitt Minion, which also looks fantastic in the preview pictures.

Here are a few quick pictures of my Allan's that arrived yesterday.

R.L. Allan ESV in Tan Highland Goatskin
You can see the leather texture well here.
Allan's ESV in Tan Highland Goatskin

Allan's ESV in Tan Highland Goatskin

Allan's ESV in Tan Highland Goatskin

Allan's ESV Cover Interior

Allan's ESV Text

Monday, October 06, 2008

THE SUPREME COURT HAS REFUSED to hear the Lucero vs. Texas jury Bible case:
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a murder case in which a jury foreman read passages of the Bible to hold-out jurors who subsequently voted to impose the death penalty.

Without comment, the justices declined to consider whether the jury foreman's conduct violated the rights of Jimmie Lucero, an Amarillo, Texas, man sentenced to death after being convicted in the shotgun slayings of three neighbors at their home in 2003....

During deliberations, the foreman read aloud from Romans 13:1-6, which states that everyone must submit to authority and that those who do wrong should be afraid, for a ruler is "God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment to the wrongdoer."
It was all a tempest in a teapot, grasing at straws to set a murder of three people free. If reading the Bible leads to more convictions I'm all for it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'Duties of Elders & the Church' in view of an elder appointment process that is being initiated today.

This evening 'The Fiery Furnace' from Daniel 3. Like Daniel's three friends, we must be ready to stand by our commitment to God regardless of the consequences, knowing that He will never forsake us.