Daily Archives: 13 Jan 2010

The International Mission Board: Haiti Update

The IMB of the Southern Baptist Convention has a page devoted to events in Haiti. Updates are continuous. Here’s the site.

Haiti Aid Scammers

It always happens when a disaster strikes- good people want to help and there are predators aplenty out there to try to take advantage.

A number of “text to donate” services have been set up for people to make donations directly from their cell phones. But consumer advocates are warning that, as more are created, some may be phonies.

My advice? Give through reputable charities (like those I’ve mentioned earlier today) and avoid any texting schemes or other pleas.

They Could Never Say This About ‘Rap’

Scientists are asserting that Playing Mozart’s music

… to premature babies seems to help them gain weight faster and become stronger, new research found. Once a day for two consecutive days, doctors played either 30 minutes of music by the 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or no music, to 20 pre-term babies at the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel. After listening to the music, the babies were calmer and so expended less energy than the no-music group. When babies’ energy expenditure is decreased, they don’t need as many calories to grow, so can gain weight and thrive more quickly – exactly what preemies need.

No one could ever say that about ‘Rap’, or most other genres of music for that matter.  Mozart’s good for everyone.  Even preemies.

Baptist Global Relief Haiti Aid Fund

If you’re uncomfortable giving through the Red Cross and other aid agencies, then let me commend to your attention Baptist Global Relief, who can be counted on to deliver aid to the people who need it.

Quote of the Day

Righteousness without equity or mercy is the height of injustice; mercy without righteousness is indifference, wantonness and the destruction of all discipline.  — Huldrych Zwingli

The Death Toll in Haiti

Is over 100,000 at present according to a report just now on CNN.  This appalling tragedy is getting worse by the moment.  Pray, and act.

Baptists Respond in Haiti

Associated Baptist Press reports

Baptist World Aid has pledged $20,000 in emergency funds for earthquake-stricken Haiti, the head of the relief-and-development arm of the Baptist World Alliance said Jan. 13. A United Nations official said mid-morning Jan. 13 that the quake — which initial estimates put at 7.0 in magnitude and which struck the evening of Jan. 12 — likely had killed thousands of Haitians. BWAid director Paul Montacute said grants of $10,000 each were committed to the Baptist Convention of Haiti, a group of 110 churches and 82,000 members established in 1964, and the Haiti Baptist Mission, a network of 330 churches and schools founded in 1943. Montacute said BWAid will be launching an appeal for additional funds and expected to have more information later in the day. “We must make a generous response to this massive catastrophe,” Montacute said.


The Red Cross estimated that 3 million people were affected by the earthquake, roughly one in three Haitians. The Caribbean nation has been afflicted by extreme poverty and political instability for decades, and poor infrastructure and virtually non-existent building standards likely worsened the disaster’s impact.

Keep an eye on the Baptist World Aid news page for further updates and ways to help.

Die Zürcher Bibel Online

You can read the entire text of the 2007 Die Zürcher Bibel, along with numerous other editions courtesy of the German Bible Society. I’ve placed a link on the sidebar under ‘Online Bibles’.

Methodists in Fiji

Are not being allowed to meet in Annual Conference until 2014.  According to the New York Times

Fiji’s military-led government banned the country’s powerful Methodist Church on Wednesday from holding their annual conference until 2014, accusing church ministers of spying on the nation’s military for the government ousted in a 2006 coup. Wednesday’s move follows a ban last May on the 2009 conference and the arrest of eight senior Methodist leaders after the regime accused them of pursuing a political agenda to destabilize the government.

It’s all very strange. Nonetheless, remember the Methodists of Fiji when next you pray.

The Most Despised Man In Knoxville, TN

Is now former UT football head coach Lane Kiffin.  Last night, in what has to be the most bizarre announcement ever made by a college coach, Kiffin abruptly quit, to take up the job of head coach at USC.

Lane Kiffin is returning to Southern California as the Trojans’ coach after just one season at Tennessee. Kiffin was chosen Tuesday to replace Pete Carroll, his mentor and employer for six seasons. Kiffin was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator before his brief stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Vols.

What’s got Knoxvillians so riled is that the fellow made promises when he came less than a year ago and he has simply broken his word.

But what has this to do with theology?  Again, such events are grist for the theological mill.  In this instance Kiffin’s behavior demonstrates that he simply doesn’t comprehend the concept of commitment.  Therefore, there’s a lesson for all to learn: commit yourself fully and honestly or don’t begin an undertaking.  Jesus says as much when he remarks

“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28ff).

Zwingli for Today

On the 13th of January, 1526, Huldrych Zwingli remarked, ever so briefly in connection with the trial of the Re-Baptizers who were then shattering the unity of the Zurich Church, that

Doctor Balthasar hatt grett, man moge der oberkeit nienderth mit bas abkommen, dann mit dem widertouff.

Any talk of rebellion against the Magistrates would not have been helpful to the cause of the Anabaptists.  And Zwingli knew it.

Zwingli's Study

The Book of Eli

A movie making its appearance in a couple of days is interwoven, it seems, with Christian themes, according to ABC News, which reports

As post-apocalyptic movie fiction goes, “The Book of Eli” is not a crowd-pleaser like the “Mad Max” series nor silly like any of the “Planet of the Apes” films. This film, the first from the Hughes Brothers in nearly nine years, instead is an intense, surprisingly serious study of a man making his way through a wilderness of catastrophic destruction and human cruelty like a latter-day prophet. An overlay of spiritual themes doesn’t always work, but “Eli” is that rare Hollywood film that posits a Christian man as its hero.

I’m very keen to see it.  I’ll probably remark upon it when I do.

Pray For Haiti- And Prepare to Lend Aid

Of the many reports, the BBC has one of the best.

It was immediately obvious that Tuesday’s quake in Haiti would be an appalling natural disaster. This was a large tremor centred on an impoverished country with little recent experience or preparedness for such a major event of this kind. The buildings in the quake zones of major industrialised nations sit on damping systems that allow them to ride out tremors that not only shake them back and forth but also twist them in the same movement.

Hundreds, if not thousands, are feared dead.

Baptists are on the ground in Haiti, working even now to assist those many in need.

You can donate now to aid the Haitians.   I hope you’ll help if you can. And pray.

What I’m Reading

You can download a copy free for yourself.  Here’s the link.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church is Beginning to Fragment

Over the issue of gay clergy– just as the Episcopal Church has.

A local church wants to split from its denomination over the decision to allow gay clergy. Now, the pastor is speaking out about the church’s decision. The pastor says this isn’t about an angry church not wanting to embrace gays. He says nothing could be further from the truth. Pastor Roger Miller says allowing gay clergy at Saint Paul’s would go against biblical principles.

Indeed it would. As sad as schism is, it’s preferable to a seared conscience.  The moment culture becomes the determinative factor of theological decisions rather than biblical revelation, the church has abandoned its purpose and become something else.

Violence Against Churches Has Spread to Algeria

First a spate of attacks in Malaysia and now Algerian Christians have become the target of violence.

Islamists looted and burned a Protestant church in Algeria, the congregation’s leader said Monday, suggesting they were inspired by a recent spate of religious intolerance in the Arab and Muslim world.

This is not a good thing. Indeed, it is a very bad thing. In the midst of such violence Christians must be very clear in rejecting both retaliation and hatred. The wrongs of Islamic fundamentalists can never become the occasion for Christians to behave as badly.