Daily Archives: 15 Jan 2010

Satellite Imagery of Port-au-Prince Haiti

Can be viewed here, and here.   The images were captured on the 13th.  A few others are available on the main page here.  It’s astonishing to see from above the destruction so heart breaking below.

Zwingli and Luther on Homosexuality

This brief paper was written at the beginning of the debate on Proposition 8 in response to a request from a colleague who was curious about the view of the Reformers on the subject. Please do not repost it or share it without my express written permission.

The Prop 8 Trial: Day Four

You can read the perspective of a Baptist observer here.

I found this interesting

“There’s no shortage of disagreement concerning the California marriage amendment trial. But one point is beyond dispute: It is costing a fortune. While the gallery of observers continues to dwindle (it’s now about half full), the room has remained flush with busy lawyers. On a typical day there are 10-12 on each side, many of whom are senior partners at major law firms.

Ah lawyers…  like sharks in the water smelling blood.  They were probably thinking about how they could make a buck off the results of the trial however it ends.

Statistics Lovers Everywhere, Read This

It’s a fantastic essay in Christianity Today which debunks many of the statistical myths currently floating around about the state of Christianity in America. It’s really must reading.

(Via Heidelblog).

The 67 Articles- By Huldrych Zwingli

Todd Bentley: Poster Child for Illegitimate Religious Experience

The Quest for Illegitimate Religious Experience (QIRE) is defined in a recent book

as the attempt to “experience God apart from the mediation of word and sacrament”.

R. Scott Clark makes use of that descriptor ‘to the tenth power’ to point out the doings of Todd Bentley as displayed in a video.

Yeah, if anyone is the poster child for the quest for illegitimate religious experience it’s Bentley. Well spotted, Scott.

The Only Good Thing About ‘The Book of Eli’…

Is that it isn’t obnoxiously long.  Other than that, there’s not much good to be said of it.

Denzel Washington is a superb actor and he does as good a job as anyone could with a script that can only be called ridiculous and co-stars who would be better suited to community theater.

Aside from the fact that Washington’s character hunts and eats a cat; and the wretched ‘Da Vinci Code’ is burned, nothing worth watching happens in the entire film.

If you must see it (as I thought I must), save your money and rent it for a dollar in about a year.  Believe me- you’ll thank me if you don’t waste more than a dollar on it now.

Melanchthon 2010

2010 is the 450th anniversary of the death of Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s better colleague and one of the more important of the Lutheran Reformers.

There’s loads of links here.  I’ve also placed a link box on the nav panel to his writings.

You Can Help Haiti

I’ve placed a link on the sidebar to Baptist World Aid.    You’ll be taken directly to the BWA donation page.  I hope you’ll help as you are able.

What Do The French Think of Pat Robertson?

It was the French who colonized Haiti, so what do they think about what Pat Robertson said concerning Haiti’s problems being based on a deal they made with the devil to throw off French control?

Well, predictably…

[the remark] got the usual chuckles of disbelief among local intelligentsia about American culture.

The essay takes Robertson to task for his really uninformed beliefs about Haitian history too. Give it a look.  And then apologize to a French person and tell them that all Americans aren’t like Pat Robertson (and neither are Christians).

Facebook Ads: They’re Crazy

Take, for example, this one that showed up on the sidebar of Facebook today…

What does that even mean?  It’s madness and whoever is behind it needs to go to Seminary and learn a bit of theology.

Pants on the Ground: The Best New Song of 2010

This is why I love American Idol!

NPR’s Report on the Uganda Gay Law and American Evangelicals

NPR had a very intriguing report indeed this morning on the strange silence of high profile American Evangelicals (like Rick Warren) on the Ugandan law condemning convicted homosexuals to death. I commend it to your listening attention. Sure, it’s not as catchy as ‘Pants on the Ground’, but it is actually important (unlike the former).

Zwingli v. Eck: The 1526 Smack Down

Huldrcyh Zwingli and Johannes Eck didn’t get along very well.  Eck wrote several attacks on Zwingli and Zwingli responded with equal vigor.

On the 15th of January, 1526, it seems that Zwingli had had just about enough.  Responding to a pamphlet Eck had written to the Swiss Confederation, Zwingli penned Eine Abschrift oder Kopie des Geleitbriefes an Johannes Eck in which he denounces Eck’s assertion that ‘Zwingli was worse than Luther or Carlstadt, the Hussites and the Jews!’  He informs the Confederation that Eck is not only an enemy of the Gospel, he is also no friend of the Swiss.

This exchange was the last substantial argument between the two.  Zwingli ignored Eck afterwards (though he wrote him a really scathing letter, he never sent it).

Such events are a good reminder that the 16th century was a period of Church history in which foes pulled out all the stops.    Or maybe foes were just more honest about their feelings (in contrast to the limpid and uninspiring debates these days between theologians).

The Strange Tale of the Church and its Dog Problem

Members of St Peter’s Church in Raunds High Street are fed up having to clean up dog mess on the paths leading up to the church and are urging dog owners to change their ways. Church warden, Rita Chantrell thinks it is a disgrace that people can be so inconsiderate. She said: “I think it is absolutely disgusting. We had a funeral on Wednesday and there was dog mess right outside the south door which we had to quickly clear up before people arrived while trying to arrange everything else. “We have activities going on throughout the week and it is not nice for people to have to try and avoid it all the time.

Doesn’t Britain have a leash law?  Anyway, the warden is right- letting your dog pollute church property is excessively inconsiderate.

“I don’t know what is wrong with people.”

Oh, I do…

Credit Card Companies and Your Haiti Donations

Thinking about giving to Haiti relief using your credit card?  You might want to reconsider (unless you use Visa or American Express, who have agreed to waive their fees for this crisis).

As a massive human tragedy unfolds in Haiti, relief organizations are soliciting credit-card donations through their hotlines and websites. About 97 percent of these donations will actually make it to the designated organizations — but the other 3 percent will be skimmed off by banks and credit card companies to cover their “transaction costs.” Thanks to this hidden fee, American banks and credit card companies are making huge profits — somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million a year — off of people’s charitable donations, according to a Huffington Post analysis.

No word yet if the other large card companies will follow Visa’s lead. Though Visa and Amex probably only got the charitable spirit when their fees were made public. Credit companies are not known for doing the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts.

Fear of What Might Be Can Never Smother Need in the Now

I think every Pastor who has ever answered the door has wondered if this might happen to him.

A church pastor answered a knock at her door from a man who asked for food. But once inside, he went on the attack, demanding money and hitting her in the head. It happened around 5:00 p.m. at Providence United Methodist Church.

Fear of such possibilities, though, can never be allowed to keep pastors from assisting those who need it when and as they can (while being as wise as serpents and harmless as doves).

Church members say the man used a leg that had broken off an antique table.

Tragic and depraved. But again, the possibility of wickedness can never be allowed to deter righteousness.

Rush Limbaugh: Pat Robertson’s Intellectual Twin?

It seems so in light of the insulting remarks he made in the aftermath of the disaster in Haiti.

Speaking on his radio show Wednesday, Limbaugh said the earthquake has played into Obama’s hands, allowing the president to look “compassionate” and “humanitarian” while at the same time bolstering his standing in both the “light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country.” He added: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”

Even Limbaugh’s fellow conservatives can’t stomach that kind of pompous foolishness.

[R]egardless of the intended context, Limbaugh’s comments have been widely panned. “They are deeply insensitive,” said conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The president speaks for the country when he says we’re going to go in there,” he said. “You want your whole nation, and it’s very positive. And I think Rush’s comments were cynical.” Sitting next to Buchanan on set, host Joe Scarborough called Limbaugh’s comments “deplorable.” “The insensitivity is stunning,” said the former Republican congressman.

Robertson and Limbaugh must have been separated at birth, as they share the same intellectual pedigree.

Prop 8 Trial, The Third Day

Like a few across the country I’m following the trial only sporadically.  However, today’s doings are worthy of remark.

Southern Baptist Convention and Catholic belief statements on homosexuality and “gay marriage” were read Wednesday during the California Prop 8 trial as examples of prejudice and bias against homosexuals — a courtroom moment conservative attorneys say underscores that religious liberty is at stake.

What’s prejudiced is the assumption that people who hold differing views are prejudiced. It’s one of the more absurd tactics of gay activists. That is, the screeched accusation that anyone and everyone who rejects their ideology is biased. Bias is something wholly different from disagreement. Or are we to believe that anytime anyone disagrees with anything we say, they are prejudiced against us? That’s an absurd notion worthy of widespread public mocking.

If the entire case being submitted by gay activists is ‘you should let us marry or you’re prejudiced against us’ one has to admit its intellectual vacuity.