Theocracy, Lancaster California Style

As a Baptist who firmly believes in the State keeping its grotesque nose out of the business of religion I find the remarks of the Mayor of Lancaster both offensive and abusive.

The mayor of Lancaster has urged its residents to approve specifically-Christian prayers at public meetings, in an effort to “grow” the sixth-largest city in Los Angeles County into a “Christian community,” it was reported today. Lancaster residents were urged by Mayor R. Rex Parris in a state of the city speech to support a city ballot measure that would authorize daily prayers at city council meetings. In his speech, Parris said “we are growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that,” according to the Antelope Valley Press.

Keep your nasty politics and your attempts at State control of religion out of my faith. Christians don’t need, or want, the State uttering such proclamations or making such demands. Every Baptist in particular who values the very fine Baptist tradition of denouncing state intrusion in matters of faith should be up in arms out in Lancaster.

The Mayor may be well intentioned, but he is no theologian or biblical scholar and he has no right pretending to be.  And California isn’t a theocracy.  To prove it, just ask the Mayor what he would say if Buddhists or Muslims made the same suggestions that he has.  The Mayor is dead wrong on this.  He couldn’t be wrong-er if he were NT Wright.

Total Depravity: The Murdering Teen Edition

This fellow killed an 80 year old woman as she sat in her car in the church parking lot where she had just attended Mass.  For her purse.

For her purse, he shot her.   An 80 year old woman…

Youngstown police Lt. Kevin Mercer says 18-year-old Jamar Houser was arrested Friday night on warrants charging him with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery. … Angeline Fimognari (fim-eh-NAHR’-ee) was killed Jan. 23 in the parking lot of St. Dominic’s Parish in Youngstown. She was found slumped over in the driver’s side of her car with her purse missing.

No matter how much she had, if it were 5 million dollars, her life was worth more- except to a totally depraved 18 year old who valued his own pettiness above a woman’s life. That’s total depravity.

Ah, Life in Rural America…

Where the power has gone out because a tree caused a line to arc.  And the temperature tonight is supposed to be 11.  And the electric company has no idea how long it will be off.  (And I can only post this because I have a tiny powerpack hooked up to the dsl box).

What a bummer…  Anyway, if you don’t hear from me again it’s because I’ve frozen to death…

UPDATE:  It took a mere 2  1/4 hours to get it fixed.

Texas, An Inflatable Gorilla, A Fire, And a Fire Chief

Are all brought together in one of those tales that makes me glad there’s a Texas in these here United States.  Texas, bless you, you are an unending source of comic material.

Here are the facts:

1- an out-of-control inflatable gorilla was blamed for a rooftop blaze at a Houston shopping center (yeah those inflatable gorillas can be wild…)

2- The remnants of the inflatable gorilla were seen at the site (good thing- it would be really horrible if a fire damaged inflatable gorilla were roaming the streets).

Thank you Texas!  I love you!

Oh Pastors…

Don’t pull guns on your children.  At church

The son of a well-known Alcoa pastor has taken out an order of protection against his father, claiming he was threatened with a gun during an argument at a church over his lack of church attendance. The order of protection was filed by 32-year-old Michael Louis Colquitt against 60-year-old Joe Colquitt, pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

And if you’re Baptist you really shouldn’t. Baptists already get plenty of bad press.

Islamic Theology: Soon to be Available in German Universities

Germany will announce a plan on Monday to offer training programs for students who wish to become Muslim spiritual leaders, or imams, the country’s top academic body said. The German Council of Science and Humanities, composed of senior government officials and professors, called for institutes of Islamic theology to be established at two to three universities initially.

Ok fine. This, though, is the part that caused me to raise an eyebrow…

Currently, Islamic studies at German universities mainly focus in a neutral way on history and art. A department has been set up at one German university, however, in the western city of Muenster, to train schoolteachers to teach Islam to children.

All of which leads me to say hmmmmm….

Tel Kabri 2009

I wish I had gone, but alas… I couldn’t.  However, Eric Cline was still kind enough to send me a couple of tee shirts from the dig.  Here’s front, back, and the whole thing.  Thanks, Eric.

I’m not sure if Eric will be digging at Kabri next year or if he’ll be back at Megiddo.  Either way, if you can join him, you should.  I was at Ein Gedi with Hirschfeld once and it was fantastic.  Everyone should participate on an archaeological dig at least once in their life.

UPDATE:  I’ve learned that there are various sizes and colors left: black, blue, green (khaki), pink/fuschia, red, ranging from S to XXL….  If you would like one just write Eric at ehcline@gwu.edu and he can give you all the details.

I Buy Books, And If I Have Money Left Over, I Buy Food and Clothes…

So said Erasmus of Rotterdam and he’s not alone in that sentiment.  As my wife can testify.  And I’m sure I’m not alone among theologians and biblical scholars.  Or, it seems, the general public.

Three-quarters of adults questioned in an online poll said they would sacrifice holidays, dining out, going to the movies and even shopping sprees but they could not resist buying books. Dining out came in a far second with only 11 percent of Americans naming it their top indulgence, followed by shopping at 7 percent, vacations at four and movies, which was chosen by only 3 percent of Americans. “The recession highlighted the downside of greed, indulgence and giving in to temptation, but we noticed a shift back to life’s simplest pleasures,” said Michelle Renaud, a senior manager at Harlequin Enterprises Limited, which conducted the poll.

Now I’m not going to read anything by Harlequin- but I’ll continue to buy books, even if that means going hungry.  Thank you, Erasmus, for making me feel better about that.

The Horror Continues…

Though if the radar is right, there shouldn’t be much more of the gross stuff.  Here’s how things stand this morning…