The Day Perez Hilton Hosts American Idol Will Be The Day I Stop Watching

Perez Hilton is pretty sure that he could replace Simon Cowell as a judge on “American Idol” — and it seems that the feeling is mutual. Cowell may not have much to say about Howard Stern replacing him, but he’s got Perez’s back in his campaign to take his spot at the judges’ table on the show.

Similarly, if that beastial Cretan Howard Stern replaces Cowell the same effect will occur.  American Idol’s a fun show to watch.  But if Cowell is replaced by the likes of either of those two, it will become completely inane.  And I won’t watch.

I think someone with an actual background in the production side of the industry ought to replace Simon.  Randy’s a musician, Ellen’s a pop savant, Kyra’s a writer.  They need a producer.  Not a loud weirdo (and that describes both Stern and Hilton).

Google Buzz: Finished On This End

I tried Google Buzz but honestly I neither understand it nor see the value of or in it.  The whole ‘these people are following you’ and ‘you are following these people’ just leaves me mystified.

If I want to contact people I can do it through email or Facebook.

If people want to ‘follow’ me (and the whole notion of having ‘followers’ is problematic from a theological point of view- and the very reason I avoid Twitter twaddle – I just can’t get John the Baptist’s ‘illum oportet crescere me autem minui’ out of my head) because they are interested in my doings I guess they’ll just have to be satisfied with this little blog bit of cyberwebianity.

Anywho- buh-bye-buzz.   You were a bit uninteresting and too much like a creepy stalker.

American Politicians Need A Copy Of This Book

Bulgaria’s prime minister has issued graft-prone town mayors with a special instruction manual on how not to embezzle funds. Officials would from now on be “banned” from making bribes, inflating quotations, and drawing up fictional contracts with non-existent suppliers, according to the booklet which was drawn up especially for them.

Each and every American politician who turns in a petition to run for office ought to have to read this book, take a quiz, and pass with no less than a 95 on it in order to have their name placed on the ballot.

Or better yet, they ought to have to take a quiz on the Bible, with the same requirements, in order to have their name placed on the ballot.   That would thin out the herd and might even result in some decent (!) politicians.

Why Bother With a Hearing When You Can Bulldoze the Law?

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman interferes with her state’s right to regulate the institution. Coakley’s office filed a lawsuit in July challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In papers filed late Thursday, Coakley asks a judge to deem the law unconstitutional without holding a trial on the lawsuit.

Asking a Judge to rule a law unconstitutional without a hearing. Nice trick. It will probably work.

Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage and is the first to challenge the law.

And will be the first to …

Stupid Criminal Tricks

This one can’t be summarized, it must be experienced in it’s fullness. I’ll just give you a hint at the joy awaiting you…

19-year-old Stephan Crane broke into the Ravalli Republic newspaper building in Hamilton, Montana — a place that certainly enjoys sharing to their county about recent happenings.

And then he did 7 stupid things. Can you guess, before you look?

Pillbillies: The Problem of Florida’s Pain Clinics and the Illegal Drug Trade

If you live in a rural community in the South you know exactly what a Pillbillie is- it’s a person who makes their livelihood trafficking  in illegally and fraudulently obtained prescription drugs.

The bulk of these prescriptions are written by clinics in Florida, where a booming cottage industry has grown up.  People from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, along with persons from numerous other locales, make pilgrimage to clinics down there, receive prescriptions for no good reason, and take their pills back home to sell- destroying, in the process, their own lives, their families, and their communities.

Indeed, what Meth has done, the pill trade is expanding.

In the County just south of where I live, 46 people are involved.  You can read all about it.   The illegal sale of prescription drugs is killing towns all across the South.  And will continue to do so until the clinics furnishing the Pillbillies are shut down by Florida officials who, however, seem totally indifferent to the problem.

Curiously, underlying the problem of drug addiction, the real ‘first cause’ of all the problems which follow in its train, is that overwhelming desire to escape reality so common among those who live godless lives.

Socrates once remarked that the unreflected upon life was not worth living.  More true, however, is the fact that the godless life is not only not worth living, it isn’t worth anything at all but despair and pain and death.

It’s Not The Ark- It’s A Replica of Someone’s Imagination of the Ark

There was a special on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or one of those channels I think about a year ago which touted the ‘discovery’ of the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia and the presenter (I don’t remember who he was) made a big deal out of the fact that though the Ark itself hadn’t been discovered, a replica of it has been in existence for a long time.  Then he showed us this:

He went on to describe it as an ideal ‘Ark’ and much more reliable a replica of the ‘true Ark’ than any artistic representation known to believers and scholars.

The entire program was thoroughly unconvincing- another example of some guy coming up with some idea which he then is able to peddle to some tv network which then foists it off on an unsuspecting public ill equipped due to its ignorance of the subject to recognize bupkiss from fact.

And now, the BBC is doing it again., informing us that the once secreted ‘Ark’ has been brought out into the light of day and put on display in a museum in Zimbabwe.

A wooden object claimed to be a replica of the Biblical Ark of the Covenant has gone on display at a Zimbabwe museum. … Tudor Parfitt, who rediscovered the artefact three years ago, told the BBC he believed it was the oldest wooden object ever found in sub-Saharan Africa.   “On each corner there is the remnants of a wooden ring, and obviously at one point, it was carried by inserting poles through these two rings on either side,” he said.  “Of course in the biblical account, that’s precisely how the Ark of the Covenant was carried across the wilderness.”

Well heck fire- by those criteria anything with rings on the corner that can be toted around can be claimed to be a replica of the ‘True Ark’.

The whole sad episode is so absurd- not because someone’s making money off it (and you can bet that’s happening) – but because it all has no foundation whatsoever in archaeological fact.

Freedom, Zwingli Style

Go ahead, eat that greasy sausage!  And don’t let anyone tell you that God doesn’t want you to, or that you’re earning some sort of special merit if you don’t!

Am 9. März 1522 findet im Haus des Buchdruckers Christoph Froschauer [in Zürich] ein demonstratives Wurstessen statt, demonstrativ, weil die Wurst in der Fastenzeit gegessen wird. Zwei geräucherte Würste werden kleingeschnitten und unter die anwesenden Leute verteilt. Zwingli ist dabei, ohne sich am Wurstessen zu beteiligen. Diesem ersten Verstoß gegen das Fastengebot folgen in den darauffolgenden Tagen weitere. Das ganze wird schnell in Zürich bekannt, der Rat beginnt einzuschreiten und nimmt gerichtliche Ermittlungen auf.

Nur zwei Wochen nach dem Wurstessen thematisiert Zwingli in einer Predigt das Fastenproblem; diese Predigt erscheint im April 1522 unter dem Titel: “Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen”. Zwingli vertritt hier ein evangelisches Freiheitsverständnis: Von allen menschlichen Geboten und Ordnungen sind die Christenmenschen freigestellt, menschlichen Geboten ist nicht unbedingter Gehorsam zu leisten. Das Fastengebot ist solch eine menschliche, kirchliche Satzung. Und weil es keine göttliche Autorität und das heißt: keine Autorität der Bibel hinter sich hat, muss man dem Fastengebot keine Folge leisten. Gleichzeitig sind die Christen frei, diese Freiheit, die sie haben, nicht exzessiv zu nutzen, weil sie nicht von dieser Freiheit leben.

There’s more on the subject of true freedom from the imposition of unbiblical human tradition here.  And here’s what Zwingli himself said on the subject – with the best bits in bold.

Ihr Glaube an Gott war nicht mehr so stark, dass sie auf ihn allein vertrauten und ihre Hoffnung auf ihn allein setzten, allein auf sein Gebot und seinen Willen hörten. Töricht begannen sie wiederum, dem Diktat der Menschen zu folgen. Gleich als ob Gott etwas versäumt habe, das nun zu ergänzen und zu verbessern sei, reden sie sich ein: an diesem Tag, in diesem Monat, zu dieser und jener Zeit darfst du dies und das nicht tun. (Wobei ich nichts dagegen habe, wenn jemand zur Gesunderhaltung und Disziplinierung seines Körpers sich freiwillig Verzicht auferlegt und dabei sein Fasten nicht überbewertet und nicht hoffärtig dabei wird; sein Fasten also aus Demut kommt.)

Macht man sich selber aber daraus ein Gebot und redet sich ein, man sündige, wenn man es nicht einhält, dann heißt dies, das Gewissen brandmarken und beschmutzen, und Verführung zu wahrer Abgötterei. … Kurz und einfach gesagt: Willst du gerne fasten, dann tue es! Willst du dabei auf Fleisch verzichten, dann iss auch kein Fleisch! Lass mir aber dabei dem Christen die freie Wahl! … Wenn aber dein Nächster daran Anstoß nimmt, wenn du von deiner Freiheit Gebrauch machst, dann sollst du ihn nicht grundlos in Schwierigkeiten oder Versuchung bringen. Nur wenn er den Grund deiner Freiheit erkennt, wird er nicht mehr daran Anstoß nehmen, es sei denn, er wolle dir vorsätzlich übel. … Vielmehr sollst du deinem Nächsten in freundlicher Weise den Glauben erklären und ihm sagen, dass auch er alles essen dürfe und er darin frei sei.

Benny Hinn: Should He Leave the ‘Ministry’?

He should, but not because his wife has filed for divorce. He should leave the ‘ministry’ because he’s preaching a false gospel- the ‘prosperity gospel’.

If he were preaching the true Gospel and his wife left him, he would need to be encouraged by his congregation to remain in the ministry to which God called him. Wives who leave husbands are no reason for husbands to leave ministry. One cannot take the blame for the deeds of others. Even the minister for the deeds of his wife.

Some may be amazed to learn that one of the most famous Baptist preachers of the 20th century was divorced. R.G. Lee’s wife left him after just a few years of his ministry. She didn’t want to be a Pastor’s wife. And he couldn’t, and shouldn’t have, forced her to stay. Still he went on to be quite influential. Had he adopted the advice of some that he leave the ministry because his wife left him, he would have sinned. Fortunately, he listened to wiser souls.

So, Benny should go- but not because his wife has.

Melanchthon Day(s)

Der Thüringer Landtag lädt am 19. und 20. Februar zum 2. Melanchthontag. Landtagspräsidentin Diezel sagte, dass die Veranstaltung zu Ehren des Humanisten und Reformators Philipp Melanchthon “der Bedeutung reformatorischen Denkens in den Bereichen Staat, Religion und Bildung nachgehen” solle.

Nice! 2 days instead of the usual 1 day our American ‘heroes’ are usually lauded.  But that only makes sense, since he’s twice as important as the one day people we celebrate.   Have a pleasant Melanchthon Day today and tomorrow!

Hyperbollically Speaking…

If your right hand is the cause of your sinful action, hack it off:  and if your right eye is the cause of your sinful action, pop it out!  It’s far better for you to live your life in this world a bit mangled than it is to enter life in the world to come mangled forever in the torments of hell.  —  Jesus of Nazareth

What’s the point of Jesus’ exaggerated speech?  Does he really want Christians to hack off their bits and pieces in order to avoid sin, or does he know (and he does) that our bodies are merely instruments of the sin that resides within our hearts.  In face of radical sin, radical action is needed.  Radical sin is only overcome by radical righteousness.  And since we lack within ourselves the ability to be either righteous or radically so, Jesus’ words actually have the purpose of driving us to the point of despair.

Nonetheless, once we are radically in despair of our ability to avoid sin, we are forced to turn in trust to Him who is able to radically transform our radical sinfulness into radical righteousness.

Hence, utterly dependent on him, we pluck out our hearts, handing them over to Christ who repairs them and plants within us a new heart and a new spirit (as Jeremiah has it).

Jesus’ hyperbole, his exaggerated speech, his demand for radical trust, is at the end of the day intended to stir us from our spiritual slumber so that we cast ourselves fully and unconditionally on his grace.  When we have done that, we have, in fact, plucked out our eyes and chopped off our hands- and received new ones in their place.  We are born again.  And that’s no hyperbole at all.

Jesus of Nazareth

The good folks at Backus Books have sent along for review a copy of a volume that will interest a number of persons. Namely, Jesus of Nazareth by John A. Broadus.  This volume was originally published in 1890 and republished in 2005.

Baptists may well be familiar with the name of Broadus (who served as the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary back when it was an actual institution of higher learning) but others may not have heard of him.

And while the republication of such an old volume may strike some folk as odd, it certainly merits wider attention than a gentle, understanding but condescending smile would grant it.

I’ll review it in due course and post it here.