Daily Archives: 25 Sep 2010

Fleecing the Sheep: Peddling ‘Noah’s Ark’

View of Ararat from Iğdır, Turkey.

Ararat. Sarah Palin can see the ark from her house...

Ark searches have been conducted on Mount Ararat since 1829 to no avail, until the promising discovery of wood by this NAMI team. Scientists maintain that tree growth and human settlement have never taken place above an elevation of 9,000 feet, presenting the world with the striking question: “Could this be the real Noah’s Ark?”

No- but it could be, and is, a money making scheme designed to fleece the sheep.

The upcoming National Apologetics Conference, hosted by the Southern Evangelical Seminary on October 15th-16th, will be exploring that question, as it presents exclusive footage of the discovery that has never before been seen in the United States. Also, two of the explorers who have actually been inside the vessel, as well as photojournalist Clara Wei, will fly in from Hong Kong to speak at this event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I guess we can already tell where they’ll come out on the story. Apologetics generally = unsubstantiated claim.

“It is exciting to present the guests of our conference with the rare opportunity to view footage and possible firsthand accounts of this discovery. We will present the film in a way that asks the audience to judge for themselves if this appears to be accurate and factual. We have reason to believe this is history in the making and we will delve into all aspects of the findings during our follow up panel discussion with top experts on these issues,” said Dr. Alex McFarland, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and host of the National Apologetics Conference.

They have reason to believe it’s history in the making because they’re promoting it that way. The whole debacle of an expedition has been soundly debunked, so why make it a conference issue?

Along with the showing of this exclusive footage, Southern Evangelical Seminary will be joined by the greatest theologians of our recent times to equip believers at the 17th Annual National Apologetics Conference on October 15-16 in Charlotte, NC. Visit http://www.nationalapologeticsconference.com for location, speakers and other details.

‘The greatest theologians of our recent times’? Hardly. There’s not a theologian worthy of the name on the list. Colson? He’s no theologian. McDowell? Not a theologian. In fact there’s not a single speaker who has produced any sort of useful theology presenting.

It’s a crying shame that people will attend, be misled, and be told that they should feel good about believing something they shouldn’t and needn’t. A true shame. But they will be fleeced.

The Church needs to stand up against these sorts of abuses.

A New (to Me) Dutch Humanist Biblioblog

Verkeer Amsterdam

Here.  By, put on your seatbelt, a woman!!!!  Yes, you read that correctly- there are women bibliobloggers!!!!  It looks pretty interesting (thanks Translate.Google.com) but the blogroll is grossly tiny and occupied by only one or two worthies.  Still, since it’s a free country (and seriously, who’s more free than the Dutch what with their Amsterdam and depravity) I suppose people can still shortchange their readers by leaving the most beloved blogs off their rolls.

Check her out.  But take the translating thing with you unless you read Dutch.

A Mower Went Forth To Mow: A Newly Discovered Parable of Jesus

Archaeologists have unearthed, authenticated, and published (in the Review of Biblical Archaeology and Other Near Eastern Things For Which We Sell Advertising Space Hawking Illegally or Questionably Obtained Antiquities) a fragment of a newly discovered parable of Jesus which they’ve titled ‘a mower went forth to mow’.

I’ve taken the liberty of translating this for those without benefit of Greek-

[The kingdom of h]eaven, to what can it be compared?  It can be likened to a mower who went forth to mow.  He mowed the front of his property and was sweating profusely.  A gentle breeze began to blow and he mowed the side of his property.  But still did he sweat.  Then, mellow clouds obscured the sun and the gentle breeze did increase and lo he was very glad when he mowed the back of his property.

After not many days, the mower looked at his property and was mightily dismayed.  What he had mowed appeared as though it had not been touched at all and his sweat was, as it were, for utterly naught.

After Jesus spoke this parable his disciples came to him and asked him its meaning, because they were extremely dense and understood nothing.

And Jesus said, the mower is the one who tends the flock of God.  The grass he mows is the care he exerts for the benefit of the flock, sweating and straining and enduring through heat and breeze and cloud.  The growth of the grass in a short time stands for the near futility of his task, for no matter how much is done, it is soon undone by the watering rain of culture’s influence.  And the disciples we[pt]….

It’s a fascinating parable, the manuscript having been given the nomenclature 00784 and will be archived in the rare manuscript collection of Duke University.

The Easy Answer to Internet Racist Comments

Moderate comments, that’s how simple it is.

Although you rarely hear racial insults on Main Street these days, there’s a place where unashamed bigotry is all too easy to find: tossed off in the comments sections of some of the Internet’s most popular websites, today’s virtual Main Street. Internet anonymity has removed one of the strongest barriers to the type of language that can ruin reputations and end careers. Racist messages are a small percentage of the wild and woolly web, but they stick out since they are rare in person — and they raise a host of questions.

Moderate, and the issue is resolved.  If racist comments are proffered, delete them.  Rob hate of its voice.

What the Eddie Long Case Teaches Us About Unaccountable Pastors

There’s a really insightful essay up today which should be read by everyone in every Church across the United States and around the world. It includes such important observations as

[P]astors and experts say the Long case demonstrates how vulnerable the country’s independent churches still are to being damaged by the misbehavior — sexual, financial or otherwise — of leaders whose considerable influence often comes with temptation and little accountability. “The more powerful a Christian leader becomes, the fewer restraints that other people can put on them,” said the Rev. H.B. London Jr., vice president of ministry outreach for Focus on the Family. “Some of these men and women become so powerful that no one can tell them ‘no.'”

And they won’t listen to no even if someone does have the courage to say it. Again,

It’s a question that applies to many Pentecostal and independent charismatic churches around the country, which often have little or no affiliation with other churches and which sometimes have leaders who seem bigger than the church itself. Lavish lifestyles and autocratic leadership can combine to create a kind of religious celebrity and the temptations that go along with that, according to Christian journalist J. Lee Grady. “In some ways, they’re like television personalities,” Grady said. “When they fall, it’s loud, because everybody knows them. It’s almost like success destroys people.”

Many have elevated personal experience above Scripture (as did the ancient Montanists and 16th Century Radicals). Without the anchor of Scripture, morals drift. And since people frequently (normally) abandon Scripture in preference to personal ‘enlightenment’ and the ‘inner light’ it should come as no surprise that some pastors frequently feel themselves above the teaching of the Bible. Indeed, they see themselves and their spiritual insights as superior to Scripture.

Furthermore

“The main check on leadership that goes berserk is really the congregation,” said Harvard Divinity School professor Harvey Cox, an expert on Pentecostal and charismatic churches. “You’ve got to keep the congregation with you, or they can toss you out.”

He’s absolutely right. That goes for every denomination. If Catholics tossed out misbehaving Priests and Baptists tossed out greedy pastors and Pentecostals dumped arrogant Clerics, the Church as a whole would be better off.

And that’s precisely what it comes down to: Church Discipline. Church discipline needs to be rediscovered. And applied. To Clergy, AND to congregations. That’s the solution to it all. And I happen to know a very good book on exactly that subject, which you should now go buy and read.

Leave Christine O’Donnell Alone

Michael Johns, U.S. Senate candidate Christine...

It’s getting to the point, no, it has gotten to the point where all those wishing to make Christine O’Donnell look like some kind of fringe kook (which she may or may not be, that’s not the point) are instead making themselves look small and petty and ridiculous and absurd. Bill Maher always looks that way. But media outlets like the Huffington Post which insist on talking about what O’Donnell said 20 years ago are supposed to be better than people like Maher who only live to grind an axe.

Politics in America has become smear campaigning at its worst. Why not discuss how people running for office plan to get us out of the economic quagmire the Bush era policies have gotten us into and to which the Republican ‘Pledge to America’ wishes to return? Both Dems and Repubs are guilty as sin in the matter and its sickening.

Unless O’Donnell says something current and noteworthy policy-wise, ignore her. And the same should be said of all our sniveling and inept politicians.

Bono’s ‘Charity’ Isn’t At All Charitable

The ‘One‘ foundation uses only a tiny, tiny fraction of the money it receives for actually doing charity.  If they get a dollar, just over a penny has been used for doing good, this shocking report discloses-

Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE is under pressure to explain its finances after it was revealed that only a small percentage of money it raises reaches the needy. The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6million in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent). … While the organisation’s gameplan has never been direct handouts on the ground, many who admire the Irish rock legend may be surprised by the figures.

Indeed. 1.2% is nothing at all. But that’s not the only shocking bit- The foundation’s only purpose seems to be to ‘raise awareness’. And they do so by performing concerts and passing out leather covered notebooks and waterbottles….

Another spokesman in New York today dismissed the notion of lavish salaries being paid to its 120 members of staff and said the organisation was highly efficient in its raising of awareness. ONE said it took no money from the public and that most of its funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

I guess that means only the Gates’ should be upset that Bono’s group is only using a penny on the dollar to help people. That’s even worse than the Red Cross.  The only thing the foundation seems to be helping is Bono’s public image as a do gooder.  Which he evidently really isn’t.  Instead, he’s just another entertainer self promoting.

(with thanks to Rob Kubsch on FB for alerting me to the story)

The Eddie Long Saga Just Keeps Getting Stranger and Stranger

The Associated Press reports today on the LongFellow Academy, which Eddie Long oversees. For instance

Long, himself a stocky and muscular man, demands the students run 2 miles in less than 15 minutes and bench press and squat their weight. They even have to write a report on the documentary “Super Size Me,” which chronicles a man who eats only fast food during every meal for a month.

I wonder if Long can run 2 miles under 15 minutes and bench and squat his own weight.   And

Anthony Flagg, who joined at age 16, said Long chose him as a “spiritual son” after learning of the young man’s challenges growing up without a father. Flagg moved into another minister’s home after being arrested on an assault charge — when he was 18. Long would visit, crawl into bed with him and the two would engage in sexual acts, the lawsuit said. A second plaintiff, Maurice Robinson, said his mother enrolled him in the LongFellows program when he was 14. Long started lavishing attention on him the next year, and a church employee soon rewarded the teen with a Chevy Malibu, the lawsuit said. The two began engaging in sexual acts after an October 2008 trip to New Zealand.

New Zealand…. The NZ connection… I wonder what that suggests… Anyway

Another lawsuit was filed Friday by Spencer LeGrande, a member of New Birth Charlotte. New Birth Charlotte is a satellite church run by Long in Charlotte, N.C. The lawsuit said Long told LeGrande “I will be your dad” and invited the 17-year-old to journey to Kenya with him in July 2005. LeGrande said that Long gave him a sleeping pill on that trip and that the two engaged in sexual acts. The lawsuit claims Long convinced LeGrande that “engaging in a sexual relationship was a healthy component of his spiritual life,” the complaint said. The Associated Press does not normally identify people who claim they are victims of sexual impropriety. But Bernstein, the attorney, has said her clients consented to being named publicly.

Kenya… The Kenyan Connection… just like Obama…. I wonder what that suggests… Anyway…

Whether or not it’s all true- who knows yet (though according to earlier reports there’s photographic evidence). Nonetheless, the suspicious deeds of one have besmirched the name of Christianity. Unfortunately.

American Injustice Strikes Again

Lindsey Lohan, ordered to jail, has been released, of course.  After serving mere hours of a month sentence.

Lohan had been denied bail but the judge’s ruling was later overturned. Actress Lindsay Lohan has been freed, hours after a judge sent her to jail for failing a drugs test. The Mean Girls star was released late on Friday after posting $300,000 bail, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said. Superior Court judge Elden Fox had denied her bail but his ruling was later overturned on appeal. It was Lohan’s third time in jail for a drink and drug driving case that dates back to 2007.

Nifty… She violated probation. It’s a no brainer. She should be in jail.  Worst of all is the constant defending of her ‘star treatment’ by people in the media who insist on asserting that everyone is treated the same way.  I beg to differ.  I know a number of people who have violated probation just once and been tossed into jail with bail revoked.  No one who has an eye to see can suggest with a straight face that entertainers aren’t treated differently in the United States.