Daily Archives: 1 Nov 2010

The November Biblical Studies Carnival (To Be Posted 1 December) Call For Submissions

 

Carnival in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Some have never hosted a Carnival...

 

It’s already something like November 29th in New Zealand (or something like that- I can never tell..).   Anyway, the call for submissions for the next Carnival has been issued.  You might think it’s too early but it isn’t.  This will give you a chance to keep your eyes open all month and send along the best of the best (or at least the best of the worst).

Go give the call a read- and thanks to the folk at Religion Bulletin for hosting it.  As Deane remarks, if you’d like to host a future carnival, let me know.

When You Vote, Remember

Radical Zionism Is No More a Friend of Christianity Than Radical Islam

Matthew Kalman writes

In Jerusalem, it remained unclear what caused a blaze early Friday morning that swept through the Alliance Church on Prophets Street, next door to the Jewish ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. The use of the church by evangelical and Jewish messianic groups aroused suspicions that the fire could have been started deliberately, but Jerusalem police said their initial investigation did not appear to suggest arson. Decades of discrimination, poverty and occasional violence have taken their toll on the Christians of the Middle East. Tens of thousands have left the region in recent years. Reversing the decline of the rapidly shrinking Christian communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and the Holy Land were high on the agenda of last week’s Vatican Synod. While the problem of violence in Iraq and elsewhere seems intractable for many Christians, in the Holy Land, church officials have hit on a novel solution: real estate. Churches in Jerusalem and the West Bank, alarmed by the rapid rate of Christian emigration and the creeping loss of some church-owned land to Palestinian gangsters, have initiated a major building program to provide affordable housing to Christian families.

Christians are being persecuted in Israel and Iraq. Radical Zionism (and its Christian Zionist supporters) and Radical Islam both have their hands dirty from the oppression of Christians. Radical Zionism as much as Radical Islam would like nothing better than for Christians to be forced out. And they seem to be well on their way to achieving their goal.

It’s shameful. Christians are being treated with complete contempt and the world is standing by holding its breath so as not to offend Muslims or Jews. Shameful.

Democrats Can’t Govern and Republicans Eat Their Own

Top Republicans in Washington and in the national GOP establishment say the 2010 campaign highlighted an urgent task that they will begin in earnest as soon as the elections are over: Stop Sarah Palin. Interviews with advisers to the main 2012 presidential contenders and with other veteran Republican operatives make clear they see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility Palin gained with conservative activists by plunging so aggressively into this year’s midterm campaigns. There is rising expectation among GOP elites that Palin will probably run for president in 2012 and could win the Republican nomination, a prospect many of them regard as a disaster in waiting.

Nice huh. Democrats can’t get legislation passed when they hold the House, Senate and White House. And Republicans are so in love with power that they will eat their own in an attempt to gain it. Perhaps the United States needs to abandon it’s inept two party system and become Parliamentarian.  The Donkeys only bray and the Elephants are so bloated they crush their offspring.

War to Save a Presidency?

The very fact that people are even talking about war with Iran in order to keep Obama in office is truly reprehensible.

Herr Broder

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II. Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

David Broder would have been a fine employee of the Third Reich.  Be sure to read the entire disturbing essay.  And pray that no one with sense in the administration think Broder clever.

There’s Mourning in Iraq

Because of the senseless slaughter of Christians in the capital.

Iraq’s dwindling Christian community was grieving and afraid on Monday after militants seized a Baghdad church during evening Mass, held the congregation hostage and triggered a raid by Iraqi security forces. The bloodbath left at least 58 people killed and 78 wounded — nearly everyone inside. The attack, claimed by an al-Qaida-linked organization, was the deadliest ever recorded against Iraq’s Christians, whose numbers have plummeted since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as the community has fled to other countries.

Did you notice the final sentence? It was the American invasion of Iraq that signaled the impending destruction of Christianity in that country.

Outside Our Lady of Deliverance church, Raed Hadi leaned against the car carrying his cousin’s coffin, waiting for the police to let him bury him on church grounds. “It was a massacre in there and now they are cleaning it up,” he said Monday morning. “We Christians don’t have enough protection. … What shall I do now? Leave and ask for asylum?” “Now they make a show,” said Jamal Jaju, who watched as Iraqi forces set up a chain link fence around the church and pushed back observers. “What can I say? I lost at least 20 friends in there.”

It’s so horrific. Horrific. And disgusting.  I mourn with our brothers and sisters in that place and with those affected by the wickedness to which our government provided underpinning because of its lust for oil and control.

Scott’s Thoughts

Scott Bailey always has pointed and intellectually and theologically stimulating things to say.  I don’t miss a single post of his (and it’s not that hard since he posts maybe once or twice a day every few days on average).  His rather slow posting pace aside, I like the kid.

And I like the kid because he’s honest.  And he sees with relative clarity.  And he calls a spade, a spade.  And he’s a grad student.  I mention the last bit because too many blogging grad students are afraid to speak their minds in fear of losing a ‘position’ in the future.  So it takes real courage and real moral fortitude to speak truth to power.

Scott’s thoughts on the absurd bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral are very much worth reading.  The entire Schuller system of manipulation and mindlessness is laid bare.  Give it a read.  Scott’s right.  Schuller really is evil.  And so are all the prosperity ‘gospel’ deceivers.

[NB- I didn’t even know Scott had a fan club!  I guess there are things about bloggers that are still coming to light].

Awww… Poor Things… They Feel Neglected…

Generation 0 – or what I prefer to call Generation Coddled Whiners– feels like the President isn’t paying them enough attention. Poor things. I suppose they’d feel better if he held their hand and walked them to the video arcade every day or made their beds each morning and got their breakfast for them… poor things. It’s tough being a college kid these days… and even tougher to come to the truly shocking and horrible realization that the world doesn’t revolve around you.

Two years ago, the University of Miami could not get enough Barack Obama. The campaign rally he held here felt like a rock concert, his face appeared on T-shirts all over campus, and pro-Obama volunteers registered 2,000 new voters. … Meetings of the College Democrats that attracted 200 people in 2008 now pull in a dozen. New voter registration is way down, too, and free posters of President Obama — once “the Michael Jordan” of politics, as one freshman put it — are now refused by students. “It’s not the fad anymore,” said Jessica Kirsner, 21, a junior from Houston and vice president of the College Democrats. “It’s not the fad to be politically knowledgeable and active.” This was not what Generation O expected Mr. Obama won two years ago with 66 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old vote, a historic proportion. Americans under 30 also worked on campaigns at a greater rate than the general population did for the first time since 1952, or possibly even earlier, according to the National Election Studies. Now, however, former Obama volunteers nationwide say that they and their former colleagues are less involved and more ambivalent.

Aside from the fact that College kids are as fickle as college kids, the interesting thing here is that this disposition of self interest is the hallmark of the generation. ‘What’s in it for me’ is all the majority of 20-somethings care about. Service, sacrifice, involvement without expectation of reward- these concepts are virtually universally unknown.

And the Church has played its part by raising a generation on pizza parties and outings and ‘church activities’ absolutely devoid of any deeper meaning and without any focus on reaching beyond self to others. The church, you see, has contributed to the disposition of ‘Me-ness’. ‘Me Church’ has now spread to ‘Me-Politics’ and ‘Me-Society’. Or more likely, the ‘Me-ness’ of culture has crept into the Church – where it never belonged and should never feel at home.

So shame on all those Pastors and Youth leaders and congregations which facilitated selfishness by pretending that ‘Youth’ were the center of the universe and that all things must cater to them. It’s rank heresy and damnable practice and now the rotten trees planted 10 or 15 years ago in pre-teen pizza parties which replaced Sunday evening worship and Wednesday evening Bible Study and Prayer Meeting are bearing their rotten fruit.

It’s time for the Church to return to its true focus- Christ. And it’s time for service and ministry to replace self indulgence and ‘me-ianity’.

If Zephaniah Were Alive… An Election Eve Reflection

This is probably what he would say on the eve of elections in America-

Zephaniah 1:14-18
14The great day of the Lord is near,
near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter,
the warrior cries aloud there.
15That day will be a day of wrath,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the lofty battlements.

17I will bring such distress upon people
that they shall walk like the blind;
because they have sinned against the Lord,
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their flesh like dung.
18Neither their silver nor their gold
will be able to save them
on the day of the Lord’s wrath;
in the fire of his passion
the whole earth shall be consumed;
for a full, a terrible end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

I’ve Given Blekko a Spin, And I Kinda Like It

Blekko is a new search engine and after having tried it out  a bit I have to admit that I kinda like it.  It’s got a very clean layout, uncluttered, apparently very thorough in its results, and easy as pie to navigate.

Like Google, when you type in a term, it offers suggestions.  But it does something else too- it offers more specified sub-categories by the use of / tags.  So, for example, if you search for ‘theology’, here’s what you’ll get-

And look what you get if you type in ‘zwingli’-

Nice, right?   Blekko’s seemingly got it together.  Give it a try.  You might prefer it to Google.

Yes, Again, #1… of the Top 50

Read ’em and weep, naysayers! Especially the swiftly falling angry atheists!  HA!  Welcome back to second place, Joel.  And welcome to the top three James McGrath-sci-fi-sy.

I have to say I am a bit nervous for the first time- since only 30,000 sites separate Joel from me and so Joel from first place.  30,000 sites have to drop out for Joel to catch up….  pretty scary….    😉

And Jeremy, you keep on doing the Top 50 as long as you want.  As I always say, if people don’t like it, tough.  Their opinions are utterly irrelevant.

Beware of Blondes in Church…

An Alabama Methodist preacher said to his congregation, ‘Someone in this congregation has spread a rumor that I belong to the Ku Klux Klan. This is a horrible lie and one which a Christian community cannot tolerate. I am embarrassed and do not intend to accept this. Now, I want the party who did this to stand and ask forgiveness from God and this Christian Family. No one moved.

The preacher continued, ‘Do you have the nerve to face me and admit this is a falsehood? Remember, you will be forgiven and in your heart you will feel glory. Now stand and confess your transgression.’

Again, all was quiet. Then slowly, a drop-dead gorgeous blonde with a body that would stop traffic rose from the third pew. Her head was bowed and her voice quivered as she spoke, ’Reverend there has been a terrible misunderstanding…I never said you were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. I simply told a couple of my friends that you were a wizard under the sheets.’

The preacher fell to his knees, his wife fainted, and the Congregation roared.

Alcohol is the Most Harmful Drug of All

Alcoholic beverages

Take heed, boozers.

Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study. British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole. Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison. Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

Alcohol is worse for the world than crack. So much for ‘innocent fun’ that ‘doesn’t hurt anybody else’ so that ‘it’s nobody’s business what I do…’ Alas- it’s everyone’s business.

52 Murdered in Baghdad

Iraqi security forces stormed a Baghdad church where militants had taken an entire congregation hostage for four hours, leaving at least 52 people dead, including a priest, Iraqi officials said Monday. It was not immediately clear whether the hostages died at the hands of the attackers or during the rescue late on Sunday night in an affluent neighborhood of the capital. The incident began when militants wearing suicide vests and armed with grenades attacked the Iraqi stock exchange at dusk Sunday before turning their attention to the nearby Our Lady of Deliverance church — one of Baghdad’s main Catholic places of worship — taking about 120 Christians hostage. Officials said at least one priest and 10 policemen were among the dead. Many of the 62 wounded were women.

Hab. 1:1-4 comes to mind…

“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet saw.  How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

Strange Bedfellows: The Marriage of Gays and Sharia Law?

A hoodie with the University of California, Lo...

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES) is a delightful contradiction of incompatible notions. On one hand, the professors take hard-left stances on sexuality and gender issues, claiming to staunchly support the rights of gays and women. Yet they also worship at the altar of radical Middle East studies professors who act as apologists for Sharia law and other policies completely at odds with Western “liberalism.”  The UCLA Queer Studies Conference 2010, which took place on October 8-9 and counted CNES among its sponsors, was a case in point. The panel discussion I attended, along with all of fifteen people, was titled “Trans-lating the Middle East.” Let me “trans-late” and save others the time of attending future UCLA conferences on the subject. Gays in the Middle East are persecuted. It really is that simple. But that didn’t stop participants from engaging in the usual anti-Western, jargon-laden rhetoric.

Weird…  Read the entire notification of strangeness here.  With thanks to Joe Zias for telling me about it.