Daily Archives: 25 Nov 2010

Things to Be Thankful For: Fourteen- Not Living in Mexico

A photograph of Cerro de la Silla, a mountain ...

A 21-year-old university student lies dead from a gunshot to the head. Nearby, paramedics wrap the head of another woman in a blood-soaked shirt while her husband holds their cowering children. They were shopping in a popular downtown promenade when gunmen chasing a security guard opened fire into the crowd. This wasn’t supposed to happen in Monterrey, Mexico’s modern northern city with gleaming glass towers that rise against the Sierra Madre, where students flock to world-class universities, including the country’s equivalent of MIT. But drug violence has painted Monterrey with the look and feel of the gritty border 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the north as two former allies, the Gulf and Zetas gangs, fight for control of Mexico’s third-largest — and wealthiest — city.

Ancient Jews used to give thanks to God that they weren’t born Gentiles. I thank God that I don’t live in the killing field called Mexico.  That place is simply out of control uninhabitable.  No one anywhere in it is safe from the insanity of gang violence and the good people of the country are paying the highest price.  Such barbarism and inhumanity is unworthy of our neighbors to the south (or any civilized land).  And yet, there total depravity has free reign.

Things to Be Thankful For: Thirteen- My Crazy Blogger Buddies and Their Insanity

Let’s face it, these guys are nuts.  And that’s why I like them.  Think deeply and you’ll understand why the sign goes with the blogger.  I count them (and more) friends (though Goodacre and McGrath secretly loathe me).  (Ok well maybe not so secretly).  (OK pretty secretly but not the well kept kind of secret).

Things to Be Thankful For: Twelve- Honest Theologians

Bullinger and Calvin, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, Melanchthon and Luther. The one thing they all shared in spite of their differences was an honesty that most theologians and Biblical scholars today lack.

Sins against the Holy Spirit are, first, presumption; second, despair; third, opposition to and condemnation of the known truth; fourth, not to wish well, but to grudge one’s brother or neighbor the grace of God; fifth, to be hardened; sixth, to be impenitent. — Martin Luther

Most theologians today don’t believe in the Holy Spirit, much less anything like sin or grace. Hence, their essential dishonesty.

Things to Be Thankful For: Eleven- Resiliant Teens

Tairua, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Image by Sandy Austin via Flickr

Three teens who have been missing in the South Pacific for 50 days — and were already eulogized in a memorial service — have been found alive by a New Zealand fishing boat. The boys — two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old — disappeared while attempting to row between two islands in the New Zealand territory of Tokelau in early October and were given up for dead after an extensive search involving New Zealand’s air force. Their craft had drifted 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) to a desolate part of the Pacific northeast of Fiji, when the crew of a tuna boat saw them frantically waving for help on Wednesday afternoon. “All they could say was `thank you very much for stopping,'” Tai Fredricsen, first mate of the San Nikuna, said.

Thank God. Who says there are no miracles? Fools, that’s who.

Things to Be Thankful For: Ten- That A Church of England Priest Didn’t Perform Your Wedding Ceremony

Two million husbands and wives are not lawfully married because of a Church of England blunder, it was revealed yesterday. Their church weddings are legally invalid because the vicars who married them used the wrong form of words, CofE lawyers admitted. The error affects more than a million weddings celebrated over the past 30 years in churches across England.

You’re probably wondering the same thing I wondered- is it April Fool’s Day in Britain? Apparently not! Yikes!!!! Via.

Things to Be Thankful For: Nine- That You Didn’t Seal Yourself in Your Own Basement

Like a German retiree did…

A German pensioner who wanted to seal off the entrance to his cellar ended up bricking himself into it, a police spokesman told Reuters on Thursday. The senior citizen from Jena told police he only became aware of the mistake once his handiwork was complete, which police described as “pretty stupid” in a statement. After camping out in the cellar for several days he resolved to free himself by knocking down a wall, but chose to demolish his neighbor’s wall rather than the one he had just put up. The man had been at loggerheads with his neighbors for some time and they informed the police when they heard drilling noises. The police were waiting for the pensioner when he made his great escape and have now launched an enquiry.

Yeah, it takes stupidity to be that stupid. Thankfully, I know only a handful of people who fit the bill.

Things to Be Thankful For: Eight- People With a Sense of Humor

Things to Be Thankful For: Seven- Good Archaeology

The existence of King Solomon has been a topic of debate and intrigue for countless treasure-seekers and researchers, and an anthropologist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has uncovered evidence suggesting that the ancient king’s splendid, copper- and gold-adorned palaces — as described in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) — may very well have existed. Thomas Levy, a UCSD professor of anthropology and Judaic studies, has pioneered three highly sophisticated digging excavations in an area called Khirbat en-Nahas, located in southern Jordan, attracting the attention of NOVA/National Geographic Television, which sent a crew to Jordan with him last fall. The resulting documentary about Levy’s findings, “NOVA: Quest for Solomon’s Mines,” airs this Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. on PBS.

Though the program has aired (and is quite good) this is a fine writeup of Levy. Give it a read. And give thanks for good archaeology and good archaeologists like Levy and Cline and Finkelstein and Cargill and others.  They do a great service counterbalancing the frauds and dilettantes and loons.

Things to Be Thankful For: Six- Wolfgang Mozart

Things to Be Thankful For: Five- My Family and Friends

I have a great wife and a wonderful daughter and though I seldom mention them here they are the core of my happiness (along, need it be said?, with God who holds pride of place).  And I have a wonderful extended family in my Church (or more properly, Christ’s church).  And I have absolutely brilliant friends (and though I hesitate to list them, they know who they are).

So all in all I have a super-abundance of blessings, for which I am always thankful.

And I’m thankful too, for you, readers who come here for whatever reason.  Now north of 30,000 a month.  It’s really quite gratifying.

Things to Be Thankful For: Four- Huldrych Zwingli

Because he said things like this:

God has willed that man be an amphibian among creatures: living sometimes on earth, sometimes in heaven, and while on earth sometimes winning, sometimes yielding.  He wins if he remains loyal to Christ, his head.

It’s not that I’m obsessed with Zwingli, it’s just that I find him so profoundly brilliant and utterly accessible.  He wasn’t always right, but when he was, he was really, really right.  Thanks be to God.

Things To be Thankful For: Three- That You Aren’t a Member of the Singapore Men’s Water Polo Team

Because if you were, you’d have to wear this (like Roland does, because, unbeknownst to most, he’s a water polo player for team Singapore!) :

Roland Boer in his trunks

And your government would be mightily miffed at you!

Singapore rebuked its national water polo team for wearing swim trunks that feature an “inappropriate” likeness of the city-state’s flag.  The trunks, which were designed by members of the men’s team currently competing in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, show the flag’s white crescent moon jutting up from the groin area with five stars to the side on a red background.  “Unfortunately the team did not seek our advice on the use of the crescent moon and stars when they designed their swim trunks,” the Information Ministry said in a statement Thursday. “We would have told them that their design is inappropriate as we want elements of the flag to be treated with dignity.”

Indeed!  So, dear friends, be thankful that you don’t have to wear those and be even more thankful that Joel Watts, Mark Stevens, and Chris Tilling don’t wear them either!

Things to Be Thankful For: Two- Remembering the Day When Stores Closed Thanksgiving

Big Kmart discount store in Ontario, Oregon (USA).

America's temple

If you’re old enough you remember when Thanksgiving (of all America’s holidays) was about God, family, food, friends, and football.  You couldn’t find a grocery store, department store, or even a gas station open.  You got where you were going and you stayed there all day, enjoying family and food and ball games, and you gave thanks for it all.

Not so now.  Now America has managed to commercialize even this day.  Go shopping – spend money – forget thanks-giving and replace it with anything but.  Because a lot of stores are open… because the altar that matters now isn’t the family altar around which people gather to express thanks to God, it’s the altar to the almighty dollar.

U.S. retailers trying to squeeze every extra cent out of shoppers are opening for Thanksgiving on Thursday, trying to get a jump on the holiday shopping season. Among the retailers that will open on Thursday are Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s U.S. discount stores, 850 of Gap Inc’s Old Navy stores, as well as some of its Gap and Banana Republic stores; and Sears Holdings Corp’s namesake department stores, and Kmart discount stores.

All hail the dollar…  So if you can remember the days when something mattered more than money, be thankful.   Your children won’t.

Things To Be Thankful For: One- You Aren’t the President of Ohio State

Picture of Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State...

Gee, what a doof

Boise State’s president said his counterpart at Ohio State’s claim that Big Ten and Southeastern Conference teams play a “murderer’s row” schedule “is the greatest exaggeration I think we’ve heard this year in college football.” In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Bob Kustra angrily responded to Ohio State President Gordon Gee’s statement that TCU and Boise State don’t deserve to be in the Bowl Championship Series title game even if they run the table. Gee said of the power conferences’ schedules: “We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor.”

Gee, what a doofus. Boise State’s team is probably the best in the country and Ohio State is more afraid than they are letting on- hence their President’s moronically condescending idiotic remark.

Give thanks, then, that you aren’t Mr. Gee.

Happy Thanksgiving to One and All

Psalm 100 – A Psalm for giving thanks.

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.