This is one for the record books–
The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but in Birmingham it was copper thieves who torched a Christmas tree in downtown’s Linn Park. Birmingham police are investigating the early morning incident where copper thieves took decorations off the holiday display and burned down the tree. Officials say the incident occurred around 4 a.m. Thieves took off the lights and used gasoline to separate the plastic from the copper, resulting in the apparent accidental tree torching.
I’d be willing to bet the farm that they stole the copper to sell in order to buy drugs. Reprobates.
It just keeps getting more fun!
Chrislam- the blending of Christianity and Islam- is real- in Nigeria.
It seems that some Christians in Nigeria aren’t all that familiar with the call of Jesus, the meaning of the Gospel, or the words of Scripture. Via M.A. on FB.
Because, and only because, there aren’t any Episcopalians or Anglicans in Sweden.
Mi hanno appena segnalato questa notizia – Church officials in Sweden are pondering what to do about a Stockholm-area pastor who allegedly put photos of himself wearing a porn-themed T-shirt on Facebook. La fonte è la UPI.
From the report
The minister, whose name was not reported, was supervising a group of Swedish teenagers on a trip to France when he wore the T-shirt with the word “Fabodjantan” — the name of a 1970s porn film that translates roughly as “cowshed wench” — above a subheading that said “Akta svensk hardporr” or “Real Swedish hardcore porn,” The Local reported Tuesday.
Not very bright. One has to wonder about the guy’s sanity. Or maybe he was trying to be cool. And then this gem-
Word of the pastor’s attire reached the Stockholm Diocese of the Church of Sweden in late November. The person who complained found the T-shirt “extremely inappropriate clothing for someone representing the Church of Sweden.”
The Washington Post reports
Behind the scenes, federal agents in charge of stopping gun trafficking to Mexico have quietly advanced a plan to help stem the smuggling of high-powered AK-47s and AR-15s to the bloody drug war south of the border. The controversial proposal by officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives calls for a measure strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association: requiring gun dealers to report multiple sales of rifles and shotguns to ATF. The gun issue is so incendiary and fear of the NRA so great that the ATF plan languished for months at the Justice Department, according to some senior law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity but would not provide details.
And that, people of the world, is why the US of A has the laws it does. What matters in American politics aren’t human lives, it’s money.
The fate of the Mexican gunrunning rule is only the most recent example of how the gun lobby has consistently outmaneuvered and hemmed in ATF, using political muscle to intimidate lawmakers and erect barriers to tougher gun laws. Over nearly four decades, the NRA has wielded remarkable influence over Congress, persuading lawmakers to curb ATF’s budget and mission and to call agency officials to account at oversight hearings. The source of the NRA’s power is its focus on one issue and its ability to get pro-gun candidates elected.
Led by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who was paid $1.26 million in 2008, the NRA in the past two decades has spent more than $100 million on political activities in the United States, according to documents and interviews, including $22 million on lobbying and nearly $75 million on campaigns.
Money buys policy. Even if policy is detrimental to society. It really is just that simple. If you want to know what drives American policy, just ask where the money is. Money is America’s god.
Unwatchful Pastors are the cause of heresies. “When men slept, the enemy came” (Matt. 13:25). – Balthasar Hubmaier
Loving sinners is not the same thing as condoning sin. Condoning sin, on the other hand, is not loving sinners, it is enabling them to their own destruction. For this precise reason, Yancey’s apparent ‘accommodationism ‘ concerning homosexuality is an act of distortion. So his willingness to agree with the practice of homosexuality is utterly inappropriate.
Evangelical leaders are now increasingly coming out of the closet in support of gay “Christianity.” Philip Yancey, Editor at Large with Christianity Today, is the keynote speaker at the Gay Christian Network Conference 2011 held January 6-9 in Denver. Here’s the announcement on their website.
Christianity Today’s editor at large has certainly swallowed, hook line and sinker, the ‘seeker sensitive’ approach of too much modern Christianity. That’s why it may well be ‘Today’ that he represents but it it not Christianity.
As Jay observes in comments to the post-
Define irony. On the page about the conference, the organizers chose this: — Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” One of the most appalling things I’ve ever experienced as a Pastor is sitting with another group of Pastors (supposed men of God) who said that homosexuality was okay because Jesus never addressed it and prohibited it. Two points: 1. Jesus was the Torah-observant Son of God and walked His Father’s will perfectly. He didn’t need to address the sexuality commands because there was nothing to be corrected about them. Practicing homosexuality is a sin and just as bad as the rest of Leviticus 18. 2. If we follow that same line of thinking, then I guess pedophilia is okay. These people are completely deceived. May the Lord rip them out of the pulpits until they come around.
I can’t disagree (much to the dismay and discomfort of many of my friends). Via Michael Acidri on FB.
Not till Christmas – that’s even fewer. No, there are only 16 days till the next Biblical Studies Carnival. Joseph Kelly (who is presently miffed at the SBL for its ‘student membership’ procedural changes) is hosting so remember, keep an eye peeled and send in some recommendations (to him, not me).
Via Jack Sasson this very sad news-
Prof. Shemaryahu Talmon (1920-21010) passed away this morning. Prof. Talmon (90) was the chief editor of the Hebrew University Bible Project for many years.
May he rest in peace.
Santa relaxing right above Sodom
Via Stephen word of a Russian expedition to Israel to find Sodom and Gomorrah… at the bottom of the Dead Sea… on the Jordanian side of things.
Russia and Jordan have signed an agreement to search the bottom of the Dead Sea for the remains of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Arabic news media reported over the weekend. According to the report, a Russian company has agreed to conduct the search in cooperation with Jordanian authorities, picking up all costs – in exchange for exclusive rights to film a documentary of the search. The report quoted one of the Jordanian heads of the project, Zia Madani, as saying that the search would begin in late December.
I hope they find Santa’s workshop while they’re down there. I’ve always thought that Santa was too smart to work at the North Pole (it’s too cold there) so with his magical abilities to fly around the world and visit every Christian home (you pagans don’t get visited by Santa) surely he can build an underwater world.
Tom Verenna makes mention of the 57 year old man who had his genitals whacked off by the angry father of the 17 year old girl he was molesting (the perv called it ‘dating’ – hardly).
Tom thinks it a bit harsh as far as punishments go. I disagree. As the father of a daughter I can well imagine my own reaction were she to have been molested at 17 years of age by a senior citizen. I’m not a violent person, but believe me, I could be given the right circumstances.
Angry that his teenage daughter was dating an older man, a German dad went to the 57-year-old’s home and castrated him with a bread knife, police said. Helmut Seifert, originally from Russia, recently pled guilty to attacking Phillip Genscher, according to London’s Telegraph. “I saw it as my duty as a father,” the 47-year-old father allegedly told police. With the help of two of his co-workers, he went to Genscher’s home in Bielefeld, in northern Germany. “[Genscher] was forced to remove his trousers and, fully conscious, he was castrated,” police said, the Telegraph reports. “The severed testicles were taken away by the perpetrator.” The father has not revealed the identity of the men who helped him. He is expected to go on trial next year.
I know it’s wrong- but I can’t find it in my heart to feel like the dad did evil. As I’ve constantly repeated, child molesters are the lowest of the low. To be sure, they should be handed over to the authorities and there receive the full punishment allowable by law. But finding fault with this dad, for me, is an impossibility.
One thing’s for certain- the pedophile won’t be troubling the 17 year old again. I hope the dad is sentenced to an all expense paid vacation to Hawaii with funds made available from the 57 year old perverts checking account.
That strange smell coming from your teenager’s room might not be the latest Axe scent. It might be pot smoke. And the glazed look in their eyes might not be from too much sleep, it might be the effects of drug use. Because more kids are using drugs than previously.
America’s teens are using more marijuana and less alcohol, according to an annual government study of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders across the country.
No doubt spurred on in many instances by their pot smoking or drug using parents.
Marijuana use by 10th-graders climbed from 2.8 percent to 3.3 percent, and for eighth-grade students it edged up from 1.0 percent to 1.2 percent. “These high rates of marijuana use during the teen and preteen years, when the brain continues to develop, place our young people at particular risk,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Kids need to realize that they are doing serious damage to their brains when they play with drugs. And adults around the country who are urging the legalization of pot in particular need to come to terms with the harm they are willing to cause in young lives just so they can escape their sad reality for a little while.
On other topics the survey found:
• Use of ecstasy, which had declined in the early 2000s, is on the increase again.
• There was a small increase in teens injecting heroin, but only among 12th-graders.
• Use of cocaine remained low after declining from levels in the 1980s and 1990s.
The parents of an 8-year-old western Pennsylvania boy with leukemia say someone stole his donated bike during their Make-A-Wish trip to Florida. Shelly and Kevin Jackson say they returned to find the bicycle and other items stolen from their garage Sunday. They had been at Disney World and University Studios in Orlando, Fla. with their son, Aaron Jones, and three other children, since Dec. 4.
Thieves… It’s bad enough they think they don’t have to earn what they own, they’re willing to steal even from ill children. Despicable.
Various of Yuval Goren‘s contributions to the volume Inscribed in Clay: Provenance Study of the Amarna Tablets and Other Ancient Near Eastern Texts have been uploaded to Yuval’s Academia.edu page, along with a lot of other stuff. Take a look.
I read a pretty interesting (and mildly thought provoking) essay over at Religion Dispatches this morning that I commend to your attention. It concludes
Christians, who, like Jews, are commanded to have no gods before God, do not have the luxury of disbelieving in so few things. In Turner’s words, “In order to deny every kind of idolatry possible, a Christian must be every kind of atheist possible.” We are required to have faith in no thing at all; only then will our faith have any chance of finding its true home in God.
See how the author gets there.
Fred Stutzman, a software developer, created an application to combat … [online] time wasting. It’s called Anti-Social. The idea came to him after he fell into the Wikipedia trap: “You’re doing some writing, you’re doing some research, and you want to look something up and you find yourself at Wikipedia,” Stutzman says. “And, as it always happens, one page on Wikipedia turns into to two to five to 10, and then you spend an hour learning about things but not necessarily getting work done. So by having a simple barrier to keeping yourself offline, it’s very effective in terms of productivity.” Stutzman’s “productivity” application is for Macs (sorry, PC-loving time-wasters). Enable Anti-Social and it’s impossible to access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other site you specify — without rebooting your computer.
Perfect! First, anyone who uses Wikipedia for research needs to stop using Facebook and YouTube and any and all other sites anyway, get offline, and read an actual book. And second, if Mac users would get offline it would free up a lot of bandwidth! Perhaps the Wikipedia consulting Mr Stutzman could also expand his brilliant program to work on iPads and iPhones too!!! That way, we AT&T customers could use our phones to make those ancient things called ‘phone calls’.
That are just a tad different… Via NPR.
The holiday spirit, powerful though it may be, just doesn’t work for everybody: Some folks simply hate the season. Maybe they’re lonely, maybe they’re broke, maybe they’re depressed, maybe they’re killjoys. Whatever the reason, “Jingle Bells” isn’t everyone’s cup of egg nog. If you count yourself among their ranks, here’s a list for you. We hope it makes you feel better, and if it doesn’t, look at it this way: If the only thing you get for Christmas is the blues, at least you’re getting something.
Check out the list at the link. (Because here we strive to be a blessing to everyone, even the bummed out).