Daily Archives: 10 May 2011

Concerning the Previous Post…

You’re free to disagree with me. I won’t think anything less of you merely because you’re wrong.

The Presbyterians (PCUSA) Have Gone the Way of the Episcopalians

This grieves me.

At its meeting on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area became the 87th presbytery to approve an amendment that will remove the constitutional requirement that all ministers, elders, and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” (G-6.0106b in the church’s Book of Order).

The new language reads, “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

….The effect of the new language also opens up the possibility that persons in same-gender relationships can be considered for ordination.

The most glaringly ironic part is this little sentence:

Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

Really?  Just how is the acceptance of a lifestyle at odds with the crystal clear teaching of Scripture and the ordination of persons who live and celebrate that lifestyle in any way evidence that the governing bodies are guided by Scripture.  They clearly are not.

This grieves me.

Calvin would be grieved too, who, on Romans 1, remarked

So then we must consider, that Paul here records those abominations which had been common in all ages, and were at that time especially prevalent everywhere; for it is marvelous how common then was that filthiness which even brute beasts abhor; and some of these vices were even popular. And he recites a catalogue of vices, in some of which the whole race of man were involved; for though all were not murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, yet there were none who were not found polluted by some vice or another. He calls those disgraceful passions, which are shameful even in the estimation of men, and redound to the dishonoring of God.  They indeed deserved to be blinded, so as to forget themselves, and not to see any thing befitting them, who, through their own malignity, closed their eyes against the light offered them by God, that they might not behold his glory: in short, they who were not ashamed to extinguish, as much as they could, the glory of God, which alone gives us light, deserved to become blind at noonday.


It Must Be A Terrible thing to be Filled with such Foundationless Hatred

Like it must be for the man who put this sign up in his yard to protest a Mosque-

What misery such a life must be- always living under the shadow of fear and groundless fear at that.

What started as a neighborhood dispute about size and proximity of a new mosque in suburban Buffalo has now turned into a discussion of Islamophobia and free speech.  The Buffalo News reports that Michael Heick, Amherst, New York, put up a sign in his front yard that reads “Bomb Making, Next Driveway.” Heick lives next door to the 11,600-square-foot Jaffarya Islamic Center of Niagara Frontier so the implication is clear.

How sad.  How bigoted and backward and tragic such a soul is.  How dark and dank and musty.

Jesus is not the Author of the Constitution

And any suggestion to the contrary is pure blasphemy (along with historical and theological ignorance of the kind you only expect to see in the sewers of 16th century Münster).

Wicked absurdity and theological bankruptcy

If you believe this, you believe a lie and you need to repent. It is neither Christian nor correct.

On David Barton: Why do millions of people support a discredited writer adamant to prove America is inextricably linked to Christianity?

That’s the excellent question brilliantly asked in the Atlantic today and the answer given is must reading- especially for the mobs which follow Barton so blindly.  Some of the highlights-

Barton’s errors, exaggerations, and elisions have been exhaustively cataloged; no credible historian defends his work or his conclusions. And yet millions continue to find his message compelling. Why do they trust him?


Barton’s focus on returning to the original text, and his pointed disdain for the scholars whom he accuses of distorting its plain meaning, seems to resonate with his largely evangelical audience. There is a reason for this. It echoes the general doctrine of sola scriptura, the bedrock of the Reformation, that the text of the Bible alone contains the knowledge necessary for salvation. It draws on the tradition of prooftexting, using verses lifted from a larger text to buttress specific points. And in particular, it mirrors the notion of the perspicuity of Scripture — that its essential teachings are sufficiently clear that “not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.”


When his critics insist that he subject his work to peer review, or disparage his credentials and his logic, they only reinforce the strength of his appeal to his target audience. He deals not in history, but in hermeneutics.

And brilliantly

His error, of course, is that the hundred thousand documents he treasures were all written by men, bereft of divine inspiration, muddling through as best they knew how. Their authors were creatures of their time and place, seized by the usual sets of contradictory impulses and passions, changing and evolving with the passage of time. To apply the same exegetical principles to the works of man as to those of God is folly.

Read the whole (and I thank a kind reader for sending an email about it letting me know).  It never ceases to amaze me how blind, willfully blind, political sycophants can be and how easily they can be taken in.  Apparently, evangelicals are either too trusting or just too ignorant to know when they’re being duped.  But that willingness to be tricked does explain their love of Rick Warren, Newt Gingrich, and Benny Hinn along with Todd Bentley.

Oh Journalists: No Wonder Simcha is One of You

You’re all alike.  You only care to sensationalize and then backtrack.  As an example take a look at this headline:

Acetaminophen tied to blood cancers

Well that made me sit up and take notice… because it sounds downright dire. Alas, however, no need for alarm…

New research shows chronic users of acetaminophen, a top-selling painkiller known as Tylenol in the U.S. and paracetamol in Europe, are at slightly increased risk for blood cancers. Yet the risk remains low, and it’s still uncertain what role the drug plays.

From the headline you’d think sciency people had found a direct connection but the report itself is full of qualifications. Oh Press, how Simcha-esque you are. No wonder you don’t make any effort to interview real scholars about the Bible and archaeology- you’re just like Simcha- more concerned with attention than the truth.

Today With Zwingli: The Zurich Marriage Ordinance

On 10 May, 1525, Zwingli published the delightfully engaging and culturally amazing Zürcherische Ehegerichtsordnung.  It, though, wasn’t confined to addressing just the issue of marriage.  It also covered baptism and preaching and other significant churchly activities.  The City Council requested guidance on the issues of importance to the newly enacted Reform and Zwingli happily obliged.  What he wrote was adopted and enacted without turmoil.

Essentially it addressed the question- how does a Reformed household look?  It’s a grand read and just loads of fun!

I Am Loathe to be Blunt… But… Some People are Just Jerks

Like this guy.

In January, a Oak Park-River Forest High School student found himself in hot water after publishing a list of 50 of his female peers, ranking them based on physical attributes and reported sexual conquests. The list was circulated on Facebook, and on Monday, the teen was arrested.  The unnamed student reportedly ranked the girls on a 10-point scale based on facial features, a 5-point ranking for various body parts and a ranking of whether their “stock” is up or down, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Girls were also given nicknames like “The Designated Drunk” and “The Amazing Bisexual.” The list was circulated on Facebook, and in the halls on photocopied flyers.  The school suspended the 17-year-old for a week in January, and said at the time they were considering further disciplinary action. On Monday, he was arrested in his Oak Park home and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Kids these days… without regard for anyone and with more than their fair share of ways to torment and humiliate.  When I read stories like these, I curse the WWW.

‘Pastor’ Shoots 13-Year-Old Boy

Evidently Mr ‘Pastor’ has never read the New Testament. Especially the Sermon on the Mount. Because your car isn’t of more value than a life, you depraved servant of satan!

Pastor Shoots 13-Year-Old Boy The teen threw a rock at the Pastor’s car: An Atlanta pastor was arrested Saturday after police said he shot a 13-year-old boy in the hip for shattering the back of his windshield with a rock. Atlanta police charged Mr. Alex Williams with aggravated assault in the incident that happened about 7:30 p.m. near the intersection of Stephens and McDaniel streets, spokeswoman Ms. Kim Jones said. The boy was throwing rocks at passing cars, Ms. Jones said … Read More

via Fr Stephen’s Blog

A Sarcastic Photo is Worth 10,000 Corporate P.R. Words

Take ‘Coal Cares‘, for instance… and its advert for free inhalers for children suffering with asthma…

Because, let’s face it, coal cares, it really does…

Far More Interesting than the Debunked Rubbish Known as the ‘Secret Gospel of Mark’…

Debunked, I might add, so convincingly by Stephen Carlson that any further discussion or debate concerning the nonsense really must be based on financial interests alone.  So, indeed, far more interesting is this scintillating news from, where else, Australia!

An Australian Rules player was sent off because his gelled mohawk haircut was deemed dangerous, a report said Tuesday.  Nathan Van Someren, who plays for Victorian country side Simpson Tigers, was told to leave the field in the third quarter of their match against Otway Districts at the weekend.  Tigers co-coach Leigh Walsh told Fairfax Radio the reason given was “because his hair was too dangerous” and might have poked another player in the eye.

That’s right- so poo poo ‘Secret Mark’, the real nail biter is the Aussie footballer with the pointy hair!

Another Jewish Paper Excises Hillary Clinton From their Photo…

It appears a trend has developed amongst the Ultra-Orthodox with yet another paper eliminating all traces of the two women (Clinton and Tomason) in the now famous situation room photo.

Shmarya Rosenberg, the blogger at Failed Messiah who first wrote about the doctored Situation Room photograph, has uncovered a second altered photograph in a Jewish magazine. De Voce, a weekly Brooklyn Hasidic magazine, has dropped Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason from its pages, much as the Der Tzitung newspaper did. The magazine does leave somewhat blurry lines to suggest the photo was altered, as if a ghost Clinton still lingers, but the females are nevertheless scrubbed from the room:

It’s just more than strange that people supposedly so concerned for morality and propriety are willing to lie and misrepresent in the name of morality!

Here’s the real photo-

Pastor Steven Seagal (via Scotteriology)

I just can’t take it…. aaaggghhhhhhh…….

Pastor Steven Seagal Meet Jim Moats, pastor at Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pennsylvania. For five years Moats has led his congregation to believe that he was a former Navy SEAL who had served his country in Vietnam. Furthermore, after the death of bin Laden the Patriot-News thought they would do a piece on SEAL veterans and their experience in that elite fighting force, so they interviewed Moats who had been letting everyone believe that he was in … Read More

via Scotteriology

Joel’s Call for Carnival Submissions

Joel’s hosting the next Carnival (going online June 1).  Help him out.  Submit something.  It’s his only chance to be #1 and let’s face it, it’s the closest he’s ever going to get.

I’m Sick of Journalists and News Outlets That Don’t Bother to Check the Facts

For example, ABC News devotes a whole page to the lunacy of Camping and the ‘end of the world’ dilettantes and a scant two paragraphs, at the end of the report, to one sensible and scholarly rebuttal.  This will leave the impression that the article’s author is weighted towards the former while simply offering the latter in hope that they will be perceived as fair and balanced.

Why, in the name of the search for the facts, don’t news outlets bother digging in and questioning actual biblical scholars when such stories come to the fore?  Are they lazy?  Do they not know any scholars?  Have they never heard of the Society of Biblical Literature or the American Schools of Oriental Research?  Or are they so driven by tabloidism that they don’t care to look into things?

NPR got the Dilly the Dilettante Award for doing exactly the same thing the other day, and so today it’s only right that ABC News get the same.  So congrats, ABC, you’ve earned, to your eternal shame, the Dilly Award!

Texas Really is a Third World Country

With a third world mentality towards guns, their ease of availability, and their wish that everyone take one with them even to University.

So tell me, is this a photo of Texas, or Somalia?

Can’t tell, can you…

The holders of concealed handgun licences are set to be allowed to carry weapons into public college buildings and classrooms in Texas, after Republicans in the state senate approved the measure as part of a universities spending bill.  Republican senator Jeff Wentworth had been unable to gain the votes he needed to pass the issue as its own bill after it met stiff resistance from higher education officials, particularly from within the University of Texas UT-System.  The senate’s 12 Democrats had mostly worked together to block the measure but were powerless to stop it on Monday when a majority in the 31-member chamber got it added to the spending bill as an amendment.  Supporters hope the vote will help push the measure past a roadblock in the house, where a similar bill has been stuck without a vote in that chamber with just a few weeks left in the legislative term.  “Campus carry has more momentum than a runaway freight train,” said Scott Lewis of Students for Concealed Carry, a nationwide group backing the measure.

It’s sad, isn’t it, that the feckless Mr Lewis apparently doesn’t know that a runaway freight train is a bad thing.  And ironic.  And it’s sad too that Texans seem so afraid of everything.  To live in such fear that one must always have a gun – even in class – just in case…  what a damnable way to live and damned too.

Anyway, if you decide you want to visit Texas, be sure to take your passport and your body armor.  Everyone there packs heat, just like in Somalia.

[NB- At least educated people in Texas oppose the nonsense- but there, as everywhere, they’re outnumbered].

There’s No Point in Praying for bin Laden’s Soul…

His fate was sealed at his death.  There are no ‘second chances’ after death, no purgatory, no possibility of redemption post departure from this life (in spite of what our Catholic friends may hope).

Catholics are praying for the soul of Osama. Protect the Pope had this to say on the matter:  Some people are expressing outrage that Catholics are praying for the soul of Osama Bin Laden. Praying for God’s mercy on a hardened sinner at the moment of their death doesn’t mean going soft on their crimes, or discounting the terrible suffering of their victims and families. But it does mean taking seriously Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness of our enemies. Again, forgiveness doesn’t mean dispensing them from justice, but it does mean letting go of hate and a thirst for vengeance from our hearts.  Over at the Catholic Herald an article appeared yesterday by Francis Phillips, which concluded thusly:  As Christians, we should pray for Bin Laden’s soul; for his (sixth?) wife, wounded in the attack; and also for his 12-year-old daughter, who watched what happened and who helped identify her father’s body.

To be sure, it is right and good and proper to pray for the living.  But prayers for the dead are prayers of superstition, without scriptural foundation, and utterly bereft of theological justification.  As Abraham told Lazarus-

… between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (Luke 16).

There’s just no going from the one (condemnation) to the other (redemption) once one has shuffled off this mortal coil.  You can pray for bin Laden till the cows come home and you can petition every saint in the heavenly places.  You can even ask Mary, Jesus, and the Heavenly Father.  There’s still no going from torment to paradise.

Passage of the Day

1 John 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

The Latest on the Memphis Flooding

The Weather Channel has maps, details, and all the info right here.  Fortunately, the river didn’t crest higher than its record.  Unfortunately, the water will take a while to recede and there are still lots and lots of people who need help.

Most importantly, the government there and emergency management are relying completely on faith groups (churches) to shelter the homeless and to feed and help.

They’re Right, They are Sorry

The Yiddish weekly Di Tzeitung edited U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out of the image of the Obama administration watching the raid on Osama bin Laden’s house.

So, the paper

… apologized on Monday for digitally deleting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a photo of President Barack Obama and his staff monitoring the raid by Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden. The Brooklyn weekly Di Tzeitung, which says it doesn’t publish images of women, printed the doctored photo Friday. It issued a statement saying its photo editor hadn’t read the fine print accompanying the White House photo that forbade any changes. The newspaper said it has sent its regrets and apologies to the White House and the Department of State.

What about to all the readers whom it deceived?

Di Tzeitung said it has a long standing editorial policy of not publishing women’s images. It explained that its readers believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite.

Absurd. Printing a photo showing women in high positions of power shows greater respect for women than pretending that misogyny is really a concern for modesty. But this is what happens when fundamentalism takes hold of something: the truth is twisted in the name of some putative religious concern.