A Step in the Right Direction!

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would forbid parents from having sex inside their homes while getting divorced. The bill is intended to reduce domestic violence and protect children until their parents’ divorce is finalized, supporters tell My Fox Boston. But critics aren’t comfortable with the idea of the government regulating parents’ sex lives. The state is also considering a separate bill that would end lifetime alimony, imposing the kind of payment caps already in effect in most states.

Now if they’d just outlaw extra-marital sex, premarital sex, and unnatural sex.  And then we’ll be on our way!  Because the government of Mass has no real issues to address and the State has ample cause to intrude into the lives of married people (who are, by the way, not divorced yet).  Oh Massachusetts… you’re funny. No wonder you were the first state to legitimize civil unions.

From the ‘There’s No Such Thing as an Ethical Politician’ Department…

Ethical politician?  Now there’s an oxymoron!  When it comes to politicians the only ethic they have is ‘stick out your hand and close your eyes (sometimes) and take whatever money Satan gives you.  And then do Satan’s bidding.’

Federal law prohibits tax-exempt organizations from donating money to a political campaign or endorsing a candidate verbally or in writing.  So how is it that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign accepted contributions totaling $11,000 from the medical trust fund of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (LHBPA), whose former top two officers are currently under a 29-count federal indictment?  The association, created by the Louisiana Legislature in 1993, is considered as a non-profit, public body that receives funding from proceeds derived from slot machines at racing facilities, pari-mutuel horse racing, off-track wagering, and video draw poker.  The funds are used to negotiate contracts for horsemen relative to purses, hospitalization, medical benefits, and other matters of concern to horse trainers, jockeys, and owners.

Via Bobby Wilson on FB.

If Ever there were Reasons Not to Move to Singapore…

This has to top the list.

A corpse has been found in a Singapore apartment building’s water storage tank after residents complained of yellow, foamy water.  Singapore police say the body of a 30-year-old Indonesian woman was found Monday at the 15-story building and the case is being investigated as a murder. They say a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested in connection with the case.

That’s how Emergents (and Pennsylvania Mennonites) make beer, by the way.  They toss a corpse (usually of an orthodox believer) into a water tank and let it blossom.

Insights From the Heidelberg Catechism

What is a real Christian, really?  Once more, the Catechism helps us understand in the murky darkness of modern culture with it’s range of absurd and untrue answers to that question.

Question 32. But why art thou called a Christian? (a)

Answer: Because I am a member of Christ by faith, (b) and thus am partaker of his anointing; (c) that so I may confess his name, (d) and present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to him: (e) and also that with a free and good conscience I may fight against sin and Satan in this life (f) and afterwards I reign with him eternally, over all creatures. (g)

(a) Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (b) 1 Cor.6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. (c) 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (d) Matt.10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Rom.10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (e) Rom.12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 1 Pet.2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Pet.2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Rev.5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. Rev.5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Rev.1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (f) 1 Pet.2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Rom.6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Rom.6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Gal.5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Gal.5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Eph.6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 1 Tim.1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 1 Tim.1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: (g) 2 Tim.2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: Matt.24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

What is a Christian?  The Emergents and the Pentebabbleists and the heretics of other shapes and sizes and colors have missed the boat.  A Christian is a person joined to Christ in faith, who shares his relationship with the Father, who confesses his name and lives for him, fighting evil every step of the way in this life’s pilgrimage and looking forward to eternity in God’s presence.

That’s what a Christian is.  Not a self serving soul in it for what they can get out of it.

President Obama: An Honest Broker of Mideast Peace?

No.  His decision to attend and address AIPAC shows that he isn’t.  Or, as MJ Rosenberg puts it so succinctly

Special Envoy George Mitchell resigned [his post as Mideast envoy] clearly angry at the lack of support his peace efforts received from the White House – and his resignation letter was about as curt and cold as any in recent memory. The announcement of his resignation followed reports that the president’s Thursday speech on the Middle East will, amazingly, say virtually nothing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A day after Mitchell’s resignation came news that the president had decided that he will speak at this month’s AIPAC conference, the traditional setting for pandering to the Israeli government and, more significantly, to Israel-centred political donors.

The most significant sign that the president has abandoned any pretence of being an “honest broker” in favour of gung-ho support for the status quo came in February, when Obama instructed UN ambassador Susan Rice to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion.

The resolution incorporated Obama’s own policy on settlements, so the decision to veto it – the US cast the only no vote – sent a clear signal that, at least until after November 2012, the Obama administration intends to avoid deviation from the AIPAC/Netanyahu blueprint.

This seeming decision to go “all AIPAC, all the time” would be jarring even if 2011 were not the year of the Arab Spring. Just weeks ago, the administration was celebrating Arab democracy and even the fall of our long time ally, Hosni Mubarak. Now it is blatantly adopting a policy that deeply grieves the very Arab democrats it supposedly champions.

Sadly there’s no ‘change’ here in Obama’s policy either.  He’s, here again, George Bush III.

If You’re About to Eat Lunch, Don’t Read this Article about David Elkington and his Lead Codices Nonsense

It will just make you sick to your stomach (and maybe even stir you to action- though of course I’m not going to hold my breath about that).  It concludes

But with treasures this valuable – just four of the books were valued at $50million – the negotiations have been volatile with the Elkingtons subjected to death threats. The books were found in caves in northern Jordan before being smuggled into Israel. When the Elkingtons visited the site they were warned off. “We were making our way through the valley when we heard the sound of fire,” said David. The scrub next to their 4X4 had been set alight.  He added: “It was extremely fierce. Someone was angry that we’d got too close to the site.” David is hopeful that the books will soon be in the care of the Jordanian government, allowing further study. The couple will publish their account of the battle to unlock the codices’ secrets in the book The Divine Revelation.

The whole fiasco is nothing more than a publicity stunt.  And SHAME ON This is Gloucestershire for publishing the story without any scholars consulted.  Here’s the one sided idiotic yellow journalism that needs to be confronted, outed, and overcome.

Bibi and Barack: This is No Time for a Beer Summit

Tom Friedman wisely writes

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel is always wondering why his nation is losing support and what the world expects of a tiny country surrounded by implacable foes. I can’t speak for the world, but I can speak for myself. I have no idea whether Israel has a Palestinian or Syrian partner for a secure peace that Israel can live with. But I know this: With a more democratic and populist Arab world in Israel’s future, and with Israel facing the prospect of having a minority of Jews permanently ruling over a majority of Arabs — between Israel and the West Bank, which could lead to Israel being equated with apartheid South Africa all over the world — Israel needs to use every ounce of its creativity to explore ways to securely cede the West Bank to a Palestinian state.

And now is the time for Obama to press that point rather than showing Bibi around the Whitehouse and taking him down to the garden for a beer.

I repeat: It may not be possible. But Netanyahu has not spent his time in office using Israel’s creativity to find ways to do such a deal. He has spent his time trying to avoid such a deal — and everyone knows it. No one is fooled.

Can anyone honestly disagree?  Further

The only way for Netanyahu to be taken seriously again is if he risks some political capital and actually surprises people. Bibi keeps hinting that he is ready for painful territorial compromises involving settlements. Fine, put a map on the table. Let’s see what you’re talking about. Or how about removing the illegal West Bank settlements built by renegade settler groups against the will of Israel’s government. Either move would force Israel’s adversaries to take Bibi seriously and would pressure Palestinians to be equally serious.  Absent that, it’s just silly for us to have Netanyahu addressing the U.S. Congress when he needs to be addressing Palestinians down the street. And it is equally silly for the Palestinians to be going to the United Nations for a state when they need to be persuading Israelis why a Hamas-Fatah rapprochement is in their security interest.

Read the whole of Friedman’s op-ed.  It’s sanity.

The Unfortunate Rise of ‘Universalism’

People seem intent these days on rescuing God from any potential charge of judgment and so go to great lengths, even so far as ignoring, his attribute of justice.

Universalism is on the rise because too many (who should know better, but maybe they aren’t as theologically or biblically adept as I could hope or as they imagine themselves to be) have forgotten that, along with talk of God’s love for the world, we also need to speak of God’s justice and consequently God’s judgment.

To be sure, Jesus died for our sins.  But we must be equally certain to stress that we will reap what we sow.  Rejecting salvation means rejecting life and hope and no inclination within God (as revealed in Scripture) is to override our choices.  God will not save those who do not wish to be saved.  Period.  End of discussion.

I suspect that the overemphasis (and that is what it is) on ‘love’ is simply an effort to ignore both the responsibility of evangelism and the fearsomeness of God’s judgment; God’s wrath.  God’s rage against sin and it’s vile consequences.

Bell and Origen and Barth and their kind would rather, nay MUST stress the love of God because the Judgment of God isn’t something they want to consider.  So they wishfully hope that all God’s judgement was poured out on Christ.  And for believers it was.  But for unbelievers the wrath of God abides.  And instead of facing up to that truth they run and hide behind the ‘Wizard of Oz-ian’ curtain of ‘God is love and you don’t have anything to fear’.  However, if people just opened the curtain and looked behind it, they would see small fearful people terrified that they would be discovered for what they are- powerless manipulators.

Universalism is becoming more popular because fewer and fewer people are ready to face God’s judgement and more and more hope it isn’t at all real.

Like the adulterer who thinks the Old Testament’s prohibition of adultery no longer applies to them, the universalist thinks hell no longer applies because they have outgrown it.

Alas, nothing could be further from the truth.

Public Lecture Announcement: Thomas C. Römer at Tel Aviv University

It’s just a few hours from now (as I post) so you’ll have to be in Tel Aviv to attend-

Professor Thomas C. Römer, Faculty of Theology & Sciences of Religions, University of Lausanne, Swiss, and Professor at the College de France, Paris, France will be presenting on the subject-


Today, Wed, 18.5.2011, at 18:15, in Room 449, Gilman Building, Tel Aviv U.

Catholic, Theologian, Homosexual: I’ll Take ‘Things That are Incompatible for $500, Alex’

The Reformed Church of Germany website reports

Der homosexuelle Theologe David Berger aus Deutschland fordert von der katholischen Kirche eine «grössere Ehrlichkeit» im Umgang mit Homosexualität. In einem Videointerview mit dem katholischen Nachrichtenportal «kath.ch» vom 17. Mai prangerte Berger, dem vor kurzem in Deutschland die Lehrerlaubnis für katholischen Religionsunterricht an Schulen entzogen worden ist, eine «grosse Scheinheiligkeit» an.

I’m not so sure this isn’t a case of the ‘pot calling the kettle’ in terms of hypocrisy… Anyway, Berger is angry that he’s no longer allowed to teach in a Catholic setting. But what does he expect? Does he really expect the Cardinal to turn a blind eye to a flagrant disregard for Church doctrine? There are just some things that don’t go together, things that are incompatible on the very face of it- like a homosexual teaching Catholic theology at a Catholic school.

Catholics aren’t Anglicans or Episcopalians. Not yet anyway.  And feigning dismay over his dismissal is akin to acting like Glenn Beck should teach Reformed Theology at Calvin College.

The Thieving Prof and the Israel Antiquities Authority

A history professor from the US is suspected of attempting to smuggle antiques valued at tens of thousands of dollars out of Israel. Earlier this week a joint Israeli Antiquities Authority and customs operation managed to thwart the smuggling attempt.  Among the antiquities found in the professor’s possession were silver coins from the Second Temple period and 1,500-year-old clay candles. If convicted the professor could face a three year prison sentence.

Unfortunately the report, which includes many more details, doesn’t name him.  But it has to be pointed out- were there no market for stolen goods, there would be no stealing of antiquities.  So the buyers are as guilty as the sellers and the looters and the thieves.

UPDATE:  Now he’s been named.

The Israel Antiquities Authority says it suspects that John Lund, a 70-year-old tour guide, sold stolen antiquities to tour groups he led in Israel.  Lund was detained on Monday night at Israel’s international airport as he was trying to leave the country.  The antiquities authority says he had stolen ancient coins in his possession and checks totalling more than $20,000 believed to be from the illegal sales of ancient coins, clay oil lamps, and glass and pottery vessels.

Shame on him, and his buyers.

UPDATE II:  Joseph Lauer relates the same facts and also has photos of the stuff Lund was caught with-

UPDATE III: CNN has a bit more, including remarks by the head of the IAA (he must be a Z.R. reader – but who isn’t?).

Amir Ganor, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, also criticized the buyers, saying Wednesday they “are actually encouraging antiquities robbery and the plundering of the country’s history.”

CNN continues by reporting that the guy hasn’t been named.  Oh yes he has.

Sad Despair

Poor girl.

A JILTED bride-to-be tries to hurl herself off the top of a building – still wearing her wedding dress – after her boyfriend broke up with her. Devastated Li-Wan sat sobbing on a window ledge 80ft up just hours after partner Wang Lu called off the big day. But as she jumped off the ledge to certain death, local care worker Guo Zhongfan managed to catch her and hold her dangling by the neck above the sheer drop. … Her rescuer Zhongfan said: “She was very sad about the end of her romance but she knows that now she has a second chance and should make the most of it.”

The Sun has loads of photos. Poor girl, I’m glad they grabbed her. It certainly shows the power of despair.

Spirit Airlines: Making fun of Arnold

You have to love the speed with which commercials mocking the idiotic appear. Have you seen the woman the Governator cheated with?????? WHY???? Maria is beautiful. But of course Luther long ago pointed out, rather brusquely, men always cheat on their beautiful wives with hideous sows.

Women, If You Really Care About Your Husbands, Get Busy!

Household chores often get in the way when dual-earner couples want to unwind after a stress-filled day on the job. Now, a new study shows that while wives’ stress levels drop when their husbands are helping them with chores, for men it’s the opposite: stress levels fall when their wives are busy while they’re relaxing.

That’s right ladies.  We men relax best when we relax alone.  And that’s not me talking, that’s science!

“Men, when they come back home, tend to be alone in a room. Women, when get back home, tend to be with one or more children doing childcare. When they are alone, they tend to be doing housework. When men are alone, they tend to be relaxing,” she says.  Lead author Darby Saxbe, now a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, suggests there’s something rejuvenating about having down time when you know someone else is doing the work.

Long live science!

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

A man wearing women’s clothing and a blonde wig stole baby formula and fake fingernails from a Shelby pharmacy Saturday, according to a police report.The manager of Rite Aid at 330 W. Dixon Blvd. told Officer M.R. Chapman that a black woman and a black man dressed like a woman took $31 in merchandise from the store around 4:45 p.m., the report states.The suspects come into the store nearly every day, according to the police report. The manager said he needed officers to take a report so he could have criminal charges filed after he obtains the suspects’ names and personal information.

Oh Chris… not only dressing as a woman (which you’ve done before) but becoming black too…  You’ll do anything to disguise your evil self won’t you?  But who is your accomplice?  Joel Watts!

Understanding Pseudonymity in New Testament Literature

Someone asked me the other day about the best treatment of the question of pseudonymity in the New Testament and other early Christian literature.  Here’s the answer-

Kurt Aland, “The Problem of Anonymity and Pseudonymity in Christian Literature of the First Two Centuries,” JTS n.s. 12 (1961) 39-49.

If you want to understand the issue you just can’t do better than that.  Nothing before it did as good a job and nothing since has surpassed it.

Dorothy Parvaz is Free

NPR has reported

Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz is free. She has landed in Doha on a flight from Iran.

That’s very happy news.  Good for her and her friends and family.

And naturally Al Jazeera has the good news too.

Al Jazeera has confirmed the release of its journalist, Dorothy Parvaz, who was detained in Syria upon her arrival in Damascus nineteen days ago, while on assignment.  During that time she was not allowed any contact with the outside world.  She landed in Doha, Qatar on May 18 on a flight from Iran.  An Al Jazeera spokesman said: “I’m delighted to let you know that Dorothy Parvaz has been released and is safe and well and back with us in Doha.  She has been in contact with her family, and we are with her now to find out more about her ordeal over the last nineteen days.”  Her fiancé Todd Barker, posted on Facebook: “She is safe in Doha and will be coming to Vancouver BC soon. We can’t wait to see her.”