Author Archives: Jim

Um, That Would Be Jodi Magness…

#EpicNameFail

That Hurts

Digital Books? Meh… They’re On the Downswing

A decade ago I bought my first smartphone, a clunky little BlackBerry 8830 that came in a sleek black leather sheath. I loved that phone. I loved the way it effortlessly slid in and out of its case, loved the soft purr it emitted when an email came in, loved the silent whoosh of its trackball as I played Brick Breaker on the subway and the feel of its baby keys clicking under my fat thumbs. It was the world in my hands, and when I had to turn it off, I felt anxious and alone.

Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.

Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.

Ten years after the iPhone first swept us off our feet, the growing mistrust of computers in both our personal lives and the greater society we live in is inescapable. This publishing season is flush with books raising alarms about digital technology’s pernicious effects on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; and the economic effects of tech monopolies.

Thankfully, the analog world is still here, and not only is it surviving but, in many cases, it is thriving. Sales of old-fashioned print books are up for the third year in a row, according to the Association of American Publishers, while ebook sales have been declining. Independent bookstores have been steadily expanding for several years. Vinyl records have witnessed a decade-long boom in popularity (more than 200,000 newly pressed records are sold each week in the United States), while sales of instant-film cameras, paper notebooks, board games and Broadway tickets are all growing again.

Good news.  Read the rest.

Quote of the Day

Whenever, therefore, those things present themselves to us which would lead us away from resting in God alone, let us make use of this sentiment as an antidote against them, that we have sufficient cause for being contented, since he who has in himself an absolute fullness of all good has given himself to be enjoyed by us. In this way we will experience our condition to be always pleasant and comfortable; for he who has God as his portion is destitute of nothing which is requisite to constitute a happy life. — John Calvin

Fun Facts From Church History: Beza’s Life

Of the six great Continental Reformers,—Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, and Beza,—Beza was the most finished gentleman, according to the highest standard of his time. He was not lacking in energy, nor was he always mild. But he was able to hold court with courtiers, be a wit with wits, and show classical learning equal to that of the best scholars of his age. Yet with him the means were only valued because they reached an end, and the great end he had ever in mind was the conservation of the Reformed Church of Geneva and France.

His public life was an extraordinary one. Like the Apostle Paul he could say that he had been “in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own countrymen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils among false brethren; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:26–28). It was indeed a brilliant service which this versatile man rendered. Under his watchful care the city of Geneva enjoyed peace and prosperity, the Academy flourished and its students went everywhere preaching the Word, while the Reformed Church of France was built up by him. Calvin lived again and in some respects lived a bolder life in his pupil and friend.*

____________________
*Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 8 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 870–871.

Ralph Shortey: The ‘Family Values’ Republican Who Has Been Charged With Child Sex Trafficking

A former Oklahoma state senator has pleaded guilty to a child sex trafficking charge, The Oklahoman reported Saturday.

Former state Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican, had been accused of offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for “‘sexual’ stuff” earlier this year. Federal prosecutors will drop three additional child pornography charges against him in exchange for his guilty plea.

“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” the former state senator wrote in a plea deal paperwork signed this week, according to the Oklahoman.

By pleading guilty, Shortey is hoping to receive a lighter sentence. Child sex trafficking carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will sentence Shortey next year.

Shortey was first elected to the Oklahoma state Senate in 2010. He resigned from his office on March 22, two weeks after being found in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy.

Shortey and the victim had first met on Craigslist a year earlier. According to the Oklahoman, the two carried on conversations via the messaging app Kik before going to the motel.

Reprobate.

Understanding Trump’s ‘Religion Advisory Council’

Who are they? Paul knows-

These people are counterfeit apostles, dishonest workers disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. There is nothing astonishing in this; even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. It is nothing extraordinary, then, when his servants disguise themselves as the servants of uprightness. They will come to the end appropriate to what they have done. (2 Cor. 11:13-15)

This Is How You Start a Book Review When The Book is Terrible…

There has come to my notice the foolish writing of a worthless individual, who nevertheless presents himself as a defender and vindicator of the glory of God, because he contests the principle that God rules the world so that nothing happens but by his secret counsel. This wretched fellow does not see that, by snatching at false pretexts for excusing the justice of God, he thereby subverts his power. This is just as if he were to try to rend God himself in pieces. For the rest, to give colour to his sacrilege, with as much malice as wickedness he remarks in his preface that God is not the cause of evil, nor wills sin. As if, when we attribute supreme dominion to God, we call him the author of sin!

So Calvin in a refutation titled Brief Reply in refutation of the calumnies of a certain worthless person.

That’s how you write a book review.  Oh for the good old days.

Real Christians

Real Christians (i.e., authentic disciples of Christ) have let fake Christians (i.e., people who are nothing more than Christians in name only) off the hook for far too long and remained silent in the face of their reprehensible behavior instead of taking seriously the command of Scripture-

In my letter, I wrote to you that you should have nothing to do with people living immoral lives. I was not including everybody in this present world who is sexually immoral, or everybody who is greedy, or dishonest or worships false gods — that would mean you would have to cut yourselves off completely from the world.  In fact what I meant was that you were not to have anything to do with anyone going by the name of brother who is sexually immoral, or is greedy, or worships false gods, or is a slanderer or a drunkard or dishonest; never even have a meal with anybody of that kind. It is no concern of mine to judge outsiders. It is for you to judge those who are inside, is it not?  But outsiders are for God to judge. You must banish this evil-doer from among you. (1 Cor. 5:9-13)

Go and do that and then maybe the society you live in will take you seriously.

Fake Christians Supporting Moore Think There’s a War on Men… And More Women Are Predators…

That’s how daft these fake Christians are.

Despite allegations of sexual misconduct against Senate candidate Roy Moore, many pastors in Alabama and other states in the Southeast are sticking by the twice-removed Chief Justice.

“This attack on Judge Moore is an attempt by the Democrats to sway voters in Alabama,” said Pastor David Floyd of Marvyn Parkway Baptist Church, Opelika. “I don’t believe those women. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty.”

Floyd is one of around 50 pastors that signed a letter of public support for Moore in August before allegations of sexual misconduct and the dating of teens became public. Moore has denied the allegations, calling them an “attack on my character and reputation” and a “desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate.”

Pastor Franklin Raddish of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, a nationwide church, told AL.com from his South Carolina home that the spate of accusations against men in politics, Hollywood and elsewhere was a “war on men.”

“More women are sexual predators than men,” said Raddish. “Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don’t hear about that because it’s not PC.”

Read the rest.  And then ask yourself how miserable the congregations of these fake Christian preachers must be to put up with their ignorance and grotesque stupidity.

A Cautionary Tale: Don’t Cite a Source If You’ve Never Seen the Source

Or you’ll just look silly.

2017 as ‘Reformation Year’ – An Observation

In 2017 people who knew nothing about the #Reformation except the broadest mythic generalities became ‘experts’ and published studies and news articles. Most of which are travesties.

#StayInYourLane
#bandwagoning
#CashingInOnLuther

Godlessness

Hidden camera tells true story of how veteran died after calling for help, gasping for air

The video shows the decorated World War II veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air. An 11Alive investigation uncovered hidden camera video catching nursing home staff laughing while an elderly patient dies in front of them. The incident happened at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation in 2014, but the video was recently released as part of a lawsuit filed by the family. Attorneys representing the Atlanta nursing home tried to prevent 11Alive from obtaining the video. They asked a DeKalb County judge to keep the video sealed and then attempted to appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court. The judge ruled in favor of 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the state’s highest court.

What heartless godlessness.

Waiting for it all to End

About times and dates, brothers, there is no need to write to you for you are well aware in any case that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night.  It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that sudden destruction falls on them, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there is no escape.  But you, brothers, do not live in the dark, that the Day should take you unawares like a thief.  No, you are all children of light and children of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.  Night is the time for sleepers to sleep and night the time for drunkards to be drunk, but we belong to the day and we should be sober; let us put on faith and love for a breastplate, and the hope of salvation for a helmet.  God destined us not for his retribution, but to win salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that, awake or asleep, we should still live united to him.  So give encouragement to each other, and keep strengthening one another, as you do already  (1 Thess. 5:1-11).

Roy Moore, Jerry Falwell Jr, Eric Metaxas, Franklin Graham, Paula White, and the Rest of that Ilk Aren’t Christians, They’re Republican Religionists

A disturbing pattern has emerged since the Washington Post first reported that four women accused Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of offenses ranging from the creepy to the criminal. People in Gadsden, Alabama, where Moore worked in the District Attorney’s office three decades ago, say it was “common knowledge” that Moore pursued teenagers when he was in his 30s. Locals told the New Yorker that they recall being told than the local mall banned Moore for the same reason.

Accusations of criminal assault are difficult to prove in court and the statute of limitations in these cases has since passed. But Republicans outside of Alabama have started to back away from Moore following the allegations; They have chosen to believe the accusers.

Moore’s base, on the other hand, continues to support him despite the evidence. For many of them, this is matter of faith. Jerome Cox, the pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Prattville, Alabama, told NBC News he would be supporting Moore because “he’s done a lot of good for the state of Alabama… Everything else is for the Lord to sort out.”

This is not Christianity. Rather, it is an extreme Republican religionism that stands by party and regressive policy no matter what. It’s not the gospel of Christ, but a gospel of greed. It is the religion of racism and lies, not the religion of redemption and love.

It is unlikely that any of Moore’s accusers can definitively prove that he sexually assaulted them 30 years ago (a point the defiant former judge knows well). But even before these allegations made national headlines, it was clear that Moore’s policy agenda endangered the children of Alabama and this nation. This man, who wants to be Alabama’s next Senator, wants to repeal Obamacare, making it health care inaccessible for millions, in Alabama and elsewhere. He has said Islam is a “false religion” homosexual conduct “should be illegal.” and curtail equal protection under the law for gay and transgender people. Moore supports a tax plan that would hurt the poor and working poor.

In short, Moore’s political agenda presents a credible threat to millions of vulnerable people in America. Yet Moore claims to be the moral and Christian candidate, using religion as U.S. slave masters did before him to justify actions which fly in the face of Christ’s teachings. Like segregationists, Moore imagines the struggle for equality in America as a story of loss. At a revival meeting earlier this week, Moore complained that he was being persecuted. He also lamented the fact that the courts took prayer out of schools in 1962 and made a cryptic and confusing reference to “new rights” created in 1965, the year the Voting Rights Act was signed. Some members of the congregation responded, “Amen!”

Truth.

Total Depravity: Or, Why, Once Again, Unmarried Teens Ought Not Have Children

Police say a three-month-old baby whose mother dangled him over a balcony at apartment complex in Knoxville died from his injuries. His mother, 19-year-old Tierra Patrice Williamson now faces first degree murder charges in his death.

The call came in around 8:20 p.m. Friday to an apartment complex at 1100 Lula Powell Drive. A 911 caller said the woman was threatening to drop the child, Adrian Prince Howell, Jr. from a third-floor balcony. When police arrived, they found the injured child inside the apartment. He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

Police say the cause of death was blunt force trama to the head.

Williamson is still being treated at the hospital under guard. Once she is released from the hospital, she will be taken to the Roger D. Wilson Detention Center where she will be hold on $100,000 bond.

Stop it, you monsters.

Signs of the Times

Well, since A and B aren’t even options for most Christians these days… I’m gonna go with C too.

With thanks to Adam North for sharing it.

Roy Moore: Con Artist

This is an eye opening essay about a man who can best be described as a lifelong liar.

Quote of the Day

“Sin wouldn’t be so attractive if the wages were paid immediately.”  – Anonymous

The Church has Always Had Fakes in It

And sometimes you can’t tell who they are…  But Jesus knew they were there and warned us about them- 

Mt  13:24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

No one should be surprised to see fake Christians exposed for the weeds they are.  It is inevitable.  But no one should blame the authentic for the frauds either.  They aren’t the product of the Church, they are the product of the Enemy.