Friday, December 28, 2007

No Time For Sleep

A nasal spray containing a naturally occurring brain hormone called orexin A reversed the effects of sleep deprivation in monkeys, allowing them to perform like well-rested monkeys on cognitive tests. The discovery's first application will probably be in treatment of the severe sleep disorder narcolepsy.
The treatment is "a totally new route for increasing arousal, and the new study shows it to be relatively benign," said
Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a co-author of the paper. "It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess."

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Does this appeal to you?
-Do you think you would miss sleep or welcome more productivity?
-If this gave your competitor an edge at work would you take it to keep up the pace?
-If something like this did hit the market, does the steriod scandal in MLB foreshadow what is to come?

2008 New Year Predictions (revisited)

I have been getting a lot of hits on this post from all over the world and apparently the predictions of B. Nettles will be held to account throughout this coming year. So, take a look, see what you think and post your own.

The link to the original post is here.

First For Fridays

Happy New Year!

So, what are your plans to bring in the new year? Any resolutions?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And You Shall Know Them By Their Childish Brawls

Following the Christmas Celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.
But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.
For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.

You can read more here.

You can watch the video report here.

Some questions:
-What caused this age-old schism that still surfaces today amongst the two groups?
-Does such schisms allow for such behaviors?
-How should reconciliation be gone about (or is the doctrinal differences so wide as to negate any possibility of reconciliation)?
-Does this tarnish your view of Christianity?
-Do these two sects comprise a belief system that is accepted by the majority of Christian denominations and/or the Catholic Church?
-Does scripture speak to such issues as century's old arguments being left unresolved?

It's All About Me

Me Church

Me Worship Music

Sometimes satire is the best method for delivering truth that no one wants to hear.

The Best Of 2007 Compilation

So, every year there are these lists that are made showing the best of _______. I don't know how all of them are found to be the best, but so goes the label.

If you happen to run across any of these lists, feel free to add a link to it in the comment section under this post and we will see how many we can gather together in one place. I will start with two.

1. Best of the blogs by NewScientist.

2. Best of Youtube according to Denny Burk.

3. This and all subsequent lists are left up to you...

Feel free to comment on what your favorites are. I definitely like the Teamwork video under Deny's list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jesus And Santa

Your thoughts?

Mystery Worshippers Grade Local Churches

Heart of America Radio reports on how mystery worshipers, based on the mystery shopper concept, are critiquing churches.
That unfamiliar face sitting next to you in the pew might be more than just a visitor – he or she may be a "mystery worshipper" who will critique your church's worship service and post the findings on a popular Web site. During the past six years, volunteer "mystery worshippers" have slipped unannounced into more than 800 pews in England, North America, and occasionally more exotic locales. Mystery worshippers share their impressions and experiences on

Some reviews focus on relatively trivial details, like the quality of the coffee or the comfort of the pews. Some will take the church to task on bigger issues. "The Dumb Acolyte" reported on an African-American Pentecostal church in Boston called the United House of Prayer for All People. He didn't like the 'cult of personality' surrounding the church's spiritual leader, referred to as "Sweet Sweet Precious Precious Daddy Madison" throughout the service.

You can read more here.

You can visit the actual webpage here.

Some questions:
-What do you think of the mystery worshipper concept?
-Do you think this is beneficial to the local church or at best neutral?
-Should a Church incorporate aspects of "Corporate America" in its bid to stay relevant?
-What do you think would be some adverse affects of implementing this concept?
-Do you think this could undermine the authority given to the elders of the particular local church?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First For Fridays

I hope you all get to spend some great time with family while pondering on the great miracle that occurred for us to have this holiday season. May Christ be honored and our Father in Heaven glorified.

This will probably be my last post until Wednesday.
By the way, this year we chose to let someone else make our Christmas picture as opposed to me doing it. If you like it, take a look at Sarah Ellsworth's site. She is a very talented, modest, budding photographer/designer.

Grandson To Mormon Prophet Speaks Out About Romney

Benson — who was contacted by E&P for this story — said journalists have basically given Romney a free pass on the “fundamental contradiction” between being an observant Mormon and a U.S. president. “Most journalists don’t know about actual Mormon teachings and practices,” noted the cartoonist, adding that they instead see the religion as perhaps “strange” but “rather benign.”
Romney “needs to face an informed member of the media with ‘cojones’ who has a working and perhaps personal experience with Mormonism,” said Benson. “It would be harder for Romney to do his well-practiced duck and dodge.”

You can read more here.

Hat tip: Brian Culver

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on Mormonism?
-Do you think Benson is correct when he says that Romney cannot seperate his religion from his politics?
-Do you think one should keep his/her religion from influencing his/her politics?
-Is Mitt Romney obligated to adhere to the teachings of Mormonism by way of covenant or is he free to rule this country how he sees fit?

Debt Free!

Today is the day that my family owes no one anything. Our house is paid off, we never owed anything for our cars (we paid for them outright). Our schooling was taken care of (my wife is extremely smart and I was lucky enough to fool the school into giving me enough academic scholarships to get by without paying anything, plus an older woman in my old home church believed in why I was going to school and picked up the slack) and everything else we have, we bought out right. So there it is. Debt free. I don't really feel different but I will tell you this much: It is freeing to know that if something happened tomorrow we would not have to worry about what we are going to do about this bill or that bill. That feels nice.

Just to give a little more information, back when my wife was a still at University we got married and lived in housing on campus. We did that for a year and all the while looked for a house via a friend of ours who is in the real estate business by the name of Jon Putt. One of my stipulations was that we had to have the house paid in full in 5 years so it had to be in a certain price range. We found the perfect house, did some work to it and here we are 2 years and 9 months later with a fully paid off home. Now we can really do some things we want to do with the home. I am now 27 and my wife is 25.

Some resources on getting out of debt and understanding money can be found at Crown Financial Ministries as well as Dave Ramsey.

Some questions:
-Why is this type of mentality not the norm in our American society?
-Should 15 year mortages be the status quo or should we be more aggressive in buying things we can afford in a timeframe that reduces risk?
-What single purchase do you think brings about the biggest possible risk for an American consumer?
-What does scripture say about being fiscally responsible?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An Article That Might Suggest Something That Could Have...

Below are snippets taken from an article in New Scientist written by Jason Palmer titled: Deer-like fossil is a missing link in whale evolution.

-A racoon-sized mammal which lived in India about 48 million years ago, may represent one of the missing links in whale evolution, suggests a new fossil study.

-Researchers studying 48-million-year-old fossils of Indohyus, an extinct animal which may have looked like a small deer, from ancient riverbeds in Kashmir suggest that the fossils represent a likely ancestor of the cetaceans.

-Indohyus belongs to a family known as raoellids and would have lived around the same time as early cetaceans, both having descended from a common ancestor, they suggest. Indohyus belongs to a family known as raoellids and would have lived around the same time as early cetaceans, both having descended from a common ancestor, they suggest.

-Now Thewissen’s study of fossils of the artiodactyl Indohyus may have filled this evolutionary hole.

Shall I go on? I think I will stop there.

You can read the entire article here.

A question:
-If an article is written in such a way as to use language as this, what are the author/researchers really saying?

Are Atheists Being Politically Persecuted?

One presidential hopeful is a preacher, another proudly Mormon, and most openly tout their Christianity. In an arena where faith can make or break a politician, the one in 10 Americans who profess no religion feel left in the cold.
"They're very disconcerted," said Darren Sherkat, an atheist sociology professor specializing in religion at Southern Illinois University
"They're horrified by both the Democratic and Republican rhetoric surrounding religion -- that people who are not religious ... are immoral, that they're not qualified to serve in public office," he said.

The article goes on to outline the story of a 25 year old named Ian Thomas who ran for the school board and was sideswiped by an email sent out by a County Council member concerning a bumper sticker on Ian's car that promoted atheism as well as a letter to the editor endorsing atheism. Thomas stated that [he was] very, very insulted.

The small-town incident was part of a wider pattern of "disenfranchisement" of non-believers, according to Margaret Downey, president of the educational organization Atheist Alliance International.
She claims atheists are "the fastest-growing minority in America."
But they are also "the least tolerated group by conventional standards of religious toleration in the US," Sherkat said.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should Christians take part in persecuting atheists?
-What should be the response to persecution (of any kind) by Christians?
-How does this affect your view of atheism? Christianity?
-Why does one assume the County Council member is a Christian?
-Does this adversley affect others besides Christians and Atheists?

Bathroom Stall Wedding

Here comes the bride, all dressed in white ... two-ply, extra soft toilet paper. Lovebirds Jennifer Cannon and Doy Nichols of Lexington, Ky., plan to get hitched Wednesday in a public restroom. She'll be wearing a gown fashioned from glue, tape and Charmin Ultra Soft and Ultra Strong toilet tissue.

You can read more here.

A question:

Tunguska Event: The Threat Of Small Asteroids

BEWARE the blast from above: small asteroids that explode before they hit the ground may be more dangerous than we thought.
Asteroids a few tens of metres in diameter rip through the atmosphere at between 40 and 60 times the speed of sound, and many explode before they hit Earth. Extreme friction and heating can cause these asteroids to flatten into pancakes, which increases drag even more and eventually tears them apart. The resultant "airburst" is thought to be behind the 1908 Tunguska explosion in Siberia, which levelled 2000 square kilometres of forest.

Currently our equipment used in tracking meteors and astroids can only detect those objects that are bigger than 140 meters across. According to new research published in New Scientist concerning the 1908 Tunguska event, an object as small as 30 meters across cleared over 2,000 square kilometers and that same 30 meter wide astroid could easily wipe out a million people and we currently have no way of tracking objects that small.

You can read more on the new research here.

You can read more on the Tunguska event and its many theories here.

Some questions:
-Do you think that events like this should concern us?
-What should we, as people, do to prepare for such events?
-Do you think this is what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah?
-Do you think such an event as this could change the history of the world if say Washington D.C. was hit?
-What can we learn from the Tunguska event?

2008 New Year Predictions

1. What do you think should be the number one concern for the peoples of the world this upcoming year?

2. Should the people be concerned about world-wide food/water shortages?

3. What do you think will be the best thing to happen this upcoming year in regards to the world as a whole?

4. Who do you think will win the presidency of the United States of America?

5. Will any cures/vaccinations be found for any major diseases?

6. Will any major scientific discoveries be achieved this year?

7. Do you think the God debate will be concluded this year (is there or isn't there a God)?

8. What would be one major factor that could happen in 2008 that will change the ebb of history forever?

9. Do you think that global warming will be proven a farse or true in '08?

10. How do you plan on making a difference for the betterment of the world in 2008?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Hobbit Makes The Big Screen

After months of bitter legal wrangling, Peter Jackson, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc have agreed to make two movies based on the book "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Will you go see it?
-What did you think of the Lord of the Rings trilogy?
-Do you think that this will be as great of a success as the Lord of the Rings?

Electric Shock Treatments Phoned In As Fake Orders

State officials are investigating complaints that at least two teenagers were given electric shock treatments at a residential center for people with special needs because someone telephoned fake orders to the staff.
Initial investigations showed that a former student at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center called in the orders on Aug. 26, Cindy Campbell, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Early Education and Care, said Monday. Center officials reported the incident the following day, she said.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on this "therapy"?
-Do you think that orders such as these should be able to be called in?
-What do you think should be the punishment for such a crime as this?
-Do you think places such as the Judge Rotenberg Education Center are necessary for children with mental issues or is there a better way to treat such ailments?

Mall Santa Allegedly Groped

One would need to look hard to find a more unusual year for Mall Santas. This year Mall Santas have had it hard. One was hit with a pumpkin pie; another lost his job for saying Ho, Ho, Ho instead of Hi, Hi, Hi as previously instructed to please the politically correct visitors. And now we have a report of a Mall Santa being groped by a grown woman.

You can read more of Sandrama Lamy's side here.

You can read more of Santa's side here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts concerning "Mall Santas"?
-Who do you believe Santa or Ms. Lamy?
-Do you think this will hurt Mall Santas in the future?
-Do you think our culture's understanding of Santa Claus in general takes away from Christ?

Infant Salvation: Is It Biblical?

Stephen Newell over at The Silent Holocron has been tackling the issue of infant salvation and where do dead babies go for almost a year. He has finally come to a conclusion on the matter. Below are partial excerpts from his final post in the series.

We have, at long last, reached the end of our year-long journey. When this series originally began in January, I sought to answer the question, “Do babies who die in infancy go to heaven?” Searching Scripture and some of the resources that have been written, I think we have arrived at some conclusions.
First, it is clear from Scripture that all infants are born sinners and thus under the just condemnation of God...

Second, it is clear that there is no such thing as an “age of accountability” before which all infants and children are automatically saved...

Third, it is also clear that infants are not regenerated...

Fourth, it is clear that Christ does not issue a special call to children...

You can read the whole of the final post here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on this issue?
-Should moral necessity/moral inability and natural necessity/natural inability play a part in this discussion?
-Do you think Stephen handled the issue in a biblical manner holding true to scripture?
-Does this change your thoughts on the issue?

Thoughts On Christianity By An Atheist

Some questions:
-Do you agree or disagree?
-Do you think this is legitimate or Christian propaganda?
-Do you think any of what he said should be applied to you if you are a Christian?
-If you are an atheist, do you agree with his statements?

Monday, December 17, 2007

10 Year Old Faces Felony Charge For Being Smart Enough To Bring A Utensil With Which To Cut Her Food

A 10 year old little girl brought her lunch to her elementary school in Ocala, FL and in that lunch was a piece of steak and to cut up the steak a steak knife was packed. She did not use the knife in any way other than what was necessary for cutting up her food but according to Sunrise Elementary School, the knife is considered a weapon and not permissible on school grounds.

"Anytime there's a weapon on campus, yes, we have to report it and we aggressively report it because we don't want to take any chances, regardless," Christian said.
But the sheriff's office said the extreme measures in what some may say was a harmless incident had to do with school policy, not theirs.
"But once we're notified, we have to take some type of action," Pogue explained.
The student now faces a felony charge for the possession of a weapon on school property and the principal suspended her for ten days. The parents of the girl could not be reached for comment.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Should this be a no tolerance offense?
-If you were her parents what would be your thoughts?
-Does this seem over-bearing?
-If you are a teacher, what are your thoughts on this?
-Can you blame the child for using her commonsense and using a knife to cut her steak?

Synthetic Life: Benefit Or Disaster?

Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely handcrafted chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory, containing all the instructions a microbe needs to live and reproduce.
In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to "boot itself up," like software downloaded from the Internet, and cajole the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction.

Some claim that these type advances will bring forth new ways to produce materials we need and want, such as hydrogen for vehicles. Others claim they will bring about the fall of man due to our inability to leave well enough alone and the potential of this falling into the hands of those with ill-intent.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Who will regulate such things as who is allowed to make synthetic life? How many can be made? Who is responsible for damage done by synthetic lifeforms?
-Is it wise to move forward with something like this?
-What would be a drawback to making "designer" lifeforms for things we want and need?
-Is the risk to reward ratio acceptable?
-What are your thoughts concerning the issue of synthetic lifeforms?
-Should this threaten religion in any way?
-Should rights to manufacture synthetic lifeforms be granted?

The Modern Christmas Story On The Mind Of A Young Pastor

Tim over at The Mind of a Young Pastor has posted the Christmas story as it could have been had the pressures of the politically correct been predominant in their day. A very interesting read.

Here is a snippet from the post:

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to bestrolling by the stable. As he explained to Joseph, angels are widelyregarded as religious symbols, and the stable was on public propertywhere such symbols were not allowed to land or even hover.
"Besides," said a Sadducee who was with him, "there are no such thingsas angels, and telling a child that they're real will only hinder the child's emotional development."
"And I have to tell you," said the Pharisee, "this whole thing looks very much like a Nativity scene. That's a no-no, too.
"Joseph had a bright idea. "What if I put a couple of reindeer over there near the ox and ass?" he said, eager to avoid sectarian strife.

You can read more here.

If you haven't already noticed, The Mind of a Young Pastor is on my side bar. Tim usually has some really good thought provoking posts. Feel free to peruse his posts regularly.

Misawa Graduates!

Since Misawa has graduated maybe his posting will pick up :) If you have yet to visit his blog, it is usually filled with great posts and he always finds a clever way of putting things. Go through and look at some of his past posts. Just to give an example, here is part of one for your perusing.

You've been there before. We all have. You're in a theater enjoying a movie or a play. You've already seen and heeded the polite request to silence your cell phones. Sure, inevitably one goes off, things are mumbled about the person's mother or something about bamboo reeds and fingernails, but if the movie is truly good enough, you soon have your attention redirected and no longer care about the Oblivion that can't find the off mode of their electronic ball and chain.
Then, below and to the side, a large firefly appears. Then another. Then another. Soon, what was once darkness only lit by the flicker on the screen is awash in a pale blue glow of cell displays. Thinking it is simply the death screen as they are being switched off, you ignore it... til you realize they're not going away. They're texting. Everybody.
You've just encountered an Obliviot. This is a special kind of oblivion - a person who walks through their daily life with no idea whatsoever...

You can finish the post here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

First For Fridays

You post the topic and we respond. Go ahead, post whatever you want.

How Should Christians Dialogue Who Disagree?

Nick at Nick's Musings and myself had a dialogue around a year ago that started when he listed some preaching tips. I believe there were a total of 10 comments between the two of us that were rather lengthy. Nick has gone back and made this conversation two posts. Feel free to visit his blog, take a look and join in the conversation.

Here is the original conversation.

Here are the two parts to the conversation revisited (Nick's words are in blue and mine are in red): Part 1 Part2

Some questions:
-How should disagreements be handled?
-Do you think that this dialogue was handled well?
-Should things such as this even be discussed? Is unity more important?
-What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who Killed Jesus?

In a New York City Subway a fight broke out in which several Jews were assaulted for allegedly greeting eachother with "Happy Hanukkah".

Authorities say the victims, two men and two women, were on a southbound Q train at Canal Street in Lower Manhattan when they were approached by the gang of 10 at around 11:15 p.m. Friday.
They were allegedly beaten up by the group in an attack now being investigated as a bias crime, because one is accused of shouting, "Hanukkah is when the Jews killed Jesus."

After the beating, the driver of the train allegedly refused to stop and a Sunni Muslim stepped in to help the Jews and he too was assaulted.

You can read more and watch the video here.

Some questions:
-Why did Jesus die?
-Who killed Jesus?
-What do you think about this Muslim helping a Jew?
-What are your feelings about this incident?
-If these men claim to be Christians, do you think they acted according to scripture in "defending" the honor of Christ?
-Does scripture speak to issues such as this?

Pole Dancing On The Christmas Parade Route

Onlookers at a Marathon, FL Christmas Parade saw more than they bargained for in yesterday's parade. Normally Santa, elves, his reindeer and several other secularlized Christmas time favorites find their way into the parade route. This year though featured a float with what appeared to be a naked woman suggestively dancing on a float. See below:

Spectators at the Boot Key Harbor Lighted Boat Parade shielded their children from seeing women clad in white body stockings gyrating seductively on the parade float's mast, the Florida Keys Keynote said Thursday.
"This woman is all bent over, totally naked and doing a dance you see in Key West," an elementary school teacher watching the parade told the newspaper. "It was one of the most vulgar things I've ever seen."
Judges disagreed, telling complainers, "If you don't like it, just sit down and shut up. The kids shouldn't be here, anyway."

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Is there anything wrong with a woman doing this at a Christmas Parade?
-Are the judges right? Kids shouldn't be there anyway?
-What would you say to a judge who told you to sit down and shut up if you don't like it?
-If you have had your children there, how would you have responded?
-What are the purpose of Christmas Parades?

DivX On The PS3: The Rumors Are True

The below is taken from a DivX newsletter:

You may have heard the news about PlayStation 3 support for DivX video. Well, pop the bubbly because it's true. We have indeed made a deal with Sony to add DivX video playback to their popular PS3 gaming console.
And that's all you get for now. While I wish I could answer the most obvious question and tell you exactly when the DivX-laden updates will be released, I can't. Sorry. I know it's a little out of character for gamers, but try to be patient. I mean, you could always go play a game while you wait. I hear Mrs. Pac Man is fun ... the boards change! Imagine that.

That is great. No more round about ways to get DivX to play on the PS3. Here is what I have been doing in case anyone is interested in playing back DivX or a plethora of other files on your PS3. I have been using Nero Ultimate 7 with its media home server and Nero Scout additions to transcode files on the fly and stream them wirelessly to the Playstation 3 for playback on the television. It works great and with the latest updates the only thing I cannot get to work is the DivX HD files. I hope that the officially supported update will include this ability.

Here are two links with two different options of playing media from your PC to your TV via the PS3 (media that Windows Media Server will not recognize). Enjoy!

Option 1: Tversity (free)
Option 2: Nero Ultimate 7 (free if you already own Nero Ultimate 7 or 8)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Drink Your Way Into Heaven?

Holy Drinking Water, produced by a California-based company called Wayne Enterprises, is blessed in the warehouse by an Anglican or Roman Catholic priest (after a thorough background check). Like a crucifix or a rosary, a bottle of Holy Drinking Water is a daily reminder to be kind to others, says Brian Germann, Wayne's CEO. Another company makes Liquid OM, superpurified bottled water containing vibrations that promote a positive outlook. Invented by Kenny Mazursky, a sound therapist in Chicago, the water purportedly possesses an energy field that Mazursky makes by striking a giant gong and Tibetan bowls in its vicinity. He says the good energy can be felt not just after you drink the water but before, when you're holding the bottle.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think drinking these particular brands of water will aide you in your quest for "godliness"?
-What does this say about the consumer-driven market in America?
-If you saw these bottles on the shelf of your local super-market, what would you do?
-If the water is "blessed", does it make it any better for drinking?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Behold The Lamb Of God

This year our church "performed" (I dislike that word) an album by Andrew Peterson called Behold the Lamb of God. It is a great album and tells the Christmas story with a wider view of history. He starts with the Israelites in Egypt and deals with the passover, then moves foward to the prophets and wisdom literature and then on to the birth of Jesus the Christ. It is a great album that tells a full story. Each song connects to the next to give a much more fuller view of need for, the fullfilment of, and a longing for the return of the Christ.

If you have not already heard the album, you can listen to snippets here, but it really should be added to your collection.

What makes this bunch of songs unique is that I wanted to remind (or teach) the audience that the story of Christmas doesn’t begin with the birth of Jesus. Many people tend to forget or have never even learned that the entire Bible is about Jesus, not just the New Testament. So the musical begins with Moses and the symbolic story of the Passover (Passover Us) and works its way through the kings and the prophets with their many prophecies about the coming Messiah (So Long, Moses) to the awful four hundred years of silence before God told Mary she’d be having a baby (Deliver Us). After the song called Matthew’s Begats, which lists the genealogy of Jesus, the story picks up in more familiar territory with Mary and Joseph and the actual birth (It Came To Pass, Labor of Love). The final song is called Behold, the Lamb of God, which ties together the Passover and the beauty and scope of the story.
-Andrew Peterson

You can read more here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Huckabee's Past: Help Or Hindrance?

Huckabee said ungiving individuals are responsible for higher taxes. "I'm often asked why taxes are so high and government is so big. It's because the faith we have in local churches has become so small. If we'd been doing what we should have -- giving a dime from every dollar to help the widows, the orphans and the poor -- we now wouldn't be giving nearly 50 cents of every dollar to a government that's doing ... what we should have been doing all along." Huckabee also explained why he left pastoring for politics. "I didn't get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives." He compared his entry into politics to "getting inside the dragon's belly," adding, "There's not one thing we can do in those marbled halls and domed capitols that can equal what's done when Jesus touches the lives of a sinner." The most basic unit of government is not the city council, quorum court or state legislature, Huckabee said. "It is Mom and Dad raising kids and teaching them respect for authority, others and God."

The above was taken from an article published back in 1998 in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do the statements above (& in the article) cause you to want to vote for Huckabee? Not vote for Huckabee? Or do they have no bearing on your vote?
-Is it a good thing for a man running for office to believe in something outside of this physical world? If yes, why? If no, why not?
-What do you look for in a candidate for the office of President?
-Does faith matter?
-How do you feel about the media "drudge"ing up old news to shed light on our presidential hopefulls?
-If you could dictate how all campaigns are to be run, what would you change if anything?

Starting Off The Week

How do you start off your week? What do you do to get ready for Monday? Just wondering what other's routines are.

Friday, December 7, 2007

First For Fridays

I saw this over at Time 2 Change Churches. It apparently is part of Youth Specialties material for youth groups (A "Christian" youth shop of ideas kind of). What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Marriage is Green

New Scientist has posted an article by Andy Coghlan concerning the effects of divorce on our environment.

In the US, for example, 627 billion gallons of water, the use of 38 million rooms, and 734 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity would have been saved in 2005 alone if no-one had got divorced.
In the same year, divorced households spent 46% more on electricity and 56% more on water per person than if they had stayed married. And following a split, US households consumed 42 to 61% more resources per person than while married.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think that environmentalists will rule out divorce for the green cause?
-How far do we take this mode of thinking? Communes?
-How should those who hold religous beliefs respond to such statistics?
-Do you think God tells us not to divorce (with a certain exception) not only for our own personal good, but also for the good of others and the world as a whole?
-Should saving the planet be a cause for marriage or living together?

Assumptions About Homelessness

I was driving back home from the office yesterday afternoon and while sitting at a stop light there was a guy standing at one of the off ramps across the intersection. He was holding a card board sign I could not read and had several items stacked up lying on the ground. I am unsure of how long he had been out there but any length of time would have chilled him due to the wind and cold. As I watched, a lady in a white SUV, about 3 cars back in line, rolled down her window and held her arm out the window. I thought she was going to give him something and he started walking over closer to her vehicle. That is when I realized she was scolding him. She laid into him and if the vicious hand movements were any sign of the severe toungue lashing he was recieving, well, I feel sorry for the guy. At that point, my light turned green and distance filled the gap between myself and that situation, but I was still thinking about what I just witnessed.

A white, middle-class lady (assumed middle-class) felt so much anger towards this guy that she pursued an opportunity to chew him out for what? Did she even know his circumstance; did she make a judgement call based on his current situation? How did she have the right to judge this man before even hearing him out? I can't for the life of me even comprehend confronting someone for their lot in life when I have no prior knowledge about the circumstances that led them there. How does this lady have the audacity to act upon her assumptions of this man?

A while back I learned that I am not to allow my assumptions to turn into implied truth. It is unfair and a sin (James). I am not to treat anyone better than anyone else because I feel that I have something to gain from them and not the other. It just floors me to think that we can make assumptions about a person that lead us to chew them out for their place in life. That is ridiculous. Now, if the man had been acting crassly or harassing the people in their vehicles, that would be a different story. He was not. I wish I would have been able to drive up the exit ramp and pull up next to the lady and ask her what she was thinking. Although, I doubt that a satisfactory answer would have been gained.

I also think that those who are homeless have to be careful not to make assumptions about those who are not. Often times bitterness can swell up within while those without many possessions long for the things of those with them. Either side can fall into sin quickly if they let there assumptions take root. James gives us a great warning in the book that bears his name.

Some time ago I lived homeless. Not because I had to, but because I felt led to do so. I was becoming prideful concerning my lot in life and all the things I had acquired. I was praying and looking for ways to humble myself before the Lord. Through a series of events and several discussions with the Lord, I felt that if I wanted to gain an appreciation for the life I have and the things the Lord has blessed me with, I need to live without them. Now, during this time all I had was the clothes on my back, a blanket and 5 dollars that was to be used for one meal. The only rule was that money was not to be accepted and work was to be done in exchange for food alone. I will spare you all the details here, but that was the most growthful time in my spiritual life and really made a way for me to see things differently and appreciate what I had been given as well as give me a desire to see better days for the Church.

You can read my homeless account here.

Some questions:
-What are your thoughts on the above situation?
-Do you think the lady was right in her actions?
-What do you think should have happened?
-How do we deal with homelessness?
-Did anything impact you from this post?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Laz On Lewis, Pullman & Mohler

The below is taken from Laz's blog post concerning the book The Northern Lights (and now movie: The Golden Compass). It is a quote of C. S. Lewis that Laz uses to buttress his arugment that follows in his post titled CS Lewis Posthumously Corrects Philip Pullman.

There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of “Heaven” ridiculous by saying they do not want “to spend eternity playing harps.” The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them…
A child saying a child’s prayer looks simple. And if you are content to stop there, well and good. But if you are not–and the modern world usually is not–if you want to go on and ask what is really happening–then you must be prepared for something difficult. If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.
Very often, however, this silly procedure is adopted by people who are not silly, but who, consciously or unconsciously, want to destroy Christianity. Such people put up a version of Christianity suitable for a child of six and make that the object of their attack. — C.S. Lewis

If you haven't visited Lastrow, Laz's blog, you definitely want to check it out. He updates frequently and his writtings are well thought out and are about great issues upon which to ponder.

You can read more here.

How Do You Raise Money For Rising College Tuition Costs?

Andrew Butler should be a junior at the University of Toledo, where the theater major would be starring in school plays, maybe one day headed to Hollywood or Broadway.
Christopher Avery should be a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, an engineering major with a lucrative career ahead.
Instead, the men are going to prison for at least 20 years because they tried to raise tuition money with two armed holdups last summer.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think the end justifies the means?
-What does it say when two young "men" rob to pay for education?
-Is this societies fault? Should we pity these two young men?
-How does one mentally connect needing cash to discharging firearms, kidnapping, and armed robbery?
-Should Universities be allowed to raise tuition on existing students?

Askville From

I recieved this in my inbox this morning and thought I would share. I am curious to see if it is just a knock-off of the now defunct Google Answers or the still up-and-running Google Groups or if Amazon has come up with some improvements to the peer answer system. It is going to be hard to beat threaded responses in my opinion.

Here is message sent to me: You're Invited! As a valued Amazon customer, you've been specially picked to get an early look at a new website Amazon has just launched called Askville. Askville is a place where you can ask any question on any topic and get real answers from real people. It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests to you and a place where you can share what you know. You can learn something new every day or help and meet others using your knowledge. It's new, and best of all, it's free!

You can visit Askville here.

Monkey See Monkey Do, Human See Human Can't Do As Well

...researchers have shown that young chimps outperform adult humans in a memory test, a Concentration-like game using numerals on a computer screen.
“We were very surprised to find this,” Tetsuro Matsuzawa of the Primate Research Institute at Kyoto University said. “But it’s a very concrete, simple fact. Young chimps are superior to human adults in a memory task.”

The chimps were twice as accurate in the memory test as humans were and what is more, chimps were under the age of 6 while humans were of adult age.

You can read more here.
You can watch the video footage here.

Some questions:
-Does this interfere with the theory of evolution?
-What does it mean when a lesser animal is smarter in some degree to humans?
-Does this go against the Bible?
-What are your thoughts on these findings?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Michael Savage Sues Islamic Group For Copyright Infringement

"I'm not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I'm not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I'm not getting' on my all-fours and braying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don't like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don't wanna hear any more about Islam. I don't wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I'm sick of you."

The above statement is one that the Council on American-Islamic Relations allegedly used to draw fundraising support for their cause. Savage and his team state that this is the sentiment of the majority of the American people in regards to the like of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his ilk and that was the context in which it was stated.

The lawsuit states: "CAIR attempted to silence Michael Savage by stealing his work, misrepresenting it and then seeking to have advertisers drop his show. This is a violation of Michael Savage’s rights to speech and to his religious beliefs," the action said.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you think this is a violation of Savage's speech and his religous beliefs?
-What do you think of using someone's words the opposite of how they meant them to profit from them?
-Do you have a high esteem for Savage?
-Do you think CAIR is in the wrong and should cease using his quotes (in or out of context)?
-Does this lawsuit have any bearing on the future of American interpretation of law regarding our freedoms of speech and religion?
-Do you think that Savage represents the majority when it comes to his stated sentiment in the quote above (in context)?

Hitler Is In Heaven (As Is All Of Humanity)

While watching a Dateline MSNBC special Saturday on Carlton Pearson that is a statement I heard.

A little boy who grew up in a lineage of Pentecostalism, who preached his first “sermon” at the age of 5 in front of an upside down trash can, who found favor with Oral Roberts himself and was told that God had something special in store for him, has received a new revelation as it pertains to Hell. Carlton Pearson, while watching a tv program on starving African children, came to the conclusion that these were probably Muslims and they were going to Hell. This burdened him and the more he started looking at the Greek, the more he realized that it did not always match up with the King James Version of the Bible. This troubled him and eventually led to his new belief that Hell is the life we live currently and after this life all dues are paid for our one way trip to Heaven. That’s right. No matter how evil or bad or horrible we are, regardless of whether we accept Christ or not, we all go to Heaven. Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, New Age… all are welcome into those pearly gates.

What came next for Carlton was something he was not expecting. The very man who took Carlton under his wing was now rejecting his new teaching. Oral Roberts stated that he has wept for Carlton and longs for him to return to the truth while others embrace his new teaching. Carlton is not giving up though as he has seen growth in his congregation and has been encouraged by those who support him, but none-the-less it breaks his heart that he has been rejected by Oral Roberts.

During the Dateline MSNBC interview, Carlton Pearson never expressed where this thought came from except that it started with a television program and his understanding of the Greek text. No texts were given, no biblical references were made as to how he supports this “gospel without a savior” (which he calls the gospel of inclusion) and no time was given as to how he defends such a point of view. It makes one to wonder if his new gospel has any foundation on which to build.

You can read more here (Videos are included in the link).
See Carlton Pearson's "church" page here.

Some questions:
-Do you like the inclusiveness of his gospel?
-Should what we like factor into what is proclaimed as truth?
-How is it that every biblical scholar from the 1st century until now has gotten this doctrine of salvation wrong and Carlton Pearson is the first to get it right?
-Would God be just in allowing Stalin and Hitler and other unrepentant murders into Heaven?
-What would you say to Carlton Pearson?