Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

Today is Reformation Day, the day on which, in the Year of Our Lord 1517, little Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg Church and touched off the Reformation. While Luther was not a perfect man, all who believe in Jesus Christ alone for salvation are forever in his debt.

If you have the time, you should watch the following video, which gives you the whole history of Luther's Reformation in 3:42. By the way, it's also a rap! Creative, informative, true and startling all at once. Not a bad combo...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I gotta get one of these!!!

If I had had one of these back in the day, I'm pretty sure I would have been the first 8 year old ever to rule the earth. For the curious, it's a full auto Nerf Vulcan cannon that comes on its own tripod. It takes 6 of the big D size batteries to power it in all its fully automatic glory, and feeds a belt of 25 Nerf "bullets." To top it off, it's on sale at Wal-Mart for something like 35 bucks. I wonder if you can buy extra belts to increase firing times...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Cynic's Political Dictionary

For your amusement, and perhaps enlightenment, I offer the following translation from politician-speak to plain English:
  1. Bi-partisan: Anything that is worse than the results a single party could produce on its own.
  2. Blue-ribbon commission: A group of people whose purpose is to enable politicians to appear to be doing something.
  3. Campaign: 2 years of constant hectoring by politicians about how theirs opponents' election will mean the end of civilization as we know it.
  4. Change: Making things worse.
  5. Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Amnesty for illegal aliens.
  6. Constitution: A document that politicians ritually pledge to uphold but routinely ignore once in office. Supposedly the ruling law of the land.
  7. Diplomacy: Appeasing dictators and thugs with promises of American aid.
  8. Economic Justice: Taxes on the productive members of society. See also "social justice" and "redistributive change."
  9. Fascist: Political Conservative (see also, "racist," "sexist," et al.)
  10. Fairness: Taxes
  11. Gaffe: Any clear statement of my true beliefs and principles.
  12. Hope: What politicians kill off once in office.
  13. Improvement: Regression.
  14. International Community: People who hate the U.S., Americans, and the values on which the country was founded.
  15. Lobbyist: Representative of a group of voters who support a cause I disagree with, but favored by my opponent. See also "special interest."
  16. Money: What it takes to change my opinion on an issue.
  17. Principled: Any actions taken by me.
  18. Progress: Change for the worse.
  19. Promise: Lie.
  20. Racist: Opposed to race-based preferences for anyone.
  21. Real Americans: Voters who support me.
  22. Redistributive Change: Communism
  23. Reform: Spend more money for worse results (see also "Change").
  24. Single-payer: Government funded through taxation.
  25. Social Justice: see "Redistributive Change"
  26. Special Interest: A group of voters that support my opponent.
  27. Stopping Global Warming: Imposing job-killing taxes on Americans while ignoring the policies of China and India, the world's worst industrial polluters.
  28. U.N.: An international body convening in New York in which thugs, thieves, and dictators are given the same vote as the representatives of free nations in the name of "international cooperation."
  29. Unethical: Any action taken by my opponent.
  30. Unify the country: Eliminate the opposition to my plans.
  31. Voter Registration Drive: Voter fraud
  32. Voter Suppression: Limiting the vote to citizens and non-felons.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Dow and the Election

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that McCain's standing in the polls rises and falls with the changes in the Dow? Today's 800 point increase is likely therefore to help McCain and hurt the candidate of "spreading the wealth"/"redistributive change"/Marxism. What it also tells me is that there are a lot of people who tell pollsters they are leaning toward Obama who aren't so much "for" Obama as they are "against" the current state of our country's economy and overall health and associate McCain with the failures of the Bush Administration.

But McCain, for good and ill, is not Bush. Perhaps voters will see that, perhaps not. An Obama victory will be transformative for our country in ways a McCain victory will not be, many of which will be good (e.g., a compelling refutation to the idea prevalent on the Left that a person's success or failure in America is largely determined by his or her race), but many of which will fundamentally alter the character of our nation for the worse (e.g., putting in a new class of eternal entitlements that will bankrupt us, our children, and our grandchildren). A McCain victory, by contrast, will position him as the last check and balance on a Congress likely to be overwhelmingly Democratic, and with which he shares many policy goals (global warming cap-and-trade, immigration amnesty, etc.). For me, it's hard not to be depressed by the state of the country either way. Our spending and debt are out-of-control, our military is fighting large-scale conflicts against small-scale enemies, our educational institutions are turning out expensive graduates that know little, and no politicians out there seem to believe in America as it stands and has stood for 200+ years--the beacon of freedom and the source of much that is good in the world.

I'm too old to be idealistic anymore, but too young to be this cynical. Where is the leader who will unite the country behind her ideals? Where is the man who believes more in making America great (morally, economically, and geopolitically) than in assuaging the pressure groups of his party? I know one thing-he isn't running this year. Sigh......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'll take that bet!

Too bad this deal wasn't around/applicable when my dear wife and I were gettin' hitched...

Contest Offers Engaged Couples Who Abstain a $10,000 Wedding

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An abstinence education program in Georgia is offering couples who abstain from sex before marriage a chance to win a $10,000 wedding.

The nonprofit Marriage Appreciation Training Uplifting Relationship Education is offering the Marriage of a Lifetime contest to couples who live in Rockdale, DeKalb and Newton counties, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. But so far, there have been no entries, despite the looming Oct. 31 deadline.

“There is a romantic end of it, but we are also looking for a couple that is committed and who will work through struggles,” Phillippia Faust, the director of the abstinence education program, told the paper. “And we are looking for a couple that is choosing a lifestyle that is not compromising, and premarital sex is a compromiser.”

In addition to promising not to have sex before marriage, couples must agree to allow the public to attend their wedding as well as undergo premarital counseling, the paper said.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The Early Church Father Tertullian is reported to have said something along the lines of "The blood of Christians is seed." I've had a bit of trouble tracking down the actual place which translates this way, so the quote may be apocryphal (as many good lines turn out to be), but it raised a thought experiment in my mind. What do you think of the following...

Is it possible that we are going about evangelism in so-called "creative access" countries all wrong? Legend says that many of the early missionaries to Central Africa packed their few possessions in a coffin so that when they were struck down by one or another tropical disease (or hungry native tribe), their mission could have the means for burial ready to hand. They went, in other words, despite their expectation of dying. In a similar way, missionaries in the early centuries of the Church went among the tribesmen of Northern Europe and the Middle East not secretly, but boldly proclaiming the gospel, come what may. Out of these efforts came the vibrancy of today's African Christianity and the Christianization of Europe, respectively. What if we tried a similar approach in the 10/40 Window? What if we were to recruit missionaries and provide them with cultural and linguistic training, knowing that their trip to such places would most likely be one-way? Is it really better to be a "tentmaker" in a closed country, building the faith in secret? Or is that merely the way that we rationalize our fear of martyrdom?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And we're back...

I arrived home safely from Southeast Asia last night. It was an incredible trip, with many experiences that were encouraging and challenging and others that were as terrifying as I have ever had. I will post some pictures, but due to the nature of the trip, I can't post many details or give any names, even of the places we visited. I will be sending a letter with details and more photos to all those who agreed to pray and give toward my expenses. Anyone reading this who wants a copy of that letter can let me know. Meanwhile, enjoy reading a list of some of the things I experienced:
  1. Rice, rice, and more rice. Rice at every meal. Rice until well after I was sick of it.
  2. Rice noodles with squid for breakfast.
  3. HOT chilis on and in everything I ate.
  4. Squatty potties. The less said about them or seen of them, the better.
  5. Crab pizza at an Italian restaurant overlooking the ocean. Suffering for the Kingdom, let me tell you.
  6. Meeting, talking with, and teaching some incredible men and women who really do experience suffering and possible martyrdom for the sake of the Kingdom.
  7. Terrible homesickness-missing Karen and the kids something awful.
  8. Opening doors to the Gospel among people who are among the least reached in the world.
  9. Seeing God answer prayers, bind Satan, protect us, grant us peace, and meet us in ways I have seldom experienced.
What more can I say? It was amazing, powerful, and indescribable. Not even our photos do justice to what we saw and God's work in our lives while we there. For all that, I am both grateful to have gone and seen God at work in others and in me and very glad to be back home.

Friday, October 3, 2008


You have to love a quote by Gen. Douglas MacArthur (see above). It's pretentious, defiant, and memorable all that the same time. But as I'm going to spend the next two weeks without much in the way of indoor plumbing, to say nothing of high-speed internet access, blogging may be a bit light until after I return to the states on the 17th. Till then, be sure to check out the blogs on the blogroll. Hopefully a 2 week hiatus won't get you all so far out of your routine reading that you forget to return for additional installments of my scintillating thoughts(!) about issues big and small.

Till then...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Evangelicalism in America Today

The following video is from The Gospel Coalition, which is a staunchly evangelical group of men who are committed to upholding both the unchanging truth of the Gospel and contextualizing the presentation so that all men might have a valid witness of it. I'm very impressed by these men. Check out the video below for a sample...

What kind of man are you?

I've been spending a lot of time reading about postmodernism and the effect it is already having on both the Western Church and Western culture. The church is facing a new set of challenges, and it's not as if the Church has not risen to meet similar challenges in the past. But we in the Church are just beginning to realize the extent to which, if we want to effectively reach those who are beginning to predominate in our culture, we have to change the way we present the unchanging truth of God's Word. To be clear, we need to recognize what kind of man we are talking to, and how he understands the world and his view of the four sources of truth (revelation, tradition, reason, and experience) in order share the gospel with him in a way he understands. In broad outline, there are three "species" of humans in the world:

  1. Religious Man: These are the kind of people that used to predominate all over the world, and still predominate in the non-Western world (i.e., Central and East Asia, South & Central America, and Africa). They already believe in many of the concepts that are present in Christian theology-God, sin, judgment, an afterlife, spiritual forces of good and evil, and the necessity of escaping judgment for the evil that we do. Biblically speaking, the best example of this type of person is Nicodemus ("A member of the Jewish ruling council"). Successful evangelism with a religious man like this involves building on what he already knows, but correcting his theology so that it reflects biblical truth. Books like The Strange on the Road to Emmaus and Peace Child reveal good methods for doing this. A Religious Man accepts revelation, respects tradition, uses reason, and values experience. All are valid pathways to truth to a religious man and all support his belief in a world that is ultimately spiritual.
  2. Scientific Man: These are the kind of people that began to rise in Europe beginning in about 1750 and in America about 1850. They dominated Western culture from about 1900 until around 1990. They find most of the Bible and anything supernatural unbelievable. For a scientific man, only what science can prove through empirical study (Can I touch, smell, see, hear, or taste it?) is true and real. The best biblical example of this type of person is Thomas ("Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."). Successful evangelism with a scientific man involves the presentation of evidence about such things as the general reliability of the Scriptures, the trustworthiness of the Gospels, the possibility of miracles, and the existence of God. A Scientific Man worships reason, disregards revelation, distrusts tradition, and evaluates experience by what seems to him to be rational. He believes reason is the valid pathway to truth, because his bedrock, pre-conversion belief is that the world is ultimately material.
  3. Hey Whatever, Man: These are the people that began rising in Europe in 1900 and in America about 1960. They are disillusioned by the world created by the "modernists" (i.e., Scientific Man), which though it enabled things like flight, cars, and vaccines, also created mustard gas, the atom bomb, and the Holocaust. As a result, they are very open to spiritual realities of whatever type (from palm reading to crystals, Hinduism to Christianity), but distrustful of any "institutional" or formal expressions of religious belief such as the Church. Since the scientific man's "objective truth" was so often used in support of causes that were evil, Hey Whatever, Man no longer believes that there is any such thing as objective truth (i.e., ideas that aren't dependent on the perspective of the person, but are true for everyone, everywhere). Instead, he believes that everything is "up for grabs" and that truth is completely individualized. The best biblical example of this type of person is Pontius Pilate ("What is truth?"). Successful evangelism with Hey Whatever, Man consists of giving him both information about the Christian faith and an experience of Christian truth as it is lived out in relationship with others. Hey Whatever, Man worships experience, distrusts reason, is intrigued by tradition, and is open to revelation. He believes that while the world is "kinda" material (i.e., he doesn't totally reject science), "there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy."

Obviously, most people are mixtures of one of the above, and no one fits these broad generalities perfectly anymore. But a good understanding of what "species" you are dealing with is critical for evangelistic success.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A little prayer

Since I am leaving on a two-week trip for the other side of the planet this Saturday, a number of people have told me that they will pray for me. If you would really like to pray, here are some specifics to pray for:
  1. God's protection for my family. A lot can happen while I am a full 24 hours by plane away from Karen and the children. Pray that chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17) will surround our house while I am away.
  2. God's protection for me. My health is not the best and that fact, combined with weird food, an unsanitary environment, and the possibility of opposition to our visit by some folks, means that I need God's everlasting arms to support me even more than usual.
  3. "Ear opening" experiences and opportunities. May those with "ears to hear" listen well.