Thursday, December 13, 2007

Evolution Helped Pregnant Ladies Stand Up

A recent article on on how pregnant ladies can stand up is a classic example of how presuppositions influence the conclusion. The scientists presuppose that evolution is true and determined that the features they found were brought about by evolution. However, they have no proof, they have only their assumptions. From a certain point of view, one can just as easily say, "God is an incredible engineer."

Why Don't We Blame What Is Really To Blame For Violence

An article in Christian on the supposed influence of pop culture on violence amongst teens illustrates the problems caused by the denial of Original Sin. People need something to blame for such senseless violence such as the Mall shooter and the Church shooter, but because they deny Original Sin in order to maintain their fantasy of deciding for Jesus they blame the media. Why? The media is safe and blaming them means they don't have to look to closely at their doctrine, because to acknowledge that the people themselves are responsible for their own actions is dangerous to their world view.

To state that the people who perpetrate these atrocities are solely responsible for their actions means they must admit to an innate inclination to perpetrate murderous actions and that my friends is dangerously close to saying those evil Catholics were right. We did inherit sin from great grandpappy Adam. The people in the media are not responsible for this men's actions. Those men are responsible for their own actions.

Now, likely these men weren't firing on all cylinders. They probably did have something going on that impaired their judgment, but the root cause for that impairment is sin. If Adam had not eaten that fruit we would not have people who were a few fries short of a happy meal. We would all be perfectly tuned God lovin' people. So, once again sin is at the heart.

Here is the kicker. Why do people like violent entertainment? Sin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Newest Pet Peeve

My newest and greatest pet peeve is advertisements who rather than try to sell their product make fun of other products. Chief of these ads is the Apple ads featuring two guys known as PC and Mac. Every time I see one of these ads I have to wonder what it is about Macs that they feel that to make people want to buy them they have to make be little pc's. Their latest foray is an ad proclaiming the fastest Vista machine was a Mac, what they don't tell you is at the time the PCWorld benchmark was run nobody else was running a Intel dual core at 2.6 ghz. Their claim has since fallen to the Eurocom D-900C - Phantom X which granted using an Intel quad core. I would also like to see how it compares with Alienware's new contender which features much of the same equipment as the Macbook Pro.

They aren't the only ones guilty of this Altell is not far behind in annoyance levels and Metropcs is catching up. If your product is so great and wonderful sell it as great and wonderful don't belittle somebody else's product. They make it seem as if they are trying to mask some great deficiency by getting you to focus on supposed problems.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Who Is A Theologian

I have heard many people when discussing beliefs use the cop out, "I am not theologian," usually in circumstances where they have been called to defend their beliefs. This is not true. I really like how Stanley Grenz and Roger Olsen defined a theologian in their book Who needs theology?. They defined a theologian as anybody who has sat back and contemplated on who God is. They then broke theologians down into three basic categories: lay, pastoral, academic. I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty but the short of it is, everybody is a theologian.

Do Words Have Meaning Anymore?

My lovely wife was hanging out on a message board where the topic of infant baptism came up. A few ladies had responded to this person who had asked why people baptize babies. As she was reading through the responses my wife became confused, because she was seeing terms thrown about that we Lutherans cherish such as means of Grace, sacraments, etc but their stated beliefs were not consistent with the meanings of these terms. The height of which was a Nazarene lady who was throwing these terms around and cited as thinking the LC-MS website on infant baptism was a great statement but then proceeded to say baptism doesn't save. My wife having been positively influenced by me in matters of theology politely called her on the inconsistency and asked her to clarify. To which the lady essentially responded, I am not a theologian don't ask me to define my terms. This incident got us to wondering do people actually acknowledge that words have meaning, that we should understand that meaning, or do we just adopt something that sounds nice regardless of meaning?

Kindle Is It All That It Is Fired Up To Be?

Kindle is the lastest attempt to create an ebook reader by Amazon. I don't have one so I am not really offering a review, but I am just offering some impressions from a bibliophile. My initial thoughts are that it holds some promise. It is completely wireless, capable of holding numerous books (a feature I find attractive for trips), and has a highly readable screen. However, is it worth it?

400 bucks seems mighty steep for something I am only going to use to read books I have to buy @ $10 a copy, plus I am trying to save for my 1080p flat-panel tv. My second thought is too many buttons, couldn't they have hidden the keyboard? I can see it now, I will have trouble getting comfy without hitting a button. Oh yes, I nearly forgot it only comes in B&W, I can't believe in the age of iPhones and high-def laptops they couldn't develop a working color display.

Right now, unless they drop the price of Kindle significantly to the less than $100 range, I am not even going to consider buying something purely for the convenience of having 100 of titles in one paper back size gizmo. Besides they don't offer it in book smell (I love the smell of a book).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Return To Military Life?

It isn't a true return as I have never served in the armed forces, but I grew up in a military family. My dad flew in the belly of the BUFF, B-52 for the un-indoctrinated and later a desk for Wing/Base Ops, so I have more than a bit of fondness for those who serve. I know what they and their families go through and I admire them for making those sacrifices. Of late, I have been taking stock of my life and wondered if it is time to "return" to that life by becoming a Chaplain. To do so will, of course, mean a major lifestyle change for myself; I have to drop around 100 lbs, but that would be good for me. It would also be a major change for my wife, particularly with the likelihood of deployment, a thing which gives me pause. She is also concerned about the "nomadic" lifestyle of people who serve (she is not a big fan of moving, but I have faith in her ability to adapt). Of concern, also, is that fact that by its very nature chaplaincy involves working with people of differing faiths and I am not sure how that works for a theologically conservative confessional Lutheran. Anyhow, that is where I am at this time. I would like to hear from men who have served in the Chaplaincy about their experiences, so if you have served leave a comment or email me.

Senate Investigation Into Televangelists Good Thing Or Bad Thing?

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has launched an investigation of several of the leading televangelists, identified as "Prosperity Gospel" preachers. Supposedly, he is acting in response to requests from watch dog groups, news reports, and individual complaints. Now, I am all for ministers and ministries being held accountable for their finances, we are too be blameless in the sight of man and our use of ministry finances is a very public endeavor. So, I was generally in favor of Sen Grassley's actions. However, I have to wonder what kind of ramifications this could have for other churches. Typically, what happens as a result of these investigations is hasty and ill thought out knee-jerk laws. Those laws tend to have rather negative unintended consequences and can affect law abiding ministries also.

I think I am going to continue to side with Sen. Grassley on this issue, but I think I will pay close attention to the fall out and pray that they do not react rashly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Am Also A Bible Nerd

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

It's Official, I'm Nuts!

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

You have a very hard time focusing, and you find it difficult to stay on task without your mind wandering. You probably zone in and out of conversations and tend to miss out on directions because you cannot focus

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Manic Depressive
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rick Warren's Convictions On Worship

1. Only believers can truly worship God.

The Bible says, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24 HCSB). Worship must rest on a true understanding of who God is – and that can only happen when a person has a relationship with God. You can have a worship service full of people, but only believers can really worship.

True only a redeemed sinner can worship God, because only a redeemed sinner will want to worship God. Why, because worship is a way of giving thanks and only some one who has been redeemed can give thanks. The unrepentant generally couldn't careless about worshipping. Besides, sleeping in is more fun than getting up.

2. You don’t need a building to worship God.

For 15 years we didn’t have a building of our own. But I guarantee we did a lot of worshipping during that time. The Bible says, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:24 NAS). God created everything in the world. That includes any place you might consider having a worship service. Worship isn’t a place; it’s a verb

True, you don't need a building to have worship, but they sure are nice when it rains.

3. There is no correct style of worship.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12: "There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." God gives us only three requirements for worship. It must be authentic and accurate (in spirit and truth, as Jesus tells us in John 4). Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 14 that it should be done in an orderly fashion. Beyond that, God gives us freedom.

Debates over worship styles are almost always sociological or personality clashes, couched in theological terms. Everybody thinks that their worship style is the most biblical. But there is no one biblical style. There are no musical notes in the Bible. We don’t even have the instruments that they had. The truth is God loves all kinds of worship styles – as long as we worship him in spirit, in truth, and in an orderly fashion.

Actually, there is a theological component to the worship wars that is legitimate, but I wouldn't expect a person who believes worship is all about what we do to realize that fact. Warren seems to think that it really does boil down to personal desires and to an extent he might be right. However, there is a lot to be said about the me centered nature about contemporary worship and the cold impersonal blahness of traditional worship. I still can't get over how the song "The Heart of Worship" goes on and on about" it's all about you, Jesus," but in the end its really all about me doing something. Yes the song is largely a confession, but all it takes is a few words to ruin the whole message. Its ok to say I will praise you but lacking the context of praise in response to God's work of salvation is an empty gesture without meaning even if you are singing praise because he is the creator. Going through the service by rote is equally heinous, sure you are saying the right words, but do they reflect what is in the heart? Are you negating the joyous response of praise through your bored demeanor?

The other question he fails to ask is what is the purpose of worship. I think he does so because he assumes that it is us doing something for God. Sadly, he misses the best part, what God does for us. The worship service should be structured around the things that God does for us and our response of thanksgiving, kind of like how it should be happening in our vocations. We can praise Jesus to our hearts till we fall over from lack of Oxygen, but outside of the context of the Gospel what's the point?

The only thing that is really a question of adiaphora, neither forbidden nor commanded, is the question of guitar or organ.

4. While unbelievers can’t worship, they can watch believers worship.

We see this truth lived out in Acts 2. "They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added to them all who were being saved" (Acts 2: 46-47 TLB).

When the early church worshipped, non-believers came to faith in Christ. Non-Christians can’t worship, but they can see the kind of joy worship brings us. They can see how God’s Word transforms our heart, comforts us, and interacts with us. God can use our worship services to draw non-believers to himself
True, but it helps if you clearly proclaim the Law and the Gospel. Where these are proclaimed hearts will change. Sadly, too many preachers believe that good worship means that the sermon provides helpful tips on how to be a good parent, fiscally responsible, etc. Rick Warren Deal with real life issues but move them to the Gospel don't leave them hanging in despair or giving them false confidence in their own ability to do God pleasing work.

5. Worship is a powerful witness to unbelievers if God’s presence is felt and the message is understandable.

Both of those are essential parts of a worship service when witnessing to unbelievers. Again, Acts 2 is a good example of this. God’s presence was so evident in the disciple’s worship at Pentecost that it attracted the attention of all the unbelievers throughout the city. And then the message was understandable. Remember the miracle of tongues? Every man heard the message in his own language. It had to be understandable! And that’s true today as well.

Ok, it is good advice to avoid church jargon. Your average parishioner does not understand what sanctification means, but they will understand what it means to strive towards perfection or trying to be more like Jesus in response to the Gospel. The worship service can be a powerful witness to unbelievers whether or not they feel something. Unless all you have to go by is your feelings, but we don't. The Gospel is it's own powerful witness and its power is derived not from how we feel, but from God himself.

6. God expects us to be sensitive to the fears, hang-ups, and the needs of unbelievers when they are present in our worship services.

The Bible says in Colossians 4:5 (NIV): "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." When you have guests over for dinner at your house, do you act a little bit differently? I hope so! A little bit more polite. Maybe you use a different set of china or dishes. The presentation of the meal is a little bit more thoughtful. The table conversation is a little bit more courteous. You may be still eating beans and weenies. It’s the same meal, but you are presenting it in a little more polite way.

Is that being hypocritical? No. It’s called being polite. Whenever you hear people talk about being sensitive to unbelievers, that is not watering down the gospel. It’s called love. You’re just being nice to them.

Treat them nicely. That is good advice. What it doesn't mean is turning a blind eye towards sin or out right acceptance. It simply means being friendly. Help them, guide them. Don't berate. It is possible to tell somebody they have done something wrong without hitting them in the head with a Family Bible.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bryne Under Fire For Not Interviewing Token Minority

Bill Bryne, the Athletic Director at Texas A&M, is under fire from the Black Coaches' Association according to the Houston Chronicle. Why? He didn't interview any black coaches when seeking to replace Coach Fran. Truth be known Bryne interviewed exactly one person, Mike Sherman, the guy who is replacing Coach Fran. Apparently, the BCA feels that Bryne should have interviewed one more person just because they are a minority. I can't think of a stupider reason to interview a candidate. In a world such as sports the interview is merely to find out if you can work with somebody, their ability to perform is already well publicized. Bryne has already admitted to keeping a running database of people he would like to hire if the need should arise, so it should be no surprise that when he has to replace a coach he already knows who his first pick is going to be. I also seriously doubt that AD Bryne, who is trying to build a championship quality football program is going to let a little thing like race get in the way of picking the best fit in talent.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate That Is The Question

Originally, I was planning on writing a comment in response to Rebellious Pastor's Wife however, if I were to do justice to the topic I need more room.

First, I would like to address the concern of not doing enough research. This may or may not be a fair charge to level on people doing medical research. Why? Simply put, the human body is an extremely complex and diverse "machine," it is simply impossible to test for all circumstances because you cannot predict or know what all the circumstances are going to be. Frequently, what happens is simply a product of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Sometimes this is bad and sometimes it is good. A case in point is a doctor who noticed that fewer women died in the hospital when they were seen right after meals. His investigation turned up the factor involved was that he washed his hands before eating. He tested his findings by washing his hands after each examination and, what do you know, fewer women died. Other times and these are the times they make the news is when it goes bad, such is the possible case with Thimerasol, they used it too prevent contamination by fungi and bacteria, it is very good at this job. Yet, there was no way they could predict that the levels used could possibly be a cause of autism, particularly since autism is still not well understood.

Now some people do have adverse reactions to vaccines. Some can be quite serious, i.e. people died from the old small pox vaccination. Most can be mild i.e. breaking out in hives. The reasons are quite diverse from nurses not paying attention to expiration dates (happened to me with a Tetanus booster) to allergic reactions to the serum. Cases of contracting the disease are exceedingly rare if it is even true that they happen. All of these problems are hard to predict and because of this difficulty you are supposed to wait around for 15 minutes. The worst adverse reactions tend to show during that time frame. Demonstrated adverse effects should constitute reasonable reasons for discontinuing that particular line of vaccination unless it can be demonstrated that it was due to contamination.

Second, do not sell young children's immune systems short. They are incredibly capable and flexible systems and can easily handle the vaccination load. In addition, for vaccines to be remotely responsible for Autism does require a preponderance of variables. The first is that Autism would have to be proven to be an auto-immune disease where the immune system is attacking the central nervous system (CNS). Second, the antigens involved in eliciting the immune response in vaccinations would have to be similar to antigens in the CNS. This is highly unlikely for several reasons. The first is they do not use nerve or brain tissue for the production of any vaccine, which would be the most likely source for the production of these antigens. In addition, the majority of vaccinations given to children are for bacterial toxins which in no way resemble CNS antigens and are very specific. With these in mind I seriously doubt the load of vaccinations is responsible.

Now, my third point is the use of fetal tissue. In reality, this has been blown out of proportion. The use of fetal tissue is limited to vaccines for viruses as bacteria do not require living tissue and when I left the Vet. Microbiology dept for seminary there was work being done on using bacteria to synthesize the viral antigens, because bacteria are cheaper to maintain than tissue cultures. I have a feeling in the next 20 years we will start seeing vaccines made this way and the pharmaceutical companies will buy into it because it will cut their costs significantly. One batch of MRC-5 cells costs over $250 and they have a limited reproductive cycle plus the production of virus destroys the cells, so that adds up very quickly. When you consider bacterial colonies can exist in perpetuity there is no question of cost benefit. Admittedly that is in the future so back to here and now.

All of the viral vaccinations have non-human diploid cell (fetal tissue) alternatives except for Rubella, Varicella (Chicken Pox and Shingles), and Hep A. The alternatives generally use chicken eggs to create the vaccine. They generally work just as well. There are notable exceptions such as Rabies, the HDC Rabies vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate, unusual even for HDC derived viruses, and can be used as a treatment for recently infected patients. Rubella differs from all the other vaccines in that the child that was used for the tissue sample was already infected with the virus due to the mother contracting Rubella while pregnant, which is why it is impossible to find a non-HDC source. The CDC has an excellent resource on their website that lists all of the approved vaccines in the U.S at this link. If you do Google searches of the brand names, the companies have the information posted on how they produce the vaccine and most are available through the John Hopkins link I provided previously.

Now, I did some digging and the pharmaceutical companies all use two HDC lines in producing their vaccines: MRC-5 and WI-38 available through American Type Culture Collection. Both of these cell lines were created from children aborted in the 60's in Europe (WI-38's remains were transported to the U.S.). No new lines are being created. One reason is purely practical the current viral vaccine research needs different cell lines. HIV for instance will only grow in T-cells and both commonly used HDC lines are not immune related. The continued use of these lines falls very close to the debates about the NAZI medical experiments.

The use of the results of NAZI experimentation has caused scientists many ethical dilemmas as illustrated by this 1989 NY Times article. What do we do with what is learned from atrocities committed in the past? There are some who would have us ignore what was learned and try to unlearn what was learned. I can see some of the appeal of this position, because we do not want to be complicit after the fact in their torture and murder. However, I do not take this position. I believe we should keep what was learned and work towards preventing further atrocities. This view forms the basis for my position on the use of HDC's in vaccine production and my advocacy of Pro-Life. One way that we can look at this is that God has worked something good out of something absolutely horrible. I think in someways by throwing out what has been learned would dishonor those who lost their lives. At the same time we can strive to sanctify medical technology (so to speak) by working towards more ethical means of study and production.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thimerosal or How to Decieve Without Lying

While researching the Thimerosal debate, I noticed claims that Thimerosal is 50% Mercury. Sounds scary right? Mercury is one of those dangerous chemicals and anything that is 50% Mercury must be bad. Well, what the more honest or better informed will say is 50% by weight. Still sounds like a lot until you actually look at the chemical in question. The chemical formula of Thimerosal is this C9H9HgNaO2S, which is short hand for 9 Carbon (C), 9 Hydrogens (H), 1 Mercury (Hg), 1 Sodium (Na), 2 Oxygens (O), 1 Sulpher (S). Please note that there is only one Mercury atom out of a total of 21 atoms and strickly speaking they are correct to say that Mercury is half the weight. Why? Mercury is huge compared to the others, Mercury has a molecular weight of 200.59 where Sodium the next largest is 22.99. What they are not telling you is that by concentration Mercury makes up a minute amount of thimerosal and concentration is the key in determining toxicity levels not molecular weight. For example, Potassium is quite small compared to Mercury at 39.09 but at sufficient concentration is quite lethal. So, while all of these people are making thimerosal sound scary they are actually lying to you by telling what amounts to the truth told incorrectly.

Now, I am not saying go and get yourself some thimerosal, I am only saying it is not as dangerous as they make out. However, Mercury as a heavy metal is not something our bodies are equipped to expel readily so it builds up over time. Thus repeated exposure in a short period of is bad.

Thimerosal, Vaccines, and Autism

I will state this up front, I remain unconvinced that the small amounts of thimerosal used in vaccines causes autism, but at the same time I am not ruling out a connection. And I will be perfectly frank in that I believe the refusal to vaccinate on the basis of what amounts to the scientific equivalent of hearsay is the height of parental irresponsibility. At the same time, I am not in favor of mandatory vaccination.

However, if you are worried about thimerosal in vaccines this is a good link for you, John Hopkins compilied a list of common vaccines and their thimerosal levels. It would appear that most contain no thimerosal. Now if you are truly worried still, look at that list and ask the doctor to use one of those on the list and ask them to pull the dose in front of you so you can see the bottle if you are truly paranoid. If they refuse, you can always find a new doc.

This list also brings up something else. A common reason some people are citing for risking their child's health is the thimerosal link to autism. The companies have heard the people's concern and are no longer using it as a preservative, which removes the one objection to vaccinating I could understand. Again, if you are really worried, check the list and don't be afraid to ask. It is a reasonable request to ask the doctor to use a viable alternative and these Thimerosal free vaccines are a reasonable viable alternative.

The other objection, I have heard that companies are pushing vaccines just to make a buck, isn't even worth much of a comment. Do you complain about somebody making some money off the toilet paper you used to wipe your bum?

A New Coach

The Houston Chronicle was right. Mike Sherman is the new Head Coach at Texas A&M. He will be finishing out the season with the Texans while working with the recruits when he can. While, we may lose a few more recruits because of his lack of recruiting time, I am not too upset. I really like a man who will honor his current commitments before jumping the next new thing.

Here is hoping that the Sherman Tank does not turn out to be an underpowered, thin armored, tank with an undersized gun, but is instead an unstoppable juggernaut.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Babies to Blame for Bad Environment?

An environmental wackjob, psychobabble for clinically insane environmentalist, murdered her child ten years ago because he/she would be damaging to the environment. Now she has had her tubes tied so that she cannot bring in another hurtful baby into an already damaged environment. The best I can say is at least she has removed her stupidity from the gene pool. Now if only she would stop trying to verbally spread her illness. Our only hope is that House can find a cure for her before it is too late.

HT: House, M.Div

A Great Thanksgiving with a hint of tartness

For Aggies the world over it was a pretty good Thanksgiving. Our boys beat t.u. for the second year in a row. Whoop! And our B-ball guys creamed Ohio State in the NIT preseason tournament final, and I mean creamed, they made it look easy.

The football game was exciting yet frustrating to watch. Exciting for the obvious, we pretty well dominated t.u. for most of the game running and passing nearly at will. Frustrating for pretty much the same reason, this is what we expected to see all season not just for the t.u. game. Why couldn't they play like this all year? I'll be honest, I don't think I can answer that question and I am not going to drop all the blame on now former coach Fran, those boys probably played their own part in the five losses we suffered this year. This brings up the other tartness of the weekend Coach Fran resigned an hour after the game. I am not his biggest fan, but I still don't like to see these things happen. Although, I am willing to say if it wasn't for the email thing he would still be the head coach. Well, I wish him well and I think he will do well at a mid-major school.

Now, it sounds like AD Bryne has his new coach in hand, we will find out noon today. The Chronicle is reporting on Harris' "Aggie Blog" that Michael Sherman, the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, is likely the new head coach. We will see.

Mike Sherman's "resume"
89-93 TAMU Offensive Line Coach
94 UCLA Offensive Line Coach
95-96 TAMU Offensive Line Coach
97-98 Green Bay Tight End Coach
99 Seattle Offensive Coordinator
00-05 Green Bay Head Coach
06- Houston Offensive Coordinator

As the Green Bay HC he compiled a 53-27 record and won three NFC North titles. I think he could be a good pick for the Aggies. He knows the school and he knows the state. He will need to find a really good Defensive coordinator as he is admittedly an offensive minded coach.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Naughty or Nice List Announced by Liberty Council

As a general rule, I ignore all things Christmas prior to the day after Thanksgiving, largely because I do not want to contribute to the trend of stores starting their Christmas decorating and sales earlier and earlier each year. However, I wanted to take the time to comment about the Liberty Council and their Naughty or Nice List. For those of you who have lives and don't know what this list is, it is a list of stores to patronize or boycott on the basis of their specific recognition of Christmas.

The first thing I ask myself is this, is this really a hill worth dying over? Is this fight over the recognition of Christmas going to bring more people to Christ or deepen the faith of Christians? Hardly, it is only going to succeed in making us look like petty little busy bodies.

I realize that a large part of the stink is caused by the fact they stand to make a lot of money on people buying gifts for Christmas. Ok, in some ways it would be nice that if they are going to be making money on Christmas it would be nice to have some recognition, but is it necessary? Not really. Local stores stand to make a fair bit of money when Lutherans gather to celebrate Reformation Day, but I really don't care if they have a Reformation Day sale or say "Blessed Reformation Day."

Personally, I don't care if the store I am shopping at acknowledges Christmas or not. The only time I would care is if they claimed to be a Christian business. Not that I honestly care if the business is explicitly Christian or not, I only care to be treated with respect and get a good value. I don't really mind if the stores go for a blanket Happy Holidays, Christians are their only customers. We really do not need to create undo offense to those who do not celebrate Christmas by forcing people to hear or say "Merry Christmas." Those two words aren't going to convert them into Christians, so let's fight the fight worth fighting and preach the Gospel.

We can make use of Holiday Season just as well as we can with "Christmas Season," which by the way for you liturgically ignorant people starts on Dec 25th not the day after Thanksgiving. Advent comes before Christmas and starts either the last Sunday in November or the first Sunday in December depending on the year.

So, why don't we all use the brains God gave us and fight this battle smart by making stands on the things that are truly important.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Judge Strikes Down Law Requiring Pharmacists to Dispensing Abortifactants

Let's hear it Judge Ronald Leighton who struck down a Washington State Law that would require pharmacists to give out Plan B against their religious convictions. Judge Leighton cited that the law would violate the religious freedoms of pharmacists by forcing them to give out medications that were in violation of their faith. Now, he did state that they should refer the women to less scrupulous vendors and I am not really sure that does not violate the religious freedoms also. I mean think about it. Doesn't it sound hypocritical to say "I can't kill you because it violates my faith, but Mr. McDeath over there will do it for discount prices"? However, it is still a victory for religious freedom, if not a total victory and considering where things have gone with our culture of death, I will take it.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Linux Update

Ok, I have things running mostly now, I haven't completely tested the set up yet tested some major functions such as can I read Luther's Works, but I have important church type programs running in Linux.

Ms Office works very well under Crossover
- I have not tried Publisher, I do not own it, I use Scribus instead.

Bible Works 5 runs well under WINE

Luther's Works works with a bit of a tweak in Crossover
- install IE 6 first under a windows 98 bubble then install Luther's Works in that bubble, because the Libronix system is completely intergrated with IE and will not install otherwise.
- because of this dependancy I do not think it will run under WINE which has a messed up version of IE that runs natively.

The Boy Who Refused to Die

I found this story today while surfing.
Daily News - We're twinseperable!

The parents of these little boys were faced with the decision to allow one of the boys to die while in the womb and risk the health of the other or end his life sooner and likely save the other. They made a choice I would not have made and chose to end his life surgically.

As the story goes they tried to cut the umbilical but found it was two thick for them to cut, so they cut the placenta in half so as to hopefully spare the "healthy" twin. Much to their surprise the next day he was alive and kicking and to their even greater surprise 5 weeks later he came out all nice and healthy. Now that is something to celebrate, with all odds stacked against him, he is alive and well.

Office Rebel part 2

Originally, this was going to be a response to Dr. McCain's comment on a previous post and then I saw how long it became, anyhow enjoy it in all its glory. ;)

I had a feeling a Macnatic (I say this in good humor) would respond. Oh to see the world through rose colored glasses.

Don't get me wrong Macs are good machines and OS X is a good operating system. Although, Apple did themselves no favors by making them look like a fish bowl aka iMacs. However, OS X can have as many problems as XP. I have used Power PC's and I had no trouble crashing them. I have a tendency to push computers to their limits and beyond and when you do that you can have some spectacular crashes.

XP is very user friendly, contrary to popular Maclore. It is very intuitive in how it operates, but then I am not the average user so I may not be the best judge. Most problems with XP are not so much that the system is not user friendly is that it is plagued by dumb users. Macs would have the same problem if an equivalent number of people used them.

As far as costs go XP PC's and Macs are pretty close cost wise, if you go name brands. I don't, but then again I am not the average user. The last name brand I bought was a laptop. I build my own desktops. The one I am currently posting with I spent ~250 to build, just to be fair I already owned XP and Office Professional. Speed wise I would say it is slightly slower to the mini mac which runs ~600 according to the online apple store.

Maintenance wise I may not be the best judge because I tinker with my systems. However, tinkering aside I have not had to invest much time into maintaining the system nor have I had to spend any money outside of maintaining security software.

Now to be completely unfair to Mac with the PC, I can easily go completely open source by using Linux which cost wise more churches should look into as it is much cheaper to make a donation than to buy a bunch of Macs or PCs w/ Windows. Now while Linux is no where near as pretty as OS X (which looks a lot like Vista by the way) it is very stable. Like Macs, Linux has the ability to run Microsoft Office (which I believe saved Mac from extinction) plus it can run many other Windows based programs. Feature wise it is not as rich as Windows or OS X, but give it time. Most distros have a 6 month upgrade cycles. With that kind of turn around and the growing popularity of open source you can expect them to quickly catch up with Windows and OS X in the feature department. Look at Firefox it has long since put IE to shame, but then again that may not have been to hard. ;)

Just for grins I thought I would see what kind of open source machine I could get for 600, the base cost of the Mini Mac. This is what I found.

AMD 64 FX2 dual core @ 2.1 gig
2 gigs ram
512 ram Radeon video card
160 gig SATA drive
cordless Logitech keyboard and laser mouse
HP Photosmart C4280 All in one
-price before tax $594.95 and that is before all the rebates of which there is about $150.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Office Rebel

I am declaring myself to be a rebel. Well, sort of, maybe I am a rebel. I have decided to tread the road less traveled in church offices. Computer wise most church offices are populated by Windows machines. Not necessarily a bad thing, XP is a good operating system, although there are a few offices held captive to 'gasp' Windows 98. If they don't have Windows boxes they have Mac fishbowls. Either of which are rather serviceable although Macs are hindered by the fact only a few Liberal Arts types know how to use them. Now, while they are capable machines they are expensive to maintain and purchase. Hence, the reason why there are still churches using Win98 or worse ME. So, I have decided to take the third road, Linux.

Unfortunately, people have gotten the idea that Linux is for that weird kid who never leaves his parents basement and prefers to be called by his hacker alias, iwanab3ne0. A reputation it has earned by still requiring the use of command line, for those of you born after 1988 that is when mice did not exist and you had to type everything. This is no longer strictly true. While Linux power users still use a fair bit of command line the GUI has improved drastically and if you get the right distribution it takes little time for a Windows user to get up to speed for most tasks. Now, I cut my teeth on Fedora Core 6 about 3 months ago. Fedora is good but not the best for a beginner, my mistake, I went with the distro I knew from friends in college. It because of its non support of restricted licenses does not support them in its installation catalog which means you had to manually install things like printers.

And then I found my dream distro. Ubuntu, if you can use WinXP, you can use Ubuntu. They do not take Fedora's hardline on opensource, so they support a wider range of software through their automated catalog. That means set up is nearly as easy as most Windows based programs if not easier because all you have to do is find and pick the program you need and Linux does the rest. So with Ubuntu you have an easy to use Os, that is fast (my 3gig Celeron w/ 512 ram boots in under 45 seconds compared to the 1.5 minutes of XP), secure (virus do not work well in Linux due to its structure), and cheap (free is hard to beat, although they do charge for support and would not say no to donations programmers have to eat too). What is not to like?

Let me guess Windows compatibility. That used to be a problem but no longer. Linux can now read the NTFS file system (WINXP) in addition to the various versions of FAT (floppy disk formats in Win) so if a church member comes in with their disc from home, no problemo. But I want to use things like Publisher. Ok, understandable, of all the things Microsoft has done Office is the best, no problem here either. There is a program called WINE (stands for Wine is not an emulator) that will allow you to run Windows based programs on a Linux system. Currently, I am using WINE to run Bibleworks 5.0 and it works great. So if you are looking for a cheap and good alternate when upgrading your system check out Ubuntu. Oh, I nearly forgot, they have about a six month turn around on new stable editions so if you like having the latest it is much easier to keep up with the joneses by using the Linux distros.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Blessed All Saints Day

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For all the saints - William How

For All The Saints (midi)

Zoidberg's Brain Slug Treatment Candidate of the Week part who cares

UUHhhhhh... My tongue feels a furry as Fry's bath mat and tastes like Nibbler's litter box. Please, no making with the loud noises already.

Today's Brain Slug treatment is a two parter. The first goes to a man with the tact of a doomsday weapon and less commonsense than Amy. He is none other than Fred Phelps. "God hates America", what nonsense. America is great where else could a lobster like me become a rich doctor for a large company? Eh, Eh! But seriously, I have been listening to Dr. Luther rant on about Mr. Phelps and I got to admit he is right. What kind of man would call himself a Christian and not preach redemption in Christ? Preach the law, but don't spew hate like New York passing off its garbage to third world countries such as New Jersey. However, since he can't seem to get this through his thick skull, I will do the procedure for free!

Part 2 of my treatment goes to a whole group of people, twelve of them in fact. They get their nomination because of their egregious thrashing of First Amendment rights. In the lawsuit against Fred Phelps and co. they awarded a mourning father 11 million dollars. I want 11 million maybe I could sue Hermes because he is always blaming me for stuff and that makes me sad. But seriously, trampling first amendment rights just because the defendant is a spiteful hate monger who makes Bender look like a saint? What's next allowing PETA to sue meat eaters for eating in public? Bah, give them some free elective limb removal, I would.

Now, I am going to go finish sleeping off this sugar hangover. Anybody needs me I'll be in the big round spinning room in the professor's lab.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where in the world is Dr. Zoidberg?

And for that matter, where are the rest of the people from the future? Well if you are asking that question you obviously need to turn on the tv more. They are all busy filming the new season of Futurama. So, they will check in when they can. In the meantime enjoy this little teaser.

Call Me Scrooge or Whatever, Just Don't Call Me A Fundie

Today is Halloween and you know what? I don't care. Ever since my final days of dressing up and trick or treating I have become more and more apathetic towards Halloween. I don't hate in the sense so many Fundies hate it, thinking it is a pagan holiday. No, I just don't care. I don't decorate nor will I turn on my light tonight and hand out candy. Today is a non-holiday as far as I am concerned. Tomorrow on the other hand is my favorite day. Massive sales on Halloween candy, now for a chocoholic that is something to be excited about.

I really don't know why I no longer care about Halloween. It wasn't something I set out to do. It just happened. Even now that I have a wee one, I am not sure that I am going to ever take her trick or treating, well may be if she really wants to go, like I said I am not against it. I don't know, maybe we will just celebrate the end of the tyranny of indulgences by indulging in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Happy Reformation Day!

Christ Jesus Lay In Death's Strong Bands - Martin Luther
1. Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah!

2. No son of man could conquer Death,
Such mischief sin had wrought us,
For innocence dwelt not on earth,
And therefore Death had brought us
Into thraldom from of old
And ever grew more strong and bold
And kept us in his bondage. Hallelujah!

3. But Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
To our low state descended,
The cause of Death He has undone,
His power forever ended,
Ruined all his right and claim
And left him nothing but the name,--
His sting is lost forever.

4. It was a strange and dreadful strife
When Life and Death contended;
The victory remained with Life,
The reign of Death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That Death is swallowed up by Death,
His sting is lost forever.

5. Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree--
So strong His love!--to save us.
See, His blood doth mark our door;
Faith points to it, Death passes o'er,
And Satan cannot harm us.

6. So let us keep the festival
Whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By His grace He doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended.

7. Then let us feast this Easter Day
On Christ, the Bread of heaven;
The Word of Grace hath purged away
The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed,
He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Red Sox won?

Call me out of it but I didn't even know that the World Series had started. Oh well, I hadn't paid much attention to baseball since it was clear the Rangers and Astros were going no where. Much more important has been the daily soap opera that is College Football. While it has been a bittersweet season for the Aggies it has been fun watching the cavalcade of top ten upsets beginning with Michigan. And, of course, watching the Fighting Papists lose is always good for the soul. Then there is the eternal question of when is Mark Mangino coach of the Kansas Jayhawks going to have a heart attack. Hey, coach you can't eat like your lineman. Besides, you are too good of a coach to lose you to something stupid like heart disease. Last, but not least, is the fun of watching the TV talking heads sing the praises of the top ten teams just to watch them lose to an unranked or division II team and then have to back peddle on how such and such team is not too talented to be beaten.

All of this goes with out mentioning the heart burn caused by my consistently inconsistent Aggies. The way they are going you should buy stock in GlaxcoSmithKline because I am going through Tums like they were M&M's.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Hypocrisy of Birth Control

It never ceases to amaze me how hypocritical people can come in the name of reproductive control. Recently, the school board in Portland, Maine has approved of a plan to distribute birth control to middle schoolers sans parental consent. I am not even going to touch on how wrong it is for middle schoolers to be on birth control, I mean, does anybody outside of me see the potential health risks in giving an overload of female hormones to children with maturing bodies? There are health risks for mature women, much less a girl whose body is still developing. However, that is not my point.

My point is this, the school board is asking medical professionals to violate the gold standard of medical ethics. This gold standard is the requirement of consent by a reasonably capable adult before undergoing any medical intervention. Generally speaking, an eleven year old girl is not a reasonably informed adult. Face it a preteen girl is not going to understand all of the implications and hazards, she is only going to see a license to have sex. I am predicting it now; places that offer birth control to school kids will be reporting a rise in STDs in the near future. The standard practice is that their legal guardian must give signed consent for any medical procedure, except in the states that legally require doctors to give up their ethics in the name of protecting abortion providers.

There are reasons for this ethical standard. The primary reason is that medical decisions have a long range impact on our well being, even with something as minor as taking ginseng. So, doctors rely on their patients understanding the consequences and being able to make an informed decision. When I was at M.D. Anderson in Houston, they drilled into us the importance of informed consent. In fact, part of our role as chapel was to be with the patients when needed to be the advocate who would ask the questions they hadn't thought of before that point. As stated earlier an eleven year old cannot make this kind of decision. They don't even have enough experience to even know there are questions they need to ask. In fact, I am surprised that a school board would even hand such a decision to middle school kids.

Why you ask? Most middle schools tend think middle schoolers are walking hormone infernos incapable of thinking. If they think middle schoolers are not capable of learning because of the raging hormones why do they think they can make medical decisions? Now to be fair they are inconsistent with how they treat middle schoolers, but I will be honest their treatment of middle schoolers seems to depend on their desired outcome. For instance, they need a reason why so many are doing poorly in school then it is because the middle schoolers aren't taking ownership of their education.

But then in the end I can't say as I am surprised by this decision in Portland. They have bought into the fervent but misguided arguments of the pro-abortion crowd, that everybody needs anonymous access to birth control options. Despite the decision of grossly out of line Supreme Court the right to privacy is not the prime right of people. The preservation of life is the prime right and responsibility of all people.

As I was writing this blog, I thought of another problem. Drug interactions, if the parents do not know the middle schooler is on the pill how are they going to inform the doctor? It is not like doctors are good about sharing records. They do have the legal responsibility to maintain patient privacy you know. However, the pill can cause a large number of nasty reactions with other prescriptions. One lady I know had to go off of the pill because it had a bad reaction with her antidepressant. You don't mess around with prescriptions. There are reasons why the dispensing of these drugs are controlled by people who have spent 8 years in training and are licensed before entering their profession. They can mess you up badly. What is going to happen when a doctor does not know little miss eleven year old is on the pill and he proscribes a medicine that is known to have negative interactions. Is he going to be sued and possible lose his practice? I feel for the poor bugger who becomes the case law study for malpractice suits on this issue.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

They are just going to do it anyway

There is one argument that bugs me beyond any other and that is the justification "They are going to do it anyway so we might as well make them safe. Sadly, this is the argument used to protect those who commit abortion in our country. The latest attempt was in the news snippet section in Time, in the form of a map detailing how many of abortions are safe and unsafe in each region. While they did not really add on to the map any argumentation so to speak, it certainly was a passive aggressive way of arguing the need to keep abortion legal. However, it really is the dumbest argument in the world. You might as well say we should legalize murder because people are going to do it anyways and they need to have a safe environment in which to commit their murder. Oh wait, that is what they are saying. Maybe, I need a different example. I know we should legalize robbery because people are going to do it anyways and they have a right to pursue their chosen profession and we really need to be able to provide a safe environment for robbers because so many robberies are happening in dangerous back alley robberies.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We Came To America To Get Good Medical Care

No, I am not talking about people from the south, rather our neighbors from the north. Canadian mothers are pouring over the border to deliver their children. Why? Because, their glorious socialized health system can't afford the equipment nor the space to take care of their babies. It seems Michael Moore's panacea of health care isn't all that it is cracked up to be. Apparently there isn't guaranteed health care, but a first come first served and not enough to go around health care system. Complain all you want about how expensive health care is in the U.S, but generally you are going to find somebody to treat you. And people think National Health care is the answer to all our problems in the U.S.

For additional reading: Canada's Expectant Mom's Heading to The U.S. to Deliver

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cool Nerd Queen

I'd say that beats a plain ol' Nerd King any day. says I'm a Cool Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

Take that, Dr. Luther! =)

I am the King of the World!

Shut up, Leo and get out of my way! I am the King and I have proof. says I'm a Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

Take that Rebellious Pastor's Wife ;)

Texas Tech Shows How Low They Can Go

Ok, I am a Texas College Football fan and former student of Texas A&M so I can get into the whole rivalry scene with the best of them, but the one thing I can't stand are the low brow insults. Well this past week students from Tech began selling t-shirts that featured a football player hanging a collie from a leash with the caption "Vick 'em" now this is not only tasteless but it is also supremely stupid, but then what can you expect from a group who couldn't get into the real universities.

I don't think I need to go into how tasteless the shirt is with its blatant endorsement of animal cruelty, but I can't imagine anybody being so dumb. If there is one thing that is going to turn people against you it is the threat of animal cruelty. Look at what happened to Michael Vick, the guy they modeled the shirt after, he was dumped faster than a Hollywood spouse. But, I guess I can't expect much from a school who's great achievements include ramming a goal post into the visitor section and throwing tortillas.

I really hope this epitome of classless lack of taste gets the team so fired up they pound Tech into the dirt on their home field. That would be the sweetest payback. Besides, I am tired of losing in Lubbock.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Christian Radio: It's the pits

I have to ask is there anything more inane and annoying than Christian Radio stations (excluding KFUO)?

Every single one that I have ever listened to is the exact same bland, white bread, and vacuous pop sound with equally bland DJ's. In fact, I have noticed that nearly every major station sounds so much a like I am beginning to think that it is Houston's KSBJ being rebroadcast in other towns with new call letters. The DJ's all sound alike and even the jingles and promotions are the same. It is enough to drive you mad!

Of course, it does not help that my preferences are toward the heavy side of music and they play cookie cutter pop music. Have you ever noticed how all the female artists sound like Rebecca St. James and all the male artists sound like Steven Curtis Chapman?

I'll be honest, it really does bug me because if you want to listen to the radio, you only have a choice between the raunchy dj's and not so wholesome music of the Rock stations or the questionable quality of white bread Christian Stations. The only thing that has preserved my sanity while driving is that I have an adapter for my Ipod. BTW, if you are ever on the east coast of Florida and you see a guy in a bluish green Grand Prix wearing a clerical collar and headbanging, that's me.

Now, the inane music isn't the only part about Christian Radio stations that bug me. Their theology is enough to drive me to drink. Oh wait, that is too easy. It is enough to drive me to wear burnt orange the day after Thanksgiving (I am an Aggie, folks) . My wife actually banned me from listening to KSBJ because she was sick of every car trip becoming a rant about the evils of decision theology and the latest drivel from the Left Below crowd. Arggh, sometimes it seemed there was better theological thought on Oprah.

In short Christian Radio is the pits no matter how you look at it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Zoidberg's Brain Slug Treatment Candidate of the Week Oct, 8 2007

This week's candidate is selected because he got married. Now I am not against the institution of marriage generally speaking, in fact, if it didn't mean death for my species I'd be involved myself. Besides it is hard to argue against how happy the good doctor's family is. But, enough about that! This candidate because of marriage isn't getting the treatment because of marriage rather who he is marrying. His now wife is collecting ex's faster than flies on that delicious 10 day old hot dog sitting on the street... Is anybody going to eat that?

I'll be right back...

Now where was I. Oh yeah.

My candidate this week receives his treatment because of his marriage to none other than Pamela Anderson. Fry tells me she is a hot babe from a show called Babewatch, Babywatch; oh I can't remember, but Dr. Luther tells me she is a fading beauty with whom wild living is catching up. Anyhow I grant my treatment to her new Beau, Rick Salomon as he boldly goes -snip- {edited by the good censors of the Foxnews Network where we report the news and let you decide}

The Appendix, not so useless after all

HT: Balaam's Ass

Scientists think that they may have found a use for that useless organ that explodes at random intervals maiming young people left and right and ruining their perfect bellies with scars. Apparently, they think it is the backup drive for our intestinal floral. Go figure, a bacteria laden organ was meant to replenish our intestines with good bacteria. Now if only I had kept my backup files when I was in highschool. Dr. Zoidberg tells me he can get me one cheap but I think he is getting his organs from the guy who tried to sell Fry some gills, so I think I will pass.

More on Tripp and spanking

In my previous post on spanking as a means of grace, I had a few commentators take issue with my lumping Tripp in with Pearl and Ezzo. They felt that he did not advocate spanking as a means of grace, but merely promoted spanking as a tool that could help parents point their kids to Christ when they misbehave. I answered their specific points in the comments, but I thought the general issue was worth another post.

While I do agree that Tripp does not go as far as the others - he may very well fall short of effectively claiming means of grace level for spanking, although I'm not so sure it is something to boast about - he is nowhere near orthodox.

Why? Because of this: Tripp claims that "God commands spanking":
The use of the rod is an act of faith. God has mandated its use (109).

Spanking is not "one tool among many" to Tripp, but THE tool. "Spanking" is now synonymous with "discipline". As far as Tripp is concerned, if you don't spank, then by definition you aren't disciplining:
If you fail to spank, you fail to take God's Word seriously. You are saying you do not believe what the Bible teaches about the import of these issues. You are saying that you do not love your child enough to do the painful things that God has called you to (149).

And if you aren't disciplining, then you are disobeying God, and your children are effectively lost:
The rod is a rescue mission. The child who needs a spanking has become distanced from his parents through disobedience. The spanking is designed to rescue the child from continuing in his foolishness. If he continues, his doom is certain. Thus, the parent, driven by love for the child, must use the rod (110, emphasis mine).

Spanking cannot guarantee your children's salvation, Tripp says, but NOT spanking will pretty much doom them. How can that be, unless spanking has some sort of power that no other method of discipline has? (Of course, according to Tripp, there isn't any other method of discipline: Spanking is the only way mandated by God.) But never fear, Tripp has the obvious answer: he says spanking DOES have power - the power to change the heart:
[S]panking enables you to deal with issues of the heart....The heart is the battleground. The spanking comes only because it is God's method of driving foolishness far from your child's heart (153).

The child is a sinner. There are things within the heart of the sweetest little baby that, allowed to blossom and grow to fruition, will bring about eventual destruction. The rod functions in this context. It is addressed to needs within the child. These needs cannot be met by mere talk....[F]oolishness is bound up within his heart. Allowed to take root and grow for 14 or 15 years, it will produce a rebellious teenager who will not allow anyone to rule him. The spanking process drives foolishness from the heart of a child. Confrontation with the immediate and undeniably tatile sensation of a spanking renders an implacable child sweet(105-106, emphasis mine).

The rod returns the child to the place of blessing. Left to himself, he would continue to live a lust-driven life. He would continue to seek comfort in being a slave to his desires and fears. The rod of correction returns him to the place of submission to parents in which God has promised blessing (115).

There you have it, folks. Spanking is "God's method of driving foolishness far from your child's heart". "It is addressed to needs within the child." "These needs cannot be met by mere talk." "The child is a sinner...Left to himself, he would continue to live a lust-driven life." "Thus, the parent...must use the rod." "The rod returns the child to the place of blessing."

So, Tripp may not say spanking saves, but he DOES say that it must be used, and not using it has catastrophic consequences. That is completely unorthodox, and is more than bad enough to warrant jettisoning his advice entirely. This is a good example of how ONE wrong doctrine can so thoroughly poison an otherwise correct book.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Much Needed Update

I finally updated our Lutheran Blogs of Interest. I hope you can understand my laziness. It is just so hard to copy and paste code you know. Special thanks to our illustrious Aardvark for going to all the trouble to compile a list of Lutheran bloggers.

Tila Tequila and Her God of Self

Tila Tequila, star of the controversial new MTV reality show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila - a Bachelor type show pitting 32 men and 32 women against each other for the love of Ms. Tila - has recently come out saying she has made her peace with God. My first thought was, "Woo-Hoo!" But, as usual, I am too optimistic for reality. Tila has instead found a means by which to rationalize and support her behavior as acceptable to God, despite all that he says against it. quotes her saying:
"I stopped feeling bad about myself because I was told that I was a 'bad' person for whatever reasons and opinions," Tequila explained. "That's when I turned my life around. I accepted me for who I am in all my glory. I accepted the fact that God would love me as long as my heart is good."
What a farce: God will love me as long as my heart is good? Did you ever see the part where God said that nobody is good? David writes in Psalm 14, "...They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one..."
Tila deludes herself, if she honestly thinks that God acknowledges her as good. He sees you as evil, Tila, because he sees all sins as evil - but there is good news. David, who recorded God's words declaring all evil, also shares with us the only thing we can do with our sins: confess them.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. Psalm 51:1-14
God, who is faithful and just, will forgive your sins when you confess them before him (1 John 1:9). This is what makes God so cool: we can experience his love and acceptance through the Blood of the Lamb. The very God, who rightly declared we are all evil and deserving of death, did not leave us in that state. He gave us a way out through the sacrifice of Jesus. If you want to be right with God, that is where you should look - not some mumbo-jumbo about accepting yourself for who you are.

Sadly, I don't see Tila receiving this truth anytime soon. She is way too happy worshiping herself. She feels all special because she has 2 million plus friends on Myspace, and is going to make a load of money with the Corinthian-esque spectacle MTV is airing; yet none of these things will do her a lick of good in the end.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Coach Fran and HIPAA

Enough silliness, it is time to talk serious. Coach Fran has caused a serious stir with his high priced email list, much revolving around HIPAA violations. For you people outside of the medical profession, it is the set of rules regulating the release of medical and personal information. I was a student chaplain in a hospital and therefore required to learn the regulations and to be honest HIPAA is a paper tiger designed to make patients feel better. To null and void the HIPAA rules requires only a piece of paper with a signature that does not have to be witnessed. Though I do not know for sure as I was never a student athlete, I strongly suspect in the myriad of papers they have to sign is a HIPAA release form that allows them to release medical information. So, until we learn otherwise all the detractors screaming HIPAA violations ought to shut-up.

Now the question about rules violations with NCAA that is for the investigative committee to determine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Zoidberg's Brain Slug Treatment Candidate of the Week part whatever.

Dr. Zoidberg is back!

Did anybody notice I was gone? Well? Nobody ever notices me!
Well I am back and if nobody likes it, they can speak to the claw!
I tell you, this is the last time I go looking through boxes to find a meal - you just never know where you are going to end up.

Now that I am back, it didn't take long to find a new candidate for my patented treatment. This week's candidate is a person who was hired to be smart, but did something dumb in his job. You see, he thought that it would be a good idea to sell membership to an email list and send out secrets concerning people at his work place. Not smart in the best of times, but, you see, he already has people hunting his head because they don't think he is living up to expectations. So, with no further ado, I give you this weeks ZBSTC: Coach Dennis Franchione of Texas A&M.

Just what does it mean to follow Jesus?

Really, what does it mean to follow Jesus? I have heard so many different view points, with the most recent coming from the Episcopal head Schori. She states:

"What does it mean to follow Jesus? How did Jesus live? With whom did he eat? With whom did he converse?"
"Jesus hung out with people on the margins. He hung out with people who were unacceptable to the Judaism of his time," she pointed out. "I think that's what it means to follow Jesus." -

A nice sentiment, and to a point it is true. However, as always, the devil is in the details. Jesus did hang out with the "undesirables", such as Matthew, Zaccheus, and the foot washing lady - to name a few - but somehow I have a feeling that how He hung out with them is far different than what Mrs. Schori means. Jesus went to them because they were sick with a terminal disease called sin and He had the cure: His shed blood on the cross. As Jesus came with the cure, He did what any good prophet would do and called these people to repentance. The lady caught in adultery, for instance: He told her to go and sin no more. Jesus loved her enough to forgive her, but He didn't give her license to continue in her sin. I have a feeling Mrs. Schori probably doesn't even acknowledge that as part of Scripture.

Whereas Jesus went and hung out with the undesirables in order to bring them to him in repentance, I suspect Mrs. Schori is hanging out with the "undesirables" while affirming and encouraging them in their sin by proclaiming a false gospel. You know the one: Jesus loves us and wants us to be happy, so do what makes you happy. You know, the happy gospel that doesn't have any nasty law hanging around to make us feel bad.

Schori goes on to say, "All people – including gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians – are deserving of the fullest regard of the Church." Again, it would sound good coming out of Daniel Preus' mouth, but sure sounds foul coming out of hers. Namely, because she means it to include and affirm them where they are at, whereas I would bet my last dollar Dr. Preus would mean to call them to repentance and faith in the sacrificial Lamb of God. Yes, people trapped by homosexuality deserve our attention - because they too are a special creation of God, and He wants to see them purified in the blood of His Son - but it isn't going to happen if we coddle them and tell them they are fine when they most definitely are not; that is as stupid as expecting a cancer patient to get better by affirming them in their cancer while not doing anything to treat the disease. I am all for reaching out to the homosexuals and to others, but let's not ignore half of God's message to us just because it makes us feel bad.

Monday, October 1, 2007

School: The New Religion

Governments have always striven to instill unity in the populaces they govern. Understandable, considering the easiest way to control the population is when they have a high degree of similarity. In centuries past, governments looked to religion to instill a unified value system in its citizenry - such as Nebuchadnezzar and his great idol, Pharaoh and his deification, Rome and its Emperor worship, Constantine and Christianity, Prussia and the unified national church - the list goes on. The United States even fell into this category until recent years; prior to the sixties Christianity predominated and the government looked to the church to form the moral values of its citizens. Then the minority religions gained a voice and the government realized its predicament: they were walking a tight line as far as the anti-establishment clause was concerned. So, the government had to back off from its quasi-Christian mindset to endorse diversity. Now it had a problem: who could it look to to instill a unified mindset?

The government turned to the one thing it can control: education. Our educational system, public and private, could be used by the government to form the value systems of its people. In recent years, the government has been flexing its muscles in order to change the curriculum into a creature designed to make children into the little governmental "yes men" it desires, forming the young into people who look to Uncle Sam for all the answers: to tell them what to think, and what to buy. Don't believe me? Just read the editorials and see the number of people screaming for the government to fix all their little problems. The government has, in essence, made itself into a god by instilling into people the hope that it can provide for all their happiness and needs.

That is not all - it has taken a page out of our book and is using education to brainwash our children with the ideal of acceptance. Take, for instance, a school in Massachusetts, reading King and King to 2nd graders. Massachusetts has a vested interest in having people accepting the homosexual lifestyle - because they need continued support to maintain the legality of homosexual marriage in the state - so they are training them on their desired path early so they won't go astray.

Where does all of this place religion in our society? On the outside, of course, and dismissed as a non-entity, un-important. Am I dismayed by this? Yes and No. Yes, because religion is a major factor even if secular society wishes to deny it. And No, because the government's dismissal of religion does nothing to affect the truth, because the truth never changes. Besides, Christianity seems to do pretty well when it is on the outside. Not to mention, Christianity is not a religion of control as much as it is a religion of influence through true freedom.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

High Tech Worship and the Traditionalist

I am back, and no, my reason for not posting is not because my secretary decided to join the GM workers on their strike. Rather, I was at a Pastor's convention learning about politics in the pulpit; before you ask no, it was not about Jesus First vs. (insert your favorite confessional group). Instead, it was about engaging the topics of governmental politics, such as universal health care; you know, the things our members are wasting their time with instead of pondering the wonders of the genus maiestaticum. The conference was short on answers, but it was thought provoking, and made me realize just how much people have forgotten about the theology of the Two Kingdoms. Seems like we need more preaching and teaching on the Two Kingdoms in order to counteract the reformed who mistakenly believe that a government can be Christian. Anyhow, enough about the past three days and on into more important things, such as worship wars!

Technology and traditional worship do not seem to go hand in hand in the mind of traditionalists. I have heard many complain that it is a distraction, un-needed, unChristian (or more specifically unLutheran), and a crutch for poor preaching. Sadly, I am not sure this is an unbiased view of technology. I think this view largely stems from technologies' link with vacuous contemporary worship practices. At the same time, there is truth to the traditionalist's complaints concerning technology. This is rather sad, because technology has the potential to be a great tool for the proclamation of the Gospel.

The first thing we need to get into our head is that ours is a visual society. Increasingly, our information is coming to us in the visual formats. If you disagree, why are you reading my blog? It is purely visual. We would be wise to figure out ways to fit the visual technology into the the traditional services. A simple start is by putting up the pericope - the Bible reading - on the screen; it saves paper, and lets everybody follow along with the lector. We put a fair number of our announcements up on the screen and run them between services; this cuts down on paper and the annoying break in the liturgy to announce next week's potluck. And, before anybody comments that I could save paper by not printing out the week's service, we're way ahead of you; we haven't done that for the traditional service since the arrival of our LSB's. The visual cues can also help people during the sermon.

My pastor friend had to take speech communications as an undergrad; for some reason, they expected doctors, veterinarians, and scientists to actually be able to communicate (I am not sure it really worked by the way: half the time I can't understand a word he says), but he tells me they taught him how to use visual aids to help aid understanding and to drive home his points. Many of our people will remember our key points better if they can see it as well as hear it. We do ourselves a disservice to not utilize the visual medium just because a couple of hacks ruined it. We didn't throw out private confession just because a few papists abused it, did we? Take advantage of the technology to help your people understand some of the more esoteric nuances of our theology.

Now, some have said technology is a distraction, and I have to agree it can be. The best solution is: don't be an idiot. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Our worship services shouldn't look like a middle-schooler's My Space page. Simple and clean with appropriate imagery does the trick every time. There is a time and place for using flashy moving backgrounds but in the middle of a rousing rendition of "A Mighty Fortress" is not one of them.

Long story short, technology can be our friend in the traditional setting. We don't have to leave it all in the hands of the vacuous mega-church types and their wanna-bes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Sad Day for Fantasy Fans - Robert Jordan died Sept 16th

Robert Jordan, author of the epic Wheel of Time series has succumbed to the disease which has ailed him for some time. I know I am behind the times, but I only check a couple times a month to see if there is any news about book 12.

Rumor has it Robert Jordan did make arrangements to make sure the final book will be published.

carai an caldazar

Reposted from the Tor Publishers News Room

New York, NY: September 17, 2007

Tor novelist Robert Jordan (whose given name was James Oliver Rigney Jr.), the beloved author of the bestselling Wheel of Time® fantasy series, died yesterday after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis.

In an entry posted yesterday on Jordan's blog at, Jordan's cousin Wilson Grooms wrote that he passed away Sunday, September 16th at 2:45 pm and noted that: "He fought a valiant fight against this most horrid disease. In the end, he left peacefully and in no pain," and that "his beloved wife, Harriet, was at this side through the entire fight and to the end."

Tor publisher Tom Doherty said of Jordan: "He was one of the great storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries; Jim's Wheel of Time is a towering epic of power and scope, he was a man of courage and heart and vision but for me, first of all, he was my friend of 30 years."

Robert Jordan was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina; he taught himself to read by the time he was four, and was tackling Mark Twain and Jules Verne by the age of five. He began writing in 1977 and went on to write one of the most important and best-selling series in the history of fantasy publishing with over 14 million copies of The Wheel of Time series sold in North America (and over 30 million copies sold worldwide). The last three books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers.

Jordan has often been referred to as Tolkien's heir and in an article about The Wheel of Time series, The New York Times lauded Jordan for his extraordinary story-telling ability: "the books' battle scenes have the breathless urgency of firsthand experience, and the ambiguities in these novels--the evil laced into the forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the sense of the unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable events--bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades, just as the experience of the First World War and its aftermath gave its imprint to Tolkien's work."

Jordan was a graduate of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, with a degree in physics. He served two tours in Vietnam with the U.S. Army; among his decorations were the Distinguished Flying Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and bronze oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. A history buff, he also wrote dance and theater criticism and enjoyed the outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor sports of poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. Jordan also authored the Michael Fallon historical romance trilogy under the nom de plume Reagan O'Neal and seven Conan novels, from Conan the Invincible (1982) through Conan the Victorious (1984).

Jordan had a close relationship with his numerous fan websites, including, on which he hosted his blog, and other sites including:,,,, and

The sites participated in a massive internet hunt in 2005 to promote the publication of Jordan's last hardcover novel, Knife of Dreams, and again recently in a calendar art competition, for which Jordan had just chosen the winners last week. There were also numerous fan stories about relationships that had bloomed because of a common love of The Wheel of Time series. Tor's website has a snapshot of these from a few years ago at

News of Jordan's death quickly spread across the fan sites yesterday and today with fans writing in from around the world to express their grief and best wishes for his family. Jordan had an incredibly close knit group of fans; an article published on summed it up best in describing fans' support of Jordan during his illness: "There are readers, and then there are fans. Readers offer condolences when a favorite author falls ill. Fans offer bone marrow."

With the popular refrain from the Wheel of Time series, where Jordan himself was often affectionately known as the Dragon, Tor says goodbye to a giant in the field of writing: "The Wheel of Time turns and ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time?"

Robert Jordan is survived by his wife, Harriet Popham Rigney; one son: William Popham McDougal of Houstonic, Massachusetts; one brother: Reynolds W. Rigney of New Orleans, LA; his first cousin: Wilson Watson Grooms, Jr. of Charlotte, NC and numerous nieces and nephews, including James Oliver Rigney III of New Orleans, LA. He is predeceased by his brother Theodore Smith Rigney.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral services at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Wednesday, September 19, 2007 at 11:00 am. Interment is private but friends may call at the Church Social Hall following the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of James Rigney to:

Mayo Clinic Department of Hematology -- Amyloidosis research
200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.

For more information about Robert Jordan or to contact the webmaster of Dragonmount, Jordan's leading fan site, please contact Tor Publicity Director Elena Stokes at: