April Fools Hoaxes

With Fools Day just two days away here is some Fools Day trivia from Yahoo. Here are 10 of the top April Fool's Day pranks ever pulled off, as judged by the San Diego-based Museum of Hoaxes for their notoriety, absurdity, and number of people duped.
-- In 1957, a BBC television show announced that thanks to a mild winter and the virtual elimination of the spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Footage of Swiss farmers pulling strands of spaghetti from trees prompted a barrage of calls from people wanting to know how to grow their own spaghetti at home.

-- In 1985, Sports Illustrated magazine published a story that a rookie baseball pitcher who could reportedly throw a ball at 270 kilometers per hour (168 miles per hour) was set to join the New York Mets. Finch was said to have mastered his skill -- pitching significantly faster than anyone else has ever managed -- in a Tibetan monastery. Mets fans' celebrations were short-lived.

-- Sweden in 1962 had only one television channel, which broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert appeared on the news to announce that thanks to a newly developed technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to receive color pictures by pulling a nylon stocking over the screen. In fact, they had to wait until 1970.

-- In 1996, American fast-food chain Taco Bell announced that it had bought Philadelphia's Liberty Bell, a historic symbol of American independence, from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.

Outraged citizens called to express their anger before Taco Bell revealed the hoax. Then-White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale and said the Lincoln Memorial in Washington had also been sold and was to be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial after the automotive giant.

-- In 1977, British newspaper The Guardian published a seven-page supplement for the 10th anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semicolon-shaped islands. A series of articles described the geography and culture of the two main islands, named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse.

-- In 1992, US National Public Radio announced that Richard Nixon was running for president again. His new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." They even had clips of Nixon announcing his candidacy. Listeners flooded the show with calls expressing their outrage. Nixon's voice actually turned out to be that of impersonator Rich Little.

-- In 1998, a newsletter titled New Mexicans for Science and Reason carried an article that the state of Alabama had voted to change the value of pi from 3.14159 to the "Biblical value" of 3.0.

-- Burger King, another American fast-food chain, published a full-page advertisement in USA Today in 1998 announcing the introduction of the "Left-Handed Whopper," specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new burger included the same ingredients as the original, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. The chain said it received thousands of requests for the new burger, as well as orders for the original "right-handed" version.

-- Discover Magazine announced in 1995 that a highly respected biologist, Aprile Pazzo (Italian for April Fool), had discovered a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. The creatures were described as having bony plates on their heads that became burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speed -- a technique they used to hunt penguins.

-- Noted British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on the radio in 1976 that at 9:47 am, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, in which Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, would cause a gravitational alignment that would reduce the Earth's gravity. Moore told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment of the planetary alignment, they would experience a floating sensation. Hundreds of people called in to report feeling the sensation.
Gotta wonder if you would have been one of those floaters ... or maybe one of those incensed by the renaming of the monuments ... kind of makes you smile :)

Abbott Sells Computer to Costello

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, "Who's on First?" might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on "START".............

The Darkside of Ministry

Recently our local paper had an expose' on the finances of a local SBC church saying that it's senior pastor kept financial matters secret. It is sad, though necessary, when the secular media does this kind of stuff.

A Maranatha Intro

Thanks Bruce!

Reign Over Me

I am an Adam Sandler fan - I think that he, mostly, makes pretty good movies. So I am wanting to catch this movie (it is opening today) before it leaves the big screens. Here are a few excerpts from Todd Hertz' Christianity Today review:
What does Charlie need to reign over him? Love.

In telling the story of Alan's steady, bold and abrasive love slowly brightening Charlie's dark world, Reign Over Me hits on poignant, profound themes that make you think. This movie will lead to great discussions. Christians will see several ideas and thoughts reflected from the Bible. And Charlie's attitudes, emotional traps and side effects of grief may remind any audience of hurting loved ones—or themselves. After the film, you may think of hurting friends you need to call. I did. You may feel the need to talk to your spouse about what you want for them if you pass on first. I did. There are just so many provocative truths...

We see an example of why God designed us for close friendships and biblical fellowship. We see why we need one other—and, sometimes, need help from trained professionals. We see the importance of communication. We see the reality of people painfully holed up in their grief. We see the need to not run from or bury past loves, losses and mistakes, but instead remember—as painful as that process may be. We see why love is selfless...

At its heart, the movie is about people who have lost their bearings through tragedy, and dealing with it in unhealthy ways. It's redeeming and powerful—though uncomfortable to watch at times because it's about messy people navigating messy lives. And like in life, nothing heals quickly and easily. Instead, progress comes in fits and starts—and tends to hit rock bottom just when you think everything's getting better.
You can catch my review of another Sandler flick here.

Dark Journey, Deep Grace

Dan Barry's March 11 New York Times article:
He Befriended a Serial Killer,
and Opened the Door to God

The big wall clock tells the minister he has less than an hour before tonight’s Bible class down at the church.

No time for supper.

He finds his keys in the tight apartment that he and his wife, Susan, have rented for 16 years, shared now with an adult daughter, two cats and a dog. In this space the clock looms large, a treadmill dominates the living room, and bunny knickknacks everywhere signal the approaching season of rebirth.

A goodbye to Susan, a pocket pat to jingle those keys, and out he goes into the wintry Wisconsin sunset, Roy Ratcliff, minister of the Mandrake Road Church of Christ in Madison. No different from any other preacher, save for one baptism he performed long ago.

“My friend Jeff,” Mr. Ratcliff often calls him. A child of God.

His friend Jeff was killed in prison in 1994, several months after his baptism and in a brutal fashion too quick and clean for some. To say that he confessed to killing 17 young men and boys only begins to hint at his grisly crimes. His full name was Jeffrey Dahmer, and his depraved actions once made the world recoil.

Mr. Dahmer left behind confused parents, dozens of distraught relatives of the victims, the traumatized city of Milwaukee — and this white-bearded minister, struggling still at 60 with the sense that he, too, had been condemned, for having the audacity to grant God’s blessings upon the devil.

“I’m marked as the man who did that,” Mr. Ratcliff says, his tone suggesting frustration, not regret.

Before this singular act came to define him, Mr. Ratcliff was just another modest minister of modest means, addressing the temporal and spiritual needs of a few dozen congregants. He tended to speak rapidly, with New Testament references seeming to tumble from his lips with each exhalation.

Then, one day in April 1994, Mr. Ratcliff found himself in a small room at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, where an inmate had expressed a desire to be baptized. He had never met a serial killer; for that matter, he had never been inside a prison.

The young man entered smiling and unshackled. The minister calmed himself and got to the point: “I understand you want to be baptized.”

In Mr. Ratcliff’s mind, the shocking crimes of Mr. Dahmer were stipulated; the inmate had readily confessed to everything after his capture in 1991. What mattered now was whether this blond, pallid man before him understood that baptism cleansed his sins against God, not his crimes against the state.

“He was seeking redemption,” Mr. Ratcliff says, recalling how Mr. Dahmer often spoke of being the worst of sinners. “He was seeking forgiveness.”

A few weeks later, Mr. Dahmer donned a white polyester robe and climbed into a steel-silver whirlpool normally used by inmates with physical injuries. The minister gently pushed him under the water until he was fully immersed, and baptized him with a short prayer.

When the convict emerged, the preacher said, “Welcome to the family of God.”
Jeffrey Dahmer smiled.

Every Wednesday for months afterward, Mr. Ratcliff met with Mr. Dahmer to pray. The convict said he should have been put to death for his crimes, and his minister agreed. He talked about suicide, something the preacher had flirted with many years earlier, after being fired from another church. A shared faith drew the different men together.

A few days before he was killed in November 1994, Mr. Dahmer handed Mr. Ratcliff a Thanksgiving Day card that the minister keeps wrapped in plastic. “Dear Roy,” the note begins, in loopy handwriting. “Thank you for your friendship, and for taking the time and effort to help me understand God’s word.”

After a discreet memorial service at the minister’s church in Madison, after the notorious surname had slipped into the recesses of public consciousness, Mr. Ratcliff continued to be identified as the man who baptized the serial killer. Both in and out of the Church of Christ community, some embraced him for it, while others shunned him.

People would walk away when introduced to him or argue that they wanted no part of a heaven that included Jeffrey Dahmer. Some would praise him to his face, only to tell others that he had been duped. He was rarely invited to other churches to talk about the salvation of the least of us, because, he guesses, “there is a sense of shame.”

At gatherings of preachers in the region, he says, one minister from Milwaukee constantly points him out to others and says: Do you know who that man is? Do you know what he did?

“I’ve become a little bit jaded by the hypocrisy,” Mr. Ratcliff says.

Last year Mr. Ratcliff wrote a short book about what he calls Mr. Dahmer’s “story of faith.” The book, “Dark Journey, Deep Grace,” has sold poorly — perhaps, he says, because people cannot see that a story about Mr. Dahmer is a story about all of us.

Mr. Ratcliff says he is a better man for having known Jeffrey Dahmer, but knows that some people will have trouble understanding this. He says he now visits several prisons a month. He says he has a keener understanding of faith, and of mercy.
It seems that Mr. Dahmer is rarely far from the preacher’s mind. For example, that large clock looming in his family’s apartment was bought at a kiosk in the mall, with the honorarium the Dahmer family gave him for arranging the memorial service. The Ratcliffs call it “Jeff’s clock.”

By the time that clock strikes seven, the minister is already at his church, turning on the lights, checking the heat, greeting congregants. Soon he joins them in song.

The Thinking Blogger Award

This week Nova Dad has given me The Thinking Blogger Award. One of the responsibilities of this prestigious award is the awarding of five other blogs. So, drum roll please, I hereby bestow on the following blogsters the designation of The Thinking Blogger Award:
From The Morning is a blog that causes me to think about faith and life from a younger perspective. It has helped me to expand my thinking beyond my experience ... and it is cool :)

Enter The Rainbow is authored by a United Methodist pastor and has helped my see past my nondenom background and experiences. It has taught me to see value in a different faith perspective.

Prodigal Daughter is not a place you want to go unless you want to change. The author of PD writes in such a transparent and vulnerable way. She is authentic to the max and helps me to witness the life of an overcomer.

Julie Unplugged is a UPI religion writer that has a similar faith background to my own. Julie helps me to see faith and life in a helpful and constructive way. Her insights on Evangelicalism are revolutionary revelation.

Familyhood Church, The Milly Times and The Sword's Still Out (along with many other blogs) have caused me to rethink community. I listed these as representatives of bloggers that genuinely care for me and pray for me when I hurt. These bloggers are the reasons that I come back to blogworld every day.
So, the responsibility of these award recipients is to award others with "The Thinking Blogger Award". Be sure that when you award them, you link back to the original source of this award and include the icon displayed above.

Fortran Inventor Dies

John Backus, whose development of the Fortran programming language in the 1950s changed how people interacted with computers and paved the way for modern software, has died. He was 82. Read more here.

Vote for Sanjaya ?

03/21 Update: Sanjaya Rocks American Idol

Heard about this website?

Apparently Howard Stern is joining with them in supporting Sanjaya for all the wrong reasons.

Of course it is just TV :)

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Another reason to make that oft postponed trip to the southwest?

Have you ever been to the canyon?


Would this new attraction attract you?

Festival of the Pillow Fight

The crowds were large and jubilant at this year's Festival of the Pillow Fight. -- Nova Dad (Matt)

Church and Technology

Find more cartoons that you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Each week I hear something or observe an attitude that reflects the sentiment in this cartoon by Dave Walker. Many in churchdom seem to think that technology is not needed and attempts at changing services to include technology (i.e. computerized presentations) is simply not needed. These folks also do not understand or even see a need for a church home on the internet. Such a sad commentary. What is your experience with technology in church?

War Zone Diary

On March 21 at 9pm CDT, MSNBC will air War Zone Diary, an hour special based on the video journal of NBC News’ war correspondent Richard Engel, 33, who has reported continuously from Iraq for the last four years. Here is a short interview he did with Tim Russert a few weeks ago on Meet the Press.Here is a quote from Richard Engel on what it’s like to live and work in Iraq for the last four years.
“As Iraq has changed, I have changed. The war has cost me my marriage. I’ve had friends killed and kidnapped, survived bombings and attempts on my life. I have seen Iraqis freed from the numbing, terrifying fetters of totalitarianism, and had their lives destroyed by the religious bigotry, ignorance, greed and opportunism unleashed by this war. It has changed my outlook. Violence and cruelty now seem, to me, to come easily to mankind; a new belief that disturbs me. But I am also more appreciative of how quickly life can turn for the better, or for the worse.”
My prayers go out for Mr Engel and for all other US civilians in Iraq.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Believers Against The War

Believers Against The War was recently founded by Suzanne and Dave Brownlow, parents of Jared Brownlow a soldier now serving in Baghdad.

Welcome Back Milly !

In honor of Milly's return to Bloggerville.

Movies That Changed My Life

Christianity Today film reviewer Jeffrey Overstreet's new book "Through a Screen Darkly" seeks to answer the question "Can movies change your life?" You can read Jeffrey's self-commentary here. This got me to thinking about movies that have brought about changes in my thinking. Some of those movies would have to include:
  • The Hiding Place: Helped me to get a glimpse of true faith and forgiveness in the face of Nazi brutality and tyranny.
  • Joni: Inspired me by showing me how faith can help someone overcome a lifechanging tragedy and bring beauty for ashes from it.
  • Dances With Wolves: Changed the way that I viewed Westward Expansion and Native American ancestors.
  • Schindlers List: Blew me away and helped me to better understand the atrocities of the holocaust.
  • Rainman: Educated me about autism and gave me hope for people like Charlie Babbit who over time fell in love with his older brother and wanted to be a part of his life.
  • Antoine Fisher: Helped me see the challenges of urban youth and how early wounds can cripple us.
  • Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan and Glory: These movies all helped me to understand how brutal war can be and how the bravery of one man can make a difference.
  • Malcolm X: Helped me to better understand civil rights history and how religion can shape a man's life.

I know that there are others. Maybe I'll update this post when I think of them. How about you? Have you ever had a movie bring about change in your life?

Anyone Remember Encyclopedias?

Anyone remember when you went to the library to attack research assignments? Or how about those encyclopedias that your mom and dad bought to help you do your homework? Anyone still have them taking up space on your bookshelves?


Here is an excerpt from Christianity Today's review of this movie:
There are essentially two things you need to know about 300: It's extremely violent, and it's unlike anything you've seen before.

The first point should come as little surprise for a movie about the Greco-Persian Wars, specifically The Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. According to history, King Xerxes (yep, the same guy who takes Esther to be queen in the Bible) launched a massive campaign against Greece with an army that most claim to have numbered in the hundreds of thousands—some even say the millions. Many states were easily conquered by Persia's might, and Sparta seemed poised to fall next...

And yet I must also confess, the violence didn't shock me as I expected. You might call it desensitization, though I still wince at the graphic brutality in films like Braveheart, Schindler's List, and Saving Private Ryan. Chalk it up instead to the stunning visuals, which brings me back to point number two: This movie is unlike anything you've seen before...

The result is an eye-popping vision with massive armies, imaginative landscapes, and lots of slow-motion action. It's all so stylized, 300 comes off less as a horrific reenactment than as an art museum or history book come to life. Aside from the actors, most everything you see is computer-generated—including the blood—presumably allowing Snyder to control every component of the shot to make it as artful as possible. Virtually any given still from this movie could pass for a hyper-realistic painting...

I cannot stress enough that this movie is not for everyone because of its violence and excesses. Nevertheless, the execution is artful (literally and figuratively) and it presents some lofty ideas in the process. With filmmaking both epic and imaginative, 300 is the stuff that legends are made of. Read the entire review here.
The other reviews that I have seen are very good. Even so I'll probably wait for the DVD (maybe HDVD by then) release on this one. How about you?

Where Have All The Shepherds Gone?

Kelli Standish asks the question Where Have All The Shepherds Gone? I commented at her site giving references to some of my past posts. Here is my answer to the question:
Your post is sadly representative of probably the majority of church members experience. Here are a few reasons that (I think) we are in this position:

The Seduction of the Pulpit: I think that our evangelical desire to be 'taught' has attracted teachers rather than shepherds to the ministry.

Lack of Relational Authority: Evangelicalism has attracted a plethora of leaders who want positional authority instead of relational influence.

Loss of Our Prophetic Voice: Evangelical leaders have long coveted political power and have consequently lost the ability to speak prophetically to our nation.
The problem that Kelli described is symptomatic of a disease in the church. I see it all the time and have had to battle it myself. The battle to "be someone" is so fierce ... just recently I have come to grips with this phenomenon in my heart ... each day I am getting more comfortable with invisible ministry ... but it is not something that comes natural :)

Baby Bear's Revenge

"What? Goldilocks ate my porridge, broke my chair..." -- Missy

Honorary Doctors

This article in today's Kansas City Star got me to thinking about the ethics of calling yourself doctor when you have not graduated from college as Dr. Jerry has done. I guess many ministers do it. The Schullers do it, Billy Graham does it, as do Jerry Fallwell and others ... of course I'm thinking most of these probably have bachelors degrees. Gotta wonder why people do it? Is the title all that important? Guess it's okay as long as they aren't writing any prescriptions :)

File this one under GIVEMEABREAK!

Welcome Back Donnie

One of my favorite football players is returning to Kansas City as a Chief.

Welcome back Donnie Edwards!

We missed you!

Read more about Donnie's return here.

Music and Lyrics | ★★★★★★★

Ann and I finally got to this one last Wednesday and enjoyed viewing it. I thought that it lived up to its romantic comedy billing and delivered the goods. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore showed good chemistry. The movie was funny and had a good ending. Not much more to say because if you have seen the trailer you already know what it is about.

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★

I Hate Pocket Change

03/09 Update: Andy exposes a conspiracy theory about this Godless coin here :)
2/16: I found myself charging my $3.41 bagel and coffee purchase this morning so that I would not have to deal with 59 cents of rattling pocket change. So this announcement about a new flavor of pocket change did not sit favorably with me.

As it is I really don't even like Washington dollar bills but Washingtom dolar coins? Give me a break! Who thought this one up? It is nuts!

Christian One-Liners

From an email sent by my friend Bob Smith:
Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.

It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

If the church wants a better pastor, it only needs to pray for the one it has.

God Himself does not judge a man until he is dead. So why should you?

We were called to be witnesses, not lawyers or judges.

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.

Don't put a question mark where God put a period.

Don't wait for 6 strong men to take you to church.

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

He who angers you, controls you!

If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!

The Will of God never takes you to where the Grace of God will not protect you.

We don't change the message, the message changes us.
I wonder if you have any more :)

Divine Pets

I originally posted this on my other blog. When I saw this cartoon I simply had to repost.

Over the past months I have had many discussions with people that believe that Jesus' death and resurrection secured redemption and salvation for all of creation regardless of whether they believe or not - atheists, agnostics, Hitler ... and maybe even Satan are included in the mix - their position is that Jesus redeemed them all. They have compelling arguments and scripture to support their thinking. These are all very thoughtful people ... I enjoy exchanging ideas with them - maybe they will offer a comment on this post :)

So here is the question that has been going around in my head these days:
Are we just God's pets?
Some folks seem to embrace a redemption/salvation scenario where God is unwittingly portrayed having an unrelenting purpose to be with His pets forever ... nothing His pets do can change His resolve ... the pets have absolutely no part in His decision ... He loves them unconditionally and does not care what they think about anything - including Him, His Son's sacrifice and the afterlife.

I find that this model of redemption/salvation to be somewhat of an affront to humanity because it robs us of divine dignity and reduces us to people who are handicapped and unable to respond to heavenly love. But maybe that is exactly what it should be. Maybe we are all divine dogs and cats - loved deeply by their Owner but not really respected by Him ... made by Him but not really in His image ... His to play with and stroke lovingly but truly unable to be a collaborator with Him in His kingdom . I find this to view to be somewhat condescending and demeaning.

On the contrary, here is a scripture that I resonate with:
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15)
I believe that these words of Jesus restore dignity to us. Believing in Jesus sets us free to be fully human and fully alive - both today and the day we pass from this life to the next. I do not believe that we are heavenly pets with pre-ordained destinations. I don't think that believers are puppets manipulated by a heavenly (puppet) Master. God is my friend, I just can't view Him that way.

If you are of the non-sanctimonious camp (you know who you are) please feel free to comment but please keep the name calling to your own blogs - I'll delete any of that stuff here. I guess that I will file this one under (my newest label) sanctimonious :)

Multi-tasking Man

Jean-Paul decided to give new meaning to the term "multi-tasking." And they say only women are good at it. -- Stephanie

Demonic Definitions?

The following word 'definitions' come from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary:
Absurdity: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.

Acquaintance: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.

Admiration: Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.

Barometer: An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

Bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.

Cabbage: A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head.

Calamities: Two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others.

Painting: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.

Politeness: The most acceptable hypocrisy.

Politics: Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

Quotation: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
I thought the last was a fitting end to the list :)

Physical Worship

This poll surprised me. Maybe it is just indicative of those who visit CT Online. Once upon a time raising your hands in church was a very "Charismatic" experience. I wonder when it became (almost) mainstream? And what about the rest of those stats ... 8% are dancing :)

Non-denominational Labels

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker.
Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at
We Blog Cartoons.

I really resonate with this cartoon. I get so tired of non-denominational labels like Evangelical, Charismatic, Conservative, Liberal and the like. These words really bring confusion rather than clarity. If there is something good that can come from a denominational label ... and I think there is ... it is the idea of unity around the essentials. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
In essentials, unity; in differences, liberty; in all things, charity. -- Philipp Melanchthon
Denominations have the ability to bring clarity and define what they believe to be the essentials of faith. That said, it also needs to be said that denominational members might not agree on these essentials and might try to reform the denom from within or simply stick with the denom in spite of the essential differences.

In retrospect I really don't know why I wrote this ... I am a nondenom kind of guy you know :)

Not All Exploring is Good

03/05 Update: For those of us who have lost track here they are:

02/24 Update: Apologies to former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack who just dropped out of the presidential race - I didn't have him listed ... guess no one knew he was running :)
02/10 Update: Senator Barack Obama officially launched his campaign for president in Springfield, Illinois, the home town of Abraham Lincoln.
02/05 Update: Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took one step closer to officially seeking the 2008 Republican presidential nomination Monday by filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission
02/04 Update: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said Saturday he will probably run for president in 2008.
01/31: Sen. Joe Biden officially joined an increasingly crowded field for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination today, as he has been promising for months. "After nine months of doing this, there is no exploratory committee I'm running," the Delaware senator told The Associated Press.
01/28 Update: Conservative Republican Mike Huckabee, seeking to repeat the success of another former governor from Hope, Ark., said Sunday he is taking the first step in what he acknowledged is an underdog bid for the White House in 2008.
01/24 Update: Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democrats' losing presidential candidate in 2004, said today that he won't run for the White House again in 2008.
01/20 Shocking Update: Democratic U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said today that she planned to form an exploratory committee for the 2008 presidential race, the first step toward becoming a candidate for her party's nomination.
Democrat Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, plans to announce Sunday (1/21) that he will soon file papers to create a presidential exploratory committee.
01/17 Update: Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois jumped into the 2008 White House race yesterday, promising to "change our politics" with a campaign that could make him the first black president in U.S. history.
01/11 Update: How did I miss this (from December 5th)?
Republican U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback from Kansas formed a campaign exploratory committee Monday to measure the nation's appetite for his possible run for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2008.
And more exploring news: Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd announced today that he will run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, saying problems at home and abroad meant it was time for him to "get out of the bleachers and onto the arena floor."
01/10 Update: Pentacostal Minister Al Sharpton, according to the Associated Press, said the Democratic field needed a candidate who could provide substance on urban-related issues to the candidates’ debates. Is God calling Al into the race? Also, James W. Gilmore III, the Republican who served as governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, is now officially testing the waters to bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.
01/05 Update: Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney has named Governor Owens as an adviser to his presidential exploratory committee.
12/29 Update: John Edwards just announced his presidential candidacy on The Today Show ... no exploring for him
12/12 Update: I think that we might be able to add Illinois Senator Barak Obama, former VP Al Gore and New York Senator Hilary Clinton to list ... even thought they have not officially begun exploration :)

The following have recently anounced the formation of presidential exploratory committees:
Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona Senator John McCain, Former Wisconsin Govenor Tommy Thompson.
I am sure that we will soon be reading about more of these explorers (hello Hillary). I'll try to update this post as more explorers emerge.

Has the tomb of Jesus been found?

This week two Hollywood directors, James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, said they have found the tomb of Jesus and that the evidence therein shows Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, had at least one child named Judah, and, of course, that Jesus did not physically rise from the dead. Here is an excerpt from an article at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry that speaks to this.
The evidence needs to be examined! If it stands, it stands. If it falls, let it fall. But, what would be substantial evidence against Christianity is if bones were discovered in an ossuary, or tomb containing something like Jesus' name on it, stating he was the son of Joseph, and that those bones had nail marks in the wrists. But, without a body, it is difficult to establish Jesus' death, burial, and lack of resurrection. In fact, not having a body is exactly what the gospel accounts say is the case and that seems to be the case with the ossuaries. Remember, they did have bones in them, but they are lost and cannot be examined. So, it cannot be stated which bones they were or if the bones matched the genetic material found within. They might not since families used ossuaries to hold more than one generation. Sometimes they held up to six.

Nevertheless, for Christians to automatically dismiss the evidence without first examining it, is to forfeit credibility in the eyes of unbelievers, many of which already think that Christians are irrational and refuse to believe facts. We have an opportunity to present a rational, non-emotional position and demonstrate that our faith is not so weak that our first reaction is to dismiss evidence we haven't even looked at yet.

Remember, looking at evidence and using logic is what Jesus taught us to do. Jesus said to doubting Thomas in John 20:27, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.” Jesus himself urged Thomas to examine the evidence and believe based on that evidence. In other words, Jesus taught to examine evidence and make a logical conclusion based up it. Of course, the Bible verse presupposes Jesus' resurrection is a fact, but still the principle to examine evidence is taught in Scripture. Shouldn't we do what Jesus taught?
I suggest that you read the whole article. It includes admonitions for Christians and critics alike as well as a section titled "Important issues and questions".

Vibrating Interuptions

I wish I couldn't relate ... cell phones have become both a blessing and a curse. I usually turn mine off when I am home. Of course most have this "Caller ID" feature :)

Universal Fundamentalism

I have been thinking a bit about "Fundamentalist" type blogger behaviors lately in connection to my visits to Universal Reconcilationist (UR) blogsites. I came across an article that speaks to Fundamentalism. Here is an excerpt from it:
Fundamentalism can be a condition that afflicts not only the right and the left, but also the center, said Walter Shurden, professor of Christianity and director of the Center for Baptist Studies at Mercer University. Not only that, Shurden said, there's a fundamentalism "of those who claim not to be on the right or the left or in the center."

Fundamentalism is "not so much an ideology as it is an attitude, an attitude of intolerance, incivility and narrowness," Shurden said. "It is an attitude that says, 'We have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and we are going to impose it on you and control the system so that you will have to knuckle under to it.'

"It is an attitude that cuts off microphones, rudely terminates debate, stacks committees and centralizes power in order to control. It is not restricted to the right or the left."
I agree with this statement. I think that Fundamentalism is more about attitude than anything else. The behavior at some of these UR blogs is Fundamentalist in that people are cut off and demeaned if they don't agree with the UR dogma espoused there. At some of these UR blogs I have been called names and told that my comments were not welcome because they were different than their opinions and got people upset.

I find this behavior to be a form of Universal Fundamentalism and have recently decided to protest by boycotting these UR sites.

Evangelical Warming

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com
Cartoon by Dave Walker.
Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Christianity Today reports of a new bruhaha at the National Association of Evangelicals over the credibility of Global Warming.

The article just begs the question:

Is the environment an "Evangelical" issue?

My wife and I disagree: I think it isn't but she thinks that it is.
Let me know what you think.

He Knows Who He Is

A funny story from my buddy Randy :)
In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson's disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don't expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed.

After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the podium, looked at the crowd, and said, "I'm reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.

The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.” Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knee looking under his seat for his ticket.

The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one." Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going."

Having said that Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want you to immediately remember the suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am .. I also know where I'm going."