The Mathetes Award

Casey recently presented me with this award for my posts on this blog and my other blog. The award was started by Dan King of Management by God. Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple. Recipients of the award are asked to pass it on to five other deserving blogs. So here are my nominations:
Kevin of Familyhood Church: Diligent Disciple

Karen of TSSO!: Freethinking Disciple

Jason of Antioch Road: Advocating Disciple

Milly of The Milly Times: Real Life Disciple

Missy of Texas Chilly: Passionate Disciple
I make no further comment on these awards nor will I explain them further J
For those nominated I release you from any obligation to pass this award on but give you some encouragement to do it if you are so inclined.

Winston Churchill Quote

9/29: Kudos to Missy for identifying Churchill as the author!
9/21:Without looking it up, does anyone know what famous world leader said:

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

Feel free to submit an answer even if you don't know ... could be fun seeing the guesses. I'll announce the winner in a few days.

Church Announcements




Our church ususally spend 10-15 minutes after worship and before the sermon announcing, collecting offerings and sometimes sending people off with prayer (on missions trips and such).

What doe your church do and where would you have voted on this poll? I think that I would tend to side with the 46% ... unless I had something to announce of course J

Advice from Ziggy

HatTip to Barbara!

Vote756.com

9/26 Update: Looks like the ball is going to Cooperstown with an asterisk!


9/17: What should Mark Ecko do with Barry Bonds record breaking homerun ball?

Give it to Cooperstown (as is or branded) or shoot it to the moon?

You can tell Mark by voting here.

WWW: Weird Job Interviews

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you these strange interview responses reported in a story at Forbes magazine:

"I would be a great addition to your softball team."

"One candidate sang all of her responses to interview questions."

"I should get the job because I have already applied three times and feel that it is now my turn."

"Your company has nice benefits, which is good because I'm going to need to take a lot of leave in the next year."

"An applicant drafted a press release announcing that we had hired him."

"An applicant once told me she wanted the position because she wanted to get away from dealing with people."

"One person brought his mother to the job interview and let her do all of the talking."

"One applicant gave me his resume in a brown paper lunch bag."

Rare White Koala


This koala is incredibly rare because although he has white fur instead of the usual grey/brown, he has the normal black eyes and nose. Albinos, which occur quite frequently, have pink eyes and noses. The little guy was nicknamed "Mick" by folks at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, north of Sydney, Australia.

Catch a great video about this guy on YouTube.

Mahmoudapalooza

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got a chilly
reception today at New York's Columbia University.

Evangelical Presidential Litmus Test?

9/24 Update: American Values president Gary Bauer says Dobson's email is unhelpful because Thompson is a candidate conservative Christians should seriously consider if they hope to avoid what he calls the "nightmare scenario" of having to choose in the general election from two pro-abortion, pro-gay rights politicians from New York -- Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

"He's obviously against same-sex marriage. He doesn't support quite the same constitutional amendment that some of the other's of us do, but he's been talking with us about it, and has been moving closer and closer on the amendment," says Bauer. "So I hope that we can, as a movement, be very wise about this, and not savage candidates that we may very well have to support in 2008 if they're running against Hillary Clinton."
9/22: The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) (also known as the Marriage Protection Amendment) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. The FMA also would prevent judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples, as well as preventing people from having multiple spouses.

The FMA is becoming a litmus test of sorts for candidates running for president. In an email message Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said about conservative candidate Fred Thompson:
"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?".
I have found Dr Dobson's sentiments echoed by several bloggers these days so I thought I'd post a few of the candidates positions (in random order) on the FMA as reported by the Pew Forum:
As Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney actively opposed a decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court to permit same-sex marriages. He is an outspoken advocate of a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Barack Obama supports granting civil unions for gay couples and opposed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Ron Paul writes that while he opposes states being "forced" to accept same-sex marriage, he also opposes a constitutional amendment that would prohibit gay marriage on the grounds that it would be a "major usurpation of the states' power."

Joe Biden voted against a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and also voted in favor of expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation.

In the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton opposed amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage.

Rudy Giuliani does not, however, support a federal amendment banning gay marriage.

Sam Brownback supported a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage and has vowed to continue pushing the issue "until marriage between a man and a woman is protected."

John McCain opposed a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but endorsed an Arizona ballot initiative to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Mike Huckabee is not quoted as being for the FMA by the Pew Forum but I believe he is. Fred Thompson and John Edwards are not quoted as being against the FMA by the Pew Forum but I believe they would be ... but probably for different reasons. You can check out the Pew Forum on the rest of the candidates' positions on the FMA ... I'm tired of typing.

Geek TV

Reviews: Best and Worst 'Geek TV' Pilots
By Mark Anderson, Wired News

From slick sci-fi to tired nerd clichés, the networks' "geek TV" offerings run the gamut from engaging eye candy to unwatchable dreck this fall.

Chuck (NBC, Sept. 24)
WIRED: Pitch-perfect Zachary Levi channels his worker-bee equivalents from The Office and Office Space.
TIRED: Forgets its core audience at times and pushes the action-adventure angle too far, like some network suit never figured out this isn't Alias: The Geek Years.
RATING: 8 (of 10) stars
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Sept. 24)
WIRED: The most technically nerd-centric of the crop, with scarcely a minute passing by without at least one reference to physics, computers, sci-fi or undue attention to pointless optimization.
TIRED: Fortunately, it's just a theory.
RATING: 3 stars
Journeyman (NBC, Sept. 24)
WIRED: Vasser sports an iPhone, and then it's something else, and then ... is that an iPhone? An accidental documentary, perhaps, of the Apple-NBC divorce.
TIRED: Time-wanderer Vasser seems forever fixed with a gaze that doesn't so much say, "Whoa ... time travel!" as "What page are we on again?"
RATING: 4 stars
Reaper (The CW, Sept. 25)
WIRED: Ray Wise is deliciously diabolical as the pinkie-ring-wearing devil.
TIRED: Sidekick Bert "Sock" Wysocki (Tyler Labine) can stop doing his Jack Black impersonation now.
RATING: 8 stars
Bionic Woman (NBC, Sept. 26)
WIRED: Katee "Starbuck" Sackhoff as the original bionic woman turned terminatrix. If more bad-ass robots are needed in Sarah Connor-land, look no further.
TIRED: The viewer, when everything (and therefore nothing) is continually at stake.
RATING: 5 stars
Tired of copying and pasting. Go to wired.com if you are a nerd or geek or just interested in reading the full reviews.

Marcel Marceau, 1923-2007

While I didn't really understand what he was doing I have many warm memories of this mime on the Ed Sullivan show in the 1960s with my family.

Aahh, a different era and sweet memories!

Calvinist Bumper Sticker

File this one under funny J

The Evangelical President

I am always amazed how President Bush is characterized as "evangelical". Is Evangelicalism all about right thinking ... albeit his is not all that evangelical ... and not about attending regular bible studies or prayer meetings ... don't most evangelicals have a home church?

When the Clinton's occupied the White House they regularly attended and were members of Foundry Methodist Church ... of course the Clinton's represent a different flavor of Evangelicalism ... albeit a church attending one. I wonder why we all give President Bush a pass on this and let him flaunt "evangelical" the way that he does?

In 2005 when asked if Muslims worship the same Almighty as Jews and Christians, President Bush replied replied, “I believe we worship the same God.” I find that statement, evangelically speaking, to be a pretty ignorant one. I wonder who our president gets his information from ... where did he learn the basics of the faith ... does he have a biblical teacher, mentor or advisor?

I found it interesting that only 2 of the 28 points highlighted in a review on this book at the Conservative Books website seemed to speak to the evangelical aspect of the president. I think this third point best reflects why he is "The Evangelical President":
"Is President Bush a religious zealot,
or does he just pander to that crowd?"
That is the question. You still gotta wonder why "a religious zealot" doesn't regularly do anything religious?

Ron Paul, Radical Evangelical Conservative


Okay, I need to come clean - I like Ron Paul. I like him because of what he says about:
Abortion: "The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle." "In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, HR 1094. I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life."

Iraq War: "The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them." After the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, he began reading St. Augustine. "I was annoyed by the evangelicals’ being so supportive of pre-emptive war, which seems to contradict everything that I was taught as a Christian," he recalls. "The religion is based on somebody who’s referred to as the Prince of Peace."

Fiscal Responsibility: "Real conservatives have always supported low taxes and low spending." "Our economy and our very independence as a nation is increasingly in the hands of foreign governments such as China and Saudi Arabia, because their central banks also finance our runaway spending. We cannot continue to allow private banks, wasteful agencies, lobbyists, corporations on welfare, and governments collecting foreign aid to dictate the size of our ballooning budget."

Healthcare: "As a medical doctor, I’ve seen first-hand how bureaucratic red tape interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and drives costs higher. The current system of third-party payers takes decision-making away from doctors, leaving patients feeling rushed and worsening the quality of care. Yet health insurance premiums and drug costs keep rising. Clearly a new approach is needed. Congress needs to craft innovative legislation that makes health care more affordable without raising taxes or increasing the deficit. It also needs to repeal bad laws that keep health care costs higher than necessary."

Trade: "So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation." "We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the freedom and independence of the United States of America."

Immigration: "The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked."

Education: "My commitment to ensuring home schooling remains a practical alternative for American families is unmatched by any Presidential candidate. Returning control of education to parents is the centerpiece of my education agenda."

I like his passionate pursuit of issues that have the potential to really help our nation. I think that he is the only person running that has the intergrity and will power to change the federal government for the better. Unfortunately, I don't think that I will ever have a chance to vote for him as Kansas does not have a primary ... but you might ... check him out for yourself.

Universal Healthcare

While I am thinking about presidential candidates' positions, I thought that I would direct you to a great post about Universal Healthcare over at Sarah's place. Sarah poses this question:
"After living in Canada for 7 years and having access to healthcare that was completely on par with anything found here in the states... I wonder... why are we the only developed western country that doesn't have public healthcare services? Wouldn't it be wierd if we were the only developed western country without public education, where only those who could afford it got a primary education? I'm just trying to think about this from a Christian perspective where we care about the poor, the widow, and the vulnerable in society..."
In looking at the Pew Forum, it seems that Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate that is advocating true universal healthcare. The other candidates support the flavor that most insurance company lobbyists like.

The Palm Treo

Palm struggles to shine again
By MAY WONG, AP Technology Writer

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Palm Inc.'s death knell has been rung over and over — on Wall Street, in headlines, and by a growing number of discontented fans.

Whether on death watch or not, the smart phone pioneer is struggling. Palm has been pummeled by deep-pocketed rivals and maimed by missteps, and it remains shackled to an aging operating system.
...
As competitors trotted out sleek new smart phones over the past year, Palm veered little from the once-beloved but now-bulky design of the Treo 600, which debuted in 2003. Others adopted software platforms aimed at today's multimedia multitasking culture, but Palm has been relying mainly on an operating system that has seen only minor revisions over five years.

I looked at the Treo earlier this year when I was shopping for a smartphone and bought a MUCH cheaper Motorola Q. If Palm is going to succeed they will need to get a reality check about the worth of their products.

7 Year Bavarian Itch

Glamorous politician wants law to allow 7-year itch
By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bavaria's most glamorous politician -- a flame-haired motorcyclist who helped bring down state premier Edmund Stoiber -- has shocked the Catholic state in Germany by suggesting marriage should last just 7 years.

Gabriele Pauli, who poses on her web site in motorcycle leathers, is standing for the leadership of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) -- sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) -- in a vote next week.

She told reporters at the launch of her campaign manifesto on Wednesday she wanted marriage to expire after seven years and accused the CSU, which promotes traditional family values, of nurturing ideals of marriage which are wide of the mark.

I really thought that this was a joke when I saw the headlines. I think Ms Pauli's views speak more to her past marital failures and pain than to any thoughtful treatise about marriage.

Jesus Has Left the Building

In a recent comment dialog with Sarah over at
her blog Sarah recommended this book. Interested, I checked out a review of the book by Darren King. Here are a few excerpts from that review:


In a previous issue of Precipice I wrote a review of George Barna's popular and somewhat controversial book, Revolution. Those of you who read the book, or the review of Revolution, will remember that Barna's topic was the migration of Christians away from organized, ecclesial gatherings, i.e. the Sunday service in the local church. Recently another book has emerged tackling the very same topic. While Paul Vieira's Jesus Has Left the Building tackles the same topic, from my perspective it does so with more depth. Like Barna, Vieira not only makes note of the exodus of believers from organized Church settings, but actually suggests the phenomena is very much a move of God; similar in breadth and purpose to God's exiling of the Israelites.

So what was wrong with organized church in the local context? Like Barna, Vieira's exit was influenced by more than just a desire to proactively walk among the lost in order to reach them (though that was certainly part of the reason). His exit was also due to the fact that organized church lacked meaningful spirituality, even "amongst the brethren"- so to speak. Vieira writes:
In my experience, I loved being with God's people. But there was something interfering with our relationships and life together. This subtle, but very powerful system of values and practices does not seem to have its root in Jesus. I often use the following words synonymously (sometimes humorously), to describe this hindrance: institutional church, organized church, the religious system, the system, the corporate machine, the monster, the building, the matrix.
Vieira goes on to clarify that while he makes statements that may sound like he questions "the legitimacy of "church", he is actually only referring to the "organization typically called 'church'," as opposed to the "true church, made up of all believers in Christ." This is an important distinction to make of course. It was years ago that an Orthodox priest helped me fully grasp the difference between the two. You can catch the whole review here.

Sexual Orientation

As an update/follow-up to yesterday's post (below) I submit to you this brief article from today's online issue of Christianity Today ... that I quote in full:

Can Sexual Orientation Be Changed Through Therapy?

Since the American Psychological Association (APA) took homosexuality off the books as a psychological disorder in 1973, the debate over reparative therapy—an attempt to change someone's sexual orientation to heterosexuality—has continued with little rigorous research.

Many question the ethics of treating someone for a condition which is not considered a disorder and posit that reparative therapy risks traumatizing the patient. Others, including the APA, point to research that indicates sexual orientation is genetic and say it is an unchangeable part of a person's identity. Therapists also disagree about what constitutes a return to heterosexuality—whether it is celibacy, an absence of homosexual attraction, or something beyond that. Amid these concerns, organizations such as Exodus International have run reparative therapy programs with mixed success. Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse presented the results of their longitudinal study on reparative therapy in Ex-Gays?, which was published in September 2007.
09/17: I guess I would be a part of the 22% ... but that is not the question that I pose to you today ... here it is:
What do you think the percentages would look like if this were a Newsweek or Time magazine poll?
I suspect that they might look a bit more like:
15% - Yes
50% - No
20% - Possible but rare
10% - Possible but dangerous
05% - Don't believe in SO construct
What do you think the percentages would look like?

Ministry Watch

What do all of these ministries have in common?
Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
Answers in Genesis
Bible Study Fellowship
Care Net
Child Evangelism Fellowship
Children’s Hunger Fund
Christian Medical and Dental Associations
Compassion International
Crown Financial Ministries
EvanTell
Family Guidance
Family Research Council
Gideons International
Good News Jail and Prison Ministry
International Aid
JAARS
The Jesus Film Project
Jews for Jesus
Joni and Friends
Josh McDowell Ministries
New Directions International
New Tribes Mission
Northwest Medical Teams International
Operation Blessing
Prison Fellowship Ministries
Probe Ministries International
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Voice of the Martyrs
World Help
Young Life
They have all been recognized by the Ministry Watch organization as
Shining Light Ministries.

Did They Really Say That?

'Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,' --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC

'Half this game is ninety percent mental.' --Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.' --Al Gore, Vice President

'We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?' --Lee Iacocca

'The word 'genius' isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.' --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst

'We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people.' --Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor

'Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,' -- Brooke Shields

'Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances.' --Department of Social Services, Greenville , South Carolina

The Emmy Awards


Anyone watch the Emmy Awards? I watched a bit and it seemed to me that 80 percent of the show was spent on giving awards to made for TV movies and miniseries that no one watches.

Seemed like a waste of time.

Welcome to my Neighborhood

Susan posted a bit about her hometown ... guess I'll do the same. I live in Leawood Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City (KC) Missouri ... yeah Kansas Bob actually lives closer to the Missouri flavor of KC than the Kansas one. I work at a church in Missouri and spend time shopping at the Missouri WalMart ... I live just three blocks from the KS-MO state line.

The Burj Tower

I think that Lorna guessed it first but Dave seemed to really know the answer. The Burj tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is still under construction and it's final height is a closely guarded secret.
Without looking it up, can anyone name the city and country where this 1,822 feet world's tallest building and tallest free-standing structure is located? Don't be afraid to guess ... neither Ann nor I knew J

Benjamin Franklin Quote

9/17: I think that Codepoke guessed right but Dave seemed to know it J
9/16: A clue. The author signed the Declaration of Independence.
9/9: Without looking it up, does anyone know who said:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over
and over and expecting different results."

Feel free to submit an answer even if you don't know ... could be fun seeing the guesses. I'll announce the winner in a few days.

Colson on the Middle East

An excerpt from Difficult to Separate Politics from Religion

But the issue in the Middle East today is vastly more complicated. It is impossible, when dealing with Islam, to separate religion and politics because the Islamist believes in theocracy. So the church is to be the government and people are to live by religious law, the sharia. It is almost impossible to separate political motives from religious motives. Is Ahmadinejad, who believes in the return of the Twelfth Imam and the end of the world, when Islam will reign, motivated by his religious convictions in building nuclear weapons or his political convictions? I don’t think you can separate them.

Similarly, the Jews have both a biblical warrant to return to their lands in Palestine and a political charter granted by the UN. Are they fighting religious issues with the Palestinians or political issues? In that case I think the majority of Israelis are moved by political independence, not biblical prophecy. But again, the two issues are impossible to separate.

Christianity as a worldview has, certainly in modern times, effectively separated church and state. But it is not Christianity that is involved in the Middle East. Muslim scholars would have to explain how they are able to separate the clear fascist ideology that has run through the Muslim brotherhood from the various strains of Islamic faith. Having read the Qur’an and the works of Said Qutb and others, I think it would be very hard to do. The problem in the Middle East is basically the problem of theocracy plus a virulent anti-Semitism, more the consequences of fascist ideology than theology.

-Charles W. "Chuck" Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship

Real Troop Support

Democrats Push a Tactic to Shift Iraq Plan
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and DAVID S. CLOUD, NY Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 — Now that President Bush and Gen. David H. Petraeus have charted their course for the Iraq war, Democrats in the Senate say one of their proposals aimed at shifting the president’s strategy is finally close to winning enough Republican support for a real chance at being approved. It would require that troops spend as much time at home as on their most recent tours overseas before being redeployed.

The proposal, by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, has strong support from top Democrats, who say that the practical effect would be to add time between deployments and force General Petraeus to withdraw troops on a substantially swifter timeline than the one he laid out before Congress this week, and that it would protect troops from serving protracted and debilitating deployments.
...
The precise impact of Mr. Webb’s proposal is likely to be hotly debated next week as the Senate resumes its consideration of a major defense policy bill that Democrats will use to push a number of initiatives aimed at shifting the war strategy.
...
The Webb measure holds deep appeal for military service members and their families, and allows Democrats to present themselves as supporters of the troops, but not the war. Mr. Webb has a son in the Marine Corps in Iraq whose tour was extended because of the troop increase.

Julie Unplugged

9/15 Update: I finally finished Julie's series. Here are a few notable quotes from it:

"I saw for the first time that the Bible might be a resource for exploring what humans understood to be the nature of the divine at any given point in time rather than a word-perfect for all time description of how God was, is and will be (that also needed to be harmonized and reconciled within itself).

Additionally, the idea that the biblical writers were moved to communicate insight (more than convey history) profoundly impacted how I read all texts."

"In my years of evangelicalism, the aim of all Scripture readings was to find the harmonic thread - the way the passage being read fit into the rest of the Bible and validated our core beliefs. One such inviolable belief was that God never changed. That meant the God of the Old Testament who led the Hebrews to defend their lands, to take other lands and to wipe out other people groups had to be reconciled with Jesus, the Son of God who modeled radical notions of peace.

Another belief was that if the Bible said "God said it," then God must have said it. There was no chance that the words in the Bible were somehow the words men had put into God's mouth. If that were the case, then inspiration of Scripture (the version of inspiration that allows for no inconsistencies or errors) would be at risk."


8/5: Very rarely do you find someone that seems so honest and transparent about their journey of faith. I think that Julie Bogart is such a person. I recommend to you her latest series titled Falling Away From Faith where she recounts her journey of faith. The story is not over and you (or I) may not like what she has to say about her journey but I think that it is an eye-opening story of an honest person's wrestling with faith issues. Comments off here - if you have something to say tell Julie :)

Who is Anselm?

You scored as Anselm, Anselm is the outstanding theologian of the medieval period.He sees man's primary problem as having failed to render unto God what we owe him, so God becomes man in Christ and gives God what he is due. You should read 'Cur Deus Homo?' (Why did God become man?)

Anselm

80%

John Calvin

67%

Jonathan Edwards

53%

Charles Finney

47%

Karl Barth

40%

Augustine

40%

Martin Luther

40%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

33%

Jürgen Moltmann

27%

Paul Tillich

27%
Which theologian are you? created with QuizFarm.com


Guess I need to do some reading?

Tour de Internet?

With the Ergo Bike Premium 8i from Germany's Daum Electronics, riders from around the world can compete against each other over virtual versions of some of the sport's storied race courses. Riders can gather at a particular time, pick a course and go.

I wonder ... who will test for steroids?

Yo-Yo Memories

"Doctor Popular," recognized by some as the third-best yo-yoer in the world, put together a precise and technical program for the California State Yo-Yo Championships in San Francisco. Some 100 yo-yoers participated in an attempt to spin their way into the U.S. National Yo-Yo Contest, which takes place in October in Chico, California.

I loved playing with my yo-yo when I was a kid. I think that I could sleep it for a bit and go around the world ... but I never could walk the dog. Ah, sweet memories ... maybe I should try to go pro - nah!

The Age of Turbulence

I started thinking about what was to become “The Age of Turbulence” two years ago. My nearly two decades as Federal Reserve Chairman were coming to an end - a remarkable experience. After a lifetime observing how the world works as a business economist on Wall Street, it was exhilarating to be at the center of international monetary policymaking. Sure, I’d been President Ford’s White House economic advisor in the mid-1970s, but nothing fully prepared me for what I faced when President Reagan nominated me Fed Chairman in June 1987. So, in the waning months of my Fed tenure, I started getting excited about having time to stand back and think about all I’d been through – the frightening stock market crash of 1987, the boom of the 1990s, the trauma of 9/11, the climactic end of the Cold War, all told, a cascade of events propelling a new world forward at warp speed. You can read more of Greespan's thoughts here. Of course there is a political spin on the book ...
Greenspan criticizes Bush policies in memoir
By Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sharply criticizes President George W. Bush's administration and Republican congressional leaders in his memoir for putting political imperatives ahead of sound economic policies, several newspapers reported on Friday.

"Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," Greenspan writes of the Bush administration.

Accounts of Greenspan's book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," which is due to be published Monday, appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

Greenspan said he unsuccessfully urged the White House to veto "out-of-control" spending bills while the Republicans controlled Congress.

Republicans "deserved" to lose control of Congress in last year's election because in their willingness to approve spending measures that would benefit Republicans even at the cost of fiscal prudence, they "swapped principle for power," he said.



Interesting reading for this long time fiscal conservative who has been very disappointed by the lack of fiscal conservatism since President Bush took office.

Squawk Radio

So, I got in my car and the radio came on and who do you think started talking to me? Rush Limbaugh was on ... now I haven't listened to him for many years ... and I decided to listen in because he said that Fridays are the days that listeners call in and set the agenda talking about anything that "they" wanted to discuss. As I listened I quickly became aware that callers garnered about 10% of the air time and he consumed the remaining 90% (commercial breaks not included of course). So this is "Talk Radio"? What a crock ... more like squawk radio.

Does anyone have a clue why people listen to drivel like this? Occasionally, at different times, I will stumble onto O'Reilly or Hannity ... they are no better than Limbaugh and often worse because they cloak themselves in the "fair and balanced" propaganda. To be clear, I am not blasting these guys for their politics ... I am, after all, a right-wing-wacko. I am blasting them for calling their spin-oriented-host-rant-radio as "talk radio" when they really don't (and don't want to) talk with anyone at all.

Pre-UHF-Cable TV

Growing up in pre-cable and pre-UHF New York I had 6 TV stations to watch ... ABC, CBS, NBC, 2 independent stations and I think we had a PBS station ... not sure because I never watched it ... of course all of these stations were in black and white ... bought my first color TV in 1970. Growing up on a farm in northwest Missouri my wife could watch 4 TV stations ... only the ABC/CBS station ... that's right a combined network station ... came in without snow. What kind of TV did you grow up watching?

Grass Root Political Trends

Ever heard of the conservative group Grassfire.org? Well they recently held an election straw poll of their membership and 39,000 members participated. Here are the results:

• When asked whom they would vote for if the Republican primary were held today, 28 percent preferred Fred Thompson (up from 26 percent in May), whose closest rival, Mitt Romney, gained 14 percent of the vote (down 2 percent from May).

• Rep. Ron Paul showed the biggest gain from Grassfire’s May poll, rising from seventh position (6 percent) to a solid third position (13 percent) – a more than a 50 percent increase in support among grassroots conservatives. Mike Huckabee’s support also rose, from 3 to 7 percent. “Paul’s rise shows that conservatives are not all that thrilled with the anointed frontrunners,” says Grassfire president Steve Elliott. “Paul’s message is resonating with many conservatives, and it would be wise for the other candidates to take note.”

• Although they favor Thompson, conservatives still expect Giuliani to win the nomination.

• Conservatives warn of an exodus should Giuliani face Clinton in the general election with 29% indicating they would abstain or vote for a third party -- an increase of 4% from Grassfire’s May poll. Slightly less (25%) warned of an exodus in a Romney-Clinton general election.

• Conservatives now overwhelmingly expect Clinton to win the Democratic nomination (70%, up from 50% in May). The expectation of an Obama nomination dropped nearly in half (29% to 15%).

• Conservatives have given up on the McCain campaign. The Senator lost half his support (down to 4%) while dropping by two-thirds among those who think he is likely to win (14% to 4%).

• Support for “staying the course” in Iraq dropped from 67% in May to 58% in August, while the percentage of conservatives calling for withdrawal rose from 16% to 22%.

The Ugly Chiefs

According to these USA Today rankings the Kansas City Chiefs rank 29th (out of the 32 teams) with the Raiders, Falcons and Browns trailing behind. Here is what the rankers said about the Chiefs:
The offense was ugly in the opening 20-3 loss at Houston. The Damon Huard era may not last much longer if the Chiefs perform as poorly against a tough Chicago defense this week.
I agree about Huard. QB Brody Croyle isn't any better but at least he is younger. If we are going to have a losing season we might as well give the young guy some experience ... just might build some character J

Computer Speakers

Guess I am one of the 251 when I am at work but one of the 237 at home.

The Brick

Another gem from my inbox:
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared . Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"

The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do," He pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother, "he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy! push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message:
"Don't go through life so fast that someone has to
throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice to listen or not.

Two Million English Wiki's

Wikipedia publishes 2-millionth article

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Wikipedia published its 2-millionth article in the English language version of the anyone-can-edit encyclopedia, a symbolic milestone for the world's largest user-generated Web publishing site. Since the reference project started in 2001, more than 100,000 registered users have made at least 10 edits each to Wikipedia articles, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization that operates Wikipedia. The English version of Wikipedia alone has signed up 3.4 million volunteer contributors. The German and French editions of the Wikipedia, the next two largest sites, each have more than half a million articles.

National Day of Encouragement

With the acknowledgment from President George Bush and participation of people around the country, the National Day of Encouragement will be observed for the first time today, September 12, 2007. The Day of Encouragement was the idea of a few high school students attending the National Leadership Forum in Searcy, Ark in June of 2007. The students were challenged to think of a way to help their schools. They decided that at the root of most problems lies discouragement. So, as one way to help that, let’s have a day where we focus on encouraging one another. Check out this site for more information.

British couple's 22-year motel stop


British couple David (79) and Jean (70) Davidson outside the Travelodge near Grantham. The elderly couple have lived in a budget roadside motel for more than 20 years because they love never having to do the laundry or cook. The couple have spent around $200,000 dollars renting rooms which cost them as little as $30 a night. Read more here.

Christian USA?

Most think founders wanted Christian USA
By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY

Most Americans believe the nation's founders wrote Christianity into the Constitution, and people are less likely to say freedom to worship covers religious groups they consider extreme, a poll out today finds.

The survey measuring attitudes toward freedom of religion, speech and the press found that 55% believe erroneously that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. In the survey, which is conducted annually by the First Amendment Center, a non-partisan educational group, three out of four people who identify themselves as evangelical or Republican believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. About half of Democrats and independents do. Read more here.

Christian USA? Anyone agree with the 75% of the Republicans that were polled and agreed with that sentiment? Even if "the founders" envisioned one I think that it is not helpful to envision a 21st century America through the eyes of 18th century men and women. Really, do we really think that "the founders" had it all together? Progress eventually resulted in the abolition of slavery, voting rights for all and many other things that "the founders" never envisioned.

WWW: Brass Knuckles & Fried Coke

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you these items from the Utah State Fair:

Brass knuckle belt buckles: Being sold by a vendor near the northeast entrance, this item might be almost as effective as carrying a concealed weapon and you don't have to go to a class or hold a permit to buy one.

Deep-fried Coke: This might be the weird fair food leader. After hearing about a similar product at the Texas State Fair, Provo's John Searle went to work on creating this product, which is made from Coke-flavored batter deep-fried, covered with cinnamon sugar and Coke syrup and topped with whipping cream and a cherry. The $5 concoction is served in a clear plastic cup and eaten hot with a fork. The booth also offers deep-fried Oreos, Snickers and Twinkies or, as Searle puts it, "all the healthy foods."

Never Forget ... to Pray

Today is the 6th anniversary of the day that terrorists drove two planes into the World Trade Center in my hometown. It is a time that I am called to remember that we Americans have a common enemy and that this war on terrorism is very real. It is a day to be reminded to pray for those in harms way ... a day to give thanks for soldiers, policemen, fireman and others who bravely serve us ... and to ask God's blessings of protection for them and for us.

Me, an Amillenialist?

You scored as Amillenialist, Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.

Amillenialist

95%

Moltmannian Eschatology

60%

Premillenialist

60%

Dispensationalist

45%

Preterist

35%

Left Behind

15%

Postmillenialist

15%

What's your eschatology?
created with QuizFarm.com

This from a guy who argued with everyone in bible college that Jesus ws coming back in the middle of the tribulation J

Agreeing to Disagree

A few of my blog comment conversations have recently ended with someone saying "we will just have to agree to disagree". I think that sometimes, in our minds, when we agree to disagree the word 'disagree' is accentuated rather than 'agree' and it comes off negative. I think that it is good to know when to stop the debate and just say that I now better understand where you are coming from ... thanks for helping me see your point ... I need some room to think and you probably do as well ... lets just disagree for now and maybe talk about it later - or not :)

Some of the best blog dialogs that I have had ended when no one agreed but everyone was a bit better informed ... it is what communication is all about. Maybe the image we should have when someone agrees to disagree is a handshake. It seems quite civil ... doesn't it?

Civil Blog Dialog

Sometimes I wonder if civil conversation is possible around difficult religious and political subjects. Here are some places where I have recently been have some good discussion:
Antioch Road: Jason and I have been discussing the conservatism of several different republican candidates. We have also been discussing The Federal Marriage Amendment and pork barrel projects.

Casey's Critical Thinking: Also talking republican politics and in particular Fred Thompson.

Nephos: Been having a discussion about the future challenges to American Christianity.

The Sword's Still Out: Karen has been hosting some great and enlightening conversations around Christian Universalism, Hell, and Truth.
The cartoon reminded me of one of those discussions at Karen's place where I came a bit late to the discussion and got me focused on this posting.

On Life and Coffee

Another gem from my email inbox:
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor,now retired. During their visit the conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite, telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the alumni had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:
"Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life.

The type of cup one has does not define, nor change the quality of Life a person lives. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us."
God makes the coffee, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Evangelicals on Candidates

Thompson raising doubts among evangelical leaders

(AP)–Prominent evangelical leaders who spent the summer hoping Fred Thompson would emerge as their favored Republican presidential contender are having doubts as he begins his long-teased campaign.

Thompson told CNN in August that he supports an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states. That falls well short of what evangelical leaders want: an amendment that would bar gay marriage nationwide.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Thompson's position is consistent with the former senator's support for limited federal government and giving power to the states.

Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said that while he likes Huckabee, Thompson's better name recognition and fundraising potential is a strong draw for evangelicals.

"This is a dilemma a lot of people have," Wildmon said. "They want to support the candidate that most reflects their values. "But at the same time, you have to balance that against finding someone who can actually win."

Why do Evangelicals ignore Ron Paul?

Ron Paul has served as a conservative congressman from Texas for over 16 years. He currently has a 100% rating from The Conservative Index, which is probably the most relevant and accurate reflection of a congressman's true conservative record out there.

In addition, Ron Paul has been the most outspoken defender of constitutional government in the entire congress-bar none. He has often stood virtually alone against federal abuse of power, corruption, and big government.

Maybe today's evangelicals are more concerned about being accepted by the GOP establishment than they are supporting principled, conservative candidates. After all, Paul's willingness to openly oppose his own party has caused him to be blacklisted by party loyalists and apologists. Therefore, it might be that our illustrious evangelical leaders are unwilling to be identified with Paul lest they share the same ostracism.

Another reason might be that today's evangelicals are extremely shallow in their discernment. They seem to love Republican candidates who wear religion on their sleeve. Whether the candidate walks the walk does not seem to matter near as much as whether he talks the talk.

As it is, evangelicals continue to call George W. Bush "one of us," they continue to drink Kool Aid from the faucet of Republican propaganda, and they continue to ignore Ron Paul.

Spinning Charts

This Department of Defense chart shows the number of insurgent attacks against, Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops. With General David Petraeus reporting to congress this week you can expect to see charts like this a'spinning as the spin-meisters do their thing. I suspect that, after the general's report, things will return to the ststus quo as we "stay the course". What do you think will happen? Any prophets out there?

The Bard, or not The Bard

Coalition aims to expose Shakespeare
By D'ARCY DORAN, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - The bard, or not the bard, that is the question.

Some of Britain's most distinguished Shakespearean actors have reopened the debate over whether William Shakespeare, a 16th century commoner raised in an illiterate household in Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote the plays that bear his name.

Acclaimed actor Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance, the former artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, unveiled a "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt" on the authorship of Shakespeare's work Saturday, following the final matinee of "I am Shakespeare," a play investigating the bard's identity, in Chichester, southern England.

A small academic industry has developed around the effort to prove that Shakespeare, a provincial lad, could not have written the much-loved plays, with their expertise on law, ancient and modern history and mathematics. Read more here.

John Paul Jones Quote

9/9: Congrats to Kathie for identifying John Paul Jones as the author of this quote. He was known as the father of the American Navy.
8/31: Without looking it up, does anyone know who said:

"I have not yet begun to fight!"

Also, for extra credit fill in the blanks:

The author was know as the ________ of the American ________.

Feel free to submit an answer even if you don't know ... could be fun seeing the guesses. I'll announce the winner in a few days.

Say uncle! Say uncle!

Kudos to Stephanie for the winning entry!!

The Catholic Church is Bankrupt!

9/9 Update: On Friday the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego reached a $198.1 million agreement with 144 childhood sexual abuse victims Friday morning. The agreement included the diocese's promise to release church documents about priest abuse. As part of the settlement, the diocese will also ask a federal bankruptcy judge to dismiss its Chapter 11 case. In an afternoon news conference, Bishop Robert Brom repeatedly apologized to victims, their families and friends “in the name of the church, to beg their forgiveness.”
8/25: Just in case you missed this announcement back in February:
After four years of legal wrangling in the clergy-abuse scandal, attorneys for Bishop Robert Brom filed for Chapter 11 protection last night, making San Diego the largest Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to declare bankruptcy.
Yesterday a federal bankruptcy judge ordered immediate jury trials in more than 40 sex-abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

I find it to be troubling and sad the way that the Roman Catholic Church is hiding behind American bankruptcy laws to protect themselves. It seems to me that the American and international Roman Catholic community is not bankrupt and should certainly be held financially accountable for misconduct in their community.

Between this and the Haggard story below it is a sad day for religion.

Ron Paul vs Fox News


Watching this video you will get a pretty good picture of who Ron Paul is and where he stands on the issues. You will also get a pretty good picture of where Fox News is on his candidacy - no surprise there. Ron Paul reminds me a bit of another quirky candidate, Ross Perot ... smart ... anti-Washinton-establishment ... a bit different ... now why didn't I vote for Ross?

Fred Thompson: "Dead Wrong" on Iraq

A few nights ago I watched Fred announce his candidacy on the Tonight Show. Here is an excerpt from his interview with Jay leno on the Iraq War:
JAY: Let me ask you about some serious matters. The Iraq war, obviously the biggest issue in the campaign ‑‑ were you for it?

FRED: Yeah.

JAY: You were for it.

FRED: I think we got to remember what it would be like if we had not done what we did. Saddam would still be there, having defeated the United Nations, all the resolutions. It would have defeated the United States in effect. It would have been in a position to continue its nuclear weapons program. His two sons would still have been doing what they were doing ‑‑ putting people in human shredders and attacking their neighbors. And I think, especially in light of what Iran is doing right now, they certainly would have been in a nuclear competition in that part of the world, sitting on those oil reserves. To think that, had we not gone in there, we wouldn't have any problems or anything, I think is dead wrong.

JAY: Do we stay?

FRED: I think we stay until we get the job done, Jay. I don't think ‑‑

JAY: What is the definition of "get the job done"? I think that's the part that is confusing people.

FRED: Until it is pacified enough for those people who walk through those lines with people shooting at them in some cases who voted, put their finger in the ink and so forth, the first time in that part of the world, in the history of the world, until they have an opportunity to have a free life and to not be killed by al‑Qaeda and others fighting in that part of the world. I think that's doable. I think it's tough, but I think we can't afford to go into a situation and not show resolve. I think the most dangerous thing in the world that could happen to the United States of America is for people to think we're weak and divided. Iraq is a part of a much bigger picture ‑‑ Iraq and Afghanistan. There's a global war going on. We are the main target and those who would befriend us. The enemy is ruthless. Al‑Qaeda is here in this country. National intelligence estimates tell us that. They are strong. They're trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. I don't know how much ‑‑ how more stark the situation could be. That's going to be the situation we're going to have to deal with for sometime regardless of what happens in Iraq, but if the wrong result happens in Iraq and we're perceived the wrong way by friends and enemies alike, it's going to make the situation more difficult, and we're going to be more vulnerable. It's a tough deal, but a it's a choice of two bad choices. It's not a good and a bad.
I think that Fred is, using his words, "dead wrong" about the Iraq War. I agree with what Sarah commented a few days ago:
At this point, I believe the war is a tragedy similar to the removal of Tito in the former Yugoslavia. One evil dictator may be gone, but now the lid is off for massive bloodshed between ethnic (and religious) groups that hate each other. I really regret this situation before God, because I'm not sure that removing Saddam was the lesser of two evils. I think more will die now (whether we stay or leave). And God cares about Iraqi lives as much as He does about American ones.
The sad part in all this is that candidates like Fred don't get it and, by not getting it, are opening a wide door for the democratic candidates in 2008.

Our Complex Legal System

The Federalist Papers were written and published during the years 1787 and 1788 in several New York State newspapers to persuade New York voters to ratify the proposed constitution. In total, the Federalist Papers consist of 85 essays outlining how this new government would operate and why this type of government was the best choice for the United States of America.

I received a quote today via email quoting an excerpt from the 62nd essay. I thought I'd bullet the quote for readability:

"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice,

....if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read,

....or so incoherent that they cannot be understood;

....if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated,

....or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow."

Some 220 years ago people believed that laws would be simple, understandable and consistent. My oh my ... what would they say today if they saw our tax code? L

The Passing of another Great Voice



D. James Kennedy: 1930-2007

Missionary Blogs

I am preparing to teach an intro to blogging class to some folks who are preparing to be overseas missionaries and can use some help.

So, tell me why you visit blogs and what advice you might have for an overseas missionary ... what information would be helpful ... what would draw you to their blogsite and keep you coming back. Many thanks!

The Passing of a Great Voice



Luciano Pavarotti: 1935-2007

We bought it because we broke it?

This just in from last night's Republican debate via this CNN article:
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee made a dramatic statement regarding Iraq at Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate, declaring, "We bought it because we broke it."

The comment came in perhaps the most compelling moment of the Republican debate when the Arkansas Republican directly confronted Texas Rep. Ron Paul on his position for an immediate withdrawal from the country.

"Congressman, whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion for historians, but we're there. We bought it because we broke it," he said. "We've got a responsibility to the honor of this country and the honor of every man and woman who has served in Iraq and our military to not leave them with anything less than the honor they deserve."

Amid loud cheers, Paul responded, "The American people didn't go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives, hijacked our foreign policy. They are responsible, not the American people."

Huckabee quickly fired back: "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake, we make it as a single country."

As the crowd roared louder, Paul answered, "When we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people — through their representatives — to correct the mistake, not continue the mistake. We have dug a hole for ourselves and we have dug a hole for our party. We are losing elections, and we are going down next year if we don't change it."

Huckabee replied loudly, "Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor."
I found this to be an interesting interchange of ideas. Both candidates admitting that the Iraq invasion was a mistake but each having a different take on what we do with that mistake. On this one I am with Congressman Paul. My response to former governor Huckbee is that there is no honor in continuing a failed policy ... there is no honor in risking the lives of our soldiers to achieve a goal that no one can articulate. Hey Mike ... if you have an Iraqi endgame worthy of the sacrifice we are asking soldiers to make ... I wish you would detail that endgame for us.

The Institutional Church




Recently Patti used the phrase "the institutional church" in a comment. It got me to wondering and asking these questions:



What image or thoughts come to mind when you hear the phrase "The Institutional Church"?

What do you think are the characteristics (good and bad) of "The Institutional Church"?
A few simple commenting ground-rules please:
1) Be helpful: phrase your comments in a constructive fashion.

2) Be real: tell us about your own experiences and not something that you have read.

3) Be nice: understand that others have different perspectives because they have had different experiences.
I'll go first. When I think of the phrase "The Institutional Church" (hereafter noted "IC") I think of it in the context of people who have been wounded and hurt by people (clergy and laity) in churches. I think of my own struggles and pain in dealing with rigid and legalistic church leaders. I think about how I so don't want to hurt people that I am called to minister to and with.

I think that one characteristic of the IC is rigidity and inflexibility around minor doctrine and liturgical issues. This sometimes mistakenly comes across as caring for doctrine more than people ... I don't think that this is intentional ... just sometimes happens in our zeal for the Lord.

Another characteristic of the IC is a somewhat elitist attitude that some churches project. I certainly resonate with that attitude ... for years I thought that my church was "better" than others because our worship was "better" ... a sad and arrogant attitude that was shared by many that I went to church with.

So let me me know what you are thinking about. I hope that by sharing with each other in a constructive fashion we will be able to learn from each other and grow in grace around this topic.

WWW: Bulletproof Baby

In this edition of Weird World Wednesday, I submit to you the
Bulletproof Baby website. This is truly the definition of weird K

Blinking Joel Osteen

joel_blink.gif
I guess I just couldn't resist lifting this "picture" from Internet Monk.

Can't wait until I post more stuff so that he isn't looking at me all the time.

It does make me smile though J

Anybody Watch the Telethon?

In this photo released by the Muscular Dystrophy Association, overcome with emotion, Jerry Lewis ends his 42nd Annual Labor Day Telethon with a record-setting $63.7 million in donations and pledges. I only caught the first 15 minutes Sunday night. I wonder why so many people watch and contribute?

And here is a follow-up question from Therese:
Do we spread a little around to each group, or give a lot to one?
And a follow up question from me:
Outside of our "church giving", do we tend to give more to "religious" charities than to research/secular ones?
I tend to give more to missionary efforts than to research/secular ones. How about you?

The Big Business of Big Labor

I was an active union member and leader for 7 years. In 1979, after fighting union brass for years ... whether to escalate grievances seemed to be an issue of finances instead of worker's rights ... I took a management position and never regretted it. In my years of taking workers' grievances to union officials it often seemed that I was enlisting the help of one large uncaring organization to fight the injustice of another uncaring one. In the end I felt that the company cared more. Michelle Malkin has more on this in her oped piece titled Blowing the whistle on Big Labor.

Sir Bono - Not!

Citizens of countries which do not have the Queen as their head of state sometimes have honours conferred upon them, in which case the awards are "honorary". In the case of knighthoods, the holders are entitled to place initials behind their name but not style themselves "Sir". Examples of foreigners with honorary knighthoods are Riley Bechtel, Bill Gates, Bob Geldof, Bono, and Rudolph Giuliani.

The list of Honorary British Knights includes American Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan & HW Bush, American Generals John Pershing, Omar Bradley & Colin Powell, Billy Graham, Alan Gresspan, Bob Hope, Steven Spielberg, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Teresa. If you are interested you can see the list here.

For me I will file this under GIVEMEABREAK :)