- Pyramids were Poured – Scientists and historians have long marveled at the precision of the pyramids’ construction, and the size of the stones used. New evidence supports the theory that the stones were poured like concrete, not hauled from local quarries.
- Youngest Transexual – a 12 year-old boy who felt he was a girl was terrified by the onset of puberty – all that icky facial hair. Anyway, British doctors agreed to treat him with hormones until he reaches the age for a sex change (18). He is now a happy "girl."
- Myth of Adolescence – the guys at Rebelution have written an excellent article on how modern day teens waste their teenage years on trivialities rather than setting their sites high. Real high.
- Cultural Relevance – should churches aim to be culturally relevant? Where does that stray into being worldly? Is cultural irrelevance really a problem?
- Music: What say the scriptures? Here’s a nice list of all the scriptures that have to do with music. (NOTE: "Rock and roll is a sin" is not among them.)
100 years ago today, the great "missionary to canibals" died at the ripe old age of 83. Many sites are celebrating him, and you read the highly rated biography below.
- You Will be Eaten by Cannibals! Lessons from the Life of John G. Paton (sermon by John Piper, with audio)
- Missionary Patriarch: The True Story of John G. Paton (amazon)
- Missionary Hero (brief bio)
- John Gibson Paton (wikipedia)
- Wear Your Theology – buy yourself a nice John Calvin t-shirt
- Gadgets of Dominion – Doug hypothesizes that men like gadgets because gadgets are used to rule (control) things, and men are made to rule. Nice.
- The Sophomoric Dawkins (with apologies to sophomores) – Real-life philosopher Alvin Plantiga reviews Dawkins’ latest book, The God Delusion. And it’s not complimentary.
- Cute animals and profanity – Justalittleguy.com has lots of pictures and videos of cute little animals, with generally profane captions. Explicit, sometimes funny, but always cute animals. Awww.
- Baptists and Beer – Baptists are upset over the Journey Church, who sponsored a theology Q&A discussion at a local brewery. Sounds good to me. To see the add, go to the Journey site and look under Arts & Culture > Midrash.
- The Latin Jesus is Here – Puerto Rican Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has a huge growing ministry, with his followers believing him when he has claimed to be the reincarnation of Paul the Apostle, then Jesus, and just last week, he revealed he was the antichrist, along with his new 666 tatoo. Whacky.
All of us civilized peoples can agree that Islamic terrorism is bad – really bad. But we can react in many ways, some of which are more damaging than helpful. These include rejection of all revealed faiths, rejection of all fundamentalist faiths, rejection of all Muslims, rejection of Islam, and rejection of individual doctrines, and believe it or not, indifference.
- Bono Accused – Bloomberg.com has an article about how U2 lead singer Bono shifts his tax burden to his non-profits, while calling on nations to pay for relief with taxes. Hmmm.
- World’s Oldest Person Dies at 114 – An old Christian woman has passed on, replaced by the next oldest person, a woman from Japan. It also seems that Japan has a huge number of centenarians. Maybe I need to eat more sushi.
- 10 Reasons to Despise Planned Parenthood – EO tells us why PP should be despised, derided, and defunded.
- How to Argue Stupidly – the FSM – Atheists love their Flying Spaghetti Monster parody, but EO takes them to task on why this argument misses the mark. I’m sure they won’t be convinced.
Looks like self-proclaimed ex-gay and supposed youth minister Donnie Davies is making waves with his antics, so outrageous that people are still wondering if it’s all an evil parody. After seeing his music video The Bible Says, in which he "lovingly" and sweetly sings "God hates fags, and if you’re a fag, he hates you too", I’d say it’s a hoax. If this guy is serious and not a parody, he is spiritually sick, and will have to spend years recovering from whatever still warps his soul. And if a parody, it’s also tasteless, but I’m sure someone will get a kick of out it, esp. if it is poking fun at the ex-gay movement.
Lots of goodies from the news on Islam, from the role of France’s former president in forging the Iran of today, to JihadWatch’s recommendations for Muslim reformers, which include:
Stop blaming violent acts committed by Muslims in the name of Islam on the various sins of unbelievers.
Establish nationwide, compulsory programs in mosques to teach
against the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism….
Stop saying violent or hateful things in private when you think no non-Muslims are around….
- Actively work with Western law enforcement officials to identify and apprehend jihadists within Western Muslim communities.
Last year, after seeing Jonny Lang on his last tour, I commented that he seemed very Christian in his comments and encore songs. His latest album, Turn Around, removes all doubt. Now on his 5th album, he has more creative control, and the Christian influence is overt.
From co-writing My Love Remains with Steven Curtis Chapman, to a duet with Michael McDonald (Thankful), at least half of the songs are overtly Christian in content. Unfortunately, I don’t think this album, which seems even more experimental than his last, really stands up that well. The overt Christian material can seem trite at times, and I miss his solid blues guitar and vocals that are so powerful on his early albums.
Many have asserted that the GOP must nominate an anti-war candidate in order to win the 2008 Presidential election. This has almost become conventional wisdom that Republicans must run away from Iraq because the public will hold them accountable for the war.
If we ignore our own personal opinions about the war, the polls do not seem to line-up with that line of thinking.
- Jesus Coming When? – Gary DeMar muses about books that have predicted the date of Jesus’ return.
- KJV Onlyism – John MacArthur et al. have a nice 4 part series debunking those who take a King James Only position. Nice work.
- Christian Idol – TBN is set to release a Christian version of American Idol this Friday, hosted by Back Street Boy turned evangelical Brian Littrell. Too bad their site is not working.
- Best Bible Reading Plan Ever – Cerulean Sanctum has what I think is the best bible reading plan ever – way better than any "read the bible in a year" plan.
- Outsider or Insider? – Prosthesis has a nice discussion of why, when it comes to matters of belief, the outsider may not be in the best, "objective" position to evaluate the belief. The best? I’d say someone who’s been an insider, and then an outsider, and perhaps insider again.
- Flatland the Movie – Cool classic tale coming to a theater near you.
The two topics that are taboo to discuss (and which fill the blog world) are complicated and controversial. People’s view of religion and politics are constantly changing, especially as the microscope goes closer.
Sen. Barack Obama will be answering lots of guestions about his faith in the coming months. His answers show the difficult side when the two taboos meet.
Are you and evangelical?
Did you attend a Muslim madrassa?
Neither of his answers should be a determining factor on whether someone votes for him or not. The questions or his answers should not be used as an attempt to slime him or his campaign. I merely was interested in the role and connection between faith and politics, especially with someone like Obama who was a diverse faith background.
We have, but we feel uneasy about it, and we are not alone in evangelicalism. Check out the excerpts below. Of note is the last one from RBC, who actually state that the scriptures do NOT prohibit it, but that that the prohibition stems, not from selfishness or our desire to seprate pleasure from procreation, but that it is rooted in unbiblical asceticism. Wow.
Chris Hedges’ book American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America also takes moderates to task. Taking a page out of Sam Harris’ book, the author chides moderates this way:
Mainstream Christians can also cherry-pick the Bible to create a Jesus
and God who are always loving and compassionate. Such Christians often
fail to acknowledge that there are hateful passages in the Bible that
give sacred authority to the rage, self-aggrandizement and intolerance
of the Christian Right. Church leaders must denounce the biblical
passages that champion apocalyptic violence and hateful political
What is interesting is his pejorative descriptions of the religious right. The Progressive Christian site Christian Alliance goes on to ponder if Progressives should do something like this, and why their voice isn’t being heard. And I have some proposed answers.
No one ever won a war by fighting for "not defeat." You win a war by smashing up the enemy, by so overwhelming him but that he has no choice but to surrender or die. Instead we have "stayed the course" (where is the urgency in that?) and we have whined that losing would be a bad thing.
We should never have pledged to uphold a unified Iraq. We should instead have created an independent Kurdistan, an independent Shiite Mesopotamia, and an independent (and largely Sunni) rump state of Iraq. And while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks were absolutely right to invade Iraq with a light force — for speed and surprise — we should have reinforced our initial victory with a doubling of our troop strength to stem the inevitable initial chaos. If we had done these things, if we had simply abided by two of the cardinal lessons of military history, "divide and conquer" and "reinforce success," our job would be done, most of our troops would be home, and President Bush would not have received his electoral thumping.
We should let our yes be "yes" and our no be "NO", and stop equivocating. In or out.
Prosthesis has a good article about the errors Christians make in attacking the likes of atheist apologists Harris and Dawkins, but he also calls out what he sees as the real problem with Angry Atheists – their abandonment of reason while claiming to be reason-based.
I am very happy to see some atheists haven’t abandoned reason in order
to promote reason. I think this points to an even deeper problem.
"Reason" and "rational" have become a labels for a certain set of
beliefs, rather than being labels for thinking clearly about things.
The angry atheists have forgotten about reason as clear thinking in
their defense of their particular set of "reasonable" beliefs. Reason
(the beliefs) has killed itself (the act of clear thinking).