Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quote of the day...

From Victor Davis Hanson at NRO,
If anyone wished to know what the baby-boomer generation would do when, in its full maturity, it hit its first self-created, big-time recession, I think we are seeing the hysterical results. After two decades of unprecedented economic growth, rampant consumer spending, and unimaginable borrowing to satisfy our insatiable appetites, we are suddenly going into even larger debt and printing trillions of dollars in paper money to ensure that someone else after we are gone pays the debt.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oprah's Stunned....

From World Net Daily:
On the third day of her televised "Best Life" week-long series, even Oprah Winfrey was stunned to hear one of her pastor panelists, Rev. Ed Bacon, declare, "Being gay is a gift from God."

With wide eyes, Winfrey responded, "Well, you are the first minister I've ever heard say, 'Being gay is a gift from God,' I can tell you that."

The comment was made earlier this month on the "Your Spiritual Journey" segment of Winfrey's "Best Life Week" by Rev. Bacon of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., a church described by Pasadena Weekly as "one of the most socially progressive religious institutions in America."

The comment was so controversial that Winfrey invited Bacon back four days later via video link to explain himself.

"Tell us, what did you mean by that comment?" Winfrey asked.

"I meant exactly what I said," Bacon responded with a wide smile. "It is so important for every human being to understand that he or she is a gift from God, and particularly people who are marginalized and victimized in our culture. Gay and lesbian people are clearly outcasts in many areas of our life, and it is so important for them to understand that when God made them, God said, 'You are good.'"
No comment. I'm speechless [though Screwtape's Letters are coming to mind].

Read the whole article here.

Piper's Fifteen Pro-Life Truths to Speak

Piper's Fifteen Pro-Life Truths to Speak:
1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother's womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15.Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

Attn: College Football Fans

Here is an attempt by one writer to suggest that b/c the Arizona Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl via a playoff system, that's proof positive why the NCAA should not have one.
Each year, when fans, broadcasters and columnists engage in their annual hand-wringing over the lack of a college football playoff, the lords of the BCS defend their divisive system by noting a playoff would deflate the sport's uniquely gripping regular season. Playoff proponents never want to hear it.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present the living embodiment of a devalued regular season: The Arizona Cardinals.
You can read his full argument here.

Basically, he argument boils down to the fact that the BCS system keeps mediocre teams out.

Where's the flaw in his argument?

Basically, his argument would have merit if 16-0 mediocre teams made it to the Super Bowl. With the NFL system, you never have undefeated teams who don't make it to the final game. Almost every year in the NCAA, you do. Just ask Utah who went undefeated and who soundly beat former #1 Alabama who when they played Florida (who went on to win the National Championship), led them for most of the game until the end.

'Nuff said. The college football playoff system is the only logical option.

That's one thing I agree with the President on. That and we both love Macs.

Quote of the day...

This one is by Cal Thomas:

The Obama "stimulus" plan is a $1 trillion dollar gamble more suited to Las Vegas than Washington. It bets the economic vitality of future generations on the belief that money from Washington would jumpstart the economy. Generally, one jumpstarts a car when the battery is dead, but America's "batteries" (its people) are not dead. The vehicle has stalled because too much government meddling and loss of personal responsibility has flooded the engine. More meddling will not revive the U.S. economy anymore than holding down the accelerator on a flooded engine will start a car.

Who'd want the job?

This is what I would look like if I were the President! Seriously, who in their right mind would want the job?


Are there any Real Christians around?


According to this report based on the Barna Group findings, 1 in 3 "Christians" said that Jesus was a sinner.
Half of Americans who call themselves "Christian" don't believe Satan exists and fully one-third are confident that Jesus sinned while on Earth, according to a new Barna Group poll.

Another 40 percent say they do not have a responsibility to share their Christian faith with others, and 25 percent "dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches," the organization reports.
This tells me, (1) that Christianity is 'bout dead in the States; (2) too many churches are focused on all the wrong things; & (3) American Christianity is really just syncretism--a buffet of beliefs.

Lord have mercy.

Read the report here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thomas Sowell on Race, the Inauguration Speech, & the Future

I've been reading Thomas Sowell's book, Basic Economics (which I think everyone should be required to read before (1) running for office, & (2) being allowed to vote, but I digress). Sowell is a professor of Economics at Stanford University. He recently had an interesting article on the President's Inauguration speech in which he had some very good things to say.
Inevitably, much is being made of the fact that Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States.

He is indeed the first "African American" President, unlike the millions of other black Americans whose ancestors were here longer than millions of white Americans. By the time that there was a United States of America, most black Americans had never seen Africa and neither had their grandparents.

There is no group less eligible to be called hyphenated Americans. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is one of them— symbolically, at least— and race is part of the symbolism of this moment.

Those who doubted that a black man could be elected to the highest office in the land no longer have a leg to stand on. That can be a force for good, when young blacks can no longer be told that there is no point in their trying to get ahead in this society because "the man" is going to stop them.

In another sense, the Obama presidency may not be nearly as big a change in the country as some might think. Colin Powell could probably have been elected eight years ago. But you don't know it can happen until it happens.

No doubt the race-hustling industry will continue, and no doubt their chief victims will be blacks, especially young blacks, who buy the paralyzing picture of victimhood and the counterproductive resentments which sap energies that could be better used to improve their own lives.

Now that we have the first black President of the United States, maybe we can move ahead to the time when we can forget about "the first" whatever to do what. There is too much serious work to do to spend more time on that.
Read it here.

ESPN Prestige Rankings

Here's an interesting article. ESPN has ranked the top 5 teams in NCAA football based on the following:
ESPN's Prestige Rankings are a numerical method of ranking the best FBS college football programs since the 1936 season. Point values were assigned for certain successes (win a national title, earn 25 points) and failures (get your program banned from the postseason, lose two points). The research department ran all the numbers through the computer to come up with the No. 1 program (and Nos. 2 to 119) of the past 73 seasons.
Here's their assesment:

#1: The Oklahoma Sooners
#2: Southern Cal Trojans
#3: Ohio State Buckeyes
#4: The Irish of Notre Dame
#5: Nebraska Cornhuskers

Baptists Awakening to Weekly Communion

Note: Links are fixed.

I'm glad to see that at least some Baptists are beginning to wake up to the biblical pattern of celebrating the Lord's Supper (at least) weekly. Over at Moore to the Point, guest blogger, Dr. Jim Hamilton, writes,
Everywhere the apostles went to make disciples, they planted churches. They always baptized new disciples into membership in those churches, and those churches met on the first day of the week to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, looking for his return, by partaking of the Lord’s supper....

This means, I think, that if we become convinced that the earliest church took the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day—and if this was so widespread that when Paul and Luke are traveling from one place to another, they know that if they find a church gathered on the Lord’s day that church will have gathered to break bread—if we become convinced that the earliest church in every place took the Lord’s supper every Lord’s day, we will want to do the same.

Read about it here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Prayer for Obama

From Al Mohler's blog:
Our Father, Lord of all creation, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We pray today with a sense of special urgency and responsibility. We come before you to pray for our new President, Barack Obama, and for all those in this new administration who now assume roles of such high responsibility.

We know that you and you alone are sovereign; that you rule over all, and that you alone are able to keep and defend us. We know that our times are in your hands, and that "the king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord" [Proverbs 21:1]. Our confidence is in you and in you alone. We come before you as a people who acknowledge our constant need for your provision, wisdom, and protection.

Father, we pray today for Barack Obama as he takes office as President of the United States. We pray that you will show the glory of your name in our times and in these days, confounding the wisdom of the wise, thwarting the plans of the arrogant, and vindicating those who do justice and practice righteousness.

Father, we pray with thanksgiving for the gift of government and the grace of civic order. Thank you for giving us rulers and for knowing our need for laws and ordered life together. Thank you for this nation and the blessings we know as its citizens. Thank you for freedoms unprecedented in human history. We understand that these freedoms come with unprecedented opportunities.

Lord, we pray with thanksgiving for the joy and celebration reflected on millions of faces who never expected to look to the President of the United States and see a person who looks like themselves. Father, thank you for preserving this nation to the moment when an African-American citizen will take the oath of office and become our President. Thank you for the hope this has given to so many, the pride emerging in hearts that had known no such hope, and the pride that comes to a people who have experienced such pain at the hands of fellow citizens, simply because of the color of their skin. Father, we rejoice in every elderly face that reflects such long-sought satisfaction and in every young face that expresses such unrestrained joy. May this become an open door for a vision of race and human dignity that reflects your glory in our differences, and not our corruption of your gift.

Father, protect this president, we pray. We pray that you will surround this president and his family, along with all our leaders, with your protection and sustenance. May he be protected from evil acts and evil intentions, and may his family be protected from all evil and harm.

We pray that the Obama family will be drawn together as they move into the White House, and that they will know great joy in their family life. We are thankful for the example Barack and Michelle Obama have set as parents. Father, protect those precious girls in every way -- including the protection of their hearts as they see their father often criticized and as he is away from them on business of state. May their years in the White House bring them all even closer together.

Father, we pray for the safety and security of this nation, even as our new president settles into his role as Commander in Chief. We know that you and you alone can be our defense. We do not place our trust in horses or chariots, and we pray that you will give this president wisdom as he fulfills this vital responsibility.

Father, grant him wisdom in every dimension of his vast responsibility. Grant him wisdom to deal with a global financial crisis and with the swirling complex of vexing problems and challenges at home and abroad. May he inspire this nation to a higher vision for our common life together, to a higher standard of justice, righteousness, unity, and the tasks of citizenship.

Father, we pray that you will change this president's heart and mind on issues of urgent concern. We are so thankful for his gifts and talents, for his intellect and power of influence. Father, bend his heart to see the dignity and sanctity of every single human life, from the moment of conception until natural death. Father, lead him to see abortion, not as a matter of misconstrued rights, but as a murderous violation of the right to life. May he come to see every aborted life as a violation of human dignity and every abortion as an abhorrent blight upon this nation's moral witness. May he pledge himself to protect every human life at every stage of development. He has declared himself as an energetic defender of abortion rights, and we fear that his election will lead directly to the deaths of countless unborn human beings. Protect us from this unspeakable evil, we pray. Most urgently, we pray that you will bring the reign of abortion to an end, even as you are the defender of the defenseless.

Father, may this new president see that human dignity is undermined when human embryos are destroyed in the name of medical progress, and may he see marriage as an institution that is vital to the very survival of civilization. May he protect all that is right and good. Father, change his heart where it must be changed, and give him resolve where his heart is right before you.

Father, when we face hard days ahead -- when we find ourselves required by conscience to oppose this president within the bounds of our roles as citizens -- may we be granted your guidance to do so with a proper spirit, with a proper demeanor, and with persuasive arguments. May we learn anew how to confront without demonizing, and to oppose without abandoning hope.

Father, we are aware that our future is in your hands, and we are fully aware that you and you alone will judge the nations. Much responsibility is now invested in President Barack Obama, and much will be required. May we, as Christian citizens, also fulfill what you would require of us. Even as we pray for you to protect this president and change his heart, we also pray that your church will be protected and that you will conform our hearts to your perfect will.

Father, we pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, the ever-reigning once and future King, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He and he alone can save, and his kingdom is forever. Above all, may your great name be praised. Amen.

A nice prayer to contrast that of the racist prayer that closed the inauguration.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pray for our Nation & the Right to Life for the most vulnerable

Well, today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and Obama is expected to sign his executive orders to reverse Bush's executive orders that had common sense restrictions including not using tax-payer's money to fund abortions.

Ron Jones, a pastor of a large evangelical church in D.C., wrote an open letter to Obama saying,
Mr. President-Elect, you talked a great deal in your campaign about “the little guy,” who is often mistreated in our society. Surely you understand that the smallest and most vulnerable Americans in 2009 are those in the womb, whose lives are unprotected by the law, and thus dependent upon the decisions of others. Surely America is better than this.

Fundamentally, does the unborn child have value independent of his mother? Clearly, the answer from science is yes. From the moment of conception, the life forming within the womb has all the same DNA as a fully-matured adult person. And the answer from biblical revelation is equally compelling. John the baptizer leapt in his mother’s womb when she met her pregnant cousin Mary, the mother of Jesus. Even so our hearts respond to the sanctity of unborn life.

I pray that you will reconsider your views on this moral issue. I raise my voice on behalf of the voiceless, pleading with you to take the lead in building an America where all of our children, whatever their race or family income, are welcomed into the world, protected by the law and have a seat at the table with the rest of the American family.

These precious unborn children have been deprived of life without due process of law. More than 3,300 abortions per day, or 138 per hour, happen in clear violation of the Constitution and the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, which makes it plain that our liberty comes straight from God and that our first right is the sacred right to life.

Pray for our nation today, and pray for Christians who have given up on this battle and have accepted this as a part of 'our way of life.'

Monday, January 19, 2009

Can he do it? Can he save the world?

According the the polls, Americans believe that Obama CAN save us, but according to this article,
Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added.
Hmmm. I don't think he can do it, even with an extended honeymoon period and the media in his hip pocket.

As for me, I'm betting on Jack Bauer coming in at the last minute to save the world! He's already done it multiple times.

Obama or Bauer. Where will you place your faith? Choose wisely.

Why the Utah Utes are the National Champions

Okay, I'm trying to get life back together after our trip to Qatar and subsequent sicknesses upon returning home, but since I was off (slightly!) on my National Championship prediction, here is a persuasive article on why the Utes from Utah should be the reigning National Champs. So, yeah.

Some timely thoughts from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's some thoughts to ponder on this day set apart to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. It's from a sermon called, "A Knock at Midnight."
It is also midnight within the moral order. At midnight colours lose their distinctiveness and become a sullen shade of grey. Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. For modern man, absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes and the customs of a particular community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein’s theory of relativity, which properly described the physical universe, to the moral and ethical realm.

Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not get caught." According to the ethic of midnight, the cardinal sin is to be caught and the cardinal virtue is to get by. It is all right to lie, but one must lie with real finesse. It is all right to steal, if one is so dignified that, if caught, the charge becomes embezzlement, not robbery. It is permissible even to hate, if one so dresses his hating in the garments of love that hating appears to be loving. The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens....
And these thoughts are appropriate in light of the inauguration of the messiah-elect tomorrow.
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travellers at midnight.
Otherwise, we will be left to put our *hope for change* in false messiahs, aka "politicians."

[HT: Dream Awakener]

Thursday, January 8, 2009

National Championship Prediction

Here in Qatar, I'll have to get up at 4am to watch the game. I'm going to try my best to do so. (For all those awaiting updates on Qatar, we'll post next week when we return.) But I want to go on record with my prediction.

I am by upbringing a Sooner fan. I have a ton of appreciation and respect for Tim Tebow. I think Stoops is a brilliant and gutsy coach (wish he were at TAMU!). So, its hard to be objective, but this is my prediction for the game tonight--or should I say--this morning!

Florida -31

I think this is going to be a hard fought game. OU has scored 60+ in its last 5 games. Their only loss to t.u. was a fluke (though I give McCoy all the credit in engineering their comeback). I think Ole Miss' victory over the Gators was a fluke as well (not to take away anything from the Rebels outstanding year & Nutt's great job there). But I think OU & Florida can beat anyone the way they are playing now--with possibly the exception of each other. That's why this game will be a great one.

Both teams will strike hard at first, and there will be some quick points on the board. Then the opening jitters will go away and we'll settle in for some tug-of-war with both offenses being frustrated. Both will have 21 points by half time. More back-and-forth scoring will occur mainly in the forth quarter, and OU will eventually prevail. But with 3 minutes left in the game, we won't know who the winner is.

So, 35-31 OU. What is your prediction?

Check out this article on ESPN for the top 10 reasons OU will win and the top 10 reasons Florida will win.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Couple of Sports Links

This is our second to last day in Qatar and we are enjoying our time immensely. Today is a 'day off' and a little slower, so I'm getting my game face on for the NCAA National football championship Game between my number 2 favorite team, OU, and the Florida Gators.

Here's a great article on ESPN, "Tebow doesn't let the haters affect him" about Tim Tebow and the haters and how football is not his idol.
MIAMI -- Back in July, in a ballroom in a Birmingham, Ala., hotel during Southeastern Conference media days, a reporter asked Tim Tebow the following question:

"I don't mean to sound cynical, but between winning the national championship and winning the Heisman, saving the world in the Philippines and all, did you ever, like, sneak a cigarette when you were in high school? Do you ever do anything wrong? Do you feel like everything off the field is sort of on cruise control for you?"

My immediate reaction: Lord help us. Sporting America has become too jaded to appreciate Tim Tebow. We've been Marion Jonesed and Mark McGwired and Barry Bondsed into suspecting there must be a dark side to the Florida quarterback, who does so many things right on and off the football field. We roll our eyes at his "saving the world in the Philippines," when how many among us have bothered to go across town to help the poor, much less across the globe the way Tebow has? We've been conditioned not to trust a virtuous athlete when he's right in front of us.

Tebow's reaction was better. His response, in part:

"You know, everybody, they can look and say how easy it is. But it's definitely not that easy. The difference is 'cause not many people want to wake up at 5, go through workouts, go speak to young kids, go back, eat lunch, go to class, go to tutoring, go speak at a prison at night, come back. I mean, more people would do those things; they just don't want to sacrifice.

"You know, there's a lot of leaders out there. But, unfortunately, there aren't a lot of good ones. So that's always been my dream and my goal, is to be someone like Danny Wuerffel was to me, to be someone that a parent can say, 'Hey, this kid did it the right way.' That's always been my dream and my goal more so than winning a trophy or winning a championship.

"So if it's cynical or whatnot, that's fine. If people don't believe it, that's fine. There's always going to be naysayers, people that are going to say it's fake. But that's fine because you can't control everybody. But I can control what I do, my attitude, how I approach the situation. So how I approach the situation is I want to do everything in my power that football gives me to influence as many people as I can for the good because that's gonna mean so much more when it's all said and done than just playing football and winning championships."
All I can say is, "Thank you, Tebow, for giving us fathers a role model we can point our children too." All role models are flawed, but Tebow definitely shows more maturity and perspective than many NFL players have, and certainly more than juvenile reporters like the one who asked him that question.

The second link is about what would have happened had we had a playoff system in college football (the one thing I think Obama & I agree on!). Now doubt engineered by a longhorn--sigh!--but it is cool to see nevertheless.

Check out the link here.