Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Foobie Jesus!

An now this is way cool...

Servile Nation

William N. Grigg on mandatory "National Service"

Daily Readings

I used to post up daily readings from the Lutheran Service Book, but after a while I noticed that it didn't include the "Whole Bible" in the yearly readings. That started to bug me so I set up a system of my own using Libronix that I like better. (Libronix is my theology library on the computer, I've got 55 volumes of Luther's works, dozens of other books and the Bible in a couple of versions, also a few commentaries and studies of books, it's pretty cool.) You can set up a reading schedule in any form you want to, I have set it up to read through the whole Bible in a year and Psalms and Proverbs every month. I have a reading from the Old Testament, one from the Gospels-Acts-Revelation and one from the Epistles every day. I'm liking that better than the lectionary because I'm just afraid I'll miss something the other way :-) Yeah, I'm pretty anal about some things. I like things to be organized and predictable, I like things all planned out, including my spontaneous moments ;-/

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Commemoration of Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany

Mary, Martha and Lazarus of Bethany were disciples with whom Jesus had a special bond of love and friendship. John's Gospel records that "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus" (John 11:15). On one occasion Martha welcomed Jesus into their home for a meal. While she did all the work, Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to his Word and was commended by Jesus for choosing the "good portion which will not be taken away from her" (Lk 10:38-42). When their brother Lazarus died, Jesus spoke to Martha this beautiful Gospel promise: "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live" (John 11:25-27). Ironically, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it made Jesus' enemies more determined than ever to kill him (John 11:39-54). Six days before Jesus was crucified, Mary anointed his feet with a very expensive fragrant oil and wiped them with her hair, not knowing at the time that she was doing it in preparation for Jesus' burial (John 12:1-8; Mt 26:6-13). [From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hey there Cthulu

This is hilarious!



If you don't know Cthulu, well, you need to read some classic Sci-fi-horror stuff by HP Lovecraft. ;-)

Confusion

In listening to The God Whisperers from Pirate Christian Radio I heard this little bit about confusing verbs. There are three important verbs in our life:

Worship

Work

Play

We confuse them by Worshiping Work, Working at Play and Playing at Worship! Think about it :-)

Most people get their identity from work, who are you? I'm a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. We work hard at play, some people take play to extremes, kids can play video games for days on end never giving up. Finally, we play at worship, too many churches today have "worshitainment" with praise bands and skits and other such stuff, it's all "up there on the stage" or on the big screen. Anyway, it's something to think about.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where I am on the CREATION/EVOLUTION CONTINUUM

Ah, there I am, Theistic Evolution, right there just a hair up from Atheistic Evolution. My more fundamentalist friends will be dismayed I'm sure. :-)

I got this little chart from the National Center for Science Education website while reading this article about the Creation Evolution Continuum. What it essentially means is that while acknowledging that God indeed has created and sustains and guides the cosmos, I also acknowledge the legitimate findings of science concerning such things as the age of the earth and the common descent of current life from one or a few original, simple forms. I also agree with the Catholics that humans were specially endowed with a soul at some point in this process but that we and the great apes may very well be physically descended from a common ancestor.

The idea of Progressive Creation as exemplified by Reasons to Believes Hugh Ross and his ministry is quite attractive to me, because the science is so much better than that of AnswersInGenesis and the other Young Earth bozos, but I find it unsatisfying in the end, it simply does not have the ring of truth for me. There is way to much compelling evidence for common descent that they try to explain away, it just won't really work as science. Besides, I don't really see the need for it theologically, Christianity does not depend on it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From the Campaign for Liberty blog

The non-catatonic population has long seen through Obama’s “change” rhetoric, given that everything he says is safely within the confines of acceptable positions as defined by the political establishment. His speech to AIPAC was the usual Obama capitulation, not that his cult of personality has suffered for it. Now he’s repeating his insistence that he won’t take any options off the table against Iran. Neoconservative Bill Kristol even says Obama and McCain “don’t actually differ” on Iran.

Well, I don’t know about you all, but I’m just shocked. You mean the two major candidates don’t give Americans a choice? Impossible! (Yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Volcanoes, evil or good?

The other day there was a post on ScienceBlogs.com saying volcanoes are evil because of an old extinction event. Today an opposing post declares them good instead, both are most amusing and I encourage all to read them ;-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Let there be light...


Which being translated into English says "In the beginning, God said the four-dimensional divergence of an antisymmetric, second rank tensor equals zero, and there was Light, and it was good."

No, I really don't have much of a clue as to what that actually means, I just came upon it in my reading Archimedes to Hawking during my lunch break and thought it sounded sort of cool :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So true

I assume that credit card executives are all atheists, otherwise they would not dare to treat people in the shabby and extortionate manner they do, they are nothing but thieves and liars. They will answer to God for what they do unless they repent.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

California Burning

Many of us in California have been breathing smoke from the over 2,000 fires in the state for the last month, I'm really getting tired of this myself. I'm enjoying a bit of marine air blowing in right now through my window, thank the Lord!

Bush surveys record-breaking Calif. wildfires

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer 54 minutes ago

President Bush offered federal help and encouragement Thursday to some of the 25,000 firefighters working under a blazing sun to contain wildfires that make up the single largest fire event ever recorded in California.

"I always come to make sure the federal government is coordinating closely with the state government," Bush said. "I know Gov. Schwarzenegger well enough to say that if we weren't, he'd let me know."

Since a huge lightning storm on June 21, about 2,010 separate fires have ignited across California, ravaging nearly 900,000 acres. Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in 12 counties affected by the wildfires and has called in the California National Guard to help.

"The weather is stable — steady hot and dry inland," said Jason Kirchner, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. "Our folks are grinding away on these fires, making progress, but it's coming slow and it's a lot of work."

Bush took an aerial tour with Schwarzenegger to survey fire damage in the 2.1 million-acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the largest in California.

Schwarzenegger said 80 percent of the U.S. fire resources for firefighting are deployed in California.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy “Cost of Government Day”

This year, the Cost of Government Day falls on July 16th. Americans for Tax Reform defines COGD as “the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on the federal, state and local levels.”

They estimate that the cost of government now consumes 53.9% of national income, with the average American worker spending 83.7 days laboring to pay his “share” of federal spending. The average worker spends 50.5 days for state and local spending. Keep in mind that this is just spending, not regulation, which takes its own toll from you. Regulation requires 62.6 days, and “is estimated to cost 17.2 percent of national income.”

This is the Cost Day for the country as a whole. The date for each state varies.

You can draw your own conclusions on some of ATR’s analysis, but the figures are fascinating. Check out their report here. This would be great information to forward, as many people don’t truly understand what kind of a mess our government is in until they see cold, hard statistics, charts, and graphs.


8 hour days suck

Just a note in case you wonder where I went, I'm probably not going to be blogging much this week, or next for that matter, because I'm working extra days while Pat is on vacation. I'm working 8 hour days Monday through Saturday this week, then I'll have Sunday off and go back to 12 hour days next Monday through Wednesday. As I've always said, I'm just as beat after an 8 hour day as I am after a 12 hour day. I get NOTHING done in those 4 hours off at the end of the day, I may as well have stayed at work. Then I don't get the days off, and nothing gets done, 8 hour days suck big time, I need the extra days off! Even though I work the same number of hours for the week I feel like I've been drained of energy by working more (even though they are shorter) days. Plus it costs me money to work more days, I pay $10.50 each day for a round trip to San Francisco on BART, so working 4 extra days costs me $42.00, sort of, I get 8 hours of OT for Saturday so I get it back but it still FEELS like I had to pay extra to work this week. Anyway, for the next week I'm liable to ignore blogging.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

2 Sermons

Here is a wonderful graphic example of the difference between Christianity and American Generic Godism, using the cool tool called Wordle. Wordle makes a "word cloud" out of text, increasing the size of words based on how many times it is used in the selection pasted into the application. So here are two sermons, one by a Confessional Lutheran pastor who talks about Jesus and one by a self help guru masquerading as a Christian Preacher.

First here is what a Lutheran sermon looks like (Rev. Bill Cwirla):
Now here is what Rick-Purpose Driven-Warren's sermon looks like:

Note the absence of the words "Jesus" and "Christ". This could be a Muslim, Mormon, Jewish or even Hindu talk with this word selection. Without Jesus Christ you are NOT a Christian!

Now, just for grins I put in a years worth of my private, offline, journal into Wordle and here is what came up:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Reasons to Believe

My previous post on Evolution - Creation might have implied that there were no reasonable science on the creation side. Well, I am aware of at least one group that does real science and at the same time holds to an old earth creation philosophy. That group is Reasons to Believe. They are very firm on following the search for truth wherever it leads, they don't distort the science yet they still hold to the bible at the same time. As a result they debunk both the Young Earth Creationists and the atheistic materialists. While I'm not convinced, totally, by their arguments they are good enough with the science that I listen to their podcast every week and to their science updates when they come out. So, check out Reasons to Believe, good science and creation in one place, a very rare place indeed.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Arizona Trip

All right, I've finally sorted through my photos a bit and uploaded them to Flickr. We had a great time at Jasen's meeting Tegan and a bunch of family. We stayed over at Kari's and visited Mom's new place on our way out to the Grand Canyon, where we spent 4 nights and did a lot of ranger programs, learned about geology, fossils, trees and wildlife, great fun! Check out the photos here.

Only a Theory

I finished reading "Only a Theory" by Kenneth Miller the other day and I must say that he succeeds in taking apart the Intelligent Design (ID) camp pretty thoroughly. The book makes a very compelling case that ID is not really science in the way we normally define science. I won't go into detail here but many of the examples of "irreducible complexity" touted by the ID camp have been refuted already and even more damning as far as I'm concerned is the fact that the ID people have utterly failed to produce any actual original research based on the idea of design. I have read several books by the most prominent ID proponents in recent months and while on the surface they make a certain amount of sense, far more than the Young Earth Creationist folk do at least, in the end they spent almost all of their energy pointing out how they just can't imagine how evolution could produce the features they are seeing. Basically I saw it as simply an argument based on lack of imagination ;-) Just because they can't imagine how it could have happened they fall back on "God must have done it!"

Well, I do think that "God did it." I just think that he used natural means to pull it off. I don't really see the need to bring in miraculous intervention on the edges of our knowledge the way the ID crowd likes to do. My take on the whole thing is that God, being the omniscient and omnipotent creator of the cosmos, set everything into motion with full awareness of the end state of things, there was no need for intervention after that. Oops, that sort of makes me a deist doesn't it? I need to hash out what I'm thinking here a bit more I guess, because I don't maintain that God never intervenes in the world, or that he can't, merely that as far as the progress of the natural world goes he allows things to move naturally for the most part. It is also my belief that God upholds the entire creation at each and every moment, nothing exists that God does not sustain, if He withdrew His sustaining power all of creation would simply cease to exist, He knows the position of every particle in all of existence at every moment and where it will be in a billion years and where it was 12 billion years ago. He has no need to reach into the world and tinker every few million years to bring about a new species of beetle or sea snail, or you and me for that matter.

Anyway, I'm now reading a book called "Saving Darwin, How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution" by Karl Giberson that I hope will help me to clarify what I'm trying to say here. I'll let you know how that works out ;-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

I'm just back from a long vacation trip through Arizona seeing family and camping at the Grand Canyon with Mike, Lora and Serenity.

So of course my first post here is not about that at all. Rather than sort through the hundreds of photos I took and write a summary here I am posting about the 4th of July, which it is today so get over it already. :-)

As I was avoiding getting dressed or starting the work of cleaning up my camping gear or sorting photos I came upon this little test on MSNBC linked from a blog I was catching up on this morning. I scored 90%, which is not very good for one like me who prides themselves on knowing about our form of government.

Try it out and see how you do.