"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer
Saturday, April 30, 2005
"SOME READERS ARE OBJECTING to Daniel Henninger's characterization of bloggers as a virtual Mongol horde, but I think it's a compliment, and dead-accurate.
Mongols drove all their enemies before them, feared nothing but lightning, and were so much faster than their opponents that they could ride around the outside of a besieged fortress faster than the defenders could redeploy on the inside. Sound familiar?" JB here: "Indeed"
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Georgia bride-to-be who vanished days before her wedding turned up in New Mexico, claiming at first that she had been abducted, then admitting she had gotten cold feet and "needed some time alone," police said Saturday.
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was in police custody more than 1,420 miles from her home on what was supposed to be her wedding day.
"It turns out that Miss Wilbanks basically felt the pressure of this large wedding and could not handle it," said Randy Belcher, the police chief in Duluth, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where Wilbanks lives with her fiance. He said there would be no criminal charges.
Wilbanks, whose disappearance set off a nationwide hunt, called her fiance, John Mason, from a pay phone late Friday and told him that she had been kidnapped while jogging three days before, authorities said. Her family rejoiced that she was safe, telling reporters that the media coverage apparently got to the kidnappers.
But after being picked up by Albuquerque police outside a 7-Eleven and questioned for hours, she recanted.
Ray Schultz, chief of police in Albuquerque, said Wilbanks "had become scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone."
"She's obviously very concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family," he said. "She is very upset."
Schultz said she traveled to Las Vegas by bus before going to Albuquerque, where she found herself broke. Bill Elwell, an
FBI spokesman in Albuquerque, said that is probably why she called home when she did.
JB here: There's a lesson to be learned here. As soon as I figure out what it is; I'll post.
40 Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia for Religious Activity By Saudi Religious Police: 'For Trying to Spread the Poison and their Beliefs'
On April 23, 2005, Saudi newspapers reported that 40 Pakistanis were arrested by the Saudi religious police in a Riyadh apartment for conducting Christian religious activity. The following are excerpts from the reports:
The Saudi daily Al-Jazirah reported that 40 men, women, and children with Pakistani citizenship were arrested on April 21, 2005 after performing Christian religious rites in an apartment in the Thaharat Al-Badi'a neighborhood in western Riyadh. The arrest was part of a sweeping police operation by the Riyadh District Police, at the order of Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abd Al-'Aziz.
The paper reported that the operation came after Saudi religious police � known as the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice  � followed and collected information on the activity of the 40, who listened to a proselytizing lecture by a Pakistani minister.
The paper also noted that during the police operation, which lasted nearly 10 hours, a cross and a large number of proselytizing books and cassettes were found [in the apartment]. The detainees themselves stated that they had come to listen to lectures by the minister. One of the detainees was a Muslim Pakistani, who acknowledged that he had been influenced by the Christian ideology. 
The Saudi daily Al-Riyadh said that the detainees had set up a church in the apartment, equipped with crosses, pictures, and statues. Likewise, it was said that during their religious activity, one of them was found praying, as the others present repeated their words, and one of the women arrested was listing the people's confessions and distributing writs of absolution. The Al-Riyadh report included a photo of the detainees and of a large cross and the group which was arrested.
A Saudi religious police source explained the reason for the arrest: "These people tried to spread the poison and their beliefs to others, by means of distributing pamphlets and [missionary] publications." He said that all the detainees "had been transferred to the relevant bodies for investigation." 
JB here: Radical Christianity has always been extremely dangerous -- to countries run by fear and tyranny. An in one of the supreme ironies of life, the church always thrives under pressure - but tends to be weakened and poisoned under wealth and blessing.
Friday, April 29, 2005
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
April 28, 2005, 7:58 a.m.
Scary Stuff by Stanley Kurtz
Theres a real venom on the Left against conservative Christians.
Harpers Magazines May cover stories about The Christian Rights War On America, frightened me, although not the way Harpers meant them to. I fear these stories could mark the beginning of a systematic campaign of hatred directed at traditional Christians. Whether this is what Harpers intends, I cannot say. But regardless of the intention, the effect seems clear.
The phrase campaign of hatred is a strong one, and I worry about amplifying an already dangerous dynamic of recrimination on both sides of the culture wars. I dont doubt that conservatives, Christian and otherwise, are sometimes guilty of rhetorical excess. Yet despite what weve been told, the most extreme political rhetoric of our day is being directed against traditional Christians by the left.
Hedges is worried about extreme Christian theocrats called Dominionists. Hes got little to say about who these Dominionists are, and he qualifies his vague characterizations by noting in passing that not all Dominionists would accept the label or admit their views publicly. That little move allows Hedges to paint a highly questionable picture of a virtually faceless and nameless Dominionist Christian mass. Hedges seems to be worried that the United States is just a few short steps away from having apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft declared capital crimes. Compare this liberal fantasy of imminent theocracy to the reality of Lawrence v. Texas and Roper v. Simmons (the Supreme Court decision that appealed to European precedents to overturn capital punishment for juveniles).
Both of these decisions relied on the existence of a supposed national consensus on behalf of social liberalism. In conjuring up that false consensus, the Court treated conservative Christians as effectively nonexistent. That is the reality of where the law is, and where it is headed. It is completely unsurprising that after a long train of such decisions, conservative Christians have decided theyre tired of being trampled on by the courts. The reality we face is judicially imposed same-sex marriage in opposition to the clearly expressed wishes of the American people. Yet to cover its imperial judicial agenda, the Left is now concocting nonsensical fantasies of theocratically imposed capital punishment for witchcraft. Yes, witchcraft is back. Only now traditional Christians have been cast in the role of devious enemies who need to be ferreted out by societys defenders.
Hedges invokes the warnings of his old Harvard professor against Christian fascists. Supposedly, Christians carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance are the new Hitlers. The Left is loathe to treat Islamic terrorists as moral reprobates, but when it comes to conservative Christians, Hedges calls on his fellow liberals to renounce their relativist scruples and acknowledge the power and allure of evil.
Hedges neednt worry. For a very long time now, secular liberals have treated conservative Christians as the modern embodiment of evil, the one group youre allowed to openly hate. Although barely noticed by the rest of us, this poison has been floating through our political system for decades.
Conservative Christians have good reason to fear cultural ostracism. The mere expression of their core religious views is being legislated against. The courts have banned traditional morality as a basis for law and have turned instead to secular Europe for guidance. Traditional Christians cant even set up a college in New York City. And now Harpers is calling them evil fascists. Yes, conservative Christians have the ear of the president and of the Republican leadership you bet they do. Given the way theyre being treated in the culture at large, theyd be fools not to protect themselves by turning to politics.
Now we see the results of this terrible decision. Traditional Christians are openly excoriated in the mainstream press as evil, fascist, segregationist bigots. Their political speech is placed under legislative threat. Their institutions of higher education are attacked and destroyed. Naturally, Americas traditional Christians are fighting back. Theyve turned to the political process in hopes of securing for themselves a space in which to exist. Weary of being the butt of hatred by those who proclaim tolerance, conservative Christians are complaining, with justice, about the all-too-successful attempts to exclude them from society.
If Dominionists try to force all Americans to pay church tithes [preachers can't even get their own membership to pay church tithes ed.], or call for the execution of blasphemers and witches, I will oppose them. But that is not the danger we face. The real danger is that a growing campaign of hatred against traditional Christians by secular liberals will deepen an already dangerous conflict. The solution is to continue our debates, but to change their framing. Conservative Christians cannot stop complaining of exclusion and prejudice until cultural liberals pare back their own excesses. Lets stop treating honest differences on same-sex marriage as simple bigotry. Lets stop using the courts as a way around democratic decision-making. Lets stop trying to criminalize religious expression. Lets allow Christians to establish their own institutions of higher learning. And lets stop calling traditional Christians fascists. It would be nice if the folks complaining about Justice Sunday addressed these issues as well.
JB here: Please read the whole article, it's extremely insightful and telling. Plus National Review simply has some of the best and wittiest commentary on the political scene.
As for Christianity being under attack - what's new?
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
"Moments after the Holy See announced the election of Pope Benedict XVI last week, a friend of mine quipped that "Some folks will think that God isn't a very good listener because He had ignored yet again the advice of most of the American media." (Ed. loved that last line)
" So the smearing begins. A New York Times columnist summed up the anger of the Disappointed last week when she wrote that, The white smoke (of the papal election) signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth."
" One of the lessons from last year that too many American Catholics still don't want to face is that its OK to be Catholic in todays public square as long as we don't try to live our beliefs too seriously; as long as were suitably embarrassed by all those primitive Catholic teachings; as long as we shut up about abortion and other sensitive moral issues and allow ourselves to be tutored in the ways of polite secular culture by experts who have little or no respect for the Christian faith that guides our lives."
JB here: To paraphrase, for Protestant believers, "it's okay to be a devout Christian as long as you don't take your devoutness too far. In fact, we'll like you better if you'll be more worldly and far less devout. Yeah, that's the ticket."
And that's the problem. Being a 1/2 hearted or "part-time Christian" brings you to the book of Revelation where the Church of Laodicea (the "lukewarm church") is warned; "because you [the church] are lukewarm and neither cold or hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth"........
So that's the believer's dilemma. Offend society at large with your passion for God or offend God with your passion for the world. "Indeed"
The day would not be complete without referencing the following:
Toads in an area of northern Germany are being killed off by a mysterious disease - they are exploding.
Thousands of the amphibians have died in recent days in a pond in Hamburg's Altona district, with their bodies swelling to bursting point.
The toads' entrails are propelled for up to a metre (3.2ft), in scenes that have been likened to science fiction.
Scientists are baffled. Possible explanations include a unknown virus or a fungus in the pond.
"You see the animals crawling on the ground, swelling and then exploding," German conservationist Werner Smolnik told AFP news agency.
The bodies of the toads expanded to three and a half times their normal size, he said.
"I have never seen such a thing," AFP quotes veterinarian Otto Horst as saying. The site - which has been dubbed "the pond of death" - has been closed to the public.
JB here: I like the visual imagery of "the pond of death." As I'm about to begin my day, it speaks to me.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Found in Florida Times Union, 4-26-05
"Dear Miss Manners: I wonder if you could address this issue with the hope of helping some men enter the 21st century; During a recent course of air travel, I was repeatedly offered unwanted, unsolicited 'help' with my carry-on bag.
I am 38. While I understand that some of the men -- those before my generation -- were taught that they must help a 'lady' with her bags or be thought impolite, I think that others -- some younger and some older -- use it as an excuse to intrude themselves on an apparently single female traveler. Regardless of their motivations, I would like for them to understand my perspective:
I do not want your help. I would never dream of asking for it. I am not so stupid as to pack a bag that I cannot handle myself.
Though I am small, I am much stronger than you apparently think. I am not interested in meeting you or any other strange man in an airport, and if you touch my bag you'll only annoy me. Who asked you to put your filthy, disease-ridden paws on my bag?
No, I don't feel the need to be polite because you intruded with unwanted and unasked-for 'help.' And don't ever think of me as a 'lady.'"
The first sentence of Miss Manners reply goes: "Miss Manners can reassure you that no one who read your letter would think of you as a lady."
JB here: Hopefully, the letter writer does NOT represent the majority of females her age and status. But we men are not sure and this doubt provides an easy out for extending ourselves to be help to women we don't know.
But here's the kicker. For women, the law is actually a poor provider of security and help when faced with an aggressive predator or obnoxious jerk. Yes there are laws against sexual harassment, but for a variety of reasons, they're not very good in stopping harassment when it is immediately happening. On the other hand, a gentleman who has instilled in him the responsiblity to protect and defend those who may need it, such as a single woman being harassed by a loathful lout, can easily step in and deflect the harassment and establish that the lady being harassed is not without support and defense. That is usually enough to thwart a would-be idiot/moron.
But what the modern woman has to understand is this, because you are smaller and weaker, because you're not testosterone driven, YOU MAY ACTUALLY BENEFIT FROM A GENTLEMAN'S HELP! Please give up the notion that a combination of you and "good laws" will stop the jerks and the predators. What actually stops the jerks and the predators are "a few good. men." Let's actually deal with reality instead of insisting upon a view that has no support in the real world; i.e. women don't need men to protect them. JB
Monday, April 25, 2005
But whether the United States is on its way to becoming a theocracy is actually a silly question. No religion is going to impose laws on an unwilling Congress or the people of this country. And we have long lived comfortably with a few trappings of religion in the public space, such as "In God We Trust" or "God save this honorable court."
The real question is whether strong religious belief is on the rise in America and the world. Fifty years ago, secular liberals were confident that education, urbanization and science would lead people to renounce religion. That seems to have happened, if you confine your gaze to Europe, Canada and American university faculty clubs.
But this movement has not been as benign as expected: The secular faiths of fascism and communism destroyed millions of lives before they were extinguished. ..............................
JB here: "The secular faiths of fascism and communism..." As so many commentators have pointed out, why are only conservatives referred to as "religious" without also referring to the religion and faith of those on the very left. The academic elites at most universities and colleges are very religious. They worship mankind, they worship themselves.
If you are worshipping yourself, you have a fool for a god. JB
12. Character maturity sufficient to demonstrate courage under fire. The literature of manhood is replete with stories of courage, bravery, and audacity. At least, that's the way it used to be. Now, with manhood both minimalized and marginalized by cultural elites, ideological subversion, and media confusion, we must recapture a commitment to courage that is translated into the real-life challenges faced by the Christian man. At times, this quality of courage is demonstrated when a man risks his own life in defense of others, especially his wife and children, but also anyone who is in need of rescue. More often, this courage is demonstrated in taking a stand under hostile fire, refusing to succumb to the temptation of silence and standing as a model and example to others, who will then be encouraged to stand their own ground. In these days, biblical manhood requires great courage. The prevailing ideologies and worldviews of this age are inherently hostile to Christian truth and are corrosive to Christian faithfulness. It takes great courage for a boy to commit himself to sexual purity and for a man to devote himself unreservedly to his wife. It takes great courage to say no to what this culture insists are the rightful pleasures and delights of the flesh. It takes courage to serve as a godly husband and father, to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It takes courage to maintain personal integrity in a world that devalues the truth, disparages God's word, and promises self-fulfillment and happiness only through the assertion of undiluted personal autonomy. A man's true confidence is rooted in the wells of courage, and courage is evidence of character. In the end, a man's character is revealed in the crucible of everyday challenges. For most men, life will also bring moments when extraordinary courage will be required, if he is to remain faithful and true. Parents should give close attention to their sons' character, for if character is corrupt, nothing else will really matter.
JB here: If you're not reading Al Mohler on a daily basis; well shame on U
He truly has great, insightful posts.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
The Earl of Shaftesbury
The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, whose death aged 66 was confirmed yesterday, demonstrated the dangers of the possession of inherited wealth coupled with a weakness for women and Champagne.
Shaftesbury, who disappeared last November prompting an international police investigation, was tall, debonair, affable and rather shy.
It was said, after his mysterious disappearance from a Cannes nightclub, that the 10th Earl, like Gladstone, had been devoting himself to helping vulnerable young girls working in nightspots on the French Riviera to start new lives. But as the mystery deepened, it seemed that his interest was more than merely philanthropic.
Indeed, Lord Shaftesbury had always exhibited a weakness for exotic women. At Eton he had famously penned an article for the college magazine in which he described English debutantes as "round-shouldered, unsophisticated garglers of pink champagne". His subsequent amorous career was notable for his avoidance of the species.
He met his Italian-born first wife, Bianca Le Vien, the ex-wife of an American film producer and 12 years his senior, during a skiing holiday. They married in 1966, but divorced, owing to his adultery with an unnamed woman, in 1976. The same year he married a Swedish-born divorcee, Christina Casella, the daughter of a diplomat, with whom he had two sons.
That marriage, too, ended acrimoniously, in 2000, and he embarked on a string of short-lived and expensive love affairs with younger women distinguished by their exotic looks and equally colourful past histories.
He became a familiar figure in some of the loucher nightspots on the French Riviera, where he cut a curious figure in leather trousers, pink shirts and large red-and-black spectacles; he was notable for his habit of flashing his money around as he bought drinks for a succession of nubile female companions.
JB here: There is that phrase, "Payback is Hell."
As a radical follower of Jesus Christ, the God/man, I believe in moral absolutes. There is TRUTH, there is Right and there is Wrong.
Lord Shaftesbury believed in moral relativism (at least that's how he appeared to live). His life attempted to deny the existence of a moral God. In his own way, he lived as if he set the standards. Now he has to pay for rejecting God's inviolate laws. Hell, the final consequence to those who think they set the rules.
"Payback is Hell."
For those of us who follow the God/man - we seek for mercy; we badly need it. JB
The real problem facing the American Catholic church is that a great many boys have been seduced or forced into homosexual acts by certain priests; that these offenders appear to have been disproportionately represented in certain seminaries; and that their case histories open questions about sexuality that--verboten though they may have become--demand to be reexamined.
One singularly fearless such examination was published well before the Boston scandal broke in January. This was an extraordinary essay called "The Gay Priest Problem," published in the magazine Catholic World Report in November 2000.2 In it, Jesuit Paul Shaughnessy took aim in orthodox language at what he called "the ugly and indisputable facts: a disproportionately high percentage of priests is gay; a disproportionately high percentage of gay priests routinely engages in sodomy; this sodomy is frequently ignored, often tolerated, and sometimes abetted by bishops and superiors."
Like Rose, Cozzens emphasized two other consequences of this gaying of the priesthood: the reordering of what had been masculine social life along feminized lines drawn by gossip, favoritism, and cliques; and the consequent deterrence of some unknown number of actual and potential heterosexual seminarians. "Not infrequently," Cozzens explained, "the sexual contacts and romantic unions among gay seminarians create intense and complicated webs of intrigue and jealousy leading to considerable inner conflict. Here the sexually ambiguous seminarian drawn into the gay subculture is particularly at risk. The straight seminarian, meanwhile, feels out of place and may interpret his inner destabilization as a sign that he does not have a vocation to the priesthood." Writing in the Boston Globe earlier this year, Cozzens took the opportunity to put the same point even more forcefully: "My own experience as a former seminary rector made it clear to me that the growing number of homosexually oriented priests is deterring significant numbers of Catholic men from seriously considering the priesthood. Moreover, seminary personnel face considerable challenges dealing with the tensions that develop when gay and straight men live in community."
JB here: Please read the whole article. It is fascinating.
On a personal note; back in the mid 80's when I was teaching at a protestant seminary, one of my older students clued me into the oncoming train wreck that would be the Catholic Priest scandal. He told me some prominent people he knew suggested this would cost the Catholic Church some billion dollars. It appears he was right.
Now if the protestant preachers would quit deserting their wives for their organist (or now adays, guitar player) the church would have a stronger moral voice.
And not to forget; we're ALL grievious sinners. JB
Republican joins Bolton hearing monkey biz
April 24, 2005
BY MARK STEYN SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
the story brought up by the senior Democratic obstructionist Joe Biden. As Sen. Biden put it, ''The USAID worker in Kyrgyzstan alleges that she was harassed -- not sexually harassed -- harassed by Mr. Bolton.''
This was a decade ago, in some hotel. John Bolton allegedly chased this woman down a corridor in a non-sexual manner. It's not clear from Biden whether he would have approved had she been chased down the corridor in a sexual manner, as the 42nd president was wont to do. But the non-sexual harassment was instead about policy matters relating to Kyrgyzstan. Maybe Bolton was in a foul mood or maybe he was in a vowel mood and, this being Kyrgyzstan, they didn't have any. But this is what the pitiful constitutional travesty of the Senate's ''advise and consent'' role has now dwindled down to: a sex scandal with no sex. All talk and no action. Only in America, folks. Or, to be more precise, only in the U.S. Senate.
I'll bet Pope Benedict XVI is glad that his conclave doesn't include either Cardinal Biden or Cardinal Voinovich, or his church would be pontiff-less indefinitely while they ''investigated'' last-minute rumors that he'd been off-hand to some guy in seminary 55 years ago. I had no strong views about the new pope one way or another, but I'd have voted for him just for the pleasure of seeing him drive the U.S. media bananas. Apparently, the New York Times was stunned that their short list of Cardinal Gloria Steinem, Cardinal Rupert Everett and Cardinal Rosie O'Donnell were defeated at the last moment by some guy who came out of left field and isn't even gay or female but instead belongs to the discredited ''Catholic'' faction of the Catholic Church.
Unlike the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the conclave of cardinals takes its job seriously. They understand the demands of the New York Times: women priests, gay sex, condoms for all. But, as befits an ancient institution, they take the long view: They think that radical secularism is weak and that the consequences of its weakness will prove dangerous and possibly fatal for the Western world. Therefore, there's no point accommodating it -- and, after all, those churches that do (the Episcopalians, for example) are already in steep decline. You can disagree with this, particularly if you're as shrill and parochial as Pope Benedict's American critics. But the conclave at least addressed the big issues.
JB here: Two thoughts, first one political. There's actually no good reason to oppose John Bolton other than he's conservative and agrees with GWB. His "sins" are picayune as to be miniscule.
Secondly, the accommodation of radical secularism is certainly advancing the downward spiral that calls itself "western culture." As for churches, if you're dying to become non-existant, then certainly continue to follow the path of the American Episcopalian Church (primarily in the "blue state" area) where all liberal/progressive thoughts about the culture are in vogue. Bishop Gene Robinson ( the individual who deserted his wife and children to live with his boyfriend ) was rewarded by the "blue state" Episcopal Church with his own Bishoporic. (sp?). The only question remaining, how fast can the Episcopal Church die?
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Truth is stranger than fiction
One more Kennedy thought
Here's a movie plot:
A man, ambitious for political power, makes a deal with the devil: in exchange for power and success through his sons, he will surrender his soul.
The first son is killed in war.
The second son achieves the presidency, and the father suffers a crippling stroke that leaves him virtually unable to communicate.
The second son is assassinated.
The third son is well on his way to the presidency when he, too, is assassinated.
The fourth son accidentally/negligently gets a young woman killed, forever denying him the presidency.
Mere months after the fourth son destroys his future bid for the presidency, the father finally dies, knowing that those brief 2 1/2 years of his second son's presidency was the summit of the family's success, and the beginning of the end.
Nah. Nobody'd ever buy that one.
J. (And one final note: three of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.'s four sons died in service to the nation. With those kinds of odds, why the hell does the survivor have to be Teddy? The only other answer (other than the one above) is that Teddy simply lacked the courage, the character, the convictions to put his own life in harm's way the way his older brothers did.)
JB here: The Kennedy tale is truly a hideous story over the price required for fame and power.
Friday, April 22, 2005
Well I've been giving some limited attention for the last 3 weeks on how to set-up "trackback" on my blog. Somehow I discovered HALOSCAN the other day. Tonight I finally registered and 5 minutes later "trackback" was on this blog. Hm, I'm "psyched."
One more credit I must give my son. He's the one who put me onto "blogbuddy" and showed me a couple of the tricks that enables it to work well. I write or paste my posts into "blogbuddy" which then publishes the post to Rabbi Philosopher automatically. Works like a champ as long as I remember to rewrite my password (found in tools/options) before I attempt to "post and publish." THANKS TOM - programmer deluxe
"What has happened is that our language has been co-opted by the godless in our society, and they have expunged God from the lexicons of the world and substituted nominalist/relativistic secularism for the faith traditions of thousands of years ... in effect rendering the faithful culturally and politically mute."
posted by J. A. Gillmartin
JB here: the godless will never quit in their attempt to silence the voice of morality - they will be as gods. There is nothings "gods" hate worse than The Living God!
Thursday, April 21, 2005
"One of the strange dimensions of this entire picture is the fact that evangelicals, concerned with the preservation of biblical truth and determined to defend biblical morality, will share much common ground with this new pope. In a sermon delivered to his fellow cardinals just two days prior to his election, Cardinal Ratzinger issued an eloquent and profound critique of postmodern relativism.
""How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many waves of thinking . . . The small boat of thought of many Christians has been tossed about by these waves--thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth," he declared. As he continued, "We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain, and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.""
There is not one syllable in those statements with which evangelicals would not be in full and enthusiastic agreement. Indeed, Ratzinger's writings reveal a keen theological mind that understands the contours of the postmodern crisis and signal a staunch defense of truth against a posture of relativism.
Similarly, in a lengthy interview published in 1985, Ratzinger went after liberal biblical critics who subvert the authority of Scripture. "Ultimately the authority on which these biblical scholars base their judgment is not the Bible itself but the [worldview] they hold to be contemporary. They are therefore speaking as philosophers or sociologists, and their philosophy consists merely in a banal, uncritical assent to the convictions of the present time, which are always provisional."
Once again, evangelicals would be in fundamental agreement with that assertion.
Today's evangelicals find themselves in a situation well described by J. Gresham Machen almost a century ago, when that great evangelical defender of the faith launched his attack on Protestant liberalism as a fundamentally new religion at odds with Christianity. Machen no doubt surprised many of his evangelical readers when he declared that evangelicals committed to the defense of the Gospel actually have more in common with orthodox Roman Catholics on issues such as the person of Christ and the Trinity than they would with their own liberal Protestant counterparts......"
JB here: What happens in the coming years to the Roman Catholic Church should be interesting.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
"The selection of (Cardinal) Ratzinger was initially heartening, simply because he made the right people apoplectic. (That's the money quote for me - classic Lilek. JB) Im still astonished that some can see a conservative elevated to the papacy and think: a man of tradition? As Pope? How could this be? As if there this was some golden moment that would usher in the age of married priests who shuttle between blessing third-trimester abortions and giving last rites to someone whos about to have the chemical pillow put over his face. At the risk of sounding sacreligious: its the Catholic Church, for Christs sake! Youre not going to get someone who wants to strip off all the Baroque ornamentation of St. Peters and replace them with IKEA wine racks, okay?"
JB here: Like other evangelicals I have some serious problems with the Catholic Church.
A) Though they might say otherwise, it certainly appears that they value "tradition" as a higher source of truth and polity than Scripture. As with the Reformed I stand! SOLA SCRIPTURA
B) Insisting that their pastor/priests be unmarried has caused tremendous, ongoing, problems. The unmarried male who does NOT have the true gift of celebacy is going to have significant issues. The problems of homosexuality in the priesthood that leads to so much of the pedophilia is a direct outgrowth of the church's refusal to allow mature, married men as priests.
C) Unlike the late Pope John Paul, I certainly cannot see Mary, the mother of Jesus as "co-redemptress." Mary, like all of us, was born with the mark of Adam upon her. She cannot forgive sins, she cannot intervene for sinners.
I have heard Catholics say, that it is wise to appeal to Mary to intervene with God because she has a mother's soft heart. But as John McArthur has said. To suggest that there is any being more loving and more compassionate than Father God is a blaspheme of God. Mary could never out love God the Father, nor God the Son nor God the Holy Spirit. She was but a woman though truly and uniquely blessed to bear into the world the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, as I have said before, there was so much about Pope John Paul to admire. May that also be true of Cardinal Ratzinger. But is he now infallible? NO, he is not. He too suffers under the "mark of Adam."
May God impress upon Cardinal Ratzinger a passion for Scripture over all other structures and traditions through-out the rest of his life and may it be the prism that directs his decisions. JB
This was spotted on Powerlineblog.com who pointed to Robert Burns website.
"O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An' foolish notion
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us
An' ev'n Devotion
This last verse contains the often quoted lines and shows Burns depth of understanding of human nature.
Note the capital P in Pow'r denoting God.
This last verse translates as
Oh, that God would give us the very smallest of gifts
To be able to see ourselves as others see us
It would save us from many mistakes
and foolish thoughts
We would change the way we look and gesture
and to how and what we apply our time and attention."
JB here: Who can ever forget "Wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as other see us..."
And there is the challenge of life; to change our ego-centric view of ourself to a more accurate and sometimes painful view of ourselves -- ignoble, pedestrian, foolish and all to self-centered. sigh
"Jay Leno, Tonight Show (hat tip: reader Kenneth Davis):
The United States has announced a plan tighten all borders by 2008...Unfortunately, Mexico announced a plan to have all their people here by 2007."
JB here: I've always loved Jay, though I never watch him. Way too late to be up.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
"A note to library patrons
Please bathe, and not in cologne.
Please do not hum.
Please do not throw yourself on the ground screaming about the Lord. Take the Lord outside, buddy.
The keys will still type if you hit them softly.
Stop annoying me!"
JB here: Classic, practical prose. Something about this little commentary at the end of a long "lj" post tickled my funny bone. It's good to be smiling at 5 a.m.
Monday, April 18, 2005
TIME Magazine features Ann Coulter on its cover this week. For those of you living in the Brazilian rainforest, Ann Coulter is an attractive blond female who writes hilarious political prose ( hilarious if you tend to be conservative; hate speech if you're a radical/liberal type) and speaks out on various political issues.
TIME, in highlighting Ann, used some pictures including some "protestors" at the G.O.P convention last year. Unluckily for Time, the pictures used included "protest" against Ann by the conservative parody group, Communists for Kerry. This small band of humorists have a terrific web site and did some funny stuff including fooling the likes of Fox News and others.
Now when Fox News got fooled, nobody was too aware of Communists for Kerry, but anybody who regularly follows the political blogosphere became aware of them and their terrifically humorous schtick. Somehow TIME magazine missed this leading to their current gaffe.
So here's to a litte Egg on the Face (versus Pie in the Face - such as was thrown at Ann Coulter while speaking at a college function a few months ago) for TIME magazine. They got snookered but it's not surprising. They're all too human, and they don't employ many conservatives. sigh
Saturday, April 16, 2005
"Rangel's Bible Says
Joshua Claybourn at 11:47 AM
Michelle Malkin (via Three Bad Fingers) notes that Rep. Charlie Rangel has an interesting take on Biblical teaching revealed on MSNBC last Thursday:
MATTHEWS: I mean, Charlie, Jesus didnt hang around with the swells, the rich people.
RANGEL: Well, he said the rich are going straight to hell.
With that in mind I took a look at Rangel's personal finances at OpenSecrets.org. His millions in income and assets suggest he may want to alter his lifestyle, or be prepared for a rather uncomfortable eternity."
JB here: The phrase "the pot calling the kettle black" comes to mind. But it seems that politicians appear to be, for the most part, all about hypocrisy. Of course, that's what the Sadducees and the Pharisees were all about. I don't think people have ever really changed.
Why do normally sane people feel obligated to insult morally devout men? Found on Llamabutchers
.............."Regent Law School was founded by Pat Robertson.
"Here's the money quote from the press release: (writes Llamabutcher)
'Regent is a university known for excellence in providing an academically rigorous graduate education based on a biblical foundation, said Ashcroft, who will teach his first Regent course this summer in Strasbourg, France, where the university sponsors a summer program on international human rights issues.'
The good side? Somewhere in metropolitan Lynchburg, Jerry Falwell is in a slow, simmering rage, ranting as to when Liberty University Law School can hire....James Watt?"
JB here: I regularly read Llamabutchers, a couple of Washington D.C. based brothers, one of who holds a lay position at his church (Episcopal). Their blog is a mix of personal anecdotes and political commentary. I would suggest they are conservative in their views. Yet one of them feels obligated to insult John Ashcroft, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson plus a very fine law school at Regent University.
When it comes to sending your child to law school; would it not be best to send them to an institution that thinks personal and corporate ethical values are very important v.s. a law school where the only value is making a lot of money in the profession, ethically or otherwise.
Finally as to the personal conduct of Falwell, Robertson and Ashcroft, would you not prefer them as your next door neighbor as opposed to Bill Clinton, Seymour Hersh, Barbara Boxer or a myriad of other religious left liberals? I know who I'd chose.
Friday, April 15, 2005
Rich Lowry of NationalReviewOnline comments on the therapeutic nation
"The universal prescription for trauma [is to] talk about it with any trusted person who will listen, writes one psychologist, capturing the therapeutic conventional wisdom.
But its not so. Studies of earthquake victims and Gulf War veterans show that talking about their experiences didnt have any effect on their trauma-related anxiety one way or the other.
Such is our faith in talk that it has become widely accepted that if cancer patients attend group-therapy sessions they are likely to survive longer. If only it were true. An extensive 2001 study by Pamela Goodwin an oncologist worried that patients felt obliged to participate in group therapy found that expressive group therapy does not prolong survival in women with metastatic breast cancer.
Those disinclined to share their emotions might actually be harmed if forced to participate in therapy. In a Montreal study, heart-attack victims with a repressive coping style i.e., they just dont want to talk about it who received monthly phone calls to monitor their psychological distress became more psychologically distressed. They were more likely to visit the emergency room or be prescribed tranquilizers than repressors who were left (blessedly) alone.
In a passage that will lift the spirits (although they wont tell you about it) of repressives everywhere, Sommers and Satel summarize the research thusly: Repressors report less internal conflict, test better at solving problems, exhibit better social skills and have higher education performance. Repressors report less depression, are more popular with peers, are given higher teacher ratings and report better self-image. In other words, they sound pretty well adjusted.
Dwelling on your feelings can be a problem, especially if youre feeling down. A researcher who compared depressed individuals told to ruminate on their feelings with those not so instructed found that over-thinking tends to impose a lens that shows a distorted, narrow view of our world. Indeed, it can take you down paths to hopelessness, self-hate and immobility.
All of this means that there is a risk in forcing therapy on the bereaved, who might be perfectly capable of handling their loss on their own (some people, of course, will not).
A 2000 study by University of Memphis researchers found that nearly 40 percent of those receiving grief therapy actually faired worse than a matched group not receiving treatment. A 2003 report by the Center for the Advancement of Health found that grief counseling and therapy may not always be effective, and in some cases may be harmful.
It is enough to make many of us want to join Sommers and Satel in saying, Thank you for not sharing."
JB here: You do have to wonder about the efficacy of much of psychotherapy. Do people just sink deeper into self absorption? Does that help? Hmm, what do I do for an encore.
I think we have the answer: (Found on Patterico
"The entire hilarious transcript is in the extended entry, courtesy of Snopes.
Dispatcher: Sheriffs department, how can I help you?
Woman: Yeah, Im over here . . . Im over here at Burger King right here in San Clemente.*
Woman: Um, no, not San Clemente; Im sorry, I live in San Clemente. Im in Laguna Niguel, I think, thats where Im at.
Woman: Im at a drive-through right now.
Woman: I went . . . I ordered my food three times. Theyre mopping the floor inside, and I understand theyre busy . . . theyre not even busy, okay, Ive been the only car here. I asked them four different times to make me a Western Barbeque Burger. Okay, they keep giving me a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and cheese, onions, and I said, Im not leaving . . .
Woman: I want a Western Burger because I just got my kids from Tae Kwon Do, theyre hungry, Im on my way home, and I live in San Clemente.
Woman: Okay . . . she said, she gave me another hamburger; its wrong. I said four times, I said, I want it to go. Can you go out and park in front? I said, No, I want my hamburger right. So then the . . . the lady came to the manager. She . . . well whoever she is, she came up and she said, um, she said, um, Do you want your money back? And I said, No, I want my hamburger. My kids are hungry and I have to jump on that toll freeway. I said, I am not leaving this spot, and I said, I will call the police, because I want my Western Burger done right! Now is that so hard?
Dispatcher: Okay, what exactly is it you want us to do for you?
Woman: I . . . send an officer down here. I . . . I want them to make me . . .
Dispatcher: Maam, were not gonna go down there and enforce your Western Bacon Cheeseburger.
Woman: What am I supposed to do?
Dispatcher: This is . . . this is between you and the manager. Were not gonna go and enforce how to make a hamburger; thats not a criminal issue. Theres . . . theres nothing criminal there.
Woman: So I just stand here . . . so I just sit here and [block]?
Dispatcher: You . . . you need to calmly and rationally speak to the manager and figure out what to do between you.
Woman: She did come up, and I said, Can I please have my Western Burger? She . . . she said, Im not dealing with it, and she walked away. Because theyre mopping the floor, and its also the fact that they dont want to . . . they dont want to go through there . . . and . . . and . . .
Dispatcher: Maam, then I suggest you get your money back and go somewhere else. This is . . . this is not a criminal issue. We cant go out there and make them make you a cheeseburger the way you want it.
Woman: Well . . . that is . . . that . . . youre supposed to be here to protect me.
Dispatcher: Well, what are we protecting you from, a wrong cheeseburger? (JB I like that line)
Woman: No . . .
Dispatcher: Is this like . . . is this a harmful cheeseburger or something? I dont understand what you want us to do.
Woman: Just come down here. Im not . . . Im not leaving.
Dispatcher: No maam, Im not sending the deputies down there over a cheeseburger. You need to go in there and act like an adult and either get your money back or go home.
Woman: She is not acting like an adult herself! Im sitting here in my car; I just want them to make my kids a . . . a Western Burger.
Dispatcher: Maam, this is what I suggest: I suggest you get your money back from the manager and you go on your way home.
Dispatcher: Okay? Bye-bye."
JB here: Okay we've learned that calling 911 probably won't solve your problems with the burger joint. I say just get your money back and go to Taco Bell instead. Who knows what they're giving you.
"Morse also recognizes that "the deconstruction of marriage into a series of temporary couplings with unspecified numbers and genders of people" has been made possible only by the language of individual choice and the concept of personal autonomy. As she recognizes, such rhetoric "has a powerful hold over the American mind." Nevertheless, she is brave to resist this tide. "It is simply not possible to have a minimum government and a society with no social or legal norms about family structure, sexual behavior, and childrearing. The state will have to provide support for people with loose or nonexistent ties to their families. The state will have to sanction truly destructive behavior, as always. The destructive behavior will be more common because the culture of impartiality destroys the informal system of enforcing social norms." As she concludes, "A free society needs marriage."
Christians hold to an even deeper understanding of marriage--one that roots the institution in something deeper than "organic" vision. Nevertheless, Jennifer Roback Morse's arguments represent a brilliant and useful refutation of precisely the sort of libertarian arguments we now confront in the public square. Her article deserves careful attention from all who value and honor the institution of marriage. We can extend full agreement to her claim that "a free society needs marriage." To that we must add what we also know-- humanity needs marriage, by God's design."
JB here: A large factor in the deconstruction of the traditional marriage continues to be the desire of millions to have complete sexual freedom no matter how damning or destructive it is. Unrestrained sexuality destroys all it touches. But we the people don't want to hear that. So the destruction of mankind continues a pace.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
"Finally, the free market does not set wealth as an idol around which all of society must be organized. Socialism
sees money making as so important that it must place it in the power of the state. It proclaims to want to end the greed of the rich while being obsessed with them. Free market economics assumes that many other things motivate men (love of God, family, and country for example). The state need not control economics totally, because economics while important is not everything. Men with sound ideas about economics (not full of greed, moderate in desires) can be very bad men in other areas. Hitler and Stalin were both men of moderate desires in terms of money, but both were horrid men.
Socialism has never worked where it has been tried. Even small religious communities that try it, like the kibbutz of Israel, tend to die out by the third generation. Socialist nations are often abusive in terms of power even when they start off with so-called noble intentions. Socialist states have killed more people than any other system in human history. States like Sweden that are more peaceful find they soon face an aging population where the brightest and best have fled to other places. They end up dependent on benevolent free market states (like the US) for their protection. If it were not for the US such socialist havens (which have backed away from socialism in recent years) could not exist even in the forms they do. They are not able to maintain their economically foolish system and a good defense."
JB here; Yet people never quit hoping that socialism will work. It seems to me it's based upon simple greed. Somebody ELSE will pay your bills and obtain for you, goods and services. Eh, Don't Think So!
The key to financial success: Be a "worker bee" and never divorce your spouse. It's pretty much that simple.
Found on Christianity Today's website
In American eschatology, only bad Christiansby which people like The New York Times columnist Frank Rich mean "Mr. Bush's base," and the red-staters for whom Revelations was presumably createdare rooting for the Apocalypse.
In Sunday's Times, (Frank) Rich explains that Revelations is part of the Christian right's culture of death: From The Passion to Terri Schiavo to Pope John Paul II, we conservative Christians are apparently obsessed with death over life. "No one does the culture of death with more of a vengeance literally so than the doomsday right," Rich wrote. "The Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins all but pant for the bloody demise of nonbelievers at Armageddon. And now, as Eric J. Greenberg has reported in The Forward, there's even a children's auxiliary: a 40-title series, Left Behind: The Kids, that warns Jewish children of the hell that awaits them if they don't convert before it's too late. Eleven million copies have been sold on top of the original series' 60 million."
Rich, of course, misses the point (in the same way that Scottish soccer fans recently missed the point). Granted, some dispensationalists over the years have missed the point, too. But most have kept focus: The Second Coming of Jesus is something that all Christians agree on and eagerly await. "Come, Lord Jesus" is not a curse, but a prayer of hope.
When Christ returns, as the Nicene Creed says, he will come "in glory to judge the living and the dead." And yes, he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. We Christians eagerly await that day. But what we look forward to isn't seeing unbelievers destroyed while we scoff, "See ya, suckas!" The chaff that we most eagerly await the destruction of is the destruction of our own chaff, the immolation of that part of us that keeps us from seeing and following God as he truly is.
JB here. I have been certainly guilty of wishing to see my enemies immolated ( and smoked and roasted too) but as I grow older there is a stronger sense of wishing for the end of my own sinfulness and failures/inadequacies. Talking with the patients in nursing homes reminds me of the passing away of time and the certainty of loss of all material things except for the friendships developed over the years of one's life.
It is not possible that non-believers can ever understand the desire to radically pursue after Jesus Christ. JB
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
In case you haven't seen the latest religious craze sweeping the country, allow me to present the Unitarian Jihad. Motto - "Believe whatever you like, so long as you blow something up for it." Llamabutchers
And there's this website that will automatically assign you a name. JB's assigned name is:
"The Cattle Prod of Warm Humanitarianism"
Quite fitting don't you think?
Go ahead; log on to Your Unitarian Jihad Name
and comeback and post letting all the readers of "rabbiphilosopher" find pleasure in your new indentification.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Written by David Frum for National Review Online
APR. 12, 2005: ANDREA DWORKIN RIP
Andrea Dworkin, the radical feminist and antipornography crusader, died Sunday in Washington. She was 58
"Instead, we talked about her respect for the Christian conservatives who fought against forced prostitution and sex trafficking and her revulsion against Bill Clintons abuse of women. Politically she belonged to the far, far, far left, but she had little use for an antiwar movement that made excuses for Saddam Hussein or Islamic extremism. And in one respect at least, she shared a deep and true perception with the political and cultural right: She understood that the sexual revolution had inflicted serious harm on the interests of women and children and (ultimately) of men as well. She understood that all-pervasive pornography was not a harmless amusement, but a powerful teaching device that changed the way men thought about women. She rejected the idea that sex was just another commodity to be exchanged in a marketplace, that strippers and prostitutes should be thought of as just another form of service worker: She recognized and dared to name the reality of brutality and exploitation where many liberals insisted on perceiving personal liberation.
Dworkin was grimly entertained by the opportunism of Bill Clintons feminist opportunists. Her radicalism left no room for even the slightest trimming of the ideological sails. Part fanatic, part prophet, she had not a pragmatic bone in her body. And since she was never one to waste words or bandy false compliments herself, I wont offend her memory by lavishing suspect praises on her or invoking a God in Whom she did not believe. Ill just say that although I would never, ever have expected to think so: She'll be missed."
JB here: That was a kind word by David Frum about Andrea Dworkin who was a feministic radical of radicals but understood the real tragedies of unbridled sexual liberation. I do believe America will be called to account.
DARE TO ASK: Men from the South: Dangerous?
Movies portray Southern men as potentially dangerous. Images of evil sheriffs and psychopathic swamp dwellers come to mind whenever I'm south of Peoria. The stereotype is definitely out there. I'd love to hear from others about it. Tom, 42, white, Wheaton, Ill.
JB here: Well I've lived in the South 25 years now and my own experience is thus. There's been a frustrating lack of "whup ass", particularly on the street where I've resided for the past 14 years. I do admit that once while riding my bike, a particularly obnoxious teenager in a white Mustang, chose to unnecessarily drive right next to me triggering some ugly expressions from my mouth that he could observe from his rearview mirror. ON this temporarily deserted road, he screeched to a stop and started backing up towards my bike. "Hmm" I thought, "This could be bad." Bike (17 pounds) vs Car (2500). So I came to a stop. Luckily he did too. He yelled something, probably a profanity, got back in his car and took off. Can I say I was mostly relieved? I mean, just look at the attire bicylist wear. Real men wouldn't be caught dead in tight, black spandex shorts and gaudy silk tops more appropriate for a Parisian Gay Parade (not that there's anything wrong with that).
But anyhow, the South seems pretty darn civil to me though there are areas where fights seem probable on any given Friday night.
To read more, return to the Florida Times Union article.
Getting it backwards
The UN Development Project has released its 2004 report on Arab development. It finds that a good portion of the blame for the Arab world's lack of progress lies in the creation of Israel 57 years ago, and in the support by the U.S. for Israel's existence since then (our presence in Iraq hasn't helped either). That's right -- 300 million Arabs live under oppression because 5 million Israeli Jews live in freedom, supported by the U.S.
JB here: It is actually hard to name a bureacracy that is more corrupt or more hating of genuine freedom and democracy than the U.N. When it comes to the nation of Israel the U.N.'s motto is "All hatred All the Time."
Luckily for the world, the U.N. is also the most inefficient, feckless, and self-serving bureacracy in the known world meaning it primarily just says things (often very stupid as the first paragraph notes) and doesn't really do things. Phew.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Monday, April 11, 2005
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism--the New American Religion
When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism."
As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these: 1. "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth." 2. "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions." 3. "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self." 4. "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem." 5. "Good people go to heaven when they die."
That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and "whatever."
JB here. "Whatever" -- fascinating look at the prevalent, but totally inadequate, world-view of the young generation. Dr. Mohler sheds the light on what the research means. READ
Sunday, April 10, 2005
The Sunday Times
Coroner seeks inquiry into mass euthanasia at hospital
by Lois Rogers, Medical Editor
A CORONER is demanding a public inquiry into claims that 11 hospital patients were deliberately starved to death. He believes that it could be Britains first case of forced mass euthanasia.
Peter Ashworth, the coroner for Derby, will open an inquest later this year into the suspicious deaths at the citys Kingsway hospital.
He considers the matter so serious that he has written to the Department of Health asking for the inquest to be superseded by a judicial inquiry with powers to investigate practices at the hospital.
There is now increasing concern across Britain about the way hospitals appear to be hastening the deaths of elderly patients. Police in Leeds and Hampshire are also looking into similar cases.
The 11 patients, all men aged between 65 and 93, died in the Rowsley ward for the elderly at Kingsway. A review of the cases, ordered by the coroner, found evidence that their deaths may have been speeded up by withholding sufficient food.
The allegations first surfaced after Jayne Drew, a healthcare assistant, alerted the hospital managers after the deaths of Simon Smith, 74, and Arthur Boddice, 81, in the summer of 1997.
Families of fellow patients at the hospital claimed that some staff had become so upset at seeing elderly people being starved that they had taken it upon themselves to feed them secretly.
One relative has described how it was distressing to see his father go without food. Andrew Hughson said his 75- year-old father, also called Andrew, would vainly stretch his hand towards meals being delivered to other patients.
We kept being told that feeding him would be bad for his general health, and he was too frail to tell us otherwise, he said.
JB here: There is indeed a "culture of death" and it is pervasive through-out the world. One of those sociological oddities that differentiated the U.S. from the rest of the world was our resistance to the "culture of death." But that resistance is slowly being eaten away as we move further and further from the Creator God's plan on how mankind was intended to live. If you're not afraid, you should be. Your chances of being old someday are extremely good. And then, who will protect you? We surely know the A.C.L.U. will not; nor will the feminists protect their own. Be afraid ( if you haven't committed yourself to the sovereign and living God).
Found on: The INDEPENDENT
Dandruff is as bad for the Earth as it is for your image
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
10 April 2005
"Millions of tons of dandruff are circling the Earth, blocking out sunlight, causing rain and spreading disease, startling new research shows.
Flaky as it may seem, the research - partly funded by the German government - may provide the solution to one of the world's most enduring pollution mysteries: the origin of much of the vast clouds of fine dust in the atmosphere. It suggests that more than half of the dust is a rich soup of organic detritus, including particles of decaying leaves, animal hair, dead skin and dandruff..........."
JB here, sometimes it's hard to even know what to say. Yeah, DANDRUFF
This appears to be a pretty cool website. Particularly if you need to do some research/survey for a class. It sure the heck beats what I had to go through when I did the survey on my dissertation lo those many decades ago.
Let's face it; with websites like Zoomerang and calculators like the whole Texas Instruments line of digital and numerical marvels, research should be a snap! JB
Saturday, April 09, 2005
For the knowledge of the self-apart-from-God
is an abyss down which the soul can slip
writhing and twisting in all the revolutions
of the unfinished plunge
of self-awareness, now apart from God, falling
fathomless, fathomless, self-consciousness wriggling
writhing deeper and deeper in all the minutiae of self-knowledge, downwards, exhaustive,
yet never, never coming to the bottom. . . .
JB here; In psychotherapy a lot of clients want to find that specific brick in the wall of their life that will explain and delineate their pains, sorrows, failures and neurosis.
But as DH apparently wrote, "yet never, never coming to the bottom...."
There are things about you/us that will always be hidden from self-knowledge. God alone has the full picture. We, despite our introspections, will only see dimly. JB
Some thoughts on aging found on Challies
"As I thought about this, I remembered an article R.C. Sproul Jr. posted recently. He says, "When I last crossed a decade barrier in my own aging process, God was good enough to grant me this small bit of wisdom. The Bible honors age, not youth. I came to understand that the disappearance of my youth was something God thought a good thing, and if I were wise, I would agree. Now a decade later and I have been given this bit of wisdom; easier said than done." Sproul is absolutely correct that the Bible honors age above youth. This is not to say that the Bible marginalizes young people, but that it sees them in their proper perspective - as people who are far less wise than the aged."
He goes on to say...
"Until then, let us honor the aged. Let us give double-honor to those with grey hair. Let us stand in their presence and give them the honor God requires. Let our hope and confidence be in the words of the Psalmist who says, "Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing (Psalm 92:13,14).""
JB here. I'm not real old but I'm rapidly getting there. What I've learned from my patients in the nursing home - life is brief and so little that was important when young is important when old. Live Today - for all you are worth. This is the last time you will ever live April 9th, 2005. JB
One of the more subtle differences between New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and I think it's one that is deeply profound.
In Massachusetts, lawmakers just voted themselves another pay raise. They now make, I think, around $50,000 a year. Nearly all of them list "legislator" on their tax returns. Their full-time job is being a lawmaker.
In New Hampshire, our legislators make $100 a year. That's no typo. They earn one hundred dollars a year.
In Massachusetts, the legislators are lawmakers, year round. Therefore, to justify their continued pay, they need to keep making laws. Passing new laws. Revising old laws. And to support their positions that we need all this regulation, they need an ever-expanding state bureaucracy to administer these laws. And to support that bureaucracy, they need more and more money. And to raise that money, they need more and higher taxes.
In New Hampshire, lawmakers tend to be either independently wealthy or retired. Legislating is purely a part-time duty for most of them. And they tend to be very unsympathetic to people asking for more money, when they have to make five Benjamins last 365 days themselves.
JB here! And there's much more. Quite fascinating about Taxachusetts. This is where socialism goes. Consider their senators. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Was there ever a tax they didn't like? ( Quick answer - NO!)
Thursday, April 07, 2005
"When I'm sort of old and am married and have accomplished a lot of the things I want to, supposing I live that long, I want the world to explode -- either from nuclear war or another giant celestial body colliding with it. The latter sounds more exciting to me. The public would first hear about this gigantic asteroid on a collision course for Earth about six months prior to when it's scheduled to hit, and about three months before it hits, it would be announced that it would without a fraction of a doubt destroy the entire world and there would be nothing anyone could do to stop it. Every day of those three months would be another day closer to the end of the countdown to the end of the world. The feeling this would give you would be absolutely astounding. You can just imagine the panic and anxiety and people running around doing everything they had always told themselves they would do if the world were surely going to end soon. There would be skeptics, I'm sure, and they would hide themselves in their houses every day of those three months telling themselves that couldn't be possible. The last week would be utter madness. Just imagine what you would do if you knew for a fact everything was going to end in a week. Who would you go to see? Would you seek out people and tell them off as you'd always wanted to? Would you go to your love and kiss them without fear? Just imagine waiting and knowing but wondering. Like a New Year's Eve countdown on crack.
I would dress in my best on that last night, go up on a hill with clear view of the sky, and sing and dance as if there were no tomorrow."
JB here: Ah, life on the verge. What would I do with 3 months of existence left? A) Sing praise and worship songs to the Living God at the Top of My Voice! B) Finally tell All Family and Friends how very much I love them. C) Start smoking the pipe I've always wanted to smoke. D) Eat like there was "no tomorrow."
E) Cease changing the oil on my cars. F) Find ways to spend my (limited) IRA. G) Recount the history of God's tremendous goodness to me over the last 56 years.
Yep! It would be a time to flourish. JB
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Thomas appeared upon the scene of life 25 years ago today. His parents, James and Kay, were ecstatic and have remained so for the last quarter of a century.
Wordsmith, entrepeneur, movie reviewer, academic, web-site maven, Gonzo gamer, Tolkien afficianado, friend to others, thinker, music critic, story-teller (in the good sense), finest son and wonderful brother to younger sister.
Thomas J. is all that.
There is much more to come; we look forward with anticipation.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
from his Address to International Space Conference in January, 1997:
Your dedication to scientific research constitutes a veritable vocation at the service of the human family, a vocation which the Church greatly honours and esteems. That vocation is all the more fruitful when it helps us to acknowledge the link between the beauty and order of the universe and the dignity of the human person-reflections of the creative majesty of God. The more men and women of science engage in rigorous research to penetrate the laws of the universe, the more insistent becomes the question of meaning and purpose, the more pressing the demand for contemplative reflection which cannot help but lead to a profound appreciation of the sense of man's transcendence over the world, and of God over man (cf. Address at UNESCO, 2 June 1980, n. 22).
Through you, who have kindly wished to share the deliberations of your conference with me, I address an appeal to all your colleagues in the various fields of scientific investigation: Make every effort to respect the primacy of ethics in your work; always be concerned with the moral implications of your methods and your discoveries. It is my prayer that scientists will never forget that the cause of humanity is authentically served only if knowledge is joined to conscience.
Monday, April 04, 2005
It pretty much brings it all together.
Mr. Buchanan wrote a very clear and compelling opinion piece about the death of Terri Schiavo.
April 1, 2005
The Execution of Terri Schiavo
By Pat Buchanan
Terri Schiavo is dead. She did not die a natural death, unless you believe a court order to cut off food and water to a disabled woman until she dies of starvation and thirst is natural.
No, Terri Schiavo was executed by the state of Florida. Her crime? She was so mentally disabled as to be unworthy of life in the judgment of Judge George Greer. The execution was carried out at Woodside Hospice. An autopsy will reveal that Terri's vital organs shut down for lack of food and water. She did not die of the brain damage she suffered 15 years ago. She was put to death. We have crossed a watershed in America.
Michael Schiavo's argument that Greer found compelling was that this is what Terri wanted and she had told him so, though Michael never mentioned this until eight years after she was disabled.
Then Mr. Buchanan continues ....
America is a great country because she is good country, and if ever she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great, Alexis de Toqueville is quoted as saying. Are we that America today? Are we the same kind of people? Would the country we grew up in have done this to a disabled woman?
Hubert Humphrey, a passionate liberal, once said, "The moral test of government is how (it) treats those who are in the dawn of life ... those who are in the twilight of life ... and those who are in the shadows of life."
In America, three in 10 in the dawn of life never see the light of day. They are destroyed in the womb because their very existence embarrasses or would encumber their parents. In the twilight of life, we have begun to provide our elderly ill with the means of assisted suicide. In Europe, euthanasia has become involuntary in some nursing homes. In the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy, the handicapped -- there is now in this land we once called "God's country" a chance the state will put you to death.
JB here! A) Apologies if necessary to Mr. Buchanan for quoting so very much of his post. B) He put things so well and he tries together this countries treatment of it's less fortunate citizens with this country's ultimate greatness or lack of greatness. All of us are required, by God, to treat those less fortunate with care and respect.
IMAGO DEI - We, humankind, alone are made "in the image of God." If we lose sight of that, we will loose our national soul.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?
I wish that I had thought up the title, but I did not. It was the title to a book by the late Francis Schaeffer, "How Should We Then Live?" But the question itself is not unique to Dr. Schaeffer. It is a question that all Christians ought to ask. And it is a question to which we are brought by the Preacher.
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, we have been treated to a sober and realistic view of life as it exists 'under the sun.' It is not a pretty picture. You are born and you struggle through life and then you die. The years that pass by can never be reclaimed. And that realization should motivate us to live purposefully, making our lives count."
JB here: Francis Schaeffer had a tremendous impact upon a couple of generations of truth seeking youth. A unique man, he recognized 40 years ago that western culture was marching to become a death culture. He fought against that with all his being and until his last breath was taken. A brilliant, unique and utterly devout evangelical. Still worth reading.
"If One is Good, Then Two Must Be Better
Posted by Harvey at 01:52 AM | TrackBack (0)
I heard recently that Gmail is upping its storage capacity to TWO Gigabytes from the original insanely large one Gig.
Which news caused me to do a Happy Dance just like Frank J's, except with more rhythmless White-boy arm-flailing, and less hat-tossing."
JB here: I do like - and seriously relate to - "rhythmless White-boy arm-flailing, and less hat-tossing."
Friday, April 01, 2005
Words to live by:
We are coming to the end of a century which began with confidence in humanity's prospects of almost unlimited progress, but which is now ending in widespread fear and moral confusion. If we want a springtime of the human spirit, we must rediscover the foundations of hope. Above all, society must learn to embrace once more the great gift of life, to cherish it, to protect it, and to defend it against the culture of death, itself an expression of the great fear that stalks our times.
- Pope John Paul II, Oct. 2, 1998, "Ad Limina" address to the Bishops of California, Nevada, Hawaii
JB here: Not being much of a historian my opinion has little worth. But from my vantage point as an avid observer of Christianity in the World I believe John Paul II is possibly the most "stand-up pope" in perhaps centuries. So often it has appeared that the Popes were mostly wily politicians but not this Pope. He has lived as he believes.
He has "walked the talk" and the Roman Catholic Church is better for it. He has stood for the integrity and sanctity of life. In this age, that's saying something.