"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Monday, January 30, 2006

W. Shatner on Free Will

Found in Dr. Al Mohler’s blog:   HERE

Actor William Shatner:
"The conundrum of free will and destiny has always kept me dangling. Everything in the universe follows concrete rules: the galaxies move in predictable ways. Stars are formed within definitive parameters. Viruses mutate. From the highest to the lowest, physics shows us that everything works according to rules we can observe.
The only fly in the ointment is man's free will. I could go down those stairs and leave right now, right in the middle of this interview, and I could do so by my own free will, alienating Esquire magazine. But I choose not to alienate Esquire magazine, and I stay. I think I'm operating under free will. But am I? That's the dilemma. God is either in the destiny or the free will. Unfortunately, I don't have the answer this morning."

It is THE conundrum.  How much “free will” versus how much “God’s will.”  No easy answer for humans.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Elders - sadness

I hope the battling is over, I hope the church recovers and that humility and repentance is real. I hope those people who are mad at me will allow me to mend fences with them. There is much to do.

Working at life

Seemingly all churches have difficult, congregational-splitting times; my church is no exception. Two weeks ago based upon a vote of no confidence, our pastor of 5 years was forced to stand down. The way our bylaws are written, he would have had to win 75 percent of the vote to remain as pastor. But he only won 2/3 of the vote. So our bylaws allow a minority to end the pastor’s stay. The vote was triggered by 2/3 of the elders ( 4 out of 6) believing that the pastor should resign or face the very vote.

During the congregational vote, a petition was circulated and signed to have the 4 elders voted off the elder board. The two elders who voted to retain the pastor have since resigned. So if a compromise of some sort is not reached this a.m. the church could find itself with NO elders, no pastor and no way to function according to the bylaws. The bylaws actually require 3 elders for things like nomination committees to work.

The petitioners who wish to vote out the remaining 4 elders, if successful, would quickly re-install the pastor. They would have to do this by basically suspending the bylaws of the church and instituting mob rule. It’s been done before at many churches.

Yesterday, a proposal was made that the remaining elders would begin the process of stepping down but first would make sure there were other elders in place and a nominating committee in place. Each of the remaining 4 elders would resign from the board in 2 month increments. Within 8 months, all 4 elders (who had called for the pastor’s resignation) would be off the board and there would be new elders in place.

To me, this seems wise but the petitioners may still insist on voting everybody out this a.m. We’ll see. Stay tuned. I’m been praying about this for weeks.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


THEE Pyromaniac, Phillip Johnson, realizing that his mega successful blog was taking way too much of his time has invited a few others of his ilk to join him and renamed the blog PYROMANIACS.  It should be very good.  I’d encourage you to read there daily.  Some excellent, thoughtful and passionate posts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


RATHERGATE has come and gone.  As you may recall, 60 Minutes II did a story on George Bush’s Texas Air Guard career based upon documents by a supervising officer ( long since deceased) suggesting that George was pulling a fast one and he, the officer, was getting some heat to let it go.
Well the blogosphere quickly concluded that the documents surely were not typed in 1972 for a number of good reasons.  There was a huge firestorm in the blogosphere (which I was following avidly) that resulted a few days later in Dan Rather publicly standing by the suspect documents.  Then CBS decided they would stonewall the ongoing furor hoping it would die down.  It did not, it got worse and finally even mainstream media was adding their voice that the documents were not what they purported to be.  Finally CBS and Dan Rather were forced to acknowledge there were problems with the documents and they would thoroughly investigate the issues.  Dan, however, still stood by the documents.
Because of this boondoggle, Dan retired some months earlier than he had intended.
For Dan Rather to have survived the 60 Minutes II piece using false documents, he only had to do one thing.  He had to acknowledge, much earlier than he did, that there were real problems with the docs and he and CBS may have been wrong.  He just had to acknowledge THE POSSIBILITY of error.  But he didn’t want to do that, he thought he didn’t really have to and he was wrong.
LESSON:  Acknowledging one’s sins QUICKLY is always the best way to go.  I, like most, will not acknowledge wrongs/sins if no one has suggested their existence.  But I have learned that to “fess up” when you’re caught and “fess up quickly” is truly the way to go.  You’re embarrassed for a bit, but once you hold up your hand and acknowledge, “I was wrong,” people tend to let you off the hook.  But if you insist on stonewalling on your sins, then people cannot forgive you and cannot let the matter drop.

Dan would still be on TV if he hadn’t insisted on stonewalling.

Monday, January 23, 2006

KOBE BRYANT scores 81

KOBE BRYANT,  Los Angeles Lakers all-star shooting guard scored 81 points Sunday night; the second highest total ever in the history of the NBA.  Wilt Chamberlin scored 100 points decades ago.  He also scored 78 points.
Previous Lakers record was 71 point by my beloved Elgin Baylor in 1960.
KOBE scored 55 points in the second ½ alone.  His was an incredible feat.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Dr Helen started a thread

Dr. Helen started a thread which has enabled men and women to discuss the dysfunction of marriage in our society.    HERE

Some of the stories are impossibly sad, some impossibly bitter, some sweet.

But there are real people behind the lives and the stories and they are taking a beating.

Marriage is a good thing but my answer to life’s dilemma has been to pursue Jesus Christ with all my heart – as best as this weak, carnal, idiotish guy can do.  You try, He makes up for your utter lack.   He’s the difference.

Dr. Sanity stone-cold realist

“KILL THE HEROES”  a great post by Dr. Sanity – you’ll find the whole enchilada HERE

Of interest, Dr. Sanity is in a most liberal profession, in a most liberal state and a most liberal city; the Berkley of Wisconsin.  But she writes with the sanity of a stone cold realist.  She’s got important things to say

Thursday, January 19, 2006

ACE on passing classes

ACE can be profane but he’s quite an interesting, conservative blogger.  He cranks out an amazing amount of material.  Here’s one of his latest.

I feel a little bad for this naive soul, though:
In another course at UCLA having nothing to do with politics, I wrote an academically excellent, thoroughly researched paper, knowing that I was probably taking a position opposite to one held by a professor, but naively hoping that he would recognize the quality of my effort. Wrong. I received a mediocre grade. In yet another course, having learned from that experience, I deliberately adopted a liberal point of view in writing an extensive paper, simply parroting back what I knew the professor believed. Frankly, my paper was intellectually shallow. Nonetheless, I received an extremely high grade for the paper and the course.
Sure, I learned things from both experiences. The main thing I learned was how to "toe the line" -- how to say whatever the person holding the Power of the Grade wanted to hear. This is actually a useful skill for the real world.
I'm sure that Gina Cobb is a bright woman -- hey, she's got a blog, so she has to be, I figure -- but let me ask her this: What the [effing  f]  were you thinking?
Really. College, law school, grad school, whatever school -- when you're talking about something that's going to be graded, tell them what they want to hear. Simple principle: When you're agreeing with someone, you "fill in" the various logical and evidentiary gaps with stuff in your own head. (Or, if you don't know how to fill in the gaps specifically, you fill them in with hypothetical logical connections and evidence which you're sure exists somewhere, because, hey, you're sure this position is right, so the logic and evidence must support it, right?)
When you read something you don't agree with, your critical faculties are much more engaged, and lapses in logic and gaps in evidence are suddenly glaring errors you just can't take your eyes away from. Or, more importantly, your red marker.
College and grad schools are great places to learn and challenge dogma and all that jazz. Just not in a blue book.
I know some readers out there are in college and grad school. Please, please, for the love of everything holy, tell the idiots what they want to hear.
I promise-- you don't have to believe a bit of it.  [Sad but True]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Love the Hate

HATEMONGERSQUARTERLY is the humor equivalence of Rodney “I don’t get no respect” Dangerfield.  In Rodney’s defense he, unlike Hatemongers, was at least funny.

However today’s screed by “Chip” at the Hate actually lucked upon a few humors; excerpts shared below.  To feast on the whole combo plate of enchiladas and frijoles go HERE.

Apologies for Pat Robertson’s Future Remarks:
1) Mr. Robertson would like to apologize for suggesting that Joe Biden is “the spawn of Satan.” Of course, Senator Biden is only distantly related to Satan, on his mother’s side.
2) Mr. Robertson would like to apologize for inferring that the Ronco Food Dehydrator is a perfect gift for your favorite fellow Christian. The Food Dehydrator, of course, is a poorly wrought piece of garbage, and the gift-giving value of a machine that makes sub-par “Turkey Jerky” is limited at best.
3) Mr. Robertson apologizes profusely for stating that “Osama bin Laden is the Irish Ted Kennedy.” It is Senator Kennedy, of course, who is Irish.
4) Mr. Robertson would like to apologize for suggesting that America should take over Mexico by force. That, of course, would not be worth it.
I tell ya, I love “the hate.”

Monday, January 16, 2006



It promises, subtly, nirvana here and now.  No hard marriages, difficult relationships, stress-struggles-strains common to all marriage.  No e-harmony say they’ve got the perfect mate for you based upon your personality profile.

Of course the other thing I worry about is the number of people who sign up who are still legally married.  I wonder what percentage of the men on e-harmony are still legally/technically married?  5 %?

Lawsuits to follow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Iran, Nukes, Armageddon

So Iran is about to go nuclear and so far seemed undeterred by the “tisk, tisk” of the politicians.  READ Victor David Hanson

Here’s a little of the book of Revelation – Ch 16:8

Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, causing it to scorch everyone with its fire. 9 Everyone was burned by this blast of heat, and they cursed the name of God, who sent all of these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.
10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. And his subjects ground their teeth in anguish, 11 and they cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. But they refused to repent of all their evil deeds.
12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings from the east could march their armies westward without hindrance. 13 And I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14 These miracle-working demons caused all the rulers of the world to gather for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God Almighty.

15 "Take note: I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their robes ready so they will not need to walk naked and ashamed."

16 And they gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place called Armageddon in Hebrew.
17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. And a mighty shout came from the throne of the Temple in heaven, saying, "It is finished!" 18 Then the thunder crashed and rolled, and lightning flashed. And there was an earthquake greater than ever before in human history. 19 The great city of Babylon split into three pieces, and cities around the world fell into heaps of rubble. And so God remembered all of Babylon's sins, and he made her drink the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. 20 And every island disappeared, and all the mountains were leveled. 21 There was a terrible hailstorm, and hailstones weighing seventy-five pounds* fell from the sky onto the people below. They cursed God because of the hailstorm, which was a very terrible plague.

Bad time are surely just around the corner.  But hey, the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics are here.   Party on!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

MzEllen & Co.: Today's "Prophets"

MzEllen & Co.: Today's "Prophets"

Scrappleface tees off on Hajj

Scrappleface tees off on today’s Hajj and its aftermath.

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas warn customers never to wager against the Devil in his annual contest versus stone-throwing Muslims during the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.
This year, not only did the Devil extend his undefeated streak, but he beat the spread that Vegas insiders had pegged at 250 deaths, based on his 2004 performance.
The ceremonial stoning of the Devil is a highlight of the annual pilgrimage, and an economic shot-in-the-arm for the local healthcare and funeral services industries.

Read the whole Guadalupe HERE.  Scrappleface outdid himself.

Senatorial Pride

From a Washington Post Op-ed by Richard Cohen   WHOLE BURRITO

The seniority that makes Biden so knowledgeable on foreign policy -- a conversation with him is always instructive -- is also what cripples. He has been in the Senate since 1973 and suffers, as nearly all senators do sooner or later, from the conviction that he and his colleagues are the center of the world. After all, no one -- with the possible exception of family members -- ever tells a senator to shut up. They are surrounded by fawning staff and generally treated as minor deities. They lose perspective, which is why, now that you've asked, they talk and talk at these hearings. They are convinced the world is watching. Actually, it's only a half a dozen shut-ins on C-SPAN -- and, of course, the nearly catatonic press corps. Everyone else is playing computer solitaire.

They do appear to love their own voices.  Pride, damnable pride.  Beeg Sin!

Abortion and the Dems

A brilliant and telling article by Michael Novak on abortion defense and the death of the Democratic Party.    HERE

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January 12, 2006, 11:26 a.m.Lying and DyingWatching a once-great party fall.
Watching the Kate vs. Kate debate on Meet the Press this past Sunday — it was our own Kate O’Beirne vs. Kate Michelman, formerly of NARAL Pro-Choice America — how out-of-date the latter's rhetoric seemed, how diffuse and filibustering her language was, over against the precision, citation of telling facts, and self-confident argument of Kate O' Beirne. Our Kate, author of Women Who Make the World Worse, talked quietly, as if she owned the future, as when she told the other Kate that, of course, the Left wanted to keep Roe in the courts. Why? Because if Roe were reversed, abortion would not be halted, but the arguments over it would move back into the political sphere of states and localities, where the pro-life forces would win more than half the arguments, for sure. The Left must avoid the democratic branches of government, lest they be badly embarrassed.Much the same feeling arose from watching with fascination the Alito hearings. How old and out-of-date and empty of real ideas — not to say connection to reality — Kennedy, Biden, Leahy, Durbin, and, above all, Schumer seemed. They know they have to do what they are doing, but they know their efforts are for nothing, and their words are making hollow echoes. Even their indignation seems forced and falls swiftly flat. The pompous rhetorical indignation of Kennedy has become merely pathetic. He was once a heroic figure, but he now seems like the lion of Alice in Wonderland — threadbare, tame, and roaring every so often only out of nostalgic habit. Chuck Schumer drones on like a little spoiled boy who becomes a schoolyard bully just by his superior tone of voice, boring in upon others, coercing them verbally, trying to make them feel as worthless as in his mind they are.It is painful to watch the ruin of a great party. A great party has come to this.And most of it happened because of commitment to a policy that cannot be maintained without lies and malicious euphemisms. That is, the killing of innocents in what is supposed to be the most welcoming, safest place on earth — a mother's womb. (Isn't the posture of wishing one were safe the fetal position?) This radical lie — that what is destroyed in abortion is not a human individual, endowed with human rights — has poisoned a great party, induced a great rationalization in the place of constitutional reasoning in the Supreme Court, and divided a nation unnecessarily over an issue that ought at the very least to have been left to the consent of the people in diverse jurisdictions.
No lie so basic to one's own identity goes unpunished.
Michael Novak is the winner of the 1994 Templeton Prize for progress in religion and the George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

STRESS is a killer

STRESS is a killer.  I’m doing 3 different things in my profession these days and it is hard to keep everything under control; such as simple things like making sure my phone calls are forwarded during the evening/night hours.

I worry about my children, I worry about my parents,  I worry about my church, I worry about how long I can go doing all that I currently do.
It makes it difficult to find the time to blog.

I’m still sad over the deaths of my parent-in-laws and that may take some time.  I am constantly reminded of the BREVITY of life.  I actually read the obituaries every day.  You’d be surprised, or maybe not, at how young the list of dead can be on any given day.  My general attitude is; if you made it to 80 you’ve had the full enchilada of life.  If you made it to the 70’s your complaints aren’t too large.  If you made it into the 50’s-60’s you can’t claim you died young.

However, if view of eternity with God; life is but a pencil dot on a vast, white empty wall.

So, “it’s all good.”   God’s in control; the future is assured, I really should worry less.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Lukewarm about God

From George Barna research; not really surprising as far as I’m concerned.

Adults Are Lukewarm About God
In contrast to the upbeat pastoral view of people’s faith, a nationally representative sample of 1002 adults was asked the same question – i.e., to identify their top priority in life – and a very different perspective emerged. Only one out of every seven adults (15%) placed their faith in God at the top of their priority list. To make an apples-to-apples comparison, the survey isolated those who attend Protestant churches and found that even among that segment of adults, not quite one out of every four (23%) named their faith in God as their top priority in life.

My Dad's cancer

My beloved 83 year old father appears to have pretty aggressive prostate cancer that has metastasized to his bones causing a lot of pain.  The doctors have been a little slow dealing with the pain and my father has been hesitant to avail himself of the pain meds but he seems to understand the importance now; hopefully the pain will be under control.

Dad is a devout believer and doesn’t worry about dying but has always worried more about living; as do I.  And then my Mom worries about my Dad.  I am fortunate that I’ve had my parents into their 80’s with reasonable health and mental acuity.  But the warning signs are out; we don’t live forever here on planet Earth.  We the children are paying more attention, we don’t have a lot of years left to enjoy our parents.

And even for us, tomorrow is not promised.  But God is good to His children and a better place awaits us after our time on earth is ended.  Glory That!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

J Bridges on God's Sovereignty

Thoughts on the sovereignty of God by Jerry Bridges  MORE HERE

Bridges affirms the clear teachings of Scripture that there are three essential truths about God that we must believe if we are to trust Him in times of adversity:
God is completely sovereign.
God is infinite in wisdom.
God is perfect in love.

He summarizes these truths as they relate to us as follows: "God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to bring it about." He teaches the utmost importance of believing these principles, for "if there is a single event in all of the universe that can occur outside of God's sovereign control then we cannot trust Him." If God's purpose can be thwarted, our confidence in Him is shattered.

If you don’t believe in the sovereignty of God then all of a sudden EVERYTHING depends upon you.  Who can stand that stress?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Forbidden to Forbid

Today’s dose of Albert Mohler

In 1997, the historian Paul Berman made an interesting argument in A Tale of Two Utopias. Looking back at what he called "the gay awakening," he said this: "We seem to be hearing: 'There are no marshals today--not on the question of heterosexuality versus homosexuality. On that most crucial and personal of questions, you, each and every one of you, are responsible for yourselves.' We are hearing: 'Concerning homosexuality, it is forbidden anymore to forbid.'" Then as now, the general moral principle regarding the issue of homosexuality that rules in the larger culture is this--It is forbidden to forbid. Today, that principle can be applied to almost every dimension of life. It is forbidden to forbid--except in the areas ruled by political correctness. For it is not forbidden to forbid when it comes to the sex codes adopted by so many colleges and universities. That aside, it is forbidden to forbid that which the historic Christian faith has opposed.

If nothing else, the last half of the twentieth century has demonstrated that the left wing of the Enlightenment has finally won the day. Whereas most pre-Enlightenment persons understood truth to be an objective reality to which they must submit, modern Americans view truth as a private commodity to be shaped, accepted, or rejected in accord with personal preference, taste, or communal decision. Americans are now a nation of over 250 million moral relativists.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Therapeutic Disaster?

Today’s post by Dr. Al Mohler examining two different articles in the L.A. Times regarding the mental health profession and its philosophy.      HERE

Very Insightful.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Due to the death of my precious mother-in-law, Donna Gaumitz, my semi-adult children and I made a quick trip to the west coast leaving on a Thursday and returning on Sunday.   My daughter is a “white-knuckle” flyer and I was pleased she decided to make the flight despite her fears.  Frankly, the first leg of the flight out was a dream.  All the flights were full but this one was as smooth a flight as I can remember.  The second leg into Portland hit enough turbulence at one time that the “air goddesses” were instructed to take their seats.  My daughter didn’t like that one bit.  And unluckily me and my 2 kids were isolated from each other on that leg so no hand-holding was available.  But we arrived at our destination safely.

Lifting out of Portland on the ride home was just, flat scary.  Bouncing, bucking, dropping, climbing, it wasn’t at all fun.  My daughter was crying and clinging to my arm.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be there.  It wasn’t until we reached cruising altitude of 37,000 feet that the turbulence actually ceased; thank goodness.   The last 2 legs of the flight were without incidence and very little turbulence.

So we’re home and we now await the return of my spouse who should fly in later this p.m. after being gone 10 days or so.  Then the family will once again be complete.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Death of Western Civ



It’s the demography, stupid
By Mark Steyn
Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the western world will survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands— probably—just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the west.

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it

That’s what the war’s about: our lack of civilizational confidence. As a famous Arnold Toynbee quote puts it: “Civilizations die from suicide, not murder”—as can be seen throughout much of “the western world” right now. The progressive agenda —lavish social welfare, abortion, secularism, multiculturalism—is collectively the real suicide bomb.

The latter half of the decline and fall of great civilizations follows a familiar pattern: affluence, softness, decadence, extinction. You don’t notice yourself slipping through those stages because usually there’s a seductive pol on hand to provide the age with a sly, self-deluding slogan—like Bill Clinton’s “It’s about the future of all our children.” We on the right spent the 1990s gleefully mocking Clinton’s tedious invocation, drizzled like syrup over everything from the Kosovo war to highway appropriations. But most of the rest of the west can’t even steal his lame bromides: A society that has no children has no future.

To avoid collapse, European nations will need to take in immigrants at a rate no stable society has ever attempted. The CIA is predicting the EU will collapse by 2020. Given that the CIA’s got pretty much everything wrong for half a century, that would suggest the EU is a shoo-in to be the colossus of the new millennium. But even a flop spook is right twice a generation. If anything, the date of EU collapse is rather a cautious estimate.

In July 2003, speaking to the United States Congress, Tony Blair remarked: “As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible but, in fact, it is transient. The question is: What do you leave behind?”

A decade and a half after victory in the Cold War and end-of-history triumphalism, the “what do you leave behind?” question is more urgent than most of us expected. “The west,” as a concept, is dead, and the west, as a matter of demographic fact, is dying.

Methusalah Years?

Aubrey de Grey; from a transcript on Sixty-Minutes.

"The first generation [of anti-aging therapies] will give us maybe 30 extra years of healthy lifespan," says de Grey. "So, beneficiaries of those first therapies will still be around to benefit from improved therapies that will give them another 30 or 50 years and so on. So this is basically staying one step ahead of the problem." ... "What I'm after is not living to 1,000. I'm after letting people avoid death for as long as they want to," he says.

I read in recent times that a lot of scientists believe we are “hard-wired” to not live past 120.  But it might be possible that Frankenstein therapies/surgeries could extend it?  I don’t know.  But would God allow this?  After all, God balked at the “Tower of Babel.”  How much ethical-less human engineering will He allow?  Life continues to get interesting.  The promises of medicine is always more than the delivery.



A little seasonal humor to brighten your remembrances of our most recent Christmas.