"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trying to read the tea leaves instead of Scripture

Misreading God
by Dan Phillips

Reading providence is a fool's game, yet it never lacks players.

Discontented with Scripture, yearning for something God never promises, countless Christians read feelings, circumstances, events, hoping to discern God's personal coded messages in them. They may not use tea-leaves and chicken gizzards, but they no less are acting as diviners rather than divines. The results can be devastating and enslaving.

Dan Phillips of teampyro.blogspot.com has called it. We are not satisfied with God's Word; we want uber magic. (I think God's telling me I need to run to Denny's and have a "Grand Slam" before I go to work today. On that basis I'm over - and - out)

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Joy of Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity Training only goes one way!

ASU student objects to sensitivity exercise
By David Discobing, For the Tribune
January 21, 2007

Arizona State University senior Ryan Visconti was told “his kind” wasn’t welcome — that he was an abomination and an unforgiveable sinner. He pleaded to join the “church,” which was set up Jan. 10 as part of diversity training for ASU dormitory employees.

The role-play training took place Jan. 11, one week before the start of the spring semester.

Assigned the identity of a gay Hispanic, Visconti’s persistence during the training got him nowhere. A woman with a Southern accent told him there was nothing he could do. She said he was going to hell, and that even Jesus said so in the Bible.

Visconti, a 22-year-old political science major from Mesa, called the role-play an “ultra-clear example” of the victim mentality and liberal bias that permeate ASU.

“It crossed the line,” Visconti said. “All it did was reinforce the most disgusting, hateful and ugly stereotypes in our society.”

Visconti said he was required to participate in the role-play for his job as a resident assistant. It was an activity that Visconti, other dorm employees and a Valley religious leader said went too far.

Even an ASU associate professor who specializes in minority relations has raised concerns about the activity.

ASU Residential Life spokeswoman Diana Medina said the role-play was designed to examine the effects of racism, classism and “homophobia” on different cultural and economic groups.

But Visconti said the students who designed the roleplay overlooked their own stereotypes, such as the notion that white men don’t have to work for wealth because society gives them a free ride. Or the idea that Christian churches are filled with bigots, and people who support traditional family values such as heterosexual marriage are hateful and narrow-minded.

“They were basically saying that if you don’t feel the same way, you’re wrong,” Visconti said. “It got to the point that if you weren’t a minority or gay, you were supposed to feel guilty and that everything was given to you in life.”

Apocalypse inching this way

(coming ever closer - the apocalypse)

LONDON (Reuters) - For Anglicans who still haven't found what they're looking for, the Church of England is staging its first "U2-charist" communion service -- replacing hymns with hit songs by the Irish supergroup.

"Rock music can be a vehicle of immense spirituality," said Bishop of Grantham Timothy Ellis, announcing plans for the unique service in the central English town of Lincoln in May.

A live band is to play U2 classics like "Beautiful Day" and "Mysterious Ways" with special singalong lyrics displayed on a giant screen. Seating for the 500-strong congregation is to be re-arranged so everyone can dance and wave their hands.

Just what we need; replace A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD with a Bono tune. sigh

Saturday, January 27, 2007

God kicks our What?

( From John Piper of all people. Hey, I'm beginning to like him!)

John Piper January 10, 2007

I regret saying it. I am sitting here trying to figure out why I say things like that every now and then. I think it is a mixture of (sinful) audience titillation and (holy) scorn against my own flesh and against the devil, along with the desire to make the battle with Satan and my flesh feel gutsy and real and not middle-class pious. There is a significant difference between saying that God disciplines his children and saying that he “kicks our ass” (the phrase used at Passion)—the effect of the first can produce a yawn and leave students with no sense of how real I mean it. I think “He kicks our backside” would have sufficed. And even better might have been some concrete illustrations of the Lord's firm spanks.

If I wanted to take the time, and I felt more defensive than I do, I could probably go to the Bible and find language as offensive as that in the mouth of prophets, and even God when dealing with the grossness of evil. But I doubt that the moment in the breakout session called for something that extreme. Sometimes maybe. I hope the Lord turns it for good.

Me too!
BTW, I certainly believe that God does EXACTLY what Piper said.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gender ambiguity and your pastor

( If the apocalypse is not upon us it's surely getting closer.)

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007
by Jeff Robinson

When the apostle Paul prayed that the false teachers troubling the church at Galatia would emasculate themselves, he surely did not envision the disturbing fulfillment of such an entreaty as reported in the latest edition of Newsweek.

Under the headline "Gender and the Pulpit," the newsweekly bemoans the "workplace quandary" facing ministers who have surgically altered their gender. The article examines the obvious and even ironic difficulties facing a minister who suffers from "permanent gender ambiguity." MORE

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The increasing societal chaos

This is truly a disturbing trend. More and more women now live without "nets."

51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse
By SAM ROBERTS - New York Times

For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results.

In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.

Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.

Several factors are driving the statistical shift. At one end of the age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried partners more often and for longer periods. At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.

In addition, marriage rates among black women remain low. Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women.

In a relatively small number of cases, the living arrangement is temporary, because the husbands are working out of town, are in the military or are institutionalized. But while most women eventually marry, the larger trend is unmistakable.

“This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people’s lives,” said Prof. Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group. “Most of these women will marry, or have married. But on average, Americans now spend half their adult lives outside marriage.”

Professor Coontz said this was probably unprecedented with the possible exception of major wartime mobilizations and when black couples were separated during slavery.

William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a research group in Washington, described the shift as “a clear tipping point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women.”

“For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage,” Dr. Frey said. “Younger women understand this better, and are preparing to live longer parts of their lives alone or with nonmarried partners. For many older boomer and senior women, the institution of marriage did not hold the promise they might have hoped for, growing up in an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ era.”

This bodes poorly for the future of society. Women need men, and men need women.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Scion xB out of production Dec. 2006

Here's a brief note!
"scion xb

The demand for the Toyota Scion is up, so Toyota is doing the only sensible thing and cutting back on the supply, reports Gina Chon in The Wall Street Journal (11/10/06). Say again? You heard right: Scion could easily sell another 25,000 cars above the 150,000 it already sells each year, but has decided to cap supply at 150,000. It’s even taking its popular xB model (a.k.a. The Toaster) out of production for a while, just for fun. It’s a scarcity strategy, of course, and even Lyly Lao, who sells Scions in West Covina, California, thinks it’s a good idea: "Everybody is trying to be different, so it’s important for Scion to not put too many cars out there, or they will be everywhere," she says. The strategy extends to the Scion’s media choices as well."

I wish I really understood what was going on. Toyota dealerships absolutely couldn't keep a Scion xB on their lot. My wife and I bought one in 2005. We have loved it. It is an extremely ROOMY little car. 108 horsepower engine guarantees excellent mileage and it's classic Toyota quality actually being built in Japan - where the quality is highest. Now Toyota has ceased production of this very popular little car. Here's my suspicions - I could be Way Off!

The Scion xB was strategized to be a popular introductory model for generation X. If they could introduce Gen X to the Scion, they would ultimately move up to bigger, more expensive Toyota models.

Well I don't know how popular the xB was with Gen. X but it's been extremely popular with the Baby Boomers (me 'n my wife). Lots of elderly people running around in xB's probably guaranteeing it's unpopularity with younger generations. I believe that the profit margin on the xB is probably not all that good; that's generally true of stuff in general. The less expensive, the less profit margin. I wonder if Toyota/Scion didn't decide they were actually losing money on the Scion xB. Of course they were selling it for more than it costs to be manufactured but if they believed they were stealing clients from themselves; then they were going to have to stick a fork in the xB.

Now there is a new model Scion coming out sometime 2007. It will have a bigger, more powerful engine, probably be heavier and definitely be more expensive. Some wags have suggested, from preliminary models, that it looks like a PT Cruiser on steroids.

So my little TOASTER/MILK WAGON is starting down the road to planned obsolesence. Apparently Scion was selling 150,000 of these A YEAR after only 3 years. And then they stop production. sigh

BUT, Scion does not KNOW the Rabbi Philosopher. I'll get 20 years out of this vehicle. Even more likely it will simply out live me. I'm not going to let it go; I'll drive it until it comes to an absolute stop no longer repairable. NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER QUIT.

I'm counting on Scion having actually built a terrific car that will, with good proper maintenance, outlast its projected life. That would be good.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Unfeigned Repentance

Joan Foster of liestoppers.blogspot.com has a terrific post on the rightness of true repentance versus false repentance.

" Gone to the Dogs
When my son was around seven, he was told to apologize to his sister for some transgression.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I was wrong, but it was your fault."

With that early potential, and without a lot of parental intervention . . . who knows . . . he may have grown up to be a reporter for the NYT, a talking head with his own "legal issues" show, the editor of The Durham Herald-Sun, or the President of Duke University. I guess my husband and I didn't realize he was on track to greatness, when we stifled his first instincts to "quibble" (as my husband calls it), and required that he be accountable for how his words and actions affected others. When you are wrong, you say you are wrong . . . simple as that. It used to be called "accountability" . . . a quality not much in vogue these days. Obfuscation or better yet, avoidance . . . represent the current "Repentance du Jour."
My own father had an additional take on "accountability." He believed that true contrition carried its own power. When I once complained . . . in words similar to those I would hear from my child many years later, . . . he explained, "You're not apologizing for her. You're apologizing for YOU." It took me years and some maturity to understand that. A true, sincere, and unencumbered apology not only embraces the recipient, but also enhances the giver. It conveys a kind of moral stature - that this individual, flawed as we all are, has the courage to make a public and ethical course correction. This kind to courage . . . to self-monitor, to self-examine, and to reveal one's strength by admitting one's weakness . . . is rare. Sadly, the Art of the Apology is not in much evidence today. Maybe, we need to add it to our children's general curriculum, or at the very least, insist it be a required class in every journalism or law school.
My father believed the venue for an apology needed to match the venue of the offense. No private apology was acceptable for some transgression witnessed by others. Instead, you offered your Mea Culpa over the meat and potatoes, while the rest of the family looked on. Once learned, this technique had its own absolution. I always left the dinner table feeling, not demeaned, but delighted that my parents were now proud of me once more. To this day, a mistake I make in a meeting, I feel obligated to correct in a meeting. I will apologize to my children in front of their friends. The Art of the Apology has served me well. I am rarely burdened with old regrets. M. R. Vincent sums the concept up in this quote:

"Mere sorrow, which weeps and sits still, is not repentance. Repentance is sorrow converted into action; into a movement toward a new and better life. ""

That is so very excellent

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A New Year

We draw ever closer to the end of times; but God hides the future from our eyes. Should we be afraid this year? There are many, many reasons to be afraid and yet Scripture makes it plain that God has called us to live unfraid. To paraphrase an old hymn, I don't know what the future holds but I know who holds the future.

2007! Ready or not you are here. May I more closely serve God's purposes this year.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Internet; Life-long shame opportunity?

Saw this post regarding some cheerleader (maybe or maybe not) who let it all hang out apparently. No, I didn't look.

"Ladies, here's a tip: someday, you might want to get married to a guy you really love. This guy may surf the internet tubes, and may run across that embarassing little video you did a few years ago when you still did "that kind of stuff". (Or your new guy's friends might help him out and just mail him the link or give him the DVD. 'Cause that's what friends do -- crush each other's hopes and dreams, and then laugh about it.) Your beau may not like the fact that his fiancee was famous for dancing naked and drunk on a balcony while a group of guys groped her. I'm just saying. It's not the kind of thing that promotes the trust and matrimonial bond that makes for a long and happy marriage.

Everybody has a history; you don't get to be an adult without having made one or two (or a hundred) dumb mistakes on your way up. But for sanity's sake don't film it. The internet has a long, long memory, and those youthful indiscretions can and will cause you misery later in life. (Plus any doctor can tell you that genital warts, herpes, and chlamydia are more than just annoyances, and AIDS will simply effing kill you.)

Fair? No. But (ahem): Life Is Not Fair.
Posted by Monty at January 4, 2007 05:40 PM

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Virgin Mary vs Angelina Jolie

Just a little confusion in the culture? HERE for the picture

Artist Kate Kretz has this beauty on display at the Chelsea Galleria booth at the Art Miami Fair at the Miami Beach Convention Center, January 5-8th. Kate will be at the fair Friday & Saturday.

From her site:

This painting addresses the celebrity worship cycle. The title, "Blessed Art Thou", is taken from a line in the Catholic prayer "Hail Mary": "...blessed art thou among women". Our culture is deifying celebrities, but in the bible, it is the meek who are blessed, so the title presents a question for the viewer to ponder.

Hattip: Wizbangblog.com/pop