Monday, December 31, 2007

December Blogger Awards

By my count, 46 BBC blogs were updated in December. Here are some of the best posts in my arrogant opinion:

Elizabeth's Blogging Year in Review
Heather's Big Announcement
Sarah's 2008 in 2008 Challenge
Elizabeth R's Christmas Highlights
Kelly's Restless Leg Syndrome
Julie's Reflection
Mark Regarding Miss Spears

The award for BBC Blogger of the Month goes to:
Mark Brewer, The Silver Platter

And the award for the 2007 BBC Blogger of the Year:
Elizabeth Stewart: Bowl of Stew(art)

Not only did Liz post over 200 times, she also came up with some good themes to post about on a regular basis. Best of luck to all you losers as you attempt to become blogger of the year in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Knew Awards 07


Favorite TV Show

The past 2 years have been close calls. 'Lost' won in 2005. 'Seinfeld' re-runs won in 2006. But in 2007, we have a landslide winner. The award for my favorite TV show of the year goes to 'The Office.' Countless hours were spent watching and re-watching this show.

Favorite Artist

I evaluate my 'favorite' artist simply by deciding which singer/group I listened to the most in 2007. Despite a somewhat tight race with Derek Webb, the winner of award for favorite artist goes to Weird Al. I made 2 CD's of my favorite Weird Al songs and listened to them very consistently throughout the year.

Most Influential Person

For the 3rd consecutive year, I give this award to Steve Gregg of thenarrowpath.com. I just resonate with his style and am edified by his teaching and testimony. Check him out. Plans are in the works, actually, to bring Steve Gregg to Hess Road Wesleyan Church.

Best Politician

In 2006 I pretty much stayed out of politics, but this year I got back into it to some degree. I've always liked Blair & Harper, but I recently found a candidate from my own country that I really like a lot. The award for politician of the year goes to Ron Paul.

Best BBC Blogger

To be declared tomorrow along with December Blogger Awards

* I couldn't award a best movie, author, book, team, etc b/c the competition was too spread out with no clear winner presenting itself.

Click HERE for 2005's Knew Awards
Click HERE for 2006's Knew Awards

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Will Rogers

Will Rogers (1879-1935) was a famous cowboy, comedian, political commentator & movie star. When he died in a plane crash, the U.S. went into mourning like they hadn't experienced since the death of Lincoln 70 years prior. Here are some of his most interesting quotes:

"Try to live your life so that you wouldn't be afraid to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." "I wonder if it isn't just cowardice instead of generosity that makes us give tips." "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." "There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you." "An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out." "I'm not a real movie star. I still got the same wife I started out with nearly 28 years ago." "Never miss a good chance to shut up." "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment." "There's two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither one works." "Fanatical religion driven to a certain point is almost as bad as none at all, but not quite." "Things will get better-despite our efforts to improve them." "I never met a man I didn't like."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

26.5

I have determined that 26.5 years old was the age where my body decided it could no longer take care of my immature eating habits. Before this, I could pretty much do anything and it wouldn't make a difference. I could eat junk food or health food. I could exercise or do nothing. No matter! But for the past few weeks, things matter. Now it's up to my mind to take care of me :(

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All I Got for Christmas

Just like last year, I received way too much for Christmas. I'll try to remember everything so that if anyone asks on MSN or AIM, I can copy/paste instead of trying to remember and having to type it all out. Here's a pretty thorough list: Seinfeld (Season 7). Computer gaming controllers (for my downloaded old school Nintendo), Socks, a couple board games, tons of cookies, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Special Cups, some sports cards, some gift certificates, a hat, a car power converter, a couple books, an ornament, money, chapstick, candy, and fudge.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

So This is Christmas

I'd apologize for not posting a ton lately, but I'm not really sorry. I do, however, wish all of the readers who remain minus the consistent ***'s a very Merry Christmas. It's interesting to me that we have little to no evidence that the early church took special notice of Jesus' 'birthday' as a time of celebration. Christians in the 300's started celebrating the birth of Christ in late December in hopes of 'Christianizing' some pagan festivals. I've heard some people argue that, because of this fact, we shouldn't celebrate a formerly pagan holiday at all. That's ridiculous. We, as Christians, are in the business of redeeming all things in the name of Jesus Christ.

So what can we make of this thing called Christmas? We can utilize the time to discuss and celebrate the doctrine of the incarnation. The stories of Jesus' birth were important enough to the Gospel writers to merit a few chapters. It's our task to figure out why. We can certainly spend the time increasing the unity in our churches and homes through love. Finally, we can use Christmas as an opportunity to reach out to those in need. Instead of hoarding up treasures on this earth, we can spend and be spent for the needy in one way or another. Or both!

By the way, this post is my Christmas card to all of you!
Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Endorsement

A lot of the networks have been asking me, 'Who does The Matthew Never Knew endorse for President of the United States?' Well, after a careful investigation of the candidates over the past 2 months, this blog is ready to endorse Ron Paul for President. Ron Paul is, unquestionably, the candidate for those seeking smaller government, lower taxes, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Dr. Paul is leading Republican Candidates in number of Straw Polls won and all candidates in campaign funds raised in the 4th quarter. In regards to my #1 issue, abortion, Paul is radically pro-life. As a medical doctor he has delivered more than 4,000 babies. As a member of the House of Representatives he has introduced legislation to define life as beginning at conception.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Junk Journalism

This article is another example of horrific journalism, but since the headline (Archbishop says nativity 'a legend') was picked up by Matt Drudge, a lot of people will get the wrong impression.

The title is extremely misleading. It makes it sound as if Rowan Williams doubts the basic biblical presentation of the birth of Christ. In reality, the article simply separates biblical data from traditional legend. For example, regarding the '3 Kings of Orient,' Williams says, for the most part, what I said last year. There might not have been 3. They almost certainly were not kings. And they weren't from the Orient. Williams also rightfully dismisses the typical nativity scene of shepherds and magi together on a snowy December night as bad history. I think most everyone who has cared enough to investigate already knew this. No big news.

The article shows extreme bias in its usage of quotes. If you read the actual interview, you find Rowan Williams accepts all the biblical data as history and dismisses the extra-biblical legend as simply that. Unfortunately, most readers won't read the actual interview, they'll just go away thinking that the Archbishop doesn't believe the Bible's account of Christmas...like this guy! At best, these journalists are really dumb. At worst, they have an agenda to deceive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dream in Dream

Last night, for the very first time ever, I had a dream within my dream. I distinctly remember 'waking up' from a nightmare, but realizing that I was still dreaming. I've quite often known I was dreaming while dreaming, but never before have I had a dream within a dream. The 'nightmare' consisted of getting a phone call in the middle of the night that someone had died. After being woken up by the phone call, I woke lots of other people up to tell them the bad news. But they soon checked into it and discovered that I had only dreamed the phone call. But as they were figuring that out, I realized that I was only dreaming the dream about having the nightmare.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Political Quiz

Take THIS QUIZ from usatoday to help you figure out which candidate is most similar to you on the major issues in the U.S.A. My 'winner' was Ron Paul.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Carolling

Christmas carolling is a a very simple yet very meaningful ministry. On Saturday 4 of us from the church took less than 3 hours out of our day to sing some Christmas songs in various nursing homes. It was fun. There was some laughter. Some tears. Some fellowship. Some perspective. Some prayer. Some worship. Some love. Some pure and undefiled religion. Get a group together and visit your area nursing homes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Classics

Last year I posted a poll asking you to vote for your favorite Christmas hymns. Here are the results:

13 O Holy Night
13 O Come, O Come Immanuel
08 What Child is This?
07 O Come, All Ye Faithful
06 Hark the Herald Angels Sing
05 Silent Night
05 Go Tell it on the Mountain
05 O Little Town of Bethlehem
05 Angels We Have Heard on High
04 Joy to the World
04 The First Noel
03 Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
03 Angels from the Realms of Glory
03 Away in a Manger
02 Good Christian Men Rejoice
01 We Three Kings
01 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
01 I farted on Santa's lap so Christmas will stink for me

00 While Shepherds Watch their Flocks

Now go carol accordingly

Friday, December 14, 2007

For the Record

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee apologized to fellow hopeful Mitt Romney for asking the question "Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" Now, I don't know the tone in which Huckabee asked the question. In any case, it wasn't a smart question to pose, politically speaking. And for the record, I think Huckabee would be a horrible President.

But what I found most interesting is that everyone is acting like his question is extremely illegitimate. I don't think the question is a worthy question for the context of the Presidential race, but it's certainly a legitimate question for Mormon theology. Though I highly doubt many Mormon's are aware of the foundational teachings of their Church, such doctrines are still a reality.

Here's the facts. In Mormon theology, Satan wanted to be the one to save mankind. "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind" (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses 4:1). But God selected Jesus for that task instead, and so Satan rebelled against God. Brigham Young commentates on this passage: "The appointment of Jesus to be Saviour of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer" (Brigham Young Journal of Discourses 13:282).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finally Free!

Today I finally broke free from my dear sweet mother who had previously kept me tied to a wall with a funnel in my mouth which she used to force feed me nothing but sauerkraut.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Teaching Update

I've now taught through 39.1% of the Bible. Here's the breakdown:

32.5% of the OT
~26.8% of The Law
~39.8% of History
~32.1% of Wisdom
~30.0% of Prophets
62.7% of the NT
~61.5% of the Gospels/Acts
~46.0% of Paul's Epistles
~91.1% of other Epistles

Books Remaining:
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, John, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Timothy

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Multiverse

I'm hearing more and more about 'The Multiverse' in philosophical discussions. Basically, since the 'fine tuning' argument has been gaining momentum, many naturalists have admitted that random chance cannot account for life in our universe. But instead of attributing life to a Creator, naturalistic philosophers have theorized that there are a nearly infinite amount of parallel universes and that 'life' was bound to show up on some of them. Thus, instead of there being 1 universe, there are a multitude (multiverses).

To be blunt, this is incredibly stupid on multiple levels. First of all, believing that there are a multitude of universes compounds the question of origins. It's hard enough to explain the matter of our universe minus a Creator, let alone the matter in millions of universes. Secondly, by definition, the multiverses are impossible to observe. They are not 'too far away' and we are not lacking the proper technologies. They exist completely separate from our own universe. It's baffling to me that naturalists will refuse to accept an 'unobservable' Creator, but get excited about an unobservable multiverse!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Butterflies

Today I went to a 'God & Science' discussion hosted by Canisius College. I went because I'm in the midst of a series on creation so I thought I might pick up some interesting insights. The first speaker shared about the 'fine tuning' argument for the existence of God. The second speaker shared about the relationship between faith and reason. But the most interesting thing was the Q&A period. There were a number of passionate atheists in attendance and they pressed the second speaker on what he considers the best 'evidence' for Christian belief. I was quite shocked that his answer was a story about how a butterfly appeared to his mom and a very sad moment in her life. This is the type of individualistic 'evidence' that atheists scoff at. What an opportunity to focus in on the resurrection of Jesus Christ! I talked to the other speaker afterwards and he shared my disappointment that the question was answered in the way it was. Nevertheless, I found an interesting book am excited to teach tomorrow night.

Friday, December 07, 2007

City of God 5

I didn't like the beginning of the final section of Augustine's "City of God," but it got better as it went forward. Here are some of the views Augustine took in part 5:

~ Against the idea of 'Christian Perfection'
~ Against 'health & wealth' gospel
~ For the 'just war' theory
~ For the immortality of the soul
~ For physical discipline
~ For the 'closed' canon
~ Against a church 'dress code'
~ For 'eternal torment' view of hell
~ For amillennialism
~ For end-times convesion of Jews
~ For present binding of Satan
~ For a lesser continuation of miracles
~ For the beauty of male beards
~ For the historical evidence of resurrection
~ For earthly memories in eternity
~ For 7 ages of history, we being in the 6th

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bad B Ball

My Basketball buddies and I didn't have a good night. We have some major differences of opinions regarding the rules of basketball. In this post, I simply want to flesh out some of the reasons why the past few weeks have produced growing tension.

~ Part of the problem, I think, is the 8 years of age difference b/w them and me. Believe it or not, basketball has changed a lot since I was a teenager. The game is a lot more '1 on 1' now instead of team oriented. I get a bit frustrated by the lack of give-n-go's, pick-n-rolls, effort on the boards, and general movement. They just don't play the way I'm used to playing and, being competitive, this isn't helpful. It's more of a show-off circus that team basketball.

~ Part of the problem is simply a disagreement about which rules we are playing with. I'm of the mentality that we should play by basic High School/NCAA rules. I've always been rule oriented. I don't have fun in chaos. My friends are of the mentality that 2 vs. 2 is much more of a free-for-all. No 5 second rule. No charging fouls. I really think we need to agree on a set of rules. Eliminating those 2 rules gives the bigger players a huge advantage, so my competitive nature gets frustrated by their absence.

~ Part of the problem may be what we're looking for each Wednesday night. I'm looking for exercise & competition. They seem to be looking more for fun. Like I said, I don't fool around well. I like to play seriously. They like to try to tap the ball on the head of the player guarding them whereas if you do that in a real game the other team will take a swing at ya.

~ Part of the problem is my poor play recently. Usually we have 4 people playing. I like 2 vs. 2. When only 3 of us are present we have to play '21' which I hate. I don't have a lot of 1 on 1 skills and I'm not a teen anymore. I get worn out fast. We had a streak where we only had 3 on quite a few nights so I was getting frustrated. I think that's when I started getting tired of the circus-like rulelessness.

So here is my proposal/compromise
1. I'll waive the 5 second rule
2. I'll never call a charge
3. They can't fool around during games
4. They must bring a 4th person
5. No negative comments

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I'm Dreaming of...

I had a strange dream. It was really like 2 separate dreams, but they were linked together. It started out with a mother and her two children living in a small town. One day, their home was invaded by some bad guy who forced them out onto the wrap-around porch. Somehow, he managed to make them 'live' on the porch for many years while he lived inside. They could use the yard once in a while and did so by playing with remote controlled cars. But eventually the son decided it was time to take action. He led a revolt against the bad guy. But there was no clear-cut winner of the war. Everybody was just tired. The bad guy decided that he would indeed leave the house, but the family had to go with him! So the 4 of them left in some type of tiny vehicle. They eventually arrived at some kind of hotel.

That's where the dream transitioned. All of the sudden there were 5 people. The bad guy was the same, but now there were 4 hostages: 2 guys and 2 girls. For some reason the 2 guys had to pretend to be girls, and all 4 were dressed almost identically. The hotel room consisted of 3 rooms. The bad guy had his own room. Then there was a room with 4 beds for the hostages. Then there was a bathroom with 4 stalls. The bad guy had a video feed so he could watch the 4 at all times.

After some time, 1 of the guys and 1 of the girls got so annoyed by the situation that they went into the bathroom and considered attempting an escape. The guy took off his girl outfit briefly, but then regretted it. They were afraid the bad guy had seen this, so they walked into his room, but he appeared oblivious. Nevertheless, they decided to reveal the truth of their genders anyway. The bad guy was relieved. He said he was tired of being a 'bad' guy just like the one guy was tired of pretending to be a girl. He promised that the next morning they'd all be free.

But once the 4 friends were in bed, the bad guy came in and started the curtains on fire. He truly was fed up with being a bad guy though and was quite willing to die in the fire. Unfortunately for his plan, the fire was easily smothered by a towel. The bad guy surrendered to the will of the 4, but they offered him friendship and the group went on their way with a world of possibilities before them.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

iDwight

As many of you know, I'm not very good as sleeping at night. Lately I've been taking advantage of the Netflix 'watch now' (online) feature. What have I been watching? The 1978 series "Battlestar Galactica." And even though this means I'm a lot like Dwight Schrute, I like it a lot. It's well written, mostly well acted, and the special effects aren't even annoying. I'm about half-way through the short series.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

College Football

Here are MY NCAA Rankings

1. Ohio St. (11-1)
2. LSU (11-2)
3. Oklahoma (11-2)
4. USC (10-2)
5. Georgia (10-2)
6. Virginia Tech (11-2)
7. West Virginia (10-2)
8. Missouri (11-2)
9. Hawaii (12-0)
10. Kansas (11-1)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Knew News

It's been a long time since I posted some Knew News, so here it goes:
~ My girlfriend has been sick. Secretly (er, secretly until this post) I like her being sick, in a way, b/c she's stuck at home and I get to see her more to keep her entertained. But don't tell her I said that and, Katie, don't remember that you read it.
~ I moved my office furniture around. My office is somewhat small, so there weren't a lot of choices. But a little change goes a long way. That's twice in a 1 week that I moved it, but now I feel pretty content.
~ I just had a chat with a long lost friend. There is nothing quite like catching up with a valued friend. In fact, I think I'm going to ignore all of my friends for a year just so I can catch up with you next winter!
~ College football is crazy this year. I'm going to fall asleep watching the Hawaii game. I hope they go undefeated. If they do, they're the true national champions!
~ Congrats to Kirk & Joanna

Friday, November 30, 2007

November Blogger Awards

By my records, almost 50 BBC blogs were updated in November. Here are some of the posts that packed the most punch:

Josh M on church signs
Dave L on DOA
Kirk's Christmas Gift
Elizabeth R's Aspirations
Dena I on Rock the Vote
Heather D on Insta-Worship
Elizabeth S's Cereal-Bowl
AJ Needs a Hobby
Jess R's Promised Montage

There was a good 4-way race, this month, for BBC Blogger of the Month. But the race was won by Kelly T and the Mis-Adventures of 2! Remember, next month will have a December winner AND a 2007 winner. Good luck at finding my good graces.

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P
April: Elizabeth S
May: Steph P
June: Julie M
July: Mark B
August: AJ T
September: Elizabeth S
October: Kirk P
November: Kelly T

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Odor

Odor is a confusing concept for me. I think most people think of odor as non-material, like some kind of magical aroma. But isn't what we call odor simply the extension of tiny particles from the source? I think this is a devastating reality for hypochondriacs because, if true, it means that when we 'smell' something bad we are not merely smelling a non-physical aroma, but are actually tasting, in a sense, the very thing we are smelling. In other words, our noses have parts that function just like the taste-buds on our tongues. As I understand it, when I 'smell' garbage, I'm actually 'tasting' tiny particles of garbage. And, yes, when I smell worse things than garbage, I'm actually 'tasting' tiny little particles of that worse thing. I could be wrong. I hope I am. Does 'odor' really exist or are we just breathing in tiny particles of the source?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Master's Program

Houghton College will begin offering a Master's in Theology program in the Fall of 2008. I have been thinking, over the past month or so, about whether or not I'm interested in applying. I've also been asking for some feedback from people with valued opinions. And now it's your turn! Haha.

PROS
It's very nearby (1.5 hour drive)
It's not super expensive (less than 16k)
A Master's could open up new ministry doors
The setup allows me to continue at our church

CONS
It costs money (16k)
I don't personally value degrees
It takes time away from work at our church
Gas is really expensive :)

What do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007

There is a God

I have finished reading "There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" by Antony Flew. Flew's 'conversion' from atheism was made public on December 9th, 2004, but only in this volume do we get a detailed account of the long process and the specific evidence that led him to make such a drastic change in worldview.

The theme of the book is simple enough to discern. We must pursue the truth no matter where it leads us and such a pursuit leads us to admit the existence of a divine Mind. The book begins with a preface by Roy Abraham Varghese and his critique of the 'new atheism.' Next, we encounter and introduction from Flew where he dismisses 'other explanations' for his conversion from atheism (old age, special revelation, alliance with a church, etc).

The bulk of the book is a mini-biography of Flew and his atheism. He was, in fact, the son of a preacher (a Wesleyan-Methodist preacher, no less). He confesses, though, that he never felt any desire to commune with God, but credits his father with instilling, in him, a passionate pursuit of truth. Despite his early upbringing, Flew became a committed atheist by the age of 15, no longer able to reconcile the presence of pain with the existence of God (nor Calvinistic double-predestination). Flew now believes his conversion to atheism was done far too quickly and easily.

As a young scholar, Flew was a regular participant in the Socratic Club, presided over by C.S. Lewis from 1942 to 1954. Though un-convinced by his reasoning, Lewis was persuasive in convincing Flew to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Early on, Flew felt the evidence cemented his atheism. He spent much of his adult life writing for the presumption of atheism and against arguments for theism. Along the way, Flew debated some of the greatest thinkers of theism (including Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig & Gary Habermas). It was through these debates that Flew became aware of John Wesley's 'Arminian' alternatives to Calvinism. Already considering Wesley one of his country's great sons, this alternative proved significant in clearing the way back to belief in a divine Mind.

Flew then gives his four main reasons for accepting the existence of God: The existence of 'laws' in nature, a universed 'finely tuned' for life, the emergence of life at all, especially in regards to the complex nature of life as we now know it, and, finally, the 'beginning' of the universe in general. In light of these considerations, then, Flew comments that, "I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipresent, and omniscient Being" and adds that he is "entirely open to learning more about the divine Reality."

After further critique of the 'new atheism' by Varghese, Flew allows N.T. Wright to present a case of the historicity of Jesus and His resurrection. Why? In Flews' own words, "In point of fact, I think that the Christian religion is the one religion that most clearly deserves to be honored and respected whether or not its claim to be a divine revelation is true. There is nothing like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul." Flew believes Bishop Wright's argument for Jesus' resurrection is "absolutely wonderful, absolutely radical, and very powerful."

Wright first dismisses the ridiculous claim that Jesus never existed as completely unorthodox among Christian and secular historians alike. He then argues that Jesus was God incarnate by pointing out Jesus' behavior as the Word, wisdom, glory, law & Spirit of God. Finally, the Bishop argues that the resurrection of Christ is the best historical explanation for the empty tomb, appearances, and the radical nature of the early Christian beliefs.

All in all, a very worthwhile read. At times, the philosophical and scientific discussions were over my head, but, at the same time, Flew comes across as a very real person who honestly pursued atheism and honestly abandoned it in these past few years. Though he now considers himself a 'deist,' it is clear that he is considering Christianity. I pray his pursuit of truth continues to lead him closer to the Truth, namely, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

My favorite holiday has arrived!
Now to ruin your appetite.........
(So there will be more for me!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grace Amazing

To the tune 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks
Written by Matthew & Katie for fun


Blame it all on my roots
That forbidden fruit
That God said would make them aware
Eve took and ate
And shared with her mate
They covered themselves and were scared
Then God came along
They knew they were wrong
They hid in the trees in their shame
Then God sought them out
And Adam cried out
But only to pass on the blame

But I got a friend
With grace amazing
Though my sins are scars
He can still erase ‘em
Take them far away
And I’ll be OK
Now all my life
I’m gonna chase Him
And I just can’t wait
Till the day I face Him
Cause I got a friend
With grace amazing

It’s been so long
But I’m just as wrong
But then, you’ve seen that I’m sure
That they fell is true
But I’m fallen too
Desperately needing a cure
And I looked in surprise
At the grace in His eyes
As he took my sin and my shame
Now I’m a new man
And I’m following his plan
And you’ll never hear me complain

Cause I got a friend...

For More Songs U Never Knew, click HERE

Monday, November 19, 2007

Worse than Sin

Sometimes being imperfect feels worse than sin. As Wesleyans, we usually define sin as a voluntary transgression of a known law of God. Sin is done on purpose, but, at least, those purposes can be repented of and addressed. Imperfection is a different animal. Making a decision based on faulty information isn't a 'sin,' but it can create havoc. Forgetting something important isn't a sin, but it can be disastrous. Sometimes I wish all my negative actions and in-actions were 'sins' instead of 'imperfections' just so I could get them dealt with through typical repentance! I suppose the fact that we are ignorant & forgetful of many things keeps us humble, but other than that, such realities just stink.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Piece Games

Piece games are my label for the host of games that tend to be played on boards and require tons of little pieces which are strategically moved. This, however, doesn't include RISK for reasons I'm too lazy to describe. Below are my favorite 'piece' games:

1. Othello
2. Connect 4
3. Checkers

Any other suggestions?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Card Games

There are card games played with a regular deck of cards and card games played with custom cards. The only card game I play with regular cards is a game a call Trix, which I'm sure has a more official name. It's like euchre with 2 exceptions (you don't have 'teams' and you don't try to win every hand, just the amount of hands you predicted you could win). At least that's what I'm told, I've never played euchre! As for custom card games, I like the following:

1. Dutch Blitz - Unless faster people play
2. Mille-Bornes - Most frustrating game
3. Phase 10 - Requires little concentration

Any suggestions

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Office Party 8

From tv.com: When Jan sues Dunder Mifflin, Michael is deposed as a witness. Kelly and Pam practice their trash talk when Darryl plays Jim at ping pong.

This could be the last episode for quite some time, with the writers strike and all :(

BLOG NEWS: I added a link to Ping-O-Matic in the top right corner that seems to be more fruitful in providing ***'s. It does seem to have a 20-30 minute delay.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Board Games

The other night my favorite girlfriend arranged for some friends of ours to meet and play Monopoly. Monopoly is probably my favorite game of all time. I remember in my freshmen year at Bethany we played so often, and so late into the night, that they made a rule to close the lounge at 12:30. I remember one of my roommates getting so angry that he couldn't beat me that he made me play him 1 on 1 almost every night for about a month. Anyways, I was glad to play (and win) again the other night.

So what are the best BOARD games (not card games)? Here's the top 3 games I've played and enjoyed. Help me discover some new and great board games!

1. Monopoly- My all time favorite
2. Risk- Hard to find people to play
3. Beyond Balderdash- Creativity reigns

In the near future I'll have 2 similar posts. One on card games and one on a category of games that needs a name (maybe 'pieces' games or something). I'm referring to games of strategery that require lots of pieces being maneuvered (checkers, chess, connect 4, othello, etc).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

City of God 4

I found some time to finish part 4 of Augustine's 'City of God.' Though the version is somewhat abridged, I've been reading the more interesting of the skipped chapters online. We are using each part as a discussion starter in our men's group. Here's some stuff that struck me from part 4:

~ Cain, obviously, married his sister
~ There populace, all from Adam, are unmentioned
~ Humans really did live longer, it's no mistake
~ Translators are 'inspired' just as original authors
~ 'Sons of God' meant Seth's line, not 'angels'
~ 'Nephilim' were just large men, not uncommon in history
~ The apocryphal books, like Enoch, are very suspect
~ The 120 years was not lifespans, but time until flood
~ Noah's flood is both reliable history and has symbolic value
~ Numerous possibilities exist as to how animals got to islands
~ There have been many 'freaks of nature' in human history
~ The idea of inhabitants to a supposed 'souther' hemisphere is crazy
~ Hebrew is thought to be the original language of mankind
~ Samuel to Malachi is the age of the prophets
~ The 'land' promises were temporal and conditional
~ Prophecies can be fulfilled in earth, spiritual, or both terms
~ We should not be overly literal or overly allegorical
~ David is probably the author of all the Psalms, despite titles
~ There was relative silence after the post-exilic prophets
~ Many prophecies split the 'coming' into 2 (incarnation and 2nd)
~ Humanity was less than 6,000 years old (Adam to Augustine)
~ Some gentiles were 'true Israelites' even in the OT (like Job)
~ Christianity truly began on the day of Pentecost
~ We have no idea when the 2nd Coming will occur

Monday, November 12, 2007

Essentials Again

I've posted about this before, but I love the discussion provoked by my list of 'essential' Christian doctrines. This time, I want to look at it from the vantage point of who is excluded by each essential element. I'll take you step by step through the verses I use to determine the essentials:

Hebrews 11:6
Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

To be considered a Christian one must:
1. Believe that God exists
2. Believe that God desires relationship

The first, obviously, excludes practicing atheists. The second excludes, at least, the extreme forms of deism (the level of God's direct involvement in the cosmos is, of course, a different discussion that extreme deism which rejects active involvement completely, so far as I understand).

1 John 4:2
Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

To be considered a Christian one MUST:
3. Believe that Jesus came in the flesh

This would seem to exclude some forms of gnosticism and/or some eastern religions that hold to a doctrine of the physical realm being either wicked or imagined.

John 8:24
If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.

4. Believe Jesus is who He claimed to be
a. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah
b. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God
c. Jesus claimed to be the Lord
* consider further 'I AM' passages

This certainly excludes practicing Jews, not to mention any who claim that Jesus was simply another prophet or 'good moral teacher.'

Romans 10:9
[If you] believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved

5. Believe Jesus rose from the dead

This would exclude practicing Muslims and, again, Jews. It would also exclude many 'liberal Christians' who reject the historicity of the resurrection.

With this list, I feel we have the proper exclusivity while refraining from division over secondary issues. Given these 5 criteria, we can delay dividing with JW's or Mormons until we actually find out what they, as individuals believe. After all, in the end, people aren't saved by being in the correct group, but by seeking the true God.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

6 Televangelists

The top Republican in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee has launched an investigation of 6 popular televangelist ministries including Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland & Creflo Dollar. It'll be interesting to see what comes of that.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Office Party 7

In tonight's episode (from tv.com)
Michael goes on a survival adventure into the woods - with nothing except the suit on his back - in retaliation of not getting an invite to a similar party from corporate. Back at the office, there is a birthday going on while Jim tries to revolutionize the party.

I wonder who's birthday it will be this time

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Matthew 7:14

But small is the gate
and narrow the road
that leads to life
and only a few find it

It seems to me we've done a pretty good job, as evangelical Christians, of affirming the first line of this verse. We've made it clear that we believe Jesus is the only gate to God. But it also seems to me that we've done, especially in the Americas, a pretty lousy job of affirming the second line. We allow tons of people to call themselves Christians even though they pretty much take their own roads. We don't stand up against sin among believers. But the door is the end. The road is the means. Can we really find the end without the means? How many of us will? It sounds like only a few. But other verses seem more optimistic. What do you think of this verse?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Voting Day

Unofficial Results:
Town Supervisor (1)
464 Richard Meyers (conservative) (x)
449 John Sweeney (republican, democrat)
Town Councilman (2)
567 Dan Engert (x)
488 Randy Wayner
476 Rob Degnan (x)
240 Richard Ray
(x) = my choice

Many of my readers may have the chance to vote today. Our church is a voting station, so I'll be surrounded by voters all day. They actually vote just a few feet from my office door. But that's Appleton. I live in Somerset. Different town. Different candidates. Different issues. There are basically 3 big issues in my town followed by my ignorant commentary.

1) Should we keep fighting the AES Power Plant despite the cost and the risk of ruining our relationship to the counties biggest tax payer? Are they really ripping us off? Are they a benefit to the town?
I think the AES plant is paying less than they technically should. And I am sure they are paying less than they could. But I also think the town has been way to viscous in their dealings with the #1 tax payer in the county. We are fortunate to have them in our town. We need to stop fighting them and start working with them. I'm generally PRO AES.

2) Should we allow windmills?
The only argument I've ever heard against windmills is that they are ugly. I disagree. I think they look neat. I'm thinking of having one installed in my bedroom just for decoration. The current town board, from what I understand, opposed windmills until they realized everyone else likes them. Then they tried to take the credit for upcoming possibilities brought about by the current town supervisor. I'm very PRO windmill.

3) Has the current town board been nasty in their dealings with the current town supervisor?
I've never attended a town meeting. But numerous sources I trust confirm, to me, that the town board has been quite jerkish in their dealings with the town supervisor. I'm very ANTI current town board based on statements shared with me by meeting attenders.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Creation Geology

One of my spiritual gifts is skimming. The other day I skimmed through 'Theory of Earth' by James Hutton (the founder of uniformitarian geology). Geology is probably my favorite branch of science, but I've never found uniformitarianism convincing. I don't believe that the present processes are the best explanation for what we see. If the choice before us is either 'a lot of time' (uniformitarianism) or 'a lot of water' (catastrophism), I'll take water every day. And so did most/all scientists until Hutton came along. Below I will provide some quotes from Mr. Hutton with my commentary following:

We live in a world where order every where prevails... A living world is evidently an object in the design of things, by whatever Being those things had been designed... (but in our study of geology...) Not only are no powers to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted of except those of which we know the principle, and no extraordinary events to be alleged in order to explain a common appearance...
Here we see Hutton's deistic brand of religion. He believes the earth was designed intelligently, but he doesn't believe that Intelligence would remain involved in His creation. God can't be active in His creation. He can't do extra-odrinary things. My question is, why not?

The general amount of our reasoning is this, that nine-tenths, perhaps, or ninety-nine hundredths of this earth, so far as we see, have been formed by natural operations of the globe, in collecting loose materials, and depositing them at the bottom of the sea;
So he's claiming that 90-99% of geology is explained by slow and gradual processes (like erosion). I'd assume, then, that he's leaving 1-10% open to a catastrophic interpretation. I imagine just about the exact opposite. I think 90-99% of geology is due to catastrophe(s) while 1-10% is due to current processes.

It is only in science that any question concerning the origin and end of things is formed; and it is in science only that the resolution of those questions is to be attained. The natural operations of this globe, by which the size and shape of our land are changed, are so slow as to be altogether imperceptible to men who are employed in pursuing the various occupations of life
I can't help but interpret some arrogance from this quote. Only science touches on origins? Only science can account for origins? The regular citizen has no access to answers about existence?

On the other hand, it is quite possible that none of my readers are very interested in discussing uniformitarianism!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

City of God 3

Part 3 of the 'City of God' deals with the origin of the 2 cities. It was good, for me, to read this section alongside my creation series since much of Augustine's discussion revolves around Genesis 1-3. He speaks of Genesis 1 as an eyewitness account (God, of course, being the eye-witness). Atheism, according to Augustine, is a foolish and deadly disease. Hints of contemporary 'intelligent design' are found in this text. Here are some highlights

~ Time itself was created
~ The word 'day' in Genesis 1 is mysterious
~ He spiritualizes Genesis 1
~ Theorizes angels were the 'light' before sun
~ Theorizes that fallen angels, then, were 'darkness'
~ Believes creation was accomplished in '1' day
~ Fallen angels were lesser angels
~ Adam would have lived forever
~ Strongly defends the Trinity
~ Numbers in Scripture are important
~ There is no efficient cause of an evil will
~ 'Evolution' is a stupid theory
~ Doesn't know the age of the earth
~ Hate the sin, love the sinner
~ Against 'open theism'
~ Adam's sin was so serious b/c obedience was so simple

I found this section very thoughtful, insightful & edifying, but one thing I noticed Augustine struggling with was apparent conflicts stemming from his belief in the immortality of the soul. On three separate occasions he ran into issue because he wouldn't let go of that doctrine. It's not that I totally reject that doctrine, it's that I wish Augustine had questioned it and fleshed out why he believed it so staunchly.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Funny Friday 13

'Funny' is a stretch, but I thought this play was worth sharing

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Office Party 6

In tonight's episode, Karen returns in an attempt to lure Stanley away from Scranton. When Michael objects, he brings Jim into the war. The other office workers are disturbed by a "Finer Things Club." I watched last week's episode again and really enjoyed it. Today's question:

If you had to hire 1 character from the office to be a staff pastor at your church, which character would it be and what 'title' would you give them?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Blogger Awards

I'm getting a lot of comments about PINGS. I know they aren't working. I can't get them to work either. They currently seem random and arbitrary. I have been unable to figure out a fix, but I continue to pursue solutions. October blogger awards:

Is Liz a Cat Lady?
Kirk's bad reality shows
Kirk's good reality shows
Elizabeth R on Prayer
Renata loves her church
Jess requires participation
AJ's in Deep Water

Blog of Month: Kirk P

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P
April: Elizabeth S
May: Steph P
June: Julie M
July: Mark B
August: AJ T
September: Elizabeth S
October: Kirk P

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Creation Questions

One thing I've been doing recently on Sunday night's is providing handouts with a large list of questions relevant to our current biblical study. Currently, we are studying Genesis 1-11 and the creation/evolution issue. I provided 84 questions from this section of Scripture. The Following questions were asked and discussed over the hour and a half. I always find it interesting to see what gets asked and what doesn't.

3. What is meant by ‘the heavens’ (plural) in 1:1?
8. If creation is ‘young,’ how can we see starlight from millions of light years away?
9. What is or what happened to the ‘water above’ the expanse of 1:7?
12. Who is the ‘Us’ in 1:26?
31. Did the serpent really talk (3:1)? If so, how?
49. Who was Cain afraid of if only 3 people existed (4:14)?
50. Who was Cain’s wife (4:17)?
52. How could men live as long as is described in chapter 5?
54. Who were the ‘sons of God’ referred to in 6:2?
55. What is meant by the 120 years in 6:3?
56. What were the Nephilim of 6:4?
59. Was the flood in Noah’s day local or worldwide?
61. How could they possibly fit all ‘kinds’ of animals into the ark?
62. Were dinosaurs on the ark? What happened to them?
66. If the flood was worldwide, where did all the water go?
72. Do all people/races really come from the eight people of Noah’s Ark?
74. How did land animals get to other continents?
83. Is there scientific evidence for intelligent design?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Genesis 1

Interpretations of Genesis 1

Gap Theory Substantial chronological gap between 1:1 & 1:2

What is the state and doctrine of this theory?
1. This is a theory popularized in the 19th century, but is fading with time
2. It attempts to reconcile ‘old-earth’ with a ‘literal’ creation week
3. It theorizes that there is an enormous chronological gap b/w 1:1 & 1:2
4. It theorizes that there was an inhabited earth prior to the creation week
5. It theorizes that ‘Lucifer’ fell during this time and was judged via flood
6. It theorizes that this ‘flood’ explains pop-geology & the fossil record
7. It is based on Genesis 1:1-2, 1:28 (kjv), Isaiah 14 & Ezekiel 28

What are the 3 key problems with this theory?
1. It is based on faulty understandings of multiple Hebrew words
2. It fails the ‘Teaching Ministry’ & ‘Scriptural Harmony’ tests
3. It creates doctrinal dilemmas w/o accomplishing it’s scientific goal

Theistic Evolution God created & used evolution as His mechanism

What is the state and doctrine of this theory?
1. It was popularized in the 19th century, and is gaining momentum
2. It combines popular scientific theories with allegorical interpretation
3. It’s adherents range from doctrines of ‘deism’ to ‘immanence’

What are the 3 key problems with this theory?
1. It stands or falls on the merits of pop-science (Darwinian Evolution)
2. It seems to fail the Literal, Teaching & Scriptural Harmony tests
3. It creates a multitude of doctrinal issues (death before the Fall, etc)

Day-Age Theory Each ‘day’ of Genesis 1 represents an ‘age’

What is the state and doctrine of this theory?
1. It was popularized in the 19th century, and is holding it’s own
2. It combines non-Darwinian pop-science with biblical creationism
3. It suggests that the creations days were actually millions of years

What are the 3 key problems with this theory?
1. It seems to fail the grammatical, teaching & Scriptural harmony tests
2. It creates doctrinal dilemmas (death & ‘man’ before fall, local flood)
3. It generally fails to accomplish it’s goal of appealing to the secular mind

Allegorical Theory Creation Week is not a ‘Literal’ Account

What is the state and doctrine of this theory?
1. It has been growing in popularity during the 20th & 21st centuries
2. It suggests that Genesis 1 is a religious creed establishing the Sabbath
3. Adherents find the ‘gap’ & ‘day-age’ theories inadequate

What are the 3 key problems with this theory?
1. It seems to fail the literal & teaching tests
2. It leaves us with a lack of details about the origin of the universe
3. It is quite possibly a true application w/o being a primary meaning

Young Earth Theory God created the world in six 24-hour days

What is the state and doctrine of this theory?
1. It has been growing in popularity during the 20th & 21st centuries
2. It suggests that Genesis be interpreted as a chronological narrative
3. It, alone, suggests that the earth is less than 10,000 years old
4. It, alone, suggests that Noah’s flood was a worldwide deluge
5. It, alone, suggests that no death occurred prior to the fall
6. Adherents find alternative theories to ‘compromise’ Scriptural authority

What are the 3 key problems with this theory?
1. It fails to match up with popular secular-science in numerous fields
2. Some claim it treats Scripture like a scientific text-book
3. Some reference apparent contradictions if Genesis 1 is taken literally

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Failure

I'm calling it quits. The biking season is over and I failed miserably. I was doing quite well until Family Camp at the end of July and I don't think I've biked much at all since. The winner of the guessing game is a tie b/w Dena & Jessica.

Bets:
Calvin 6,500
Kirk 532
Goal: 500 miles
Bryan 468.6
Steph 300
Matthew 225
Jo 200
Dena 175
Current Total: 150 miles
Jessica 125
Elliott 2

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Office Party 5

Back to half-hour business tonight with an episode entitled 'Local Ad.' I think I'm ready for the shorter shows, there's was just a lil too much filler in the hour long specials. Here's the episode information: From TV.com Dunder Mifflin decides to produce an ad, but things go awry when Michael hijacks the production. Dwight is busy also - exploring Second Life, an online website.

I won't be able to watch tonight's episode until later in the night b/c we have a group going to a Christian comedy evening offered by the Family Life Network. As for other announcements:
My sister interview is up
DJ is challenging me
Red Sox Rock

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Relationship w/God

I think a lot of Christians have been hurt by the contemporary emphasis on having a 'relationship' with God. There are many types of 'relationships,' but when the phrase is used these days it's often being used in particular ways. For instance, quite popular these days is the "Jesus is my boyfriend" mentality. A lot of worship songs are actually 'romantic' in nature and 'intimacy' with God has been a very popular sermon/book series. I would speculate that this has a least a role in the stats that show that men aren't too interested in contemporary churches. Another popular view of our 'relationship' with God is "Jesus is my homeboy," but, obviously, this is quite an uncomfortable metaphor for some.

Sure, there are elements of truth in most of the metaphors we use to describe our relationship with God. But, it seems to me, we too often forget that there are elements of error in them as well. A proper balance of metaphors is necessary. In my opinion we have too much emphasis on the aforementioned descriptions and not enough mention of the fact that Jesus is our Owner, Boss, Master, Lord, King, etc.

And perhaps this is a different point & post all-together, but I think the whole 'friendship' with God metaphor is over-used. It can't be allowed to monopolize the discussion. The end result of over-emphasizing certain metaphors is that a whole bunch of Christians end up 'feeling' dis-connected with God, when in reality they are living just the way God wants them to. Frankly, I think it's more important to obey the Lord each day than to 'feel' close to Him each day. I'm a citizen in His Kingdom at all times, it's really up to Him to decide when I shall be summoned.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seventeen

My sister Lauren turns 17 years old today. Here are my 2005 & 2006 birthday interviews. How old are you? 15 What's your boyfriend's first name? No Tengo What are your favorite foods/drinks? Yeah, umm...I don't know. Red Bull or Lemon Propel. McDonalds Apple pie is mad good. Don't write 'mad good.' And Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. What do you want to be when you're grown up? Child Psychologist Where do you think you'll live? Far away from Barker Who are your best friends? All of them? Danielle, Paul & Anthony, Brittany, Sarah, Amanda, Kasey What kind of music do you like? Everything. No opera, techno, country (but some country). What are your religious beliefs? Umm...N/A. Just joking. You know what I believe. Bands? Red hot chili peppers, White Stripes, hawthorne heights Any closing words? See you next year.

Monday, October 22, 2007

American Idols

Idols are small metal objects
Idols are expensive
Idols are carried around
Idols are spoken to
Idols are used in emergencies
Idols are cell phones

For more on cell phones, click here

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jena Malone

It's been a while since I updated my actor statistics. But I realized the other day that Jena Malone now qualifies for the list (I've now seen her in 7+ movies in which she played a somewhat substantial role). Here's her ranking:

Great
Good
Donnie Darko
Saved
Cold Mountain
Pride & Prejudice
Contact
Average
Life as a House
For Love of the Game
Stepmom
Bad

Current Total: 5 pts

Friday, October 19, 2007

Funny Friday 12

The Vatican News Service, a TV station in Rome, is convinced that the flame in this picture is a spiritual visit from Pope John Paul II.I won't argue with them. I myself once saw an 'angel' praying in a cloud formation and actually was able to catch it on camera.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Office Party 4

In this hour long special, Michael is quickly going into debt with Jan renovating his condo. He tries to get money anyway he can including asking his employees for a loan. Meanwhile, Jim and Pam spend the night at Dwight's farm - now a bed and breakfast.

Question. What is the best prank Jim/Pam ever pulled on Dwight?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

City of God 2

In Book 2 of 'City of God' Augustine continues to speak out against polytheism declaring that myth sows filthy fancies about the gods; while political theology reaps by keeping them alive. The former spreads lies, the latter gathers them up. Next, Augustine goes into a discussion about the merits of various schools of philosophy, praising Plato along the way. Finally, he describes the differing views of demons along with their attributes. Augustine refuses to argue over semantics. Here are some other interesting thoughts from Book 2:

Augustine assumes the immortality of the soul
"God is not the soul of all things, but the maker of all souls"
Polytheism evolved from Monotheism, not the reverse
His amillennialism (present kingdom) begins to come through
So much prophecy is already fulfilled, assuring the yet future

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Top 10 Sports

I love rankings. But usually I rank teams and players within a given sport. It's not often that the sports themselves are ranked. Here's my list of favorite sports leagues:

1. NHL (hockey)
Lots of games, great playoffs
2. NFL (football)
Every game is important
3. NCAA (basketball)
Nothing like the NCAA Tourny
4. NCAA (football)
Anybody can beat anybody
5. MLB (baseball)
Lots of games, stats & matchups
6. NBA (basketball)
Fun stars, but bad basketball
7. Women's Tennis
Good back & forth action
8. Nascar (racing)
Wait for it...
9. Men's Tennis
Usually dominated by 1 or 2
10. Men's Golf
Nice and relaxing to watch

How bout your top 5? Top 10? Did I forget anything awesome?

Monday, October 15, 2007

eHarmony Parody

THE EHARMONY PARODY
Tune of ‘Tennessee Christmas’

Come on Doctor Warren, I want my own background so white
Can’t you hear my prayers each time I visit your website?
I have been ball’in, Can’t wait to fall-in
Love with the girl you match with me
Hope it don’t matter, that I’m a distaster
I know you’ll find one to be

My perfect eHarmony Darlin
My eHarmony Girl
My gift from Neil Clark Warren
My one soul-mate in the world
Now I know there’s a lot
Match dot com, hot or not
One True Love and Single C
But when I found the girl of my dreams
I found her on eHarmony

Now it’s four AM, and this screen seems oh so bright
One more click I promise, find a match for me tonight
Holding my breath-in, anticipation
Open my eyes, oh please don’t fail
I have a match now! Hope she ain’t a cow
Time to view match details…

Four days later now, Guided process going great
We like the same ice-cream, this match is obviously fate
Sure, there’s some trouble, looks like Barney Rubble
Though I’m still sure she is a chick
And she’s a bit far, From Madagascar
But something with us just clicks…

Four weeks later now, time for another verse
Things have gone downhill, man, I think I must be cursed
She started fussing, I was too trusting
When I gave her mom’s maiden name
She maxed out my cards, man, this is so hard
But how could I ever blame…

Now it’s been four years, and we finally meet in court
Not an ideal first date, so I hope the trials short
But till I find out, I’ll give a shout out
Thanks to the Doc for coming through
My girl looks straight-forward, but I’m looking toward
Our future with skies so blue

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Office Party 3

My men's group has some deconstruction to do tonight, but I'm hoping I make to Katie's in time to watch tonight's episode of 'The Office.' I think it'll be funnier than last week. I'll be sure to add some quotes later on (thanks to Jessica B for doing this so well). I'll leave you with 1 question to spur on comments. If you had to go to lunch with 1 character (not the actor, the character) from the office, besides Jim or Pam, who would it be and why?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Coming Soon

Though he talks about NOT writing a book in the following video clip, Antony Flew does have a book coming out in the near future. Flew is famous for his atheism, but has recently come to believe God must exist. It's very interesting to listen to him think through theism so early on after his change in worldview. I'll be getting the book as soon as it comes out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Night

The Buffalo Bills are a pretty bad team. Thankfully, we've been able to hide this from most Americans by never being invited to play on 'Monday Night Football.' But tonight, for the first time in a very long while, the Bills will be showcased to the nation. Well, most of them anyways. Already, in this young NFL Season, the Bills have lost 5 starters to season ending injuries and will be without 7 additional regulars tonight. That's the bad news. The good news is that most of those 12 guys weren't very good anyways. It also doesn't help that their opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, are undefeated and have seemed almost invincible so far this year. I can't figure out a way, in my head, for the Bills to win this football game. My main goal is to not lose by more than 20.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

City of God 1

I'm reading Augustine's 'City of God' and I thought I'd share my thoughts along the way. I should say, first, that I have mixed feelings about Augustine. On the one hand, I think he was a brilliant mind and far ahead of his time in the order of his thoughts. On the other hand, being ahead of one's time is only so good as the product and it may be the case that much error now existing in the church is the result of Augustine's great work. Depending on one's theology, he is either a second Paul or the primary root of mistaken doctrine.

I'm reading, of course, an abridged version (though still well over 500 pages in length) which is divided into 5 parts. Thus, my reaction to 'City of God' will most likely be 5 posts spread out over some time.

Part 1 of 'City of God' begins & ends as a defense of God's people from charges that they were responsible for the fall of Rome. Augustine spends most of his time arguing persuasively that Rome was falling long before the incarnation of Christ due to its foolish polytheism. At times, his ridicule of false gods crosses over to comedic, but the arguments are cutting and to be taken seriously. He argues against polytheism, pantheism & even astrology while urging his readers to rid themselves of the multitude and worship 1 true God, no matter what name is given Him.

Perhaps more interesting are Augustine's handling of slightly off-topic issues. In answering why God allows suffering upon the just, he gives 4 explanations: Suffering 1) Builds character 2) Grants perspective 3) is deserved, to some degree, by all and 4) reveals faith. Augustine made a strong case for the seriousness and sinfulness of suicide along with a clarification of the rules and exceptions to 'thou shalt not kill.' Most impressive, though, was his nuanced discussion of the fate vs. free will issue. Augustine maintained both the true sovereignty of God and the genuine free will of mankind.

Other snippets I found worthy of note were support for the historicity of the story of Jonah, usage of a very Wesleyan definition of sin, and some interesting political and geographical background of world history.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Office Party 2

Tonight I will miss 'The Office.' I have to help at a pro-life banquet. I will, of course, watch the episode when I return home later in the night, at which point I will leave my favorite quotes as a comment. Like Jessica, I really enjoyed last week's episode. I watched it 4 times: 1) With my super girlfriend Katie 2) by myself, that night, to collect quotes 3) With my mom and brother and 4) with my sister and brother. Each time was funnier than the former, except the 4th, which was a little less funny. I suppose 3 times is enough.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

NHL Predictions

Last Year I gave out 5 A's and 2 of those went to the Cup finals. But a lot of my picks really stunk, so take this with a grain of salt:

EASTERN CONFERENCE
A NY Rangers
A Ottawa
B+ Buffalo
B+ Pittsburgh
C+ Florida
C+ NJ Devils
C Carolina
C Toronto
========
C Atlanta
C- Philadelphia
C- Tampa Bay
C- Montrael
C- NY Islanders
D Boston
D Washington

WESTERN CONFERENCE
A San Jose
A Detroit
A Anaheim

B+ Vancouver
B+ Calgary
B Minnesota
B Colorado

C+ Nashville
========
C+ Dallas
C- LA Kings
C- St. Louis
D Columbus
D Chicago
D Phoenix
D Edmonton

Cup: NY Rangers over Detroit

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Startling Statements

For my series on the Middle East (just completed), I read a bunch of books. But a few days prior to the last installment, I stumbled upon a book at the church by John Hagee entitled 'Jerusalem Countdown.' I had seen this book at Wal-Mart on numerous occassions and even flipped through it. But I had no idea how many startling statements were contained within. Below are 7 Startling quotes followed by my reaction.

The greatest prophetic miracle of the twentieth century – the rebirth of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948. I realize that an awful lot of people believe this, but I don't think most Christians realize how weak an argument it is. In my understanding, Jesus and the Apostles interpreted the promise of a return to the land in a very different way than modern day dispensationalists.

In Jerusalem there is a very special and powerful presence. It is the literal presence of the living God.
He's not talking about Old Testament Jerusalem here, he's talking about modern day Jerusalem! He's talking as if God's presence is still defined geographically. What's more, he's talking as if God's presence is still pleased with a largely Jesus-rejecting people.

It could be said that if Israel had not been brought back to the land…There would be just reason to doubt the validity of the Bible. Really? Christians for hundreds of years didn't seem to have any problem with the lack of a political Israel. Nor did they expect it to come about.

As a people, the Jews had nothing to do with the political conspiracy against Jesus Christ. Hagee doesn't spend much time on this, but it seems to me in his quest against antisemitism, he's gone to the opposite extreme. He critique of ancient and contemporary Israel is next to nothing in this book.


They (contemporary Jews) are our brothers and sisters who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob just as we do. In certain contexts and in some senses, such a statement is valid, but given the overall message of Hagee's book, I think the ecumenical brotherhood with Judaism is much too strong in this book.

The Jewish people are not simply Abraham’s seed, but quite literally God’s children. I'm not even sure what he means here by 'literally.' But I think Paul would be surprised to find Galatians 3 being so ignored.


The stars (the church) have their role, and the sand (the Jews) has its role, but they never interact. I think Paul would also be surprised to see a Christian teacher seemingly ignoring Ephesians 2, you know, the whole 2 becoming 1 thing.

God is rising to judge the nations of the world based on their treatment of the State of Israel. That's funny, I thought we were going to be judged by our works in general which flow out of our relationship with Jesus Christ. This quote is repeated in different forms throughout the book.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Repentance

Repentance is not simply our only means of forgiveness, it is our only means to being cleansed of all unrighteousness. Though we often avoid repentance by covering it up, casting blame, claiming pure motives, convincing ourselves we were in the right, comparing our sin to others, or changing the very definition of sin, such a practice not only fails to clear the sin from our record, it hardens our heart just a little bit each time. In other words, each time we fail to repent of a sin, we become less capable of repentance b/c our hearts get colder and harder. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. Only soft/warm hearts can be changed for the better.

Nobody likes to confess sin. But if you're going to need to eat crow, you better do it while it's warm or you might not be able to do it at all.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

September Blogger Awards

Thanks to all who posted on BBC Blogging Day
Here are the nominations for posts of the month

Jess R: Are Shocking Statements Normal?
Elizabeth R: ODE to BBC from former RD
Heather S: Question of the Day
AJ T: Re-Thinking Sacraments
Natasha E: Pregnancy Insanity
Angela M: I want to be Sassy
Kirk P: Top Weird Al Quotes
Kelly T: 911 YouTube Video

Blogger of the month: Liz Stewart

January: Elizabeth S
February: Kirk P
March: Kirk P
April: Elizabeth S
May: Steph P
June: Julie M
July: Mark B
August: AJ T
September: Elizabeth S