Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wedding Day

I'm getting married today at 2pm
Everyone is invited
Sorry for the late invites :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Power Rankings 7

The Super Bowl Caliber Teams
1. NY Giants- Champs may be the best again
2. Tennessee Titans- Big win over Pitt earns #2

3. Pittsburgh Steelers- Should make it to final 4

4. Carolina Panthers- 8-0 at home. See above
5. Indianapolis Colts- Red hot. Hard to keep at 5

The Hard to Beat Teams
6. Baltimore Ravens- Only losses are to top 5
7. Philadelphia Eagles- Snuck into playoffs

8. Atlanta Falcons- Great turnaround

9. NE Patriots- Opponents glad they missed
10.Miami Dolphins- Did what they needed to do
11. San Diego Chargers- Great turnaround

The Average Teams
12. Minnesota Vikings- May be able to win @home
13. Arizona Cardinals- See above, but less likely

14. Dallas Cowboys- Terribly overrated
15. Tampa Bay Bucs- Choked. Big time.
16. NY Jets- See above
17. Chicago Bears- Couldn't win weak division
18. New Orleans Saints- No defense
19. Houston Texans- Bad start cost them

The Bad Teams
20. Washington Redskins- Bad 2nd half
21. SF 49ers- Glimpses of potential late
22. Buffalo Bills- 5-1 to 7-9? Disaster
23. Denver Broncos- See N.O. comment
24. Green Bay Packers- Losses are losses
25. Jacksonville Jaguars- Very poor season
26. Oakland Raiders- Showed some late promise

The REALLY bad teams
27. Cincinnati Bengals- Tiny turnaround at end
28. Seattle Seahawks- Just not much talent
29. Cleveland Browns- See Dallas comment
30. Kansas City Chiefs- Really bad
31. St. Louis Rams- Really really bad
32. Detroit Lions- Really really really really bad

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Toys

2 Questions

What was your favorite gift this year?
What was your favorite gift as a kid?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Teaching Stats

My quest to teach through the entire Bible in 12 years is well ahead of schedule. I have completed 5.5 years of teaching and am just over 65% completed. I'm currently teaching through Judges and Matthew

65.1% of the Bible

64.5% of the Old Testament
75.4% of the Pentateuch
43.4% of the Historical Books
92.2% of the Poetical Books
50.4% of the Prophets

67.3% of the New Testament
62.0% of the Gospels/Acts
59.8% of the Pauline Epistles
91.1% of the Non-Pauline Epistles

What's Left:
Deuteronomy, parts of Joshua, parts of 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles, some Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, John, 1 & 2 Corinithians, Ephesians, 1-3 John

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pagan Christmas

Lots of message board chatter, this Christmas season, about the pagan origins of Christmas. This is not surprising given some recent books and the contemporary hatred for all things institutional. Truth be told, a 12/25 celebration does have pagan origins. In the 3rd and 4th century world, that date was, pretty much, a universally celebrated pagan holiday (they believed it was the winter solstice, for one thing, among others). There are basically three positions to take when confronted with this information:

1) What!?! Jesus wasn't born on 12/25? Christmas has pagan origins? We should stop practicing it right now! God must be really mad at us! I can't believe I've been practicing paganism all these years! I'm so sorry! I am now going to become a crusader against Christmas. I must let other Christians know how sinful they are being!

2) Good idea! I think the early Christians were smart to replace pagan festivals with Christian holy days. After all, I was once a pagan and God redeemed me. I happen to think God is in the redeeming business. We're not told when, or even to, celebrate Jesus' birth. So we're free to be creative!

3) So what? Contemporary Christians don't know the pagan origins of Christmas anyways. The day is as 'Christian' or as 'Pagan' as each individual makes it. We can use it to celebrate the incarnation or we can not use it at all. The main question should always be "What is it now?" Is it a Christian celebration of incarnation or a pagan celebration of consumerism? Hmm.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is God Male?

A poll today. Please leave your position as a comment. This poll is worded just like a poll I saw on a Christian message board the other day. I thought those results were interesting and wanted to see the results from my readers. Please participate.

Is God male?
Yes! The Bible uses the pronoun "He" and Jesus was a man! God is male! 19 46.34%
No! God is everything. God transcends gender! Do not try to limit God. 18 43.90%
I don't know, but Jesus was a man. That has to be mean something, right? 4 9.76%

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

I am staying home all day today. It's very snowy and windy. I haven't stayed home all day in a long time. I have done almost absolutely nothing. I'm even too lazy to think up of something to blog about!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grading the Texts

Previously I graded the 7 text books for my class on Wesleyan Theology. Presently, I will grade the 7 texts for my class on Theology, Faith & Culture.

B+ Everyday Theology by Vanhoozer
I thought this was a good book about how to interpret cultural texts with some of the same basic skills we use to interpret the Scriptures. It showed the importance of interpreting these texts which, unfortunately, are often much more influential than the Scriptures in the lives of those who try to minister to. Vanhoozer is solid, but much of the book is made up of examples of this interpretation by his students. Some of them are not well done, preventing this book from getting an 'A'

B Church After Christendom by Murray
I thought this book was a helpful, if choppy, manual for thinking through the issues of how to build a community of faith in a post-christian culture. This book was quite different from the other 6 texts in style

B Brands of Faith by Einstein
It was sometimes difficult to follow what her opinion was, but she gave a thorough discussion of the problems and potentials of faith in a consumer based culture.

B- Consuming Religion by Miller
Basically the same topic as above, but less optimistic (maybe more realistic?). Sometimes a difficult read.

B- A Theology of the Built Environment by Gorringe
Much more interesting than the title indicates. It's mostly about what architecture says about us and what it says to us. It discusses differences between town and country. Stuff like that.

C Convergence Culture by Jenkins
I didn't like this book as much as I expected. I felt like it was just a long list of gadgets and websites. His point was either common sense or not as interesting as is sometimes indicated.

C- A Matrix of Meanings by Detweiler/Taylor
I thought this book was surprisingly liberal. The authors seemed to think that pretty much every cultural text is a good sermon. Big stretches were made throughout.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cookies in Public

When in public, at a function with cookie refreshments, you pretty much have to take whatever cookie you touch. This is unfortunate because I much prefer soft cookies to hard cookies (they are not just better, but they are also easier to eat in public without looking like an idiot). It is not always possible to visually discern whether a cookie is soft or hard. If I'm by myself, I can touch all the cookies to find the soft one's and those who eat the hard cookies later don't know the difference. This is why I prefer to eat cookies in secret.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Power Rankings 6

Super Bowl Favorites
1. NY Giants
2. Tennessee Titans

Playoff Caliber Teams
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Carolina Panthers
5. Indianapolis Colts
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Tampa Bay Bucs
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. Philadelphia Eagles
10.Miami Dolphins
11. NY Jets
12. Arizona Cardinals

Need some work to make playoffs
13. Atlanta Falcons
14. NE Patriots
15. Minnesota Vikings
16. Chicago Bears
17. Denver Broncos
18. New OrleansSaints
19. Washington Redskins

Out of playoff picture
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Houston Texans
22. SF 49ers
23. Buffalo Bills
24. Green Bay Packers
25. Cleveland Browns
26. Jacksonville Jaguars

In the race for 1st overall pick
27. Seattle Seahawks
28. Oakland Raiders
29. Kansas City Chiefs
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. St. Louis Rams
32. Detroit Lions

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trinity Illustration

I have been working on a new illustration of the Trinity. I am not a believer that the Trinity can be perfectly illustrated by triangles, eggs, H2O, or anything else on earth. That being said, I find the pendulum helpful in this regard (though I know there are some major problems with this illustration).

A pendulum has four working features: A pivot, a rod, the Law of Gravity, and a bob. The pivot is the source. The rod connects the source to the bob. The bob swings back and forth in a constant struggle with gravity to exist at the center. As more weight is added to the bob, gravity dictates that there will be less of a swing. Eventually time (the most common function of a pendulum) will be no more.

Christian theology has four working features: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Church. The Father is the source. The Son connects the Father to the Church. The Church swings back and forth in a constant struggle with the Spirit to exist at the center of God's will. As more people are added to the Church throughout history, the Spirit dictates that there will be less of a swing. When the quality and quantity of the church is maximized, time will be no more.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Memorial Spaceflights

Today's video is a few minutes longer, but still worth watching. The 2nd quote is especially hilarious and/or ridiculous:

"From the stars we are born... and so to the stars we return"
"The flight modules are placed in earth's orbit until they re-enter the earth's atmosphere and harmlessly vaporized"
"Celestis is the pioneer and unquestioned leader in memorial spaceflights"
"IF the launch succeeds... It'll be great to feel... my husband will be there"

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Today and tomorrow I want to post 2 videos of 'fantasy funerals' which I saw in my class last week at Houghton. I will provide some of the most interesting quotes below. Warning, this video may make you laugh and/or cry:

"It's the carbon of someone you love... turned into a diamond"
"Now they're available in other colors... even clear"
"He had blue eyes... I can make it into a pendant!"
"I can walk up to people and say... Meet my husband"
"Expect to pay $3000-$20,000 per life gem"
"Some clients are now (buying) for their pets!"

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Movie Lessons

I am interested in using some movies to start theological conversations. Have any of you been impacted by a movies' message and/or symbolism? Here are some examples of movies and questions aimed at starting conversations:

The Truman Show- Ed Harris' character can be interpreted as God (if you're anti-God) or as the Adversary (if You're a Christian). What was keeping Truman Burbank from true freedom? How important is authenticity? Where should we draw the line on what we use for entertainment?

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind- If given the opportunity to forget our past pains, would we take it? How does suffering positively affect us? What is the connection between forgiving and forgetting?

Seven- Were the victims in this movie innocent? Was the killer like an Old Testament prophet? Was Ernest Hemingway right on both counts when he said that the world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for? Did you have conflicting feelings about what Brad Pitt should do at the end of the film?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My KJV-Only Story

I realized today that I have never posted my KJV-Only story on my blog. Around the time I graduated from High School, our church was without a pastor. We routinely had a guest speaker at our church who was in the KJV-Only camp. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people who simply PREFER the KJV. But this guy went way overboard. He actually took other Bibles during a sermon and made fun of them before dropping them from the platform unto a table below. He used scholarly argumentation like saying 'the message' was the 'mess' of the 'age.' And the NIV must be satanic because there is nothing 'new' under the sun, 'international' means it's part of the coming 1 world satanic government,' and it was really a per-version, not a 'version.' I remember talking to him one Sunday night about this subject and he took the opportunity to inform me that in heaven we will encounter, I kid you not, God the Father, God the Son, and God the King James Version.

James White, in his book "The King James Only Controversy" points out that there are 5 different types of people sometimes labeled KJV-Only. The first group just prefers the KJV (nothing wrong with that, it's a great translation!). The second group feels it is based on better (though not perfect) manuscripts. That's a fair position to take too. The third group goes a bit further by saying that the manuscripts on which the KJV is based have been supernaturally preferred or even inspired. This seems, to me, to be getting too far down the road. The fourth group believes the KJV itself was inspired in English. A fifth group actually believes the KJV is new revelation. In other words, if the KJV goes against the manuscripts, the KJV is correct.

The motivation of KJV-Onlyists is usually quite natural. Humans like certainty. They want to be certain that we have God's perfect Word. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary to assume that the only (or even that the preferable) way for God to preserve the Scripture is to preserve it through 1 particular English translation.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Knew News

~ 30 days until Katie & I are married!
~ Just finished a 23 week 'miracles' series
~ The Buffalo Bills are really annoying
~ Only about 30 more pages to write this semester
~ Great discussion of sanctification in SS today
~ Just started series in Matthew @ Lockport
~ My 2008 financial goal will go down to the wire