July 2007 - Posts
In yesterday's news, you may have seen or heard of the death of Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman. Many film critics around the world hailed him as the greatest film director in motion picture history. But ultimately no one cares what "many film critics" say. Most people want to know what Joe thinks. Well, I won't mince words. Mr. Bergman was a morally bankrupt, bitter existentialist who, until his death yesterday, denied the existence of God. In no time he will be dust and only a small lunatic fringe will remember his legacy of denial.
Mr. Bergman imagined a world where God was silent. And this silence showed God to be either absent or malevolent. Eventually, I believe, Ingmar Bergman concluded that God's silence and apparent absenteeism was undeniable proof that God didn't exist. And many of his early films captured this thought.
Bergman's film, Winter Light (1961), was written to be the story of a person who enters a church, locks himself in, approaches the altar and says, "God, I'm staying here until in one way or another You've proved to me You exist. This is going to be the end either of You or of me!" Mr. Bergman said, "Originally the film was to have been about the days and nights lived through by this solitary person in the locked church, getting hungrier and hungrier, thirstier and thirstier, more and more expectant, more and more filled with his own experiences, his visions, his dreams, mixing up dream and reality, while he's involved in this strange, shadowy wrestling match with God."
Although it is too late for Mr. Bergman, in case someone who reads this blog is disillusioned, God is not silent. Pick up a Bible. He speaks loud and clear. And. Does. Not. Stutter.
I find it shatteringly and utterly contemptuous and presumptuous to look into the heavens, looking with head tilted high, and telling the Creator God who spun entire planets, solar systems and galaxies into space that he is nothing. Only a fool -- the king of fools -- will say that there is no God.
Mr. Bergman was a fool.
Mrs. Napalm, the kids and I will be traveling this weekend to Marion, SC. Free Prose Friday (do I have to say it's trademarked?) is on hold.
Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday.
Mother and Father Napalm are heading out on vacation tomorrow. Guess where they are going.
Update: If you guessed the Jamestown-Williamsburg-Yorktown traingle, you are correct. But if you had guessed somewhere in the mountains, you wouldn't have been far off. First, they will stop by Charlotte to see the Billy Graham Library and museum. And I heard that there may be a stop at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, too.
Sometimes, in the evening, I catch the Sean Hannity Show on the radio during my drive home. He begins every show with Martina McBride's "Independence Day". Wow! What a wonderful song. And as it happens, I have it in my music library!
Check out this wonderful chorus:
Let Freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a
Day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, Let the guilty pay, It's
Apparently, that is the title that some read when they see Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart.
The other day, I mentioned Mr. Tripp's book and ":o)}" asked, "Did you notice the 2 (out of 3) very negative reviews of the book at the link you gave? Maybe you can comment on those when you blog on the book ..." You can read the reviews here: [link].
As I write this post, there are three customer reviews visible at the bottom of the linked page. The first rates the book four stars out of five. Overall, the first review is well-written and grounded. However, the other two reviews give the book one star.
I believe it is very telling that, of all 209 reviews currently at Amazon.com, 46% of readers give the book the highest rating and 41% give the book the lowest rating. It's practically split down the middle. And after a quick scan of the one-star reviews, the divisive issue is spanking. Nearly all of the 41% who wrote low-ranking ratings are appalled at Mr. Tripp's declaration that God, through His Scripture, demands the use of the rod.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I do not write book reviews. So, I'll let Mr. Tripp defend his position in his own words. On page 101, he writes, "What is the nature of the child's most basic need?"
If children are born ethically and morally neutral, then they do not need correction; they need direction. They do not need discipline; they need instruction.
Certainly, children need instruction and direction. But is their most basic problem a lack of information? Are all the problems gone once they are able to learn a few things? Of course not!
Children are not born morally and ethically neutral. The Bible teaches that the heart is "deceitful and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV). The child's problem is not an information deficit. His problem is that he is a sinner. There are things within the heart of the sweetest little baby that, allowed to blossom and grow to fruition, will bring about eventual destruction.
The rod functions in this context. It is addressed to needs within the child. These needs cannot be met by mere talk. Proverbs 22:15 says, "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." God says there is something wrong in the child's heart. Folly or foolishness is bound up in his heart. This folly must be removed, for it places the child at risk.
God has ordained the rod of discipline for this condition. The spanking process ... drives foolishness from the heart of a child.
My wife and I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that obedience to God is tough. Spanking your child is not easy. But Mr. Tripp assures us that spanking is not right to unbridled temper, not right to hit whenever we wish, not venting of frustration, not retribution and not associated with vindictive anger.
In Chapter 12, the writer of Hebrews tells us that "no discipline seems pleasant at the time. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
And, for the first time, the other day I spanked my two boys not out of anger but only after fifteen minutes of prayer. There was a peace afterwards. Our relationship grew stronger.
I would encourage anyone with children to consider Shepherding a Child's Heart. Put it to the test of Scripture. You will see that the goal of parenting isn't to shape behavior; it is to shepherd a child's heart through obedience to God.
No, I'm not starting a new series. I just needed a title.
BJ and I are slated to run in the Marine Corps 5K Mud Run on August 25. What it boils down to is that we will be covered in mud up to our eyeballs after 3 miles of running. I'm stoked! If the weather works out, it will rain the entire day.
Uncle Jesse will be preaching this Sunday at our church. He is filling in for our pastor while he is away on vacation. Unfortunately, we will not be there because we are attending my wife's family reunion in Marion, SC. Go, Jesse, go. We're praying.
August 15 is the date set for the Nantahala rafting adventure. "Anything dangerous" is my new motto -- or it will be after I verify my life insurance policy.
Otter is doing great. Girls are sooo fun. She's just so pretty that I enjoy sitting and staring at her.
1. Imitation is most sincere form of flattery.
2. Thank you for all of the "get wells". I'm still not 100%, but a weekend in the mountains will fix that.
3. I just saw a news article that says that President Bush will undergo a colonoscopy and VP Cheney will take the presidency for a few hours. Here's a prediction: No terrorist activity will take place during Cheney's watch. There is only one person scarier to a terrorist than Fred Thompson and that is *** Cheney.
4. Why is it so important to assign blame? We just had a fiasco at work and I watched as an outsider as everyone dodged blame. It didn't matter to anyone to identify a root cause and put controls in place to guarantee it doesn't happen again. Nope. Find out who's to blame. Point a finger. And then go home for the day. It's like that Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf cartoon [link]: Punch each other all day long and then say goodbye at the time clock.
5. There's not much more to say. I could ramble on Garrison Kieler-style, but you guys already know that you're strong, good looking and above average. Have a blessed weekend. See you on Monday.
Whatever that means.
I've had an ailment and unable to post. Look for me to be back in the saddle tomorrow.
Prepare to pass out. Take deep breaths and then look at the picture. Awesome, isn't it?
Pictured above is the interior of the George Peabody Library of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This room is more commonly referred to as the Stack Room. It contains five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies rising 61 feet to the skylight above.
The George Peabody Library dates from the founding of the Peabody Institute in 1857. The Institute was dedicated to the citizens of Baltimore in that year by the philanthropist George Peabody, in appreciation of their “kindness and hospitality”.
Under the original charter, the Institute, which is now a division of the Johns Hopkins University, comprised a free public library, a lecture series, a conservatory of music, and an art collection.
The Peabody Library Building was opened in 1878. It was designed by Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind, in collaboration with the first provost, Dr. Nathaniel H. Morison.
You can read and see more here: [link].
Pope Benedict XVI on July 11 declared that "other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation" [link]. He then rambled something in an unintelligible language [link] and disappeared into his Pope-mobile.
Obviously, it has to be the true church. Who else can come up with stuff like this? "As the coin in you pop, a soul from purgatory doth hop."
Galileo could not be reached for comment.
1. Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Socialist Party of South Knoxville -- or as some call the Colonial Village Neighborhood Association. Our city mayor spoke and fielded questions for about 45 minutes. A lightbulb went off. I realized last night just how conservative I am and how culturally and socially bigoted I am.
One tattooed lady went on and on about how wonderful our traffic light cameras are. She said that she has noticed marked differences in driver behavior. I raised my hand and asked, "Mr. Mayor, how much revenue have the cameras generated and what is being done with it?" He babbled something or another about how he didn't know, but rest assured that it is boatloads of cash.
And then later in the evening he said that he hated to raise taxes, but thought it was the best thing to do. To that some of the group nodded in agreement. Let me set you straight if you don't already know: RAISING TAXES IS ALWAYS BAD AND SHOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT AFTER GUTTING PORK FROM THE BUDGET!! It's like I tell my kids, "Peeing in your pants is not Plan A. It is Plan Z. Exhaust all other methods like asking me to stop or peeing in a bottle or leaning out the side of the car before resorting to wetting your drawers."
And then there were the usual questions from the usual suspects -- you know, the ones driving Volvos with environmentally wacky bumper stickers?. "What can the city do about this?" And, "What can be done about that?" "Why did you paint the Sunsphere green?" "What can the government do for me?" Aggghhh!!
I was on the brink of walking out and putting a for sale sign in my yard when I looked over at my neighbor and he rolled his eyes. Alas, all is not lost. There was a glimmer of hope.
2. Tonight, the boys and I are sleeping with the sharks. We will enter Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies [link] at 7:45 this evening with sleeping bags, mats and backpacks in tow. This should be interesting.
3. My wife bought a book for me quite a while back about the history of Baptists. It's interesting and informative.
4. BJ gave me a gift on Father's Day that I have thoroughly enjoyed and which has thoroughly convicted me. He gave me Tedd Tripp's book entitled Shepherding a Child's Heart. If you are bringing up a child, I highly, highly recommend it [link]. I'll blog about it next week.
Just before school starts, I plan to set my boys down and apologize for a few things and tell them that there will be drastic changes in the Napalm household.
5. Check this out: [link]. Incredible.
6. Have a fruitful weekend. Sweat a little bit. Get outside. You know, a tire swing would be a nice touch. Let's put one up!
The other day, I wrote my mom and asked her to write down the details of my grandfather's salvation. He was saved when I was a little boy, and I remember that it was a big occasion in the family. Yet, I was too young to know all of the details. Below is my mother's response.
What I can tell you about Papaw's salvation experience is from what Grandmother told me. Your dad heard it, too, so his memory of the event is like mine. For as long as I could remember, Papaw enjoyed his alcohol even to the point of keeping it in the trunk of his car so that he could nip during the day. He always had a couple of whiskey bottles under the kitchen sink. I don't ever remember him being physically abusive or staggering drunk, just "lit" and very funny. Grandmother never laughed when he was this way. Every Friday night he got spiffed up to go out gambling, partying, and drinking at the Elk's Club or at the Fraternal Order of the Hoosegaw (or whatever those places are called).
While I was staying there during my last three years of college, I could count on his going out every Friday night. Grandmother would wait up until the wee hours for him to come home. Sometimes she would go out in the freezing cold to rouse him and get him inside the house.
I don't tell this negative stuff about Papaw to make you dislike him, but to see how when God changed him, he truly was a changed man, a new creation. I was never afraid around him, but I understood that he liked his alcohol and couldn't give it up.
Grandmother faithfully attended Marble City Baptist Church located on Sutherland Avenue. She went to Sunday School, worship and returned most of the time for the evening service. Papaw never teased her or complained about her going to church. Sometimes different preachers would visit Papaw. He was always polite, but if they caught him with a beer, he never tried to hide it. He never sipped from it in their presence, but he never made excuses for having it either. Dr. Gray Allison, president of Mid-America Seminary, enjoyed coming to Marble City to hold revival services and he always made it a point to visit Vernon Whaley. Papaw treated him politely, but never pretended to be someone he wasn't.
Whenever Dad and I saw Dr. Gray at other services, he always asked about Vernon and told us he was praying for him.
During revival services at Marble City one year, Dr. Gray paid Papaw a visit. From Grandmother's account, Dr. Gray talked the truth to him and asked him why he didn't just go ahead and do what he knew he needed to do. She said that they both knelt down before the couch and Papaw received Jesus as his Savior. Dr Gray shouted with a "Whoop" and "Praise God."
What was amazing to me was that apparently Dr. Gray didn't ever fuss at Papaw about his drinking, but just explained to him the gospel. Papaw one Friday night just did not get spiffed up to go out drinking, gambling, and partying. He stayed home. The next Friday night and the next and the next....Amazing! Papaw never had any signs of withdrawal or DT's, just had a peace. He didn't talk about his experience; he just changed.
Love to you,
I miss my Papaw.
Yesterday I went to Walgreens to pick up our baby announcements. We find it convenient to submit the pictures over the Internet and pick them up at our local Walgreens whenever we find time. So, I entered the store, walked to the photo counter and stood in line. The lady in front of me was there to pick up pictures, too.
But the clerk couldn't find the lady's pictures. She looked in nearly every basket, looked around the photo processing machines, double checked the baskets, and looked under the counter. After about ten minutes, the clerk called the store manager. They then proceeded to look in all of the same places. Nearly fifteen minutes passed since I had walked in the door before the pictures were found. "Oh, here they are, ma'am."
The lady opened the packet of pictures in front of me and I looked over her shoulder to find out what was so important. To my surprise, every single picture was of her two cats. I was livid. I had just given fifteen minutes of my life for photos of stupid cats! And you should've seen the smug looks on those cats' faces.
When a military commander plans a maneuver, he wargames several courses of action. A course of action (COA) is developed in a brainstorming session. During the wargame portion of the planning, the COAs are put to the test to see how well it will stand.
Joe's COA # 1 for our execution of the war in Iraq would be Total War. In other words, I suggest we start leveling cities until the insurgency and suicide bombings stop. When you see "Total War", think of Sherman's March during the Civil War.
But, in an act of sheer brilliance, I developed COA # 2 today. And this one will even appease the Democrats and peace wussies. It involves the total retroactive movement of our troops. In other words, we can bring the troops home.
Follow me on this one. First, we campaign for Iraq to be admitted to the European Union (EU). Two of the three biggest players in the EU, France and Germany, will back the initiative because they love the oil. Transportation of oil from Iraq to any nation in the EU would not be subject to the tariffs and regulations that are currently in place. Once Iraq is in the EU, it will be part of the "West". And once part of the West, the Iraqi governement and its citizens will be hated for their immorality by the Islamo-fascists in neighboring countries like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
In other words, Iraq will become a sticking point in the region. It will be our flypaper to catch hatred and suicide bombers. I call this COA # 2.
I'm sure the Pentagon sure misses my services now that I'm in the private sector.
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... And that's all that really counts.
Yesterday's high temperature was 94 degrees. Today's high is supposed to be 93 degrees. I can only think that it is slightly cooler because the Police sang "Message In a Bottle" at Live Earth. Thank you, Sting!