October 2007 - Posts
Two portions of Scripture that I needed today:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17,18, NIV)
When the king got to Bahurim, a man appeared who had connections with Saul's family. His name was Shimei son of Gera. As he followed along he shouted insults and threw rocks right and left at David and his company, servants and soldiers alike. To the accompaniment of curses he shouted, "Get lost, get lost, you butcher, you hellhound! God has paid you back for all your dirty work in the family of Saul and for stealing his kingdom. God has given the kingdom to your son Absalom. Look at you now—ruined! And good riddance, you pathetic old man!"
Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "This mangy dog can't insult my master the king this way—let me go over and cut off his head!"
But the king said, "Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he's cursing, it's because God told him, 'Curse David.' So who dares raise questions?"
"Besides," continued David to Abishai and the rest of his servants, "my own son, my flesh and bone, is right now trying to kill me; compared to that this Benjaminite is small potatoes. Don't bother with him; let him curse; he's preaching God's word to me. And who knows, maybe God will see the trouble I'm in today and exchange the curses for something good."
David and his men went on down the road, while Shimei followed along on the ridge of the hill alongside, cursing, throwing stones down on them, and kicking up dirt.
By the time they reached the Jordan River, David and all the men of the company were exhausted. There they rested and were revived. (2 Samuel 16:5-14, The Message)
Neither are connected. I just needed both.
Alrighty, I have a plan. This baby has been cooking on the back burner for some time and it is now hot, juicy and ready to be served with a tall frosty stein of Maerzenbier.
This October 31st, we all meet at my house dressed like this: [link].
And then we go door-to-door in the neighborhood -- but not just anyone's door. We visit only the Roman Catholics in the area. They'll be easy to spot. They all talk like they're from Rochester, NY. Upon being greeted at the front door, we'll say, "Protest or Treat!" Sure, it doesn't have the aliteration of it's sister phrase from that other pagan festival, but it gets the point across. We want candy!
If they give us Milky Ways, sugar straws, candy corn or a pint of whiskey (remember, they're Catholic), then everyone walks away slowly. Don't forget, they still have the power to excommunicate or worse, burn us at the stake.
But, if our friendly neighborhood Catholics refuse us our request ... Protest! We will collectively decide on 95 things that we don't like about them and let them know it to their face. Things like "your toe knuckles are hairy", and "your children resemble yard gnomes." We jot them down (as Protestants we will have already voted on and selected a secretary to record the minutes), publish them and nail it to their garage door. Each neighbor, in turn, will receive notarized and bound copies.
Man, I love Reformation Day!
I was reminded this past Sunday that October 31 is the anniversary of Martin Luther's nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Lutherans from here to Slovenia celebrated this past Sunday. When reminded, I was devastated that I was not wearing red. So, to make up for my "wardrobe malfunction," I offer this week's series: Reformation Regalement.
Today's installment is a link to a Flickr set which documents a portion of a travelling exhibition entitled "Wolfgang von Kempelen - Media Art and History Exhibition". The exhibit started in March of this year in Budapest and is planned to travel to Slovakia and Austria in 2008. Other than that, all I know is what the photo captions tell us: "The Kuka robot is silently writing a version of the Martin Luther Bible, which was originally printed in a early font called 'Schwabacher', retranslated here by RobotLab into calligraphy." Enjoy! [link]
And now you are probably asking who in purgatory is Wolfgang von Kempelen? Although not in any way associated with Reformation Day -- other than the obvious link with the traveling exhibition with the automated ink slinger mentioned above and my feeble attempt to place a Roman Catholic term in front of his name -- this should whet your appetite. Bon appétit! [link] Or should that be guten appétit?
From MapsofWar.com, here is an "imperial history" of the Middle East in 90 seconds: [link].
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
Prizes acknowledging peace which are given by this world mean nothing. However, I am starting the first annual Messianic Peace Prize. I am awarding this prize to the individual or individuals who share genuine peace. The recipients must be marked by idealism and an aggressive crusading spirit--messianic zeal. And most importantly, they must have a true love for the Prince of Peace--the Messiah.
This year's recipients are:
[Name witheld] and family for their work in Mauritania
[Editor's note: C & J Legget will be identified as "tentmakers" on this blog until further clarification to protect their family in a potentially hostile environment.]
I can't remember where I first saw this. Was it "World Magazine"? Drudgereport.com? I can't remember, but I do know that it was many evenings ago.
San Jose State University has had an annual contest for the past 25 years to identify really bad writers. From bulwer-lytton.com [link]:
An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."
This year's grand prize winner was Jim Gleeson of Madison, Wisconsin. Here is his submission:
Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.
I love it. And I love Julie Jensen's entry which won runner-up in the Children's Literature category:
Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was Polartec 200 (thanks to gene splicing, a diet of force-fed petrochemical supplements, and regular dips in an advanced surface fusion polymer), which had the fortunate side effect of rendering it inedible, unlike that other Mary's organic lamb which misbehaved at school and wound up in a lovely Moroccan stew with dried apricots and couscous.
Just so that we're all "on the same page." When I say "God," I mean Yahweh -- The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, the prophets and whose son is Jesus. I don't mean some vague superbeing that is out there in the ether somewhere. I don't mean Allah, the moon-god of Islam. And I don't mean the god of Jehovah's Witnesses or the god of the Mormons. I mean the Creator of the [...] universe with whom you can have a personal relationship. The One who has revealed himself in the sixty-six books of the Bible. Got it? Good.
From a source that asked to remain anonymous:
2008 Democratic National Convention Agenda
7:00 pm Opening flag burning
7:15 pm Pledge of Allegiance to the U.N.
7:20 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
7:25 pm Nonreligious prayer and worship with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
7:45 pm Ceremonial tree hugging
7:55 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:00 pm "How I Invented the Internet" - Al Gore
8:15 pm Gay Wedding - Barney Frank presiding
8:35 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:40 pm "Our Troops are War Criminals" - John Kerry
9.00 pm Memorial service for Saddam and his sons - Cindy Sheehan and Susan Sarandon
10:00 pm "Answering Machine Etiquette" - Alec Baldwin
11:00 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:05 pm Collection for the Osama Bin Laden kidney transplant fund - Barbra Streisand
11:15 pm "Free the Freedom Fighters from Guantanamo Bay" - Sean Penn
11:30 pm Oval Office Affairs - William Jefferson Clinton
11:45 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:50 pm "How George Bush Brought Down the World Trade Towers" - Howard Dean
12:15 am "Truth in Broadcasting Award" - Presented to Dan Rather by Michael Moore
12:25 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
12:30 am Satellite address by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
12:45 am Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Nancy Pelosi
1:00 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
1:05 am Coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton
1:30 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
1:35 am Bill Clinton asks Ted to drive Hillary home
What a group of losers we Americans have become. Many say, "I don't like my wife. I think I'll leave her." Some say, "I don't want this kid. I think I'll abort him." We've all seen reports where our politicians say, "I think this Iraqi War is inconvenient. I think we should leave." And a few of us have heard, "I don't like my church. I think I'll take my family elsewhere." And now [link], some are saying that they're tired of the USA. So, instead of working hard to elect competent leaders and implementing social and moral reform, they choose to quit. Wusses. Wussy wusses.
Never, never, never stop learning. Never.
From page 31 of the September 24, 2007, issue of Newsweek:
As awesomely productive as market capitalism has proved to be, its Achilles' heel is a growing perception that its rewards, increasingly skewed to the skilled, are not distributed justly. Market capitalism on a global scale continues to require ever-greater skills as one new technology builds on another. Given that raw human intelligence is probably no greater today than in ancient Greece, our advancement will depend on additions to the vast heritage of human knowledge accumulated over the generations. A dysfunctional U.S. elementary and secondary education system has failed to perpare our students sufficiently rapidly to prevent a shortage of skilled workers and a surfeit of lesser-skilled ones, expanding the pay gap between the two groups. Unless America's education system can raise skill levels as quickly as technology requires, skilled workers will continue to earn greater wage increases....
Moms and dads, keep doing what the government fails to do: Educate.