September 2008 - Posts
One could liveblog the financial crisis (Is calling it a "crisis"
really necessary?) and maybe build a respectable blog that is visited
by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide for the next few months. Alas, I'm a low risk
kinda guy who has to work a 9-to-5 to pay for my house debt and living
I drop in this update today because here is an item at Time Magazine's website that should be of interest to you: [link]. With the pending credit crunch, financial woes and economic recession that are sure to come, we Christians (Liberty Forward. Remember us?) should be prepared. We shouldn't be prepared to point a finger and say, "I told you so." Our Lord and Savior doesn't do that to us and certainly doesn't say to any new converts, "What took you so long?" We should be prepared to help.
The Bible gives us explicit direction on personal finances to keep our keel pointed down. While there is a plethora of awesome stuff in God's Word to give us direction, I want to remind you of three: Avoid unnecessary debt, tithe and invest wisely. If we are to be the light to the world, if we are to be able to share the Good News (I'm so tempted to drop "good" and call is "magnificent"), then we can't do it from under a pile of debt and worry. Your church needs the cash to fight the good fight. And the money in your accounts belongs to our Father. Invest it, put it to use and be prepared for the reckoning.
It is well known that the suicide rate during the Great Depression increased from 14 to 17 per 100,000 (The current suicide rate in the US is 11 [link]). The number one reason for divorce is money. National turmoil in many, many countries derives from money problems. My point is this: Get your financial house in order. Once it is, we will be able to help the poor, care for the widows, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and share the Magnificent News with those whom God has broken.
That's it. Carry on.
... The bailout isn't as difficult to comprehend as I supposed on Friday. Check out this article at Forbes.com [link]. The kicker is this short paragraph where a Treasury spokesperson explains the details behind the $700 billion figure:
"It's not based on any
particular data point. ... We just wanted to choose a really large number."
Are you freakin' kidding me? You just pulled the number out of your butt? We're doomed. Doomed, I tell you.
Like I said the other day, national economics is my last great frontier (for now, at least). It seems to me that most things in life are very simple when understood. But I can't seem to wrap my mind around the hundreds of trillions of dollars that flow in and out of the hands of hundreds of millions of people in this nation. I understand my finances. But the national economics of the US in no way resemble my inflow, outflow and savings.
Some time ago I heard Rush Limbaugh's guest host Jason Lewis [link] briefly mention his opinion on President Theodore Roosevelt and his Federal Reserve (central bank) legacy. It piqued my interest and I've been looking for a book on the subject. (If you know of a good one, leave a comment.)
But the reason the interest has been revived is because the similarities between the recent financial crisis and The Panic of 1907. If you're rained in this weekend, check up on it. Below are some links:
The Panic of 1907 [Wiki]
FDIC: Learning Bank [link]
Light conspiracy reading [link]
1. Wesley is a home owner. Correction: Wesley's bank is now a home owner. Wesley is now working for "the man" to pay his debt. Isn't adulthood glorious?
2. BJ is missing in action. He was in my Fave 5 until yesterday. At this point I don't know if he is real or fiction. You there, buddy?
3. Me peg leg has been hurtin' since Cap'n Fleur and her merry crew of wenches broadsided me blargh wi' the Oprah grape shot. Parlay!
4. New favorite blog that is now on my Firefox bookmarks toolbar (only the best go there): "The Art of Manliness" [link]. This week, I especially liked the sea shanties post.
5. Notice that "A Son of Liberty" is still thriving and healthy. That's because we take our responsibilities around here honestly. No, sir, there won't be any government bailout going on here despite the insane executive bonuses that are paid out yearly.
6. New Lincoln pennies: [link].
7. I love this room decorated with Sharpie: [link].
8. Last night I put a new inner tube and tire on my mother's new (20-years old and used) bicycle. It is now tricked out with some stylin' white-wall tires and was painstakingly cleaned by my younger son. That is, he was cleaning until the inner tube on the rear tire blew. After the heart-stopping kaboom, he rushed inside and had to be coaxed back out after I assured him that it wouldn't happen again -- the kaboom, not the oxygen-depriving, belly laughing that I was doing.
9. That's it. On the docket for this weekend is an evening with my family, a visit to the Boy Scout Camporee tomorrow morning, bicycle riding tomorrow evening and a day of rest on Sunday.
One of the forum discussions currently raging is titled "Infant Baptism." In my search for understanding, I ran across a definitive article by one of my heroes of the faith, John F. MacArthur, Jr, a self-proclaimed Reformed evangelical [link] and "leaky dispensationalist" [link]. He is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. But I know him for his radio program Grace to You. At one time (I can't seem to find the date), he preached a sermon entitled "A Scriptural Critique of Infant Baptist" [audio link; transcript link] and I'd like to share a portion of it with you:
don't believe in infant baptism because infant baptism is not Christian
baptism. What is in the Bible is Christian baptism, and I already
dealt with this two weeks ago. I'm just going to comment on it
briefly. Christian baptism is this: somebody believes as an adult,
they repent of their sin, they confess Jesus as Lord, they acknowledge
Him as Savior, they are saved and then they are baptized. That is New
Testament Christian baptism. It is definitive, its meaning is clear,
its mode is inescapable. The word bapto, baptizo means
to immerse or submerge every single time it is used in the book of Acts
it is talking about the immersion of a believer.
Even John Calvin said, "The word baptize
means to immerse and it is certain that immersion" he says, "Was the
practice of the early church." Of course, that's what the word means.
They had a different word for sprinkle. It was the word, rantizo.
This ordinance was very clearly designed by God. When a person
believes there is a public way to confess their faith, put them down in
the water and bring them out, why? because it's a symbol of their
death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. Remember, we went through
that two weeks ago. It is a picture, and object lesson, a symbol, a
visual analogy of a spiritual truth, clearly unmistakable.
You know the distinctive if you were to
go through everything to the core of the Christian faith it would be
this: I am in Christ and Christ is in me, right? That's it. I am in
Christ. It's a great doctrine of imputation. My sins imputed to Him,
His righteousness imputed to me. God treats Him as if He lived my life
and He died on the cross bearing my sins. God treats me as if I lived
His life. God sees me perfectly righteous and takes me into His
glorious heaven. It's that I am in Christ and Christ is in me. "I was
buried with Him in baptism," Romans 6 says, "and I have risen to walk
in newness of life." Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live." Galatians 3:27, "We were baptized into Christ." Colossians 2:12-13,
same thing. Baptism pictures the fact that by the divine power of God
when you come to faith in Christ, you are joined with Christ and you
die in Him. Your old life dies at the cross with Him and you rise at
His resurrection to walk in newness of life, and that is symbolized in
immersion, very obviously.
We are literally immersed into Christ,
into His death, into His burial and into His resurrection, and now
we're joined with Him in one life. That's why the Bible can say, "Go
and make disciples, baptizing them because baptizing was synonymous
with evangelizing, synonymous with saving faith. They were
inseparable, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Baptism became really
the expression, the word used to define salvation. They were
inseparable. We know what New Testament baptism is, it's a person
repenting, believing, embracing Christ. Spiritually they are
therefore united with Christ and that is symbolized as they go down
into the water and rise. Their old life dies and they rise in newness
of life with Christ.
I think the church needs to get back
into this understanding of baptism. The fact that the church doesn't
do this is tragic. It needs to be restored. I'm going to give you
some reasons why it needs to be restored: One, in our day an open
public solemn confession of the crucified risen Lord is necessary, and
all who experience the reality of the power of the risen Savior should
give this public testimony to His glory.
Secondly, by biblical baptism in the New
Testament manner believers give a witness also to careful obedience to
Scripture, in which nothing can be treated as unimportant. We say when
we're baptized yes, the Bible says it and I'm doing it, and therefore,
you tell people you're not only joined with Christ, but you are
obedient to Him.
Thirdly, by biblical baptism believers
testify, and this is crucial, to a redeemed church. I'll say more
about that later. By biblical baptism believers testify to a redeemed
church. The point there, just as a hint, you've got all kinds of
people who are infant baptized who at the time of their infant baptism
were supposedly ushered into the church. They have nothing to do with
the church now. What are they? They're apart of an unredeemed church,
confused by infant baptism.
Fourthly by biblical baptism believers
give fundamental rejection of all human regulations through which clear
biblical teaching has been obscured or curtailed or supplemented. I
mean baptism becomes an apologetic for the truth and a denunciation for
And number five: by biblical baptism the
church signifies a public renunciation of a nominal and mass
Christianity of our day. We make it real and personal in believer's
Finally, in biblical baptism the church
calls for the reintroduction and practice of biblical New Testament
church order and discipline. Those are reasons it's so very
important. Now the Great Commission makes it very, very clear. For
Jesus the order was very clear. You preach the gospel, they believe,
they're baptized and they obey. That's it. You know in 1955 the
Anglican Church, which baptizes babies the Anglican Church did a study
on baptism. This is what it says, 1955 report, "Every expression in
the New Testament concerning the rites of baptism assumes that the
convert receives them with living faith and a renunciation of his old
former life." That's right. "It is clear," it says, "that the New
Testament doctrine of baptism is established with reference to the
baptism of adults," adults with living faith. That's New Testament
baptism. Where does this infant thing come from then? It's not in the
Bible, Christian baptism is in the Bible, and it's very clear what it
is. It's the immersion of people who have believed as adults.
I stopped by Starbucks this morning for a grande cup of Pike Place coffee. And check this out. On the cup is "The Way I See It #58":
I have faith. Faith in our wondrous capacity for hope and good, love and trust, healing and forgiveness. Faith in the blessing of our infinite ability to wonder, question, pray, feel, think and learn. I have faith. Faith in the infinite possibilities of the human spirit. (James Brown, Emmy-winning sportscaster and co-host of FOX NFL Sunday)
I have faith and hope that I'm about to puke because of the infinite sissyness of this craptastic non-speak. Baarrrrffff....
I have nearly wet me breeches in anticipation o' this day. That's right, ye scurvy dogs. It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ahoy! [link]
Update: Would it be inappropriate to tell the "Where are your buccaneers?" joke?
I thought of a good editorial cartoon the other day and thought that I'd run it up the flagpole and see who'd salute it. First, the back story. Last month, Sen. Barack Obama suggested that if Americans simply kept their tires inflated to spec the nation could conserve as much oil as is expected to be pumped out of the ocean with the additional offshore drilling that Sen. McCain supports. And, this month, just before Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast, gas prices jumped up in East Tennessee to $5 a gallon (which I'm told is unique to our area).
So, with that in mind, I dreamt up a cartoon that showed liberals lined up at a gas station's air compressor while the gas pumps with the exhorbitant prices are empty. Or maybe the cartoon would have a large Obama head labeled "hot air" that dispenses air for your tires. Or maybe ... well, you get the picture. Is that too obscure? Would anyone even understand the humor? Or, worse, is my humor insanely dry in my middle age? Sigh, I'm getting old.
After telling Mother Napalm not to worry about an absentee ballot this year, never missing an election since she could vote, Joe's Granny said:
"I don't want it [absentee ballot]. I ain't gonna vote for no d*** Muslim."
And we all thought she was a yellow-dog democrat. Oh, how I love you, Granny!
Aside: Has your Granny ever been kicked out of a nursing home? Joe's and my Granny has! Did I tell you that I love her?
My blog template is a tad drab. I figured that a picture would brighten things up a bit.
Ah, isn't that better?
(B-52 Stratofortress ordinance display, image from DefenseIndustryDaily.com)
Many people have offered articles written by men who deride Sarah Palin for aspiring to be the veep. But this article [link] was a breath of fresh air and I wanted to make sure my readers -- men and women -- saw it.
First, humor. Tina Fey as Gov. Sarah Palin was brilliant on Saturday Night Live. I happened to be up because I had taken a nap earlier in the day and wasn't tired at 11:30p. I saw that Michael Phelps was hosting the show and figured I'd tune in. The opening sketch had Palin and Hillary Clinton (played by Fey and Amy Poehler, respectively) behind a podium addressing the American public. If you missed it, you can probably find the video here: [link]. Again, it was brilliant.
Along those same lines, the "Quiz Bowl" was a good sketch, too. While others may have missed the humor, I thought it was great. To give you some background, our local PBS station televises a regional competition called Scholar's Bowl [link]. Sometime in the late-80s or early-90s, I was on a high school team that was able to compete on the show. There we were in all of our dorkiness answering questions in front of a viewing audience that we thought were in the millions when, in fact, was only about eight. And, then, consider all of my new-found acquaintances that are homeschooled and you have a recipe for laughter as if the SNL sketch was an inside joke.
On one team in the "Quiz Bowl" sketch were kids from "Richmond High School" who do the brainless bulldog mascot chant after a brief introduction by the show's host. The other team was a homeschooled family dressed like that Mormon group out in Texas. We find out at the beginning of the sketch that the homeschool family is winning 160 points to zero because Round 1 was ... a spelling competition. Round 2 is a general knowledge competition. I can't recall all of the details but I do remember laughing until my stomach hurt because the public school kids were too ignorant to even ring in and the homeschooled kids -- I believe Phelps played a boy named "Jedediah" -- answered questions like "What causes things to accelerate toward the Earth's center?" with "faith".
Really, it may have only been an inside joke, but I loved it.
And continuing with the topic of humor, the "Evolutionists Flock to Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain" on the satirical website theOnion.com [link] is laugh-out-loud funny. I mean, who doesn't see the humor in the second paragraph?
"I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can
purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits," said
Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the
mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea
County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed
"Scopes Monkey Trial" and is widely considered one of Darwinism's
holiest sites. "Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine
Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my
own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested."
But, so that you don't accuse me of making light of everything that some deem holy, I offer this: "America's Economic Myths" [link]. While I've only skimmed the article, I have to admit that I find the subject of national economies interesting and for a long time have wanted so bad to sit down to an executive lunch with former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. (Note to self: Make a list of people with whom I'd love to have lunch.) Large-scale accounting and economics is my final frontier.
Update the "Update": OK, I've read the economics myth article and, with my limited knowledge, throw the BS flag. The guy doesn't know what he's talking about, but that doesn't surprise me because he was addressing Libertarians and they have a history of being ignorant people. Disregard. Thank you.
We have had one of the most interesting and beneficial conversations over in the forums this week [link]. It began as a conversation about Sen. McCain's pick for a running mate. And then we merged another discussion about our loss of liberties in the US. Throw all of that together and then it morphed into a discussion about The Civil War, President Lincoln, Presidents Adams and Monroe and finally into a discussion about the role of the Mosaic laws in the modern day. I'm sure that oversimplifies it all, but that's it in a nutshell.
It was interesting on my end on several levels. First, I openly criticize the theologies of men like Doug Phillips of Vision Forum, Voddie Baucham and many others including portions of the "Christian Right" who have been influenced negatively by the likes of Greg Bahnsen, R. J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism. But, although, I have criticized them, I haven't had time to put together a solid statement or post detailing my concerns, so my critique sometimes comes across as a personal attack on them or those that are acquainted with them. The conversation in the forum has allowed me to begin building the case, in detail, of where they've gone wrong and the dangerous doctrines and theologies that they teach. It's in progress and isn't quite near completion, but feel free to join in.
Second, and I have mentioned this to others in conversation, I started this blog as an opportunity to communicate as a part of God's Army. While it's never really taken the shape that I had hoped, there are occasions when I feel that as I climb up onto the ridge to peer over into the enemy's camp, I look back and see infighting between our own. And nothing is more disheartening than fratricide in our own ranks. Or, as I have put it in another way, I mentioned to Wesley that it seems that we begin a discussion in the forum. And from the sound of the starting gun I go running off with a line of thought or a conversation only to look up moments later to see that others are running a completely different race. However you want to define it or describe it (Wesley calls it a "faulty processor"), there is a noticeable problem and I have put my finger on it.
The problem is the Gospel. Or better stated, the problem isn't the Gospel but either the lack of faith and understanding in the Good News or worse, the willful misleading by modern-day Judaizers. And this conversation has allowed us to systematically exegete and zero in on the problem. We're infighting or running off in opposite directions or processing faulty data because of the basic beliefs in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. And that brings me to the third item.
Finally, last night "JT400" and I briefly discussed the role of Moses' ceremonial, judicial and moral laws after Jesus death on the cross and how they apply to us. It is a very important subject that the Pauline letters address in detail (And, oh, how I love the books of Romans and Hebrews) and, sometimes understandably and sometimes not-so-understandably, Jesus' fulfillment of the Law is a stumbling block for people, Christians and non-Christians alike. So, last night I was able to study the Word and give an answer and, oh, how glorious that answer is.
The Old Testament -- the Bible for that matter -- is a story of Jesus. From the beginning, Jesus as the agent in creation, is present with the Godhead. The designs were in place, everything that we see was spoken into existence, Abraham was chosen and his descendents were "sealed up" for His coming. The restrictions and application of the law were impossible and required imperfect sacrifice year after year to cover the transgressions. But it was God's will that there be a perfect sacrifice and because he loved the whole world, he sent Jesus as the sacrifice. And, Jesus, who perfectly followed the law, willfully submitted himself as the perfect lamb for sacrifice and his obedience is credited toward us. That's right. His obedience is our obedience. And that, my friend, is the Good News. Shoot, it's Great News, Marvelous News, Amazing News.
So, after studying and posting, I cranked up "Blessed Assurance" on the .mp3 player and danced in the living room. How wonderful is that that I can be a part of a discussion online and praise Jesus in my living room with my family?
Thank you so much for the engaging conversation. The conversation certainly isn't finished. In a way, it has only begun. But isn't it glorious to discuss our Redeemer and his fulfillment of the law so we aren't bound by it any longer? Oh, yes it is.
Or is it "to what are you listening"? No matter. Tune into some Clarence "Frogman" Henry and crank it up, baby: [link]
Next page »
Calvin himself would step away from his theological books for one day just to watch as something never before happens in Geneva. Geneva, Switzerland is the home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Tomorrow at 7:30 GMT will be the first time that a beam will cycle through the entire LHC. But the excitement really takes place on October 21st when the first high-energy collision occurs at the LHC. Before we know it, scientists will have created a second Big Bang and the Al Gore of the 14 billionth century will be talking about the over population of the two universes.
Well, until then, enjoy this LHC rap: [link]
For live feed of the high-energy collisions happening in my back yard, occasionally check into the SNS at ORNL: [link]
For us engineers, this is exciting times at the SNS. We are just sitting around waiting for the target to fail and spew mercury within the containment. I'll keep you informed ...