January 2009 - Posts
Folks, that is a large number. There are approximately 305,000,000 people living in the United States (including the 11,000,000 illegal residents). The US government would be better off writing a check for $2,950 per person.
Singles - $2,950
Husband and wife - $5,900
Husband, wife, plus 1 - $8,850
Joe, Mrs. Napalm, plus 3 - $14,750
B8 and family - $23,600
Or we could build 100 nuclear power plants!
Update: The estimated cost of a nuclear plant is around $4.9 billion. So with $900 billion we could build about 180 nuclear power plants.
If you're like me, then you can't imagine watching Arizona play Pittsburgh for the NFL title. Let me give you a good reason: [link]. Go Kurt!
Yesterday, I had an interview with an insurance company. They contacted me because they saw my resume on Monster.com. And, even though I'm not too excited about insurance sales, I was curious and went. It went well, I think. But I'm still not convinced that commissioned sales is my cup of tea.
But a funny thing happened ... in my head, at least. The hiring manager had a standard form and went line by line asking question. Near the end, he turned to me and asked, "If you could choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be?" And the first thing that popped into my head was "antiestablishmentarianist." I don't think that describes me well at all, but I had to suppress it and come up with something a little more interview savvy like "driven" or "committed" or "competitive" or some other nonsense.
Antiestablishmentarianist? Where'd that come from?
Two hundred years ago this year, Charles Robert Darwin was born. One hundred fifty years ago this year he wrote his seminal work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Despite the title, he truly failed to theorize the origin of species leaving his disciples with a huge gap which none can seem fill. Darwin said that species originated by means of transmutation and natural selection. But when asked where the previous species came from, he said, "Uh. I don't know."
So, after watching the Ben Stein's film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" over the weekend, I thought that I would provide a service for my readers and analogize the theories about the origins of the universe by paralleling them with the origins of this blog. Because I think some theories -- if you can call them that -- fall well short of citing the fact that the God of the Bible created everything that we see and don't see, I thought this would be intriguing. I mean, if you were to quote my work on this blog and fail to cite me as the source, you'd do a huge disservice to me. The same goes for the Universe. So, without further ado -- or doo-doo -- here we go:
- Young Blog creation - Created by Joe Napalm, the blog "a son of Liberty" was begun in a 24-hour period, taking into account a literal translation of the original writings approximately 850 days ago. Joe Napalm actively works in the day-to-day operation of the blog.
- Old Blog creation
- Gap creation - The blog "a son of Liberty" pre-existed but fell into a state of decay and was "shaped anew" by Joe Napalm about 850 days ago.
- Progressive creation - The blog "a son of Liberty" was created between 383 million to 637 million days ago and came to be in the form that you see it now by limited intervention by Joe Napalm. Otherwise one has to discount the writings of modern-day evolutionary blog scientists.
- Day-Age creation - Smart people tell us that the days used in the original writing are not literally "days". Therefore, Joe Napalm created the blog "a son of Liberty" 850,000 or 850,000,000 days ago using text evolution -- some words are stonger than others -- to arrive at the website you see now.
- Intelligent design - Because the sentence structure is irreducibly complex there seems to be evidence of a blog designer. Someone -- maybe Joe Napalm, but then again maybe someone else -- must have used text mutation or text evolution to guide this blog into its current form over an extremely long period of time.
- Natural web server origins - In this subject resides innumerable hypotheses about the origins of the blog "a son of Liberty." All agree that impact (the hard drive jostled), heat (possibly from the processor or power supply), or energy discharges (maybe a memory dump or component failure) caused the spontaneous origins of simple binary that evolved into the more complex English language that you see today.
- Extranatural web server origins - Again, in this subject we find many, many hypotheses about the origins of the blog "a son of Liberty." But all agree that some external force, energy or alien planted the seeds of the blog "a son of Liberty" on the web server. One hypothesis contends that a highly-developed lifeform whose origins are unknown planted the seeds of text -- maybe an "a" or some other simple letter -- which developed over the past million days into the ordered text you see today. Some smart people argue that someone -- definitely not Joe Napalm, because those who believe that he exists are weak-minded and need a mythological creature like him to assuage their innate fears through fantasy -- created the blog.
Well, as of 3 PM yesterday, I am another victim of the economic downturn. To the surprise of my manager, nearly everyone at the plant and, of course, to me, my position was eliminated. I was one of 13. I've been scratching my head all day because I can't imagine the amount of work that was just dumped on my manager after he lost half of his department.
Well, I have six weeks of severance pay coming. I'm eligible for unemployment. And I expect a sizeable tax return because I'm a tax dolt. So we're OK for now. Also, I received several leads yesterday for possible positions in the area.
I share this here just to simply ask for prayers. Again, we're OK ... just a little nervous.
More time to blog and read, huh?
Make your own here: via [link].
Update: The post below was originally posted on January 9. I have bumped it up for two reasons. First, I have a couple of upcoming posts in the hopper -- if Wesley will quit stealing my thunder. Second, Wesley is doing a bang up job in the comments defending doctrine.
The German historian Leopold Van Ranke famously said, "John Calvin was the virtual founder of America" (Smith, The Creed of the Presbyterians, p. 119). Reformation historian J.H. Merle d’Aubigné wrote that “Calvin was the founder of the greatest of republics. The Pilgrims who left their country in the reign of James I, and, landing on the barren shores of New England, founded populous and mighty colonies, are his sons; and that American nation which we
have seen growing so rapidly boasts as its father the humble reformer” (History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, p. 5). I suspect you'll hear that quite often this year because, as many of you know, 2009 is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth. He was born in France in July 1509.
It cannot be disputed that Calvinists were the first to colonize America. The Pilgrims were staunch Calvinists. But I find it a little disingenuous to say, in the words of Dr. E. W. Smith, "These revolutionary principles of republican liberty and self-government, taught and embodied in the system of Calvin, were brought to America ..." (emphasis mine). And the continuance of the thought is found in the concluding paragraphs in an online article by Loraine Boettner: "In England and America the great struggles for civil and religious liberty were nursed in Calvinism, inspired by Calvinism, and carried out largely by men who were Calvinists" [link].
Nowhere in my reading do I find liberty, self-governance and, specifically, religious freedom principles in Calvin's history. I find the opposite. I find Calvinists, beginning with Calvin, imposing doctrines, imposing strict and uncompromising moral codes and imposing a new form of papacy, if you will, on the people through a church-state hierarchy. He and his followers persecuted those that sought religious liberty and self-governance. And in the midst of this great persecution -- and under their "Manifesto of Persecution" that they found in Deuteronomy 13 -- Calvin argued for the continuance of persecution in his theocratic Geneva. He argued against religious liberty and said, "This law [Deut. 13] at first sight appears to be too severe."
For merely having spoken should one be so punished? But if anybody slanders a mortal man he is punished and shall we permit a blasphemer of the living God to go unscathed? If a prince is injured, death appears to be insufficient for vengeance. And now when God, the sovereign emperor, is reviled by a word, is nothing to be done? God's glory and our salvation are so conjoined that a traitor to God is also an enemy of the human race and worse than a murderer because he brings poor souls to perdition. ... But we muzzle dogs, and shall we leave men free to open their mouths as they please? Those who object are like dogs and swine. They murmur that they will go to America where nobody will bother them. (Bainton, Travail, pp. 68-69)
The fact is that one can find some disturbing and dark hostility toward religious liberty in Calvin's work. And one needs to look no further than Calvin's 1554 manifesto Defense of the Christian Orthodox Faith ... Against the Manifold Errors of Michael Servetus. Remember, Servetus was the man whom Calvin had executed because his preaching against the Trinity and infant baptism. Calvin recommended decapitation, but Servetus was burned at the stake.
Did the followers of Calvin "found" America? Yes. But it was a separation from his core beliefs on the church-state that gave us liberty.
Bruce, Anchor and Chum (in unison): Fish are friends, not food.
Anchor: Except stinkin' dolphins!
Chum: Dolphins, yeah! They think they're so cute. "Oh, look at me, I'm a
flippy little dolphin, let me flip for you. Ain't I something?"
During the week-long course, I made note of every recommended book or resource. Here, I will make an abridged list. Some of these would make a wonderful birthday present (hint, hint).
Mirror Of The Martyrs by John S. Oyer (a follow up of Thieleman van Braght's Martyrs Mirror and a studying of Jan Luyken's etchings)
The Anabaptist Story: An Introduction to Sixteenth-Century Anabaptism by William Roscoe Estep
"Baptist History Collection" on CD-ROM [link] - Nearly 100 works and 42,000+ pages of historical documents, issues, records, biographies and diaries.
The Tailor-King: The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist Kingdom of Muenster by Anthony Arthur
Ausbund of 1564 - The oldest Christian song book in continuous use
Two sermons by W. A. Criswell: "The Curse of Liberalism" [link] and "Whether We Live or Die" [link]
The International Baptist Theological Society's online library is the most comprehensive online source of Baptist documents [link]
Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches by Thomas White, Jason G. Duesing, and Malcolm B. Yarnell III
The Travail of Religious Liberty, Nine Biographical Studies by Roland H Bainton
Simple Church: Returning to God's Process for Making Disciples by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger
The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter
A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
Chapter and Verse: A Skeptic Revisits Christianity by Mike Bryan
With Christ After the Lost by Lee Rutland Scarborough
A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand (founder of the "Voice of the Martyrs")
Called to Preach, Condemned to Survive: The Education of Clayton Sullivan by Clayton Sullivan
Because of other commitments, I could not post about Day 4, 5 or 6. So I will wrap them up into two posts.
First, more quotes. Although the class dealt more with Baptist history and distinctives, it was not, as you may suppose, a time of sound bites. During the class, we used a 377-page outline on which I underlined, highlighted and footnoted. On a separate note pad, I made more detailed notes. And it is from these notes that I have been quoting. That is why it appears to have been a class of one-liners.
Anyhow, here are quips from Days 4, 5 and 6:
Regeneration before faith turns the Gospel on its head.
Toleration is putting up with you until I'm fed up with you. Liberty is saying you can live.
The first step of heresy is apathy.
If the Calvinists have the TULIP, then the Arminians have the daisy: He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not....
The mathematics of the cults according to James Walker: They add to the Scriptures; they subtract from Christ; they multiply what it is to be saved; and they divide from the assembly -- secrecy.
Three types of Cavinists: Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Piper-Calvinism.
The immediate and long-term results of revival are church / denomination splits.
Jesus doesn't need a savior; we just need to proclaim Him as one.
You have a problem when you think your job is to criticize the Bible. Instead, the Bible criticizes you.
The Greek word for "gossip" is blogeo.
Christianity has never grown because of its relevancy to the culture. It has grown because it is counter-culture.
The opposite of belief is not doubt, it is unbelief. Doubt can be helpful as long as it's not perpetual. It exists because of man's failty, but we have to deal with it and talk about it. We can't simply ignore it.
Racial discrimination is dealt with in Galatians 2 when Paul admonishes Peter for refusing to eat with the Greeks (Gentiles) when in the presence of Jews.
Baptists are not defined by what we believe. It is the belief of right things put into practice.
And, finally, a quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon on Romans 9 (Jacob and Esau):
Now, let me just practically preach this for one minute. Oh, sinners, if ye perish, on your own head must be your doom. Conscience tells you this, and the Word of God confirms it. You shall not be able to lay your condemnation at any man's door but your own. If you perish you perish by suicide. You are your own destroyers, because you reject Christ, because you despise the birthright and sell it for that miserable mess of pottage - the pleasures of the world. It is a doctrine that thrills through me. Like a two-edged sword, I would make it pierce to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow. If you are damned it shall be your own fault. If you are found in hell, your blood shall be on your own head. You shall bring the [wood] to your own burning; you shall dig the iron for your own chains; and on your own head will be your doom. But if you are saved, it cannot be by your merits, it must
be by grace - free, sovereign grace. The gospel is preached to you; it is this: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
The Secret, according to Amazon.com [link], is a New Age self-help book about "the law of attraction as a groundbreaking and life-changing work,
finding validation in its thesis that one's positive thoughts are
powerful magnets that attract wealth, health, happiness." The book tries to convince us that the powers of positive and negative thoughts can affect aspects of our lives -- from wealth to poverty, from health to illness. In essence, it's a craptastic work of crap.
But, just because a book is full of nonsense and should be avoided by all means, it doesn't mean that someone can't poke fun. And that's what one book reviewer did at Amazon. If you follow the link above, scroll down to the "Most Helpful Customer Reviews" section and read the first one -- or at least the first one at the time of this posting. However, before you go, be warned that included in the review is mention of adult content -- no language, mind you, just stuff that happens in prison. If it's not there, then try this link: [link].
I laughed until I teared. In fact, some of the other submissions by this author are just as good or better: [link]
Update: I just read the review of the "stacking chairs" book. My fave:
Finally, I must comment that Dr. Parker's treatise on stacking chairs
has reinvigorated my own personal interest in furniture based
consumption modeling and the related effects on the medical industry. I
have recently begun a study of metal folding table usage in the
southern United States and the corresponding rise in emergency room
visitation. I won't provide any spoilers in this forum, but I can't
help but tease the fact that I have found a widespread correlation
between metal folding table usage at Baptist picnics and emergency room
visitation for trauma in the distal and proximal interphalangeal
More quotes from my notes (Please note that I am simply relaying notes and not arguing for a specific point ... yet.):
Consider what it means to take on the theology of double predestination (see John Piper): God wills that some go to Hell. In the context of Scripture, that's unfathomable.
In the Emergent movement, the pulpit is not central, the narrative is central. It is a movement away from epistolary preaching.
Tradition is the living faith of dead men. Traditionalism is the dead faith of living men.
Whitefield - A self-proclaimed Calvinist who never read Calvin.
Volition has to have a part in salvation or judgment has no place.
All religions are fatalistic; Christianity deals with the will.
Communism is defined by what is yours is mine. Communalism is what is mine is yours.
Augustine argued there were no errors in Scripture; and, if there were perceived errors, it was because of three reasons: copy error, translation error, or you.
How can churches say that they're a fellowship of believers and only meet once a week -- one hour a week?
A religionist says, "Look like me." A Christian says, "Look like Him."
I received my Rush Limbaugh Show update email yesterday and the subject was "One Trillion Seconds is 31,000 Years." But I don't just take anyone's word. I checked. Sure enough, one trillion seconds is equal to 31,709 years, 9 months, 2 weeks and 1 day. Incredible!
700 billion seconds -- $700 billion is the supposed bailout -- is 22,196 years!
And my annual income in seconds? A long day of overtime but still enough time to get sleep. That's it. Holy frijoles!
If it's not in a "Calvin and Hobbes" comic then you probably don't need to know it. This is possibly the best explanation about the root of our economic problems, as I understand them. (Note, click image to enlarge).
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This time, no quotes, but pictures of significant events in the history of baptists. Hover for a brief description. And I apologize for the load times of the larger pictures. I just didn't have time to find web-friendly pix.
photo courtesy of http://www.galenfrysinger.com/germany_munster_saint_lambert.htm. No rights reserved.
photo courtesy of http://flickr.com/photos/42985004@N00/13945843 under Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.
image courtesy of http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/images/Hubmaier.jpg