Archive for the ‘Stupid Stuff’ Category

This story from the Odd News is certainly odd.  A Florida church is in trouble for a 3-week series about “great sex.”  No, the problem is not the denomination, or some stuffy members upset about such a scandalous thing.

The problem in this case is the “risk management” department of the local school board.  The controversy revolves around the 25,000 mailers sent to homes in the target area of the church.

Mark Langdorf, the director of risk management, says the mailers generated complaints, were not appropriate for elementary school children and shouldn’t be used to advertise the sermon in the school.

This implies a few things, which really aren’t true.

First, that the mailers were geared for, and sent to, children.  Elementary school children to be precise.  I seriously doubt they were sent to elementary school children.

Second, that elementary school children don’t hear about sex from … the school.  Yes, there could be some hypocrisy at work here.  It is okay for the kids to hear about sex, including certain deviations from normalcy portrayed as normal.  But not okay for a church to instruct adults about God’s good plan for sex within the confines and freedom of marriage.

Churches should be teaching people about sex- not just the when not to part.  A certain famous pastor has been attacking another certain famous pastor for doing just that using the Song of Solomon which last I checked was in the Bible, and about …. sex (among other things).  Most churches don’t have elementary age school children in the service for the sermon however.  So, I’m not sure how this would ‘damage’ the children who attend the school (which is the risk the risk management board should be assessing, though they might need to look at their own curriculum).  Nor should it damage the children who attend the church.

This is an off-hours, voluntary event that is not contiguous with normal school hours or any other school event.  So what is the problem here?  I just don’t understand how this could even be an issue.  But I guess it shows that the world is even more inconsistent when it comes to sex than the church is.

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I’ve got too much time on my hands.  That isn’t a very good thing sometimes.

Only $0.01 at Amazon!

Only $0.01 at Amazon!

I noticed a title on the bookshelf here at the in-laws (they sort of just collect interesting looking books, they probably haven’t read this).  It was The Millennium Meltdown: Year 2000 Computer Crisis by Grant Jeffrey.  Selling Y2K fear was big business in the late ’90’s.  I know I told my congregation to be prepared, just in case.  Just trying to be wise.  So no big deal that NOTHING happened.

But when you write a book about it, tying it into a secret agenda for world government (yes, that’s a chapter title) you are seriously committed to the idea.  And when it doesn’t happen, you lose some serious credibility- or at least you should.

  Grant Jeffrey is one of the many dispensational doom & gloom salesmen who see each world crisis as proof that the Great Tribulation is about to begin ( he has about 10 titles in this genre).  Despite the fact that he is batting .000 (and so are the rest of these guys) …

  1. How do they have the chutzpah to continue to write books as if they have any intellectual, biblical legs to stand upon?
  2. Why do people continue to buy those same books as if they had any intellectual, biblical legs to stand upon?

I have a number of conflicting emotions as I see both how self-deceived you must be to continue to write this books without ever asking, “Am I misunderstanding the Bible?” and questioning the system of thought that keeps bringing you to these conclusions that don’t match the facts of history.  I also have a number of conflicting emotions when I see how gullible and naive people can be to keep buying this stuff even though these men (and women) have been 100% consistently wrong (just for fun read the customer reviews on Amazon).

I fear for the American Church, it as if large chunks of the church want to be deceived.  Or perhaps I’m deceived and the Y2K mess really happened, there is a cashless society operated by the one world government and the war on terror, or oil, or sand, is triggering the advent of Antichrist and the rapture which they have predicted about 50 times by now.  Or that God actually does want me to be wealthier than I can imagine, perfectly healthy and trouncing the devil with every step and I’m not living my best life so far because I don’t have enough faith or think positively enough and I just really need to will my migraines and back pain away.

I need to head to the tiny beach nearby with my MP3 player of sermons so I’ll stop thinking of these things.

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Conan is owned by a Zen Buddhist priest in southern Japan.  He has taken to mimicking the priest.  He sits on his hind legs and puts his front paws on the altar.  Word has spread and people are flocking to see the dog.  It would be our version of the face of the Virgin in french toast, I guess.

Obviously my theology of prayer is quite a bit different than that of Zen Buddhism.  Cute, perhaps, but not praying.  Though I believe Jesus died, in part, to restore all of creation (the middle of Romans 8 ) I don’t think that extends to individual animals like it does to individual people.  CavDog won’t be in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21-22).  And Conan isn’t praying.  God has placed people, His image bearers and representatives, to care for the animals like Conan.  So God meets Conan’s needs thru Joei Yoshikuni.

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… would you survive?

The number I could take in a fight,


I suppose I could be locked in a room with a kindergarten class and make it out alive, unless they were rabid beasts like the Dark Seekers.  Then I’m dead. 

You just never know….. but you might want to find out.

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Well, despite Larry Johnson and Roy Williams being hurt, and on my “No Cut” list, I was able to make the playoffs.  I also overcame a big injury-inspired slump by Plaxico Burgess.  But some late season pick-ups including Fragile Freddy Taylor and Earnest Graham have been a big help.

I nearly conceded round one of the playoffs due to the snow storm that was due to hit the Northeast.  As it turned out, Brady was blanked in fantasy points.  A big, fat zero.  Fortunately for me, my opponent was playing Tony Romo.  I was thinking I was in big, big trouble, but won handily thanks to some great performances by Clinton Portis, Earnest Graham, and the Patriots defense.  So now the Brewmasters are in the league finals against my nemesis.  This guy was mad at me, and others, because we kept rejecting a trade in which he would get Randy Moss for 3 players whose point totals at the time equalled his.  He was ripping the other guy off.

The last time we played head-to-head he had some extraordinary performances to pull out a win against me.  Over the course of the season my team has scored more points than his.  So this is the “brawl to settle it all”.  This is Pats-Colts round 3, so to speak (I think I beat them early in the season). 

Barring a disaster, I’ll be playing the terriffic Tom Brady at QB against Peyton Manning.  At WR I’ll be fielding Bobby Engram, Plaxico, and Reggie Williams against Reggie Wayne, Torry Holt and Joey Galloway.  At RB I’ll be playing Graham and Taylor against some lousy defenses, while he fields Jones-Drew and Aaron Stecker.  At TE it will be Pro-Bowler Cooley against 1st string Pro Bowler Witten (though Romo may still have thumb issues affecting his stats).  Gostkowski should be able to pile up some points against Green Bay’s Crosby.  The Patriots defense should shut down the Dolphins while his Chargers’ defense will have to stop Denver.

Reason to be optimistic unless Belichick decides to rest starters this week, which really isn’t his style.  Run it up, Bill!  Not a gimme… the Brewmasters could come up without a championship.  Either way, not bad for my first go at Fantasy Football. 

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Lately, I’ve seen this mini van driving around time with this on the back:  Time has an end- 2011.  I usually saw it in traffic, but today it was in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.  So I was able to get the web address.  Through Family Radio I was able to link to the Time Has An End site, which promotes Harold Campings new book on eschatology which asserts that time will end in 2011.

Not content with the fact that only the Father knows the established end, and thinking he can out-Whisenant Edgar Whisenant (he of the 88 Reasons the Rapture will be in 1988, followed by 89 Reasons the Rapture will be in 1989 both of which were obviously WRONG).  Actually, Camping has done this sort of thing before.  In 1992 he predicted the rapture would take place on September 27, 1994.  That qualifies him as…. a false prophet according to Scripture.  Can we stop doing this, please?!

Just for fun, the Rapture Index is currently at 159 (the record high is 182).

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As I watch celebrity “Christians” I’ve noticed a few patterns that may help you if you want to have a TV ministry too.

Rabbit Trail… during my interview with the session of the church I eventually began to pastor in 1998, the interim asked me if I have any desire to be on TV.  I laughed.

1. Call yourself a “life coach”.  This the popular new tag used by Paula White and Joel Osteen (see his 60 Minutes interview).  This relieves you from actually talking about the gospel and focusing on how you can help people make their lives “better”.  This is not to be confused with godly.  It is about being happy and successful.  Nothing wrong with those, but God has some bigger plans for His people.

2. Lift lots of weight.  In the 60 Minutes interview I discovered Joel can bench press 300 pounds, double his weight.  Pat Robertson claims to be able to leg press 2,000 pounds.  I’ve seen Paula on TV interviewing her personal trainer while she was in tight gym garb, so she pumps some iron too.  Never hurts to have big muscles to pad your resume and impress your viewers.

3. Don’t talk about anything negative.  Who cares if the Bible consistently addresses sin issues!  Apparently we are not self-deceived like Jeremiah says, and already know where we err.  Don’t bore people with talk about repentance- remind them how good they are and how successful they can be.  This way… when people criticize the fact you don’t speak honestly about who we are, they come off as being mean people, like Michael Horton.

4. Please, don’t ever mention that we need Jesus to make us holy and righteous.  If you really have to talk about Jesus, and Joel has shown you really don’t have to if you don’t want to, focus on how he died to make you healthy and prosperous.  Remember, that’s American religion.

5. Use lots of hair spray.  You have to, those lights make you sweat and your hair has to stay in place.

6. Don’t really answer any tough questions.  Deflect and talk about how judgmental the other person is.  Or, just demonize them and wish you had Benny Hinn’s holy spirit machine gun.

7. Hire most of your family to work for you.  Blood AND money creates a tight bond.

8. You must be willing to buy a multi-million dollar home and numerous expensive cars.  If you want to really hit it big- you gotta buy a jet.  Remember, this is what Jesus would do.  He wants you to live well, off room service.

9. Don’t, repeat, don’t go to a reputable seminary.

10. Produce lots of ‘feel-good’ tapes & books about what people must do to be successful.  No traditional theological categories- we’re talking self-help.

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I had a really dumb idea this weekend. I saw a picture of myself in The ARP Bicentennial History while I was clearing out my office. It must have been taken pre-marriage because I was clean shaven. Since our engagement, I’ve had a gotee for all but about a week. That was for the 3-2-1 Penguins VBS when I played Grandmum. Didn’t want to scare the kids.

Yesterday was a strange day. I found out that a good friend of mine here in town, who I’d hoped to work with, was going to have to find a new call. That was pretty disappointing. In the last 24 hours, I discovered that 2 friends had loved ones die quite unexpectedly. I may end up doing one of the funerals. And today was the day the congregation was officially dissolved (I’m talking to a few churches, some preliminary, one heating up). I will confess, I’ve been really bored sitting in the pew. Not that the sermons haven’t been challenging. I’m just used to delivering them. I’m used to playing guitar. I’m not used to sitting. And I’m not excited about it.

So… this morning I told my wife to expect a different look after my shower. In the photo, I looked younger without the facial hair (which is why I grew it). Now I have these long white hairs in my gotee. I had let it grow out during vacation. So… I shaved it off.

Sorta symbolic. A new beginning. But I had longer hair back then. And I’m really hating how I look. I expect to be gotee’d once again in the near future. Either way, a new chapter of life has begun…

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A strange thought as we flew north yesterday.  I wondered why they don’t develop something like the “deep sleep” you find in sci-fi movies.  They could “gas” us to a light sleep, stack us like cord wood and I wouldn’t get so restless, or frustrated being unable to accomplish anything meaningful as we contend with our also restless & tired daughter (we left for the airport at 5 am).  Just a strange idea.

But… we are on vacation so my blog posts will be less frequent.  I will do maintanence just about daily because I keep getting some porn links sneaking through on the comments.  

For those who care, we are in the Adirondacks but the fierce attack pup is home guarding the family estate. 

My Random thoughts:

Go Sox (Red Sox that is)

Pollard (signed with the Celtics)

Keller’s sermon on the Lost Sons (I did listen to that on the plane) was great…. I’ll post on that soon.  Steve McCoy, Reformissionary, has a link if you are interested.

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PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) doesn’t seem to be concerned about the ethical treatment of people.  Michael Vick has been indicted of very serious charges.  The key word there is indicted, not convicted.  If he’s guilty, he’ll have bigger problems than being suspended.  But in their court he is guilty, without due process.  I think their treatment of him (and trust me, I’m NO fan of Michael Vick) is unethical.  They are all about the ’cause’ and this is a great PR event that they want to milk.  I guess they didn’t get the memo that people are more important than animals.  This in no way means we should mistreat animals.  But I don’t find eating them to be mistreatment (that Genesis 9 thing).  If it is, then animals aren’t treating each other ethically, and PETA doesn’t seem at all concerned about that.  God gave Adam and Eve fur clothing, so I think it is okay to wear fur and leather.  So, on all counts PETA is just plain wrong.

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VBS Week


Here is a picture from an older VBS that the Jolly Blogger may remember.  This was from the Veggie Tales VBS in ’01 (man, have I aged in a mere 6 years- marriage and parenting will do that).  I was the “less than responsible” Mayor of Bumblyburg.  This was probably my least embarrassing character.  This year’s embarrassment will be posted.

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Take a Guess

What type of web site will this lead you to:


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Cannibis.  Mary Jane.  That kind of pot.  Los Angeles pastor, Rev. Craig X. Ruben, was recently arrested for possessing marijuana.  That alone would be an interesting story.  But to make it better, the Temple 420 pastor filed a lawsuit for $30 million.

“Our congregation mandates members study the Bible, have faith in God and regularly burn the herb cannabis (The Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible) as sacrament,” says the lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court.” (from the AP story)

He was ordained by the Universal Life Church in 1990.  I’ve heard of receiving pew rents (the original compensation for Spurgeon), but the article continues:

“The temple has an estimated 400 members who pay a $100 initiation fee and $100 annual dues, enabling them to purchase marijuana for requested donations. Marijuana also is burned during some services. In drug culture, “420” is slang for marijuana.”

I’m thinking the free exercise of religion doesn’t cover this weirdness.

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In church history, I’m currently teaching the kids about the Reformation.  I’m supplementing the lectures with the movie Luther.  One of the topics that arose was that of the saints, and the sale of little statues.

Yesterday my brother-in-law and I were in Barnes & Noble’s when I came across a Household Saints kit.  I almost bought it for future object lessons.  In the kit you get:

 “This charming yet practical kit contains everything you need to invoke the protection and guidance of the patron saints who look after us and our homes. Lost your car keys? Say a prayer to St. Anthony of Padua. Trying to sell your corner-lot Victorian? Clasp your hands ad beseech St. Joseph for help. Having trouble with the reception on your television? St. Clare of Assisi is waiting in the wings to give you and your satellite dish a holy, helping hand.
“The wonderful, illustrated book and hand-painted figurines (of St. Jude, St. Clare, and St. Joseph, each selected for his or her crucial area of responsibility in the modern home) provide comforting evidence that there really is someone out there who cares, watching over you and your family in times of domestic need. “

 Really, I couldn’t make this up.  Clare, a Francisian, as the patron saint of television.  I am still stunned by the audacity and ridiculousness of the whole thing.  Who needs Jesus when you’ve got these guys watching over you….

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Yankees’ pitcher Corey Lidle’s plane crashed into an apartment building.  All on board were killed.  The occupants of the apartment were not home, but they were traumatized and inconvenienced by this tragedy.

As a result, they are suing his widow for $7 million dollars.  The complaintants are Dr. Larry Rosenthal and his wife Sandra.  Apparently the good dentist thinks his and his wife’s anguish far exceeds that of the grieving widow and kids.  Did these people not have insurance to replace their clothes and furniture?  Did they not have insurance to provide for alternative lodging while the apartment is repaired?  Do these people have a conscience?

Why are they doing this?  “Larry Rosenthal and his wife, Sandra, charge in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that Lidle was “reckless, careless and negligent in causing his plane to strike” the Upper East Side apartment building where the Rosenthals live.

“There’s no excuse for smacking a plane into an apartment building in the middle of Manhattan,” said the Rosenthals’ lawyer, David Jaroslawicz. ”

Okay…. bad stuff happens.  And money doesn’t make it better.  Bad things are not the opportunity to make a buck.  The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, including ridiculous lawsuits such as this.

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This is from the AP Wire in an article by Juan Carlos Llorca:

“Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate “bad spirits” after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.

“”That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture,” Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.

“Tiney said the “spirit guides of the Mayan community” decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of “bad spirits” after Bush’s visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites — which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles — would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.”

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Director James Cameron is trying to sink Christianity with the latest round of absurd allegations to be rehashed by someone known for pseudohistory.  Before I get there, I want to mention Peter’s words in the first chapter of his second letter.  They are pertinent.

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. …And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,….”  2 Peter 1:16, 19 (ESV)

Here is a rundown:

Al Mohler’s interview on Larry King Live.

Ben Witherington III gives his take.

Paul Maier, who wrote a novel addressing these concerns, makes some great points in an e-mail which Between Two Worlds posted.  Actually Justin Taylor did all of this work.  I’ve been swamped, but not all of my readers may head over to Between Two Worlds.

Michael Spenser had a response.  As did James White and Brian Maloney here on Hot Air.  Whew!

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Five(ish) Things Tagged

Why do I feel like this is another one of those chainmail things in a new form.  Curses!  But the JollyBlogger done tagged me, so out of my love for him (in a manly sort of way), I shall answer.

1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why? (two sentences max) 

2) A. Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did? (one sentence max) 

B. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting it off? (one sentence max) 

3) A. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why? (two sentences max) 

B. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn? (two more sentences, max) 

4) A. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you? 

B. Now list two more words you wish described you… 

5) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes– three sentences max) 

6) (sue me) Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone (with answer in three sentences max) 

1. The most fun I had was a 2 week trip to England & Scotland with good friends.  It was an Inklings-sort of adventure celebrating male friendship & common faith as we saw the sights and gained weight drinking pints, eating pub food, and smoked lots of cigars (cheers to Probst & Velker!).

2a. I miss playing basketball & softball regularly- I need to make a change here.

2b. Not necessarily always, but I’ve wanted to work on a doctorate for quite some time but haven’t had the time or money to pursue it.

3a. I still want to be a better pastor.  I also want to be a better family man instead of the selfish oaf that I am.

3b. Living, I’d like to spend time working on biblical application with David Powlison.  Dead (yeah, I’m cheating) John Owen to have a live tutorial on putting my sin to death.

4a. CavWife says (but she’s tired): impatient, demanding & selfish (just kidding she was thinking… forever) “growing, loving, and impatient”.  I’d say “intense/moody, sarcastic, faithful (almost to a fault)”.

4b. Patient, content.

5. I am passionate about Jesus, my family and Boston sports.  My passion for Jesus resulted in my being a pastor, involvement in the pro-life movement, 3 missions trip to Mexico  and a desire to write solid, practical theology for normal people (which apparently does not interest publishers).

6. I want to sue.  I’m trying to watch 24, for the love of Pete.  Okay- what event has most shaped your life?   Becoming a Christian was the most important event in my life.  It changed my vocation, my lifestyle and began a profound change of character from which I will never ‘recover’.

I’m not sure who I’d tag.  I’ll have to return to this later.


Blog Friends-

Mike Shea

Erik Raymond

Phil Monroe

Non-blogging friends

Chris Probst, Morgan Lusk, John Travers, Robert Stephens, Dan Velker, Eddie Reed

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As Patriot fans sought to buy tickets to the game in San Diego they got a big shock.  Unless their billing address was California, their ticket order would be cancelled without notice.

According to the Boston Globe, Chargers’ spokeman Bill Johnston explained it this way: “Our goal has always been to fill our stadium with Charger fans and supporters of the team. This also helps give our team the best home-field advantage possible.”

They are not alone either.  The Bears have also restricted ticket sales geographically.  The NFL does not prohibit teams from doing this, and in fact doesn’t know how often this happens.  Legal analysists say it is legal.  Just may be a different matter.

Patriots fans not currently residing in Southern California can purchase tickets through resellers, though at a hefty increase from face value.

BTW: The Patriots do not practice this.  They rely on team performance to create and maintain home field advantage.  But the Chargers won home field advantage with a better record, so more power to ’em.


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John Armstrong has a post about theologian David Griffin’s book on 9/11 as a government conspiracy.  This book is published by Westminster/John Knox Press which is associated with the PC (USA).  My book on marriage doesn’t seem to be worthy to be published, but a supposedly Christian publisher releases a book that blames the government for 9/11, and advocates a new world-wide government to usher in God’s kingdom.  Yikes!

Apparently Mr. Griffin is turning this into a cottage industry.  In addition to Christian Faith and the Truth about 9/11, he has also written (or co-authored) The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11; 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out; and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.  I suspect he’s obsessing on this, but I could be mistaken.

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