Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Skeptic

Men have tried to turn "revolutionise" from a transitive to an intransitive verb. The Jacobin could tell you not only the system he would rebel against, but (what was more important) the system he would not rebel against, the system he would trust. But the new rebel is a Sceptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

G.K. Chesterton--Orthodoxy, "The Suicide Of Thought"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Perez Hilton And His Cowardly Sisterhood Of Traveling Two-Faces

Andrew Breitbart knocks this one out of the park. I don't know about anyone else, but I just don't have what it takes to cower under a table with this issue. How in the world Miss California's answer to the overtly-homosexual Perez Hilton's question became the issue instead of the vulgar, hateful, nasty tantrum from the effeminate diva, I have no idea. But Brietbart seems to to think maybe the gays are getting to play their queen's gambit en passant, as it were:

On display at the Miss USA event was the activist left's pageant of selective bullying, a concerted strategy to go after low-hanging fruit like Mormons. But the left leaves off its hit list members in good standing of its normal coalition - its "rainbow"coalition. In California, one of the gayest places on the map, blacks and Hispanics - who disproportionately disapprove of same-sex marriage - get a stunning pass from outraged proponents of gay marriage.

Since 9/11, the highly organized gay left has also been deafeningly silent on Islam's anti-modern approach to homosexuality - let alone same-sex unions. The mullahs in Iran somehow get a major pass while the director of the California Musical Theatre in Sacramento is targeted for ruin. This contradiction is not subtle. Indeed, it's obvious and pathetic.

Let's not forget, Perez Hilton went on MSNBC, and retracted a previous apology for calling her a demeaning pejorative we all know that starts with the letter "B," only to upgrade it to the even-taboo-by-the-standards-of-most--malevolent moniker that starts with "C."

Man. All for simply taking the same position on marriage President Obama took not too long ago. I'll bet he hasn't sustained veiled death threats from British governmental officials. Nor should he.

Had a heterosexual man with converse politics made this same statement, he would be finished. Forever. Chances are, Hilton's career will only be enhanced.

And thus, the continued cosmic battle for the soul of the country, and for mankind as well.


Quote On Meaning And Evolution

I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves...For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.
Aldous Huxley - Ends and Means

Sunday, April 26, 2009

90&9 Updates

Everett Gossard, one of our own Notes bloggers, is in Africa on a missions trip with his family this Summer. Please keep them in your prayers and check out his cool blog on their efforts!

FYI: The short version is our ISP was bought out by a bigger Internet Service Provider & somewhere along the way we stopped being able to publish both Notes & Word. I just spent 30+ mins on tech support, after emailing & the like. Short version is they're still working on it. So much for the month of April in Blogville. ARGH!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Welcome to the Fringe

Thank you, Jon Meacham, for bringing to light some fascinating statistics.  I have long sensed the declining influence of Christianity in American culture, but had no evidence to support that until reading your article in Newsweek .  Now I know, based on scientific studies, that "the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990."  More specifically, "the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent," and that the number of people willing to describe themselves as atheist or agnostic has increased about fourfold... to about 3.6 million." 


Of course, coming from a Oneness Pentecostal tradition, I am used to being on the fringe--being one of those who lacks any serious cultural influence.  Speaking as one on the fringe, I would suggest that it is the best place for Christianity to be in a culture.  Looking at the history of Christianity we see that the Church thrives when it is not in fashion, and suffers when it can take cultural influence for granted.  The explosive growth of the first church, the sweeping conversions in Ireland led by St. Patrick, even the renewal and Reformation of the church all grew out of oppressive environments.  On the other hand, the Christian-Hellenistic syncretism of the fourth and fifth centuries, the pre-Reformation excesses of the priesthood, and such Holy Wars as the Crusades grew out of a Christianity that was closely tied to the secular power structure.


For some reason, God seems to prefer the underdog.  He uses the weak to confound the strong, the foolish to bring to nothing the wise.  Perhaps an American Christianity that is lacking in cultural influence will be a better venue for God to bring more glory to Himself.  Perhaps it will be easier for Him to move when we don't feel like we can handle things so well on our own.  I look forward to a deeper revelation of His glory, not through political powerhouses in the media spotlight, but way out here on the fringe!


josh r

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jars of Clay: The Long Fall Back to Earth

Jars of Clay released their new record on Tuesday, and I hurried down to the local Best Buy and got my copy. I was not disappointed.

The guys continue to amaze me at how far they can stretch artistically. The lyrics are the usual solid, introspective themes that we've come to expect from the Christian-yet-relevant band, but the sound is (for the most part) new. While unlike any project to date, there are some echoes of the Christmas album released in 2007, which is to say the music is full of electronica/synth/hint of 80s - a far cry from the acoustic folk sounds of their beginnings.

But it works and after the first listen through you'll hear these songs like the voices of old friends telling new stories.

At a time when there are many bands that should have stopped making music a long time ago, Jars of Clay's latest offering has me hoping they still have many more songs left to share.


Starting a new job is a little bit tricky. It's kind of like the first day of school when you're all full of anticipation and wonder about this wonderful stage of life that you are embarking upon. On the other hand, as an adult with a little bit of experience behind you, you know that all jobs (no matter how exciting they may seem at first) will eventually become routine.

Dave Ramsey's Townhall For Hope

By now, it should be the most understated fact that "Hope" in its most practical definition has merely been a utilitarian vehicle--a simple, yet effective dance of semantics that wants every single one of us to succumb to the state's protective "wing."

Money management expert, Dave Ramsey, is having none of it, and has decided to rally people to an actual and tangible sense of hope--not pessimism masquerading as hope:

More on the event, which is tomorrow, by clicking on this:


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jonny Lang On Leno

Didn't even know about this until I referenced a web page looking for something completely unrelated. And since I'm not a "Notes" Blogger any more . . .not a bad sound considering the ambient soundboard mixes on these shows for live bands are notoriously substandard.

As a note, I've seen Jonny play live four times since his conversion, and this is the first time I've seen him playing a Gibson ES-335, but then again, I'm a guitarist and perseverate about these things.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Quote For The Day

"Most disturbing of all, perhaps, is that not since Saturday has Susan Boyle been Susan Boyle. It's a permutation of the Heisenberg principle: That 30 million people have heard her, seen her, embraced her has already changed who she is. The shy churchgoer who said that her recently deceased mother encouraged her to "take the risk," who admitted in her audition that she has never been kissed, who has forever lived as something of an accidental outcast - she now seems too much of this world. "I've been for a meeting with Sony BMG, but I can't say much about it," she said this week. "It's early days." Susan Boyle is now one of us. And that is really a shame."


Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Nail In Cynicism's Coffin

Perhaps you are not one of the eighteen-gazillion people who've seen this already. If you haven't, get ready to have your "glass-is-half-empty" template completely obliterated by the following few minutes, as this British woman, devoid of any single trapping that would make her a contender for a cultural phenomenon that bedrocks itself on narcissism and facade, breaks every rule.

Worth noting the snarky girl at 1:23 who wouldn't step out of her Ashlee Simpson doppelganger hairdo if her life depended on it. I have a feeling she may have had her attitudes rearranged for a bit. Even better, the two British guys that are backstage, totally relishing the reaction to the human plutonium they knew they just escorted to the stage:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anchoress: Jesus Finds Perhaps An Odd(?) Defender In Stephen Colbert

The Colbert Report is something I sometimes catch glimpses of while I'm at work (as the ambient noise of a juvenile detention center). I doubt I've seen any of it all the way through, but I got the premise nearly immediately: Stephen Colbert is a satirical take on the supposed "quintessential" Fox News Journalist (you know how the media is all overpopulated with big fans of George Bush and all). Aside from its 180-degree axio-perversion, Colbert is nonetheless a funny and quick-witted talent.

So I'd normally just sluff off the following story as part of Colbert's over-the-top portrayal of right-of-center, bible-thumping lunatics (that sentiment of course the bedrock for the delivery).

The reason I depart from ignoring it is because The Anchoress, a blogger for whom I have profound respect despite major doctrinal differences (she is a devoted Catholic), thinks there might be more to Colbert's roundly hard treatment of Bart Ehrman, an atheist who somehow manages to find himself as chair of the Religious Studies department at the University of North Carolina. Ehrman is on Colbert's show to defend his book, Jesus Interrupted.

In another situation, I'd be tempted to post the video as a stand-alone with my own commentary. But The Anchoress is brilliant herself, and should have the outlook that made me even take a second look at this promoted. I simply find myself thinking more deeply every single time I read her blog--and though she probably won't figure out who I am, she was a blogging acquaintance and traffic-buddy of mine once upon a time, in another blog incarnation. But I'll let that lay for now.

Go and check out the video at The Anchoress' site. Besides chortling why an atheist is concerned at all with presiding as a religious studies chair, you'll just come away going, "hmmmm." Especially as Colbert's "4 blind men" analogy at the end seems to go south into satire, until it (oddly) makes sense.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen

Katleen, a wonderful acquaintance and former co-worker, sent me the following photo:

This happens to be a few blocks from my house (Redding, Ca.)on the automotively-defunct Diestelhorst Bridge, and just up-river from the fame-gathering Sundial bridge (even closer to my house).

What pretends to rattle-can graffiti is actually minute etching into the mossy accumulation.

Oh, and it had since faded. But one thing is for sure. The family of a moments-ago freed ship captain will never see Easter in quite the same light as anybody else. Or at least as accurately as anybody else.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rick Warren Drives Metaphorical Evangelical Car Into The Crowd

If there's anything that high-profile Christians should figure out, it's this: that watering down one's beliefs in the name of achieving political expediency will only injure ones self, and leave one's wounds open and vascular to a world of jackals who will close in on them.

Such is the case with Saddleback Church's Rick Warren, who most recently offered the (I might add well delivered) prayer at President Obama's inauguration, but is perhaps most well known for his authorship of The Purpose-Driven Life.

Leave it to the bromidic truths in James 1:8, about the stabilities to be found in double-mindedness to be the rock against which Mr. warren's evangelical future will be dashed. Apparently, he isn't as against gay marriage as an institution as he once was. At least that's what he told Larry King:

Evangelical leaders say they are bewildered and stunned by the Rev. Rick Warren's apparent turnaround on gay marriage after the famous California pastor said earlier this week that he was not a proponent of California's Proposition 8.

Mr. Warren told CNN's Larry King on Monday that he "never once even gave an endorsement" of the proposition, which said marriage in the state could only involve one man and one woman. The measure won at the polls last November by a close margin, in effect negating an earlier California Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriages.

Especially when that pesky video he sent to his congregation is quoted verbatim:

Now let me say this really clearly: We support Proposition 8," he said on the video, "and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues, I come
out very clear."
Mr. Warren "clarifies" this in the King interview:

In his conversation with Mr. King, Mr. Warren said, "All of a sudden out of it[opponents] made me something that I really wasn't. And I actually — there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends — the leaders that I knew — and actually apologized to them. That never got out."
Apologize for what? I have gay friends as well, and they at least appreciate that my conversational opposition to gay marriage doesn't change when they walk into the room. I'm always confused by this. Apparently, I'm not the only one confused by Mr. Warren's bobbing and weaving on the narrow road--which of course leads to this run over the median right before flipping the entire vehicle during an over correction:"

It was a pastor talking to his own people," he replied. "I've never said anything about it since. I don't know how you can take one video newsletter to your own church and turn that into — all of a sudden I'm the poster boy for anti-gay marriage."

Which, of course, leads to:

Saddleback Church, where Mr. Warren is pastor, released a clarification on April 9 to the evangelical-oriented, saying the pastor's remarks on CNN were not in reference to the video but "to not participating in the official two-year organized advocacy effort specific to the ballot initiative in that state."

Don't know about you, but I'm tired from just reading it. Imagine trying to hold two opinions at once.

Sad. Mr. Warren should just, as they say, pick a team and play.


An Interesting (And Brief) Talk On Postmodernism

Not sure how much of the Ninety and Nine readership has ever heard of Dr. Ravi Zacharias, but I personally discovered this amazing apologist while taking in the Truth Project series, which I blogged about here.

If I was to ever offer a public criticism of the apostolic arena, it would be that we don't have enough of this kind of thing--an unabashed and fearless willingness to take this life headlong into the devil's camp--or as it is called now--mainstream academic circles:


Weirdly . . .

. . . Blogger isn't publishing anything on Word or Notes, so please know we've been trying to post since Thursday on both.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Don't Bother Me With Hostage Situations, I've Got An Economy To Nationalize

It has become clear that when President Obama wants to take over an entire sector of the economy, that he has no problem talking down, maligning and castigating the sector he wants to take over. This--all easily mitigated and driven by that ever-ubiquitous Linus Blanket of rhetoric: the teleprompter. Even to the point of endangering the lives of people who don't hold a candle to the malignant corruption in Congress.

We're not even 100 days into the new administration and we're already being punked in a fashion commensurate with Jimmy Carter's 444-day waiting period on hostage negotiations. Americans are being held by Somali extremist pirates. Yet, Mr. Obama's only real response is that he is "studying" the situation. And by that I mean, possibly studying how to take over the shipping industry after this little "irritation" and "delay in tax-hikes" passes.

Time to ditch the teleprompter, Mr. President. Time to shake yourself of your press-clippings-related trance and say something--anything--about the fact that yet another "aberrant" sector of the only religious contingent you've given any respect to are ready to kill Americans. Your public refusal to do so says much.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the Captain of the seized ship gave himself over to save the rest of the crew. Maybe after "studying" the situation? Or perhaps doing what a leader was put in place to do.

I know one thing. The president has certainly wasted no time in "studying" how to disarm our airline pilots, giving terrorists--or as they are labeled now--overseas contingency agents--zero resistance against another September 11th.

Here's the memo, sir. We're the good guys. They're the bad guys. It's your job to act accordingly. Any refusal to say anything less and you are nearly guaranteed a single term.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Well, the NCAA tourny is over, and I came in at a modest 5th place in the 90&9 bracket. But I have to tell you a secret about Bradely. He may have come in 10th in our bracket, but he fills out 1,897,000 other brackets so that every possible combination of wins/losses is covered. He's secretly rejoicing because somewhere out there, he has won!

And here's a note from the Apostolic Report about a fan who had a sign reading "John 3:16". It was promptly taken away by security. The Apostolic Report links to video footage of the incident.

In fairness, it is also being reported that large signs are not allowed at NCAA sporting events.

Moral Collapse? Maybe Not.

Michael Medved has a great piece at Salvo Magazine about the supposed moral decline in America. He cites current data which show that Americans actually may be behaving more morally than ever before.

The Guttmacher Institute, affiliated with Planned Parenthood, acknowledges that abortion rate rates peaked in 1981, just as our most outspokenly pro-life president, Ronald Reagan, entered the White House. In that year, doctors performed 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Twenty years later, after tireless efforts by pro-life activists and educators, that number had dropped steadily, year by year, all the way to 21.1, a reduction of nearly 30 percent.

In April 2008 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing that between 1990 and 2004, the estimated abortion rate declined by a full 24 percent. In no single year did the rate even inch upward. Among the most vulnerable teenage mothers between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, the abortion rate fell a staggering 55 percent.

One thing that he points out that grabbed my attention is that the national divorce rate is lower now than at any point since 1970. I wonder if the divorce rate in the church is actually higher now than it has ever been? I haven't taken the liberty to look up those numbers, but it strikes me that divorce seems like an absolute epidemic in the church right now.


Inspirational quote of the day (seen at a coffee shop): "I don't have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine". So true...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

April Sadness Follows March Madness

So yeah, I didn't do so well in my brackets this year.

I ranked 27 out of 33 at work. 13 out of 15 in the 90&9 brackets (Who said this would be fun?!?), and then the hated (& perennially overrated) North Carolina Tar Heels won it all last night. Life just isn't fair.

Still, to give honor where honor is due . . .

90&9's Top 10 in 2009

1. RJ Aycock (who can be found at Notes, & picked the Tar Heels to win it all)
2. Kenny Chessor
3. Shirley McDonald (of the 90&9 staff)
4. Jaime McDonald (remember that last name)
5. David Bunch (who can be found at Collideoscope)

6. Nita Curry (who picked Michigan State to win it all. I actually laughed at her about that.)
7. Bobby McDonald (Shirley's one and only)
8. Bradley McDonald (the rabid sports fan who hereafter will be entitled "Jaime's husband")
9. Marsupial Jones (who picked God's team--the Mizzou Tigers--to win it all)
10. Josh Lewis (of the 90&9 staff)

*SIGH* Even my 11 year-old ranked higher than me.

Stupid brackets.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Sickness is no fun. My entire family has been sick over the last week and a half, and on Tuesday I went down for the count. And yes, it is true that men do not handle being sick as well as women do. I was very, very pathetic.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Apostolic Adoptions

Check out this great blog that deals with adoption issues.

The site is linked to New Beginnings Adoptions, the only fully accredited Apostolic adoption agency (that we know of). They have recently received accretidation for international adoptions. Such a wonderful asset for people of faith who need these services.

Becareful What You Pray For

Well, it's April 1 and I figured it was a good time to update everyone on my ongoing job hunt saga.

I have a job interview in DC on Friday (2nd interview actually). Excellent news, right? Definitely. So why am I so anxious? I've always told the Lord I'd go anywhere, and there are certainly worse places to end-up than Washington, DC. I think I'm just dreading the thought of having to pack-up my life again. I know if it is the right position that I will have peace about the situation and it will be a new phase of life.

Anyway, no matter how it pans out this is an excellent opportunity for me to take my first trip to DC and to get to see the cherry blossoms, which are in full bloom this weekend.

Oh, and I'd also like to say a big welcome back to David. I missed his triumphant return but am really looking forward to reading his microblogs over the next month. I think it's a fabulous idea!