Monday, February 28, 2005

A normal, boring day

I went to work today, and attended an SAP class this morning. I went out to lunch at a chain Mexican restaurant that I didn't like as much as my companions. I read Email and worked this afternoon. This evening, we ate roast beef from a steer my father raised on the farm, with frozen corn on the cob (from the store) and mashed potatoes. Then we stoped by the ATM to get our food money for the month, and then went to Meijers to spend it. (Meijers sent us, and everyone else in the general area, a 10% off coupon, so I'm happy to give them free advertising. :) ). The kids stayed up past their bedtimes playing a while and watching a bit of news. I'm doing our first-of-the-month bills and blogging here.

This is hardly interesting of itself. It was a day like hundreds of others we have had. However, this day is nothing like the day one woman in Florida has had. Terri Schiavo cannot clearly speak, cannot get up and walk on her own, cannot either leave her room or express the desire t o do so. She can swallow some light food, but has been deprived of the opportunity to relearn how to eat a meal. She has been deprived of any therapy, of a sunny day outside, or a trip outside of the facility. She is confined to Hospice, despite not being in the process of dying.

You see, my normal day is a day that Terri Schiavo may die before she could experience it again. It's my prayer that that isn't true.

Leading by example

I am a firm Protestant. Both the Roman Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox churches hold theological positions that I believe are unBiblical and unsupportable. Don't put me in the Chick-level "all Catholics are damned", that is a mistake as well.

In particular, I have had vast disagreements with John Paul II. During my liberal phase of life (I got better) John Paul represented all that I felt was wrong with conservative religion. As I've grown in my faith, I've still disagreed strongly with portions of his theological beliefs, but my respect for John Paul the man has grown tremendously. His refusal to simply walk away from his post because of his Parkinson's disease is just the latest sign that John Paul is more willing to do God's work than be interested in his own comfort. Our own culture of me just doesn't understand making such a sacrifice. Having advanced Parkinsons would seem to be as good a reason to retire, or at the very least taking a while off. On the other hand, God has things for John Paul to do still, and John Paul knows it. Maybe it's something as simple as getting back up off that bed and saying "I am not quitting" by his actions. Maybe John Paul's best book or best statement of faith is still ahead. We don't know, and John Paul doesn't know, so he keeps going. So should we.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

No excuses for not blogging, but a lot of reasons

Friday during the day, Judge Greer extended his order to March 18th. It's not a stay, but since it's not it may not even be appealable. Perhaps Judge Greer is turning a bit towards neutral. Please keep praying for her.

I had to work Friday night around 8PM, so I came home early and we went out to eat with the family. While we were out, we stopped by CompUSA to look at the Mac Mini. Our intention was to save a bit, and then buy it for Paula to use as the homeschooling computer at the kitchen table. Then she saw the Toshiba Satellite P35-S611. It is a bit on the luggable side, but it fits her needs for a "easily portable desktop computer". For a 10 pound laptop with 2 hour battery life, it fits its job as a portable desktop rather well. I just feel dirty that I've been such a Mac fan, yet "had" to buy a PC.

Saturday, the family did family things. Unless it's early Friday night/Saturday morning, I won't blog much. Gotta have one day for the family. :)

Finally, today, we went to see my parents and grandparents back on the farm. Number 1 son got to go out with grandpa and burn brush. After getting Government Approval and Requisite Permission Forms for doing so. Jefferson and Washington would be spinning in their graves to think that a person would have to have a permission form to burn a brush pile on their own land....

Thursday, February 24, 2005

God Bless Mr. Schindler

I just watched Terri's Dad and the family lawyer on Hardball. He did very well in keeping Chris Matthews off his desired topic, which was "she's a vegetable, let her die". Pat Buchannon also made some very good blunt points as well.

As others have said before, and the guest said tonight, Terri is not a vegetable. Terri is not on life support. Terri is just being fed.

Thank the Lord that there is a stay until Friday, and that there is some movement by the state to intervene.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Don't spit into the wind

While reading the updates on the Terri Schiavo case, TheAnchoress posted a link to this The Empire Journal article that helps detail how George Felos has asserted on behalf of his client Michael Schiavo that Judge Greer does not have the authority to intervene any further.

The first thing that came to my mind was Jim Croce:

You don't tug on Superman's cape

You don't spit into the wind

You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger

And you don't mess around with Jim

In his courtroom, a judge is the law. You just don't tell a judge that he can't do something.

I hope that this may change Judge Greer's opinion back to neutral, at least.

Call to prayer

Terri's Fight has a copy of the letter George Felos faxed to Judge Greer yesterday. It indicates that Michael Schiavo has every intention of having Terri's feeding tube removed as of 1PM today.

Today we find out if murder will happen under the color of law. If you are in Florida, please find some protest today and become active in it. If you aren't, look here or at any of the other Blogs for Terri for something you can do.

Finally, pray to Almighty God that we haven't gone so far that a woman will be murdered under the color of law and it called good.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Disagreeing with Bill

I should be working on an apologetics post I'm writing, but the distraction was too much. Bill posted his analysis of The Apostle's Creed almost a week ago, and I have finally succumb to the temptations of discussing his answers.

First, let's quote the Apostle's Creed as Bill has it:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hell, and on the third day He arose again from theDead, and ascended into Heaven, where He siteth at the right hand of the Father from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Being a rather traditional Christian Packrat, Bill and I have some substantial differences of opinions. I'll quote from a couple of the sections where Bill and I disagree:

the Father Almighty,

My first point of disagreement.

I do not ascribe to an omnipotent, omniscient God. The God of my beliefs is just as circumscribed by the laws of nature as we are. Though He has far greater knowledge than we, He is not omniscient. He plays the hand he is dealt as we all do—it’s just that he has a lot more cards in his hand.

This view leaves us with a bit of a quandry. Did God create the universe? If so, why is God limited by His creation? Bill, do you mean that God is a Deist-style Deity who chooses to "stay out" of supernatural events?

If "God" didn't create the universe, then he is more like Star Trek's Q, a creature who has remarkable powers but no more authority than the rule of the gun. If God is just the first of Nature's many creatures, how could God have created creation in the first place? This scenario reminds me of the scene in Time Bandits where one of the Devil's menions points out that God created him, and after the requisite punishment of said minion, the Devil says that he created himself.

I believe that the Biblical God is omnipotent but limited by His own nature, but He is not limited by our nature or His creation. For example, He has the power to send everyone to Hell, but it is against his nature and therefore He "can't".

I do not believe that he was the Messiah either in the Jewish sense nor in the sense of the later Christian interpretations.

Current cholarship is pushing the provable dating of the Gospels well into the AD 70s, and the supportable dating into the 40s and 50s, especially if Matthew was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Christ-era Jewish and early Christian thinkers may not have had a complete grasp on the suffering Messiah concept, but the concept that a Messiah would suffer (ala "Messiah ben Joseph") and die was not completely foreign, just not what the Jewish people wanted to hear (they wanted "Messiah ben David").

If we take the Gospels at their word, Jesus was and believed Himself to be the Messiah, Son of David. If we can't, then we know nothing about Him anyway, and we can't be all that concerned. Let's hold the question begged here for just a second....

His only son,
....Though not explicitly stated, the Apostles’ Creed is organized around the concept of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost....

Again I am in disagreement. I do not ascribe to the Divinity of Jesus. I consider him a the greatest teacher and example for living the world has seen.

I will paraphrase Lewis' dilemma:

As recorded in the Bible, Jesus Christ made multiple claims saying that he was equal to God or was God. If Jesus was not sincere in this, then He was a pathological liar of the highest order (Lewis' "the Devil of Hell"). If he was sincere but wrong, then he was mad ("on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg"). If he was sincere and right, then he is God.

Unlike some, I do not think this is a rigorous proof, but I do believe it precludes the "great moral teacher" believe as Bill presents. Liars do at time present moral truths, and madmen are sometimes right, but that invests neither with any special moral authority.

Of course, this doesn't address Bill's most likely rebuttal to this: Jesus never did say he was God, that was just the invention of his followers. To skip ahead a bit in Bill's post:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

This is a necessary condition to Jesus’ divinity. However, it comes up against many issues in light of modern knowledge. At the time Luke created the virgin-birth myth, other than the precursor of the sexual act, no one had a clue how babies developed much less that it was a sperm and egg union that led to the embryo. In ancient minds gods could have intercourse with humans as well as humans could with humans. The Titans in myth were the offspring of Zeus (Jupiter) with a human.[Emphasis by Packrat]

First, the Gospels are not myth. They don't fit literary myth molds. Also, as Matt Slick of CARM argues in this article, Luke (and the other gospels) are sufficiently close to 70AD in dating that there just wasn't enough time to develop serious myths.

Second, the apostles and the Gospel writers were all Jews (IMHO even Luke, but even if he's not, his audience primarily is). In the AD 60-80 timeframe, many of the apostles were still alive. There is no way that a learned Jew would tolerate the insertion of a foreign myth into a Jewish religion. The concept of Jesus as God would have been bad enough without a virgin birth created.

There were a core group of Jewish believers just before the destruction of Jerusalem who believed that Jesus son of Joseph was the Messiah. These people considered themselves Jews, and recorded their writings in a Jewish mindset. (I won't even debate the Jewishness of the writers of the New Testament here, but it is sufficiently well documented elsewhere.) They had little motive to make up myth stories that were considered by the religious leadership and the general population heretical. There was no motive to have a Messiah that said a Gentile had the most faith of anyone in Israel, or one that is recorded as talking to a Samaritan woman AND saving an entire Samaritan town. The most faithful and first witnesses to the resurrection were women.

Peter was a coward. Paul was a murderer. Peter and Paul had such a public debate on Gentile conversion that it had to be mentioned not only in Acts, but in one of the Epistles. James didn't even believe in Jesus until after the resurrection. Jesus' family, including appearantly Mary herself, came to take him away as a madman (Mark 3:20-21, 31-35). If it were the apostles, or the early church, who tried to create a myth, they created the most human cast ever seen in mythology.

Finally, an aside: if my son can figure out that animals have to behave in certain ways to make babies, then most certainly people 2000 years ago could as well. This is why the Greeks always had Zeus showing up as one animal form or another to have his physical escapades.

Some other minor points:

He descended into Hell,

I have never figured out where this came from. Possibly from the Epistles, but certainly not from the Gospels.

I have personally always felt that the translation of the Hebrew "Sheol" and Greek "Hades" should be "the grave" or "death", rather than "Hell". Therefore, He descended into the Grave. I don't know exactly how God the Son stayed dead until Sunday morning, but He did.
from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

This must come from the Epistles or other traditions.

Matthew 25:31 details the judgement off the quick, the living. The judgement of the dead does wait until Revelation, unless someone can think of a verse I'm forgetting.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,

Only in the sense of God does his work through us by gentle, mental contact and suggestion. I am not a subscriber to the doctrine of the Trinity.

Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament both talk about God's Spirit having the characteristics of personality. The one that always stuck out at me was the warning to believers to not grieve the Holy Spirit. Only a person can be grieved.
the Communion of Saints,

I don’t know that this is actually believed by Protestants. I’m not completely sure of what it consists. I know that praying to saints is considered a form of idolatry by many Protestants.

This is where canonization has ruined the English word "saint". Any person who is born again in Christ is a Saint, and therefore is a part of the Communion of Saints where the Saints have a relationship with God through Jesus.
the resurrection of the body,

Nope, but the continuation of the soul after death, yes.

Here I fear that Bill and I will have to disagree. The Bible makes rather clear that the resurrection is bodily, although the body is certainly transformed into something entirely different than what we have now.

Bill, thanks for the post, and the opportunity for reasonable disagreement.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The best of the blog for Terri

Dory at Wittenburg Gate has collected some of the best of the Blogsphere's articles on the plight of Terri Schiavo.

I've read some of the articles, and I'm humbled to even be listed. There are so many good bloggers involved in this effort. This is an amazing collection.

Please, if you are not already active, do something. Write letters, get others involved, pray, fast, the ways YOU can affect this are numerous.

Friday, February 18, 2005

What To Do To Help Terri

Janette Stripling of Common Sense Runs Wild has posted a nice summary of Florida officials who can be contacted. Please read this post to find out more.

In addition to the Florida officials, please contact the US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. The phone number for the Office of the Attorney General is 202-353-1555.

It is also important to call your Senators and your Representative. Go to the House web site to look up the local office for your representative, and go to the Senate web site for your senator's web site.

Send Email to both President Bush and Vice President Chaney.

Finally, email Governor Jeb Bush. As Doc Washburn says on a post on My Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, it is entirely possible that Governor Bush does not have the political will to protect Terri, but those of us both in-state and out must make it abundantly clear that this is about a woman's life, not his ability to maintain political cover.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In other words

I find myself too upset to speak my own words today for Terri's plight, so I will quote someone else's: Ken Connor's letter to the Florida Sun-Sentinel (quoted on Terri's Fight Headlines page).

Ken Connor

attorney Tampa

Posted February 1 2005


Accused capital felons in Florida are entitled to independent counsel; competent representation; a jury trial; and upon conviction, an automatic review of their death penalty by the Florida Supreme Court.

Terri Schiavo has never received any of these protections. She has not had the benefit of independent counsel and, indeed, when the decision authorizing her starvation was made, she didn't even have the benefit of a guardian ad litem. Terri never received the benefit of a jury trial, and the Supreme Court refused to review the order authorizing the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration.

Like it or not, convicted murderers Ted Bundy and Danny Rolling received more due-process protections than Terri Schiavo, a person utterly innocent of any wrong-doing. And if Bundy or Rolling had been sentenced to death by starvation and dehydration, their sentences would most assuredly have been set aside as violative of the Constitution's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Terri Schiavo is, admittedly, profoundly handicapped. However, she is still a person entitled to be treated with human dignity and worthy of the full protection of the law. The sad reality, however, is that the Florida courts, in refusing to accord greater due-process protection to Terri Schiavo, have treated her as less than a whole person.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

An Open Letter to Michael Schiavo

Michael, you don't know me, but I need to apologize to you. You see, this entire situation with your wife Terri Schiavo has many people angry, and I am one of them. I feel like that I've let that anger drift into hate, and that is clearly a sin. When we sin, we are to ask forgiveness from the person we've wronged. Therefore, I am sorry that I have allowed this to happen, and I humbly ask your forgiveness for this.

Please do not interpret this apology as support for your position. I am a father whose son just went through a life-threatening illness. He almost suffered congestive heart failure once due to chest cavity fluid, and could have easily suffered brain damage at any of several different crises during his illness. I could not imagine having my child suffer a dehibilitating injury to the brain, and then having his spouse wanting to starve and dehydrate him or her. Even worse, you seem to want to do it. Any reasonable person who didn't desire the end result of death would have given up by now.

It may be that Terri did in fact tell you that she wouldn't have wanted to live in a state similar to what she is in now. It is suspicious that no one but you heard it, but let's leave that to the side. Many people, including Sarah Scantlin, have recovered from being in worse condition than Terri, and returned to a reasonable level of mental and physical function. I've found that most people who have been physically or mentally dehabilitated do want to keep living like they are, even if earlier they'd said they'd rather be dead than dehibilitated.

I can understand where a selfish side to fulfilling Terri's wish would work its way in. She is very clearly not the same woman she was when you married her. You've managed to move on already. You have a new wife (you may call her a girlfriend, but if it quacks like a duck...), new kids, and a new life. You have moved on past Terri. There are others who are more willing to shoulder the responsibility that appears to weigh on you. Please let them.

What would you want for your child, Michael? Would you want your child starved and dehydrated to death when he could be treated and have some form of life? If not, then why do you ask Terri's parents to suffer the same fate.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Calling murder mercy

I wish I could be witty. I wish I could be verbose. I wish I could even be rational. But I can't. The case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo simply makes me too mad.

This is the level our disrespect for life has sunk us to, America. Not "our society", not "some people", that's too dispersonal. That allows too much abstractness. It is OUR fault, America. We have become so enamoured with the concepts of comfort and convenience that we are allowing a man who has grown tired of a wife who's rich but of no use to him alive decide that she should be killed. We have grown so respective of the "right to choose" that we respect the choice to throw away life more than the right to keep life. We respect the word of a person desiring death over the right of another being to live what life she does have. There is no room for choice here, because Terri has been given no right to choose. Here only is the desire for death.

Let me be bold here: if the rule of law requires that Terri Schiavo die, then there is nothing Godly left in American law. The judges and lawyers in Florida cannot call it "their job" to help Mr. Schiavo. Nuremburg finished that excuse. Murder is murder, whether done by the thief with a stick or a person wearing judicial robes.

The Bible quotes the Lord many times saying that the Earth itself cries out to Him when justice is denied for murders. There is no way to spin Terri Schiavo as a case of choice, or as a right to die patient. Her husband is asking to murder her. America, do we have to allow the Earth to cry out for Terri too before we make a stand?

Please, go to and find a way that you can take your stand.

I want to be like TheAnchoress when I grow up

TheAnchoress is (one of) my heros. On the way into work this morning, I was contemplating blog entries, and I was thinking about making one about TheAnchoress, and how her posts about S's struggles helped me get through Number 1 Son's lung ordeal, but I've already written once about that. Then I get into work, and I read that she's turned down an interview with the BBC. Then she makes it worse by posting a wonderful post about how she doesn't like to videotape her family's special events. I can't even make a good joke about wishing that the BBC had called me, because Dirty Harry has already done it, and even better than I could, to boot.

In high school, I worked for the local newspaper, first as a sports reporter and then as a "help-about" photographer and darkroom worker. The next year, I wrote a blog-like column about freshman college life for said paper. Seeing your name in the byline is addictive. Having people who you know come up and tell you that they loved your last column is a rush. Not to mention that $20 a month for a college student in the early 90s for around 2 hours work a week was wonderful money. In the end, I stopped the column because I was having trouble keeping connected with my audience back home, not because people (or more importantly, my editor) wanted me gone.

I would love to make a living writing, but I have a wife and kids now, and happen to have a career that I'm really good at. Blogging is a nice compromise, since I can write where (hopefully) many people will read it, and if no one does, so be it. Money would be nice too, or a phone call from the BBC, but that's hardly necessary. I'd settle for more permanent links. :)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Our prayers for the "First Mate"

Over at The Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed is staying with his wife Marcia while she waits to receive a pancreas transplant. Ed, please know that our prayers are with the two of you.

Update 2/15: Marcia has gone through the surgery, and is starting to recover well. Head over to The Captain's Quarters for more information.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Why should they have said no?

On Greta van Susteren's show Friday night on the RepublicanFox News Network, the guests were talking about the recent cases of the women who had had affairs with young children. One woman (whose name I can't remember) played a bit of "blame the victim" by saying that these boys should have just said no.

As a society, we are telling kids like these to NOT say no. Sex education programs are saying "You're going to have sex, and there's nothing wrong with having sex when you do want it, so we're going to tell you how to do it." Modern culture teaches kids that sex, especially sex outside of long-term committed relationships, is natural and desirable, and should be wanted and obtained whenever possible.

Simply put, these kids were offered what they were told they should want. We shouldn't be the least bit surprised that they took what was offered.

Friday, February 11, 2005

SCO loses by winning

I've kept track of the SCO vs. IBM case rather closely. For those who haven't, SCO basically sued IBM for copying the original UNIX code into Linux. IBM then countersued on several points, including patent infringement and Lantham Act violations.

Now, Judge Kimball has given SCO an almost total loss by denying some of IBM's motions. As Marbux interprets Judge Kimball on Groklaw:

"IBM, you got my attention and I'm all over this case now. But we're going to do it my way. Don't worry, IBM. The briefs have convinced me that you are going to win this case, so I'm going to help you win.
Later, he says,
SCO, you are not going to win your case in my courtroom. I've chosen the winner and it isn't you.
I'd feel sorry for SCO if they hadn't brought it on themselves. RICO charges might even be in the cards....

Fair disclosure: I used to collect a paycheck from IBM, but I've been a Free Software fan (especially NetBSD) since before I had a job there.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I didn't lose an eye or anything

There seems to be a lot of controversy over Today's New International Version of the Bible. Alan of theosebes is generally negative towards the TNIV, while Shane of Wesleyblog is critical of TNIV critics, especially The World magazine.

Someone happened to leave a copy of a TNIV New Testament in my daughter's Wednesday night class at church, so I looked at it. I only managed to read the first 8 chapters of Matthew, so I can't give more than a rudimentary opinion on the TNIV.

I keep an NIV Bible on my desk at work. It happens to be a low-cost, no-commentary Bible I bought in high school, since I was tired of fighting the King James in my head. As I've gone along, I've kept that NIV for personal study and reading, but IMHO it's closer to a paraphrase than a literal translation. When I want to get closer to the autographs, I will go to translations like the Analytical-Literal Translation, the LITV Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, or Young's Literal Translation. I discovered E-Sword several years ago, and regularly use it to compare multiple translations of the same verse to get a feel for the actual Greek.

I don't like that contemporary English is abandoning the masculine collective. Without a generic way of indicating a single person of either gender, many verses of the Bible will be less clear. I am not certain a Bible translation is the right battleground for this fight, but it is the right fight for language conservatives to make, and it's not clear that there are many other battlegrounds left.

I may well end up with a copy of the TNIV, but if I do, it will be as another storytelling Bible. It will not enter my collection of "accurate" translations, but I'm not sure I feel the need to protest it too greatly either.

Why am I a Bohemian?

Names and titles define the person. Simon earned "Petros", the rock, well after Jesus gave him the name. Jacob became Israel after contending with God all night. It's not lightly then that I call myself a Bohemian. Yet, what is a bohemian?

The term was originally French, to describe Gypsies who roamed the countryside (some appearantly carried papers of safe passage from the King of Bohemia). The French then reused the term to describe the post-World War 1 artistic class that migrated into Paris drawn by the bohemian lifestyle already practiced there. The Beatnics of the 50s were next to be described as bohemian.

I like to go back to the Parisian definition of the free spirits mixed a bit with the Roma that inspired the term. While the libertine lifestyle of some Bohemians shouldn't be emulated, there are some characteristics that match the desired Christian lifestyle.

The church (like Israel before it) is called to be seperate from the world. "And [the children of Israel] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.... Instead, they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." [Hebrews 11:13b-14,16]* Also, Peter tells us: "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." [1 Peter 2:11]

We are also going to be hated by the world at large. Jesus himself tells us, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." [John 15:18-19].

We must be ready to leave here at a moment's notice. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. [Matthew 24:42-44]"

Finally, we are not to accumulate large amounts of wealth. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." To quote my son, why would we put so much effort in this life to collect building materials?

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.... The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass. [Revelation 21:18-21]

I don't mind trying to be a Bohemian.

All scripture references are from the New International Version.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

A quick link to a "unity in seperate groups" post

Thanks to Dory at Wittenburg gate for a link to JollyBlogger's post about "Defending Division??". This post makes several points I was trying to make in my discussions with Jay.

(I am working on an apologetics post of my own, and you'll see it tonight or tomorrow morning. I hope. :) )

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Super Bowl (TM) winner

First half: The Mustang Commercial "Frozen in Fargo".

Honorable Mention:, even if the implications were all filthy. (Update: Forgot Budweiser's "Parachuting" is cute too.)

Wierdest: The Olympus dancers.

The game is a toss-up... Oh, well, back to the commercials game.

Second half: Definitely the "Thanking the Troops" Anheuser-Busch commercial.

Honorable mentions: Ameriquest "Killing the Cat", Mastercard's "Mascots", Verizon V-Cast "Get Little" and the post-game Cadillac "Elope".

I don't know which half the Ford Truck "Tougher than Bikers" was in, since I missed it first time around. It's funny.

Day's winner: "Thanking the Troops", with "Frozen in Fargo" second.

IMHO, not a great commercial night. Nothing even close to EDS's Cat Herding commercial.

And let's not even talk about the Eagles (lack of) coaching at the end of the game.

UPDATE 2: After finding the video link & rewatching it, wasn't satirical, just crude. I withdraw the Honorable Mention, and give it to Parachuting.

Went shooting

Because of Number 1 Son's lung problems, we didn't get to spend time with Milady's family for Christmas. For one reason or another, today was the first day we'd been back down to her homefront. Since Number 1 Son got a Rossi 410/.22 combo long gun for Christmas*, we hadn't had an opportunity to go shooting. We fixed this today, and then some. Milady's brother had a 50-year-old Remington pump-action 20 gauge that he was willing to sell to Number 1 son at cost, and Number 1 Son had enough Christmas money to buy it, so our gun storage area has yet another addition*.

Then we went to Milady's other brother's house. He helped us set up a target range behind his house, and then gave us a bunch of old cabbages and onions to shoot. I was better than ususal on the 9mm and my shotgun. Number 1 Son is amazingly accurate, hitting onions at 25 yards with his Rossi and his mother's Marlin .22 lever action.

We went through 100 9mms, a couple hundred .22s, and several 410s and 20s. And another shooter is starting his career. A very nice day.

*Of course, what I mean here is that the gun in question sits in my gun storage area, and is only used by Number 1 Son under controlled conditions. When Number 1 Son is 18, he can take legal possession of said gun.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Writing envy

I really should be writing a wonderful article for the Vox Apologia IV. "What happens to those who have never heard the Gospel?" is such a good topic, but as much as I'd like to be the C. S. Lewis of the 21st Century, I don't think I can add a lot.

I am in awe of Dory at Wittenburg Gate. Her current post, Are You Bad Enough to Be a Christian?, amazes me. It is such a blessing to see the Spirit work through a writer in such a way.

I've been commenting on another of Jay's posts on I just wanted to prove that I can agree with Jay. Well, OK, maybe I can agree with him some. :)

Brian Riedl and David John write a very clear and concise article on why Social Security is even more broke than anyone can imagine.

In The Crystal Lake Observatory, Crystal posts a nice article documenting how abortion providers are human too, and need our prayers to boot.

Now if I can just write a bit....

Thursday, February 3, 2005

The real unity Christians need

In my last post, I pointed out some of my problems with Jay's post about unity. It's real easy to point out problems, so let's talk about where we really need to be.

Jay is right to point out that Christians are disunified. We have denominations that have traditionally fought over the most minute, and the most serious, of theological positions. One believes that child baptism by sprinkling is enough, while another insists on an adult immersion. One gives communion weekly (or more), another quarterly, and a few only yearly. Some say that a congregation's leader must be married, some prefer it, and some forbid it.

Being at peace with each other is the most important kind of unity Christians can have. Paul and Barnabus got into an argument over taking Mark. Paul was right in that Mark wasn't trustworthy, since he'd left the two earlier. Barnabus was right in that Mark was a good worker and deserved a second chance. Both men were men of God, and both were incredibly effective missions workers together. Nonetheless, there was no opportunity for peace if both went together. Therefore, they went seperately. They covered twice as many cities apart as together, and Mark went on to write one of the gospels. More importantly, they were at peace with each other again.

Unity of legal bodies isn't essential to Christianity. I disagree on too many points with John Paul to submit to his earthly authority and accept his beliefs as my own. However, I do recognize his spiritual authority as an elder in the church. I would happily worship with him at any time, and I will be happy to spend eternity in the New Jerusalem with him and many other Catholic leaders.

The unity that Christians need is the unity of the Spirit. We need to recognize that some churches do baptise differently, or hold different views on free will versus determination, or immersion versus sprinkling, or singing with instruments versus a capella. These differences may divide us by comfort or preference, but they do not divide us by salvation. In Jesus' sacrifice, we are united as one Bride to Christ, one church. That is where we are unified, not in one earthly authority or one set of "essential" doctrines. More Christians simply need to recognize and practice peace.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

It's not unity if you're not right

I was reading this week's Christian Carnival, and an article by Jay of DeoOmnisGloria entitled Is it ever okay to "split off" from your current church? cought my eye. Jay argues that unity is important, and that disunity is evidence of a lack of the Holy Spirit. In principle, I agree completely with this idea. As an adherant to Restoration philosophy, there is too much intentional disunity within the Church as a whole. If this was the whole of Jay's argument, I would have little problem. Unfortunately, Jay procedes to make a serious error in his interpretations of the scriptures presented.

Jay argues that, since the Bible (rightly) adjures us to be in submission to our elders, and since the Bible gives no explicit method by which we can seperate a local congregation, we are therefore (under sola scriptura) always obligated to follow the dictates of the elders. Since the Catholic Church is the original church, all Christians are obligated to be in submission to the Pope. There are several logical problems in Jay's argument, so I'll try to deal with each portion of Jay's argument individually.

Jay first quotes Hebrews 13:17, and correctly observes that we are to be in submission to the leaders of the congregation. We are to do this, just as in Romans 13:1-2:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

The falacy here is that, in isolation, Romans 13 would imply that Christians have no power to disobey an unjust ruler who commands contrary to God's will. Hebrews 13:17 equally commits us to obeying Godly leaders acting in the will of the Spirit, but doesn't act in isolation from our obligation to judge Christian leaders.

Jay's quotation of Jude is a bit confusing, but not wrong. The apostles prophesied: "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their ungodly desires.". Jude himself continues: "These are men who will divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." As I am a firm believer that these are the last times presently (a belief that I thought the Catholic Church does not share), I believe that Jude is talking about now. Jay also correctly quotes Ephesians 3:4-7.

Jay then commits a serious logical error: he makes absence of evidence into evidence of absence. Just because there isn't an explicit "schism verse" doesn't mean that there isn't a very Biblical method of dealing with issues of heretical schisms. Time and again (1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 1 (even Paul is not exempt from being tested!), 1 Timothy 1 and 3, etc.) the members of the congregation are told that they have the authority and the obligation to punish false teachers. The resolution is a Biblical one: first, private one-on-one talks. Then, private consultations with serveral witnesses. Finally, open rebuke in front of the congregation and, if needed, expulsion of the wrongdoers.

It is clear that many denominational groups have formed over theological points that have no real relevance to salvation. It is also clear that many groups, such as the portions of the Episcopal Church in the US supporting Gene Robinson, are not in the Spirit and it is the obligation of a believer to "shake the sand from their feet" over such a church.

I won't go into detail on dealing with Jay's final assertion that the Catholic Church was the original church, except to point out that the other "original" churches (Orthodox, Armenian, Etheopian, Coptics, etc.) have just as much a claim to that title than the Catholic Church. Moreover, with its historical and modern doctrinal problems, it's arguable that it's the Catholic Church that did the drifting, and the Protestants are in the right. (If Jay can just assert, then so can I. :) )

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Database problems

Some combination of Serendipity, PHP, Apache, and Postgresql are causing intermittent lockups. I am working on trying to figure it out, but I'm not really sure what is going on. If you don't see this message, just be patient. :)

I am working on a Theological post, and I am hopeful that I can get it done by tonight, but if this server won't get quiet, who knows....

UPDATE: That was productive... I've had to roll back almost every change I made to the server to find the problems, since it just made regular use worse. That said, I know archives and Categories were bad mojo, so I've disabled those plugins until I can do some more work on figuring out what's wrong. Of course, I probably won't be able to find it when I look....

Update 2: Server guys everywhere: always run xntpd with the -x option. My new Server's clock wanders badly, so I have to syncronize it with the atomic clocks. Without the aforementioned -x option, the system clock would occasionally go backwards, and databases just plain hate that (as in I'm lucky that locking up is all it did). Maybe this is it.