Friday, January 07, 2011

Hither and thither 1/7/11

First, if you haven't already, go play Pick the Cover.

Here we are with the first Hither and Thither of the new year. Thanks for your faithful reading in 2010; here we go again! The usuals apply.
  • It was a week of answered prayer, wasn't it? Long-timers will recall the Lament for America after the catastrophic national election of 2008, and the series of posts doing some serious theologizing and strategerizing (beginning here). In the third of those posts, I called us to repentance, prayer, preparation, and work. I reminded everyone that the authority in America is the Constitution, not the president. And in that light, I called for peaceful, lawful resistance to every evil thing Obama meant to do to this country.
  • And what did we see this week? For the first time ever, the Congress opened (against the shrieks and whines of Democrats) with the reading of the Constitution, and the beginning of a Congress devoted to resisting many of the harmful things Obama has begun to do to this country. This is an answer to prayer, it is mercy tempered with justice. The House will try, but the Senate will resist. And so Americans will once again be presented with a clear picture, and a clear choice. What will they do with it? Time — specifically, 2012 — will tell.
  • As to the reading: per usual, the Dem snarked at anything they could find, and the GOP showed one-sided graciousness, such as assigning the reading of the Thirteenth Amendment to John Lewis. What is interesting to note, though, is that not all even agree on the text of the Constitution. You'd think they would settle that one.
 

  • Another suggestion from Fred led me to learn about Stan Munro, who builds famous landmarks out of millions of toothpicks. His Toothpick City took six years, six million toothpicks and over 5700 ounces of glue.
  • Say, any of you heard of this Swiss-Serbian Christian singer named Vlada? I happened to catch part of a piece on him on the radio; the music is what caught me: funky, jazzy, complex. Check it out. I may just have to get that album.
  • You've probably seen part of this, but perhaps not all: a photographer from The Columbus Dispatch happed to record a homeless man with a sad story, a sad smile, and a golden voice. Next? Ted Williams (53, but looking more like 63) got a nice little profile on CBS News, and then he was reunited with his 90-year-old mother (better video here). Williams already has a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contract, and other offers as well.
  • My thoughts? I don't know enough. The image of homeless folks as noble souls down on their luck has long been wiped from my mind. One of my bitter pastoral experiences was sticking my neck out for a sob-story, and getting burned. I notice Williams didn't get his mother's age right. I notice that once he said he was two years sober, once two and a half years. So I think, Hope his employers get a full tox screen. He talk a lot about "God" and "spirituality," but also takes God's name in vain a number of times. Every street hustler I've encountered says "God bless you," and talks nice. All I'm saying is that I notice things things, and wonder. But I hope it's as good as it looks, I hope Williams is (or becomes) a young brother in Christ and gets himself settled in a good church, I hope this is the start of wonderful things in his life. I just wasn't born yesterday, is all.
  • And notice, any way you slice it: none of this had one thing to do with one government program.
  • See? Now we're getting somewhere!






40 comments:

RealityCheck said...

You are right about the latest changes in congress being an answer to prayer. I have to admit I have become so cynical about Washington that I really have to lighten up and be more appreciative when things go the way they should.

Space pics… wow! All of them great but the one with Tracy looking out the window... man would I like to have that seat.

Islamic girl killed for converting to Christianity??? I’m shocked… I keep hearing what a peaceful religion it is.

In regards to the Christians expressing fear of the government, I just want to give a shoot out to Donald Miller for his support of Obama who appointed Elena Kagan (#4 on the list) to the Surpreme Court bench. Way to use those discernment skills Donald.

Yeah… “I notice things” as well when it comes to Mr. Williams… I’ll hope and pray with you for the best.

Thanks for the H&T Dan, always appreciated.

Barbara said...

In all fairness, I don't know exactly how old my parents either without sitting down and doing the math every time. He's got a voice, he got publicity, he's getting a job. He'll keep it or he'll blow it. What gets me is the CNN article calling "faith" the reason for the publicity and hailing the videographer for his great act of faith and humanity. That bothers me, on so many levels, more than the homeless guy getting a break.

Barbara said...

...re the above, as I look over the whole thing, it kind of reminds me of someone I know real well (I see her in the mirror every day) who was undeservedly taken out of a self-dug pit, cleaned up, given a fresh lily-white wardrobe, and the One who did that ensures that I will persevere to the end. I'm glad He didn't leave me where I was just because I was a rotten sinner.

DJP said...

Of course you're right. The "wise as serpents" and "harmless as doves" balance isn't always easy to strike. I hope the best for him; doesn't mean I can't wonder things.

Al said...

Let's say that he turns out to be a blasphemer and no friend of God. He uses people and steals what they would willingly give. That is good work for a Christian, it makes us look a lot like Jesus.

"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)"

We lend but expect to be defrauded by the ungrateful and the evil. Isn't the command to lend as strong as the one to love in Jesus' words here?

May God show him mercy and provide grace sufficient for all his sins.

al sends

Barbara said...

Yeah, that phrase is something I've been looking deeper at myself in its context. As sheep among wolves, be wise as serpents/innocent as doves. I think Paul helps us with that in numerous places.

DJP said...

I see no moral imperative to take my kids' resources to subsidize a debauched lifestyle, since you ask.

Help, yes. Enable, no.

That's the issue.

Rabbit said...

Thank you for the reminder that the turnover in the House is an answer to our prayers. Like RealityCheck, I have had a more cynical outlook, doubting that this new batch will be at all different from the previous lot. Prayerfully, they will. Some early signs are, indeed, good.

Hopeful yet realistic about Mr. Williams. I hope he will bear fruit in keeping with his profession of repentance. Wouldn't that be a joy to see?!

My two favorites from today's H&T: The BBC Blackberry sketch had me literally hooting with laughter, and Headline Corrections! Excellent idea!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Ah, Dan,

the Grasshoppers (laughing hilariously behind me) thank you for "My Blackberry isn't working" and "Drunk octopus wants to fight you" (love the googly eyes).

Also (given influence of Architect Dad Grasshopper) the toothpick buildings were well received :D

Julie

DaveS said...

All I can say about the Canadian pothole story is that this has to be better than the picture of a little girl they’re using for the same purpose that you posted a link to a few weeks ago. At least this way when someone doesn't slow down because they assume the pothole is a fake the only thing hurt is their suspension.

Thanks for another great H&T Dan.

Terry Rayburn said...

Man, those space pictures!

Not only the heavens declare the glory of God, but some views from the heavens.

Pastor Pants said...

I used to love the Two Ronnies as a kid - the blackberry sketch was brilliant. Will be catching up on that "One Ronnie" special at some point.

Rupert said...

What, no mention of the Pope claiming the existence of a Big Bang?
Is this yet more evidence of the never-ending ducking, weaving, obfuscation and reinterpretation of faith which occurs as more and more scientific proof of evolution emerges?

I can understand some peoples' dismay over the courts decision regarding the cross in San Diego but really, the facts speak for themselves.

Killing of a daughter. Ah, yet another demonstration that Islam is still almost exactly 600 years behind Christianity. Can they ever catch up do you think?

Reagrding DADT. From what I've read it hasn't exactly been 'overturned', they've just agreed that it can be if the relevant parties decide that it would not be harmful to do so. Which it wouldn't be of course (sorry, had to slip that one in). So no conscription just yet.

Hope you and yours had a good New Years and prior to that, a Merry Christmas. Yes, a Merry Christmas, I don't see anything wrong with the term. To me it doesn't necessarily denote an adherence to any faith, particularly as it has its roots in Pagan practices.

Sonja said...

That's the saddest ear of corn I've ever seen. I can only assume a home gardener grew it him/herself in a pot on the patio. Or it's certified organic from Whole Foods.

Great H&T, as always! Thanks Dan!

tobekiwi said...

I thought the corn-cups...cup-corns...cake-corns...oh the corny cupcakes were cute. Wonder what flavor the jellybeans are....
Pics of earth from space- just wow, breathtaking, specially the night ones.
Thanks Dan!

Sonja said...

Wait a minute ... those are *jellybeans*?

That's pretty corny. :)

Susan said...

That "blackberry" sketch is awesome!!! :D I'm going to link it on my FB page. :)

jmb said...

The non-response to the Facebook suicide note is kind of like an online version of the Kitty Genovese murder in 1964. Media change, but people don't.

Susan said...

And Julie, great outer space pics you found. The heavens (and earth) are indeed telling the glory of God....

(As for the "corn", I think it's lemon-flavored.) :)

Paula said...

While I'm glad they took the time to read the Constitution, it would have been nice to have more than a handful of Congressmen (and women) there to actually hear it. Most of them (on both sides of the aisle) showed up for their minute of face time on C-SPAN and promptly ran off to meetings or press conferences. Makes me wonder if the changes we're anticipating are merely cosmetic.

Sir Aaron said...

Although the top ten list was disturbing, not all of them related to the Federal government. As I have reminded Stan many times, if the Federal government folded tomorrow, I wouldn't want to be a living in certain municipal areas. Many local governments are extremely totalitarian minded.

@Rupert: We're all Protestant here so, in general, we don't care what the Pope says. And your right. With respect to the memorial cross, the facts speak to themselves. The Bible says the lost will find the cross offensive and sure enough, the Bible was right!

trogdor said...

Rupert,

I can't speak for Dan, but if it was my H&T, the reason I wouldn't talk about the Pope's comments is that I had absolutely no idea that he said them. Since I'm a Christian, I don't pay the least bit of attention to what the Pope has to say about anything ever. The next time I'll care about anything he says is when he begins by repenting of Catholicism and embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in scripture. Until then, any stupid thing he says pales in comparison to the lunacy of the non-gospel he promotes.

DJP said...

Trogdor - I can't speak for Dan....

Though most of the time you do a pretty darned good job of it.

Rupert said...

Thanks for the clarity trogdor. You will of course understand that many religions and denominations say exactly the same thing about yours and others brand of faith. Who's right? You say you are, they say they are. Kinda brings us back to the saying 'we are both atheists, I just believe in one less God than you'. I won't disagree with you regarding the Pope though :-)

How droll Sir Aaron. From what I've read the cross has a long history of being exclusively representative of christianity before it was annotated as a war memorial. It's on government land. The constitution says....

Sir Aaron said...

"The constitution says...."

Please go on, Rupert....Please tells us what the Constitution says. Because I know what it says and it doesn't support your argument. It wasn't until recently that the courts came up with the whacked interpretation that it has. Before that, the founding fathers allowed the states to setup state religions and felt that not teaching the Bible to children would be disastrous to the nation.

CR said...

Actually, Rupert, many religions don't say the same thing as Christianity does. Christ is very exclusive saying that He is the only way, because God's righteousness is the only way of salvation. In fact, Christianity is the most exclusive religion as it should be, since God is a jealous God.

I'm glad you're not a federal judge in Normandy. You would have all the crosses and stars of David ripped from the graves of fallen soldiers there.

Robert said...

Rupert,

In casting your "all other religions" comments, I would like to point out that only Christianity states that Jesus is God and that salvation comes only through our faith (which God provides to His elect as a gift) in His dying in our place upon the cross.

Many other religions (Hinduism, Islam, etc.) teach that He was just a good teacher, but He made the claim to be God in the Bible. Other religions try to add in works (Catholicism, Jehovah's Witnesses - who also reject the deity of Jesus). And universalists try to bring them all together...however, true Christians know that when Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one goes to the Father except through Him, that can not be receonciled with any other belief system. Basically we're the only ones who are saying that our total salvation is dependant upon God and that we can do nothing to contribute to our own salvation. All other religions claim that people have at least some contribution to their own salvation.

Rupert said...

I must politely disagree with you Sir Aaron.

With respect CR, I think you know as well as I do why your comparison with graves is invalid.

CR and Robert, yes, your faith does differ in the way you mention, as well as in other ways. I do not think however, that that makes your faith any more 'right' or 'correct' to myself or the holders of any other form of faith. It's just what you believe.

My hopes are with all the victims of the Tuscon tragedy. I know your prayers are.

Robert said...

Rupert,

What I am saying is that all other faiths and beliefs, including your own, each person is responsible for their own outcome in some way. They can work their own way out of trouble, so to speak. Be it karma or just keeping your nose clean, so to speak.

The problem is that God makes Himself evident in the created world around us...He makes enough of Himself known to us in the Bible to where we can know that we can never measure up to the standard He has set. Romans 1 gives a good description of people denying God and how God turns them over to their sin. Sadly, I feel that is where much of the world is headed these days.

Rupert said...

Does that mean you don't accept responsibility for your actions Robert?

I know it may sound rude, but your second paragraph merely amounts to 'God-Bible-God-Bible' therefore it's true! It's what is known as a self-supporting supposition.

While your faith that your faith is the one and only true faith is admirable, the reality is that every other faith has the same strength of faith in their version of faith.

It appears to me that you've made a choice and then constantly strive to put every scrap of support you can find or create into justifying that choice.

As I have no desire to enrage our eminent host, I shall withdraw at this point unless summoned :-) Best wishes.

Robert said...

Rupert,

What I am saying is that the only thing I deserve is hell because I have sinned. And that there is no other outcome that I can control. God can choose to save me from that outcome or not, but it is all based upon what He does. I am responsible for my actions and that is why I and every other person besides Jesus that has or will ever walk on the face of the earth deserves to spend eternity in hell.

I don't take personal offense at what you said as being rude because short of the grace of God, I wouldn't have any understanding of the Bible in the first place. There is only One that you need to worry about justifying yourself before, and that is God. For it is not me that you are arguing against, but Him. I pray that God may open your eyes to see this and that you may come to humble yourself before Him and repent.

As for the assurance of the Bible, there is more than enough proof to verify the Bible through the prophecies it makes. That said, salvation and knowledge of the truth of the Bible can only come through faith, which is a grace gift from God.

CR said...

Rupert,

You're not understanding what I am saying. It is not "my faith" that makes me right or correct over other faiths. The fact that people are devout tells us nothing about the truth of what they believe. There are very devout Jews, devout Muslims, devout followers of Buddha, Confucius, and so on. A devout attitude in and of itself tells us nothing.

You must have precise knowledge and the precise knowledge that one must have is the way of righteousness that God has provided for salvation and that is the way of righteousness that Christ explicitly told which is through Him. It is not my faith that saves me, it is not even my believing that saves me, it is Jesus Christ alone that saves, specifically the propitiation that God put forth by Christ's blood to be received by faith.

Rupert said...

Robert and CR, you keep tossing the same hat into different rings and I don't see much point in a circular debate :-)
You need to drink better coffee.

Lotsa folks here are starting to grow webbed feet DJP.

Robert said...

Rupert,

I was simply addressing your question. Whether you choose to acknowledge that answer or not is your choice. All I can do is try to present the truth in love.

CR said...

Thank you but I've been drinking some pretty good long blacks (Double shot of espresso over hot water) over the past couple of weeks. That's fine if you want to duck the the issue. That has been your motis operandi on comments on this blog.

Rupert said...

Exactly what issue am I ducking CR?

The fact that you say that only your faith is the only right one and that all the others are wrong because God tells you so through the Bible?

Are you not aware that every other brand of faith says exactly the same thing in one way or another?

And the semantics of stating that Christianity is the most exclusive religion because God is a jealous God, or only Christianity states that Jesus is God and that salvation comes only through our faith aren't exactly relevant to whose claims for their faith are the strongest. Those factors are belief and practice within a faith, and all faiths possess those.

Every person who ever walks the face of the earth deserves to spend eternity in Hell?!? Struth, and some people refer to Catholicism as a death cult!

My 'modus operandi' is to see if you can offer any reason why I would put more store in your faith than any other. You haven't.

Tell me when you get too peeved DJP. Oh that's right, you don't need me to suggest so :-)

CR said...

Here's how you duck the issue, Rupert, every time the good news of God's one way of righteousness is presented to you in any way, shape or form, you either ridicule it or you pour sarcasm or scorn upon it.

Now, that's to be expected, I'm not shock by it or angry at it. That is the offence of the cross - you (and those of us before faith) are so condemned and so lost, and so hopeless, that had Jesus not died for those whom He would save, we would never know God, never want to Him, and we could never be forgiven.

And it either hurts you, or annoys you, because it tells you, you are hopeless, that you are vile, that you are useless and as a natural man who is not thinking spiritually, you don't like it.

The good news of the God's one way of righteousness produces offense in people and arouses antagonism.

Again, you misunderstand the point, because you keep telling me to give you a reason to put store in "my faith." It's not my faith, Rupert. I keep telling you that. It's not my faith to give nor is it my gift to give you. It is only God's gift to give.

All we can do is pray for you and keep telling you that good news. And it's wonderful news indeed. A very good summary of the gospel is in Rom 3:19-26. I challenge you to read it. We've all tried explaning it to you so I won't "burn more paper."

But it is wonderful news because this gift of salvation is a gift that was accomplished through the redemption that is in Jesus. And it is a gift that cost much for God because he forward His Son as propitiation which is only received by faith. It's not by works, but through faith alone.

In fact, I would challenge you to read the book of Romans. Promise us to do that, and we'll be praying for you.

By the way, I'm sure I speak for the rest of us, I don't know if you are affected by the terrible disaster in Queensland, I hope you are not, and I am praying for all the residents in the Queensland and Brisbane area. It reminds me of Katrina.

Rupert said...

No CR, I am not ducking the issue. Nor am I pouring sarcasm or scorn upon it. I have no reason to duck the issue, none at all. It holds no fear for me and you have not demonstrated anything which negates what I have said.

All I have pointed out is that every faith makes equally vociferous claims for their validity. Pointing out certain beliefs and practices within your faith does not amount to any stronger evidence for your claims than any other faith.

I am not condemned, I am not lost and I certainly do not lack hope. I am far from vile and I am not useless in the least ( well, maybe at some things, but aren't we all?).
You need to understand that I am 'limited' in the extent to which I argue my case as it is easy to be accused of 'blasphemy' for want of a better word or being told that my opinion has no validity. So I tread lightly around the issues.

The only thing that 'hurts' or annoys me is the totally unneccessary and unjustified bigotry, discrimination, patriarchy, homophobia and vitriolic bile which some people utter, practice and preach in the name of their God or their Book. Note I have said 'some'. I have found people of faith who believe that it is not their place to try to dictate, lead or even influence how others lead their lives and what personal moral standards they live by so long as others are not harmed.

I am fortunate. The only impact on myself from the floods is a shortage of some foodstuffs in the supermarkets (mainly bread and milk, which the one I love can't eat anyway) and the non-arrival of materials for my business. No stock, no jobs being done, no income. But that's a mere blink compared to what numerous others are suffering. 500 are said to be dead in the Brazilian mudslides. One million people are at risk of floodwaters in Sri Lanka. They are all calamities.

What we won't see in Queensland is vast tracts of deserted and unreconstructed towns and suburbs in three years time. Not even where the poorest members of our society live. What's happened in New Orleans?

Triggerpit said...

Hiya,
Thank you for for posting about our space images. We just published a follow up to our first article about Colonel Wheelock. The new article can be found here: Amazing Pictures from Space: A Hero Comes Home: http://triggerpit.com/2011/01/11/amazing-pictures-from-space-a-hero-comes-home/

Thank you again for linking to us:
Marcus
Webmaster at Triggerpit

CR said...

Rupert: I have found people of faith who believe that it is not their place to try to dictate, lead or even influence how others lead their lives and what personal moral standards they live by so long as others are not harmed.

Then you are very offended at Christ. Then you are very offended by God's law and it's moral standards. Because God does dictate how we should live our lives. God is not a killjoy, but he knows what is best for us. Sin harms everyone. Anyway, we'll leave this topic at that.

New Orleans is slowly rebuilding and unfortunately, returning to the same old debauch living that there was before the flood. But many people, including the poor, have left New Orleans permanently because of the devastation and have found other places to live.

I'm glad that there is no physical harm to you.