Friday, December 16, 2011

Hither and thither 12/16/11

How was your week? Mine started off nasty. I'd had Friday off, and returned to work only to find out that the manager who hired me some 7+ years ago had been abruptly and unceremoniously laid off, no chance to say "thanks" or "goodbye." (Thankfully, I had an external email address, and wrote him.)

Then the next day, BANG! a very competent contractor I'd trained was let go.

What is up with doing all these layoffs and salary-cuts just before Christmas? Seriously, I know the "Grinch" meme is overused, but... dude! Well, for the nonce at least, we can turn our eyes together to our weekly assortment.

But before the mixture of frivolity and sobriety, we will note sadly the death — or, to use the unintentionally more sobering word, passing (Heb. 9:27) — of Christopher Hitchens, famous for atheism and general contrarianism. Everyone will be linking to Douglas Wilson's reflections, ironically including those whose hearts beat with that very lust for respectability that Wilson criticizes in passing.

For my part, I doubt that I will produce an additional essay; but I might refer you to my reflections on the death of Hunter Thompson, and — given the inevitable praises that will be lavished on Hitchens for "bravely" facing the end, resolute in his atheism — the then-impending death of Senator Ted Kennedy. They are analogous.
  • To warm up, you will stare and stare at this:
  • The week featured some nice World-Tilting Gospel developments. Pastor Phil Siefkes finished his seven part review, saying:
    This is a book that I will continue to recommend to the members of our congregation. This is a book that I will turn to again and again as the leading book on the Gospel message. This is one of the rare books that I can recommend without a caveat. This is a must read book, and you will do yourself a serious disservice for not reading it. 
  • Sheldon Clowdus also reviewed the book, saying that it "addresses the single biggest need in evangelicalism today," and that it "will show you that God and His gospel clearly, sufficiently, and eloquently."
  • British pastor Andrew Roycroft offered a marvelous, full review, saying that deep and central Biblical "issues are handled in astonishing detail for a popular book, but the truths are expressed in terms that are at once orthodox and freshly phrased." In fact, I now see that the Banner of Truth site has published Andrew's review. May God use that to spread the book's ministry.
  • Finally, among those who read it, TWTG did well in year-end book-lists, such as those of Stan McCullars and Kim Shay. And though it wasn't exactly a list, Nathan Machel says that TWTG and God's Wisdom in Proverbs are his top two favorite books of the year.
  • For the geek in your life, here are 26 sci-fi weapon replicas. I actually have one of these, thanks to a generous gift from my parents-in-law some years back. It's in a (relatively) famous profile-picture of mine that shows up now and again.
  • Possibly even cooler: 21 steampunk gifts. I think the steampunk fingernails are possibly the coolest... but when would you wear them, sister? Church pot luck? Mm... if that's the theme, I guess.
  • Kerry Allen found us some famous bacon art: van Gogh's Starry Night.
  • Your life. You think it's missing something. I do too. And I know what it is. It's... THIS.
  • So, what's the semantic opposite of "Christian anti-Semitism"? Would it be Jewish anti-Christianism? Well, whatever it is, this rabbi's got it bad. He's afraid, he's very afraid, of... of... of TIM TEBOW! AHHHHHH! (UPDATE: the Jewish Week just disappeared the column without a word. Classy... not. So I updated the link to the cached version being hosted by Human Events.)
  • ...and Seth Mandel finds the column silly, offensive, and shameful to Jews.
  • UPDATE: reader jmb alerted me that Jewish Week and the rabbi apologized. More or less.
  • Hobbies are nice. But there is such a thing as overcommitment.
  • Well, you can't even turn around without bumping into Tim Tebow, so why should HT abstain? Thanks to reader Susan, here's a deft touch of autotuning: All he does is win.
  • Dear wife might like this a little too much:
  • Substitute "Peet's" for "the coffeeshop" in the following, and my Josiah will love it:
  • Chris Carney may have found one of our coming robot overlords being demo'd.
  • In this week's Search for the Perfect Food... is this a nacho cheese smoothie in a bacon mug?
  • ...perhaps eating these:
  • Um... is this true?
  • Randy also found what we hope is a satire; or a serious parent FAIL.
  • Finally:



Robert said...

Great to hear about all of the reviews coming in for TWTG.

The weapons collection shown there is quite impressive. I think I'd want the Darth Maul light sabre if I had to pick only one.

I can't believe somebody actually posted a 24 hour loop of something on YouTube.

I couldn't find the Tebow maybe they finally pulled it. I did, however, read Seth Mandel's reaction and couldn't believe the snippet of the original article that he included...that rabbi is just plain crazy. I wonder how he reacts to Christians running for office. wife would flip out if we had one of those here!

Loved the light saber graph...I could definitely see that.

Gabby said...

I wasn't aware of Christopher Hitchen's death. The 'passing' of lost people fills me with terror. I literally tremble at the thought of facing God without the covering of Jesus. Who can stand before Him? There's hope that perhaps he did cry out for mercy in that last minute, but my comfort comes only in knowing that God will judge him rightly and justly. When my ex-husband died in his sins, I experienced sheer terror and it was only understanding that God will do what's absolutely right that calmed my terrified heart.

DJP said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for the association this raised. I also have loved ones who died without clear professions of faith: I also take refuge in the mercy and justice of God, and His promise to wipe away all tears. And I also hope Hitchens repented, while he had the last moments of his long series of gracious opportunities.

lee n. field said...

Just FYI, #3 in "Sci Fi Weapons" is a lightly modified "Broomhandle Mauser". They're antiques, but they can be had. Much of the rest was an add for toy knives. And why is it that "SciFi" always means "movies, TV shows and games", never books?

This is the first I'd heard of Christopher Hitchens' death.

Kim said...

The bacon content is a little alarming.

DJP said...

More duck might be yummy, yes.

CleanFlea said...

I like the California map. Having grown up in the "mountains and volcanoes" region, I can tell you they left something out: cows. Way more cows than volcanoes. More cows than people for that matter.

Dave said...

The Asimo robot is so cool. I've always loved technology.

Then I thought of all the years and billions in R&D to make it do those carefully choreographed actions (What would have happened if the thermos had more juice than the cup could hold?). Then I thought, God got it done in a single thought and exercise of His will.

Dave said...

The Asimo robot was so cool. Just think of all the years and billions in R&D spent to make those carefully choreographed moves happen.

Then I thought about how God did it with a single thought and exercise of His will.

Benjamin said...

Not to pick a nit, but that's not a viking bacon helmet. It's a Nord bacon helmet. You know, the race of hardy warrior people that inhabit Skyrim, one of the northernmost provinces in all of Tamriel? Fus Ro Dah!

Trinian said...

Best geek white noise EVER. I may start sleeping with this on...

Paula Bolyard said...

Nutella: Especially how to catch a white person named Ron Paul, too.

Michael B. said...


"I also take refuge in the mercy and justice of God, and His promise to wipe away all tears"

"God will do what's absolutely right"

This is classic politician-speak, and it's basically a way of speaking without communicating any information. The politician is asked a direct question on an issue in when people are strongly divided, and instead of giving a concrete answer, he indirectly or vaguely addresses the issue, and if he's lucky his listeners will think he's agreeing with them.

As an example, let's take the question of what happens to a man who dies without confessing Jesus. If you're a Universalist and want to be completely clear, one says "The man is in heaven". If one is a Calvinist and he wants to be completely clear, he will say, "The man is in hell". But if want to avoid offense or getting into an argument, then you say something like "You can trust God to do the right thing". Now isn't that a neat trick? One basically get out of answering the question, and allow every listener to decide for himself what the "right thing" is.

DJP said...

I wonder whether you are as wretched at reading the Bible as you are at reading minds, Michael B.

Stick to the words. What did I actually say? Prove any culpable dithering. Deal with the actual words written.

You get one more chance.

Wendy said...

That toddler brain diagram explains a WHOLE LOT. (OT, I've been wondering if it is possible to raise a child completely technology free nowadays; my 4-yr old just asked for an iPhone for Christmas, so I might be a little late though...)

Steampunk nails would be acceptable anywhere. :) I'm loving that book locket!!

I think I would like the Predator Spear.....or the Dread Pirate Robert's Sword. Nah, definitely the spear.

trogdor said...

The Mohler article and the shepherd cartoon remind me of my favorite idiotic/atheist (sorry for the redundancy) argument - people back then just didn't know that [miracle] couldn't happen. Because of course people back then had no idea of the connection between sex and baby-making, or that a man can't walk on water or rise from the dead, etc. But we know oh so much better now.

Of course, the question they need to answer is this: If people back then were so ignorant that they thought such things were possible, why did they bother recording them as miraculous divine intervention?

In other words, they didn't record them as miracles in spite of being so stupid that they thought they were possible. They called them miracles exactly because they knew such things to be utterly impossible - aside from the power of Yahweh.

DJP said...

Well, right. And why did Joseph feel obliged to divorce Mary? Hint: It wasn't because he didn't know where babies came from.

trogdor said...

We could also bring up Onan, but that's more a discussion for the next Driscoll book.

Aaron said...

Forget the Sci-Fi weapons. Where can I get the child taser? Man would that be easier than spanking.

That Star Trek 24 hour clip is cool. I'm going to put it in the guest room.

DJP said...

Mm; I guess we'll know it's coming out when the high-traffic "Gospel-first" bloggers start raising its visibility before it's even published.

trogdor said...

The Christian Bale story is completely different from my mental image of him. Great that he would be aware of this man and even try to visit him, not what you'd think a Hollywood type would do.

But the frightening thought is that we're not too far from that horror (forced sterilization or abortion) coming to America. It's not hard to see how we can get there from a combo of statist "health care" and "environmental" concerns about overpopulation. If - when? - it starts to happen here, will we be as strong in our opposition as Chen Guangcheng?

Aaron said...


In some sense it's humorous that Statists would create a giant ponzi scheme in socialism and then limit the population they need to keep it going.

Mizz Harpy said...

I've been lurking and not commenting so, Hello.

@DJP, sorry to hear of so many around you being let go.

For Hitchens, I don't know what to say except, It's sad. The more I studied, the more I learned, the less I knew yet this guy seemed to think he knew it all or was about to know it all.

I wasn't shocked with the rabbi's article it reminded me of the time I went to synagogue on Yom Kippor with a boyfriend and the rabbi proceeded to give a very antiChristian sermon. I let it slide but my boyfriend was pretty mad saying, "There is such as cutting both ways and he went too far." The Tebow article went too far as well.

Good grief, I've been the idiot on the jetty getting pummeled by a wave. It's fun if you're planning on a soaking.

I'd rearrange the toddler brain schema, totally.

@trogdor, people, especially Jews, DID know the connection between copulation and conception. Read the story of David and Bathsheba and realize that she was bathing because she was ovulatory/post ovulatory. At least that is what a rabbi once told me, I was the only woman in the class so I was the only one able to answer his question on the subject correctly whilst blushing of course. I don't know how anyone can get through reading the Torah or historical books without realizing that Jews connected copulation with conception. This is why men 'knew' their wives and wives proceeded to conceive.

Sonja said...

Ilearned a new word today, from the German. "Kummerspeck", literally "bacon grief", when one over eats because of emotional sadness.

Bacon grief -- out of bacon would be my definition. So if I'm sad and out of bacon ... I have two sads.

Trivia for the day :)

Rachael Starke said...

The layoffs at Christmas is a wretched practicality due to companies wanting to clean budgetary house. Having a budget cycle that ends in Christmas is byzantine for a lot of reasons. I'n watching our sales teams being told to be nose to the grindstone through the 23rd, right at the time when there are kid Christmas plays and all manner of other more important things. Hate it.

CA map is tragicomedy at its finest.

Love the Christian Bale story. Finding more and more reasons to intensely dislike the Chinese government (and American companies who refuse to call them to account because of the almighty yuan).

Out of great affection for your dear wife and daughter, I feel led to note that Nutella may truly be one of the worst foods, nutrition wise, a human can ingest. While it was at one time made with real ingredients, like many sweets, it's been excessively processed to deliver the same taste for lower cost. It's now predominately sugar and a really noxious oil called palm oil.

Eat more bacon, less Nutella. :)

Fred Butler said...

Petco has shock collars for dogs that I found really do the trick. I don't have to leave my computer desk. I just say "STOP IT!" push the button. Instant obedience.

CR said...

Always a sobering thing when people get laid off. Hopefully, your job is okay.

DJP said...

Michael B, I deleted the comment you made in response, but I am going to reproduce it. I will only leave out the part that could cause gratuitous misery to someone other than me. I hope you'll agree I haven't misrepresented what point you seem to have:

I'm not sure if this happens to you, but do you ever watch politicians being interviewed and wish you were the interviewer? I find myself getting angry at the television set because very often the interviewer will ask a direct question, but then allow the politician to somehow dodge answering the question. When that happens, I wish the journalist would just scream, "NO! What you said is not an answer. Let me ask the same question again." And repeat the question as many times as necessary.

[DJP, you wrote] ..."I also take refuge in the mercy and justice of God, and His promise to wipe away all tears." So is that a "Yes" or a "No", exactly? Is it "mercy" or "justice"? And do you mean God will wipe away [the tears of people in Hell],or just [those of Christians who might mourn for lost loved ones], or both?

I'll make you a deal. Just flat out answer the question as "yes" or "no", and I'll take back anything I implied about you dithering. You can even answer "probably yes" or "probably no", and that will be fine. And if the answer isn't "yes, [specific dead person X] burning in hell" or "probably yes", I'd like to hear some elaboration. For example, do you believe that the majority of unbelievers are saved during their final moments?

This is far afield from Hither and Thither, which you don't seem to get. You also don't seem to get Christianity, or me; this comes across frequently, and is puzzling, since both are publicly easily accessible.

A plain answer isn't difficult at all to a Christian. I have authority for identifying only three specific individuals who will be in Hell: Judas, the Beast, and the False Prophet. Otherwise, there is no way I can know what happens in the heart of any dying person in his final seconds. To demand more is simply silly, and would brand one as disinterested in serious thought on the subject.

I'll even use a well-known example: Christopher Hitchens. No human being knows or can know whether he repented and trusted Christ in his final moments. If he did, his sins are forgiven and he is with Christ. If he did not, he is deservedly suffering the wrath of God, has no hope, and will spend eternity suffering that wrath.

Everyone who dies without Christ will go to Hell, deservedly and justly. All Christians will agree with God's judgment with all their hearts. If there are tears shed by believers for those who are lost, those are tears which God will wipe away. Unbelievers will never know any rest or respite or relief, ever, but will suffer conscious agony forever, and deservedly.

Your issue is that if you have not repentantly believed in Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are without excuse, you are under God's wrath, and you have already eaten up a great deal of merciful forbearance. You should not assume that you will receive any more.

I'll look forward to your retraction.

Eddie Eddings said...

Just finished TWTG and absolutely loved every page! When I return to the States I plan on buying many to give as gifts. Love the humor sprinkled throughout.

DJP said...

Praise God, Eddie, and thanks for the encouraging words.

DJP said...

Michael B., you said:

I'll make you a deal. Just flat out answer the question as "yes" or "no", and I'll take back anything I implied about you dithering. You can even answer "probably yes" or "probably no", and that will be fine.

I had already spoken straight-up on the subject, as always. You accused me. You made this challenge, I responded straight-up again.

Rather than delivering on your "deal," you wove another yarn about your issues with Biblical truth on the subject. Maybe you forgot your "deal." I haven't, and I won't.

I deleted that comment, and will delete any comment you make on any subject until you deliver on your promise, straight-up and succinctly.

Anonymous said...

But that's just the thing, you didn't answer. I don't know how to explain this any more simply. The people who told my mother that the woman is probably in hell answered the question. You on the other hand use the "last minute conversion" as a cop-out to allow you to say that there is a good possibility that anyone could be in heaven. How do we know Hitler didn't have a last minute conversion? I'm not asking you to make a certainty statement, but I am asking you to make a statement about probability. For instance, it's not probable that a person converted to Christianity 3 seconds before they were shot.

I personally think the people who told my mother that their dead classmate was in hell are cruel, but one thing is for sure, and that is they didn't dither around on these types of questions. They were not at all ashamed of a god who sent most of humanity to hell -- if anything they were proud of it.

Having said all this, I greatly prefer your dithering to my mother's classmates' cruelty. I think you made the right decision not telling the woman that her husband is probably in hell. But there are pastors who are much more frank on hell. Paul Washer once told a concert full of Christian youth that he fears that the majority of them will be in hell one day.

CR said...

Good comment Dan on December 17, 2011 9:11:00 AM PST

DJP said...

Michael B.

I see. So this answer is what you call "dithering." IOW, refusing to have knowledge that only God can have is "dithering."

Well, this is really very revealing about you, how serious you are about serious things, and what you consider to be rational discourse that is worth taking others' time. It is in keeping with every comment you've made thus far. It keeps coming up that you are shocked to find that Christians actually believe what they say they believe. Now we also know that you are shocked when Christians admit that they do not what what they cannot know.

So you are shocked at what Christians do know, and at what we do not know.

Now that in itself is curable. However, it requires seriousness and honesty, and it requires an ability to listen and learn. You've shown none of these abilities, in any exchange.

Sorry, wish I could help you, but that (like knowledge of the last-second inner workings of the hearts of dying people) is beyond me. I can tell you that, unrepented of, it will end badly for you (Prov. 1:22-32). In fact, I can tell you once again, that if you die clinging to the illusion that you are smarter than God, and exhaust all of the grace He is showing you even now, you will find yourself hopelessly enduring His wrath, with only yourself to blame for wasting opportunities such as this one.

To the rest, I wish I were surprised to hear that you've known people who claimed to be Christians (I guess) but were "ashamed" of anything God says or does. But then, given how you've processed each bit of data you've interacted with here, perhaps that was a total misread as well.

Regardless, there are many sites that would allow you to indulge your unteachable one-trick agenda endlessly. This isn't one of them.

You're banned from this blog.

Wendy said...


Nutella is unhealthy...except when you make it yourself :)

Robert said...


Forgot to add that I'm sorry to hear about the layoffs at your workplace. I know from experience that it is quite uncomfortable to see all of that going on around you. I'll be praying for you.

I actually got laid off from a job during Christmas season (I was told in November and worked through to the first week of January). What made it even worse was that the VP over our part of the company pocketed a $3M bonus at the end of the year. I still don't understand how somebody gets that big of a bonus when you have to lay somebody doesn't really make sense unless you work through some sort of scheming. Of course, I think that is what most business schools are teaching these days from the way I see businesses being run.