Thursday, January 29
1:30 PM This is turning out to be a very bust week. Not that I'm complaining. On Monday I sent a completed manuscript to my publisher in Maryland (how about a Howard Dean yeah!!!!!), and today I've been hard at work on my book comparing Paul's letters with the book of Hebrews in a potentially vain attempt to get people to rethink their views of the authorship of "The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews" - so the KJV. To me, it's like asking: "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?" Like, duh. Alas, 99 percent of all New Testament scholars think I'm crazy for defending Pauline authorship. All this to say that my blogging will not be as - er - consistent as I'd like it to be for the next few days as I write, write, write. Tomorrow I'm off to work on the farm and then to Norfolk to teach, but not without a handful of books to read. This weekend's literary menu includes Thieves in High Places by Jim Hightower, The Pastoral Epistles by Homer Kent, and especially The Transcendent Holmes by John W. Montgomery. Yes, indeed, I am an incurable fan of the man Sherlock Holmes and the four novels and fifty-six short stories about him written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Exquisite English prose, eh? Have a great weekend!
8:00 AM Another patriotic American sees the light:
I start on a personal note. I would like for the record to show that, today, I formally disavow the Republican Party as well as my past support for the Second Gulf War.Now, let me be frank: This is something I didn't see coming a year ago. I only saw things through a prism of GOP allegiance back then. I'm a year older now -- a year wiser, I suppose. It shouldn't be easy for an op-ed writer to admit when he's wrong. But I was. And it is. And in light of George Bush's latest State of the Union, saying goodbye to the Republican Party is the easiest thing I've done in quite some time.
Read more here.
7:15 AM The State of the Union or the Deceiving of the Union? Speaking of THE SPEECH, here are lines delivered when Bush stared into the camera (for news recap and sound bite purposes):
"We ended the rule of Saddam Hussein and...the people of Iraq are free"..."The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins"..."America will never seek a permissions slip to defend the security of our country"..."We will finish the historic work of democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq so those nations can light the way for others and help transform a troubled part of the world"..."We understand our special calling...this great republic will lead the cause of freedom"..."This economy is strong, and growing stronger"..."Unless you act, Americans face a tax increase"..."I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy"..."Any attempt to limit the choices of seniors or to take away their prescription drug coverage under Medicare will meet my veto"..."Drug use in high school has declined by 11 percent over the last two years. 400,000 fewer young people are using drugs than in the year 2001"..."Tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players, to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now"..."Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases"..."Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives...Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."
And here are the three lines which, when spoken, led CNN's cameras to focus on Ted Kennedy (note smug scowl):
"The bill you passed gave prescription drug benefits to seniors"..."Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day"..."Starting this year, millions of Americans will be able to save money, tax-free, for their medical expenses in a health savings account."
Better than showing Charles Rangel snoozing through the speech, I guess. Kudos to Low Culture for the analysis.
7:00 AM What a start to the semester, with a wonderful convocation and a great spirit on campus. This weekend I return to Norfolk to meet with our New Testament Introduction students there. Winter weather is due to arrive again later this weekend, so, please, students, be careful while driving - AND walking! If you need to miss class, that's fine. Your safety comes first.
Wednesday, January 28
2:50 PM As my Intermediate Greek students and I begin our study of 1 Timothy, we will encounter many interesting and important textual variants, not the least of which is the one found in 3:16. This passage is a good test case to see which approach to resolving textual variants you espouse! For an interesting discussion of this variant, Klicken Sie hier and hier! Do you agree with their assessment? If not, why not?
2:30 PM Now this was a fun essay: Pourquoi l’homme est-il silencieux?
1:30 PM Republicans are becoming more and more outspoken about their opposition to George W. Bush. His amnesty proposal seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back. A sampling from Citizens Lobby is instructive:
"Bush will not get my vote... His amnesty bill is nothing but an outrage."
"YES, President Bush lost my vote for 2004. I feel that strongly about his misguided proposal. I will now find an Independent candidate…I will actively work AGAINST a George Bush reelection in 2004."
"I am a 57 year old life-long Republican. I have never voted any way but Republican for as long as I can remember. That is about to change with this election. I cannot support a president who supports lawbreakers."
"He has now lost my vote. As a son of a legal immigrant I take exception to his pandering to the Mexican/Hispanic population in the US. If you are here illegally you should be arrested and deported…"
"I will not vote for Bush now that I know he plans to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. Bush is spending billions of taxpayer dollars to defend the borders of other countries, but he won't do a thing about defending our own borders or enforcing our immigration laws."
"I am a life long Republican. I will never vote for President Bush again. If there is no viable Democrat, (a very likely situation), I will write in Congressman Tom Tancredo for president."
"I will not vote for Bush if the amnesty goes through. I voted for him in 2000 but not again. He has let California go to Mexifornia and let Fox take over America."
"For 28 years I have enforced immigration law, only to have our attempts thwarted by the likes of special interest groups. Now we have a President mocking the very laws our Congress enacted by the will of the people. Seems Mr. Bush doesn't understand who he represents."
"You bet Bush's 'earned stupidity' will affect how my wife and I vote in November. We will cast no votes for President."
"President Bush's intent to legalize illegal aliens is to legalize the invasion of the country that I fought to preserve in WWII…He should be charged with malfeasance of office and impeached."
"I will not vote in 2004, and I will ask my extended family to not support such a ludicrous program at the expense of our citizens."
"As a lifelong GOP voter, I do have another place to go on Nov 04. Like almost every other GOP and Dem voter I know, we are no longer buying that line that a vote for a third party vote is a wasted vote or a vote for the other party."
"I cried for happiness when Bush won the election. But now I cry out of my disappointment in Bush. I will not vote for him again. I'll write-in Rep. Ron Paul."
"I am very conservative, but I will not vote for Bush if he goes through with this bill. I still feel they could round them up and truck them back to their borders."
"Now I will vote against G W Bush. Illegal aliens are, by definition, illegal, and this amnesty policy cannot be tolerated. He must go."
"Bush's administration is a criminal tsunami. I'm a 3rd generation Republican and I will no longer support the Republican Party."
"I'm a 68 year old hard core Republican that has no intention of voting for Bush."
"I am against George Bush granting amnesty to illegal aliens. I will certainly vote against him if this passes."
"I have already saw over a million American jobs lost in the past few years. A vote to grant amnesty to fill more jobs of American people is absurd with millions unemployed…I have changed the way I will vote in the upcoming election."
"Gentlemen: I want to make my position very clear on amnesty for illegal criminal aliens. NO AMNESTY, PERIOD! Illegal border crossers from Mexico are criminals. Why in the world would any sane person reward them for ignoring our laws? I will not vote for those who do not support America and Americans. Believe it or not, neither will a lot of others, and I will spread the word."
"I am a member of the Republican National Committee and I have contributed money to various Republicans who were running for the Senate in order to get a Republican majority in the Senate at President's request, but I will not contribute to his own reelection campaign in spite of many requests to do so because he is giving amnesty to illegal aliens. I may not even vote for him."
"I voted for Bush to protect us...he has betrayed us....the illegals will flood California and bring with them corruption and other problems that will be economically disasterous for America…I will not vote for Bush I will vote third party!"
"The votes of my family will go to the person who will promise to close the gates, deport ALL illegal aliens and bring back the America we once knew. I have been an ardent supporter of George Bush until now."
"I am so angry with our president! Being a Republican, I have such pride, lets say had. Unless a strong republican candidate runs against Bush, I will have to vote democrat."
"I'm afraid that unless Pres. Bush changes directions, he has lost my vote. The invasion from the south is the greatest danger to this nation…"
8:50 AM A church in Jonesboro, Arkansas has this to say about its philosophy of leadership:
Fellowship does not have a Senior Pastor. Jesus is the head of the church and leads it through elders. The staff team is just that, a team. Each team member has a specific and distinct role to play based on calling, experience, gifting, capacity, and skills. Just as there are no “lone ranger” Christians; there are no “lone ranger” leaders. Even the pulpit will demonstrate team ministry as the teaching pastors will share the preaching responsibilities.
Hmmm, sounds pretty good to me.
7:40 AM In memoriam.
7:00 AM Today we wish a happy birthday to Major General George Pickett, CSA. He was a remarkable individual. Some little know facts about the man:
- Among the many demerits earned by Cadet George Pickett at West Point were ordinary 1's and 2's for dust in his room or not keeping eyes front during meal roll call or late at Tattoo call. But he occasionally hit the big time with . . . "profane language - 8 demerits" (August 21, 1842), "highly unmilitary conduct, attempting to trip up a file marching to supper - 8 demerits" (January 31, 1843), and "highly unsoldierly conduct, walking out on parade grounds, smoking tobacco and improperly dressed - 6 demerits" (December 25, 1843). One of the more unusual demerits was for his failure to wear leather stocks (worn outside shirt collars to stiffen them) during military exercises. The United States Army had abandoned the requirement years before, but West Point still considered the leather stock to be part of their dress code.
- George Pickett was the twentieth officer to attain the rank of General in the Confederate States Army.
- General Pickett's warhorse was named Old Black. She was steady, strong, and sure footed but would allow no one but General Pickett to mount her. The horse Pickett used for social occasions was named Lucy, a beautiful little thoroughbred mare.
- After the war, General Pickett declined to accept political positions from old army friends and chose, instead, to oversee insurance agencies in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
Below: Members of General Pickett's family were present for the July 1942 dedication of the military installation named in his honor. Holding the portrait is George Pickett IV.
Tuesday, January 27
5:45 PM I might not be the brightest penny in the pile but for the life of me I can't understand why our government doesn't do a better job of taking care of our men and women in uniform. (That women should be serving in combat roles is another question.) If we're going to send them into harm's way, we had better make sure they have EVERYTHING they need to do their jobs. The fact is, we aren't - and we don't seem to care. It's not only stupid, it has cost American lives, as this report details.
1:45 PM Plan now to meet us at the first major reenactment of the year in Aiken, South Carolina (thoroughbred country!). It brings to life the Battle of Aiken that occurred February 11-12, 1865. This year the event is being held February 21-22.
Saturday's festivities begin with camp tours and presentations from 9 a.m. to noon. Spectators are invited to take tours of the soldiers' camps and can also visit period merchants and camp followers, who hawk uniforms, weapons, and food. Women in period hoop skirts demonstrate crafts and explain the role of women in the war. The battle commences at 2 p.m., followed by a harrowing field hospital presentation. A special night fire of artillery is scheduled for 8 p.m., followed by a period dance. The battlefield reopens Sunday at 9 a.m. The 9:30 a.m. period church service is a personal favorite, and a new battle scenario starts at 2 p.m. The event ends with a grand pass and review of the troops at 3 p.m.
Below: The 30th North Carolina sloshing off to battle at the reenactment at New Market, Virginia (yours truly is fourth from right). We nicknamed it "Mud Market."
1:00 PM Now here's a new book I'm looking forward to reading. It's subtitled, The Worldly Influence of Modern Culture on the Church in America.
9:30 AM You need to, ah, like throw out those, ah, verbal crutches if you're gonna like, ah, be a public speaker.
8:00 AM What some Brits think about our silly seeker-sensitivity. Hat tip to Covenant News for the link.
7:45 AM This was my commute this morning:
7:15 AM When I began my doctoral studies at the University of Basel, my mentor told us to be very careful to back up our dissertations. That was because in order to graduate the student had to have his dissertation published and then have 125 copies of his published work delivered to the university library at his expense. Naturally we were very careful to see that we had backups in at least two places. One student, our professor grimly noted, had not done so, and a house fire had destroyed his only copy. As a result, no graduation! The punch line, though, was this: the student felt he had earned his degree and so used the title "Dr." throughout his career, even though he had never graduated!
Titles are to be earned. But we can go further: titles, even those that are earned, are hardly necessary among God's people (please read Matthew 23). As always, it's character that counts. As Alexander Strauch, author of Biblical Eldership, reminds us (p. 259):
There were prophets, teachers, apostles, pastors, evangelists, leaders, elders, and deacons within the early church, but these terms were not used as formal titles. For example, all Christians are saints, but there is no “Saint John.” All are priests, but there is no “Priest Philip.” Some are elders, but there is no “Elder Paul.” Some are pastors, but there is no “Pastor James.” Some are deacons, but there is no “Deacon Peter.” Some are apostles, but is no “Apostle Andrew.” Rather than gaining honor though titles and position, New Testament believers received honor primarily for their service and work (Acts 15:26; Romans 16:1, 2, 4, 12; 1 Corinthians 8:18; 2 Corinthians 8:18; Philippians 2:29, 30; Colossians 1:7; 4:12, 13; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:1). The early Christians referred to each other by personal names—Timothy, Paul, Titus, etc.—or referred to an individual’s spiritual character and work: “…Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 6:5); Barnabas, “…a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith…” (Acts 11:24); “…Philip the evangelist…” (Acts 21:8); “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow-workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3); “Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you” (Romans 16:6); etc. The array of ecclesiastical titles accompanying the names of Christian leaders today is completely missing from the New Testament, and would have appalled the apostles and early believers.
7:00 AM My heart has been warmed by the response to our essay on the Black Regiment. One reader had this to say:
I, along with my wife, are as fed up with compassionate conservatism as you are. We have joined the black list and will not compromise to vote for Bush, nor any other who, under the guise of promoting liberty and justice, destroys it. Nor will we vote for anyone who plunders his own people to give to others. We will promote voluntary charity as opposed to forced charity. So help us God.
Thank you, dear friend, and may God give you the strength and courage you will need to keep your vows before Him.
Monday, January 26
4:45 PM This day in history: the day of denials.
4:15 PM The following goes well with our essay from today on the Black Regiment:
Rulers have no authority [power] from God to do mischief.... It is blasphemy to call tyrants and oppressors God's minister's... No rulers are properly God's ministers but such as are "just, ruling in the fear of God." When once magistrates act contrary to their office, and the end of their institution--when they rob and ruin the public, instead of being guardians of its peace and welfare--they immediately cease to be the ordinance and ministers of God, and no more deserve that glorious character than common pirates and highwaymen. ~ Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, Boston, 1750
4:00 PM Ron Holland posted this fascinating report at the Swiss Gnomes website. It explains how and why the rural areas in Switzerland tend to be more conservative than their urban counterparts. In fact, this tension was the impetus for a civil war in Basel that led to its breakup into two Cantons: Basel-City, and Basel-Country. I well remember the (mostly polite) rivalry between these two Swiss states when I resided near the Rhine (in Basel-City). An excerpt that highlights this polarization:
They also highlight the major differences: the cultural divide between linguistic regions, and the gulf between urban and rural areas, especially in German-speaking Switzerland.“We are seeing a growing polarisation: the cities attract people of liberal and left-wing convictions, while a conservative, right-wing spirit predominates in the countryside. The difference is immediately apparent once you get beyond the agglomerations,” observed Leuthold.
3:00 PM One of my favorite blogs will soon be reopening - I think! Now stop your squabbling,you two.
2:00 PM Here is an encouraging article entitled The Aim, the Reproach, and the Triumph of the Religious Reformer. An appetizer:
There is a great deal of this work of reform before the church at the present day. Especially is this true of the Baptist churches of this country. They are prepared to labor for a more thorough reformation than any others can undertake. There are forms of error, productive of incalculable mischief, which none others can consistently attack....
10:30 AM Let's see, we've got 234 military golf courses, 702 overseas bases in 130 countries, 71 military Lear jets, etc., etc., etc. Little wonder Charley Reese wants his republic back.
8:30 AM The latest reality show from UPN mocks the Amish. Personally, I've learned a great deal from them.
8:05 AM The snow and ice were treacherous this morning, and a half hour commute took 2 hours, but I finally arrived safely on campus this morning to begin a brand spanking new semester. This spring I will be teaching 2 sections of one of my favorite classes (Beginning Greek), plus Intermediate Greek Exegesis (we'll be translating 1 Timothy) and New Testament Introduction at our extension in Norfolk, not to mention the Ph. D. mentoring andindependent study courses I'll be overseeing. Should be a great semester. Again, if you can join us in chapel tomorrow for our 10:00 am convocation, you'll get to hear our new president speak - plus see the faculty regaled in their silly-looking academic garb (a REAL eye-opener!). As we begin this semester, I am reminded of the words of that great man of God A. W. Tozer:
Begin any new undertaking with God. Bring it under the scrutiny of His all-seeing eye. Many blunders would never have been made if we had prayed as much in advance as we pined after the damage was done.
This is good advice, dear students. May your semester be the best ever! And remember: my door is always open.
Saturday, January 24
7:05 AM Yep, the "mushroom cloud" was nothing but a smokescreen. Take it from David Kay. Read an interview on why he stepped down here.
7:00 AM "Unless things get rosy in the next six months, people are going to leave." And at a rate of 20-22 percent a year.
6:45 AM A reader sent me this interesting link on how the GOP stifles conservatism, noting that President Bush is the all-time big spender on discretionary items. Sorta like Bill Clinton on steroids, says Harry Browne.
Friday, January 23
12:30 PM From our Today In History file, an American president announces "peace with honor." Let's see, where have we heard this before?
10:30 AM Ousting Saddam Hussein cost us billions and billions of dollars, and the aftermath of the war will be even more expensive, as Clay Bennett reminds us.
As usual, Pat Buchanan is right on target:
Where Nixon did fitfully fight Democratic excesses in spending, by impounding funds, Bush has tanked totally. He has not vetoed a single bill. He is presiding over a budget deficit of $500 billion and a merchandise trade deficit of $500 billion. We are borrowing 10 percent of GDP to finance consumption. This is unsustainable. The only question is when our foreign creditors will decide to close the lending window and call in the loans.
Moreover, Bush is presiding over a structural crisis in the economy Nixon never knew – 40 straight months of lost manufacturing jobs and the monthly attrition of white-collar and information-technology jobs to Asia.
"This is unsustainable" is probably an understatement. Mmmm, the gold market is looking better and better all the time folks....
Let me be the first one to say it: President Bush is on track to lose in November, and it won't matter who his Democratic opponent is. His fabrications, deceptions, and prevarications are just too much to stomach. His duplicity rivals anything in the previous administration, a Republican name plate notwithstanding.
Read Chuck's entire essay here.
Thursday, January 22
I would like to thank you for your wonderful articles on both Lee and Jackson celebrating their birthdays. Your's is the first website I check each morning and you never let me down. Keep up the good work of spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and of informing others of their Constitutional duties as citizens of our great country. Thanks again for all your hard work. Deo Vindice.
The same writer included a link by David Brownlow that echoes our front page story: George Bush - The Greater of Two Evils?
Wednesday, January 21
- Are You Thankful For How God Blessed You Today?
My struggle with discontentment.
- In His Hands
A poem about God's work in history.
- Lessons of Joshua
A generation of God's people coming of age.
Lessons we can learn from Hezekiah, king of Judah.
- So You Want to Be a Millionaire?
Thoughts on wealth, work, and worry.
- What God Joins Together
A survey of Biblical teaching on preparing for marriage and finding a wife.
- Why I Plan to Train My Children at Home
The title says it.
The site also contains some thoughtful book and movie reviews. Highly recommended!
While conservatives like to condemn Democrats for their pro-abortion position (justifiably so), they seldom hold Republicans to the same standard. It seems that most conservatives only object if Democrats kill babies. Republicans, however, are able to kill babies with impunity.
We could argue over the choice of the votes that were used in this "Conservative Index," but it will be hard to deny the huge expansion of our government that has occurred under Republican control of Congress. Compromise after compromise, big government vote after big government vote, Republicans have saddled us with over a 60% increase in federal spending, and theaccompanying loss of freedoms, just since they took control of Congress in 1994!Every single spending bill must originate in the House, so it is not hard to point to the source of the problem … and the problem is not the Democrats!
The last word?
Sure, the Republicans have convinced millions to ignore the evidence and allow the charade to continue. And they have certainly figured out how to win elections - simply become just like your opponent and promise everything to everybody. But we are never going to solve our problems by re-electing the same people who created this mess in the first place!
Friends, despite Bush's promises to save the world (including our marriages), isn't it time to face our insane and unconstitutional budget policies?
Thank you for sharing your perspective on history and society through your website. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, a homeschool graduate, and a student of history and politics. Lee and Jackson are two of my most-admired men, and I'm glad people like you promote their noble legacy. May the Lord bless you and your family and your work, and may he give us wisdom and courage to serve him in our generation.
Thank you, Sir, for writing and for appreciating your godly Southern heritage. It is very rich indeed and is vastly wider and deeper than the Second War for Independence. I trust you will stand your ground as did Jackson at First Manassas.
Tuesday, January 20
10:45 AM and the way they so easily distort the truth, Pastor John Piper once had this to say:
In January President [George H. W.] Bush sacrificed the meaning of Matthew 5:14 on the altar of national pride, when he said to the National Religious Broadcasters in defense of the Gulf war, "I want to thank you for helping America, as Christ ordained, to be a light unto the world." What that amounts to is an outrageous distortion of Jesus' meaning. That misuse of Scripture is designed for immature babes that are easily swayed by surface words without thought and discernment. The "light of the world" in Matthew 5:14 does not refer to Americans bombing Iraq no matter how justified the war may have been.
10:15 AM According to L'Express, Islam is now the second religion of France, and growing.
7:45 AM As a doctoral student at the University of Basel in Switzerland I had the privilege of studying under Markus Barth (the son of the famous theologian) and Bo Reicke. The other New Testament professor, Oscar Cullmann, had just retired, but I hadseveral opportunities to spend time with him in his home on the Birmannsgasse (where I first lived in Basel). His Christology of the New Testament is, in my opinion, the best book ever written on the subject, and now I see (thanks to Andrew Sandlin) that his classicImmortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead? is availableonline. I concur with Sandlin:
I commend to you this short but vital treatise, which captures as perhaps no other book except the Bible itself the glories of the Christian conception of resurrection and repudiation of the Hellenic view of the immortality of the soul, a pernicious view that persists in the Church to this day.
7:30 AM John Kerry will be the Un-Dean, Un-Clark, Un-Hackneyed, Un-Untested, Un-Bush Democratic nominee.Meanwhile, it looks like
Kerry's proven heroism will make him a formidable candidate against a war-time President. His heroism, plus his having voted for the resolution authorizing Operation Iraqi Freedom, will immunize him from the too-naive, too-erratic, too-hackneyed, too-un-experienced arguments Bush could make against Dean, Clark, Gephardt or Edwards. The angry, fervent "movement" that initially gravitated to Dean will support Kerry enthusiastically to avoid the Nader effect that many of them perceive as having cost Gore the 2000 election. A Kerry candidacy presents the best opportunity for the country to make a rational choice between the parties. Kerry's greatest difficulty will be to distance himself from the vitriolically anti-Bush support he's likely to receive from the fervent, angry "Dean" wing of the Democratic Party.
Brown is not the first to propose that Christianity is a vast conspiracy by the Vatican and/or others to hoodwink the world about the true Jesus. He will not be the last. What is surprising is not that he would boldly label “FACT” what has been so totally refuted by the evidence. What is surprising is that our culture is so ill-equipped so as not to be able to discern fact from fiction, misinformed about Christianity, woefully ignorant of history, and clueless about the Bible – its origin, composition, preservation, and translation. This novel is based on such flimsy fabrication that if it used any other setting – an ethnic neighborhood, a police investigation, an environmental conservation movement, for example – no one would be able to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the story. That millions of people are not turned off by the lack of authenticity in The DaVinci Code is more than surprising—it is sad. That critics and even news media are so gullible is more than revealing about the state of our culture—it reveals the tragic truth that our culture is in need of rediscovering Truth.
Government is not morality, government is force – and forcing taxpayers to fund another silly program will not strengthen the institution of marriage. If Mr. Bush really wants to promote marriage, he should work to dismantle the soul-destroying welfare system that rewards out-of-wedlock births. He should work to end the judicial assault on religious liberty. He should urge Congress to cut spending and taxes, so that more money can flow into churches and private charities. The president certainly is correct that marriage is important, and the need for stable, two-parent families is apparent. We should all be quite skeptical, however, of claims that government programs can fix the deep-rooted cultural problems responsible for the decline of the American family.
Monday, January 19
Ten years ago this month, worshippers at a small church a stone's throw from this city's airport began laughing uncontrollably. They also made animal noises -- braying, barking, howling and roaring. They collapsed to the floor, staggered about as if drunk, shook and jerked; wept, wailed and yelped. Faces contorted with tics. Groans and guffaws hung in the air. Bodies lay prone on the carpet.
Read more here.
William Buppert, a retired Army officer, lives on a ranch in the Inland Northwest with his wife and their three homeschooled children.
I enjoyed your pages on General Lee very much, and I appreciate the time and effort that you have taken to help expose the real man. The general public knows very little about the man and most view him only from a military standpoint, and then, only in one the one conflict of the north and the south. I found a prayer several years ago that was attributed to General Lee and have found great comfort in praying it when the burden seems too great. I will do my best to send you a copy of it this evening.
Thank you, and may your tribe increase!
There is no more fun time, golf time or couch potato time. There is only time to get organized and demand your governor, with the assistance of your state legislature, seal up your border with Mexico. Since the White House is determined to allow wholesale invasion, the sovereign states of the Union have every legal right to stop it. There is no other alternative. "Elect a conservative Republican" is about as effective as mammary glands on a bull.As sovereign republics, the individual states of the Union have the right to repel any invasion when the federal government refuses to perform their lawful duty. There is no doubt about the intentions of Washington, DC, so it IS the duty of the citizens to demand their governor and their local sheriffs go after these illegals and deport them or they will feel the wrath of their citizenry.
Friday, January 16
The first German serviceman killed in WW II was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland, 1940), and the highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the U.S. Army Air Corps. So much for allies.At the time of Pearl Harbor the top U.S. Navy command was Called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”), the shoulder patch of the US Army’s 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler’s private train was named “Amerika.” All three were soon changed for PR purposes.More U.S. servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions your chance of being killed was 71%.It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every fifth round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics, so at long range, if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.The German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.Among the first “Germans” captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the U.S. Army.Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 U.S. and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. Twenty-one troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse had there been any Japanese on the island.
The way I see it the book encourages and sanctions a form of selfishness as part of one's relationship with God. Prayer is to have us learn the will of God and that our will would agree with the will of God. If my prayer does not line up with God's will as revealed in the Scriptures, then I need to ask Him to change my heart. Molding us by changing our desire is part of the sanctification process. What is ignored is for God to change our hearts in Wikinson’s The Prayer of Jabez. Selfishness is encouraged although he states it in such a way that to further the kingdom it must run through us.
Many federal politicians claim the Constitution is a living document that should be liberally interpreted to fit the needs of modern society. This is an open invitation to tyranny. Not only would this make politicians and the federal judiciary supreme and above the Constitution, but it would make the Constitution trivial as a written document, because political ideology would determine its meaning. This would also convert the federal government from a government of laws, to a government of men.The Framers created a mechanism for granting the federal government additional power. That process is outlined in Article V of the Constitution. The Constitution is a living document only in the sense that it can be modified, at any time, by way of the amendment process noted above. Unfortunately, most federal politicians cannot be bothered with this process, when it comes to expanding their power. They prefer the judicial re-interpretation and expansion process to the constitutional process. Politicians simply pass the law and hope it will not be challenged or their political appointees in the federal judiciary will find a way to make the law "comport" with the Constitution.
The moves on both sides of the Atlantic show that the row over homosexuality is far from settled and the threat to split the Anglican communion is stronger than ever, giving the commission little chance of success in keeping warring factions together.
Thursday, January 15
4:30 PM Religious publishers keep turning out nonsense under the name of "scholarship," reminding me that it is so easy for a person to be educated beyond his intelligence. There is no place in biblical studies for the kind of arrogance that characterizes much of what passes as religious fare these days. The old Scottish proverb says its best: Greek, Hebrew, and Latin all have their proper place, but that is not at the head of the cross, where Pilate put them, but at the foot of the cross in humble service to Christ. How thankful and humbled I am to be part of a seminary family that knows the proper place of biblical scholarship, and that is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to obey His commission to make disciples of all the nations. I am sure that our new president (elected 30 minutes ago) will continue this emphasis that has made Southeastern unique among institutions of higher education. Heartiest congratulations, Dr. Akin, and welcome to SEBTS! May the Lord bless you and your precious family and use you mightily in the years to come!
4:20 PM Once saved, always persevering. This is an excellent essay by one of my colleagues at Southern Seminary in Louisville.
4:00 PM Osama has been FOUND!
2:00 PM The Sundance Film Festival starts today with a surfing movie on big wave riding entitled Riding Giants, a look at the people behind the extreme sport of tow-in surfing. Iremember searching for the ultimate wave while growing up in Hawaii. To me, the nearest I ever got to perfection were the 20-25 footers at Pupukea (next to the Banzai Pipeline). For me, surfing was never about man against wave but the attempt to establish a partnership, much as it is today between me and my horses.
1:30 PM Five U.S. military lawyers have the courage to challenge the government's unconstitutional military tribunals. Thankfully, the high court is willing to listen.
They will argue that, in banning defendants from appealing to the civilian courts, President George W Bush is claiming "monarchical" powers, to act as the defendants' ultimate prosecutor, judge, jury, final court of appeal and, potentially, executioner.Unless prisoners have recourse to civilian judges, they are being thrown into a legal "black hole", say lawyers.Over Bush administration objections, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear actions challenging Mr Bush's treatment of Americans and foreigners designated "enemy combatants".
Folks, the U.S. Constitution is not something to be tampered with, unless you think you are above the law!
10:00 AM Never one to miss a good photo-op, the president says we are going back to Mars, even though it will waste millions of taxpayers' dollars which the government has no constitutional right to spend in the first place.
7:45 AM It arrived yesterday! Our Certificate of Occupancy, that is, after two long years of work on our new house on the farm! We modeled it after a two-story 1820s Southern plantation home, and it really does have a warm, old feel. We plan to dedicate it to the Lord as soon as the weather warms up a bit. More details later....
7:30 AM Top of the morning, folks! My good friend Mike Tuggle just sent me this wonderful piece by a 17-year old who loves the South, as I do. I first met this gracious Southern lady when I spoke in Salisbury last year. I haven't visited historic Seabrook Island yet but I will after her report. She also spent some time in Charleston, where my family and I will be going this April to attend the Hunley reburial. I plan to march, in uniform, in the parade to the cemetery, and then take my father-in-law on his first visit ever to Fort Sumter. Speaking of South Carolina, I hope those of you who live near Aiken will come out and visit us during the annual reenactment there. We have a great time playing bang-bang and doing living history on the story of Sherman's march to the sea. Homeschoolers, I extend to you a special invitation! Come, enjoy, and learn!
Wednesday, January 14
11:30 AM Looks like John Debney will score Mel Gibson's Passion after all. Remember, he was the guy who scored Bruce Almighty, a blasphemous caricature of God starring Jim Carrey. The movie featured various "God-related" songs performed by artists such as Fatboy Slim, Mick Jagger, and Joan Osborne. O well....
11:00 AM My friends at Dixie Internet just linked to this essay on Civil War chaplains who often served without pay. The religious dimensions of that war are often overlooked by historians, even though many generals and other soldiers were devoted Christians. Two men who had a simple faith in their God were Lee and Jackson.
6:35 AM Whatever you think about Howard Dean, you can't gainsay his savvy. So why shouldn't patriotic constitutionalists become Masters of the Internet? Start your own websitetoday!
6:30 AM Ouch! Please stop it already, Berit!
Tuesday, January 13
2:45 PM Residents of Quebec spend ten years of their lives in front of their television sets. Sadly, for many North Americans the boob tube has become their best friend.
11:30 AM For all my neocon friends who still believe the Iraqi war was necessary comes this report based on the findings of the US ARMY WAR COLLEGE! Read it and weep.
The United States' top training institution for military leaders has criticised the Bush Administration's handling of the war on terrorism.The Army War College accused the Administration of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that might lead to US wars with nations that posed no serious threat.Its report warns that as a result of those mistakes, the US Army is "near breaking point".
As I have reported ad nauseum, our unconstitutional "nation building" is unbelievable hubris!
11:15 AM Folks, you can forget everything I've said about third party candidates this election cycle. I've finally seen the light! Vote Republican and save America!
11:00 AM In London, the plunge in church attendance continues unimpeded. Maybe Londoners should read what the great Baptist preacher (and fellow Londoner) Spurgeon had to say aboutperseverance.
That is what falling away is. It is not to sin temporally. A child may sin against his father, and still be alive; but falling away is like cutting the child’s head off clean, Not falling merely, for then our Father could pick us up, but being dashed down a precipice, where we are lost for ever. Falling away would involve God’s grace changing its living nature; God’s immutability becoming variable; God’s faithfulness becoming changeable; and God himself being undeified. For all these things falling away would necessitate.
8:00 AM David Hackworth has something to say about Bush's plans to send men to the moon. He is absolutely right:
Our country’s service heroes must be properly looked after before the rest of the world gets any more goodies. And certainly before the powers that be give another thought to colonizing the moon or Mars.
7:30 AM Devvy Kidd has just published part two of her series on the IRS. This is a must read!
There is a revolution going on in America. A revolution by freedom loving Americans who have simply had enough of being forced against their will to volunteer into programs that may have seemed for the “good of the people” at the time, but over time have proven to be nothing more than steps towards a complete communist state. This transition won't happen overnight, but it will happen.Mr. Bush and Congress: Tell the American people the truth. You must honor those who depend on this program, but unless you come clean, the social security system will continue to be nothing more than a political football while it spasmodically jerks towards an inevitable death.
Monday, January 12
4:45 PM Izzy Lyman just linked to this great story. From one Hawaiian surfer to another, I'm proud of you, Bethany!
4:20 PM Bush supporters, don't go HERE!
4:15 PM WMD are still MIA in Iraq. Who woulda thunk it? You might guess that could spellRIP for the Bush doctrine.
4:00 PM David Mewbourne sent me this email today.
Dave,Regarding your column today, there is a third party who puts its hope for a free America in the hands of God.
Please check out the Constitution Party at http://www.constitutionparty.comYou and I both know that America will never be free due to any political party - but only when we, as a people, return to God. The Constitution Party would not impede such a revival as the current parties would.
3:45 PM Once again, the foreign press has insights often missed by U.S. news carriers. This essay from Le Monde is a case in point. Entitled L'Amérique divisée, here's an excerpt:
Comme aucun président avant lui, il a exacerbé la ligne de fracture américaine : sur les côtes et dans les grandes villes, une tradition politique plutôt libérale, faite de tolérance en matière de mœurs, où l'on n'est pas convaincu que le pays incarne forcément le Bien et la Vérité ; au sud et à l'intérieur, une culture politique de plus en plus empreinte de religiosité, où les valeurs familiales traditionnelles sont portées aussi haut qu'un patriotisme hyper-nationaliste, où la Bible et la bannière étoilée tiennent lieu de programme. D'un côté, le pays démocrate ; de l'autre, le pays républicain. Et, entre les deux, de moins en moins de passerelles.Jusqu'à la fin des années 1970, les politologues qualifiaient le pays de nation 40-40-20 : 40 % démocrate, 40 % républicaine, les 20 % restants étant composés d'électeurs indépendants. Le succès électoral était acquis au centre, en séduisant plus d'indépendants que l'autre camp. Aujourd'hui, c'est la nation 50-50, ou presque. La victoire ne s'obtient plus en pêchant l'électorat indécis ; sur fond d'abstentionnisme massif, elle s'enlève en mobilisant le noyau dur de son propre camp. D'où l'importance de certains marqueurs idéologiques comme la question de l'avortement, du mariage homosexuel ou de la place de la religion dans la vie publique.
Longtemps, la politique américaine a été le fait de compromis bipartisans au Congrès. Ce n'est plus que rarement le cas : au Sénat et à la Chambre des représentants d'aujourd'hui, l'opposition entre la majorité républicaine et la minorité démocrate est de plus en plus radicale. Elle ne s'est estompée que devant les choix du président dans la lutte contre le terrorisme, de l'Afghanistan à l'Irak. Sur le reste, le fond politique comme la manière de l'homme, on aime, passionnément, ou on déteste, absolument, M. Bush. C'est parce qu'il a su rejeter George W. Bush en bloc – des baisses d'impôts à l'Irak – que M. Dean incarne le mieux la colère de l'électorat démocrate. Mais dans un pays où l'on croit que chaque problème a une solution, il lui reste à proposer autant qu'à s'opposer.
I thought this comment was particularly interesting: "...on aime, passionnément, ou on déteste, absolument, M. Bush." Would you agree?
11:30 AM The Five Hundred.
8:00 AM From reader Roy Nunn, who once studied in Germany, come these remarks in response to my essay, “Immigration Madness: Not Limited to Switzerland”:
Nice article. Something else to think about. You didn’t mention any other countries, however, such as Germany. And I’m not talking about their Gastarbeiter [guest workers]. I’m talking about the same thing you wrote about: Scheinflüchtlinge [counterfeit refugees] und illegaler Einwanderer [illegal immigrants]. What a shock to me when I discovered it during my visit to Germany about a year ago. Is this an epidemic?I was saddened to see it happening. Unregulated immigration, much like here. Even worse, I discovered that it wasn’t polite to even talk about such things. After all, you don’t want to be wrongly accused of being a Nazi or Neo-Nazi. Germans are expected to pay for their sins, to pay for what their forefathers did to the Jews. Or so they’ve been taught. So Germans don’t talk about common sense issues such as immigration. One doesn’t talk much about German heritage or show German pride. If at all, then delicately. They’ve learned well the new ways of American freedom: political correctness. A German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once taught to ask the question: Freiheit, wozu? People could also ask themselves: political correctness, wozu? Where will it lead?While walking along a beautiful stream beside the edge of a forest in den schwäbischen Alp, I came upon an old, run-down, boarded up building. It had once, not that long ago, been used by the famous Goethe Institut as a language school and to teach German culture to foreigners. As I was wondering what had happened to it, why it had been closed down, an older couple appeared on the trail and greated me with the traditional “Grüß Gott.” We talked. Apparently, the government had decided it was more important to discontinue supporting cultural organizations such as the Goethe Institut, and to use those tax monies, instead, to support die Scheinflüchtlingen und illegaler Einwanderer. In fact, as I learned in our conversation, the government had recently build a very nice apartment complex just down the road a ways to house Scheinflüchtlinge. According to the German Constitution, Germany must accept Asylbewerber, although everyone knows that the majority of them aren’t really fleeing anything. That’s basically what Scheinflüchtlinge means.Just then a Sub-Saharan African came riding by on his bicycle from the apartment complex from down the road, mumbling some gibberish at us. The old German couple was visibly upset, saying that these immigrants had no interest in German culture, wanted a free ticket to a better life, and worst of all, consistently insulted them by yelling profanities at them and yelling out “heil Hitler,” ”sieg Heil” etc. To top it off, they had never experienced any crime until these Africans moved into the complex. I apologized to the couple if I had been too impolite by asking too many questions (they were very interesting people to talk with). Then I decided to walk on down the trail to this new immigrant apartment complex. When I got there, it was frightening. This new complex had been destroyed by the Africans. The floors were full of liter, the intercom system was pulled out of the walls, spray paint everywhere, broken lights, and it stunk. What a beautiful site at the foot of the mountain, and it looked like “s--t.” What an insult to Germans.But do the Germans do anything about it. No. They immulate the U.S. They take in more and more Scheinflüchtlinge und illegaler Einwanderer. Why? Why don’t they do something about it? Well, I’d like to know. Why don’t Americans do something about it? Probably for the same reason: political correctness! And fear of punishment, fear of free speech. Fear of the word “race” when it applies to the white race. You could be a Nazi! If you don’t believe in illegal immigration, if you don’t believe that everybody else in the world has the right to simply immigrate to the United States, ...and be supported by your tax dollars, ...maybe you are a Nazi? Pres. Bush supports illegal immigration. He says, immigrants fill up the jobs that Americans don’t do. With that kind of lame propaganda, it proves that Americans don’t think, can’t think things through to a logical conclusion. But illegal immigrants can! They know a good thing when they hear it. And Bush knows they do. They’ll vote, ...they’ll vote, legal or not! The question on a politician’s mind is: for whom will the illegal immigrants vote? Not if it’s illegal, not if we have rule of law and justice this country.Think of the children, ...think of the immigrants’ children. Then yours. In that order. The children of these immigrants will get placed in our universities before your American children, ...and you will pay for it too, right through your nose, for their living expenses, for their social service expenses, for their medical expenses and their college educational expenses! If you have any money left, and you’re lucky, you can pay for your kid’s education. This isn’t theoretical, it’s already happening. Sub-Saharan Africans already get priority over your white children for college admissions. It’s “American” policy. Mexicans, should too, right? What about every other race? Any argument against this idea is a “hate crime” one way or another to the politically correct. One other little matter of no concern today: do these immigrants want to even be American?Or what about this argument for a change: are you Christian? Do you want this nation to be Christian? It WILL BE SOMETHING in the long run. There’s no arguing that. So what will it be? Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or whatever? Or what culture? Black culture, white culture, Mexican culture, or whatever? It WILL BE SOMETHING in the long run. What do you want for your children? My kin fought with George Washington, fought again against the British in 1812, fought against Lincoln, fought in WWI and WWII for America, for American values and American culture. Not for African culture, not for Mexican culture, not for any other culture. Do you think American culture is what they’d want us to preserve? For whom and what did your ancestors fight? Did they fight for their country? Or do you think they fought for Scheinflüchtlinge und illegaler Einwanderer and their cultures and their religions?Good luck with this battle. If you have time to send me information regarding Switzerland’s problems in this area, it would be appreciated. I’d be interested in learning more about their experiences in this area.
7:30 AM Good morning one and all! Preached at "the barn" again yesterday in the mountains of Virginia and enjoyed fellowship with a wonderful group of committed homeschool families. Folks, politics offers no solution to the cultural problems in America. We must understand that reform begins at the home level first, starting with our own families. It doesn't do any good to rail against Bush or anyone else in government unless we begin reform at the ground level, in our own homes and churches. In his 52 years this writer has left undone much that he ought to have done, but he is finally learning to live, one day at a time, not a changed life but an EXCHANGED life - not I but Christ (Gal 2:20)! May the words of that great North African Christian Augustine, from his Confessions, be as great an encouragement to you this week as they have already been to me this morning in my devotions:
- Entrust the past to God's mercy, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.
- Man is a great depth, O Lord. You number his hairs, but the hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feelings, the movements of his heart.
- I am ashamed that my tongue cannot live up my heart.
- O greedy men, what will satisfy you if God Himself will not?
- Now let us hear, brothers, let us hear and sing; let us pine for the City where we are citizens. By pining we are already there; we have already cast our hope, like an anchor, on that coast.
A fellow pilgrim and stranger on earth,
Friday, January 9
2:20 PM Speaking of secession....
1:00 PM All the recent hubbub in North Carolina by Christian parents about sex education in the public schools seems a little misplaced to me. Government schools have been in rebellion against God almost since their inception. Genuine knowledge of any subject always begins with reverence toward and submission to God, attitudes that are completely absence in our public schools. No one has put this better than Gary North:
The modern institution that is most self-consciously built in terms of the myth of neutrality is the "public" school, meaning the government school, meaning the taxpayer-financed school. Its legal foundation is the myth of neutrality. No religious or sectarian views are supposed to be taught in a public school, because people of many different religious beliefs are required by law to support it financially. Expenditures of tax money are supposed to be neutral, non-religious expenditures.All this talk of neutral education is sheer nonsense. You cannot teach without ultimate concepts of true and false. Label one idea false-the evolution of the universe out of random matter that exploded with a big bang 15 billion years ago-and you have attacked some taxpayer's deeply held religious convictions. Label another idea true-the evolution of mankind from lower animals, for example-and you have attacked a different taxpayer's deeply held religious view. You are using his money to indoctrinate his children with ideas that he despises. Without exception, the major victims today are conservative Christians whose children are under deliberate religious and intellectual attack by taxpayer-financed schools.
But, you say, aren't vouchers the solution? If you feel your child is trapped in an under-performing government school, I can guarantee you that a government-sponsored voucher system will only add to your woes. Never forget that every dollar of federal funding has a sizeable string attached to it. Though it may take longer than with most federal programs, once the government’s fingers touch the dough, it can and will insist that its own “standards”—as interpreted by its own educational bureaucrats—be followed.
The solution is simple, folks. Get 'em out, and get 'em out now!
12:30 PM There you have it: We were lied to. Take it from Mr. Kay himself. By the way, lying a nation into war is an impeachable offense, wouldn't you think?
8:00 AM Winter has finally arrived in the Triangle. Please be careful out there!
Thursday, January 8
4:30 PM Icky's blog just linked an interesting read on an exurbanite family living on a 122-acre spread in Northern Virginia (pictured below) that has relocated back to the city. Seemscountry living was more than they bargained for. Having owned a rural property in North Carolina for six years and a 123-acre farm in Virginia for over two years, I can only suggest that the problem is often unrealistic expectations. For this kind of move to work, you've got to be willing to adopt a rural mentality and lifestyle. Perhaps we could say that the main difference is between a rural gemeinschaft mentality, and an urbangesellschaft outlook, and these are widely different perspectives indeed. The result is often an unbearable dissonance and a return to suburbanism, especially the ugly pseudo-village design so commonplace today. I can only say how much we truly love and enjoy country living, and we are doing all we can to be able to grow our own vegetables, produce our own meat supply, etc. Sure it's hard work, but there's nothing quite like working with one's hands in the historic soil of Virginia! The concomitant, of course, is a growing sense of identity and community, where neighbors are neighbors indeed. It's the best of both worlds, really. Try it, you might like it!
4:00 PM The latest from Ever Vigilant's Lee Shelton reminds us that the best offense is often a good defense.
Unfortunately, the strong offense we had nurtured so diligently over the last 60 years or so proved to be completely powerless on Sept. 11, 2001. In the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, 3,000 people lost their lives, and the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, is still at large.Now, the Bush administration and its neoconservative apologists are pushing for an even more offense-centric approach to foreign policy and homeland security. The core of their philosophy is the "doctrine of pre-emption" - that is, attacking any nation that could one day pose a threat to the United States. On the heels of our successful effort to bring about regime change in Iraq, the neocons are calling for more of the same in countries like Iran and Syria.The problem is that while government officials recognize the need for a shift in foreign policy and homeland security, they are subscribing to the increasingly antiquated notion that an even stronger offense is needed in order to better protect our shores. In doing so, they are ignoring key defensive measures that need to be addressed if we are to be truly more secure.
3:00 PM From the Institute on the Constitution's website comes these excellent questions to ask anyone running for public office in America:
- Do you believe the U.S. Constitution is a "living document"? If so, what does that mean?
- Do you believe the Constitution should be construed according to the intent of the Framers?
- Do you believe the federal government has all powers except those prohibited by the Constitution, on no powers except those delegated by the Constitution?
- Do you believe our constitutional republic is still workable today? If not, how would you change it?
- Do you believe the Constitution prohibits state governments from acknowledging God and His Law?
- Do you believe the Constitution provides for separation of church and state? If so, where is that provision, and how is it worded?
- Do you believe Article III Section II gives Congress the authority to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court? If so, under what circumstances would you vote to invoke that authority?
- Do you believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms?
- Do you believe the Constitution guarantees a right to privacy? If so, where is that right found in the Constitution? Does it include such practices as abortion and sodomy?
- Do you believe the Bible has a proper role in the formulation of law and policy? If so, how? What, in your opinion, is the purpose of government?
I'm wondering, if we ever got serious again about the Constitution, what kind of a president would we have in this great nation of ours?
12:35 PM Our conservative president just doesn't seem to get it. The solution to illegal immigration is most certainly NOT to cave in to radical Hispanic militants. What's really behind the Bienvenidos and Bush's amnesty plan? Go here and find out. A sampling:
The new Bush amnesty would be far worse than previous amnesties, says Nelson, who served 25 years in the Border Patrol and INS. “The paperwork alone will be a killer,” he notes. “The IRCA amnesty program ate up much of the INS budget and tied up an extraordinary percentage of INS personnel. How will they process several times that number of applicants? The reality is that tightening budgets together with personnel overload and political pressure to speed the process will result in rubberstamping not only millions of current illegal residents, but millions more who will come to take advantage of the opportunity. Besides all of the usual economic and social problems this will cause an incredible security problem. Homeland security? This is absolutely ludicrous.”
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a leading congressional champion of immigration control, was likewise appalled. “I can think of few things that could be more dangerous for homeland security than granting amnesty to 8 to 12 million illegal aliens,” said Rep. Tancredo, in response to Secretary Ridge’s remarks. “Perhaps the administration ought to dedicate more energy to enforcing our existing immigration laws and less on finding ways to allow millions to skirt them.”
12:15 PM 193,959 and counting.
8:00 AM It was 18 degrees when I left the house this morning, and we're expecting light snow tonight. My Greek students are doing quite well, with several receiving scores higher than 100% on their first quizzes. That's fantastic! Keep up the good work. Set your sights high; you'll never reach higher.
Wednesday, January 7
7:30 AM My friend Charles Porter just told me about this essay on Bush's faux-conservatism and why abortion is NOT a non-issue in this year's elections. A key excerpt:
In 1995, James Dobson of Focus on the Family publicly repented on air and in his March newsletter for having supported somewhat pro-choice politicians. “Perhaps this explains the statement I made on the radio last month, which some of you questioned. Let me express it once more,” wrote Dobson. “I am committed never again to cast a vote for a politician who would kill one innocent baby… Never will I use my influence, however remotely, to support the shedding of their blood.” After the election, James Dobson admitted that he voted for Howard Phillips, the Constitution Party’s Candidate for President.
It’s time that Christians make the same vow: never again will we use our influence or our vote or a single red cent to encourage one drop of innocent bloodshed. We will draw a line in the sand far enough to the right that no baby-killers, sodomites, or God-haters can win our allegiance. Like Gideon’s Army, the Lord may dwindle us down to a zealous few before the victorious battle, but it will be a few out of whom God can get some glory.
We've been shouting this message from the rooftops for over a year now:
Christians face, at this hour in our nation, Joshua’s choice: Whom will we serve? Will we serve the false gods of liberal do-goodism, or the Lord God of Israel? Sadly, we have put our faith in political parties and in individual men to rid our country of our moral decadence. We have exercised faith in the unfaithful, trust in the untrustworthy, and hope in the hopeless. But this can andmust change.May we declare today, in our house, in our nation, that we will serve the Lord of Life, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7:00 AM You might as well forget my advice to vote third party this year. It's already a done deal. God has told Pat Robertson that Bush will win in a blowout.
Tuesday, January 6
4:00 PM Some excellent thoughts from John Piper and the Desiring God Ministries website for your evening enjoyment:
That is why we exist - to display the glory of God. Human life is all about God. That is the meaning of being human. It is our created nature to make much of God. It is our glory to worship the glory of God. When we fulfill this reason for being, we have substance. There is weight and significance in our existence. Knowing, enjoying and (thus) displaying the glory of God is a sharing in the glory of God. Not that we become God. But something of his greatness and beauty is on us as we realize this purpose for our being - to image forth his excellence. This is our substance.Not to fulfill this purpose for human existence is to be a mere shadow of the substance we were created to have. Not to display God's worth by enjoying him above all things is to be a mere echo of the music we were created to make. It is to be a mere residue of the impact we were created to have.
To read John's entire essay, go here. Meanwhile, winter weather has returned, so yall be careful in the cold and (possible) snow later on this week!
7:10 AM Phyllis Schlafly reviews the latest feminist fantasy:
Proclaimed by CBS-TV as "the best picture of the year by far," "Mona Lisa Smile" is a sanctimonious feminist homily preaching salvation through modern art and making one's own career choices just so long as career does not mean marriage and motherhood. But the sermon boomeranged on reality, and the movie proves again that those who follow that commandment travel a dead-end road.
If you want to see a really good movie about overcoming odds, try Seabiscuit.
6:40 AM Where can you find feature stories on the Republican Party as the new welfare state party, the limits of U.S. plans for democracy in Iraq, the culture wars, the GOP sell out on Medicare, and critiques of National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The Wall Street Journal? At the ACU website, that's where.
6:20 AM Friends, if you haven’t read the U.S. Constitution in a while, please go here. It is anamazingly simple document. It will remind you that the United States was founded on the principles of individual freedom, free markets, private property, and limited government. Once you’ve read it, you’ll find yourself less apt to be seduced into believing that you cannot live without the political paternalism promised by our politicians.
6:05 AM From Eric Margolis: A danger greater than al-Qaida:
Criticizing U.S. foreign policy run-amok and George Bush does not equal anti-Americanism. It is the citizen's birthright, and the friend's duty. This writer has witnessed nine colonial wars and saw how they corrupted the armies, and then the nations, that waged them, brutalizing conquered and conqueror alike. Iraq is the latest. Mankind's three worst scourges are religious fanaticism, nationalism and imperialism. Each of these three evils has been whipped up by the Bush administration to justify domination abroad, repression of dissidence at home and, of course, re-election. Those who truly love and respect the United States, like this writer, a conservative and U.S. Army veteran, see the very qualities that made America a beacon to the world - its very soul - now under heavy assault by a cabal of religious fanatics, foreign-leaning ideological extremists, and self-enriching Enron-Republicans. That is a danger considerably greater than al-Qaida.
6:00 AM Think being a Republican makes you a conservative? Think again.
Monday, January 5
11:55 AM In light of the current "stop-loss" stint extensions in the Army, I just had to post Bennett's latest:
11:50 AM To let go of the doctrine of justification is to let go of God. Read more from the latest issue of the Founder's Journal.
11:35 AM In her latest posting at Lew Rockwell, Linda Schrock Taylor expresses my sentiments exactly: vote, but vote third party. At least be honest enough to admit that the Republican Party no longer represents true conservatism. In my forthcoming book Why I Stopped Listening to Rush, I put it this way in chapter 3 ("When the Horse Dies, Dismount: The Demise of Conservatism in the Republican Party):
Today’s Americans are bound by the shackles of government interference as never before, and our taskmasters are not just Democrats but Republicans. Socialism and her handmaidens, imperialism and secularism, are being promoted by the Republican Party just as much as they were ever flaunted by the Democrats. Gone forever are the days of the clear-eyed, free-market conservatism of Ronald Reagan, who actually sought to limit government, to lower taxes, to promote biblical values, and to create a climate of self-reliance and self-restraint.Today the differences between America’s two major parties are purely cosmetic. As the 2000 Constitution Party presidential candidate Howard Phillips put it, the choice voters face is between two evils, adding that the Republican Party “is the greater of the two evils, because it flies a false flag.” Phillips is right.
How can Americans reconcile the difference between candidate Bush who claimed to espouse traditional American values and President Bush who gave adoption rights to homosexual couples in D.C. and who appointed numerous open homosexuals to high office within his administration? What should Americans think of a president who campaigned on a promise to avoid nation building and then launched invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? And what happened to candidate Bush’s promises to practice a “humble” foreign policy? They are now scattered about like the debris of a messy divorce while the U.S. brazenly flexes its military muscle throughout the world (“Bring ’em on!”).
My conclusion is the same as Ms. Taylor's:
The next time you vote, ask yourself the question: What’s the difference in God’s eyes between “evil” and “completely evil”? The only difference between the GOP and Democrats is the degree of evil they support. Do you really believe that God would have you vote for a party that knowingly consents to the continuation of 1.5 million abortions per year and that will appoint judges to decree that Roe v. Wade is legitimate? Am I the only one who thinks there’s an alternative to the brutal dehumanizing calculations of the socialism that pervades our land or to the materialistic worship of the state that big government brings us?Thomas Paine once said, “Moderation in temper is a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.” I urge Americans to set a higher standard this election than they’ve ever set before. If we continue in our pragmatism, we will get what we deserve—men-pleasers instead of God-fearers. This includes so-called “religious conservatives” who are more inspired by televangelists than by the Scriptures. Let’s elect people who are humble enough to submit to the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. If we don’t, the current batch of spoiled intellectuals and starry-eyed executives will continue to wreak havoc upon the land of the free with their radical egalitarian ideas and ethic of unlimited personal hedonism.
11:15 AM Our first Greek session this morning was a smashing success, despite the uncontrollable laughter after the instructor sang the alphabet song. Students: Be sure to go to my Reading Room and check out the section on New Testament Greek for links to a variety of helpful bells and whistles, including audio files of the Greek New Testament. My own reading of the Greek alphabet, vocabulary, and translation sentences is available at the seminary AV department for the great price of only $2.00. I am available every day for help and guidance as we begin the mastery of this wonderful language.
For anyone else who might want to learn to read New Testament Greek, my beginning grammar covers all of the important bases and includes a key to the exercises for self-instruction. I am also available for assistance as you tackle this language.
7:45 AM Bloggers are rewriting the rules of journalism. Well, why shouldn't they?
7:35 AM Seminarians tend to be as poor as church mice. They probably need to become a little more frugal than they are (no, I don't mean becoming cheapskates). This is serious business, especially when running up tuition debt. Of the many reasons to practice frugality, financial concerns is probably the least. Carmon Friedrich is an experienced homeschool mom whose advice is well worth hearing - and heeding. Her suggestions on pinching pennies may be found at her weblog, Buried Treasure. Her tips are aimed at saving your credibility as well as your money, which, in many ways, go hand-in-hand. Read and learn!
7:30 AM Paul Proctor is spot on about evangelicals' misguided trust in big government do-goodism:
Since the twin towers fell and our troops were sent overseas to do battle with the “enemies of freedom”, a new “Christian conservative patriotism” has emerged into the mainstream. Though it is indeed encouraging to see liberals largely on the sidelines these days, I find many of the emotionally-charged events choreographed into photo ops and crowd-pleasing rhetoric, a lot like the new spirituality behind the purpose driven, seeker-sensitive, church growth movement that is currently sweeping the country – an inch deep and a mile wide – powered by pragmatism, pleasure and pride, with a mesmerized following that will cheer and support, right or wrong, biblical or not, almost anything implemented by its leaders, merely because it has been labeled “Christian”, “conservative” and/or “patriotic”. Like the zealots of old, I fear we are co-opting Christ for our own ends rather than abandoning our causes for His. Let’s face it – because of our fallen nature, we are all control freaks facing the greatest personal challenge known to man – surrendering the throne of our lives to the only One worthy of it – Jesus Christ. As Judas demonstrated so well for us – being CLOSE to Jesus is a lot different than following Him.
Read Paul's latest essay here.
7:15 AM At least 6 female soldiers have died in Iraq since the war began. Writes the Miami Herald:
Military women in Iraq say they are doing their jobs just like their male colleagues. Sgt. Erin Edwards, 23, often travels in armed convoys as part of her work as an aide to a commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit.
Edwards left her 3-year-old son and infant daughter with her in-laws because her husband serves in the Army in South Korea.''I would love to be at home with my kids, but I'm doing this for them. I wouldn't want to do anything else,'' she said.
Just doing her job? This is pure folly, ain't it?
The assignment of women to combat can be justified only in the direst of emergencies where the nation’s very survival is at risk and there is no reasonable alternative. Absent these conditions, there is no military need at any time to place women in harm’s way.Americans ought to be ashamed of hiding behind the skirts of women while fighting our battles. I call upon Congress to reverse its policy on women in combat.
7:00 AM It doesn't get much better than this, folks! Had a wonderful time enjoying fellowship and ministry in Virginia, the balmy summer-like weather (I could have sworn I was back in Hawaii), and working on the farm. I've also never been more sore in my life, though it's a good kind of soreness. My son and I dug and set 64 (!) cedar posts and began construction of our new goat barn, all of this in 78 degree weather. We visited the shut-ins, attended a funeral, and wrapped things up by enjoying a great Mexican dinner.
There is nothing like country living. In fact, I ought to write an essay someday on the benefits of agrarianism. Come to think of it, I already have!
In church, I shared with the congregation my two favorite New Testament texts: Romans 8 and Ephesians 2. Romans 8 reminds me of the absolute sovereignty of God - a God who is so sovereign He can even bring good out of evil. And Ephesians 2 reminds me that I contribute absolutely zero, zilch, nada to my salvation. It's all by the the grace of God. In this new year, my prayer for you is that you might trust God FULLY in every circumstance of life, and draw from His unending supply of grace for your every need. May this year be the greatest one ever in your marriages, families, churches, and communities!
Friday, January 2
11:30 AM As we enter a new year, the maxims of a great American patriot come to mind. Here's a sampling:
- My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me.
- What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death.
- Duty is ours; consequences are God's.
To read more maxims of Stonewall Jackson, go here.
11:00 AM How guerrilla wars are won or lost.
10:30 AM Yet another great column by Berit Kjos on the seeker-sensitive movement and the "Message" it employs. Iagree:
The Bible is very clear about “seekers.” They don’t exist. Scripture says, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Rom 3:10-12). “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way....” (Isaiah 53:5). Yet we plot the course and expect God to follow it. We prefer meeting “felt needs” to proclaiming the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We focus on man rather than on God. Our whole concept of church is market-driven and based on a materialistic mindset, as if we could manipulate the work of the Holy Spirit.
10:15 AM A few tidbits from AlterNet:
There have been no publicly revealed terror attacks foiled on U.S. soil since 9/11 – only the trumped-up cases of a few homegrown Muslim fantasy warriors. But state power and erosion of civil liberties and the Bill of Rights continues to expand, in the name of 9/11 and "terrorism." A leaked draft of a proposed "PATRIOT II" bill caused a public uproar early in the year. A major provision was then snuck through Congress anyway – the right to seize and examine any business's records, no warrant, judge or jury needed. Guantanamo's prisons continue to expand, allegations of torture and border brutalizations keep cropping up in foreign media, and John Ashcroft still has a job. The good news: Increasingly, courts are telling Bush to back off. The bad news: If reelected, Bush will likely get to pick two or three new Supreme Court judges.
I had predicted as much back in September (The Patriot Act Is An Assault Not Only On the Constitution But On God):
“Propaganda” is an interesting word. It includes connotations of deliberately distorting facts and appealing to the prejudices of an audience in order to win their support for an undeserving institution or cause.As an example of this, consider John Ashcroft’s campaign to convince the American people that surrendering their God-given liberties for the sake of government-guaranteed “security” is in their best interest. The United States Justice Department functions with impunity, gradually curbing religious and other freedoms while imposing by force of law a totalitarian ideology on the populace. All this in the name of the Constitution, no less!
I'm wondering: Couldn't we put a stop to all of this if in the next election we voted our convictions rather than our fears?
10:00 AM I'm really looking forward to J-term Greek, which starts on Monday. We meet from 8:00 am to 12 noon, Monday through Friday, for three weeks. Intensive, yes, but many students learn best that way. We'll probably have about 35 in the class, plus some audits. If you are a student and haven't seen the course syllabus yet, you can go to the seminary website and print it. On Monday we'll cover the Greek alphabet and teach you my world famous Greek alphabet song (to the tune of "Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortening"). What fun!
9:30 AM Been having a wonderful time working at the farm and enjoying the goats, the chickens, our Sheltie, and our newly adopted barn kitten. We've decided to thin out ourchicken collection (too many roosters), so today is chicken-picken day. We only have two floors left to lay in the new house, but the weather is so beautiful I think we may work on the fencing for our new goat pen instead. We're using our own cedars for the fencing, and for the flooring in the house we are using pines that we cut, sawed, and planed. It's a lot harder doing it this way but much more satisfying. The different board widths (up to 20 inches), plus the old cut nails we are using, really