And Another Thing…

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A brief hiatus and request

Hope everyone had a fun and restful Thanksgiving. I won’t be posting again until the second week of December. It’s crunch time at school and I have Christmas shopping to do as well.

I am in an intensely stressful situation right now. No, it has nothing to do with my wife or any other family members, and my health is fine. I can’t go into detail about it now, but I am going to ask that the believers who read this blog pray for me. The Lord will know what you are praying about. Hopefully, when I return in December I will be able to tell you how it all worked out. Thanks for your prayers and as always, thanks for stopping by. Until mid-December, Peace.

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Quick Hits II: Attack of the Phantom Clones

Disclosure: I am writing this because I am procrastinating. If I had any discipline, I would be doing a “data extraction” on five articles for my Research class.

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Soliciting people with artistic ability: In my Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders class, we are required to come up with a work of art that demonstrates a disorder. No, I am not kidding. It can be a visual work, a song, a poem, etc. This bugs me a little bit. There is a reason that I did not follow my childhood dream of becoming a comic-book artist: I can’t draw or paint to save my life. There is a reason that I don’t play in a band, even as a hobby despite the guitar lessons I took throughout high school: I have no musical talent whatsoever. Finally, there is a reason that I am not a professional writer: well, those of you who stop by here regularly know why I am not a professional writer.

Here is where the solicitation part comes in: I need ideas, people! Quick! So share your thoughts. However, I am not doing an interpretive dance.

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A moratorium: In the U.S., Christians and Atheists alike should stop claiming that they are being oppressed or discriminated against. In my strolls through the blogosphere, I can always find a blog about atheism or one about Christianity bemoaning how hard it is to live in a culture that “hates” them for their respective beliefs. To my brothers and sisters in Christ: Schools that don’t have mandatory moments of silence, clerks making $6.65 an hour who won’t say “Merry Christmas,” and snarky comments on blogs (ahem) do not qualify as oppression or discrimination. Believers in the Sudan or China would rightly laugh if they knew the things that we get up in arms about. To atheists (specifically, the blog-jockey kind): Somebody attempting to share their faith with you is not oppression. Granted, if you tell them you are not interested and they keep at it, you have a right to be annoyed. But until Uncle Sam comes and tells you that you have to listen to what they say, stop whining. And by the way, people of faith don’t hate or fear you. The reason that there may never be an atheist president is “Vote for me, you religious idiots!” is not a good campaign slogan. Let’s face it folks: everyone hates being disagreed with. All of us struggle with tolerating the dissenting opinion. That’s not a result of a point-of-view, that’s a result of being human.

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I am revising my earlier opinion on Journeyman. This show keeps getting better and better. By the way, this last Monday’s episode of Heroes was the best so far this season. Not only did we learn how the Petrelli brothers survived the explosion at the end of last season, we finally got to see the point of Hiro’s seemingly interminable (and boring) sojourn to medieval Japan. And they also finally delivered some more cool action. Now, if we can just get rid of Claire’s annoying boyfriend and do something interesting with the brother and sister trying to cross the border, the show might get back on track.

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Mystery quote:

“These people tried to hang me, and they have been killed for it.”

Hint: It’s from a western. Peace.

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Incongruity

 As a rule, I’m not a big fan of bumper stickers; I don’t really care about the politics, religious beliefs, honor students, or grandchildren of those whom I happen along while driving from Point A to Point B. Furthermore, I feel safe in assuming that none of my fellow travellers on the open road care about mine either.

This morning while driving home from work I came across a vehicle that had four bumper stickers pasted to its back end. What stuck out for me was how strange those particular bumper stickers looked on that particular vehicle. Below I will tell you what they said, and as I do I want you to imagine what kind of car you would see such things on. Then click  at the bottom for the “big reveal.”

The top left sticker: “I’m speeding because I really have to poop” and featured a nice little artist’s rendition of said product.

The bottom left sticker: A drawing of a hand giving the finger next to a large letter “U” in collegiate font. Get it? Isn’t it clever?

The top right sticker: a slogan so crude that consideration for my female readership prohibits me from repeating it.

The bottom right sticker: “I don’t have an attitude problem, you’re just an ___hole.”

Now what sort of vehicle would you expect to see these kinds of stickers on? Hold that thought and click on “rest of entry”  below..

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blogrollin’ on the River

There are too many blogs and sites out there that I think are worth checking out, so I have dropped the blogroll and the links from the column on this page and created a separate page for your perusal. From now on, just click on the Links tab under the title of this page. Happy browsing.

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I knew it…

 Christianity Today on-line recently posted the results of a survey of Christians that reveals the diversity of fidelity and opinion amongst believers. In an article titled “5 Kinds of Christians,” many of the things I have long suspected about Christianity in the U.S. have been confirmed:

  • The faith of a vast majority of Christians in America is a cultural expediency or a “default position” – the largest segments of Christians identified in the article are “Private Christians” and “Cultural Christians.” Private Christians constitute 24% of those surveyed, and their features include: a belief in God, doing good things, and owning a Bible but not reading it. Cultural Christians make up 21%, and are defined by few outward religious behavior or attitudes, an awareness of God, and a leaning towards universal theology.
  • Consumerism has taken hold in the church – From the article: “‘These days, people can get good teaching, wonderful music, and excellent writing, whether through iPods, TV, or online,’ says Wilkerson. ‘They learn to shop around and pick and choose. Then they expect the same high quality in their local church. A generation ago, the average person learned to accept his home pastor and was faithful to his local church.” and “we probably end up perpetuating that kind of appetite by trying to be as high-quality as what we find out there. The temptation of larger churches is to compete and to be as good as the others are.”
  • Media personalities are dominant – Again from the article: “Private and Cultural Christians might not use traditional Christian media, but I would bet they disproportionately watch [Lakewood Church pastor] Joel Osteen on cable,” …[shudder]
  • Apologetics needs to be a priority for all believers, not just theologians – From the article, yet again: “Many churches feed their congregants a steady diet of messages that do not require intellectual engagement or an understanding of the biblical narrative. And that is a huge problem.” Hunter says, “We need to preach with apologetics in mind, with a rational explanation and defense of the Christian faith in mind, so that the people who are in the church really know how to phrase that to people who aren’t in the church. We should say, ‘You need to be able to tell other people what I’m telling you.'”

I have been saying these things for years. So believers, what do you think we need to do?

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For church of Christ readers: 

For a while I have been enjoying the writing of Bill Gnade over at Contratimes. A writer, photographer, and self-described “Episcopal-in-exile,” Gnade’s post on a recent worship experience at the church he currently attends is a must-read for anyone in our fellowship on either side of the seemingly endless A Capella – instrumental music discussion. Enjoy.

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Quick Hits: The Motion Picture

I have been tempted to pray that God will kill Fred Phelps and that gaggle of inbreds he calls a church. Is that wrong?

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For Northern Virginians: Click here if you want to know the best place in the area to get fajitas.

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Whiny interlude: Most of the time working nights is the perfect job for a student. My schedule rotates on a weekly basis, meaning that any night that I work on any given week I will have off the following week. This is a good thing because Mondays are murderous for me. I get off of work at 8am and head home (30-45 minutes, depending on traffic) and try to grab some shut-eye. Then I have to get up at 2 pm, clean up, grab something to eat, and head to Alexandria for back-to-back classes from 4pm – 9:30 pm. Then it’s back to work at 10:30 pm. By Tuesday morning, I am operating at about 25% mental capacity. I am sure that those of you who know how unimpressive I am at 100% capacity are frightened, and with good reason.

Corny interlude: On those weeks that I work Sunday and Monday nights back-to-back, I go 48 hours without seeing my wife…which really, really sucks. By the time I get home on Monday mornings, she is at work. By the time she gets home Monday nights, I am in class. Then it’s back to work. Then I go home on Tuesday morning and she is at work. Then I leave at 5 pm for a 7 pm class. 5pm is about the time she gets home from work. Finally, I get home about 10pm on Tuesdays, about 48 hours after I left for work on Sunday night. Thank you Lord, for sending me a very patient woman.

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Quotes I have heard (or read) recently that I like:

“A positive attitude does not solve every problem, but it annoys enough people to make it worth the effort.”

     – author unknown

“These, of course, are central themes of religion, particularly Christian religion. And the question naturally arises: How can a book series about tolerance also be a book series about religion? This represents a misunderstanding of both tolerance and faith. For many, tolerance does not result from the absence of moral convictions but from a positive religious teaching about human dignity. Many believe — not in spite of their faith but because of it — that [others] should be treated with kindness and fairness. Above all, believers are called to love, even at the highest cost.”             

– Michael Gerson, Op-Ed columnist for the Washington Post

“One of the strangest trends of recent years has surely been the extended adolescence of the Western male. A recent survey showed that the average age for video game players is now somewhere in the mid-30s; and the fact that trivia such as the result of a baseball match can generate passion and high blood-pressure more than the AIDS crisis in Africa, the problem of global warming, and world poverty, says something about the juvenile priorities of the most well fed, best educated, and financially comfortable generation in history.”    

– Carl Trueman on the pressure on ministers to be “hip”(if you are “follicly challenged” you will love this piece).

Mystery Quote:

“Why for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?” 

A no-prize for the first person to identify who said that.

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This one is for my brother: We have been waiting for this day since we were kids. Well, waiting time is over.

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For more information on this holiday that we can all get behind, click here.

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