Monthly Archives: November 2006

Upcoming stuff before Christmas

For those who care.

My birthday will be here soon.

And then on the 20th: another special day.

Everything you were afraid to know about Presbyterianism but had to ask

You can watch the Republic become an empire in Episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars story, you can read the Harry Potter books about how the Ministry of Magic operates, or you can read this post by Jon Barlow.

An excellent fisking of Frum

On Marketplace, David Frum exposed the nefarious scheme of newly-elected Congressional Democrats:

Imagine if the Republicans had retained their Congressional majority and the first thing they did was suggest big new subsidies for, say, the oil industry. Would there no public outrage?

The answer, of course, is no, because the Republican majority elected in 2004 passed an energy bill the following year with billions of dollars ($2.175 billion, to be exact) in oil subsidies (and billions more for coal and nuclear power. See here for an even higher estimate of $27 billion in subsidies for the three). But this brief intrusion of reality would spoil his point, since his rhetorical question expects a credulous nod with a “Why yes, David, there would certainly be tremendous outrage.” So he continues:

Read the rest here. I don’t know what to think about the analysis of why tuition keeps rising, but it is well worth reading.

It seems to me that I used to say that the Republican Party was pro-business with the idea that they wanted businessmen to be free to take risks and, when they survived the risks, be rewarded for meeting real needs.

But, in politics, being “pro-business” means advocating for welfare benefits for business.

And, when it comes to campaigning, Russ is absolutely right that accusing the democrats of wanting to give benefits to students, rather than corporations, would be a pretty self-destructive strategy. What was Frum thinking? Sometimes I think the story of the Republican party since Reagan is to actively transform itself in to the Democrat’s stereotype of the Party.

What is wrong with this passage?

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, “I repent,” you must forgive him after a time of discipline in which he proves to your satisfaction that his repentance is genuine.

Here is the original.

Xmen 3 appropriate?

I was thinking about letting my boys see the third Xmen movie, but this trailer has made me think I’d better keep them away from it. On the other hand, The Sound of Music looks like it might be perfect for them, or maybe a little scary.

Hat Tip: HNBP

The anti-human drive

Wishing women free from pain in childbirth is a good thing. It is a desire for healing and a repeal from the fall. But I have a hard time believing that such wonderful motivations lie behind this superstition. I’m suspicious that Mary must neither be permitted pleasure nor pain, especially not in her genital region.

In my opinion, the urge goes back to a misdirection in theology proper.

Hat Tip: This Classical Life

Some video links

First, this lecture by N.T. Wright is excellent. If nothing else (and there is plenty else) Wright is an example to all Christians of how painstaking scholarship and a pleasant attitude can win a hearing in places many Evangelical scholars never get to go.

Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men.

Second, this interview with with James Jordan on how to read the Bible is really good. The staff and session of Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church deserve our thanks (we Presbyterians at least, but probably others as well) for providing such high-quality as well as valuable products.

Advent as prayer

Jeff Meyers: “Not Make Believe”

“Jesus is Lord”: a practical suggestion for struggling with sin

All Christians struggle with sin.

Many times even relatively mature Christians commit sins they thought they had long since left behind and end up struggling anew with sinful habits in thought, word, or deed. Naturally, this means they must rouse themselves to action in putting to death the deeds of the flesh.

Such action requires motivation. The hope of the gospel–the promise that if we suffer with Christ we will also be glorified with him (Romans 8.17)–will be an all-important factor in helping such saints press on and bear their cross as they pursue that holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12.14; c.f. the Westminster Confession of Faith, XIII, Paragraph 1). The promise of continual and repetitive forgiveness will be another such factor (First John 1.9; Matthew 18.21-35), needed for us to confidently begin again after having constantly fallen short of the glory of God and his great grace to us. Finally, we will need also a confidence in the power of God to change our hearts and minds and attitudes and actions.

While there is no magic bullet for this struggle, I have found something that one can do in this midst of this war that might be of help to some. What has helped me is found in First Corinthians 12.3:

I make known to you, that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

This might help in any number of situations:


How to be spiritual according to the Bible

I don’t trust myself to order or prioritize these, so put no weight on what item comes before another.

  • Drink and eat a lot with family and friends (Deuteronomy 14.22-27; Ecclesiastes 9.7).
  • Include strangers, people below your socio-economic status, and characters of ill-repute in these parties–if you notice they aren’t being treated in a really welcoming manner, you may need to invite fewer of your friends in order to produce the right environment (Deuteronomy 16.10-15; Luke 14.12-14; Luke 15.1, 2).
  • Have frequent sex with your spouse (Ecclesiastes 9.9; First Corinthians 7.2-5).
  • Enjoy your work (Ecclesiastes 9.10).
  • Work hard (Ecclesiastes 11.6).
  • Worship God in public with other people (Psalm 100, ad infinitum).
  • Sing really violent songs as prayers (The Psalms).
  • Loan money without expecting payment in return (Luke 6.35).
  • Pursue profit in business–otherwise you are never going to be able to afford to be open handed (Luke 19.20-26; Ephesians 4.28).
  • Enjoy the luxuries you have (Ecclesiastes 9.8).
  • If it is an especially holy day, and you hear the Law of God and are feeling especially convicted for your many sins, make sure you don’t weep but rather go party and share food and fellowship with others (Nehemiah 8).
  • Gently restore people you catch in wrongdoing and don’t demand payback when you are the victim (Galatians 6.1, 2).
  • Teach your children to be spiritual(Deuteronomy 6.1-9).
  • Don’t care if anyone else judges you or your children as unspiritual; care what God thinks (Romans 2.28, 29).