Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Have You Heard About the American Hostages in Iran?

There has been shockingly little coverage about the four American hostages held in Iran. (There was a good deal more coverage of the British sailors taken hostage recently.) I did an informal poll of 6 people yesterday and NONE of them knew about these hostages.

If you'd like to learn more, check out these articles:

Mark Steyn
Robin Wright
Nassar Karami

Iran is dangerous. The alliances with Russia are foretelling. Accommodating dangerous men or dangerous countries has only prolonged wars later. This business of taking hostages is an old game for them -- and we should not let them get away with it any more.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Getting Ready to Teach This Fall?

If you're getting ready to teach this fall, check out a free audio I'm making available -- (and you'll learn a thing or two about your reticular activating system :-).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Requirements for Boy Scout 1st Class Rank...in 1911

A friend sent me this. Notice the requirement for training another boy (#10). Excellent stuff, very different expectations!

First Class Test. (1911)
1. Swim fifty yards. (N.B.-This may be omitted where the doctor certifiesthat bathing is dangerous to the boy's health, in which case he must passthe test for the Stalker's badge.)
2. Must have one shilling at least in the savings bank.
3. Send and receive a message in either semaphore or Morse, sixteen lettersper minute.
4. Go on foot, or row a boat, alone or with another scout to a point sevenmiles away, and return again, or, if conveyed by any vehicle (railways notallowed) or animal go a distance of fifteen miles and back. He must write ashort report of the journey.
5. Describe the proper method of dealing with two of the following accidents(allotted by the examiners); Fire, drowning, runaway carriage, sewer gas,ice-breaking, electric shock. Bandage an injured patient, or reviveapparently drowned person.
6. Cook satisfactorily (over camp fire if possible) two out of the followingdishes, as may be directed: Porridge, bacon, hunter's stew: or skin and cooka rabbit, or pluck and cook a bird. Also make a 'damper' of half a pound offlour, or a twist' baked on a thick stick.
7. Read a map correctly, and draw an intelligible rough sketch map. Pointout a compass direction without the help of a compass.
8. Use an axe for felling or trimming light timber, or, as alternative,produce an article of carpentry or joinery or metal work made by himselfsatisfactorily.
9. Judge distance, size, numbers, height and weight within 25 per cent.error.
10 Bring a tenderfoot trained by himself in the points required for aTenderfoot Badge. (This may be postponed when recruits are not immediatelydesired, but must be carried out within three months of it being required,or the badge withdrawn.)
Quote Worth Pondering

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." -- E.F. Schumacher

Monday, July 23, 2007

Plausible-sounding Deception

Here's some insight: "In politics, there are few skills more richly rewarded than the ability to misstate issues in a way that will sound plausible and attractive." -- Thomas Sowell

This is not a new thing, or restricted to the spheres of contemporary politics. Consider the serpent's conversation with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Consider journalism and news analysis of economic issues, immigration stories, scientific research.

What do we as family leaders to do help our loved ones be discerning in the face of an onslaught of slick, deceptive messages? This is a key challenge for the 21st century.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Satire Shows Us Our Foolishness

This hilarious satire by the Onion, "John Edwards Vows To End All Bad Things By 2011," shows us our foolish expectations of political leaders. Be sure you smile often to get the tax breaks!

I'm looking for government to do less, and do it well.

On healthcare, for example, I don't understand why people who rail about government failures with Katrina response, veteran's hospitals, and the price of gasoline believe that government functions will smoothly and elegantly manage healthcare complexities for 300 million people.

We've created a massive monster, given it god powers, demand a response to every problem, and oscillate between worship and hatred.

We're on an ugly road to serfdom, not liberty and freedom. The solution to the systemic problems is to stop deifying government, radically reduce expectations of central responsibility over many areas, and take responsibility as individuals, families, and local communities. Just realize that this will be a painful transition, and a long one. You will hear many people say, "We were better off in Egypt! We had leaks and fish to eat!"

Of course I'm much better at describing the problems than I am coming up with solutions.
Limits of Darwinism

Here's a nice interview with Michael Behe, about his new book "The Edge of Evolution."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Don't Settle for Less Than 5-dimensional Sex

There are several bold lies that Satan uses when it comes to sex.

One is that it's only physical, only about pleasuring and reproduction. That's just a 2D (e.g., pornography) or 3 dimensional (i.e., adultery) view. Wrong.

Another lie is that you can experience God through sexual arousal. Very old lie. Very successful. Repeated often. Flat wrong.

Sex is physical, emotional, and spiritual. It's at least 5 dimensions. It's so powerful that it needs to be wrapped inside a covenant marriage to be safe and good.

So next time you get hit with a temptation, speakly firmly to it: "Nope, that's less than 5D. I won't settle. God has arranged far better for us."
YouTube Ministry?

What do you think of ministering to a distant audience via YouTube?

I've got thousands of Bible teachers on mailing lists and work to get good materials to them regularly. Hundreds of men, probably many I am unlikely to meet this side of eternity, read this blog.

So I'm delighted to use technology to inform, connect, and encourage.

But let us not overlook the powerful one-another ministry to genuine, in-person fellowship. That's necessary to get under the skin and grow.

Your thoughts?
A Christian Perspective on, uhm, enhancement pills

Here' s a sharp thinking analysis of the booming business of sustaining enlargement through pharmaceuticals.

Guys, not a joke, worth reading. He's done a good job parsing the cultural issues and asking questions about how this squares with a biblical view of marriage and sex.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The "New" Athiesm

I'm not really that old, but have already lived through a couple of cycles of popularity (notoriety?) for athiests. In the last year books and seminars by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, and Victor J. Stenger have attracted the attentions of millions.

If you'd like some guidance in sorting this out, I recommend Peter Berkowtiz's fine column. Since it's written from a "secular" perspective, you'll get some insights into the logic problems these authors are falling into, big time.

P.S. Looking at these author's name you see an ironic pattern:

Richard -- strong heart [of God]
Christopher -- Christ-bearer
Sam[uel] -- heard of God
Daniel -- God is my judge
Victor -- latin for conqueror
Roman Catholic Church, and Other Christian "Ecclesial Communities"

The recent statements from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have stirred up some good (I think) conversations. Paul calls us to dialogue and mutual edification (see Romans 14).

Before I go further, let me say this about my convictions. Defining faith for Christians is focused on "Christ and him crucified, and risen from the dead."

So I believe there are true Christians among every denomination and Christian creed, including the Roman Catholic Church. And many fellowshiping with these groups are not-yet Christians, though they may conform to some outward appearances and practices.

Do I agree with the statement issued by the Congregation, that only the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church, because only it has the historical ties back to Peter? No. But I'm grateful that in God's sovereignty we can discuss it openly.

This is still the old Reformation discussion. Is the Church founded on the preaching of the Word of God and the priesthood of all believers as citizens of God's kingdom -- by His grace alone? Or is it defined by bishop-by-bishop generations going back to Peter, upon whom Jesus promised to build His Church?

Not every position can be perfectly right. In the sight of God, we need to strive for understanding. There are billions of souls not yet in the kingdom of Christ, and the Lord of the Harvest is waiting for us to participate.
Make It Your Ambition To...

...wear out your Bible from use.

I'm not advocating book abuse. I believe we should treat our Bibles well.

But we ought to be in them so often that they take on distinctive character and patina. Mark them up with your notes. Create something tender and special that your children will be delighted to hold one day because it brings back warm memories of you.

Actually, that's just a side benefit.

The primary benefits come from interacting with the Lord of the Universe and the Master of your heart.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Learning from Our Kids

God uses our children to teach us -- about ourselves, about what His love is like, about service. This is not always easy or pleasant, but we do learn.

Perry Noble is already learning from his baby daughter. Here he shares an insight into why God sometimes hears our crying but doesn't respond, because he knows we're fine.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Most Dangerous Road and Hiking Trail in the World

Here's an article to wow your boys -- read about the North Yungas Road in Bolivia and other candidates for the world's most dangerous roads. Loads of pictures.

Same article has pictures of a tourist hiking trail at Mt.Huashan in China. Astounding pictures. Check out the "water closet":

Part 2 continues here with some amazing tunnel roads.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Would You Give This Guy A Second Chance?

Great story about General Petraeus, when he was a colonel. One of his own soldiers shoots him in training, seriously wounds him. Instead of prosecuting him for the equivalent of negligent homicide, Petraeus sends him to Ranger School.
What One Doctor Prescribes For The Church

Speaking of clear thinking (see post below on CO2), check out Dr. Chris Hook's prescription for a sick church.

1. “A reformation of seminary education with less of an emphasis on church management and growth, and more on exegetical preaching and the practical nature and implications and necessity of sound doctrine and theology.”
2. “A reformation of Sunday school education.”
3. “A reformation of adult church education.”
4. “A reformation of each individual’s thinking” (i.e., critical discernment).
5. “A reformation of Christian scholarship with increased attendance to bioethical issues.”
6. “A reformation of being the Body of Christ with the development of new Clapham Communities”

What do you think?
It's Not ONLY About the Carbon Dioxide

Excerpt from James Taranto (of the WSJ):

Can you trust Al Gore's scientific claims in support of global warmism? Not
if this passage from a Gore op-ed in Sunday's New York Times is any

"Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly
the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference
is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground--having been deposited
there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years--and most of the
carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59
degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer
to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times
hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It's the carbon

As blogger George Reisman notes, the atmosphere on Mars is 95% carbon
dioxide, just shy of Venus's 96%. (The Earth's atmosphere, by contrast, is less
than 0.04% CO2.) Average temperature on Mars? Eighty-one below zero.

Men, we need to be clear thinkers. That means understanding that complicated and complex phenomenom (e.g., climate) have many factors.

Part of my frustration with Mr. Gore is that his continued use of lies -- even after they have been repeatedly pointed out -- is poisoning the opportunities for genuine dialogue about complex problems.

Update: Very good article in the NY Times magazine, More Heat Than Light, illustrates a dialogue perspective that I'd like to see more often, including recognition that regulation has real economic impacts (it's not neutral), and there are other pressing problems we need to include in the overall perspective (e.g., malnutrition, AIDS).

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, USA!

Some recommended reading for today:

Mark Batterson gives us some insights into the faith background of several of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Many of these signers, and their families, suffered great losses.

The Declaration of Independence itself.

A brief timeline of events around the signing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thinking About Freedom

July 4 is coming, and so it's helpful to think about freedom. "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor 3:17)

Meditate on that! In Christ, we have freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom to love, because we are adopted heirs of the King. Freedom to serve. Freedom to walk in step with our Lord!

Now it's also a good time to review some history. If you're interested in the Constitutions of Clarendon, the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and other important milestones leading up to the US Constitution , then I recommend you read the first section of this.