Thursday, March 30, 2006

This Georgia Peach is a Bruiser...

In the interest of national security, an officer at the Capitol Wednesday asked an individual to return to the check-in counter and pass through the metal detector, a screening required for all visitors.

After refusing to stop, the unidentified individual was approached by Capitol Hill Police. Then, the young lady slugged the Capitol Hill Police Officer!

Who would attack an officer with such aggression in these days of orange and yellow terror warnings? Unbelievably, the offender was Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-4th Ga.), a U.S. Congressman from my home state. Her office issued a statement concerning the attack, which she describes as a "confrontation." According to reports, the officer will press charges against Ms. McKinney after the congressional session adjourns.

While Georgia offers us many reasons to be proud, there are occasional incidents like this that keep us humble.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Emerging Church Movement in the Criswell College Journal

If you have not yet engaged in the fray over the "Emerging Church Movement," then you will. If you want to hear what the voices on both sides are saying, then you need to subscribe to the CTR, the journal of Criswell College.

From Mark Driscoll to Brian McLaren, strong convictions collide in this issue.

If you need a kick-start to understand the movement or just a refresher, pick it up and read. Go to the CTR website:

White House CoS resigns

White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will turn the office over April 14 to Joshua Bolten, current budget director. (Click here for AP)

Don't Waste your life -- on Aisle 7

You may have heard of Skyler Bartels this week in the news. He certainly has received a great deal of coverage as a result of the camping trip he took over spring break -- to Wal-Mart. He spent day and night there until he was confronted by the management.

Here, the local press identifies his stayover as part sociology experiment, part school project.

Yesterday, The Des Moines Register reported his stay as less than comfortable. Sleeping in bathroom stalls, living off energy drinks, doughnuts, yogurt, and Subway sandwiches.

Far from his luxury loft in Lawn-n-Garden, today Skyler's inbox is jammed with emails and his voicemail box is full.

He's scheduled to appear on ABC News' "Good Morning America," CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC, and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

From anonymity to stardom, this university student-turned-national media sensation for only 41 hours in a Supercenter.

Today, there's a groundswell of students longing to live out their lives for some great and memorable moment. For Christians, that sense of adventure and thrill-seeking could be used for God's glory on the mission field, or serving meals to the homeless at the Christian rescue mission.

Today, we hear a great deal about extreme sports and adrenaline junkies. Why not fuel that passion for the gospel, for God's glory? Then, the rewards last forever, and not simply until the endorphines wear off.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Update: Evangelical Teens take more heat from other religious orgs in SF

Follow-up on the SF weekender, note the organizations identified as opposing the presence of Christians at their gathering. I want to caution readers that some of the links below may contain offensive or objectionable material on their websites.

Note the youth on the left, praying for the protesters (as should we). This website compares their gestures to a Nazi salute.

From elected officials to other religious non-profits (sheltered by the same protections under the free exercise clause), many San Franciscans are seeking to squelch the liberties that made their city and its eccentricities possible.

"Sister Mary Timothy" of the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" shouts at Christians in SF. (Caution: link contains offensive and objectionable content)

Sign on left says, "Hitler Started with Youth Rallies."

Tattoo from right arm to left, "Perverted sinner."

Here, The Mercury News reports, "Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told counterprotesters that while such fundamentalists may be small in number, 'they're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting and they should get out of San Francisco.'"

Here, a conservative website has distilled more of the recent opposition:

"The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, citing the city’s tradition of “tolerance,” issued a statement condemning the rally as an “act of provocation” by the “anti-gay,” “anti-choice” organization. Despite the sold-out venue and the enthusiastic response of the young people, the Board accused the rally of attempting to “negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city.”

"Tolerance, however, is reserved in San Francisco for those who agree with the sexual revolution and leftist political viewpoint. Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said Battle Cry’s “intolerance” of sexual promiscuity, pornography, the drug culture and homosexual deviance is “obnoxious” and “disgusting” and should, therefore, not be tolerated. “They should get out of San Francisco,” he said.

"SF Gate, the online Christian news source, quotes an organizer with Not In Our Name, an Oakland-based extreme left anti-war group, saying, “There is a real intolerancy (sic) to homosexuality in a lot of these organizations.”

"On Wednesday last week, the Board of Supervisors issued a similar declaration of official intolerance of Christian and traditional values. The Board said William Cardinal Levada’s instruction that Catholic Charities of San Francisco cease turning children over to homosexuals was “discriminatory and defamatory,” and “insulting.” They called Levada himself a “decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city.”

"Earlier this year, when pro-life San Franciscans held a March for Life attended by thousands, the city again condemned the public expression of opposition to the abortion and euthanasia movement. A pro-life participant in the San Francisco march created a lengthy online photo essay which summarizes the counter-protester’s understanding of freedom of speech: “But who the hell do they think they are, saying that s___ here?”

Here, another website opposes the SF Christian gathering.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

"Tolerant and Progressive"--For all but the gospel

This week in San Francisco, a Texas-based evangelical group met for a "Battle Cry" event that calls on churches and Christians to guard their children against the world's dark influence and its seductive call to our youth.

Whatever you think about this group or meetings like this in cities like SF, Christians everywhere should pay close attention to the city government's actions that came as a result of this meeting.

As you carefully read the article in the SF Gate, the alarming element in this case of evangelical-teens-meet-"anything-goes"-radical-city-dwellers is that the city Board of Supervisors (pictured below) were the unloving and intolerant ones. To prove it, they met and actually passed a resolution against the youth gathering.

The SF Gate reports (here), "Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution condemning the 'act of provocation' by what it termed an 'anti-gay,' 'anti-choice' organization that aimed to 'negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city.'"

Now--in this city filled with self-absorbed, self-proclaimed tolerance and progression and liberty, could someone please explain how prefixed "anti" this-and-thats are allowed to be thrown around without prosecution to the fullest extent of the law?

And as for hypocrisy, if SF's Board of Supervisors, under the charge of Tom Ammiano, could pass a resolution against organizations that "negatively influence the politics . . ." of a certain region, then should someone please notify Congress that most of America has a resolution that they would like to pass with respect to said city that possesses similar "negatively influential" characteristics?

If the Board can resolve to condemn a group of teens, then can another group resolve to condemn a city?

This diverse Board should meet again to discuss a broader definition of the word "diversity." Better still, they should meet and read the US constitution together. Or, perhaps they should read the Kabul Times or Outlook and learn from the Afghans.

In light of this confrontation and others like it in Afghanistan, Christians should thank God for religious liberty and the free exercise clause in our nation's constitution. Second, Christians should pray for those who live in or travel to these cities in order to minister to those who desperately need the grace and mercy of Christ. Pray for their boldness and safety. Pray for their wisdom and sensitivity. The gospel of Christ is powerful and passionate, and in it alone is found that city's salvation. Only He is capable of turning hearts back toward his glory.

The man after whom the city of San Francisco was named, Francis of Assisi, prayed this prayer:

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy."

Whether in the Far East or the Far West, this world is full of cities filled with the former, only Christ is filled with the latter.

Let us take up the model of Christ and sow His seed as we walk and preach to this generation.

Update: Christian Afghan to be set Free

After days of pressure from the West and prayer from believers around the world, the AP reports here that Abdul Rahman would be released as soon as Monday evening in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Welfare and Worldviews--Conservative Economics and the Importance of the Christian Worldview

Thanks to pro-blogger, JTaylor, I was directed down memory lane this weekend. He directed me to a WSJ interview with Thomas Sowell, noted black conservative and classical economist.

I remember the first time someone confronted me with the reality that the discipline of economics wasn't just profits in numbers and charts and theory, but philosophy. Utility, Cost, Supply, Demand, Benefit, Value--each of these must calculate the long-range consequences of decisions that create short-term returns. Every economic decision is moral and the consequences are lasting.

This link between morality and economy should drive Christians to think about our lifestyles and what consequences result from our daily decisions in the marketplace. Whether Target or Tuesday Morning, every believer should take care to submit every purchase to the Lordship of Christ. It is Him before whom we will stand and give an "account" (cf Rom 14:12) for every PO--approved and unapproved. Remember, He is the One who created the first economy and said it was "good."

One would do well to read this piece, and also some of Sowell's latest, greatest books (here).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Useful Aids to Pray for Afghans and Beyond

In a previous post, I mentioned the pending trial of our Christian friend, Abdul Rahman. The gripping thread of this story is that believers all over the world tonight suffer for Christ. This reality brings to my daily walk a powerful reminder of our brothers and sisters around the world who desperately need our prayer. As you pray for Abdul and others who are taking upon themselves the sufferings of Christ, you may find the following sites helpful:

Joshua Project (focus: unreached / least-reached peoples)

Operation World (focus: daily prayer for global missions)

Operation World (interactive website with each country's information)

Beyond the Wall (IMB website on Muslim countries)

Mislinks (Missions General Directory)

"Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body." -- Heb 13:3

Phil 1:29, 3:8-11.

Death for Christ in the new land of liberty?

This week in Kabul, Afghanistan, a Muslim-born Afghan faces the trial of his life.

The Offense: Conversion to Christianity -- The Penalty: Death
Judge Ansarullah Mawlavizada (shown above, holding the evidence--a Bible that belongs to the suspect) said Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested after his family informed authorities of his conversion. Under the Afghan constitution, rooted in Sharia, the law of Islam, rejecting Islam is punishable by death.

Christians have faced death and martyrdom for thousands of years with courage and for the cause of the Gospel. But after spending billions of US dollars to tear down a regime and rebuild a nation, concerned Christians and citiziens are outraged that under the new constitution, conversion to any religion should be a protected liberty.

The United States has expressed concern this week to visiting Afghan official Abdullah Abdullah. The State Department said Tuesday at a news conference that his religion is his right. Rahman converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working for a mission relief organization.

What Can you do? First, pray for God's greatest glory in Abdul's life. Pray that the Lord of Light will be exalted over in this dark land.

Second, correspond with the following:

Write the embassy of Afghanistan:
Ambassador Said T. Jawad
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue
NWWashington, DC 20008

Contact the State Department:
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street
NWWashington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:202-647-4000

Sign a petition supporting Abdul

Email President Bush through the AFA
(HT: MM)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mansfield is from Mars, Kirn & Marcus are from Way(!) Beyond Venus

Today, Harvey C. Mansfield, staunch neocon and professor of government at Harvard (yes, I mean both conservative and Harvard), is attacked by both the NYT (here) and the WP (here). His new Yale University Press title has really ruffled some feathers in the leftist henhouse. Apparently, his new book Manliness has editors so addled that they both resort to accusing the author of constructing a 289 page constitutional argument for the He-Man Woman Haters Club.

Ruth Marcus of the Post takes the thesis of Mansfield's work and uses it as a foil to attack the Bush White House, calling the president a "boot-wearing brush-clearer" and the vp a "quail-shooting fly fisherman comfortable with long stretches of manly silence." From Iraq to tax cuts, Marcus rings one neck after another as she sweeps through the henhouse. "Mansfieldian manliness," she contends, is the problem with this world, and specifically, with our country. In the end, all of our problems would subside if we would merely "use is a little less manliness," she says, "and a little more . . . womanly qualities: restraint, introspection, a desire for consensus, maybe even a touch of self-doubt." While her musing is entertaining at times, the depth of her contempt for the Bush White House is saddening. Moreover, her misunderstanding of manliness is staggering.

Similarly, Walter Kirn of the Times attacks Mansfield for his "moronic" and ill-informed polemic on the nature and value of masculinity. Unlike Mansfield, Kirn denies that culture (even television) has in recent years become excessively feminized, forcing masculinity into the closet (if not the powder room). Kirn's anger shines transparent through his review, attacking the author for his collection of critiques on feminism, marxism, and nihilism. In the end, Kirn's column seems less like a seasoned reviewer's prowess and more an ad hominem slice-and-dice.

Kirn and Marcus strongly object to Mansfield's thesis and argument, but both fail to ever get to critiquing either. Unfortunately, both seem so enraged over his title they can't get to the task at hand -- the BOOK review.

In the end, both Marcus and Kirn need a proper view of manliness--the one that hangs on a cross and dies so that other may live. Instead of self-absorbed pity or power-trips, this man made himself of low estate, and died a criminal death so that all men--both liberals and neocons--could be set free. This man tasted a criminal's death innocently in order to offer death-deserving criminals eternal innocence.

Whether Bush or Mansfield, Kirn or Marcus, each of us needs of a radical paradigm shift in our understanding of what it means to be male and female. God knows, and his Word clearly demonstrates both our need and his ability to set the record straight. So, before the cock crows, let's look to Him for a recovery of what it means to be a "man in full."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cowboys sign T.O., Jones adds B.O.

Much to the glee of our resident systematician, the Cowboys signed T.O. just months after he defaulted on his multi-million dollar contract in Philly. To this end, Jones continues his endless descent to football domination. Sadly, this reminds me of why capitalism void of ethics yields undesirable ends.

Sure, this signing will bolster Texas Stadium attendance, but Jerry Jones continues to decimate this once great team. “America’s team” is no longer the franchise that Landry, et al, poured their lives into building.

Owens may be one of the greatest professional football players of all time, but his life is a not-subtle reminder of Paul's urging to his young friend at Ephesus, "For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come"(1 Timothy 4:8). God help all of us to remember this month that His view of "Madness" lasts beyond March and has far greater consequences and rewards.

RU-486 continues Death March

More have died as a result of the Danco Laboratories prescription option for ending pregnancy. According to FDA, that brings the count to at least 7 deaths. According to the Scriptures, that makes at least 14.

If this pill were for sinusitis or osteoarthritis, this scrip would be shelved and attorneys would be suiting up for a major win. Instead, the major media outlets continue to gloss these "losses" as "rare but deadly" chance infections that lead to mysterious deaths. CBS (here) does seem to be moving toward the right answer.

Georgetown lecturer urges restraint, declares sanctity of human life

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) spoke out against embryonic stem cell research in a lecture this week at the Law Center, Georgetown University.

A Time for Honor

Today is Sunday, March 19, 2006, and in our house, we celebrate (bigtime) my third son's birthday. He turns three today, and he certainly has grown into quite a handful. Tiffanie and I have been blessed with three boys, and each of them displays God's glory in their own unique way.
As a father, one of the great blessings in my life comes when I enjoy a Sunday afternoon looking through photos of our family, watching God grow these boys into men. One great challenge of parenting comes in reminding oneself that every action--whether in word or deed--serves as a model to our children. Whether we're yelling at the television during March Madness or plinking with a "Red Rider" in the backyard, they are always watching and listening.

They especially listen on Judson's birthday when dad answers his older brother's question about what would motivate us to name his little brother after a "missionary man." Judson is the youngest of our clan, and his namesake, Adoniram Judson (bio) was the first impassioned international missionary among Baptists in the United States.

Judson is a man who lost his life on the other side of the planet in an unreached country. All of the time and resources and labors of his life were spent in Burma, not Boston. Every Christian soldier should remember that every calorie we invest in this life will soon be summarily judged under the piercing eyes of the Lord Jesus.

From Boston to Burma, Judson hardly considered his life grand or a model for manliness. In a word, he died, so that others might live. So, little Judson, on the anniversary of your third birthday, I offer this prayer: that God would make you--and me--men who will rather die than live, in order to bear much fruit for Christ (John 12:24). Happy Birthday, Judson, and may God continue to raise more Judsons up for His Glory!