What’s up with this?

April 30, 2009

In complete fairness, as a straight man, I am perhaps not the most qualified to assess the “beauty” of another man.  That said, I do understand how women find certain men to be handsome, which I guess is the masculine form of beauty.  And of course, we know that “beauty is only skin deep” and that the adjective “beautiful” can be used to describe both the outward and the inward qualities of a person.

Still, I suspect that People Magazine is largely referring to physical appearance when they create their annual World’s Most Beautiful People editions.  This year’s cover will be graced by Christina Applegate, and others on the list include Halle Berry, the stars of the TV show 90210, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, and Julianna Hough.

Reuters is reporting that these two Obama Administration officials are also among this year’s World’s Most Beautiful People.  Really!

In the event you do not recognize these gentlemen, they are Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff (on the left), and Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury (also on the left).











I’ll be up front and say that I am not in the least bit suggesting that these guys are so hideous that they scare small children.  But I strain to see how they are lumped into the same category as Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, and Tristan Wild, or some of the old stand-bys such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney, who also make this year’s list.  

So, what am I missing?  Is it possible that People Magazine is so charmed by our new president and his cabinet that this is what happens?  Would it have been a bit too apparent that they are simply enchanted (to use a hot new term) by Barack Obama himself if they had put him on the list along with his wife?  

With the assumption that you are far more objective about this, help me out and take the poll below.  Are these guys on the right list?


Unexpected good news!

April 27, 2009

From the Associated Press:

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Efforts to allow homosexual men and women to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have been defeated again. 

Last summer, the 2.3 million-member denomination’s General Assembly voted to drop a constitutional requirement that would-be ministers, deacons, and elders live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.”

Any such change requires approval by a majority of the nation’s 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies. Those votes have been trickling in for months, and on Saturday enough “no” votes had been recorded to clinch the measure’s defeat.

Previous efforts to delete the “fidelity and chastity” provision failed in 1998 and 2002. The denomination’s Book of Order prohibits homosexuals from leadership posts.

So, I guess the matter is settled.  Right? 

Uhhh, NO.  The GLBTQ lobby will not give up on this, and they will find support to keep the issue of the ordination of those who are unrepentant in their sexual immorality alive with the help of the denomination’s current moderator of the General Assembly.  And as this article shows, while this particular measure was defeated, the GLBTQ crowd is gaining strength. 

This will be a short lived celebration as the matter is far from settled.  This denomination is a whitewashed tomb.  (Matthew 23: 27, 28)  The faithful should come out from them.  There really are are great presbyterian alternatives in the EPC, the PCA.

Trouble brewing?

April 27, 2009

Obama 2008
First there was this “incident.”

And then there is this guy’s explanation.

Looks like we might be witnessing a little tension between these two.  But fear not, they’ll get their differences ironed out.

Update at 4:40pm CDT.  Further explanation from TOTUS.

Guns and Gays…what’s the connection?

April 27, 2009

Let Voddie Baucham tell you. 

For anyone who is unclear about the menacing sounding term “assualt weaponplease watch the videos.  It will take you 20 minutes, but you will get the facts and not the hype you get from the media and many agenda-driven politicians.

While you are at Voddie’s site, check out his Bio.

HT:  Hank

Take Charge Of Your Life

April 25, 2009

take-charge-of-your-lifeWhen reading a book, there are so many variables that enter into the process, each of which, to some degree or another, impact the result of the time invested.  Some of these would include the relevance or importance of the subject matter to the life of the reader, the writing style employed by the author, affinity for, or aversion to, that author, the accuracy of handling facts and opinions, among others.  And I might suggest that for readers who profess a faith in Jesus Christ, there is a spiritual element that must be considered, as we seek and receive discernment from God as to the content of the book being read.

I picked up Take Charge Of Your Life, largely on the favorable recommendation of Tim Challies, a well know Christian book reviewer and blogger.  He focused on the apparent contradiction between what could be a first impression of the book, based on its title and cover layout, suggesting that many might confuse it with a Joel Osteen genre book.  Instead Challies suggested that this book was filled with substance that would otherwise be lacking in anything written by Osteen.  You can read Challies comments HERE.

I am afraid that I find little agreement with Challies on this particular book.  By all rights, I should benefit from such a subject, but in spite of its theoretical relevance and importance to me in this particular chapter of my life, I found relatively little that was helpful between the covers.  Dr. Ganz writing style might be fine for some, and I might be the only one off-put by it, but I found him using thousands of words to make a point when a few dozen would have sufficed.  He seemed to take three steps forward and two back, in order to effectively advance one step, if that makes sense.  Further, he seemed to be making the same few points over and over and over again.  And the few points he made were not all that special, earth shattering or significant.  I never really felt like I was being taken anywhere through the process of reading, even though structurally, he seemed to have a plan.

And there was another matter that was troubling to me, although it took a little time to figure out what it was.  And interestingly, Challies missed this in his review of the book, in spite of the fact that he, himself had counseled against it.  I have no idea how I stumbled across this particular article that Challies wrote almost 2 years ago, but I did.  I am going to attribute it to Providence.  In any event, it nails the particular problem I was having with the author’s treatment of scripture.  And sure enough, when I checked the first few pages of the book, there it was, the notation that “all scripture references are the author’s paraphrase unless otherwise indicated.” (emphasis, mine)

So here in lies the spiritual conflict that I discovered I had with the book.  Dr. Ganz evidently does not have confidence in the essentially literal translation of the Word of God, and to use it to make his points, or better still would be to allow scripture to make its own points upon which the author elaborates.  According to Challies, an alternative (albeit a distant second choice) to an essentially literal translation would be to use a well known paraphrased translation like the New Living Translation.  Dr. Ganz not only did NOT use a recognized paraphrase translation, he used his own paraphrase.  

This seems to me to be the height of arrogance in the use of scripture.  One of my complaints with Rick Warren’s highly popular The Purpose Driven Life is the fact that he groped around using no less than 15 translations of the Bible, some literal, some paraphrased, occasionally out of the original context, all to lend credibility to the points he makes in his book.  But to his credit, he never re-wrote the scripture verses to create his own paraphrase.  While I might have been fooled by this technique a few years ago, I find this practice to be deceptive.  And, with apologies to Tim Challies, I think you got this one wrong.  On this point alone, this makes Dr. Ganz a whole lot more LIKE Joel Osteen than creating a distinction that separates the two.

I cannot recommend this book and consequently have not linked its title to any online retailer.  I would not encourage you to invest your time, but if you feel compelled, I will at least spare you the investment of your money.  If you are someone with whom I have a personal relationship, I will loan you my copy.

An Earth Day Confession

April 24, 2009

melting-glacierYesterday, I posted an article, wherein I discussed all the things I did NOT do on Earth Day.  As I noted, all of these were evidence of my attempt to “tread lightly” on our planet. 

While I stand by each and every one of those examples, I have simply been wracked with guilt at how prideful those claims were.  While they were all true, I confess that I DID do some things that Al Gore, and others, would say will serve to shorten the lifespan of our dear planet Earth

Scripture tells us to confess our sins to one another (James 5: 16), so I hope that this medium will serve that purpose.  Here goes.  On Earth Day, I did the following:

  • I had to attend a meeting that was held about 50 miles from where I live.  I decided that participating via conference call was really not practical since it was a lunch meeting.  Maybe someone in the future will figure out how to do a telecommuting lunch, but for now, it seems like it won’t work.  I know that this will sound like I am making excuses, but I live in the country, so there is no public transportation.  And truthfully, I really never gave much thought to either walking or bicycling the 100 miles round-trip.  (I know, selfish.)  So, I concluded that driving was my best, (I know it was not a good one, but it was the best) option.  If it is any consolation, I did take my wife’s hybrid automobile instead of my gigantic environment destroying pick-up truck.
  • During the afternoon of Earth Day, I began to sense that sometime before the end of the day, my wife and I would get hungry.  You know where this is going, so I’ll just get right to the point.  I prepared a meal that required, sorry, the use of energy.  The meal that I prepared included ingredients that people generally regard as not healthy when eaten raw, so I cooked them, using both, (I feel terrible about this) propane gas and electricity.
  • On Wednesday evening, I’m going to guess it was around 8:30 or so, it got dark.  In fact, it was dark enough that we really could not see very well without the use of (yikes) electric lights.  So, I turned a few on.  Okay, maybe it was more than a few.  But I promise, our house could probably not be seen from outer space like the Las Vegas Strip or anything.  Besides, I was finding that reading in the dark was really not very productive, but I am willing to learn how this can be accomplished if anyone knows a trick that might help.
  • Perhaps this one is THE most scandalous.  I turned on the television because I HAD to find out who the two contestants were that were eliminated from American Idol.  In the event you were more respectful of The Earth and did not have your television turned on, those eliminated were Lil and Anoop.
  • Finally (okay there are probably more offenses, but this will be all for now) of all the days this week, I thoughtlessly, no, I’ll correct that and say it was done with a callous indifference, I picked Earth Day to re-charge my cell phone.  It was low on charge, and without even a second thought, I plugged it in.  I know you will be relieved that I unplugged the charger when it was not in use because I hear that the polar ice caps are melting because people leave their chargers plugged in when not in use.  If this shameful practice describes YOU, repent and unplug!  For the record, because I DO unplug, I did NOT cause what is seen in that picture above.  So there!

My celebration of all-things-Earth

April 23, 2009

the-earthYesterday was Earth Day.  So, as a show of support for The Earth, with all of its sensitivities, and vulnerabilities, I decided to stand in agreement with Earthophiles, that we need The Earth and that if we did not have it, we would probably miss it.  (I’m just sayin’.)

If you listen to the really fanatical lovers of The Earth, essentially anything we do, has a negative impact on The Earth, so I chose to celebrate all-things-Earth by NOT doing certain things that would otherwise have an impact on The Earth.  I believe the favored term by the creation lovers is “treading lightly.”

Now mind you, I never have, and never would do any of these things, but for the sake of The Earth, I consciously and intentionally chose to NOT do them on The Earth’s special day.  So, here is my list of things I did NOT do, so as to say that I “tread lightly” on The Earth.

  • I did not drain the 15 quarts of oil in my diesel guzzling pick-up truck, directly onto the ground.  In fact I did not drain my oil at all.
  • I did not vent the ozone depleting refrigeration gases out of my refrigerators, automobile air-conditioners, or the air-conditioner in my home.
  • I did not make any unnecessary trips in an automobile just for the heck of it, essentially driving to some point-unknown, for some unknown reason.
  • I did not deflate the tires on our vehicles, which would have negatively impacted our gas mileage.
  • I did not purchase any cattle or swine to be kept at our ranch.  As you probably know, these livestock are prone to flatulence, and those emissions are harmful to the environment.   At least that’s what the nut jobs say.
  • I did not post a blog article yesterday.  While the energy I saved, is probably immeasurable, there must surely be some theoretical savings in the consumption of energy, on my end, out in cyberspace, and on your end as well, you know, when you read a blog.  I mean, seriously, I used NO pixels yesterday on this site.
  • I did not turn all the lights on in my home and leave them on all day, especially during the middle of the day when we don’t need lights, or in rooms where we were not present.  What’s more (and I think you’ll find this pretty much over-the-top), we turned the lights off at my house the night before Earth Day, meaning they were still off when we woke up on The Earth’s special day.  I know you’ll think that’s enough, but wait, there’s more.  We turned the lights OFF when we went to bed last night and ended Earth Day in the dark.

You’re welcome, Earth.