Rick Warren recovering from eye injury

July 23, 2010

Rick Warren, pastor and author of several popular books, is recovering from severely burned eyes.  He explains what happened and his prognosis in this ARTICLE.

While Warren is not exactly my cup of tea when it comes to theology, I am glad to hear that he is on the mend, and that his doctors are confident of his full recovery.

The question I would have for him when he is up to answering it would be…why in the world would anyone intentionally keep such a plant, particularly in what is a “domestic” setting where children and pets could come into contact with it and experience the consequences described in the article?  I hope that Rick Warren is more careful with the handling of the dynamite, and caesium-137 that he probably has around the house.


That’s an apology?

July 22, 2010

An NPR (National Public Radio, which is operated with federal tax dollars, thank you very much) producer made the following comment in an email to a liberal forum for liberal journalists.

she would “laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” if she were to see conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh suffering a heart attack 

When her comment was exposed, she issued the following apology:

“I apologize to anyone I may have offended and I regret these comments greatly; they do not reflect the values by which I conduct my life.”

Then she makes the following statement:

“I never knew I had this much hate in me.  But he deserves it.”  (emphasis, mine)

Sarah Spitz is her name.  Sounds like the only thing she is genuinely sorry for, is apologizing.  And remember, we pay her salary.  Nice.

The whole article can be read HERE.

When kids leave the church

July 22, 2010

“When kids leave the church” is the title of the cover article for the July 23, 2010 issue of The United Methodist Reporter.  You can read the entire piece by clicking HERE.

The article strikes me as one that merely identifies the problem that the UMC is experiencing, that is, losing young people from its roles, but fails to really deal with the sharp edges of why those loses are occurring.  The article seems to suggest that there is not enough “Wesleyanism” being taught in UMC youth curriculum, as if that is the solution, particularly when they acknowledge that when youth are exposed to Reformed Theology, they tend to bolt from the UMC.  So, let me get this straight…when young people are exposed to the self-evident truths of the Doctrines of Grace, the solution is to give them more Wesleyanism?  Yikes!   Is it possible that Reformed Theology is simply more Biblically persuasive that Arminianism?  My opinion aside, the statistics seem to speak for themselves.  The UMC should perhaps look beyond the data exclusively related to their own youth, and take note of the huge upswing in young people embracing reformed doctrine.

Still, I get that it would be disingenuous for the UMC to NOT teach Wesleyanism as a counter proposal to Reformed Theology.  While it may be a losing game, I understand the dilemma they are in.  So, perhaps they should look beyond their fundamental doctrine to areas where they have departed from historic Christian orthodoxy, and deal with those stumbling blocks they have set up for themselves with respect to keeping or attracting young people to continue to associate with their denomination.  Perhaps they should begin by challenging the culturally expedient, but completely unbiblical policy of ordaining women as pastors/elders which leads to them being installed in roles where they teach and have authority over men.  Is it possible that when young people read the writings of the apostle Paul that they see a willful disobedience on the part of the “church of their youth,” and decide that they need to be nurtured under the more Biblically faithful institutions?  Is it possible that some of the left-leaning social justice sensitivities of the UMC and their support of explicitly un-Christian theological education at one of their affiliated seminaries is not an attractive set of policies for young people?  Indeed, these are also off-putting for adults, who are also leaving the UMC in droves, just as they are from other similarly liberal old mainline denominations.

“More Wesleyanism” may be a strategy that is unavoidable for the UMC, even if its effectiveness is questionable.  So perhaps energy should be expended on areas that can and should be changed, and which might actually prove to be helpful in retaining kids (and their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles…) before they leave the UMC.

From whom shall I buy? Or not buy?

July 19, 2010

The subject of abortion is a lightening rod topic which may be among the most divisive.  It is a relatively simple matter in the sense that a middle ground on the subject barely exists.  One either takes the side of innocent human life and insists that abortion is immoral; or defends the notion that the rights of the mother to terminate a pregnancy transcends the human rights of that unborn child.  Apart from those who are vocal or mobilized advocates for one side or the other, I suppose that the subject remains largely a private, personal matter and one acts upon it, if at all, based on their own convictions.

Only occasionally does information become available that exposes people who you would generally assume to be well outside the debate, but who are in reality very much a part of the advocacy for one side or the other.  Such is the case with billionaire Warren Buffet, the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

In an article in the New York Times Magazine, (starting on page 4 of this online version) it was disclosed that Buffet, contributed $3,000,000,000 (that’s three BILLION dollars) to a foundation in the name of his late wife, whose mission is to finance the training of medical students and doctors in abortion.  Furthermore, Buffet was credited by the Wall Street Journal as being the source of funding for the so-called abortion pill.  And the foundation was apparently a source of funding for the effort to overturn a partial birth abortion ban in Nebraska, where Buffet lives. 

So, the matter is apparently not a private, personal matter for Buffet, but should perhaps be better considered a “cause,” deserving not just his emotional support, but serious financial investment as well.

This revelation about Buffet is helpful to me.  It enables me to consider the kinds of decisions I make about the products I purchase, or choose not to purchase in the future, from companies that are under the corporate umbrella of Berkshire Hathaway.  If you are so motivated, here is a list of companies that are subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway.  I do not see a single one of them for which there is not a perfectly viable competitive alternative that might be more deserving of my consumer support.

You Can Change

July 14, 2010

You Can Change – God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions, written by Tim Chester is, at its heart, a book about the sanctification of the believer.  Specifically, dealing with our role in recognizing those areas of our lives that need change in order to keep us on a trajectory of becoming more Christlike.

The book is systematic in its approach and is helpful in identifying both the issues and obstacles we have with effecting change in our lives as well as encouragement to focus on the means by which genuine change comes about.  Chester also points to the church as the institution where we will find both the encouragement and accountability to bring about the sanctifying change we all need and should be seeking.  Finally, he provides a dose of realism with the declaration that change is both a daily and a lifetime undertaking, but not one that takes an eternity as we will be glorified in due course.  

The book’s 10 chapters each have a review and guide to assist in applying what has been taught by the author in the preceding pages.  While I read it individually, I sense that this would be a very good book for small groups to read given their conduciveness to follow on discussion and accountability.

While I have no serious regrets at having spent the time reading this book, I still have to admit that it did not exactly “wow” me.  I really wish that I could put my finger on exactly what it was that failed to ignite my delight, but I cannot.  And, when I page through the book, I found that I had underlined a fair amount of the content, suggesting that as I read, it was providing matters of interest.  Nevertheless, at the end of the day, while I would not discourage anyone from reading You Can Change, I also would not go out of my way to suggest that this be added to everyone’s reading list.

As Simon Cowell was known to say on American Idol…”Sorry”.

Happy Birthday, U.S.A.!

July 4, 2010

The original “Too Late to Apologize” by Timbaland…

And one that has some 4th of July awesomeness…