Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Give Them What They Want

The Star Tribune published an article that grabbed my attention this afternoon. A Pew Forum poll says that most Americans believe Creationism should be taught along with evolution in school.

I say, give the public what it wants! Evolutionists have had too much say over what ought to be taught in schools for years. Let's have competing ideas in the schools.

What I'm Reading

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was reading The Golden Ass: The Transformations of Lucius. I found the book very amusing though at the end, too full of pagan theology. But the story was ultimately one of redemption and religious piety. Such stories are usually well worth the reading.

Before getting married I was part of a book club that has read books such as The End of the Affair, The Winter of Our Discontent, and Right Ho, Jeeves! I was unable to read Catch-22 with them, though I have read it twice, and it is one of my favorites.

Their latest selection is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This is a book that I read many sections of during my Senior Seminar at Bethel College (now University). So I am somewhat familiar with the story, though I confess I remember practically nothing of what I read six years ago.

The book is one that is highly praised--particularly by Christian intellectuals. The book is reminiscent of the works of Aldous Huxley who often wrote novels with characters with competing philosophies and ideologies. The Karamazov family is a Russian family made up of three brothers that have different worldviews but all suffer from the same passions and lusts.

To this point I am struggling with the book, honestly. I am in Book Three right now, which is still very early in this long book (probably a sixth into the novel). It is clear that the book is interacting with significant issues of modernity, faith, atheism, politics, sin, and many more. The book is nothing if not ambitious in its scope.

One of the most striking things I have found in the novel is the mysticism and superstition of The Eastern Orthodox Church. I am troubled by Zossima the Elder's extra-biblical philosophy and theology. I keep telling myself to not let myself focus on that though. There will be much to reap from the book despite some theological misgivings.

Katrina's Damage

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a very good gallery of photos of the hurricane's damage. I highly recommend it to those who watch little television and haven't seen the stirring images.

More Leftist Hypocrisy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (and implicitly--Bush) is to blame for Hurricane Katrina. He tells us how he was intricately involved in "derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2."

So now the American left is joining European Leftists in blaming the hurricane on us. Not only is the science rotten, but this is the same kind of rhetoric that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson spoke and endorsed post 9/11 when they blamed the attack on us for our nation's sin.

I see little difference in the two rhetorically. They both blame a great disaster on the wrong people for political and theological sins. Kennedy is a notorious environmental extremist.

It is typical of the radical left to politicize even a natural disaster. The left blames Bush and company because they haven't a satisfactory theology to understand that hurricanes occur because the earth has been subjected to sin and death.

UPDATE: Here is an excellent response to Kennedy. HT to National Review.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Limbaugh on FM

Twin City Dittoheads unite! Rush Limbaugh is moving to FM next year. We'll finally be able to listen to him live on the radio again. I have been listening to him online for years because KSTP 1500 airs his show on a one hour delay.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Gooden's Fall

Mike Lupica writes a sad sort of eulogy for Dwight Gooden, former baseball star. Gooden's fall was long ago--when I was still a kid. But I have often thought of his wasted talent and dysfunctional life as the years have gone by.

Many say that Gooden's career was lost due more to his body breaking down than drugs and alcohol--but no one will ever no for sure. But that isn't the worst of it. His lost career is something we all missed out on. But it is his lost life that is truly sad and heartbreaking.

Gooden is now a fugitive for evading police after a traffic stop. His downward spiral has continued into his 40's. Stardom brings much more than many can handle. It is something that not enough people learn to handle and it destroys body and soul.

I pray that God would work in Dwight Gooden's life that he might know him and redeem him from a life of despair.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Most Important Thing

I don't know Milton Bradley, and I don't know who is right in his feud with Jeff Kent. But when he says, "Me being an African-American is the most important thing to me -- more important than baseball," it tells me that he is the one in his own world.

I'm not black, clearly, and can't identify with what it is like to be a black person, but there is something wrong when the most importnant thing in your life is your race.

Our culture places too much value on diversity--applauding Milton Bradley for valueing his race over other things. This is a bad thing and only broadens racial divisions. It is no wonder that Bradley has been a clubhouse cancer throughout his brief career. He clearly has a chip on his shoulder.

It is shameful that a young player like Bradely can call out a veteran like Kent. But of course, this is just another example where our culture misplaces its values. Elders ought to be respected--not publicly denounced.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Winning Hearts and Minds

Michael Barone reports that we are winning hearts and minds of Muslims around the world. Support for terrorism has been eroding--this is great news. This news is contrary to what liberals would have us all think--but it makes perfect sense to conservatives.

This is simply cause and effect. Terrorists are hunted down, killed, and captured demonstrating that morality and justice are on our side--not on murderers.

HT: Rich Lowry at The Corner

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Greatness of Clemens

Roger Clemens is in the midst of his best season at the age of 43--that is astonishing. John Donovan from Sports Illustrated tells of Clemens and his marvelous career.

As of right now, I'd say that Clemens should win the Cy Young award again this season--though Chris Carpenter is hot on his tail. I'll also go out on a limb and say that Johan Santana will win his second consecutive Cy Young award in the American League this season.

This is Horrible

During my final year of college I traveled to Europe to study English literature. Our final week of traveling brought us to Taize, a Christian retreat community. Thousands of travelers from around the globe travel to Taize each year to devote their time there to meditation, prayer, and study of the Bible.

Brother Roger formed the community in 1940. He was a Nobel Peace Prize finalist several years ago. He was brutally murdered in one of the three daily prayer services on Tuesday. He was a man of peace, frail and old. It is an unimaginable way for a man like him to meet his Lord.

I have been very blessed by the music of Taize--both in my time there and in listening to a CD I purchased there. To paraphrase one of my favorites, "Jesus, remember Brother Roger when you come into your kingdom..."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cindy Sheehan: Political Hack

If you haven't seen this picture of Cindy Sheehan yet, you need to take a look. It is further evidence of her change of heart after meeting President Bush the first time.

Sheehan is nothing more than a political hack taking advantage (or being taken advantage of) a sympathetic liberal media looking to feast on President Bush and the War in Iraq.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Baseball Cheaters

These stories are what makes baseball such a great sport. What other sport could you even try to do these kinds of things in?

I don't condone the cheating done in the sport, but these are pretty funny stories to read about. One must wonder what is going on in our day besides steroids.

And speaking of steroids, why is it that everyone is so upset now about steroids, when players like Canseco and others were juicing up ten to fifteen years ago? Recently Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith, and Jack Morris expressed outrage at players on roids. Were they ignorant of what was going on when they were still playing?

It seems to me that they had to have known. If they did, that makes their self-righteous posturing now ring hollow. It was the player's union that had always rejected steroids testing in the first place. If the players were really concerned about players juicing up, they could have addressed the issue themselves years ago.

The Star Tribune's Morality

David Brooks wrote an editorial earlier this week arguing that there is a moral revival underway in America. The Star Tribune released their own editorial rebuttal to Brooks.

The Star Trib's editors showed their true colors very clearly by defining morality in their own terms. What is so unsurprising, though still disappointing, is that they framed morality through their own liberal political agenda. The list was typical of what the left has been griping about for the last few years: an immoral war in Iraq, eliminate medical care for the poor, tax advantages for the wealthy, corporate scandals, homophobia, etc.

The left continues to refuse to learn that the American people know better what morality is than the Democratic National Committee. As long as the left continues to blindly and indignantly follow their own self-righteous ideological agenda, they will continue to lose power and credibility.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Never-ending Quest

My friend Tom has written that he has a life goal to visit every major league baseball stadium. So I thought it a bit humorous to read of another man's life quest. His seems much more trivial, perhaps more exciting, but much more fleeting.

I would love to do see every major league baseball park in my lifetime, as I would love to visit all the locales that Starbucks operates in--yet this makes you wonder what is really worthy of our questing.

Major league ball parks are popping up fairly rapidly--not quite as frequently as five years ago, it seems, but still fairly regularly. But just think of how many Starbucks coffee shops there are and how often they open up! How can this man do anything other than visit Starbucks?

What is it that you value so much that you would give up your life to experience or to do? What kinds of things are worthy of us devoting our lives to? Going to thirty stadiums is one thing--going to nearly six thousand Starbucks is another.

It is no wonder he says, "Every time I reach a Starbucks I feel like I've accomplished something when actually I have accomplished nothing.''

It is my sincere conviction that the only thing worthy of that kind of devotion is our Lord, Jesus Christ. There is nothing else of supreme value in or beyond this world, than our Redeemer and Friend:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Life Imitating Art

This robbery reads as a recent caper out of Hollywood. If we're lucky, Hollywood will recycle this into another riveting script about high-tech bank robbers with a sexy assitant, worldy-wise ring leader, and smart-alec partner.

In all seriousness, it is impressive that they were able to pull this off. It is sad, however, that such ingenuity and engineering is spent in stealing--and not honest, gainful employment or entrepreneurship.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Video Church

I attend a church that has two campuses. The sermon is given live every other week in person, but the other half of messages are given via a video taped the previous evening. I was never keen on the idea, but accepted it as the direction of the church.

It began a few years ago as a way to serve a larger church body by "growing without growing." The message was broadcast for over a year before the pragmatists decided the expense was too great to justify keeping the sermon live when it was on a large screen anyway. So that is how it began to be a taped performance.

I never gave much thought to where this idea came from. I decided to look up "multiple campus churches" on google and found a few links that opened my eyes. This one in particular seems to advocate the idea of expanding your church via a "Video Venue."

Am I the only one shocked by this? Have churches abandoned traditional church plants as a way to manage church growth? Will video church truly make God's name great in the nations? Will non-believing, unchurched people really find value in going to a church to watch a video tape? Will they value worshipping with fellow believers enough to watch a video in church rather than their own home?

The cynic in me finds it hard to believe that a video church serves anyone besides those already attending church--those who value Christian community enough to accept the obstacle of taped sermons. And the coward in me struggles to invite non-believers to church to watch a video. It is rather embarassing to explain to someone why we have a pastor give a sermon on video tape.

I believe that the church exalts the pastor above the message by expanding via video. Afterall, aren't we telling the world that our pastor is important enough that we think everyone should hear him. We're not telling the world that our message is what we value. Our message is Christ crucified, not that we have the best pastor in town!

Are there critics of this recent movement? Has it gone on unquestioned by the church and denomonational hierarchies?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Twins' Offense

Tom Powers has a good article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about the Twins' hitters. It seems that manager, Ron Gardenhire, has finally come to terms with the fact that some of his players simply aren't talented hitters.

I think he's right--guys like Michael Cuddyer and Lew Ford simply don't have what it takes to make it in the big leagues. Ford showed promise in 2004 but has slowly regressed since a hot April 2004.

I think it is safe to say that Luis Rivas is in this group too, though he is currently at AAA Rochester right now. The Twins' early promise this season was more than they could deliver on. Their hitters are too young and too inexperienced to make a serious run at the World Series, let alone the wild card.

And Powers is correct in summarizing that things won't likely be much better next season. We need a quality infield if we're going to challenge the White Sox for the division, and we don't have those pieces in place yet.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Bush Giving the Bird

I began reading this Nick Coleman piece thinking he was talking metaphorically about Bush. He links to an outside site that has video of Bush apparently flipping off the press. Not everyone believes that the upright finger is his middle one, but it sure looks that way to me.

As you can imagine, the left is in a tizzy about it--just look at all the comments below the video or continue reading Nick Coleman for evidence of this. I am saddened that Bush would use such an immature and vulgar gesture in any circumstance. He should know better than to give the left any fodder for charges of hypocrisy.

But the cynic in me can't help but take great pleasure in it. The media, Nick Coleman included in the above article, have been calling Bush a liar for years now. Of course Bush is going to hold the media in contempt.

Of course, Nick Coleman takes umbrage at Bush's gesture because that finger was meant for him too. That finger went up to everyone in the press--but especially the unabashedly biased liberal press.

Coleman takes himself and the media too seriously. The entire article is ridiculous. He knocks down Bush, and exalts himself by saying he'll use "more fingers than he did." Yet he is the one throwing around the word liar. Come on, Nick, give up the sanctimonious rancor. You're worse than Bush has ever been. You are a political hack as you claim Bush thinks you are.

He writes, "The real problem is the attitude of a president who flips the bird to representatives of the public -- however downtrodden, defeated and demoralized we press jackals might be."

So it is no longer Bush or our government that are representatives of the people, but the media! This is what is wrong with the media today--they are smug and arrogant, thinking they represent the people of this country. He forgets (or has chosen to disregard) the fact that President Bush has won two national elections as the people's representative. It is no wonder the media thinks he is an illegitimate president--their will was thwarted when he took office.

I also love how he claims, "But maybe it was only a thumb. I'd like to believe that." Yeah right, Nick. You take no greater pleasure than in writing of your contempt and anger at Bush.

Vikings Preview

It always saddens me to see baseball season fade into late autumn. But as a Viking fan, I am optimistic that the team may actually do well this season. John Clayton writes optimistically about the team--writing of the team's hopes to be a top five defensive team this year.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More on Obesity and Hypocrisy

Following up on my original post, Obesity and Hypocrisy, the attack on Bush's health is not over. Democrats released a "fact sheet" today condemning Bush's health policies.

These arguments are ridiculous, of course, but the aim of the news wire is to deliver sound bites to the electorate planting seeds of doubt in the hopes that people will not read the full story, or that the media will play ball and distort the facts further bolstering the Democrats' claims.

The Democrats continue to demonstrate their willingness to attack Bush on anything and everything they think they can. As long as they can find something on which to disagree with Bush, they will attack him.

Palmeiro and Steroids

The last time I mentioned Jayson Stark, I thought he was over reacting and being sensational. This time around he is a voice of reason and restraint. I applaud him for the wisdom in understanding the fallout of Rafael Palmeiro's positive test for steroids.

He is absolutely correct--yesterday's revelation changes nothing in how we ought to think of Palmeiro. There is too much hysteria about steroids in sports. He is right about Gaylord Perry's cheating and he's right about the steroid era. The statistics can't be dismissed because we don't know anything--we can only speculate who was juiced and who wasn't. We don't know what Palmeiro took or for how long. We don't know what pitchers were juiced.

Let's not over react and dismiss the outstanding career of one of baseball's best hitters.