Friday, September 30, 2005

Red Sox v. Yankees

Bill Simmons has a great article at ESPN.com on this weekend's showdown at Fenway and the eternal rivalry between the two clubs.

This will be quite a weekend with the AL East Title and Wild Card in the balance.

More on Baptism and Membership

Bethlehem Baptist Church, has at long last released the audio from Pastor Piper's presentation of the Baptism and Church Membership amendment.

You can read more about the amendment at Woodchips and Text Musings in several places. I recommend these:

Two Baptists write on the matter.

Does Baptism Fit in Romans 14?

Can a Church Preach Believer's Baptism and Yet Not Hold to it?

Can We Concede Ground on Baptism?

Why Concede to Pedobaptists Now?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Mark Dayton the Buffoon

Mark Dayton endorsed legislation to create a U.S. Department of Peace and Nonviolence. I believe this is an instance where any commentary on my part would be superfluous. Dayton's bill is being sponsored in the House by Minnesota representatives Betty McCollum, Martin Sabo, and Jim Oberstar.

I'll merely say, "What fools."

On an entirely different note, I have been unable to post this week as I've been very busy. I don't have power at my house either. We have been without power since the thunderstorm on Wednesday evening. We can't expect to have power for several more days. Yet, I don't want to complain, because we didn't get hit by the tornado that destroyed many houses in Coon Rapids and Blaine.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Baseball Anomalies

This Jayson Stark article is yet another reason to love baseball and all its quirks. It is unfortunate for Placido Polanco, but it is fun history. I especially like how Eddie Murray had the highest batting average in the majors in 1990 but didn't win the batting title.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Governor Swann

ESPN.com has an interesting piece on Lynn Swann's potential run for the governorship of Pennsylvania. Of course I'm too young to know of Swann as the Steeler's receiver, but I have formed a favorable impression of him over the years as a football analyst.

Is Delay a Democrat?

I am usually one to defend Tom Delay, congressman from Texas, in most matters. But his remarks that the budget is "pared... down pretty good" are remarkably Democratic in the vision of the size of government.

The budget has only grown under Republican leadership--how can he possibly defend this record as one of cutting--not ballooning? I agree with Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona who is quoted as saying, "This is hardly a well-oiled machine. There's a lot of fat to trim. ... I wonder if we've been serving in the same Congress."

Delay even defends the pork-filled highway bill, calling it, "important infrastructure."

I hope Rush excoriates Delay on this--he ought to. This is precisely the concession to enormous government spending that Republicans have been condemning in Democrats for years. I expect better of House Republican leadership than this.

Update: Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner has a funny bit about Delay. He alludes to George Orwell's Animal Farm, "No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Update 2: Rush thinks Delay's move is brilliant. He believes it is a tactic to draw out more budget-cutting from House Republicans. He stated that if no one has any recommended cuts, then they must have attained victory. It isn't a bad theory, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Ponnuru has a list of government pork, also at The Corner.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Role Models?

Kansas City Chiefs' running back Larry Johnson was arrested Monday night for an altercation with his girlfriend. He is one of many Kansas City Chiefs players in legal trouble already this season.

That isn't the only problem: he was on a date with another woman other than his girlfriend. It is so sad to hear of men who cannot even be faithful to a woman when dating. What possibility will there be that he will be faithful to her as a husband?

When these men are idolized for athletic prowess on television they are put on a pedestal they cannot possibly live up to. Yet too many of them crumble to terrible depths as Larry Johnson.

When I have children some day, Lord willing, I will be very clear about admiring and esteeming men whose sole claim to fame is athletic prowess, celebrity, or talent. Admiration should be reserved for parents, family, teachers and the like.

Update 01/18/06 - The case against Larry Johnson has been dismissed. He did enroll in a "domestic-violence diversion program," and was ordered to "stay out of legal trouble for two years." Evidently after two years he can get back into trouble.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Baptism and Church Membership

I apologize for my lack of posting, but much of free time has been spent researching and pondering a constitutional amendment proposed by the Bethlehem Baptist's Elders. I am a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church and am very interested in the outcome of this amendment.

I have encountered a few blog entries on this amendment. It is clear that there are people watching this process from afar. Matthew Hall has commented on Piper's introduction to the amendment and has many comments as well.

Alex Forrest was the first to blog on the issue. The Society of Dead Theologians has a number of comments on the issue, as does Evil Babies & Thinking Men. Justin Taylor, Director of Theology at Desiring God Ministries a post concerning the amendment with comments.

But the most interesting thing I've found so far is a lecture from Mark Dever at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, also linked to by Justin Taylor. He dug up the lecture from three years ago. Dever lectures on John Bunyan's position on baptism--which is referred to in the elders' case for the amendment. Several Southern students and professors ask questions, including Al Mohler. The lecture is directly relevant to the amendment, despite predating it.

It is well worth listening to for anyone interested in the role of baptism in the church. For now I will not comment on the amendment. I believe the matter will be best handled within the church. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this, as Piper acknowledged when introducing the amendment to the congregation this past Wednesday evening, the eyes of the evangelical world are upon us.

Update: I ran across Steve McCoy's take on the amendment which includes many comments.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More Deck Building


Karsten, Reed, and I spent several hours working on the deck on Labor Day. You can compare it to an earlier post. As you can see most of the railing is complete. One top beam needs to go across the railing yet. We also need to build the stairs where the cinder blocks currently reside.

Building our deck has been quite a project for a couple amateurs. It has been fun to be sure. A few weeks ago we had a barbecue and put the deck to its most rigorous test. Eight to ten of us sat on the deck along with the grill. So it seems that the deck will make it!

Friday, September 02, 2005

This is Creepy

This 2004 National Geographic article eerily predicts the after effects of a hurricane in New Orleans.

HT: K-Lo at The Corner.

Weight Loss Tips

My friend Scott, who is beginning a weight loss regimen has inspired me to list my top ten weight-loss tips. Many of you know that I lost over forty pounds over the course of the summer of 2002 to 2003. Hopefully anyone looking for information on how to lose weight will find this helpful.

1. Desire. You must want to lose weight. You must want it more than anything else. Without the desire, you will never succeed in losing weight.

2. Discipline. Weight loss can only be accomplished through disciplined eating and exercise. There are no quick and easy ways to lose weight. You must limit your caloric intake and exercise regularly.

3. Limit Carbohydrate Intake. Many people thought I was on an Atkins diet because of how I ate around them. I did not do that. I simply ate all my carbohydrates before dinner. Carbohydrates are an essential part of every diet--even those not aiming to lose weight. Eat carbs at breakfast and lunch, and even some as snacks throughout the day.

4. Eat whole grains, not refined and simple carbs. Replace all bread with 100% whole grain breads, whether that means 100% whole wheat, rye, or whatever. Refined flour found in 99% of all breads is not good for your blood sugar level--which helps regulate fat storage.

5. Eat a lot of protein. Protein will make you feel full and you won't eat as much other stuff. Eat lean meats such as chicken, fish, lean ground beef, and even pork.

6. Don't drink calories. With the exception of milk or a small glass of orange juice at breakfast--don't drink calories. Skim milk is good as calcium is an important mineral and there is protein and vitamins in milk. Absolutely do not drink fruit juices--they are full of sugar.

7. Eat fruits and vegetables. You can't take weight loss seriously without incorporating a lot of fruits and vegetables into your diet. I have always loved vegetables but loathed fruit. I continued eating a lot of vegetables but had to teach myself to like and to eat fruit. I hadn't eaten a grape in my life until I committed myself to weight loss. Eat fruit for snacks throughout the day. Find fruits you like--teach yourself to like fruits. You'll come around--I did.

8. Plan what you eat and eat only what you plan. Plan out what you are going to eat throughout the week before you get groceries. Buy enough food ahead of time that you don't snack on candy or unhealthy foods when you've got a craving. But obviously, follow the above rules when buying food.

9. Eat when you are hungry. You will get hungry frequently if you are on a diet. Your body is used to getting far more calories than you should eat while trying to lose weight. Don't fight the urge--eat. Just eat what you planned for in #8 above. Eat some fruit, vegetables, nuts (not honey roasted or sweetened though) or a whole grain snack.

10. Exercise. Exercise is last for a reason--it is the least important component in my opinion. Your diet will be a much better way to control your weight--particularly once you have reached your goal. You will need to lift weights to get your metabolism into shape and to improve its performance. Cardio is much less important, but will help burn calories and help your heart.

It is good to have a goal too--and some accountability to someone who either has good health habits already, or is also working to lose weight. The best book I've seen on weight loss is The Men's Health Belly-Off Program. It essentially fleshes out the things I listed above. If you are serious about weight loss, you need to read this book or about the program online.

And if you are really serious about getting into and staying in shape--you must weigh yourself regularly. I recommend at least once a week. This will help you learn more about how your diet and exercise affect your weight and will help you control it by keeping things from spiraling out of control.

The Blog Links on the Sidebar

I think it is high time that I supply my readers information about the blogs listed on the side bar. They are mostly blogs by friends.

Woodchips and Musings
This is my father's blog. His blog is a great source of biblical wisdom. Highly recommended.

Between Two Worlds
This is Justin Taylor's blog. Justin is John Piper's right-hand man. His blog is a great source for theology and political discourse.

Mike's Unemployed Blog

My friend and former roommate, Mike Anderson blogged from Europe (and farther afield) while he studied in London and continued after he returned and began looking for a job. He'll soon have to change it though now that he is again gainfully employed.

Al Mohler

I wish I was Al Mohler's friend. He is a wise Christian thinker. I listen to his daily radio program and his commentaries are daily must-reads.

Tom's Stadium Quest
My friend Tom Coyer is an even bigger baseball fan than myself. His goal is to visit every major league baseball park.

As Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing
Charlie Evertz is a friend from church who has a strong passion to proclaim the gospel. Charlie is new to blogging this week. I look forward to seeing where he takes his new blog.

Energy, Environment, and Cycling
Scott Knoepke is a friend from high school who now lives in Chicago. He just started his blog yesterday. A primary motivation for his blog is public accountability as he strives to lose weight and get into better shape--for the second time.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Must-Read

This is a must read as we humbly and thoughtfully reflect upon the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Environmentalism as Religion

Yesterday I compared Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Pat Robertson--saying that they both have blamed great disasters on the wrong people for "political and theological sins."

Today Jonah Goldberg unpacks the notion of environmentalism as religion. He argues:

"They could start by getting their own theodicy, one that would try to reconcile natural disasters with their faith that Mother Nature is such a nice lady. Rejecting Tennyson's description of nature as "red in tooth and claw" they opt for a nurturing but wounded Mommy Nature. Were it not for man's folly, she would be rocking us to sleep in her gentle arms every night. God, it seems, is a deadbeat dad in this whole scheme and man ultimately has all the power. Indeed, George Bush (with the aid of Haley Barbour, of course) could eliminate catastrophes with the stroke of a pen."

He girds my thesis that, "
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."