Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why Did the Twins Trade Johan Santana?

From Nihilist in Golf Pants:

11. Their AA affiliate was desperate for pitching

10. Since they already got a publicly financed stadium, they felt no need to field a good team anymore

9. Afraid Hugo Chavez would nationalize him

8. Santana pitched in too many boring low scoring games

7. No space left in team trophy case to hold any more Cy Young Awards or World Series trophies

6. Didn't make enough money on $15 Joe Mauer autographs at Twins Fest

5. Got caught up in Barack Obama's hype about change

4. Felt peer pressured to give up the best player in the league by their buddies in the Vikings (Randy Moss) and Timberwolves (Kevin Garnett) back offices

3. Massive cost overruns from their architectural firms bar tab

2. Wanted to rehash the "Get To Know 'Em" ad campaign and needed some new unknowns

1. Carl Pohlad is a cheap bastard

Monday, January 28, 2008

"So the last will be first, and the first last"

Julie Brown is the kind of person that Jesus surely had in mind when he said, "So the last will be first, and the first last." I commend you to read a short obituary of a remarkable woman that has gone to be with our Lord.

___________________________________

The Dying and Death of Julie Brown

Julie Brown sat in the front row of the church with a friend she had brought along. He had not been inside a house of worship for years and was an atheist. Julie, at least in recent weeks, had been attending one regularly: New Day Covenant Church in Boulder, Colorado. She had been camping out in the hills of Boulder, Colorado, for about a year, making do as one could—without any income or official social support. Then she developed a cough that would not go away. She came into town for help and received the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. After this, she attended a barbeque at New Day, and began attending there. During one service, she came forward, knelt before the large, striking, wooden cross at the front of the church and confessed her sins with Pastor Doug White, who knelt beside her. The church became her family.

That Sunday in September of 2007, she listened to every word of my sermon, “Finding Power Over Error,” which was derived from Acts 13:1-12. As I exposited several principles for extending the gospel and dealing with spiritual opposition, her gaze never faltered, her ears were open as wide as her eyes, and as wide as her heart.

After the message, she immediately greeted me and thanked me for making the message so clear. “I have never heard the gospel so clearly,” she told me with gratitude. During the Bible study that followed, Julie listened attentively to Pastor Doug White’s teaching on The Book of James. She asked good questions and making thoughtful comments. But she had no hair. Julie had donned a wig for the church service—in order to look respectable—but now it was gone. The chemotherapy had done its usual work. In a voice hoarse from treatments, and with few teeth left in her mouth, she participated in learning more of the gospel. She was an avid student of the Scriptures that morning.

I will never forget Julie Brown, although I met her for only a few hours one Sunday morning in a small church. I prayed for her often, and received updates from Pastor Doug on her condition. He told me that she brought many of her homeless friends to New Day. Julie fit the sociological category of being homeless, but she found a home in Christ and in his Church that meets at New Day. She indeed had more of a home than many who live in Christ-less mansions of mammon, as so many in Boulder do. She did her level best to evangelize her street friends. She remained cheerful and funny and brave to the end. She died under the loving care of a Christian community. Her cancer treatments and her hospital and hospice car were volunteered by kind souls. And in her dying, she gave life and grace to many—as several testified in my presence today at her funeral.

Julie’s funeral at New Day Church was not attended by any biological family members. Instead, her church family and many of her homeless friends sat and heard a brief and biblical message by Pastor Doug as well as testimonies by Julie’s friends. I spoke briefly on the theme that Julie had “ears to hear” the gospel. Jesus often concluded one of his teaching by saying, “Let everyone hear who has ears to hear.” Teachers need learners or we are not teachers at all. Julie was more alert and responsible to my message than many of my students at the theological graduate school where I have taught for fifteen years.

Yet how could I, a professional egghead, reach Julie--a rough and ready homeless woman--with the Message? It is simple: the World of God is living and active, breaking down barriers and building bridges through truth (Hebrews 4:15). Julie learned some lessons that day—and, more importantly, learned more about God through the messages she heard from Pastor Doug and through the love of his church. These were lessons that she did not forget. As Pastor Doug said in his message, “the eyes of her heart” were opened to see the glorious gospel of Christ (Ephesians 1:18).

Julie Brown, a woman only in her late forties, is dead. Our prayers for her physical healing were not answered. You will not read an other obituary about her. All her belongings are in a small back room at New Day Church. Her beloved dog, Baby, has a new master. But Julie has a new home—in heaven.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another Endorsement

Several years ago I was given an opportunity to read the manuscript of an unpublished novel entitled, A Minor Talent. The novel was written by the brother of a long time friend.

The novel is a semi-finalist in Amazon.com's unpublished novel contest. The first fifteen pages are available at Amazon.com to read for free. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it. And if you enjoy it, please leave a review for author Nate Anderson.

Here is my review which I just submitted to Amazon.com:

Anderson’s “A Minor Talent” leaves the reader wishing for more. The prose captures both the drive and preoccupations of the male mind at work in protagonist Jeremiah Bingham—a witty character that one will easily sympathize with and cheer for even as his mind is absorbed with sex, robbery, and quest for tenure.

Yet Anderson is also able to give great energy and sincerity to his female lead, Chloe Bradwyn. Chloe, though seemingly a mere bee-keeper, knows enough to keep her literary prize from its suitors—knowing precisely what they would do with it. One ponders if she knows more than Bingham gives her credit for.

While the story line is enough to keep one reading, it is Anderson’s talent with prose that keeps the pages turning with writing like this:

Even Dr. Vinay, attractive as she is at times, is buttoned down like the rest in her corduroy and tweed. Bright light gives her a rash. But not Chloe.”

And

“Much as I loathe the man and his Windsor-knotted ties, he has taught me one great lesson over the years: second place is for losers, and adjuncts. I will not be a loser again.”

Anderson sets the scene with Bingham, his surprisingly attractive victim, and his chief rival who is surely as cutthroat in his quest for the new Bradwyn manuscripts. Bingham has already established a relationship, and even sympathy with Chloe. What of McIntyre, his rival? What is he willing to do in order to capture the sought after prize? I hope we all find out soon…

More on Romney

Ann Coulter (not necessarily one to emulate or admire, but certainly to listen to) has endorsed Mitt Romney. Here is why:

One clue that Romney is our strongest candidate is the fact that Democrats keep viciously attacking him while expressing their deep respect for Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

This point was already extensively covered in Chapter 1 of "How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)": Never take advice from your political enemies.

Turn on any cable news show right now, and you will see Democratic pundits attacking Romney, calling him a "flip-flopper," and heaping praise on McCain and Huckleberry – almost as if they were reading some sort of "talking points."

Doesn't that raise the tiniest suspicions in any of you? Are you too busy boning up on Consumer Reports' reviews of microwave ovens to spend one day thinking about who should be the next leader of the free world? Are you familiar with our "no exchange/no return" policy on presidential candidates? Voting for McCain because he was a POW a quarter-century ago or Huckabee because he was a Baptist preacher is like buying a new car because you like the color.

The candidate Republicans should be clamoring for is the one liberals are feverishly denouncing. That is Mitt Romney by a landslide.

Coulter of course makes a good point. The same theory relates to why Al-Qaeda (not to mention most of the rest of the world) was hoping John Kerry would win the presidency in 2004. Sometimes it is helpful to listen to your enemies to gain some perspective.

Mitt Romney is our man.

HT: Uncorrelated

Friday, January 04, 2008

Gender Bender

How'd you like to be Alyssa Smith, now widely known throughout the Twin Cities, to be the woman thought to be a man, being "affectionate" with Amanda Christianson?

"Last week, Amanda Christianson was being dropped off at her home in Blaine by her friend Alyssa Smith of Fridley. Christianson's boyfriend, Alexander Wald, came out from the residence in the 9500 block of NE. Able Street and saw the two women hugging.

Thinking that his girlfriend was being affectionate with another man, he started punching Smith several times and threw her to the floor."

Poor woman!