Monthly Archives: October 2009

Burning Bibles for the Kingdom’s Sake

Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, NC, is holding a book-burning on Halloween. They are burning satanic books. But you might be surprised at what they consider satanic:

  • Any Bible that isn’t the King James Version. All other versions are “satanic” and “perversions” of God’s Word. That includes the New King James Version, in addition to my beloved NIV. The fact that they aren’t reading the original King James–that the KJV itself has been revised many times over the years–is probably lost on them. They prefer their issues in black-and-white, with no grays.
  • Books by such heretics as Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye,  James Dobson, and a slew of others.
  • Practically any kind of music: country, rap, rock, pop, heavy metal, weastern, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, or oldies. I guess that leaves classical and hymns. Oh, I didn’t see blues in that list.

Well, good for Amazing Grace and their grand total of 14 members.

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The Guru Speaks, People Obey

Glenn Beck is scaring people away from getting the H1N1 shot. “You don’t know if this (the H1N1 vaccine) is gonna cause neurological damage like it did in the 1970s.”

Politifact looked into this and declared his statement “Barely True.”

In 1976, 1 in every 100,000 people who got the swine flu shot contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disease. But 30 years have passed. “The seasonal flu vaccine has been administered to 100 million to 250 million people a year worldwide, and there’s been no evidence it caused anyone to get Guillain-Barre or any other neurological disorder,” says Politifact.

The current swine flu vaccine was made the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine has been made for the past 20 years. Had it been discovered earlier, the vaccine would have been included in this year’s seasonal vaccine. But by the time it was discovered, in May, the seasonal vaccine was already being made. Thus the need for a second shot.

Politifact concludes, “Without noting that the H1N1 vaccine has been manufactured in essentially the same way as the seasonal flu shot that has been used by hundreds of millions of people — without any established link to neurological problems — ends up misleading by omission. And so we rule Beck’s statement Barely True.”

But because of his (and Rush’s) alarmist statements, absorbed by devoted listeners, people will most likely die. Most likely the children of listeners. But hey, anything to stick it to the Feds.

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10 Things Chuck Swindoll has Learned

At the Catalyst 2009 Conference, held last week in Atlanta, Chuck Swindoll was given a lifetime achievement award. He spoke on “10 Things I Have Learned During 50 Years in Ministry.” Here are those 10 points, as compiled by Drew Dyck and published on the Out of Ur blog. Good stuff.

  1. It’s lonely to lead. Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decision, the lonelier it is.
  2. It’s dangerous to succeed. I’m most concerned for those who aren’t even 30 and are very gifted and successful. Sometimes God uses someone right out of youth, but usually he uses leaders who have been crushed
  3. It’s hardest at home. No one ever told me this in Seminary.
  4. It’s essential to be real. If there’s one realm where phoniness is common, it’s among leaders. Stay real.
  5. It’s painful to obey. The Lord will direct you to do some things that won’t be your choice. Invariably you will give up what you want to do for the cross.
  6. Brokenness and failure are necessary.
  7. Attititude is more important than actions. Your family may not have told you: some of you are hard to be around. A bad attitude overshadows good actions.
  8. Integrity eclipses image. Today we highlight image. But it’s what you’re doing behind the scenes.
  9. God’s way is better than my way.
  10. Christlikeness begins and ends with humility.

He also gave these five admonitions:

  1. Whatever you do, do more with others and less alone.
  2. Whenever you do it, emphasize quality not quantity.
  3. Wherever you go, do it the same as if you were among those who know you best.
  4. Whoever may respond, keep a level head.
  5. However long you lead, keep on dripping with gratitude and grace.
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Exceptional Thoughts on American Exceptionalism

While attending a summit in Germany last April, Barack Obama was asked if he, like many previous presidents, believed in American exceptionalism and saw America as uniquely qualified to lead the world. His response reflects my views perfectly, and it’s an attitude that is obviously a breath of fresh air to the rest of the world.

“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I’m enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don’t think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

“And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

“Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we’ve got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we’re not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

“And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships, because we create partnerships [knowing] we can’t solve these problems alone.”

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This Just Cracks Me Up


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Steve’s Alltime Favorite Albums

As I rode the eliptical at the Y, a Boston song, “Long Time,” played on my iPod Shuffle. I decided that that album, the self-titled “Boston,” was my alltime favorite album. I wore out a couple cassettes before graduating to the CD, and now I’m playing them on my iPod.

Then I got to wondering, “What are my other alltime favorite albums?” Here are my top 10.

  1. Boston: Boston
  2. U2: Joshua Tree
  3. Springsteen: Born in the USA
  4. Three Dog Night: Greatest Hits
  5. Hootie and the Blowfish: Cracked Rear View
  6. Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell
  7. Springsteen: The Rising
  8. Nirvana: MTV Unplugged
  9. Aerosmith: Honkin’ on Bobo
  10. Carpenters: Close to You

Yes, the Carpenters. That was my first album, and I can still remember playing it over and over. I thought “We’ve Only Just Begun” really rocked.

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The Trivializing of the Nobel Peace Prize

Wow. President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

As Americans, can we celebrate that? When the world bestows an important award on an American, can we just be happy about that? As John McCain said, “As Americans, we’re proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category.”

It won’t help him a lick domestically. But it will help America’s agenda around the world, since the president’s stature will be heightened.

That said, let me say this: What the heck?

Let’s be clear: President Obama didn’t ask for this award, didn’t seek it, didn’t know he was being considered for it, and is probably embarrassed that he got it. OF COURSE he doesn’t deserve it. He knows it, everybody knows it.

Melinda Henneberger of wrote a column called “Obama won the what?” She says, “The Nobel Committee has itself located a rare point of agreement between left- and right-leaning Americans. I think it’s fair to say that the most common reaction among both groups this morning is, Huh?”

Joe Klein, writing on Swampland: “I’m as relieved as anybody that the Bushian gunslingers have been given the gate and, as regular readers know, I’m a big fan of patient, rigorous diplomacy….But let’s face it: this prize is premature to the point of ridiculousness.”

On Morning Joe, Chuck Todd said, “My response is, for what?”

Peter Beinart of wrote, “I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce. He’s done nothing to deserve the prize.”

Mark Halperin: “I predict right now that he will find a way to basically turn it down. I think he is going to say, I share this with the world or whatever. I don’t think he’ll embrace this. Because there is no upside.”

Poland’s Lech Walesa: “Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast–he hasn’t had the time to do anything yet.”

Gideon Rachman, a columnist for The Financial Times: “I am a genuine admirer of Obama….But I doubt that I am alone in wondering whether this award is slightly premature….While it is OK to give school children prizes for ‘effort’–my kids get them all the time–I think international statesmen should probably be held to a higher standard.”

Don’t blame Obama for getting this award. Don’t knock him around. I think he’s clearly embarrassed about it, and put in a difficult situation. He can’t turn it down. But yet, he can’t claim that he deserves it. His statement today, I thought, hit as good a note as he could. But SNL, Leno, Conan, and the rest will have great fun with it…and deservedly so. I can’t wait to hear what the comedians have to say.

I guess the key to understanding this is recognizing that it’s a
European award, and it’s granted from a European perspective. They see
things differently. We’re accustomed to dominating, to doing whatever
we want. But nobody likes a bully.

Fareed Zakaria: “I think it’s more an award to America for rejoining
the world than recognition of President Obama per se. People here
underestimate how relieved the world is to have a more engaged, less
bullying America.”

Wrote Jennifer Loven of the AP: “The Nobel prize has a long history of
being awarded more for the committee’s aspirations than for others’
accomplishments….In those cases, the prize is awarded to encourage
those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical
moments….The Nobel committee, it seems, had the audacity to hope that
he’ll eventually produce a record worthy of its prize.”

And not just Europe, but the rest of the world. They’ve been yearning
for American leadership on a range of issues, and we’re finally
providing it. Haven’t accomplished anything yet, but we’re pointing in
the right direction. Read the statements of many leaders from around
the world. The American perspective is not the only one that counts,
unless you’re totally arrogant (which is how the world has seen us
recently). Read some world reactions here and here.

More specifically, it’s an award from the Nobel Prize Committee. They
have an agenda, they have perspectives. And they obviously have
partisan axes to grind. Most everyone recognizes this isn’t so much a
commendation of Obama as it is a jab at George Bush.

Again, the European perspective is that they’re glad the Bush days are
gone. That America’s attitude of “Who cares what the rest of the world
thinks?” has been replaced by an administration willing to listen to
and engage with other nations. We’re a community of nations, and that
requires attitudes that the Bush Administration sorely lacked.

Fareed Zakaria: “For decades, it’s been thought deadly for an American
politician to be seen as seeking international cooperation. Denouncing,
demeaning and insulting other countries was a cheap and easy way to
seem strong. In the battle of images, tough and stupid always seemed to
win. President Obama is gambling that America is now mature enough to
understand that machismo is not foreign policy, and that grandstanding
on the global stage just won’t succeed.”

The world is happy that we’re engaging with them again–not just telling them what they need to do, but seeking cooperation.

But I’m peeved that the Nobel Committee would use this prestigious
award to make such a trite political statement. They have trivialized
the award.

Having said all that, I still congratulate the President for receiving
the award, and I know it’ll help him provide leadership in our world.

I’m reminded of Tom Hanks at the end of “Saving Private Ryan,” whispering into the ear of the young Ryan, “Earn it.”

Peter Beinart wrote, “Let’s hope Obama eventually deserves this award.
And let’s hope the Nobel Committee’s decision meets with such a
deafening chorus of chortles and jeers that it never does something
this stupid again.”

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What Did We United Brethren Do Wrong this Time?

I received this message at work today, sent through the website:

How sad to read that your denominational leaders have endorsed amnesty for illegal aliens. Perhaps we should break down border barriers because surely Jesus wanted all peoples to be able to migrate at will.

Why don’t you take the locks off your churches, so that people can enter whenever they wish? Why don’t you cede the residences of your congregants to the homeless?

Churches are being sucked into the mindless, leftist idea of “social justice” and away from the justice of the Bible.

First of all, we’ve made no statement whatsoever on this subject, so I have no idea what this person heard. Probably got us mixed up with some other “brethren” group. That happens a lot.

But I’m also wondering what this woman (it was a woman) believes the Bible says about justice. Because while she and Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs may be kindred spirits, I’m guessing Jesus would take some exception to their views. And the Founding Fathers, too, for that matter. Because America was built by people who came here because borders were broken down.

I’m not making a statement for amnesty. I don’t know enough about the subject to make an informed statement. I’m just reacting to the knee-jerk mindlessness of people like this.

UPDATE: Okay, this person pointed me to this reference to a resolution from the National Association of Evangelicals. We’re listed among the member denominations, with a link to our feedback form. So I’ll probably be getting some more.

So the National Association of Evangelicals made a statement which endorses amnesty for illegal aliens? I looked up the NAE statement. No they didn’t. The statement proposes seven actions, none of which involves amnesty. The one they’re probably worked up about says:

That the government establish a sound,
equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented
immigrants, who desire to embrace the responsibilities and privileges
that accompany citizenship.”

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The New American Pastime

Letterman. Polanski. Ensign. Edwards. Writes Gene Lyons on “What would Americans talk about without celebrity sex scandals? It’s getting to where even a diligent voyeur has trouble keeping the protagonists straight without schematic diagrams…. Reveling in other people’s sins has become the national pastime. We’ve become a country of Peeping Toms, a sadistic activity.”

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Our Great Leap Forward

Roper does a worldwide survey to show how much admiration people have for different countries. It’s called the National Brands Index. Last year, the United States ranked 7th, behind: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and Italy.

This year, the United States ranked first.

I think that’s a good thing. If you’re a Republican (as are 90% of my Facebook friends), you may think that’s a bad thing, because it could be a “win” for Obama. Kinda like getting the Olympics would have been, which is why so many conservatives cheered when Rio got the Olympics.

Or maybe, like me, you cheer for your country no matter who lives in the White House.

The survey included 20,000 respondents from 20 countries.

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