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August 01, 2004

Kerry's Sleeveless Faith

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.

I knew that Ron Reagan's words would come back to us. I didn't think that John Kerry would quote him in his acceptance speach.

I was personally a bit irritated at Ron Reagan for his obvious politicizing of his father's funeral. But it was his dime, he could do what he wanted -- even though I wonder what his dad would have said. I know that Democrats all over the nation stood and cheered what Ron said -- even those who were secretly pleased that his father was gone.

Kerry's faith card will appeal to the folks who would have voted for him anyway. People who think that religion is for Sundays, but that it has no place in public life. Kerry's faith has given him values to live by, but not to influence society with. He has hope, but not hope to share with anyone. He's said before that he personally opposes abortion, but won't follow his personal values when elected. He has a personal Jesus, but not a very practical one -- or a public one.

This is what people mean when they talk about wearing religion on one's sleeves. They want faith to stay put, and not influence society. That may work with some faiths -- Buddhism, for example, or some forms of Judaeism. Christianity is an evangelical faith -- evangelical in the braodest sense of the word. It is meant to be spread, by preaching and teaching, converting and baptizing. That is what Christ's final command to us was all about -- Go, preach, teach, and baptize. In Acts, we read His words: "You shall be witnesses ...". We will be witnesses of Him, either by our actions or by our inactions. Wearing your faith on your sleeve means that you will be a witness by your actions -- by your words, your deeds, your faith in action on a daily basis. Andrew Fuller understood this over 200 years ago. John Kerry hasn't figured it out yet.

Your faith may be sleeveless, Mr. Kerry. True faith, the faith that the martyrs died for, the faith that built the Church, the faith that Christ expects from His followers, has sleeves.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

No real surprise here ...


You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004

What a vacation ....

I'm finally home. Actually, I got home last night, but was too tired to blog.

I should have been home Monday morning. Halfway to Charlotte on Saturday, the transmission in my in-laws' van gave up the ghost. Sat by the side of the road with my father-in-law for two hours waiting for a tow, then spent another two hours taking back roads from Florence, SC to Charlotte. Had to stay until Monday morning because nobody was open to take care of a sick van. Sigh.

At least the beach was fun. I'm not much of a beach person, but I helped my daughter build her first sand castle ever, so it was fun. Played some VERY mediocre golf. Got a small sunburn. Ate too much. The usual vacation thing. Read the newest Jasper Fforde book, Well of Lost Plots. Highly recommend this series to people who enjoy British humor (especially Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series). When I get my high-speed back, I'll put some links up on my library page.

Speaking of which ... Got home and realized we forgot to pay the cable bill before we left. No cable TV, no Internet -- except for the PeoplePC dialup I've been using from the beach. I paid Adelphia today at noon, but they say I won't get anyone out here to reconnect me until NEXT Tuesday. I'm looking into Direct TV, so my email address may change.

Amid THAT drama, I realized I forgot about the Carnival this week. I haven't checked my blogroll OR my email since I got home, so I don't even know where it is this week. More on that tomorrow, I hope.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)


"The caution flag is out. He's talking about racing again."

Jimmy Johnson, my favorite driver, got a $10,000 fine over the weekend for blocking the label of a Powerade bottle. Powerade is a Coke product, for those who don't know. Jimmy is sponsered by Pepsi.

Now, I'm sure that Jimmy will be taken care of by the Pepsi folks, but I think that expecting a driver to ignore the sponsor who is paying a TON of money to back his car is kinda much for the folks at NASCAR.

It makes it even worse that the guy who made the rule necessary, Tony Stewart, never got fined for knocking a competitor's product off his car at the end of a race.

Of course, I've never liked Tony anyway. I worked for Lowes for almost eight years, four in management. I remember when Lowes started backing a car in NASCAR, and the people at Home Depot mocking us. A few years later, when they saw the loyalty that NASCAR fans have to sponsors, they went and got themselves a car.

I'm not a Depot fan, though I have shopped there before (and may end up working at one this fall ...). I got too caught up in the "Battle for Atlanta" when Lowes went into Depot's back yard with a bunch of huge new stores and cut into their market share in a BIG way (I helped open four of those stores). So I guess whoever drove #20 wouldn't be my favorite driver. But Tony Stewart rubs me the wrong way (like he does a lot of people on Sundays on the track). And seeing Jimmy get nailed for something Tony never got in trouble for bugs me.

ANYWAY -- tomorrow some interesting content -- maybe my high-speed access will return. Or maybe I can rant some more about Adelphia's customer "service".

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

The Carnival is Up ...

... and I'm not in it. And I had a perfect post to send, too. Now I have to come up with something better.

Anyway, head on over to Digitus, Finger, and Co. and read some of the outstanding posts that were submitted this week.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

This Week in Church History

August 4, 1792.

A liberal's dream came true in France on this day. The ruling body that had taken over France in the wake of the Revolution declared all churches closed. Many were used as prisons. Some were used for more ... inappropriate uses.

The French revolution was, from it's inception, anti-Christian and anti-Church -- but especially the latter. The Church in France at the time had become corrupt, with bishops ruthlessly persecuting Hugenots and other non-conformists. Most of the bishops were from the upper class of society, and abuses of their power abounded. They were very good at illustrating the wrath of God, but His grace and love were absent.

So the philosophers embraced Deism, with it's absent clockmaker God, or outright agnosticism and atheism. Rationalism and Deism became the state religions, and an oath of loyalty was soon required. Anyone who refused to swear loyalty to the new secular government was exiled from France. Churches were destroyed, priests were harrassed, and Christians were ridiculed and openly persecuted.

This is NOT a pretty day in church history. This isn't a day to remember with pride. It is a day that the failings of a church that had gotten proud of itself, that had decided that the people were beneath it, came back to haunt it.

There is an attitude about the church today that is similar to that of the French philosophes. I wrote about Mr. Kristoff and his plea that Christianity become more tolerant and inclusive, and let go of the exclusivity of the gospel. I've talked about that subject before, a long time ago when this blog was new. People want to neuter religion, and to make it harmless.

We aren't without blame. Every day, you can read about Christians who haven't been living up to expectations. Christians who are not showing the love of Christ. we fail -- we're human, after all. But we like to cover things up. We need to admit to the world that we are far from perfect, but that in spite of our failings God wants to have a relationship with us. We have been forgiven, and they can be too.

We need to learn from the example of France. Take a look there now. It is one of the biggest mission fields in the world -- and one of the hardest to work in, from what I've heard. Christians need to stop giving people a reason to ignore us, and start giving them a reason to listen to us -- Jesus Christ, proclaimed unashamedly.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Back at Last!

I was afraid that after I complained at Adeplhia (in rather vehement terms and tones, I might add), that we'd be put at the bottom of the list. Nope. The high-speed is back, and I can blog again.

I owe everyone a Mark study entry, which I will do today. I've got a couple other things I want to talk about, but I may save them so I have something to say later in the week.

Friday we head to Louisville. I have some tests I'm taking, to try and get out of some of the Introduction To .... classes, so I can take some that I'm really interested in. Tuesday is Orientation for new students, and Wednesday starts classes. I'm praying that finding housing and a job will go smoothly -- I can't imagine that the job will be that tough, with the retail experience I have. And I'm 80% sure of where I'm going to live.

It's funny -- four years ago, when I resigned from Lowes, I swore I'd never work retail again. Since I started teaching three years ago, I've gotten quite used to having all summer, all major holidays, and even snow days, off. But now, I'm thankful that I've got the experience in retail, because it's going to help me get through school.

I've got some work to do -- I have some writing to finish up for my Baptist History class, and it's due to the GA by Sunday. I'll post more later on.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Beating a (Slightly) Dead Horse

I wish I had read this before the whole BWA/SBC debate. I'd have certainly included it in my comments on the whole controversy.

For Christians to be linked in association with ministers who do not preach the Gospel of Christ is to incurr moral guilt.
A[n Alliance] which can continue irrespective of whether its member churches belong to a common faith is not fulfilling any scriptural function.
The preservation of a denominational association when it is powerless to discipline heretics cannot be justified on the grounds of 'preservation of Christian Unity'.
It is error which breaks the unity of churches, and to remain in a denominational alignment which condones error is to support schism.
That's a quote from 1888, by C. H. Spurgeon, after he left the Baptist Union over the increasing influence of liberal theology. Something for us all to think about.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Christian Carnival

I almost forgot, and the deadline is looming. My post is going in as soon as I submit this posting.

This week's Carnival is at Beyond the Rim... So, be thinking about submitting an article or getting your blogger friends to submit an article. Email your entry to beyondtherim at meisheid.com and include the words Christian Carnival in the Subject line. It helps my SPAM filter and my message sorter.

Please also send:
The name of your blog:
The URL of your blog:
The name of your nominated blog post:
The URL of your nominated blog post:
A brief description of the nominated blog post:

I also want to suggest that you use the ability of your mail client to request a read receipt. That way you will be sure I got the submission. For all those not requesting a read receipt, I will be emailing a confirmation of receipt. If you don't get a confirmation, either through a read receipt or confirmation reply, I didn't get your submission. It may have been eaten by the random bit bucket.

Submission deadline is Tuesday at 12 midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) or there abouts.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

Study of Mark: Mark 4:21-34

And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (Mark 4:21-34 ESV)
We're continuing with Christ teaching his disciples through parables.

The first is that of a lamp, or candlestick. If you want to illuminate a room, do you hide it, or place it on a stand? Obviously, you place it on a stand. Christ's teachings to the disciples, though, were often under a basket -- he taught them secretly about many things. His point to this particular parable, I think, is that His mission was to 1. give Himself a sacrifice for us all, but 2. to train his disciples to spread the Good News of His kingdom. His teachings weren't for everyone -- that's why he taught so often in parables. His mission could only be understood in the context of Calvary -- before that time, people wouldn't be able to understand what He was doing.

The second teaching really is not a parable -- in fact, it's an explanation to the parable of the talents. When God gives us much, He expects much from us. Christ is preparing the disciples for their roles in spreading the Gospel to the world. They have been given much -- more than any other men in the world, for who can say that they learned at the feet of Jesus? Much will be required -- their very lives, ultimately.

Christ then makes another allusion to planting and harvesting, but to make a different point. We sow the seed of the Gospel. After we sow, we see results. We don't know why people are responding the way they are, and we don't know why other people aren't responding. it isn't for us to know. We accept that God is sovereign, and that His plan is in place. We rejoice that we have a harvest, not that we didn't get as many plants as we thought we would.

We then see the kingdom of God compared to a mustard seed. WHen planted, it seems small and insignificant -- much like our efforts in sharing the Gospel. But when the plant matures, it can grow into a huge tree. We never know who we have influenced by our faithful proclaiming of the Gospel. We cannot stop doing it simply because we see no big results right away. We may never know what lives we have touched, so we must continue to be faithful in our work, trusting that God will grant the increase.

Parables are tough to study, because of the simple fact that they are not always clear in what they are saying. Hopefully, I have been able to faithfully explain some of these parables of Christ. I look forward to hearing from others, who have their own ideas.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

The Christian Carnival is Up!

Head over to Beyond the Rim and check out the 30th installment of the Christian Carnival. There are a lot of great entries there. My favorites:

  • Reformation, the entry from Minas Tirith. Reminds me that God uses imperfect people to do incredible things.
  • Brandon at Siris has a great article on the Trinity that should provoke some thought.

I think these two are my favorites out of the folks who aren't on my blogroll. Of course, Donald, Matt, Rebecca, Hal, and Jeremy have their usual excellent articles over there, but you should have read those already. You DO check out the blogroll here, don't you? ;-)

And, of course, I have something there, too. My TWiCH about the French Revolution is there. But I KNOW you've read that one already.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

Southern This Fall

I've confirmed my schedule for the fall -- my first full semester at Southern. I'm taking Biblical Hermeneutics with Dr. William Cook, Intro to Christian Philosophy with Dr. Ronald Nash, and Systematic Theology I with Dr. Al Mohler.

Systematic only meets on Fridays, and it's my only class on Friday. The other two meet Tuesday through Thursday. I'm out by noon on Friday, and 1:30 the other days, so my bloging schedule is going to depend on my work schedule.

If you can't tell, I'm excited to be going back to school. I'm really looking forward to studying under some of the people who are shaping evangelical Baptist theology. It's going to be a big change from me teaching a class full of teenagers, to me learning in a class, but I'm ready for it.

We're heading for Louisville on Friday, so I can arrange for housing and work. Saturday I take my placement test for Church History, and Tuesday I may take the test for New Testament. Tuesday is orientation, and classes start Wednesday. Needless to say, blogging may be a little light this weekend, but I'll try to have at least one thing up each day.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Religion and Ethics Survey

Back in April, PBS did this survey, and I missed it somehow. I dumped it onto the hard drive and promptly forgot about it, or my desire to study it and comment.

So this weekend, while I'm on the road, I'm going to take a look at it. I'm planning on commenting Tuesday or Wednesday.

So why am I telling you this? Good question. I missed the boat in April, so I'm figuring that someone else has blogged about this survey. If anyone knows of a blog source I can refer to, let me know in the comments. I'm also letting you know so you can take a look at the conclusions that PBS came to. You'll be surprised to learn that evangelicals don't all go to mega-churches, don't consider Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson to be their leaders, and that white evangelicals often differn in their responses from evangelicals of other ethnic backgrounds. Ok, so maybe you won't be surprised by that -- I sure wasn't. From reading the article, it seems that PBS was a bit surprised by all that. Maybe they should have been paying attention to us all these years, rather than looking down their noses at those quaint little peope who actually believe all that God stuff.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2004

The Carnival is Coming!!!

Wow, looking at the headlines here, I've got three Carnival-related headlines almost back to back to back. THAT won't look good on the headlines graphic I got from Feedburner! Have to do something about that.

ANYWAY: The Christian Carnival is going to be held at Parableman on Wednesday of this week. It HAS to be from the past week, and it HAS to be Christian-themed, and you HAVE to send the following information:

Blog name
Blog URL
post name
post URL
trackback URL for your post if you would like a track
backbrief description of post

Send your submission to jrpierce@syr.edu and make sure your subject makes it clear that this is for the Christian Carnival, or it will be deleted as junk mail.

I didn't notice a deadline, but to be safe I'd get it there Tuesday evening, Eastern time. Everyone should do it, because it's a great way to get the word out about your blog. Now I have to head off and try to come up with something good to post.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2004

My Sunday

I'm conducting a Bible study on Sunday nights at church, and that's taken a good bit of my time this week. We're doing Discovering the Biblical Jesus, written by Dr. Daniel Akin from Southeastern Baptist Seminary. It's the first time I've done anything like this -- usually, if I speak at all in church, it's fifteen or twenty minutes on a Wednesday night. This is 30-45 minutes on Sunday night, and it will probably last for a while. The study is designed for six hour and a half long sessions, but I'm doing it 45 minutes at a time, so .... well, you can do the math.

Usually, we have less than 30 people on Sunday nights. Last week, we had 40+, this week a bit more than that. I'm thrilled that people are interested in the subject -- I just hope I'm doing it justice. The material is excellent, BTW, if you're looking for a small-group study program. I'm modifying it a bit to fit in a Sunday evening Bible-study setting.

My schedule at Southern is going to be a little easier than I thought it would be. My Intro to Christian Philosophy class that meets Tues-Thurs from noon to one actually doesn't meet at all on Wednesdays, meets every other Tuesday and Thursday, and doesn't start until the 24th of August. I'll have more study time, and more time to work. Good thing, since books are going to run almost $400, and it looks like rent is going to be right around that -- unless I find out someone who was supposed to have on-campus housing didn't show up, and I can grab a room on campus for less than $300.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Birthday Montgomery

Yesterday was my daughter's third birthday. We celebrated it in Louisville at Olive Garden, and she loved it when they sang to her. She loved the chocolate cake even more ...

I'm going to put some pictures of her up on my web site, one of these days. For now, if you click here, you'll see her and her Daddy at this year's prom. I was thinking on Friday about how much life has changed in the last three years, and I was surprised to find that it hadn't really changed in too many major ways. We still like to travel, though now it takes us a little longer to get packed, and we make a few more stops. We like to read, and she reads right along with us. OK, she doesn't so much read as look at the pictures and say "What's that?" every so often, but she loves her books as much as her mother and I love ours. The things we've had to change have seemed insignificant, even though at one point in our lives, they'd have probably been major.

If you ask her, she'll tell you she's Daddy's girl. Of course, she'll tell you she's Aunt Sarah's girl, Grandma's girl, Mommy's girl, Grandad's girl -- whoever you say. She has the most infectuous smile that I've ever seen on a little girl, and people seem naturally drawn to her. I figure she's got a great future in PR or politics, unless she joins the LPGA first. Yes, she wants to golf -- every Monday when I leave for my league match, she wants to play too. I've told her when she gets big and strong, she can play golf with me. Who knows, maybe she'll be the next Nancy Lopez or something, and I can caddy for her.

Right now, she's cleaning up the floor where she dumped packing peanuts all over the place. Not a problem -- she'll grow up soon enough. At least she's cleaning up after herself.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

This Week in Church History

August 14, 1670. (OK, so technically this is last week. It's within the last seven days, so I say it qualifies. Besides, it's my blog. ;-) )

On this day in London, England, two Quakers were arrested for preaching in public. One was a man named William Meade. The other was a young man who would become famous for his accomplishments in an entirely different continent -- William Penn.

When they were brought to trail, Penn demanded to hear the law that they were charged with breaking. He was told they were being tried under Common Law. He demanded once again to hear the law that he and Meade had broken, but the court refused. penn refused to enter a plea. As long as he didn't know what he was being charged with, he would not enter any plea. He was finally taken from the courtroom under protest, crying that what was being done to him could be done to anyone in England.

Meade echoed Penn's arguements, and he was dragged away as well. The jury was told to find both defendants guilty of preaching to the people and dreating a disturbance around them in public -- what we would now call disorderly conduct. The jury, perhaps inspired by the defendents' actions, found them guilty of preaching only. They were locked away with only bread and water, in an effort to get them to change their verdict, but they did not. Finally, the jury was arrested and thrown in jail. Penn and Meade were released. England's highest court ruled that the jury should not have been tampered with, and the jurors were set free.

Christians today are faced at times with opposition in the form of people who think they know the law. I'm reminded of a student that my wife taught in Georgia who was told that she couldn't read her Bible during free reading time -- by her English teacher. Her parents told her to keep her Bible at home; they didn't want to cause a fuss. My wife and I told her that we'd back her up if she wanted to go after the school -- I knew that the ACLJ would have loved to get in on that suit. But it didn't happen.

Christians need to be aware of their rights. We ARE allowed to pray in public. We ARE allowed to pray in schools -- as long as we don't force anyone else to pray. Students can pray whenever they want -- again, as long as they do not coerce anyone else. Teachers in public schools are permitted to honestly answer questions about religious faith, especially in the context of a history class. We have rights and privileges that we are not using, because we are ignorant of them, and we don't care to defend these rights.

Penn and Meade knew their rights as Englishmen. They knew that they had done nothing wrong, and they were willing to rock the boat to defend their rights. Because, as Penn states, if they can do it to one person, they can do it to all of us.

In a society that is increasingly hostile to public displays of religious devotion, we need to be aware of our rights as citizens, and we must be willing to defend those rights, for ourselves and for others.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)


Well, I have officially been orientated! (Yes, I know -- it's an inside joke between my wife and me. LONG story, maybe I'll tell it some time.)

I still don't have a PO Box on campus, which I need, so you can't send me care packages yet ;-) , but I will by Thursday or Friday. I finish classes by about 10 am tomorrow, so I'm going to hit the pavement looking for employment and housing. I have a list of seven apartment complexes that I'm going to check out -- one of them HAS to have a place for me.

AND -- I managed to pass BOTH my Church History placement tests!! I really didn't think I had done well at all, because I was ready for a multiple choice/short answer test (like the others) and got an essay test. Then today in orientation everyone was talking about how tough they made those tests. Dr. Bruce Ware even said that more people failed than passed. So I was shocked when I got my sheet and found out I had passed. That means I don't have to take Intro to Church History I or II -- I can take elective classes instead. And I already have them picked out. I also found out I don't have to take any of the Intro to Old Testament or Intro to New Testament classes because of my track (Biblical and Theological Studies) -- which I should have known, but hadn't paid attention to that closely.

Some of my coursework may show up here, and I know of one thing I'm going to put on my web site. I've got a bunch of writing to do, and a ton of reading. I just have to keep focused on my goal, and it will all be worth it. I've heard from some who read here, telling me that they're praying for me, and I want to let you know I appreciate it greatly -- I will really need those prayers!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004


There's a great article about potential, and not realizing it, over at Challies Dot Com. It made me stop and think -- a lot.

As a teacher, I spent a lot of time with kids (duh!). I was able to teach in two areas with totally different socio-economic backgrounds, and different racial makeups. In Georgia, I taught at a school that was split 50-50 almost exactly between white and black students. The school I taught at until recently (as of two weeks ago, I was still listed as being a staff member!) is 99.44% white -- with one Phillipino girl serving as the racial diversity.

The white kids in my last school loved to hear stories about Georgia. I taught kids who dealt drugs in class. I was once offered $100 for a 100% on a test -- and shown the roll of $20s that I was going to be given. The kids in Ohio loved those stories. Then they'd ask about the intelligence level.

I told them the truth. When they asked, I told them that the kids in Georgia cared more about their education than they did. A lot of the kids were from poor families who didn't really live in the district -- the kids "lived" with grandparents or other family members so they could go to a better school. And they appreciated it more. They saw that someone had faith in them, and tried to live up to their potential. And most of them did.

In contrast, the rural Ohio kids tended to live down to expectations. There were exceptions -- I can think of a couple of students (who might even be reading this!) who are intelligent, give some thought to their future, and are trying to do better for themselves. A lot of the kids at the school, though, are trying NOT to do better. They don't want people to think they're trying to be better than their parents.

They love to use excuses. "We live in _________ County. We can't do that -- we're not good enough." They live down to the expectations of the area: "We go to ________ High School . We don't have anything decent, so we're dumb." The school is a charter school, and the funding isn't what it could be, but the real problem is that the kids are happy where they are. They HAVE a LOT of potential, but they don't live up to it.

I think of one girl in particular. She's mouthy, arrogant, and often insubordinate. She was also one of my favorite students last year. She has potential. She could do anything she wants to, and she sells herself short. She's typical of the kids I taught.

It's hard to teach kids who don't care. It's even harder to teach kids who are taught not to care, by parents who don't care because THEY didn't care in school. Especially when I've taught kids who had less opportunity, but made more of it -- simply because they tried, and had some support at home.

With school starting back all over the nation, I want to encourage parents to take an interest in what their kids do at school. Find out who their teachers are. Go to conferences. There's nothing more discouraging for a teacher than to have to be at school an extra three hours or more for conferences, and to have nobody show up. Especially when ten kids failed your classes. Get involved. I LOVED parents who got involved with what their kids were doing. I LOVED it when I got phone calls from upset parents when their kids didn't do well -- as long as they were ready to admit it was the kid's fault. The best thing you can ask one of your child's teachers is "What can I do to help?" Say that to a teacher when you meet them at school.

They might just do backflips. I know I would have.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Carnival Time

Head over to Parableman for the latest installment of the Christian Carnival. Jeremy puts a LOT of effort into this, and everyone who reads this blog should go check it out -- even though I didn't get squat done to enter into it. I thought about using my TWiCH for this week, but that would have been two weeks in a row that I did that, and I don't want to be redundant, and I don't want to repeat myself, either.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Baptist's Cave

This story has been getting a lot of attention lately. Maybe with good reason. After all, finding the cave that tradition says John the Baptist lived in could lead to verifying historically that the Baptist was an actual person, and validate the Biblical record, right?

Well, yeah. Shimon Gibson has said as much, in his press release. Of course, that press release was four years ago. He found some "cave paintings" of John the Baptist, but those were dated to the Byzantine era. There's pottery there, too -- but that has dated as early as 200 BC. WAY too early for John the Baptist.

Take a look at this story in Christianity Today. Gibson has made some remarkable discoveries -- enough to make cynical people suspect him.

Am I that cynical? Maybe. Don't get me wrong -- I love archaeology. In fact, I almost chose Midwestern over Southern because they have a Masters in Biblical Archaeology. I want to get involved in digs in the Holy Land. I believe that there are some remarkable things out there, waiting to be found. I think that there is a LOT for us to learn, buried under the sand and soil in Israel, Turkey, Greece, and other places.

But I also know that it doesn't matter if we prove that the Bible is accurate. Those who believe it will believe anyway, and those who don't believe will find a reason to not believe. I can't approach finds like this as a Christian who desperately wants them to be real -- I have to approach them as an historian who wants to make 100% sure that they are real before I base anything on them, even though 100% sure is not really possible. Maybe I am cynical, but I prefer to think of it as a hopeful cynicism -- a cynicism that wants to believe, but that has been suckered before, and is cautious about it happening again.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Lots of New Referrals

Thanks to the new Blogger Bar (look up top -- isn't it nifty? And it matches SOO much better than the old thing), I'm getting a lot of new hits to this blog. Some people are probably pretty surprised to be taken here -- Andrew Fuller and Charles Spurgeon don't get quoted much in the blogosphere (unless you've been hanging out at Matt Hall's place again ...). This isn't your typical Blogspot blog.

Or maybe it is. Looking at the ol' Blogroll, I notice quite a few folks with a .blogspot in their URL. Maybe there's a quiet reformation going on in the blogosphere. Maybe the evangelicals really ARE taking over the world. Run Away! It's a vast right-wing conspiracy!!!!!!

Or maybe it's that whole freedom of speech thing. Anyway, I hope some tolerant folks stop by. I hope a lot of the new visitors keep coming by. And a big THANKS to Blogger for the new hits. At least it didn't mess up my code (maybe because my code is archaic TABLE statements rather than real CSS).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

The ACLU Does Something Right

When I was an undergrad at Liberty, I tended to speak of the ACLU as the Atheists, Communists and Liberals Union. I'd crack jokes at their expense, and often wondered at what a great place it would be for Christians if the ACLU went away. I wasn't alone. Listening to the ACLJ's radio program, and some of the callers, it seems that there are still people who wish the ACLU would go away and never come back.

Jay Sekulow isn't one of those. He often talks about the ACLU, but he is often complimentary. He makes the point that they have a right to believe what they do, and that the place to fight them is in court. And he has admitted that they have been right on several occasions -- even working WITH the ACLJ from time to time.

So I've tryed to post stories that show the ACLU doing something right. These are stories that often get overlooked by the Christian media, but we need to know about them -- because it shows that the ACLU really IS concerned with civil liberties, and they DO sometimes help Christians out.

This story is a good example of that. Briefly, a city in Nebraska is trying to zone a church out of existance, and the ACLU is trying to stop them. Here's a quote from the story, in case you don't feel like clicking through. The quotes are from ACLU Nebraska legal director Amy Miller.

"The city is proposing an outrageous burden on the right to free exercise of religious beliefs,” Miller said. “The current city proposal would require that the church hire a mechanical engineer and install a new air intake system with shut off valves in case of a hazardous spill.”
The small congregation is renting its current location, so such a requirement “is tantamount to ordering them to close down,” she said.
“No other businesses in the industrial zones – auto body shops, daycare centers, health clinics and even live adult entertainment – are required to have this sort of expensive renovation. If there were a true danger requiring these changes, would it not apply to day care centers and health clinics also?”
So let's hear it for the ACLU. They did something right. Let's pray that they keep it up.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Open Source Theology

This post actually started it's life as a comment on this post over at Matt Hall's blog. He's talking about an experience he had with Theopedia -- a wiki-like theology encyclopedia.

I think that one of the major problems with the Church is our Open Source Theology. Open-source software is, for those who aren't familiar with it, software that encourages people to write changes or additions to it that make it more functional for users. We're doing the same thing with theology. We're trying to make it "work" for everyone, and rather than letting God's Word speak to hearts, we're changing things, making things easier.

Have a problem with repenting from sin? No biggie -- here's the "Easy Believism 1.0 Patch". Now you can have a "great relationship with Jesus" without all that "Go, and sin no more" stuff.

You want to learn all about Jesus, and have that be enough? No problem -- the "Sandemanian Patch" will give you an intellectual faith without all that nasty faith stuff.

Here's our newest patch: "Open Theism .95". It's still in beta testing right now, but it's based on some really old patches. It lets you believe in a God that really depends on YOU to chart the course of the future. Now THAT makes you feel important, doesn't it? Go is waiting for YOU to act before HE can know what's going to happen!! WOW! What a neat patch!

I'd say that Theology should be licensed software. There have been some updates from the Manufacturer (like the Trinity 1.0 update) that clarified some things in the software. There have been some patches (Reformation 1.5) that were designed to completely update the system (even though many people didn't upgrade at that time). Other people have written "patches" for the software, but they AREN'T licenced by the Manufacturer, and their use can corrupt your whole Theology system. You should ALWAYS try to check the certificate on any Theology-based download that you encounter, and make sure that it is a licenced, authorized upgrade from the Manufacturer.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Quote of the Day

When I read this, I KNEW I had to share it with you all. Tip o' the hat to Ryan at PCCBoard

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal.

"Besides, when I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."
---Alice Cooper

You can read the whole article here. I normally don't read WND, but I loved this article.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

The Best of Me Symphony is Up

I decided to try this one out -- after all, the Parableman said it was good, so how could it be otherwise!

There's some great stuff there, and I LOVE the Babylon 5 quote that is next to my entry. One day, maybe I'll write something about the spirituality of science fiction ....

This is also a great way to get some of your older stuff out there for people to read -- I'm pretty sure it has a different audience than the Christian Carnival, so a different group will hear what you have to say, too. Your entry has to be two months old, so take a look through the archives!!

If yer interested, email your submission to gcruse(at)netscape.com with the subject being Best of Me Symphony. Give the following information:

Post Title
Post Permalink
Author's Name (or handle)
Weblog Name (if not obvious from the link)
Submitter's Name/Handle (if different from Author)
Description of post and/or why this post is being submitted (That is, what about this post makes you think it is one of the best from the weblog).

This might also be a way for me to make up for having missed a few Christian Carnivals (like I did this week ...).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

Christian Carnival

Well, I'm NOT too late!!

This coming Wednesday is the next Christian Carnival, and will behosted at Patriot Paradox. If you have a blog, this will be agreat way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process orhighlight your favorite post from the past week.To enter is simple. First, you post should be of a Christian nature,but this does not exclude posts that are political (or otherwise) innature from a Christian point of view. Secondly please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. Then, do the following:

email me atpatriotparadox@gmail.com

Provide the following:
Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Cut off date is Tuesday night at midnight EST (but late comers welcomeup until 1 pm Wednesday EST.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

Somebody Went and Dun DONE It!!!

Well, I wrote about Open Source Theology, meaning it (as it says over at Patriot Paradox) as an extended metaphor. I saw ways that the metaphor could be hyper-extended, and I saw a whole SERIES of Open Source Theology posts, discussing new "modules' as they came out. It would have been a satirical dream come true.

Then I found this (thanks to Dave from Jollyblogger). Someone is actually DOING Open Source Theology.

I've taken some time to read a bit of the site. Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy (at 36? Maybe), but I have a few ... concerns. Quotes are taken from the 'Rules of Engagement' page.

"Biblical and theological scholarship will have to subordinate itself to the missiological imperative. " In other words, study and Truth will have to take a back seat to getting people to agree with us. It doesn't matter so much that Christ was born of a virgin, for example, if that belief keeps someone from believing in Christ. We're not concerned with doctrine -- we just want conversions. Never mind the fact that Christ commanded us to "make disciples" -- that turns post-modern people off, apparently.

"I think there is a consensus that in the most general terms the theology represented on this site must take very seriously both God, as Father, Son and Spirit, and scripture as the record of the story of the people of God." This one shows up in a response to a comment, and I have no problem until that last phrase. "Scripture as the record of the story of the people of God." Scripture is God's revelation to Man, not simply a story about God's followers. Without a basis of Scripture as Truth, how can we really know anything about God? in fact, how can you have a God as Son if you don't have Scripture as divine revelation? I think this is aproblem with the system that could be very troublesome down the road.

There seems to be a general aversion to systematic theology. I like systematic theology, though I really enjoy studying historical theology. It seems to me that a systematic theology is a consistant theology, one that recognizes the inter-relations between various ideas. Our idea of what God is, for example, is going to influence our idea of what Man is, what and who Christ is, what the Church should be, etc. Our understanding of Christ will influence our ideas about salvation and the Church. Each discipline cannot exist in a vacuum; it must be consistant with other areas of our theology, or our ideas do not stand.

I'm going to keep an eye on this site. The idea of a group of people getting together to hash out theological principles seems like a good idea, but the road is full of potholes.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

Christian Carnival is Up

Check it out at Patriot Paradox. I'd say more, but I've got work to do for tomorrow. 'Nite!!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

The Little Guys, part I

I've decided that the only way I can MAKE myself post fairly regularly is to give myself regular "features" that I need to get out. So here's another one. (The Mark Study will be here later tonight, TWiCH will be here on Sunday afternoon.)

I love looking at the lives of people who are barely mentioned in the Bible. I figure that if they were worth being mentioned in God's Word, they must have something to tell us. Some of them tell us something little. Some tell us something major. Things that SOME tell us are wildly misinterpreted. So I'm going to take a look at the lives of some of the "little guys (and gals)" in the Bible.

I'm going to start with Demas. Demas is mentioned three times in the New Testament:

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. (Philemon 1:23-24 ESV)

Col 4:14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

2Ti 4:10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

Demas starts out with Paul, and is present with Paul when he writes to Philemon from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment. He is also mentioned in the letter to the church at Colossi, which Paul also wrote during this first imprisonment. Just a few years later, Paul writes that Demas has forsaken him, having loved the world more.

What happened to Demas? The same thing that can happen to many of us. He started enjoying life too much, and was afraid to lose it. He saw Paul in jail again, and knew, as Paul did, that this time it would be different. Paul wasn't going to be released again. He was going to die.

Demas wanted to live. He may have even rationalized it by saying "I have so much more to do for God! There are so many people to win, so many places to go! I CAN'T die now!" Maybe he thought about his own self-importance. "If they kill Paul, who is going to spread the Gospel? I HAVE to stay alive, no matter what!" Maybe he was just afraid.

Whatever the reason, Demas didn't trust God. He didn't think that God would preserve the life of someone that was needed to fulfill His plan. He thought that God could be thwarted -- that His plan depended on something that He couldn't control.

We tend to think we're indispensible. "Boy, if I didn't do this, NOBODY would be doing it. At least, nobody that could do it as well as I can." If you have that attitude, start a blog. Then read other people's blogs. My blogroll is full of people who write better than I do, are better-informed than I am, are more involved than I am. Maybe even some that are better-looking than I am (but since I haven't put up a picture yet, most of you don't know. Matt, keep quiet). God's plan doesn't hinge on me. By His grace, and for His glory, I can be a part of His plan, but if I don't do the job, He'll find someone else to do it. His will WILL be done.

Demas was a part of what God was doing. He could have been a bigger part, but he loved his own life more than he loved the things of God. And now, for eternity, his name is associated with abandoning principles. When things got really tough for Paul, and he needed friends, Demas bailed, too concerned with his own life. The church is full of people just like Demas -- we need fewer.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Google Talking

Thanks to Brian at Spare Change for this "resource". My results:

"View from the Pew is a little face of disappointment. " gee, thanks. Let's try another.

"Warren Kelly is living in a COMPUTER Simulation?" probably explains a little bit to my wife, who often wonders what I DO on this thing all night.

"Southern Baptists are the largest cities in the United States of America and the Carribean." O-KAY!!

Try this one again: "View from the Pew is a little uncomfortable, but its not my fault. " Oh, yes it is, GoogleTalk.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Study of Mark: Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"
(Mark 4:35-41 ESV)

After having taught the multitudes in parables, and having explained the parables to His disciples, Christ is ready for a time of rest, so He commands the disciples to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. After He fell asleep, a storm comes up, and the disciples are upset, thinking He doesn't care about them.

Don't we tend to do that? Isn't our first reaction when something goes wrong, or something bad happens, to get mad at God? "God, I'm TRYING to do this for You. Why aren't you making it EASY FOR ME!!!??? Don't You want this to get done? What's up with all these problems? Don't You love me anymore?" Instead of thinking about what God has in mind for us, we're quick to get mad, and give up.

Jesus took care of the problem. He calmed the storm and the sea, just to show them that He could. God sometimes lets these things happen to us to show us that it is HIM, and not us, that is in control. He is trying to teach the disciples that they need to rely on Him. So He takes care of the problem, then rebukes their unbelief.

Waitaminuite. Unbelief? They ran to Him to fix things, didn't they? Yes, but they ran to Him NOT to ask for His help, but to complain that they were in the situation to begin with. Several of the disciples were fishermen -- they knew when a storm was possible, because their lives depended on it. They went out into the sea in obedience to Him, trusting that He'd not let something like this happen, and when it did, their faith was tested -- and they failed the test. They didn't believe that He was in control anymore. "Don't you care that we're GOING TO DIE??" is what they asked. They knew that they were going to die, and were mad that He put them in that situation. The storm came, and they lost faith.

Happens to us all the time. Sometimes the storm is big, sometimes it doesn't take much. I was upset last week that I couldn't find a place to stay in Louisville. I got mad at God -- wondering why He'd led me that far from home, only to abandon me once I got there. Finally, I got on my face in my hotel room and asked Him for guidance, and admitted I had been wrong. Next day, I run into someone in my Theology class who lives not far from home (right across the river, in fact), who told me that there was commuter housing available for $10 a night. I had thought that they didn't do that anymore at Southern. God had a plan for me -- all I had to do was recognize that He was in control. Now I have a place to live. Little storm -- but it sure seemed big on Wednesday night last week, when I was trying to figure out how we were going to pay for an apartment AND gas AND food AND everything else. This passage reminds me that God has everything under control.

Even after this storm on the sea, the disciples wondered who Jesus was, exactly. "What kind of man is this, that the very forces of nature obey Him?" They were starting to learn, though, that this wasn't just an ordinary religious leader that they were following.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2004

This Week in Church History

September 2, every year.

The second of September is celebrated as Martyr's Day in Papua, New Guinea. This holiday has different dates wherever it is celebrated, and is, in most cases, very similar to the US holiday of Memorial Day. Many martyrs that are celebrated were, in fact, political victims. Many, however, are Christians.

I think that it's fitting that we look pay and pay tribute to the martyrs who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. From the Reformation-minded Protestants who died rather than surrender sola fide, sola gratia, sola Christus, sola Scriptura, sola Deo Gloria, to the Catholics in post-Reformation England who died accused of treason. Missionaries the world over, who gave their lives in unknown places for the sake of the gospel.

Maybe we can get something started among Godbloggers. On September 2nd, post something about a martyr -- famous or not. Maybe we can have September 2nd declared the Internet Day of the Martyr. We remember those who gave their lives for the cause of their country; we shouldn't forget to honor those who surrendered their lives for a much higher call.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Mea Maxima Culpa

I promised that I'd get the TWiCH out Sunday. It's now Tuesday (in case you hadn't noticed yet), and TWiCH is just now out. Maybe I'll make up for it by giving you a double dose this week.

On the bright side, my wireless card is working, and is interacting with the wireless system in the library just fine. And I MIGHT have a job!!! More on that as it (hopefully) develops.

I also neglected to promote the Best of Me Symphony, which is up at The Owner's Manual. As I said before, this is a great opportunity to get some of your older work out of the archives and into public attention once again. Jollyblogger has a great article in there about the Historical Jesus, but most of the other submissions are from blogs I'd never heard of -- which is the point to Carnivals. I'd have sent something, but I realized that most of my older stuff is junk, so I'm not sure I have much that I want to revisit. Hopefully next week I can find something worth sending. Send your submission to gcruse(at)netscape.com for the next symphony.

{EDIT Note: I HATE this sticking SHIFT key on this laptop. I'm hoping to be able to save some money to get a new(er) one, but in the meantime, I'm stuck (with the sticking)}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

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