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August 03, 2005

I Have Returned!

Back from vacation a day late (thanks to a sick daughter). Spent more time on the actual beach than I have in a while. I'm really not much of a beach person -- if there's something else to do, I'd rather be doing that. When I'm actually AT the beach, I tend to divide my time pretty evenly between the ocean and the pool.

But my daughter likes to dig in the sand. So we dig. She spent some time in the surf with me, and a LOT of time in the pool. She also played miniature golf for the first time, and loved it.

I'll get back to somewhat regular posting today, I think, so stay tuned!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 04, 2005


Caution: No Real Posting Here. Navel-gazing ahead. Procede with caution, and at your own risk.
So here I am. Back from vacation, ready to start blogging.

And I have nothing to say. Nothing at all.

The next installment of the Mark Study isn't quite where I want it yet. The other "ongoing series" things that I've started haven't been touched in so long that I'd probably need to re-introduce everyone to them -- including myself.

I've heard it said that a week off is followed by an off week. I hope that's not the case with me. I had a lot of energy this morning, but shot most of it in a futile arguement with a deist on the Fundamentalist Forums. Head over there and read it -- it starts here. It would be more entertaining if I thought that the guy was trying to be funny, but based on other things he's said, he really is that dense.

I'm going to spend some time this evening trying to get myself re-energized. I still have the Sunday at First Baptist podcast to do, and I want to have the first View from the Pew Radio "Pewcast" done by Sunday -- I even have a band to feature this week, and probably for a few weeks to come. Then I'll post something intelligent, I hope.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:00 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 05, 2005

Teach Us To Pray

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
(Luke 11:1 ESV)

We often don't know how to pray -- that much is obvious from our prayers. Usually, we throw up a quick "God please get me through this" or a "God please let this happen" or something like that. At meals, it's a quick "Thanks for the food" prayer. At bedtime, we teach our kids to do their "God Blesses."

The apostles were men of prayer -- read the book of Acts and that will become obvious to you.

It's interesting that Jesus taught both personal and corporate prayer. He clearly taught private prayer in Matthew 6:6 (But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.) We should never pray just to be heard -- that is what the Pharisees were doing (Matthew 6:5).

But in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus is also teaching us corporate prayer. "Our father in heaven." There is value in corporate prayer, when we do it for the right reasons. Particular Baptists in England joined together in corporate prayer for revival at the end of the 18th century. The results of that prayer extended even across the ocean to North America.

Jesus also taught us what to pray for. Not to pray for stuff, but to pray "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Our desire should be to see the will of God done as perfectly on Earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus followed His own example at Gethsemane when He prayed "Not My will but Thine be done."

I think this is where we often miss out in prayer. We get wrapped up in ourselves, and forget about what our goal should be. We're so worried about that test tomorrow, or getting a better job, or things like that, that we miss out on the better things God has for us. When we put God's will first, there's no telling what He will do through us.

Once we have our priorities established, Jesus teaches us to ask God to supply our needs. Physically (our daily bread) and spiritually (deliver us from evil), we are taught to depend on God fully and completely.

One thing I noticed when studying this passage recently is in verse 12 -- "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Forgive us when we fall short of your expectations just as we forgive those who fall short of our expectations. Debts don't just refer to a monetary value, after all. When I looked at the verse that way, I started to get worried. Do we do this? Do we REALLY want God to show forgiveness to us in the same way we show it to others?

Then the closing, reminding us that God has the right to rule, the ability to do what He has promised us, and that all that we do must be ultimately to His glory.

The Lord's Prayer is something that we all know. How often have we really thought about what it says? I know that I'm approaching prayer a LOT differently now.

{edited: one sentence made absolutely no sense after I published this. Sorry!}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 06, 2005

Blogcritics Breaks 10,000,000

Not too long ago I started writing reviews over at Blogcritics. And though not everyone there wants to see conservatives OR Christians posting, I've stuck around. I'm even the assistant editor for the Books section now!

And a few days ago, the site had it's 10,000,000th visitor. NOT page views. Visitors. Ten million. The place averages more in an hour than I get in a month.

And there are some good people there, mixed in with the blind ideologues from both sides of the spectrum. I've had some good discussions with people, and have had one of my book reviews featured at Cleveland.com. And I've been able to get free stuff to review -- season one of Emergency! is on it's way, as are a couple CDs and a book or two. Free stuff is good.

If you've got a blog of your own, and like to read, OR listen to music, OR watch videos and movies, check out Blogcritics. Sign up, and write some reviews. If you DON'T have a blog, go there anyway and read some of the reviews and opinions there. Interact with some people. Say something nice about one of my reviews, while you're at it!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005

Planned Parenthood's Pro-Choice Superhero Kills Pro-Lifers!

This just in -- Planned Parenthood has hired a superhero to terminate the lives of pro-life picketers and abstinence-advocating Christians.

Don't believe me? If it's still there, you can gaze on this marvel of animation here

Now -- if something like this had shown up at a pro-life site, there would be a huge outcry. Planned Parenthood, though, is untouchable. Their intolerance is simply unbelievable. And so .... {insert drumroll here}

I am awarding the entire Planned Parenthood organization the coveted Pewie award for Conspicuous Intolerance. I'm still working on the graphic for this (seriously ... when I get one, I'm going to email it to everyone who gets the award so they can display it proudly on their site).

I'm taking bets on how long it stays on the site (IF it's not down already. Someone said that the link has been taken off the PP website). I give it two days.

{UPDATE: The link has been taken off the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate site, where it originated, and I'm not having any luck getting the video to play now. Check out The Dawn Patrol to see actual stills from the cartoon, and some insightful commentary as well.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:14 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 10, 2005

Christian Parodies -- Paul Aldrich's Mock and Roll

I love parody. Weird Al, Cledus T. Judd, ApologetiX. Even Bob Rivers. So when I heard about Paul Aldrich's CD Mock 'n' Roll, I knew that it had to be mine.

I've now listened to it four times. I've only had it a day, or I'd have listened more, I promise. I made my wife listen to it. My daughter has listened to it. I've told my sister about it.

Do you get the idea I like this CD?

Songs like "Stairway to 7 Eleven," "The Mouse from Disneyland" (to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun") will get a laugh out of even the most jaded music fan. My wife loved the "Adam Sandler phase" song ("I've made millions/Acting like a fool./But you've paid millions to watch me/ What's that say about you?"). From the very beginning, this CD has a perfect combination of standup comedy and music parody that is incredibly entertaining.

If that was all this CD had going for it, it would be enough. But the message behind the song "It Seemed Like a Good Idea," and the heartfelt prayer in "Alter Me" show a serious side of this very funny man. This is an entertainer who would be perfect for a church group retreat or banquet, and yet equally comfortable doing a more mainstream show. In fact, the promotional DVD that came with this CD is going to my pastor this weekend -- maybe (the videos are funny as well).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

I'm planning on a fuller Blogroll Cruise later today, but I just found this and HAD to share. From Phillip Johnson at Pyromaniac. Phil describes himself as "a melted piece of fundamentalist-flavored gum on the shoe of the evangelical movement."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For ...

OK, I know that someone else has done this title before for a post like this (probably Parableman), but it fits, and I like it.

I don't do this often, because most of the searches that lead people here are pretty mundane. But this week, I've found a bunch of interesting searches:

  • when peole [sic] saw an angel in pensacola florida: Without using quotes, this one will get you a LOT of sites about the Blue Angels in Pensacola, Florida, and my post about my Mom who lives in Pensacola.
  • why do i twich: How should I know? Pointed to a post about This Week in Church History (and my acronym, TWiCH). I'm #2 on Google for this search, interestingly enough.
  • 2005 email list of church founders in denmark: Holy telemarketing, Batman!
  • tennessee temple leaves fundamentalism: Quotes might have sent you to someone like David Cloud. Or maybe the Fundamentalist Forums (which are down right now for some reason ...).
  • gail ripplinger degree: I know a few people who would like to know the answer to this one. From what I can gather, she has an MFA and another graduate degree in something related to spatial engineering or design, though I can't remember where I read that. She certainly has no credentials that give her credibility with ancient languages, and nothing that would give any credibility to her New Age Bible Versions book.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2005

What Can We Do??

Steve McCoy over at Missional Baptist Blog (and yes, it still says Emerging SBC Leaders on the aggregator. Sorry -- I'll fix it this weekend) has a great, thought provoking post.

Name three things that a pastor/church leader could start/do in the next two months to have a greater impact on their community.
I would add something, though -- after you list those three, compare them to the things your church is actually doing.

One of the things I love about our church is that the pastor is always open to new areas of ministry. If you have an idea for something the church should be doing, you can always go talk to him. BUT you have to be ready to DO what you are suggesting. I've gotten a couple of assignments because of that, and I know others who now have a full-time volunteer position at the church because of it. So my challenge is to think of areas of ministry that will give glory to God rather than your church, suggest them to your pastor, and then roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

BFL 2005

OK, so Nick Queen over at Nick Queen.com runs a blogger fantasy football league each year. I didn't do FF last season at all, but I'm going through withdrawl, especially since there was no fantasy hockey at all this year (no league, no fantasy league). So I'm ready to rumble.

AND since I just KNOW all my readers will be waiting with baited breath to see how well the Pewie Podcasters do in this years action, I'll be reporting RIGHT HERE on all the fantastic fantasy action.

In other news -- posting has been light because of the myriad of other projects I'm working on. I'm reviewing at Blogcritics, and the past week and a half I've also been filling in as books editor since Pat's computer went up in smoke (or something like that, anyway). I've been working on the Pewcast (that podcasting stuff is hard work!). AND I've been invited to contribute to Cinema Veritas (thanks, Bill Wallo). And I've got some things going on in "real life" (whatever that is). I've been busier than I have been in a while, and I've enjoyed it. I'm hoping that this week I can get on a schedule that lets me blog more often here, AND get the podcast done sometime SOON.

Thanks for putting up with that little rant. I WILL have some more intelligent writing coming soon, I promise.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Monday Morning -- Fool's Paradise

As soon as I threw this into the CD player, I knew I was going to enjoy the CD. This is good, melodic, powerful rock and roll that's a lot like the stuff I listened to when I was in school.

Monday Morning is a four-piece band featuring Derek and Kevin Stipe (vocals and bass, respectively), Justin Blythe (guitar), and Kent Rector (drums). Their first release, Blind, sold over 5,000 copies. They hit the festivals this summer, playing Atlanta Fest, and Cornerstone already, and are scheduled to play Gracefest in Pensacola Florida this September. They tour a lot for an indie band.

And the CD is outstanding. "Sunshine" is the current radio single, and is not the bright, sunny song that you might think it should be. The song is about a struggle -- it's about living through pain and emerging to find God's love still there. It's an encouragement to anyone going through something that seems to have no solution; persevere, and the Light will break through the clouds. "Next Year" is almost an autobiography of the band, telling of times of difficulty and, once again, perseverence. In fact, that kind of perseverence seems to be a theme throughout the album, and marks the band's career up to this point.

I do have a couple favorite tracks on the CD. "Dear You" tells a story that hits close to home to me -- the broken heart of a believer who didn't take time to share the reason for their faith to someone who they were close to. "Until the End" is the battle-cry of the believer who is committed to serving God. "Tonight" is an awesome story about one girl's search for meaning in her life.

From the promotional materials that came with the CD:

Maybe it's okay to think everything's all right, to ignore problems going on down the street, outside your dood, inside the hearts of people you know. Maybe it's best just to live life in the universe you've fashioned for yourself, oblivious to chaos swirling barely beyond your view. Or maybe not.

Perhaps we should be cognizant of the situation at hand. Admit that bad things happen, and people aren't always what they seem to be. But knowledge is power, and hope can be found, if you choose to look for it. If you choose to leave your Fool's Paradise.

This CD will challenge a lot of people's opinion of "Christian rock." I know that, at a time when I was starting to think I was too old for new music, this CD came as a breath of fresh air. Good rock and roll, with a contemporary sound and lyrics that speak to the heart. Just the way I like it.

The album isn't available at Amazon (yet). The release date is August 30. If you can't wait that long, head over to Grassroots Music and pre-order your copy. You can listen to samples at the band's website. You owe it to yourself to check thi band out.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 17, 2005


Ok, I'm more than a little upset about this, because things like this are wrecking the testimony of Christians on the internet.

Yesterday at about 6:30 pm, a satire piece was posted at Blogcritics. A pretty funny piece about President Bush mobilizing the Salvation Army to fight in Iraq. Clearly marked "Satire" at the top in big letters. Clearly someone else's work.

By this morning, the story had been picked up by The Christian Post. Now this isn't normally a big deal -- but the Post apparantly put their writer's name on the story, publishing it as an original work. The fact that they thought the story was true is incredibly funny; the fact that they effectively stole the piece from Blogcritics is far from funny.

The story has been removed from their site. No apology has been issued at all. They are pretending that it never happened.

Anyone who is familiar with Blogcritics will know exactly how this has been received there. Put it simply -- many of the folks there have no use for Christians at all, and a situation like this adds fuel to the fire. The original author is pointing out the fiasco here, including screen captures.

I'm calling on The Christian Post to issue an apology. An email to the original author would be appropriate, I think. A comment at the original posting would also be in order. Some sort of acknowledgement on their site would be appropriate also.

This kind of thing happens. But when Christians do it, and then ignore the consequences, it causes problems. The efforts of other Christians are compromised by a poor testemony like this.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:34 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

SBC Aggregator Broken!

There's a temporary problem at the SBC Aggregator, caused by a change in one of the tools I used to set it up. I'm working on fixing it, but it may be a while.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Honorable NON mention ...

If you've been reading this blog for long (more than six months or so), you probably know I love webcomics. At the old place, I had links to several comics I read on a daily basis, and there are a lot more now than there were before (I'm up to 15 right now). So when I saw that the New York Times had done a story about comics on the web, I had to check it out.

I was disappointed.

The article talks about cartoonists trying to make money on the web, but ignores the sale of merchandise that so many depend on for their money. It focuses on those who have subscriber content. Many of the comics that I read do offer extra content for subscribers (all of the Keenspot comics do, IIRC), but I don't miss out on anything by not subscribing. If I had the money, I'd probably subscribe to Sluggy Freelance, just because being a "Defender of the Nifty" just sounds cool. But I thought the lack of any mention about merchandise was a shortcoming in the article.

The most glaring omission, though, was a mention of any web comics I'd ever read, or even heard of. No Sluggy, no PvP, no Penny Arcade. No GPF. No mention of Keenspot at all.

I didn't expect them to mention some of the comics I read, because they aren't hugely popular. But those I just mentioned are almost web comic legends. Even if you don't read Sluggy, odds are you've heard of it if you read web comics. Same with PvP and Penny Arcade. It almost seemed like the author of the article started with one guy, checked out one contest, and looked at the comics they mentioned. Didn't seem to me that there was any interaction with the community at all.

And that's one of the points of web comics -- the community. That's what keeps many cartoonists going. The article talks about cartoonists "always begging for funds through PayPal." The strength of community is what keeps them going, because when they ask, their readers deliver.

The article gives webcomics some publicity, and any publicity is good publicity. But it also misses a big portion of the web comics community, and can leave readers with the impression that web comics are a small but growing medium. In fact, it is a large and growing medium, full of diverse comics drawn by artists with diverse styles and abilities. There are new comics being released every day, it seems. Go read a few!

PS -- a great resource for those of us who enjoy web comics is Comic Alert. You can subscribe to an RSS feed that will deliver your favorite comics to your RSS reader.

{EDITED: Guess I should have actually given you a link to the story, huh? It requires a free subscription, but if you enter piewview for the username and blogger42 for the password, it will let you in.}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 19, 2005

Christian Post Apologizes

Update on the Christian Post situation. They've posted a correction on their site:

We apologize for the article by Cindy Lee that was posted on Wednesday at 3 a.m. The article was unknowingly posted during the testing of a recently launched section on ChristianPost.com, in which freelancers and trainees were given an open forum to post article samples. We sincerely regret any inconvenience the article may have caused to all those involved. We thank you for your continued support.
Sounds like they were teaching people how to use their system, and someone decided to cut and paste a post to see what if they were doing it right. I can understand that -- things like that happen. And they probably didn't know how the story got there, and wondered if the site had been hacked. The author probably had no idea it had published to the site.

I still think an email to the original author is in order, though. The apology sounds sincere to me, though a bit late in coming -- it sounds like the folks at The Christian Post didn't really know what happened, or how it happened. I know at three in the morning, I'm not usually very coherent.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 20, 2005

The Luckiest Guy I Know ...

Matt Hall. Not only did he get one of those free iPods that you keep seeing goofy ads about, he also got a free Mac Mini from a similar offer.

All I've won online so far is $249 from Blingo. But I'm hopeful, one day, to be as lucky as Matt.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 21, 2005

Study of Mark: Mark 8:14-21

Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" And they said to him, "Seven." And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
(Mark 8:14-21 ESV)

This is an example of Jesus getting frustrated with His disciples. They don't get it.

They have just witnessed the miraculous feeding of five thousand men. They've been following Christ for a long time. And they still don't get it.

Christ is trying to teach them to rely on God. He wants them to see the principle to "Seek first the kingdom of God ... and all these things will be added to you." When we are doing God's work, He will provide.

It's a hard lesson to learn. We rely on ourselves for everything. We measure our success by how much money we earn each year, and how much stuff we can buy. We measure the success of our ministries by how many people we have in each service, how many members our church has, and how much offering we get each week. Numbers, numbers, numbers. If we focus on the message of the Gospel, we will have an impact on peoples' lives, and our ministries will be a success -- in God's sight, which is the only place it should matter to us.

We also get so focused on what we are doing that we forget that we can do nothing for God on our own. We do these things through the power of the Holy Spirit. If we would ever get out of the way and let God work in us, there is no telling what the impact could be.

The "leaven of Herod" is interesting, and is something that we need to pay attention to today. The Herodians were a political "party" that opposed Christ because they that saw the social aspects of His message were opposed to their political ambitions. They supported Herod (and his family) and favored Roman rule as opposed to "home rule" by the priests and a Jewish king.

The leaven that Christ speaks of is their concern for political power. The Herodians weren't a religious group, though they were not opposed to using religious groups for their own purposes -- they were often allied with the Sadducees, and the Gospels record times when they were supportive of the Pharisees. It doesn't take a Bible scholar to see the obvious parallel with our own time and political situation.

Nowhere does Jesus tell us not to be interested in how we are ruled. The ability we have to shape public policy in our nation was unheard of in Christ's time. Christians have a responsibility to vote according to Biblical principles, and our faith must shape our morality (as everyone's beliefs will shape their morality). Christ is cautioning the disciples to not become so focused on achieving political support for their cause that they loose site of the message of the Gospel and the calling that Christ gave them. We have a message that we must give out -- it is the message that can change society more than any law can. That i hould be our primary focus. Anything that takes us away from that focus is leaven. We cannot afford to be distracted.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Must Read Blogging

So I'm cruising through the RSS feeds I'm subscribed to, and a post jumps out at me. This one, at Al Mohler's blog.

Anyone who has had Dr. Mohler for a class knows he has a sense of humor. He can be a very funny man. But that's not what he's known for -- his focus is in a different direction. Which is what makes this so funny:

I've dropped a few Oreos in my time. Ok, maybe more than a few. My Oreo habit, kept from public view until now, is supplemented by a milk habit that's even harder to break. Oh yes, I've become highly adept at hiding my Oreo habit, though some may argue that the effects are more difficult to hide. My local Oreo pusher, a.k.a. "Sugar Dude," hangs out at the local grocery store, lurking right by the cookie aisle. His nefarious accomplice, "The Milk Man," pushes his white poison in the dairy department. I work hard at hiding my habit. Oreo addicts must be especially careful about those pesky dark crumbs and the real give-away, the milk moustache. Many's the time I've had to duck in for a quick appointment with the tooth brush, hoping against hope that no one would see the dark stains on the brush. My secret is out.
Dr. Mohler should consider himself fortunate. My own Oreo supplier ("Choco Monster") has recently started importing the high-quality "double stuff" Oreos. Those things are murder to try to quit cold turkey.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

History For Sale

This is a rant. I don't usually go on personal rants that have little to do with my purpose for this blog (Christian theological and cultural discussion), but I have to vent.

We are selling our history.

Don't believe me? Head over to eBay. Collectables. Militaria.

There is a section for people selling letters. People are selling their grandparents' wartime correspondance. 134 different auctions right now, all selling off history.

I know a lot of these are from estate auctions. I think that's what bothers me the most. These people died, and nobody wanted their letters. So they were sold at auction to someone whose sole intent was to throw them up on eBay and turn a quick profit. These things should be in archives, in museums. They should be available for historians to study. They are historic documents whose value really cannot be calculated in dollars.

But you can get a collection of medals and war correspondance from a "US Airforce hero" (actually, in WWII it would have been Army Air Corps) for a bit over $100 if you hurry. And there's a lot of VMail (Victory mail) on eBay iof you're interested.

I won't provide links. If I had the money, I'd buy the stuff and donate it to the a href="http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/">National Archives. I'm hoping that the people who are bidding on these items are going to do just that. These things don't belong in private collections. They are a part of our collective history, and they should be available to us all.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 22, 2005

Evolution, ID, and WHY We are Here

The New York Times, that stalwart bastion of quality, unbiased reporting, has been taking on Intelligent Design quite a bit.

I don't usually cover this topic, simply because I don't know much about it. Once upon a time, it would have fascinated me. Now, I don't pay as much attention as I probably should. But something in this article made me feel that I needed to say something -- something that has been bothering me.

"One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed," said Douglas H. Erwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution. "That's a fundamental presumption of what we do."

That does not mean that scientists do not believe in God. Many do. But they see science as an effort to find out how the material world works, with nothing to say about why we are here or how we should live.

I've emphasized the part I want to talk about, because as I've been reading both sides of the origins issue, everyone seems to contradict that statement. Evolution does seek to show us why we're here.

Actually, what it does is tell us that there is no why. We're the end result of a complex development of amino acids and proteins. Our sentience, our morality, or beliefs -- all the end product of years of development biologically. Evolution is less about how the world works than it is about how the world started working.

This is a fundamental problem in the evolution/ID debate. The evolution side doesn't want to admit that they are doing exactly what the ID folks say they are -- that they are trying to find out how life began. Something that the NY Times article says science doesn't do. The issue that divides us is in that fundamental presupposition that Dr. Erwin mentions -- do miracles happen? Is there something outside the natural world, the closed box that naturalist philosophy insists encompasses everything that exists?

ID says that there is. It doesn't attempt to say what that something is -- contrary to the rabid insistance of its opponents, ID is not necessarily a Christian idea. The fact that it attracts more Christians than it does people of other faiths reflects the fact that origins are important to Christians. The idea that God did the creating, rather than random forces of nature, has a tremendous impact on Christian theology. I've written about that before -- not on the blog, but in a paper I wrote for my Systematic Theology II class last semester. The paper is available here, and it's free. The paper got me a 99 from Dr. Mohler, so it must not be too bad, and it makes my point a lot better than I can here. Go ahead and read it, and let me know what you think.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 23, 2005

Pat Robertson's Big Fat Mouth

{Well, THAT headline should get me some hits from Google!}

from Associated Press Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested on-air that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to stop his country from becoming "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said Monday on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club."

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

At least AP doesn't call Robertson an evangelical (borderline) or a fundamentalist (never has been). I figure that won't survive this article's translation onto the front pages of newspapers throughout the nation, though.

And before you argue with me, yes it is a boneheaded thing to say. Especially for a minister of the Gospel. Ever since Robertson ran for President, he's become increasingly political at the expense of his ministry. Maybe he thinks politics is his ministry. He needs to read the Mark Study I just posted ...

And no matter who he is, calling publically for the assasination of a foreign leader is completely irresponsible -- no matter how badly the guy needs killing. The President has publically stated that we aren't in the assassination business. That should end the issue as far as private citizens goes -- if there's something else going on covertly, then it needs to stay that way.

Pat Robertson needs to realize that he's doing absolutely nothing to further the kingdom of God when he says this kind of stupid thing. I wonder sometimes if he's more concerned about furthering the kingdom of Pat.

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

Stem Cell News

The news that Harvard scientists have successfully converted human skin cells into embryonic stem cells -- without using a human egg or new embryo -- is likely to muddle the already complex debate over federal stem cell research policy. from The Washington Post

So there is a possibility of getting embryonic stem cells for research without actually taking them from embryos. You'd think everyone would be happy about this.

On the other side, Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.) conceded that the latest breakthrough will make his effort to lift the Bush limits more challenging.

"I consider this a point well struck for them," he said. "For those who just wish to oppose any use of embryonic stem cell research at all, they will say, 'Here are Harvard scientists saying this can be done.' "

So Castle is upset because now his efforts to circumvent the President are going to be more difficult. Rather than being happy that there is a potential solution that can make everyone happy, people would rather be mad that now they can't contradict the President and all those "religious nuts" who believe in the sanctity of all human life.

Lets see this discovery as what it is -- a potential source for stem cells without having to do something that a majority of the population of the US finds objectionable. Let's fund this research, and maybe we'll have enough embryonic stem cells to do all the good things that people are convinced that we can only do with embryonic stem cells. And stop whining that you can't complain about the President's position anymore.

I'm sure you'll find something else to complain about.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Pewcast Is UP!!


This podcasting stuff is tough -- especially when you have to schedule around a noisy four-year-old. The laptop is working again, and I can record to it, so future podcasts will be done that way. It's a bare bones setup, and the quality probably isn't great right now -- but it will improve. I'm hoping to be able to get better equipment in the near future.

You can subscribe at iTunes as soon as they add the feed, and you can listen to it by clicking the button on the right sidebar.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005


Just a general announcement that, after a LOOOONG outage, the Pew is back.

BIG thanks to the folks at mu.nu for their hard work in getting things back up and running.

Now let's see how much traffic I can get off that Pat Robertson thing before it's old news ....

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pat Robertson's Crutch

He needs one, because this is really lame:

August is a slow news day, but it seems like the whole world is talking about my comments about the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. … I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP, but that happens all the time.
What he SAID was:
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.
Pat, you said assassination. Face it.

Can someone please muzzle Pat Robertson? At least tell him to be quiet before he makes this any worse.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sluggy!

OK, we pause from OUR regularly scheduled blogging to wish the gang responsible for Sluggy Freelance Happy 8th Birthday.

8 years ago, I was just starting to surf the Internet. I'd been married for 6 months. I THINK I had started doing the "internet wrestling federation" thing at that point (think professional wrestling meets role playing game and you'll get the idea. It was actually rather fun, and I was pretty good at it).

I knew little about HTML. I was still a year or so away from my first website. And the word "blogging" hadn't been coined yet.

My point is that 8 years is a LONG time in Internet years. So go read Sluggy Freelance. Read it from the beginning -- maybe buy a book or two.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Insert your own joke here ...

I've gotten WAY off track. My purpose in starting this blog was to engage in commentary on Christian issues without becoming just another Christian political blog. And for the past two days, my regular posting has had it's position usurped by my comments on Pat Robertson.

And now, I'm going to do another political post. {sigh} But you'll understand when you read it ...

Aventura, FL (AHN) - Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore checks himself into a posh fat farm in Aventura, Florida, just outside Miami Beach.

Moore, who admits to being at least 200 lbs overweight, checked into the the Pritikin Longevity Center at a price of $3,800 a week.

He will learn to cook healthy, live healthy, and change his way of daily living and eating habits.

Moore is reportedly aiming to loose 12 pounds during the first three weeks.

As the title says -- insert your own joke here. This is too easy even for me.

And I THINK the political posting is at an end. At least until Pat Robertson says something stupid again ...

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 27, 2005

Google Talk

So by now, you've all heard about Google Talk -- Google's entry into instant messaging.

I have it. I've actually stopped using Skype and switched to Google Talk-- there was only one person on Skype that I actually talked to anyway, and I needed to free up some hard drive space (can't believe I've filled 40GB. When I bought the computer, I said we'd NEVER need a bigger drive than that).

I haven't actually talked to anyone on it yet. But I like the software. You can customize the status messages so they say more than just "Off Line" or "Busy." Mine say "Sleeping," "Podcasting," and things like that. The actual instant messaging is easy to use -- I spent a little while talking to Bill Wallo. I'm ready to get rid of MSN Messenger (if my sister would accept my invitation!).

I'll still have a VOIP program, but I'll be using Gizmo Project, pending a test later today. It offers me the one feature that Skype doesn't have, but that I need -- the ability to painlessly and seamlessly record phone conversations. I can do it with Skype, but I have to have separate software to do it -- and the free version of that software doesn't support MP3 encoding (of course, I could just pay the $15 it costs to get the pro version. Have I mentioned how cheap I am?).

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Podcasting the Faith: A How-To Guide

No less a media outlet than the New York Time has this story. Churches are getting into podcasting.

I've been doing a podcast for my church for almost two months. For a church our size, buying radio or TV time is not feasible. Podcasting is, simply because it's dirt cheap.

Godcasting (as it's come to be called) has really taken off. Podcasting News ran an article recently calling Godcasting the "killer app" of podcasting. And all you have to do is take a look at the number of religious podcasts available on any given podcast directory to see that churches are jumping on the bandwagon.

How To Make A Podcast

So HOW can your church do this? It's pretty simple, actually. You might even already have done the hard part. Most churches record their services, that's a fact. If you have a recording of your church's service on CD, then you can podcast in just a few simple steps. If you don't have a CD (or other digital media) recording, then get a CD recorder and make at least one CD of your service.

Now that you have a digital copy of the service, rip it onto your computer in MP3 format. A quick word of caution -- check on licensing for any music you may be using in the service. This is the reason that the 'cast I do for my church only has the sermon. The last thing you want to do is get your church in trouble with RIAA. Also, if there's a question about the music, iTunes won't list your podcast.

There are a lot of ways to get the MP3 files into an RSS feed. The easiest way is to set up a separate blog for the podcast. You can also use a service like blipmedia, which is what I use for the church podcast. This gives you a place to upload your MP3 file, AND gives you an RSS feed as well. The advantage of having a dedicated blog for your podcast is that you can add show notes to each show, which iTunes will pick up and display. The disadvantage is that you need to have a separate place to host your MP3 files, which usually costs money. Exceptions are BlastYourPodcast and OurMedia.

If you decide to set up a separate blog, I recommend Blogger. It's easy to embed the MP3 files into the feed, and Feedburner has a great service designed to work well with Blogger blogs. More on that in a minute. You don't have to make the blog elaborate -- a bare-bones Blogger template is fine. Later on, you can change it if you want.

With Blogger, make sure that you Show Link Field. Go to the formatting menu and make sure that Yes is selected for show link field. This is where the file location for your podcast is going to go. Also make sure that you select Publish Site Feed from the Site Feed menu, and write the feed URL down. That's important. These are the only modification you really need to do to the basic setup at Blogger, unless you want to enable comments.

Upload the MP3 file to whatever service you have picked, using the instructions they provide (different for each one). Write down the location and file name that it's saved under. This should look something like http://yourserver.com/yourdirectory/yourfile.mp3. THIS is the address you need to put in the blog post. In Blogger, copy and paste it into the Link field that you will see when you enter your post. The title can be whatever you want, but remember that it should include the name of your podcast and the episode number. The body of the post can include anything you want -- the Scripture reference that the sermon is from, the name of the preacher, etc. Once you get it the way you like it, post. Your podcast is now available to anyone who wants to listen to it.

How Shall They Hear?

That feed URL is your best friend right now. If you're using Blogger, it's an ATOM feed. You need it to be an RSS 2.0 feed. No problem -- the answer is simple. Feedburner. (If you are using blipmedia, I still recommend doing this part.) Get your feed set up in Feedburner (easy to do -- just follow the directions on the site). Under Essential Feed Services, enable SmartCasting. Fill in the form as best you can. Make sure you fill in the iTunes podcasting elements. Once you save all this, write down the Feedburner feed URL. That is your new best friend. That's the URL that people will use to listen to your feed. Click Publicize and pick out one of the chicklets -- copy the code and paste it right into your blog template. Now people know what address to use when they want to listen to your podcast.

Now -- iTunes. I don't think you can have a podcast and not be available on iTunes. If you don't have iTunes on your computer, either download it for free or find someone who does have it (any of the teenagers in your church will have it, I promise). Select podcast from the Genre menu, then click the button to add a podcast. Put your Feedburner feed address in the blank and send. Your feed will be available on the iTunes menus shortly.

And that's it. To write it out sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process took me maybe 10 minutes once I had the MP3 file. And I pay nothing for either of my podcasts. You can pay a little bit to some of the podcasting services (there's a great list here, or you can do a search for podcast hosting). Now you have to promote it. Put the information in the bulletins. On business cards. All you have to say is "Check out our podcast at iTunes!" or something like that. Make sure you are listed in podcast directories. THIS is the time-consuming part, but it is well worth it.

And just like that, your church has joined the 21st Century. Radio programs, TV programs, cable programs -- those are the media of the past. They are expensive, and many churches can't afford to do them. Every church, no matter what the size, can afford to podcast.

EDIT -- you can get much of the same information, but with pictures, here.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

Book Review: The Thinking Toolbox

This book needs to be taught in America's classrooms. Desperately. If I was still teaching full time, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Now that the gushing is out of the way, let me expand on that. Critical thinking is an important skill that everyone needs to acquire. Unfortunately, critical thinking doesn't show up on standardized tests, so schools aren't as concerned about teaching it. And it shows.

This book makes it easy to teach your kids how to think critically. It goes into enough depth that it's valuable for kids of all ages, but it can easilly be taught to smaller kids. You can use this book at home, too -- no special skills are required, as long as you can read and think.

Two years ago, when I taught computer applications, I spent several weeks teaching my students about the internet, and how to evaluate the information they find there. I pointed out a site -- www.dhmo.org. The site provides valuable information about the effects of a substance called dihydrogen monoxide, and its use in everyday life. Read the site, and you get outraged.

Then, the punchline. DHMO is ....................................... water. Dihydrogen (H2) monoxide (O). But everything the site says about water is true. The problem is in how it's presented. It's all about thinking critically -- taking facts and evaluating what they actually are saying.

That's what this book teaches. That is what kids need to learn. Just don't wait for the schools to do it -- get this book and do it yourself.

{And, yes, I got this book from Mind and Media for free. Nobody paid me to write the review -- if I thought the book was bad, you'd know it. The book is not just good -- it's important.}

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

Review: Unlock the Prison Doors

I've had this one for a while -- it was actually the first book I volunteered for from Mind and Media. And yes, I got it free, but nobody paid me to write this -- as will probably become obvious to you.

This book is, first of all, tough to read in public. If you don't believe me, try taking a book subtitled "Keys to Breaking the Chains of Habitual Sin" to the doctor's office and reading it in the waiting room. Check out the looks you get. The nice thing is, you won't be crowded -- nobody will sit next to you.

The book was poorly edited -- there's a noticable typo on the very first page of text. Errors like this abound in the book -- it is almost as if they sent out proofers copies rather than a finished product. Typos, misspellings, and errors like that are glaring to me -- ironic, since I don't always catch them in my blog posts, but even there I will correct them once I see them. That illustrates the importance of having someone else look at your work before sending it out.

But a book, ultimately, is judged on what it says, not how it's spelled. The book has some promise; the topic is one that evry Christian struggles with at some point or other. But the book seems to be focused more at new Christians than at older saints. The tone is, as another reviewer has said, similar to a Sunday School teacher teaching a class of young children.

Read by a new Christian, this book could be valuable. It presents the material simply and quickly, with ample Scriptural support. But it doesn't say anything that most older Christians haven't heard before in church services. I looked forward to the book "provid[ing] ... a better understanding of [myself] and the trap of 'sin cycles' and the oppression of spiritual strongholds." I was disappointed.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

PodSpider Review

Thanks to BlogCritics, I found out about a new podcatching product called PodSpider. The purpose is to offer yet another option for downloading and listening to podcasts.

Podspider lets you quickly and easily use your home DSL connection to compile all of the podcasts you want to hear while you're out and about. Back up and replay important passages-you'll never miss an important detail again.
But do we really need another podcatcher?

PodSpider does one thing that iPodder doesn't do: it will play your podcasts without opening another program. iPodder doesn't have a player built in -- you have to let it synch to either iTunes or Media Player. Obviously, iTunes plays podcasts in iTunes. PodSpider has a built-in player. It's not feature-rich, but it plays podcasts, which is the point.

PodSpider also has a built-in directory that updates from the Web. You can submit your podcast for listing in the directory. iPodder does something similar, as does iTunes. PodSpider claims over 13,000 podcasts in its directory. I don't know if that's true -- I didn't count. I know that several of the podcasts I listen to weren't in the directory, and I was surprised at some that were listed. You can add feeds to PodSpider, just like iPodder and iTunes. I wish that I could sort each podcast by date and actually have it stay that way -- you have to redo the sort every time that you look at a podcast.

Bottom line -- PodSpider is another entry into the increasingly crowded podcatcher market. For now, it's free, but there are plans to charge later on -- possibly as much as $24.69, if the graphic on the home page can be believed. If you're willing to actually pay for a podcatcher, iPodderX is a much better bargain at $12.47 (if you get in on the Windows XP beta test -- $24.95 is the regular price for the Mac version, so I assume that's what it will be for Windows as well). And iPodderX lets you read regular RSS feeds as well as audio and video feeds.

I may keep PodSpider, but I don't see it replacing iTunes as my primary podcatching software. If you're using iPodder, you might want to jump on this free trial. But I don't see this drawing people from iTunes or iPodderX any time soon.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Just A Thought

Maybe not even a whole thought, since I'm really ripping it off from someone who emailed CNN yesterday evening.

When the tsunami hit, American relief was quick. We were criticized for not giving enough. Now that a huge disaster has hit the US, how soon can we expect aid from our allies?

Personally, I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Small World

As a certain Curmudgeon said today, the Internet makes the world a much smaller place. I was thinking this morning, as I looked at the devestation that Katrina has left behind, about people I "know" who have been affected:

  • Don Elbourne at Locusts and Wild Honey, also the guy in charge of the Fundamentalist Forums.
  • Joe Kennedy at Live ... from New Orleans, who is now somewhere in Houston.
  • The Pastor, who is part of the huge Southern Baptist aid contingent getting ready to serve over 300,000 meals each day in the storm areas.

    Just a few of the people who I've been thinking of the past day or two. Keep them, and the others whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina, in your prayers.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
  • Podsafe Music Network: Yea or Nay

    I joined the Podsafe Music Network a couple days ago. I figured it would give me a few more bands to feature on my podcast. And I admit, I merely glanced over the terms.

    Reading them closely now, I see this:

    8. You agree that a Broadcast or Music Podcast will not:

    a. contain hate material, promote violence, discriminate based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, age, or family status, or contain any other materials deemed unsuitable or harmful to the reputation of PodShow or the Licensor;

    b. promote or reference software piracy (warez, cracking, etc.), hacking, phreaking, emulators, ROM's, or illegal MP3 activity;

    c. promote illegal activities, deceptive practices or violations of the intellectual property rights of others; or

    d. be advertised or promoted through the use of unsolicited bulk email.

    Interestingly, PsMN has a category for Christian music. Wouldn't you think that any Christian programming that takes the claims of Christ seriously would potentially be in violation of the discriminating based on religion clause? As Christians, don't we discriminate? Don't we say that Christ is THE way?

    The exclusivity of the Gospel is a non-negotiable. Podsafe or not, I won't be using Podsafe Music Network music on the Pewcast, and what I have downloaded is being deleted.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 31, 2005

    Who Can Do Good?

    Every so often, I hear a familiar arguement. A Christian, usually in arguement with a non-theist (covers atheists and agnostics), will say something about God as the source for morality. The non-theist will become quite agitated, and offer up examples of good deeds done by unbelievers (and sometimes anti-believers). The question is then asked:

    "Can a person who is unsaved do good deeds?"

    Instantly, several verses spring to mind.

    As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11 ESV)
    We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6 ESV)
    And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Mark 10:18 ESV)
    But then, you can look throughout history and see things that have been done by unbelievers. Ghandi is a perfect example. Even in daily life, non-Christians do good deeds all the time. What can we say?

    I think part of the problem is in the definition of the word 'good.'

    1. Being positive or desirable in nature; not bad or poor.
    6. Worthy of respect; honorable.
    17. a. Of moral excellence; upright: a good person.
    b. Benevolent; kind: a good soul; a good heart.

    I think that our definitions fall short. Good is judged by motivation, and our motivation to do good must come from the source of good, which is God. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

    Jesus said it -- God alone isgood. Our capacity to do good comes from our creation in His image. At the fall, the image was tarnished. When we come in faith to Christ, a portion of that image is restored -- that portion that enables us to reflect His nature by doing good. True good, and not the counterfeit that is often held up as good.

    Everyone can do things that mankind sees as good. Only the child of God can do good deeds that are seen as good by God. It's His opinion of our deeds that ultimately will matter the most.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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