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To the 52, From 1 Of the 48
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Your Best Lawsuit Now
Liberty University Students for Obama???
Conservatives Ready to Throw Christian Group Under the Bus
Jeremiah Wright
Spread the word
Crossover Votes and Primaries
Scapegoats, Video Games, and Cowboys of All Ages

November 07, 2008

To the 52, From 1 Of the 48

This ain't a political blog, and I've been pretty silent through the campaign. My candidate didn't make it to the national race, and the candidates I had to chose from were not what I wanted, so I held my nose and voted for the lesser of the two evils that we were given.

And the lesser evil lost. Oh, well.

My Facebook status from a couple days ago pretty much sums my opinions up -- God's in charge, and He knows what He's doing. Even when we don't understand it, and even when things don't seem to be in anyone's control, He's got the steering wheel and knows what's going on.

I've run into ZeFrank's From 52 to 48 think on Twitter, and the idea seemed a little condescending to me. I couldn't really put into words why, though, until today.

First, I caught a thread on FlameFans. Seems that on campus at Liberty University, there are some people who aren't being very charitable towards folks who voted differently than they did. I was a bit upset with this, until I started hearing from students on campus that it was the Obama people who were calling people names, etc.

Now, I'm wiling to overlook this. It's a small sample at a school where their views aren't exactly welcome -- can you imagine being a liberal or even moderate Democrat at Jerry Falwell University? Wouldn't have worked when I was there, and I'm not sure things have changed that much. But it sure doesn't sound like people who want to work together to me.

Then I read this post at the Ace of Spades HQ blog, and I realized why the whole 52 to 48 thing sounded insincere.

These are the people who have spent the last eight years calling me a member of the American Taliban. They've insulted my intelligence, they've denigrated my faith, they've suggested that Christians should just go form their own country and that everyone else would be better off without me. They've called the President of the United States Hitler. They've accused me of racism for not supporting a black candidate -- after I supported Alan Keyes in three different elections, and have hoped for years to see J. C. Watts run for office. They all swore they'd move to Canada if Bush was re-elected in 2004 (and then went back on that promise). And now that they're in power, they suddenly expect us to play nice with them.

What a bunch of condescending garbage. "Now that we've got our way, we can all play nice together." No thanks. I'm not going to treat the President the way YOU treated the last one, I promise. I am going to be LOYAL opposition, but I will be opposition. The difference is, I will also be civil opposition -- much more than any of you ever were. But just shrugging my shoulders and going along with whatever you want to do? Not happening. I voted against Obama because of his policies, nothing else (accusations of racism to the contrary).

And in two years, we'll see. The only governing body with an approval rating on par with President Bush's has been the current Congress, and I only see things getting more partisan (you'll forgive me if I treat Speaker Pelosi's comments to the contrary with extreme skepticism). That's not what any of us voted for, and I see a change taking place in two years that will give President Obama a real challenge.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:58 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 28, 2008

Obama's Backdrop

Everyone's talking about the Temple of Obama that the Dems set up at the convention. My wife pointed something out to me, and I think it's more likely that this is what they were going for:

Compare the set to pictures of the President taken during a press conference in the Rose Garden. The DNC has built their own Rose Garden Press Conference Playset, complete with Major Media Reporter action figures. Veto-Power President Obama action figure shipping soon, some assembly required.

Seriously -- look at the Rose Garden picture here and note the similarities. I seriously think that is what the DNC is going for with this set, and not the Temple of Obama that people seem to be complaining about.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 26, 2008

Hmmmmm. BC Bought!

It's been confirmed -- Blogcritics has been bought by Technorati. Yeah -- it's been reported by all the tech sites, but I wasn't going to say anything until Eric Olsen sent us all an email letting us know.

This is a good thing for Blogcritics. Eric and Phillip and everyone else at BC have worked hard to make it what it is today. It's a great place for bloggers to make a name for themselves, and it's a great online magazine. It shows how a "group blog" can effectively rebrand itself into a "magazine" while still keeping much of the tone of the original group blog.

There were some concerns along the way. I remember when the rule came down that nobody was allowed to publish their own material; every article had to be read over by an editor, and only an editor could publish the article. Long time writers weren't happy with giving up their autonomy, and several left. But I really think that the rule improved public perception of the site, and has certainly improved content -- and I speak as one of those editors at the time, who had to suddenly read a ton of articles every day, proofread, suggest improvements, and finally publish them. It wasn't what any of us signed up for, but it made things better. And when I finally stopped being an editor (I was assistant books editor, then full books editor, for several months), I still wrote for BC because I liked it.

I haven't written anything for Blogcritics in a while, though I do owe a few reviews (this month, expect a bunch of book and music reviews from me). I've made some contacts that I never would have otherwise. I've read books and listened to music I never would have otherwise. In short, I love Blogcritics.

And the purchase seems to only foreshadow good things for the site, including some talk of "monetization options for ... contributors". So congrats to Eric and Phillip, who are new Technorati employees. And congrats to my fellow Blogcritics, all 2,500 or so of us -- things are getting good.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 09, 2008

Your Best Lawsuit Now

In case you haven't heard (and what rock have you been under if you haven't?), Joel and Victoria Osteen are being sued by a distraught airline flight attendant after a confrontation on a 2005 flight to Vail, Colorado.

Now, I'm no big fan of the Osteens. And it's pretty clear that Mrs. Osteen acted like a prima donna at points in the flight:

Victoria Osteen said when she first told a flight attendant about the spill, she was handed some napkins. She said she responded, "'It's not my job.' I didn't say it in an ugly tone of voice."
Now, I clean up spills at restaurants all the time -- it comes with the territory when you've got two kids. And I'm sure that the next time I fly with my family, my son will spill something. In which case, I'll probably ask for a few napkins and clean it up. Is it my job? No -- but it's my mess. I'll clean it up.

My biggest concern in all of this is that there's an airline flight attendant who is suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome because of .... what? From what I can tell, it boils down to a rude passenger. Shock and horror -- someone acted like a jerk on an airplane. And the fact that it was a prominent Christian also means that "her faith was affected" as well.

Y'know what? People act like jerks all the time. When I worked retail, people were jerks to me on a regular basis -- most of the time for things that were totally out of my control. I just wish I knew then that I could sue people for that -- I'd be a wealthy individual right now, I can tell you that much. And Christians aren't any nicer -- in fact, my wife often says that Christians are some of the rudest, nastiest people in the world, and it's unfortunately true. But if your faith is affected because people are jerks, I wonder what your faith was in to begin with.

As much as I'd love to say that this is just a symptom of the prosperity pseudo-gospel that the Osteens preach, I think it's more a symptom of the American mentality of "You offended me, you're rich, I'm taking you to the cleaners."

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

August 02, 2008

Liberty University Students for Obama???

Recent article on a ynchburg TV station concerning a student who is the head of an organization called LU Students for Obama.

Now, the rest of the story....

I first heard about this on a message board for Liberty sports fans, FlaneFans.com. The thread started off pretty much making fun of the girl, and it got a little immature. THEN, she showed up and took us all to task for our "unChristian behavior." She stated her views pretty strongly, and most of us wondered why she'd ever enroll in a school like Liberty, when she opposes everything that the school stands for.

But we started another discussion thread, and invited her to take part. She did, and seemed to have a hard time defending her views. In fact, for someone who claimed that she wanted to stand up for her beliefs in a hostile environment, she really didn't seem to be able to handle hostility all that well (and yes, we were hostile).

Now we find out that she isn't even actually a Liberty student. She's currently enrolled at Lynchburg College. Looks like we've got a case of someone who wanted attention, decided to stir up controversy on campus at a Christian school by going against everything that the school believes in, and get her 15 minutes of fame when the news media came calling.

There is a small group of LU students who support Barak Obama, I'm sure. But Michelle Miller isn't one of them, and it's a shame that the local media is allowing her to portray herself as one. She certainly doesn't represent the majority of Liberty students.

Or alumni.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2008

Conservatives Ready to Throw Christian Group Under the Bus

A perfect example of why Christian groups need to be cautious when hitching themselves to a specific political party or ideology is the Christian Coalition's battle with free market advocacy group FreedomWorks over Net Neutrality.

The Christian Coalition, along with other conservative groups like Gun Owners of America and the National Religious Broadcasters, is concerned that internet providers will start offering high-speed data transfer rates only to organizations that can afford to pay a premium, adversely impacting grass-roots organizations. The Coalition supports net neutrality, which would make such discrimination illegal. By taking this position, the Coalition finds itself working with long-term foes like MoveOn.org, and against folks like FreedomWorks.

Rob Wasinger, chief of staff to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), went so far as to say that the Christian Coalition has moved "off the reservation," and that net neutrality is not "a red-meat-conservative issue."

Jim Backlin of the Christian Coalition characterizes this as a simple disagreement. "Thats one of the issues where friends get to disagree."

If only it were really that simple. Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks says, "We would gladly welcome them back into the fold if they all of a sudden realized that 'We have to get back on the right side of the ball here.' Nothing personal.

The problem, apparantly, is that they don't think the CC is pulling it's weight on social issues. Wasinger is concerned that teaming with people like MoveOn.org is adversely affecting the CC's impact.

It seems to me like the conservative powers that be are upset that the useful idiots are having an independent thought, and they're ready to dump them. "Come back to us when you can toe the line, and understand your role." We don't need partners like that.

Net neutrality is an idea I am behind. I don't like excessive regulation of business, but it's clear to me that without some legislation, small groups (including churches, private schools, etc.) are going to be left in the dust. Freedom of speech is at stake. This is where government needs to step in and pass good laws that protect companies and individuals who don't have the clout to protect themselves.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

Jeremiah Wright

I've held off on this topic just because I was enjoying watching the religious Left squirm a bit. It's nice to see them having to deal with their own Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell figure, though I've been a bit disappointed that Wright's "America deserved 9/11" remarks seem to have engendered less outrage than either Robertson's or Falwell's. Guess there's still a double standard concerning outrage on the left.

I actually tend to agree with Mike Huckabee on the whole Wright controversy; any preacher can sound stupid/intolerant/whatever if you grab sound bites out of a 30+ minute sermon. On April 20, you could have gotten quite a sound bite from my own Sunday morning sermon -- "Those people are going to hell. They're getting what they deserve. Who cares?" THAT would have gotten me some press. Of course, the rest of the sermon was all about who cares, and as it turns out there are a lot of people who care, but the sound bite makes me sound like a Westboro Baptist member. So I think it's wrong (at best) to try to determine someone's theology based on snippets of sermon, and I think that's why Huckabee didn't release transcripts of his own sermons to the press.

That said, there was one remark that Wright made this morning that concerned me. He used John 10:16 to respond to John 14:6.

The question raised was, considering Jesus' statement that He is "the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me," whether Islam was a path to heaven. Tough question, considering the fact that many African-Americans are Muslim, and that many of them support both Wright and Obama (neither of whom are Muslim -- wanted to make that clear right off).

The question touches at the heart of the Gospel - is Jesus really it? Is Christ really the only way? And if so, what does that mean to all the otherwise good people who don't believe in Him?

Wright had what I call an Osteen moment. He had the chance to share the Gospel in front of millions. Not only that, but he had the chance to calm the fears of evangelical Christians that his church was somehow not really a Christian church. He could have done so much, but he decided not to.

He quoted another saying of Christ. "And I have other sheep that are not of this fold." And that would have been great, if he'd just used the whole quotation. Jeremiah Wright did to Jesus exactly what the news medai have been doing to him -- taken a part of a sermon, quoted it out of context, and made it sound like something that wasn't intended.

John 10:7-11 reads

7 So Jesus again said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. Jesus isn't talking about people who don't believe in Him, who haven't trusted Him to save them. He's talking about people who are His own, who He knows as His own, who know Him, but were not at that time part of His flock. They are sheep that He is going to bring to Himself, so that there will be one flock, and one Shepherd. Jesus is not teaching that all religions will get you to Heaven, as Wright seems to imply. Jesus is saying that there are a lot of sheep out there that are His, who are not part of this Jewish flock that He's talking to. He died for them, too, and He will draw them in. They will hear His voice, and listen to Him. They will know Him as their Shepherd.

The Gospel is exclusive. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and you know I hate it when people call me intolerant, but the facts are the facts. Christianity is an exclusive faith, and anyone who says differently is misinformed at best. Joel Osteen choked on the exclusivity of Christ, and now so has Jeremiah Wright. It's a struggling point and a stumbling block for many on the left side of religion, but it's still there, and Christians everywhere stake their lives on it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:37 AM | Comments (1502) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

Spread the word

This needs to be spread all over the Internet.

I don't care what your perspective on global warming is; it's wrong to misrepresent the truth to make your case about anything. And it's incredibly dishonest to misrepresent the statements and opinions of practicing scientists to bolster your arguments - I don't care what you're arguing.

Wikipedia is potentially a great resource, but it's things like this that make teachers (and academics in general) frown on it's use as a resource. Wikipedia needs to clean up it's act, and crack down on activist editors of all political and philosophical stripes.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 09, 2008

Crossover Votes and Primaries

Last week, I voted in the Ohio primary. And even though the Republican nominee had been pretty much decided (and was, by the end of the day), I voted for Mike Huckabee (surprise, surprise).

My wife works at our local polling place, and she told me that she thought there were a number of Republican voters who crossed over and voted in the Democratic primary with the intention to support a candidate that they felt would be easy to beat in November.

I've always wondered about that possibility in primaries, especially in states that hold open primaries. Even in Ohio, all you have to do is sign a pledge to support your new party, and you're in. I could have voted in the Democratic primary last week -- though my wife would certainly have questioned it, and I'd have gotten in trouble. I've always thought that the primary process in this country was broken (if not the whole electoral college process, but that's another post).

Now come reports that there were folks in Ohio who changed party allegiance and were somewhat less than truthful -- even going so far as to amend the oath that they signed. And I have a problem with that, from a Christian standpoint.

Yes, elections are a secular construct, with little religious significance. But our lives are to be lived in ways that are pleasing to God -- and He's the one who said "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes' and your 'No' mean 'No' after all. I agree with the idea that "our nominating process is messed up." I disagree with the notion that just because the other side is doing it, we can do it, too.

the Democrats try to influence our primaries (I was really ticked off when McCain made an appeal to Democrats and Independents to vote for him in the SC primary in 2000) and now we are returning the favor.
No. We're told to return good for evil, and not to repay in kind. While I disagree witht he idea of holding the electoral system in some kind of reverence, I do agree with Lars Walker, who said
The fact that there are cynical people out there who game the system doesn't justify us, the people who say we believe in moral absolutes, in pretending to belong to a different party so we can sabotage its nomination process.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2008

Scapegoats, Video Games, and Cowboys of All Ages

There's always one.

There's always somebody who is ready to take advantage of a tragedy to further his own pet issue. Jack Thompson's pet issue is the evils of video games, and he's off on his hobby horse again.

Do kids play too many video games? Probably. But I know plenty of kids who take time out to skateboard, fish, hunt, occasionally do homework, etc. Normal kid stuff. They play video games, and most of them are better at Halo and Counter Strike than I could ever pretend to be. And they don't kill each other!

When I was 5, I had a pair of six-shooters. Fake pearl handles, fake silver finish, six-shot cap guns. I loved those things. Had the boots and hat. I even had a guitar, so I could play "singing cowboy" when there weren't any rustlers to fight. My sister and I used to lay down in the back of our station wagon on long trips, and "shoot" at the people around us, because they were the bad guys. (Unless they were in a brown car -- then they were on our team.)

When I was 10 or so, I got a BB gun. I was the terror of aluminum cans throughout the neighborhood. My neighbor and I set up a commando training course in our back yards, so we could practice going on "missions." I got pretty good with that rifle.

Even today, when I go to the arcade with my daughter (she loves to win tickets), I play games like Time Traveler -- pull the gun, shoot the bad guys. Those sniper games are pretty fun, too. I'm decent, though not great, at most of them.

I've never shot anyone. I figure the first thing I'd probably shoot if I got hold of a real gun would be my foot. Video games haven't trained me to kill people. Video games won't teach someone how to use an Uzi to hose down their school cafeteria -- they can't. You have to actually practice with those weapons to be able to use them. And that's what people forget.

We spent our youths playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, Nazis and Americans, Yanks and Rebels -- whatever. We shot our friends three or four times, ran around, took prisoners, then went inside for a snack just in time to watch some good, old-fashioned violent TV -- like Ultraman.

Whenever I hear someone like Jack Thompson blaming video games for the downfall of our society, I remember the scapegoat of my youth -- Dungeons and Dragons. And I remember what everyone always told me, and how none of it ever sounded like any actual roleplaying session I'd ever been involved with. And sure, there were some kids who went a bit nuts with D&D -- but they were the kids with problems to begin with. There are kids who shouldn't be playing violent video games -- but there are thousands of other kids who have no problem with those games.

The real problem is spiritual. The real problem is that we don't teach respect for life. The real problem is that we don't teach moral responsibility -- because that might offend someone. We're so afraid of offending someone by teaching that some things are wrong that we're killing our society off. We're too worried about finding a scapegoat to blame, something to boycott or ban, to find the root cause of the problem, and offer a solution to that problem.


"The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?"

Over 2,000 years ago, Jeremiah saw the problem. And he saw what this problem would cause:

O Lord, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water.

We've forsaken Him, and we are put to shame.

What's our hope?

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 17, 2008

Gosh, Darn -- Charles Barkley Doesn't Like Me.

Sir Charles Barkley has decided to weigh in on religion. Not sure what qualifies him to make this kind of pronouncement, but nobody asked me, and so he did. We're not real Christians, we conservatives, because we judge others. We're too judgmental.

The Reformed Chicks who babble over at Beliefnet made an interesting point. Sir Charles quoted Matthew 7:1-2. He doesn't seem to have read verse 3.

Jesus is trying to give us a warning -- don't judge the motivations of others. Don't you decide why someone is doing what they're doing. And we're all guilty of this, but one of the things that always bothers me when people use this passage against Christians is that the folks doing the quoting are doing some judging, too. By invoking this verse against anyone, you are violating it. That's why we're told to get rid of the log in our own eyes before we go after the speck that's in our brothers' eye.

When I preach and teach against sin, I'm not judging anyone. Judgment will be passed by God, and it will be passed based on what each of us has done with Christ. When I preach against sin, I do it to show God's salvation to everyone. Because until someone realizes that they're lost, they don't know they need a savior. So as Christians we do an extreme disservice to people when we simply let them go along the way they have been, without letting them know of the danger they're putting themselves in. Was Noah being intolerant or judgmental when he told everyone to get into the ark? Was Jesus being judgmental and intolerant when he told the woman caught in adultery "Go, and sin no more"? I'd love to ask Sir Charles those questions, but he probably won't talk to me.

After all, I'm too judgmental.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 08, 2008

Dobson Endorses Huckabee

The only problem I have with Dobson endorsing Mike Huckabee is that he really isn't endorsing him. Dobson is trying to keep his "followers" from heading to McCain faster than you can say "Focus."

A Dobson endorsement back in, say, November may have helped the Huckabee campaign out. Unfortunately, Dobson was too busy trying to prove he wasn't a Mormon-hater, and cozied up to a candidate with shaky (at best) pro-life credentials. Now that Romney is out of the race (and face it, he's out because of the bottom line. Romney's a businessman, and he isn't going to pour money into a losing campaign.), Huckabee is Dobson's only choice -- especially after the things he's said about McCain.

Welcome to the bandwagon, Mr. Dobson. Too bad you're here too late to actually make a difference.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 07, 2008

An Open Letter to the GOP "Elite"

Dear Ruling Class,

Many of you are wondering what's happened in the primaries. You're wondering why Mitt Romney is gone. I can't give you all the answers, but I can tell you why I didn't support him -- and a lot of it is your fault.


For over 20 years now (ever since the Reagan election, though maybe even before that), the GOP has pandered to evangelical Christians. Every election, you've paraded yourselves in front of us, you've kissed up to our leaders, you've spoken at our functions. And you've gotten our votes, because quite frankly you were the best option. Then, after the election, you forgot about us.

You've been treating the evangelical voter like the ugly rich nerd at school -- you flirt with us, make us think you like us, get us to spend some money on you, help you with your homework -- and then you go to homecoming with the quarterback. And, like that nerd, we've dealt with the situation, because we liked having someone pay attention to us every few years.

This year, we got tired of it. We didn't act like we were expected to. We didn't lick your boots. We didn't blindly support who you told us to. The evangelical block fragmented, but it wasn't because of infighting among evangelicals. It was because many of us stopped caring what you thought of us. You got on your radio shows screaming about how Huckabee and McCain were going to destroy the GOP. And you expected us to care.

Care about what? A political party that uses us, and then tosses us aside after the election? A party that mocks us, that mocks our beliefs, that considers us the easily led backwards morons of the family? As if. Some of us are pretty easily led, and some of us might be morons. But the majority of us are educated people, and we're tired of the way the GOP thinks of us, and treats us.

So we supported one of our own. And we didn't support who you chose for us -- not because he's Mormon, but because he wasn't who we wanted. He hasn't proven himself to us, and we wouldn't back him.

We support Huckabee (those of us who do -- we don't march lockstep, no matter what people may want to think about us) because he's one of us. He's one of the people you like to ignore for a couple years after elections. We figure that if he's in power, we won't be ignored anymore. After years of being an afterthought, we'll actually have someone who will listen to our concerns.

But you can go on your talk shows tomorrow and tell everyone that we've ruined the GOP. And maybe we have. But maybe it needed to be ruined. Maybe it needed a jolt to wake it up. I just hope that this jolt is enough, or in November, we'll get another one.

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

February 04, 2008

Stupidity Online: MySpace and the Atheists

OK, I shouldn't have to say it up front, but I'm not a member of the Atheists and Agnostics group on MySpace. I disagree with them, and they disagree with me, and we just wouldn't work together well on most things. BUT ....

This is stupid. Not only has the group been deleted, MySpace isn't even talking about why! I can understand that the group was hacked, and I can see that MySpace wants to control hacked accounts. But if the people who ran the group, and the members of the group, want the group to be reinstated, it should happen.

There was, apparently, a group of Christians who opposed the site and made MySpace take it down. Dumb move. So when a bunch of atheists and agnostics protest, should all the Christian groups be taken down? It seems there are at least 35,000 atheists and agnostics on MySpace, not an insignificant number. And experience has shown me that they are probably a bit more vocal than the majority of people who claim to be Christians -- but that's another post for another day.

Give the atheists back their group. Let them have as many groups as they want. MySpace isn't the place to start a Crusade, or a jihad, or whatever. The Internet is the ultimate democracy -- everyone gets a voice, no matter what their opinion. When we start silencing people because of their lack of belief, we're a short step away from silencing people because of their beliefs. Let's not do that again.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 09, 2008

Political Pong

CNN has a pretty neat new game available at their website -- Presidential Pong. You can play as Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Bill Richardson or John Edwards on the Democratic side, or Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Sam Brownback on the Republican side.

And that's the problem. Sam Brownback?? Not Mike Huckabee?? What is CNN trying to say here, anyway? I can understand limiting the field to four on each side, but how did they pick the four? Go play, and complain.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:22 PM | Comments (93) | TrackBack

January 04, 2008

Go Mike Go!!

I'm paying more attention to politics lately. Maybe it's because I got so irritated at the "Religious Right" snubbing one of their own on the grounds that he "isn't electable." Huckabee was running neck and neck with Ron Paul for the most ignored candidate for the GOP nomination, until the CNN debate.

Do I think that it's the evangelical influence that got him the win in Iowa? Not really. Only 46% of evangelical voters in Iowa supported him. Half of Republican-voting evangelicals didn't support him! That's telling, to me. The evangelical block still isn't united behind one candidate.

Huckabee got 40% of women. 40% of "young" voters (under 30). 41% of voters making less than $30K a year. Where is CNN reporting on Huck's appeal to women? Or youth? Or the "financially disadvantaged" folks? (thanks to Michael Medved for the stats)

The answer is simple. It's easier to tell people that the former pastor won by appealing to his natural base (evangelicals) than to admit he's got a broader appeal than anyone thought he would. That a conservative populist message resonates with Republicans just as strongly as Obama's populist message dos with Democrats.

And many evangelicals are letting them "blame" us. We'll take the credit, because the GOP has marginalized us. We want to feel important again. And people of faith are supporting Huckabee. But not just traditional evangelical Protestants.

The fact is, Huck was outspent by Romney and he won anyway. Edwards was outspent by everyone and hit second for the Dems. I really think this is the election that will show everyone that the best candidate isn't always the one that spends the most money to get your vote. It's the one that deserves your vote.


MikeHuckabee.com - I Like Mike!

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December 22, 2007

Christmas, Post 2

Just a quick shout, because I found someone who sort of agrees with me re: giving December 25 back to the pagans and celebrating Christ's birth another time. I still like January 6 (even though that's dangerously close to my birthday), but Rev. James Martin suggests June.

Here's my plan. First, we hand over December 25 to the corporations and let them have their way with it. Let Macy's, for example, tell us that the Christmas season starts not with Advent, but right after Halloween, since that's when they start decorating their stores anyway. Let Kohl's tell us that the appropriate way to begin Advent is not with the traditional evergreen wreath with four candles, but by camping out with surly crowds at 3 a.m. in front of their stores, so that you can buy an iPhone, or some other techno gadget you don't really need.

Give the corporations December 25. It will be our final Christmas present to them.

Reading the rest of the column, I can see some potential in this. No major holidays to compete with, so no "Happy Holidays" greetings that irritate so many people. And the idea of a Christmas barbecue is intriguing, to say the least. Christmas outside, presents under a real tree -- and not even an evergreen. Maybe a dogwood tree.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:51 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 20, 2007

Happy Holi ... Merry Chri ... whatever.

It is written in the Godblogger's Manual that every Godblogger has to post something about the "War On Christmas." I slacked off last year; in fact, there was only one post from me the entire month. The year before, I ranted about the commercialization of Christmas and the Feast of St. Nicholas. My very first year of blogging, I wrote this, which I still think is pretty good.

This year, I'm going to talk about the whole Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas deal. Because it's getting tiresome, and old, and I think we need to get over the notion that we own the month of December, holiday-wise.

If I am a retailer (and I have been a retailer before, so I speak from experience), I'm going to try to make sure I address the holiday my shoppers are celebrating. Rather than have to interview them at he door to determine their personal preference, I'll probably go the "Happy Holidays" route and catch every holiday that's celebrated this time of year, especially if I'm in a multi-ethnic community. If I'm in an area where there are now Jewish or Muslim folks, then I'd probably go with "Merry Christmas."

As a customer, I'm not going to go off on the minimum-wage-slave that says "Happy Holidays" to me. I'm actually going to be glad they acknowledge my presence at all. And I'll wish them a "Merry Christmas" -- especially this week and next, since that is the holiday we're actually celebrating. Saying Merry Christmas the first week of December seems to be rushing the season a little bit -- even though by then all the Christmas decorations are going into their first markdowns.

I WILL, however, become annoyed at the people who want to take down religious-themed decorations in public places. It's a religious holiday -- if you don't like that, don't celebrate it. Yes, we borrowed heavily from pagans, but it was from converted pagans. They became Christians, and worshiped their new God and His Son in ways that made sense for them culturally. That's where so many Christian traditions come from.

Ironically, I think that's what's happening to Christmas today. Christians are converting to a secular religion, and taking their cultural celebrations with them. Three years ago I talked about celebrating a secular holiday in December, and a Christian one in January. Maybe it's time for Christians to stop celebrating like we're pagans, and remember the real reason we celebrate this time of year. Maybe then everyone will celebrate Christmas for what it really means. If we're losing the war for Christmas, it's because too many Christians are fighting for the other side.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 06, 2007

Interesting take on Golden Compass

Hanna Rosen of The Atlantic has something interesting to say about Hollywood's latest "blockbuster," The Golden Compass.

Given enough time and effort, Hollywood can tweak and polish and recast even the darkest message until it would seem at home in a Fourth of July parade. In the end, the religious meaning of the book was obscured so thoroughly as to be essentially indecipherable. ... With $180 million at stake, the studio opted to kidnap the books body and leave behind its soul.

I haven't read the books (and don't really plan to, considering what the author's stated purpose in writing them is), and I doubt I'll see the movie. But I do think it's interesting, and a bit telling, that the books are so anti-religion in general and anti-Christian in particular that Hollywood has had to sanitize them to create the movie.

Read Rosen's full article here. Sounds to me like they made a movie about a little kid who fights totalitarianism and wins, when the books were (to quote the author)"about killing God."

(hat tip to the Dallas News' Religion blog)

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November 17, 2007

Big South Champs!!

Congratulations to my alma mater, Liberty University, on their first ever football championship, capping off an outstanding season with a 31-0 victory over Gardner-Webb on the road in North Carolina. LU ends the season at 8-3, and undefeated in conference play. The jury's still out on an FCS playoff bid, though LU has been told they were in the running for an at-large spot. Those are still long odds, but maybe this time next year ....

Jerry's tailgating with Peter, guys. Outstanding job.

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November 05, 2007

Almost Forgot ...

We beat Coastal.

VMI next weekend in the 'Burg, then we head to Gardner-Webb for the game that will probably decide who wins the Big South conference. Go Flames!!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

The Third Party Movement

I've never been a real fan of any of the viable third-party options that exist today. I'm not saying that I don't like third parties -- I think that we need one, now that the GOP and the Dems are starting to look a LOT alike, especially fiscally. But the Libertarians don't appeal to me (I'm too much of a social conservative), and the Constitution Party is too isolationistic for me (I've talked about them before). There's always the Lighthouse Party (who I've mentioned before as well), but they don't even have a platform yet, so I don't see them getting anything ready for 2008.

But I find myself in the same boat as James Dobson. If the GOP nominates a pro-choice candidate, I can't support them. I'm not a single-issue voter (I have other concerns with Giuliani), but the abortion issue is important to me, on some very personal levels. And I don't see a Democratic candidate that I could come close to supporting. So I have an interesting problem.

So I'm watching the campaign with an interest I've not had in a long time. And I'm hoping that I don't have to go third party, because I really do think that the departure of even a small majority of conservative evangelicals will ensue that the GOP loses the 2008 election.

But maybe that's what needs to happen. More and more, evangelicals are being treated like the red-headed stepchildren of the Republican Party. They kiss up to us every election year, and court us hardcore every four years, but all it is is lip service. And I'm tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. If a loss gets the attention of the RNC, then maybe that's what the country needs, long term.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2007

We Have NO Sense of Humor

I am lamenting the passing of a wonderfully funny blog, the Secret Diary of D. A. Carson. This was a blog that, much in the same vein as the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, poked a bit of fun at evangelical Christianity in general, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in particular. The creators of the site came under fire from the administration at TEDS, and have decided to stop blogging ... for now.

...here's to the administration at TEDS. Hey, admin people, you know how at the end of every Friday the 13th movie they always think they've killed Jason off for the last time? Just checking...
One thing that's pretty obvious in reading the blog -- nobody could possibly think that this was actually D. A. Carson. It's clear that the thing's parody, and it would have slipped under a LOT of people's radars if the folks at TEDS had simply ignored it. But they didn't.

And before we slam the TEDS admin for that, we better remember that the rest of us aren't much better. People would have missed The Last Temptation of Christ movie if we hadn't gotten mad about it, way back when. People would have missed Kathy "What can I say this week to make people remember who I am?" Griffin and her intentionally vulgar and insulting comment if we'd just left her alone. She's a comedian, for crying out loud -- and not a very good one at that. A D-list actor who won a D-list award (a "Creative Arts" Emmy -- for people we've never heard of who do shows nobody watches). She's trying to get attention, and she got it. I'm sure she's really appreciative of all of us.

When people say things that offend us, remember that they did worse to Jesus. And when people make fun of us, remember that there's plenty to make fun of. Unless, of course, you're perfect.

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September 24, 2007

Invite Him AGAIN!!!

So everyone has been up in arms about Columbia University inviting the idiot from Iran to speak. Now, the idiot from Iran is getting ripped apart by the person "introducing" him (the video is on CNN.com right now).

I'm really enjoying this one. Let's hear it for free speech!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 17, 2007

McCain: Oh, By The Way ...

John McCain has decided to let everyone know that he's a Baptist. Of course, he didn't do that in Iowa, or New Hampshire, or California. He did it in South Carolina. Only place there's more Baptists around than in the Carolinas is in Texas (and that's just because it's bigger, and there's more room for us there).

Needless to say, I was skeptical. McCain has been calling himself Episcopalian for a little while now, and that's a LONG way from Baptist (at least the Baptists I hang out with). All of a sudden, with his campaign in jeopardy, he's Baptist.

But then I started thinking -- who am I to judge. And the church he's been attending looks like it's got it together. They even podcast!

But to McCain, denominational label isn't important.

In May, McCain's campaign identified his religion to The Associated Press as Episcopalian, but noted his four younger children are Baptists and he attends the North Phoenix Baptist Church when at home.

McCain grew up Episcopalian and attended an Episcopal high school in Alexandria, Va. On Monday, he spoke briefly about that history and about the Baptist church he now attends. Then, after saying his overall faith is what's important, he concluded: "I don't have anything else to say about that issue."

from the Associated Press article
McCain also finds the Baptist church he's attending "more fulfilling" than the Episcopal church.

So is this an attempt to gain some street cred among evangelical voters? Maybe -- though for many he blew that when he went to Liberty University to speak (of couse, some of us thought Jerry was nuts to invite him in the first place -- evangelicals have long memories, after all). Personally, I think it's his way of addressing the religion issue without making it a huge issue.

And I think he did a pretty good job.

{Edit}: Here's a new wrinkle on the situation -- McCain has had his kids baptized in the Baptist church, but hasn't done it himself. I didnt find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs, he said. But he affirms that he's a Baptist. So NOW the whole baptism/church membership thing that the Christian blogosphere has been arguing and debating about (at least my own little neighborhood of it has) is now front page news, thanks to John McCain. Can you be a Baptist and not been baptized as a believer? See my comments on the piece at GetReligion.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:33 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 09, 2007

Out Of The Mouths of Toons ...

FIRST -- go read Frazz. Now contemplate how much Frazz looks like Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes). Now it's time to discuss:

"If we pay teachers more, would we get better teachers?"

On the one hand, I know of a lot of people who should be teaching, who could teach and do it well. Some of them homeschool their kids, and their kids are pretty intelligent. So I know that they could teach, IF they decided to.

But they don't. They're in private industry making six-figure salaries. They live in upper-middle-class communities, join country clubs, and drive nice cars. They support their local churches. Some teach Sunday School.

If your choice is getting your masters to take a job making $35,000 or taking one making $100,000, it's not a tough choice to make. $65,000 a year isn't worth giving up to get summers "off" (and ask teachers how much of their summers off are taken up by school so they can keep their license). And yes, most states are now requiring teachers to get their masters degrees to keep their licenses (Ohio is one of those states). So teachers have to have an advanced degree to make $35,000 a year. Is it worth it financially? Not for most people.

So who is taking the $35K job? A couple different groups of people -- one is the people who can't do the $100K jobs. The people who aren't qualified. The old adage "Those who can, do. Those who can't do, teach" is often quite true. So we're not getting the best teachers for the money.

On the other hand, there is another group of people who go into teaching. The people who want to make a difference in kids' lives. The people who want to train the next generation. These people would do it no matter how much they get paid -- and they do. They enjoy it. These are the teachers that kids remember years later. And their students go on to great things because of their influence and dedication.

I know teachers who fit both descriptions, and some who fit neither. I've read memos sent out by English teachers that didn't survive my own proofreading (and yes, I used a red pen on them!). I've talked to history teachers who were only in it so they could coach. I've also talked to teachers who could have been doing anything else, but they stay in the classroom year after year, because they care.

We're requiring more and more from our teachers -- more education, more accountability, more time. Shouldn't we be giving them more? Shouldn't we reward the teachers who could be doing something else, but aren't? We spend boatloads of money on just about everything else -- why aren't we willing to invest in our kids' future by paying their teachers enough to make it worth their time? Education is broken, it's true. Why are we expecting people who are making just above minimum wage to fix it?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 07, 2007

Gone, But Not Forgotten

They say that bad things come in threes (though I'm not sure who 'they' are, or how they got so smart). This week seems to have supported this idea, anyway, in the deaths of three people whose lives touched thousands.

D. James Kennedy was a man I watched on TV before I really knew what the difference was between a Presbyterian and a Baptist. He was religious right when religious right wasn't cool, but was willing to let others take the spotlight. He was a pastor, first and foremost, and his people knew and appreciated it. His influence will be felt for generations.

Luciano Pavarotti. Opera was always more my wife's thing (and she prefers Carreras), but even I knew Pavarotti. Of course, he ruined an excellent performance of Turandot for me several years ago, simply because the tenor (who was magnificent) wasn't Pavarotti. He was the only opera many people will ever know -- which is kinda like saying that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is the only Russian novelist that many people will know. It's OK, because they know the best.

And today, we hear about the death of Madeline L'Engle. And everyone is talking about A Wrinkle in Time, forgetting A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time, the further adventures of Charles Wallace and Meg and their family. Interconnectedness is the key, and you don't get the whole story just by reading the first book. Dig deeper, and you'll mine gold.

Three lives that made an impact. Three people who left their mark, and will be missed.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:15 PM | Comments (604) | TrackBack

June 25, 2007

Who Said It?

I may make this a semi-regular feature (as regular as anything on this blog is right now, anyway). Interesting quote that I've picked up. Below the fold you'll find out who said it.

Doing the Lords work is a thread thats run through our politics since the very beginning. And it puts the lie to the notion that the separation of church and state in America a principle we all must uphold and that I have embraced as a constitutional lawyer and most importantly as a Christian means faith should have no role in public life.

Senator and Presidential candidate Barak Obama, at United Church of Christ in Hartford, Conn. this past Saturday. In front of 10,000 people, no less.

Sounds like something that the religious right has been shouting for the past couple of decades, doesn't it? 'Bout time the Democrats caught up.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

I Wasn't There, Either!!

Everybody is doing their "I'm not in San Antonio" posts. I'd have liked to have gone this year, but the funds weren't there -- I've always wanted to see San Antonio, and I've never been to Texas. But I didn't go, and so I'm hopping on the bandwagon that Steve and Joe started.

Sunday, the 10th, I preached (as I've been doing for the past ten months or so). I preached on eternal security -- there are some folks at the church who grew up in Free-Will Baptist churches, and even though they realize they're secure, they don't always seem to understand why. So I reminded them, and gave them Scripture they can rely on. Sunday night was the first night of VBS. I got to be VBS director this year, so now you know how I spent my entire week last week. Friday was family night at VBS, and we had some food after the kids got their certificates and sang their songs.

Saturday, I recovered from VBS. Tried to mow the lawn, but couldn't get the lawnmower started.

Sunday, I preached on Joseph, the father God chose for His Son. We tend to ignore the important job that Joseph had, but there are some things all fathers could learn from him. Sunday night I spoke on Luke 2:52 -- a verse that we don't hear preached often enough. Jesus grew internally, externally, and upwardly -- just as we all need to.

So now you know all about my week, and I'm in good company. And maybe the trackbacks will let everyone know that I'm starting to actually blog again, even though more substantial posts are still to come.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:32 PM | Comments (378) | TrackBack

June 16, 2007

Like That Prius Now?

OK, I admit that I've considered (seriously, very seriously) buying a Prius. Dumping gas into my Blazer to the tune of three bucks a gallon isn't any fun, I promise. But after reading this article, I'm having second thoughts.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called Dust to Dust, the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.


I really think this is symptomatic of a much larger problem -- as a people, we are nearsighted. We look at the immediate impact on us, and not the overall impact. And that's of anything. That's one of the things that Devices Of The Soul talks about: we have to learn (or for some of us, relearn) to consider the opportunity costs and production costs of what we do, and not just the cost of use.

So now I guess I'll have to go get me a Hummer. Those H3s are kinda nice ....

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:48 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 01, 2007

40 Years Ago Today ...

... Sergeant Pepper taught the music world a whole new way to play.

(Yes, I know that doesn't go with the rhythm. Just go with me, here.)

Back some twenty years or so, I had a copy of Sergeant Pepper. Original copy, too -- my cousin had a copy, and he gave it/loaned it to me. I played it to death.

Sergeant Pepper is an album that, for me, defined what late '60s music was. A little eclectic, a little trippy, and very different from what went before. It's also an album that was introduced to the world in a different way than before.

AM radio was king. FM was getting started, but there were doubts as to whether it could make money, and many people didn't have the equipment to listen to it. Station owners would often just mirror their AM broadcasts on their FM stations; after the government put a stop to that, they allowed their FM DJs a lot of latitude in what they played. A lot of new, experimental music was played on FM, and a lot of new bands got their break through FM radio.

Sergeant Pepper was an album that was introduced on FM radio. AM radio stations were afraid of the drug references, so it was up to the renegades on FM to introduce the world to one of the most critically acclaimed rock albums in history. And today, it may not have been made.

Increasingly, bands are going for the hit single. And with the advent of downloadable music, it's happening more and more. People don't get the entire album -- they download the two or three songs they really like and skip the rest. Think of your favorite concept album -- Kilroy Was Here by Styx, The Wall by Pink Floyd, you name it. In today's market, they may never have been made.

So is the concept album doomed? Nope. The renegade spirit of those early FM jock is alive and well in the world today, and if you've paid any attention at all to my music posts lately you'll know what I'm going to say next -- podcasting.

Yes, there are stinkers out there. There were bad early FM shows, too. But there is gold in those podcast directories. Check the link out and find some for yourself.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:55 PM | Comments (921) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007

In Memorium: Jerry Falwell

A lot of ink has been spilled, and a lot of electrons spent, in the past 24 or so hours, on this topic. And it would be very easy for me to simply sit down and write a defense of Jerry, or a critique, or to simply post a rant against the people who (as happened last night on Anderson Cooper 360) will simply choose to call names and hate, even as they cry out against his "hatred."

But that's all been done before. Ever since I walked on campus at Liberty University in August of 1986, I've been defending my chancellor. And it often wasn't an easy job. When my sister called me yesterday at about 2 and said "Did you hear about Jerry Falwell?" my gut reaction (though thankfully unspoken) was "Oh, no. What did he say this time?"

Jerry had a habit of speaking what was on his mind, without realizing (or, sometimes, caring, I guess) what it would sound like. Just a few weeks ago, he announced that he considered the doctrine of limited atonement (a cornerstone of Calvinist theology) "heresy." Immediately, I thought of people like Charles Spurgeon, William Carey, Al Mohler, and John MacArthur -- all good men, men of faith and conviction, and all fervent five-point Calvinists. All heretics, I guess, according to Jerry.

Needless to say, I didn't always agree with Jerry Falwell. But one of the things I learned in my time at Liberty was that that was OK. I attended classes with people from all over the evangelical spectrum -- old-school fundamentalists, Southern Baptists, evangelical Methodists, Pentecostals, you name it. Even when Jerry didn't always express tolerance in minors, the culture at Liberty thrived on it.

People enjoyed attacking Jerry Falwell. And I could tell that they really didn't know the man -- the man, not the preacher. The preacher preached against all forms of vice. The man, the Christian, often loaned his ministry's plane to Larry Flynt (yes, that Larry Flynt), who Jerry was actually friends with. People attacked Jerry for his lack of compassion, but Jerry rather quietly founded and operated the Elim Home for alcoholics and the Liberty Godparent Home for unwed mothers. Jerry was pro-life -- he was more than willing to take care of young women who made a mistake, and wanted to do the right thing -- including offering scholarships to Liberty for those who wanted it.

But I got to know a Jerry Falwell that the media and the casual observers would never get to know. I knew the man who, long before Springer made it popular, would walk into a basketball game to a thunderous chant of "Jerry! Jerry!" Whose students often referred to themselves (both ironically and proudly) as "Jerry's Kids." Who found time to talk to students as he walked across campus. Who was really interested in those students.

My mother-in-law spent a lot of time on campus when my wife and I were students there. She saw Jerry, and he saw her. He never knew her name, but any time he saw her in Lynchburg, he came over and spoke to her, or waved. He knew that she was an LU mom, and he wanted to show her he appreciated her.

The Jerry Falwell that the media never got to know threw toilet paper rolls at basketball games. He threw snowballs in chapel -- at the president of the college. He told incoming freshmen, "When Dr. Guillerman is around, you have to observe protocol and call me Dr. Falwell. But when he's not around, call me Pastor. Or heck, you can just call me Jerry."

That's the Jerry Falwell I got to know. And that's the one I will miss. Rest in Peace, Jerry. You've earned that reward.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:45 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2007

In Memorium: Dr. Lee Roberson

The Chattanoogan has the full story. For those who don't know him, Dr. Roberson was a giant among fundamentalism. He founded Tennessee Temple University, and was a guiding force to many preachers in fundamental circles.

He started off Southern Baptist, but ran afoul of denominational politics leading up to the conservative resurgence. His church refused to participate in the Cooperative Program because of liberal professors and influence in the state Baptist colleges, and they were expelled from their local association. Roberson was one of the first fundamentalists to leave the SBC because of theological liberalism.

I had the opportunity to hear him speak when I was in high school, and still count it a privilege. His influence in conservative Christian circles will be missed, as will his leadership and pastor's heart.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:50 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 10, 2007

Don Imus

There's something we're missing in the whole Don Imus controversy. My wife and I have both noticed that while everyone is mad (and rightly so, let me be clear) about the "nappy-headed" remark, nobody seems to be very upset that he called these young women "hos." Haven't heard anything from any women's organization. Haven't read anything about the sexism in the comment. All I've heard are the charges of racism, and the outrage from the black community. Don't get me wrong -- they should be upset about it. They should be up in arms about it. But we're missing part of the picture here.

Part of the reason is that the term 'ho' and the term 'pimpin' have become part of our vernacular. When I was teaching, I heard it all the time. There's a lack of respect for people that seems to be running through society right now, and it's going to create problems in the long run. It's a lack of respect for people.

Used to be that people deserved your respect until they proved that they didn't -- innocent until proven guilty, in a way. Now, if you don't know someone, they're not worth spit. And when you DO meet someone, it's perfectly acceptable to call them ho, or a host of other derogatory and insulting names.

I'm not going to talk about Imus' suspension, or whether it's long enough or too long. What I WANT to do is direct the discussion toward the bigger insult -- the fact that he called a group of college students 'hos'. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on -- that kind of disrespect is a big problem, and it's a shame that we're not talking about it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:42 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007

A Little TV Criticism

I've been watching more network TV lately than I ever used to. Of course, I only get FOX and ABC right now (don't ask), so my choices are rather limited. And that's how I discovered House.

For those who don't know, House is a new show on FOX, and it has nothing to do with home improvement. From the official FOX description:

DR. GREGORY HOUSE (Hugh Laurie) is devoid of anything resembling bedside manner and wouldnt even talk to his patients if he could get away with it. Dealing with his own constant physical pain, he uses a cane that seems to punctuate his acerbic, brutally honest demeanor. While his behavior can border on antisocial, House is a brilliant diagnostician whose unconventional thinking and flawless instincts afford him widespread respect.
House is heartily non-theistic. It seems that he takes special joy in throwing a patient's faith up in their faith. But that's just his nature -- as the site says, he genuinely dislikes people in general, and sick people in particular. From a theistic perspective, though, it really seems like House takes special pride in insulting people of faith.

This is particularly clear in House's treatment of patients who are pro-life. Which brings me to the latest episode, "Fetal Position." Long story short, patient comes in, critically ill. Turns out that her unborn child has turned on her, and is slowly killing her. House is insistent on terminating the pregnancy.

House's boss is also pro-life, and goes to extremes to avoid aborting the baby. House agrees to perform surgery on the fetus. THIS is where the show got really good. During the surgery, the fetus reaches out and holds onto House's finger. Time for the closeup, Mr. DeMille. Unfortunately, FOX hasn't put a picture up on the site, and probably won't.

The part of the story I totally enjoyed is the crisis that one event has caused in House. The closing scene shows us House sitting on his couch, staring at his finger, contemplating what exactly happened in the OR. A decidedly pro-life moment.

House has one great strength -- it's ability to take a character who questions even the idea of belief itself, and making him confront the possibility that his assumptions are wrong. Throughout the season, House has confronted patients who have been examples of faith, and he doesn't emerge unscathed, philosophically speaking. He is still far from a theist, much less any form of Christian, but he's asking questions that he never thought he'd ask. At a time when so much of TV mocks and attacks people of faith, it's refreshing to watch a prime-time program that takes us seriously. I never thought I'd enjoy network TV this much ever again.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:52 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 25, 2007

Why I STRONGLY Dislike the RIAA

And it's NOT because I've got a ton of illegal music on my computer. In fact, everything I have on my drive right now is perfectly, 100% legal. I've bought some, I owned the CDs to some, and I've been given much of it for use on the podcast. So there.

But when the RIAA sues a stroke victim who is living on a monthly disability check -- and who has repeatedly stated that he has engaged in no copyright infringement -- I have a problem. They don't care about anything but their bottom line, and that is rapidly decreasing, as people find other ways to get their music -- most of them perfectly legal. Since I started podcasting, I haven't felt the need to go out and buy a CD at WalMart or any of the mall stores -- if I've got the money, I'm going to buy a CD from a band that's struggling to "make it" and has escaped the notice of the "major labels." There are thousands out there to choose from, in all genres. In fact, take a look on the right sidebar, and you can see what I'm listening to, thanks to a cool widget from the folks at Last.fm.

It takes some work -- you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. And there's plenty of chaff out there, but that just makes the wheat taste that much better. OK, now that I've run that metaphor into the ground, I'll stop.

To reassure my long-time readers, I'm not planning on turning this blog into a music-focused blog, or a podcasting-focused one either. I am working on a few things that are more in keeping with the intent of this blog -- pop culture in the light of Biblical principles, theological topics written so that the average, non-seminary-educated person can understand the issues, etc. THOSE posts take time, which I don't have a lot of right now. THESE posts, however, I can bang out quickly, and they keep the front page from looking so empty and lonely.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Inspiration!

No, I'm not going into the inspiration/inerrancy debate. I'm talking about me, being inspired to post something fairly substantial after such a long absence. And inspired by someone whose music I listened to many, many years ago.

David Bach, one part of my favorite all-time Christian rock bands, Guardian, has written a three-part post about the future of Christian music and the CCM industry that one can only pray is being read by the folks in Nashville. Bach writes as someone who has been inside the industry, someone who has seen the guts of the monster, so to speak. And he's trying to get Christian artists to see what's happening to their industry so that they can be prepared. As he puts it:

My intent here is not to discourage anyone, but rather to tell the truththe whole truth and nothing but the truth. Mine is not a rocket science/ prophetical hypothesis. Similar tales of coming fiscal woe are all over the internet in regard to the general market. But the CCM industry has always lagged behind the general market by about 18-24 monthsso for some of you reading this, it will be a shocker. Again, my primary hope in writing this is that even one aspiring artist will read it and take heedhopefully saving themselves years of grief and wasted energy.
This is one area in which the Christian industry can't afford to lag behind the rest of the entertainment field. IF Christian entertainers are really in it to get their message out, rather than make some quick $$ from their fellow believers, then there needs to be a radical change in the way Christian music is marketed, distributed, sold, and promoted. And that's exactly what Bach is calling for.

I'm not going to simply cut and paste everything he's written -- you can head over to his blog for that. You should go there anyway -- he's written some worthwhile stuff there. What I WILL do, though, is add my own proverbial two cents.

The way music is marketed in general is changing. That much should be obvious to anyone who has read anything about digital music, DRM, the RIAA, or anything related in the past two years. Bach's most recent post about Christian radio really hit home to me -- the only reason I listen to Christian radio in the car anymore is because my iPod died on me (though I've found some people who may be able to help...). Even the preaching I listened to on the radio, I can now listen to via podcast. The only reason for me to listen to the radio at all is for traffic and weather updates -- and a recent trip through Huntington showed my wife and I that few radio stations still do things like that. Radio has always been the promotional arm of the music marketing formula -- that's changing, but the industry isn't paying attention. Digital downloads and streaming samples have taken over, and very few labels have been willing to take advantage of that. Podcasting is the radio of the future -- each podcaster has a definite niche that astute labels can exploit, if they do it right. By positioning their music in the right places, they can attract new listeners, and new fans. I know I've introduced people to new artists on my podcast -- they've told me! So it works!

But there's no money in it for the labels, like there is in radio. That's because few podcasters are actually making money doing it. The next dollar I make podcasting will be my first, and it isn't breaking my heart. Would I like to get some money for it? Of course -- that's why I signed up for the iTunes affiliate program. But I'm not going to have to give up podcasting if I don't get $100 per listener per year or something. And most podcasters are the same way. We're not the cash cows that radio is, so the music industry is going to prop them up for as long as they have to.

There are Christian labels who have some foresight. Centricity Records treats me like the programming director of a (very, very small) radio station, it seems like. Every time I've emailed them about getting a song to play, I hear back quickly, and I get the song. Speak Records is also great to work with. Many Christian labels have signed up with iodaPromoNet, which allows podcasters to use selected tracks from their catalog without having to pay a licensing fee. THESE are the people who get it.

Unfortunately, you won't find very many big names there. The big guys have yet to notice the 800 pound gorilla in the room. They're focused on CD sales. And as Bach mentions in this post, the CCM industry's standby retailers aren't the most stable partners right now.

The Christian music industry has a great opportunity right now to be at the forefront of something new and different. It remains to be seen whether they can change their business models to reflect the changing technology (and changing times), or if CCM will, as usual, be a few years behind its secular counterpart.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:31 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

February 09, 2007

Commercials ...

I'm an advertising geek -- I admit it. And I'm one of those people who proudly admits to watching the Super Bowl for the commercials. But this year, Madison Avenue let me down.

Now, I've got to admit that I wasn't able to watch the game this year. We didn't get home until VERY late in the 4th quarter, so I'm having to watch the commercials on the internet. The 'Beer-stealing Crabs' ad from Budweiser just made me hungry (where's that Old Bay, anyway?). The Blockbuster commercial with the mouse was pretty funny. But my real favorite was the Doritos 'Live the Flavor' ad. A budget of less than $15, and only 4 days from concept to final cut. Brilliant! Doesn't hurt that it was made by fellow LU grads, either.

And there's the rub. The big, expensive ads were eclipsed by an amateur production whose budget was less than the catering bill for the other guys. Once upon a time, the Super Bowl was as big an event for advertisers as it was for football teams. Not anymore, it seems. The big boys aren't willing to field their best stuff for the Super Bowl anymore, it would seem.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:54 AM | Comments (67) | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Haggard, Hypocrisy, and The Rest Of Us

By now most of the blogosphere has dissected the Ted Haggard allegations and revelations. I've been on a hiatus (not entirely unneeded, but very unplanned), but I've got to break the silence on this one, because there's something important going on. Popular opinion on the left seems to be that Haggard is a hypocrite -- his secret life contradicts his public stand on many issues, clearly, but their contention is that because of the conflict, he's a hypocrite.

According to dictionary.com, a hypocrite is:


1. a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
2. a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.

The problem is that I'm not sure that Haggard was faking his beliefs. I see him as someone who was striving to be what God wanted him to be, and struggled with hidden desires that he couldn't tell anyone about. Ted Haggard is genuine in his beliefs, and genuine in his faith. The problem is that he struggled, and just as with so many high-profile preachers before him, he tried to handle things on his own. Rather than turning to God to help him defeat the temptation, he gave in.

I'm reminded of what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Roman Christians. "I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Rom 7:15)" Was Paul, then, a hypocrite?

I would challenge anyone, right or left, to allow your every action to be examined. Is there any of us that are consistent with the things we say we believe? Darwinists who are conservationists are hypocrites -- they SAY they believe in natural selection, survival of the fittest, and all that, but they WORK to preserve species that cannot (or at least, have yet to) adapt to their surroundings. People who are pro-life often advocate the death penalty -- isn't that at the very least a bit inconsistent? Christians say they're committed to God, that they love Him, but only show up at His house once a week, for an hour. Treat your spouse that way sometime, and see what happens.

The point is, we are all inconsistent. We all believe things, and believe them strongly, that we cannot live. We all hold to ideals that we fall short of. And that's where grace comes in. That's where God sends us the Holy Spirit, who gives us the power to live according to our beliefs when we are filled by Him. The key is recognizing that we cannot do it on our own.

If inconsistency is hypocrisy, then we're all guilty. The fact that Ted Haggard's inconsistency was broadcast to the entire world is only an indication of how powerful and influential he is. The rest of us should be thankful that our own inconsistencies aren't available for public consumption.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:45 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

One More Reason to Hate the UN

THIS is absolutely stupid. It's a lousy idea, and it needs to be fought. The fact that the American representatives seem to be backing this thing is embarrassing to me. The UN proves that it is completely irrelevant. It's time (past time, actually) for the US to withdraw and kick them out of New York.

In my own humble opinion, of course. ;)

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:03 PM | Comments (169) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Veggies on NBC

So Veggie Tales has come to NBC, with a few ... edits. And I've been wondering how I felt about those changes. From Phil Vischer's blog:

At first we were told everything was 'okay' except the Bible verse at the end. Frankly, that news really surprised me, because, heck, we're talking about NBC here. God on Saturday morning? It didn't seem likely. Since we've started actually producing the episodes, though, NBC has gotten a little more restrictive. (I think they actually sat down and started watching a few VeggieTales videos. "Hey wait - these are religious.") So it's gotten trickier, and we're having to do a little more editing. More than I'm comfortable with? Frankly, yes. But I had already committed to helping Big Idea with this, and I really didn't want to leave them in a tight spot. Plus, the new stuff we're coming up with is really fun, and at least some new kids will meet Bob and Larry on NBC, and maybe wander into Wal-Mart and buy a video with all the God still in. So it could be better, but overall it's not a total loss. The new stuff is really cute. You'll like it.
Sounds to me like NBC didn't do their research. They figured that Classic Media would provide them some nice, safe, kid-friendly stuff to air, and Classic decided to promote their hottest new product. Then NBC got cold feet.

We watched this morning -- the Veggies were on at 9 eastern, and 3-2-1 Penguins was on at 10. Would I have liked to have seen more Bible, more of the "God stuff" that NBC wanted cut? Absolutely. But I think we're losing focus here. Watch the rest of what passes for kids TV these days. The Veggies have an opportunity to offer a ray of light, a more positive alternative to what's being shown already. There isn't enough decent programming for kids on TV, and complaining that they had to edit the Veggies is really a tad counterproductive. When Big Idea was bought by Classic, there were fears that the religious nature of the shows would be compromised. Well, the next video they're doing is about Gideon, and they're promoting the one after that about Moses, so I really think that we over-reacted there, and I think we are now as well. Let's be happy that NBC is airing some decent programming.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:50 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

August 05, 2006

Greg Boyd and Politics

So everyone is going nuts over Greg Boyd and his statements concerning Christians and politics.

Never mind that the sermon series in question was delivered in 2004 (Church Marketing Sucks picked it up almost a year ago, and it was old news then). It's news because a "mega-church" pastor lost 1,000 members over what he said, but anyone familiar with Greg Boyd would know that he's not worried about building a big church -- he's more concerned about ministry than numbers for their own sake.

It's news because mega-church pastors aren't supposed to work that way. Mega-churches are built based on modern marketing campaigns and catering tot he whims of everyone who might attend, supposedly. But Boyd's church bucks that trend.

I've written about Christians and politics before. I tend to agree with Boyd that modern Christians put a lot of faith in the political process, and forget that Jesus saves, not Washington. Legislation can change society temporarily (as we saw during Prohibition) but Christ can change people permanently, and impact society one life at a time. That's the way we need to work.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

May 23, 2006

My DaVinci Code Post

OK, so somewhere in the job description for "Godblogger" it says that I have to post something here about the DaVinci Code movie. I wasn't going to, since I haven't read the book and don't plan on going to the movie -- no, not because I'm afraid of being challenged. It's not the kind of movie I really want to see. My wife might go see it, and if she does, I'm sure I'll hear all about it. I thought that my review of The DaVinci Codebreaker would count, but evidently not. So here goes.

The one comment I keep hearing is "What's the big deal? It's a fictional book! It's fiction! Enjoy it as a fictional story!" And I agree, in a way. I really do feel sorry for people who get their worldviews and their history from fiction. They probably thing The Patriot and Braveheart were both documentaries. People who are that gullible have more problems than The DaVinci Code anyway.

The problem is that to so many people, it's not fiction -- at least, the history involved isn't fiction. And one of those people is Dan Brown himself. Back in 2003, Brown was interviewed on the NPR program Weekend Edition and was asked about the fiction/fact issue:

LINDA WERTHEIMER: How long does it take you to research a book like this? I assume that, among other things, you would hear from the world if you’ve got anything wrong. (why yes, Linda, he has. He just ignores us.)

Mr. BROWN: Certainly. And it takes me about two and a half years to entirely research and write a book like this. Before I even started writing a page, I’d spent a year in research, and a lot of the research for “Angels and Demons” that I did in Vatican City played into this book, as well as my art history training in Seville.

WERTHEIMER: You’re trying not to get too fictional with the facts here?

Mr. BROWN: Absolutely. The only thing fictional in “The Da Vinci Code” is the characters and the action that takes place. All of the locations, the paintings, the ancient history, the secret documents, the rituals, all of this is factual.


So for all of those people yelling at Christians that it's all just fiction, you might want to let Dan Brown know. And then you might want to find out how bad the research he did really is.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 22, 2006

This Just In ...

DATELINE: Obscurity, USA.

The Dixie Chicks, realizing that nobody remembered them, have taken it upon themselves to remind us all that they don't like the president.

Not satisfied, apparantly, with the rebuke of country music radio the last time, Natalie Maines and Company have released their latest single, "Not Ready," an apparant message to President Bush that they're not ready to make nice, especially since his approval rating is down.

When informed of this development, President Bush reportedly wept uncontrollably for about an hour, then changed his party affiliation and hired Al Gore to be his image consultant. Dick Cheney reportedly commented "It was those Dixie Chicks. George has always been a fan, and the last stab at him hurt him bad. He was hoping that they'd forgiven him -- he wanted them to play at the GOP convention in '08. He was crushed when he heard the song -- he knew it was aimed at him."

First Lady Laura Bush was unavailable for comment, though rumor has it that she was out having her hair bleached and cut when we attempted to speak with her.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2006

Cheney Tax Crisis!!

Recent reports show that 'Deadeye' Dick Cheney gave away 80% of his income to charities. These reports have been met in different ways by different people.

Democrats are demanding to know what happened to that other 20%. Republicans are considering revoking Cheney's membership card unless he can prove he used at least half of what was left over to buy stock in multi-national corporations.

Ha.

OK, seriously for a minute -- the man donated close to seven million dollars to charity. Now he's getting a HUGE refund on his taxes, and people are mad. Get over it, people. When YOU donate 80% of your income to charity, you'll get a hefty tax refund, too.

In related news, I'm announcing the formation of the Warren Kelly Foundation. Tax-deductable donations will be accepted through the handy PayPal link to the right...

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 17, 2006

Carter's Law and Political Discussion

Joe Carter over at the Evangelical Outpost has formulated a law of arguement similar to Godwin's Law. Carter's Law of Political Rhetoric is:

As the number of religious conservatives expressing an opinion on a moral or political issue increases, the probability that someone on the political left will invoke the term “theocracy” approaches one.
Jow gives as examples Kevin Phillips' new book American Theocracy and Harper Magazine's piece on "The Christian Right's War on America".

I've noticed how many people have decided that President Bush's evangelical faith has ushered in a sort of theocracy in America. These are usually the same people who blissfully ignore Bill Clinton's and Jimmy Carter's evangelical faith -- evangelicalism is a pretty big tent, after all. What it comes down to, it seems, is that if you agree with someone's theology, it isn't a theocracy. When you disagree, it's a theocracy that threatens the very fabric of our Constitution.

The only Christians I know who are seeking a theocracy are the Christian Reconstructionists -- and they're a thankfully small group. I've mentioned them before. The rest of us know that only Christ can effect real, permanent change. While we will work for social change, we recognize that there's really only one way for that to happen.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 15, 2006

No More Chef!

So Isaac Hayes has quit South Park because (ready for this one?) the show is insensitive toward religion.

I agree with Daniel Pulliam over at GetReligion -- has he really only just now noticed this??

How about this episode? Or what about this one? I guess they played nicely with religion, huh? (H/T to Andrew Sullivan for those references, btw.)

Even the folks at South Park noted the hypocrisy:

“In ten years and over 150 episodes of ‘South Park,’ Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim[s], Mormons or Jews,” Stone said in a statement issued by the Comedy Central network. “He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show.”
(from the Reuters story)
I don't like it when faith is used for comedic value, no matter whose faith it is. Usually when that happens, the religion in question is completely misrepresented, and trying to set the record straight simply shows that you don't get humor at all. I actually had this happen on an email list I subscribe to -- someone told a Baptist joke that I found a bit offensive, and I pointed out the inaccuracies. I was told I didn't have a sense of humor. Anyone who knows me can tell you THAT is untrue -- I just hate to see peoples' faith misrepresented just for cheap laughs.

So I can understand why Hayes left South Park. I just wish he'd have been a bit more consistent with his stand on mocking religion, or at least said he was mad because it was his religion this time.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 01, 2006

Jerry Falwell and the Jerusalem Post

I found this piece in the Jerusalem Post thanks to Tim Ellesworth. As an LU graduate, I was concerned, so I headed over to jerryfalwell.com looking for an explanation. I didn't find one right away, but I did find an email link to send a comment to Dr. Falwell, which I did.

I got an answer:

A GRACIOUS CORRECTION OF THE JERUSALEM POST

By Jerry Falwell
March 1, 2006

Earlier today, reports began circulating across the globe that I have recently stated that Jews can go to heaven without being converted to Jesus Christ. This is categorically untrue.

These false reports originated from a March 1 Jerusalem Post front page column which said: "An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi, both from Texas, have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity. Televangelist John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, whose Cornerstone Church and Rodfei Sholom congregations are based in San Antonio, told The Jerusalem Post that Falwell had adopted Hagee's innovative belief in what Christians refer to as 'dual covenant' theology. This creed, which runs counter to mainstream evangelism, maintains that the Jewish people have a special relationship to God through the revelation at Sinai and therefore do not need 'to go through Christ or the Cross' to get to heaven."

While I am a strong supporter of the State of Israel and dearly love the Jewish people and believe them to be the chosen people of God, I continue to stand on the foundational biblical principle that all people - Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Jews, Muslims, etc. - must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in order to enter heaven.

Dr. Hagee called me today and said he never made these statements to the Jerusalem Post or to anyone else. He assured me that he would immediately contact the Jerusalem Post and request a correction. Before today, I had never heard of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg or had any communications with him. I therefore am at a total loss as to why he would make such statements about me to the Post, if in fact he did.

ONE WAY TO HEAVEN

In this age of political correctness and diversity, the traditional evangelical belief that salvation is available only through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is often portrayed as closed-minded and bigoted. But if one is to believe in Jesus Christ, he must believe in His words: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me" (John 14:6). I simply cannot alter my belief that Jesus is The Way to heaven, as He taught.

Again, I do not follow this teaching of "dual covenant" theology and I believe it runs counter to the Gospel.

I have been on record all 54 years of my ministry as being opposed to "dual covenant" theology. In fact, Dr. John Hagee has indicated to me, as recently as today, that he likewise does not accept "dual covenant" theology.

I want to reaffirm that I am a Zionist in terms of Israel's entitlement to its homeland. I continue to pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem, as the Bible instructs Christians to do. And I have dedicated my life and ministry to working for the peace of Israel. I dearly cherish the highly esteemed Jabotinsky Award which was given me in 1981 by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. I have led thousands of pilgrims through the Land Of Israel during my 31 tours over 36 years. I seriously believe that few Americans have invested more time and resources in the defense of Israel in this generation.

However, I simply cannot alter my deeply-held belief in the exclusivity of salvation through the Gospel of Christ for the sake of political or theological expediency.

Like the Apostle Paul, I pray daily for the salvation of everyone, including the Jewish people.

So Jerry Falwell hasn't forsaken the exclusivity of the Gospel.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:27 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 25, 2006

Bye, Barney

Don Knotts died today at 81.


In a jailhouse, down in Dixie
Fightin' crime and riskin' lives
Dwelled a Sheriff and his buddy
Pistol Packin' Barney Fife

Oh my darlin', oh my darlin',
Oh my darlin' Barney Fife
He's a deadly crime-stopper
What a copper, Barney Fife

Then one day there come-a-ridin'
Two bad men to rob a bank
But Fife was tricky, a dead-eye dickie
And now they're locked up in the tank

Oh my Barney, oh my Barney
had a jail and couldn't lock it
had one bullet for his pistol
had to keep it in his pocket.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Fred Phelps Is an Idiot

I think that about covers it. He and his followers are total, complete idiots.

They have awarped sense of God, and a warped interpretation of Scripture. They have missed the purpose of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. They've missed the purpose of the Church on earth.

Their God is not Jehovah. Their "Christ" is not the Christ of the Bible. And it pains me that they call themselves a "Baptist" church. They bear no resemblance to any historical Baptist church that has ever existed, whether Anabaptist or English Baptist, General or Particular, Sandy Creek or Charlotte.

And in the end, they will have to face the Almighty God they claim to serve, and give an accounting for what they have done. For their hatred. For their bigotry. And they will weep.

Unfortunately, we have to deal with them here. Free speach means just that -- they can run their mouths all they want. But we don't have to listen. That's why this is the last post you'll hear about them, unless they attack me personally.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Hate Crimes? Depends ...

I've not commented much on the church bombings in Alabama, mainly because information has been sketchy. 10 Baptist churches burned. Some of the churches were predominantly white, so no racism angle. And no reporting of a hate crime.

Read this report in the Boston Globe (I get their RSS feed for Religion stories -- they usually do a decent job there). I encourage you all to read it, but there's one part I just have to quote here:

Suppose that in 2005 unknown hoodlums had firebombed 10 gay bookstores and bars in San Francisco, reducing several of them to smoking rubble. It takes no effort to imagine the alarm that would have spread through the Bay Area’s gay community or the manhunt that would have been launched to find the attackers. The blasts would have been described everywhere as ”hate crimes,” editorial pages would have thundered with condemnation, and public officials would have vowed to crack down on crimes against gays with unprecedented severity.

Suppose that vandals last month had attacked 10 Detroit-area mosques and halal restaurants, leaving behind shattered windows, wrecked furniture, and walls defaced with graffiti. The violence would be national front-page news. On blogs and talk radio, the horrifying outbreak of anti-Muslim bigotry would be Topic No. 1. Bills would be introduced in Congress to increase the penalties for violent ”hate crimes” — no one would hesitate to call them by that term — and millions of Americans would rally in solidarity with Detroit’s Islamic community.

Now, the FBI officially has opened a civil rights case for the fires in Bibb county -- which are white churches. Special Agent Nancv Nelson told CNN that the civil rights case is based on religious discrimination. So the FBI seems to think of it as a hate crime, even thought I haven't seen them use those exact words. But not even FBI agenst are sure about that:


''We're looking to make sure this is not a hate crime and that we do everything that we need to do," FBI Special Agent Charles Regantold reporters in Birmingham.

I'm not sure what that means. Are they trying to prove it IS a hate crime, or are they treating it as if it ISN'T, or what?
''I don't see any evidence that these fires are hate crimes," Mark Potok, a director of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Los Angeles Times. ''Anti-Christian crimes are exceedingly rare in the South."

This one irritates me. Jacoby shows in his article that the SPLC doesn't have many obvious cases of anti-Christian hate crimes in their records. Just because they are rare doesn't mean they don't happen -- the south isn't the stereotypic WASP paradise that it's painted to be.

The fact remains -- somebody is burning Baptist churches, and only Baptist churches. They are, in fact, driving past other denominations in their quest for Baptist churches. If there are going to be special punishments for hate crimes, and special efforts made to catch perpetrators of hate crimes, then I think this certainly qualifies.

Unfortunately, the very idea of "hate crimes" is nebulous. Nobody can tell what a hate crime is, and what it isn't, so it ends up that the public judges what a hate crime is. And it seems that not many people care that Baptist churches are being burned down in Alabama.

I find the idea of a "hate crime" to be needlessly redundant. People aren't burning down churches because they love Baptists so much they just can't stand it, are they? People don't shoot cops to show their appreciation for the job the police do, do they?

Read Jeff Jacoby's article. The very concept of hate crimes are, in my own opinion, ridiculous. But if we're going to have hate crime legislation on the books, the least we can do is actually prosecute them when they occurr.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

Breaking News!

Azerbaijan’s weekly Yeni Habar has published cartoons of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary in response to the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in Danish and other European countries’ press.

The first response was, of course, in Italy, where thousands of Christians failed to march on the Azerbaijani Embassy. The throng totally failed to burn anyone in effigy.

Next, we move on to England, where congregants at churches all over the country completely and totally failed to notice the cartoons at all. Hundreds of mosques were left completely intact.

And in the Bible Belt in the United States, thousands of crazed evangelicals showed a surprising amount of unity as they utterly failed to march on state capitals. Hundreds of signs reading "Death to the Blasphemers" and other slogans were totally not held.

And yes, if anyone is wondering, this is satire. I am making fun. Thanks to Scott at The Crusty Curmudgeon for the heads up on this breaking story.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 11, 2006

Kanye West: More Idiocy

So we've seen the Rolling Stone cover. Now Kanye West is shooting his mouth off again.

Cocky rap star KANYE WEST is calling for a revised edition of THE BIBLE, because he thinks he should be a character in it.

The JESUS WALKS hitmaker, who picked up three Grammy Awards last night, feels sure he'd be "a griot" (West African storyteller) in a modern Bible.

He says, "I bring up historical subjects in a way that makes kids want to learn about them. I'm an inspirational speaker.

"I changed the sound of music more than one time... For all those reasons, I'd be a part of the Bible. I'm definitely in the history books already."

(from here)

Not even going to go there, Kanye. Anyone who thinks it's OK to appropriate the image of Christ to sell records (and before you comment, read what I've said about Jesus Junk elsewhere on this blog) doesn't get it. Maybe he should actually read the Bible (especially Matthew 21:12-13), rather than plotting how to get added to it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 06, 2006

Viva la Differance!!

I've been musing about the turmoil over the now-infamous cartoons in Europe, trying to decide how best to put my own sentiments, and now I've found that someone else has done it for me. Tip o' the hat to Tim Challies. Tim offers a quote from Paul Marten:

Our God is sovereign and will meet out a perfect justice in the great and final judgement. He doesn't need me to burn your house down just because you blaspheme Him. In fact, He calls on me to warn you of your sin and (wonder of all wonders) to urge you to embrace the One you have mocked and disgraced as your own Saviour from sin and its punishment.

And that is the bottom line. Christians get upset when our faith is mocked and ridiculed (and ponder the irony of the tolerant ones who mock it). Christians will protest to the powers that be. We will boycot. But save in the isolated examples of a few whack-jobs that decided to demonstrate their pro-life sentiments by killing someone, we don't kill people over it. Haven't since the Inquisition (and before you start on THAT -- my forefathers were killed in those, too. My spiritual heritage includes a lot of Lollard blood.). We follow closely the words of the apostle Paul in Romans
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Romans 12:14-21 ESV)

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February 02, 2006

I Call It ... The Last Temptation of Christ Syndrome

So we're all flying high because 'The Book of Daniel' was cancelled. Never mind it was cancelled because it was a bad show, and not because Christians complained about it -- we'll take it as a victory, mainly because nobody cares enough to disagree with us.

Now, 'Will and Grace' is trying to get the evangelical "Stamp of Evilness" affixed to their latest effort:

Britney Spears will guest star on an episode of "Will & Grace," NBC announced Tuesday.

The pop star will appear as a Christian conservative sidekick to Sean Hayes' character, Jack, who hosts his own talk show, on the April 13 episode, the network said.

Jack's fictional network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, leading to Spears contributing a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's."

I'm used to the GOP pandering to Christians. I'm not used to Hollywood doing it.

Don't get me wrong -- I don't think the folks at 'Will and Grace' like us at all. (Don't really care what they think about me, but that's another post.) And they're hoping that we'll hate them now more than ever, and will demand boycotts and everything, so that maybe someone will say "Hey -- those evangelicals don't like that show very much. Must be pretty good! Think I'll tune in."

We need to get a clue. There is no such thing as bad publicity to a TV show. All they care about is that we spell the name right, and link to the web site. The less attention we pay to the idiots in Hollywood who want a reaction from us, the better off everyone will be.

After all, it was our complaining that led them to even think about airing 'The Book of Daniel' to begin with.

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January 24, 2006

Quick Questions

Just a question or two for the more politically saavy:

Which is a bigger drain on American jobs -- illegal immigrants who are taking jobs that we really don't want to do anyway, or corporations who are taking jobs overseas by the hundreds legally?

What is middle class? Lou Dobbs says that the Ford layoffs are a blow to the middle class families in America. Union auto workers make $45 to $50 per hour -- that's between $90,000 and $100,000 per year. If that's middle class, then I'm living in abject poverty.

When did they end the earned income tax credit? Oh -- they didn't? Then why do I hear so much about tax breaks for the poor? They pay no taxes.

Just ranting here. I'll do some real blogging later on. I don't do politics very much (unless you count the SBC stuff I've been doing lately), so every so often I have to vent.

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January 19, 2006

No More Valedictorian?

Just heard on CNN that Pinellas County in Florida is no longer awarding the valedictorian medal. A quick Blingo search revealled that many other school districts are doing the same. "It's too competative," they say. "We want to emphasize that everyone is equal."

Time to pull out my favorite short story. "Harrison Bergeron" should be required reading for teachers AND students. It shows us that, no matter how bad competition might be, and no matter how much better we all feel if everyone is equal, it really doesn't work in real life. We need to accept the fact that there are people who excel, and people who don't. The people who do are going to be rewarded for their abilities in life, and the people who don't won't be rewarded.

Mainstreaming in education has given us a society that accepts mediocrity. There are no more "honors" or "advanced" classes, so there is no motivation to achieve. Smart kids get good grades with little effort. Kids who need the help don't get it, because there are too many other kids in the classes who don't need help. Teachers can't spend class time focusing on one or two kids who don't get it. They can't spend class time trying to challenge the gifted kids. The majority of their time has to be spent with the majority of the kids.

When I was in school, there was no mainstreaming. The advanced kids were in advanced classes. We did more work, and wrote more papers. We were challenged. The kids who needed extra help got that help, because they were in separate classes. And we actually learned things -- all of us did.

We are so worried about offending someone, telling them that they aren't "gifted" or that they need extra help, that we are sabotaging their education. We worry more about self-esteem than self-sufficiency. And then we wonder why our kids don't learn.

This needs to change. We need to reward performance, and do something to help kids who aren't performing. We need to give kids something to shoot for, rather than making the target so big that anyone can hit it.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

Teddy, Teddy, Teddy

Ted Kennedy, that paragon of Democrat virtue, has been Onioned.

The distinguished senator from Massachusetts read from an alumni publication the following statement (and, as always, emphasis has been added)

So a 1983 Prospect essay titled "In Defense of Elitism," stated, quote, "People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. Everywhere one turns, blacks and Hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black and Hispanic. The physically handicapped are trying to gain equal representation in professional sports. And homosexuals are demanding the government vouchsafe them the right to bear children."
The article appears in PDF format at Senator Kennedy's own web site. Go there, and read the whole thing, and see if YOU can tell what the senator apparently couldn't.

It's satire.

Of course, that last sentence couldn't POSSIBLY have given that away. I know that Senator Kennedy thinks that the government has a lot of power, but even HE should know that the government doesn't have the power to vouchsafe ANYONE the right to bear children. That, after all, comes from a higher authority.

Tip o' the hat (if I was wearing one) to James over at PCCBoard.

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January 05, 2006

Jesus On Trial

{So, has anyone else noticed that in spite of my resolution to post proactively, everything I've done so far has been reactive?}

Luigi Cascioli, a retired agronomist and atheist, is taking the Roman Catholic Church to court for "abusing popular credibility" by teaching that Jesus existed. A Catholic priest, Father Enrico Righi, is the immediate defendant, but the precedent that the case could set is clear -- if Father Righi is found guilty, the rest of the Catholic Church will also be guilty of breaking that same law.

From the Times of London:

[Cascioli] argued that all claims for the existence of Jesus from sources other than the Bible stem from authors who lived 'after the time of the hypothetical Jesus' and were therefore not reliable witnesses.

Signor Cascioli maintains that early Christian writers confused Jesus with John of Gamala, an anti-Roman Jewish insurgent in 1st-century Palestine. Church authorities were therefore guilty of 'substitution of persons'.

Cascioli's arguments rely on a late dating of the Gospels that most scholars have rejected in recent years. But even without that point, the merits of the lawsuit are questionable.

Jesus was, until late in the first century, an obscure figure who was put to death at a young age in a backwater part of the Roman Empire. He certainly would not have attracted much Roman attention. Most people in Rome would not have heard of Christ until after 70 AD, when Jews driven from Jerusalem arrived in Rome. And even they wouldn't have necessarily talked about Jesus. They wanted a political savior, not a religious nut who got himself crucified. The fact that we know anything about Christ at all is unusual. The fact that no Roman historians of the period wrote much about him shouldn't surprise us at all.

Cascioli writes off Tacitus, who mentions followers of Christ in his Annals. (I won't talk about Josephus, because his most famous reference is of questionable authenticity, and his reliability as an historian is something that I personally question.) He ignores the fact that there were people, living within 100 years of Christ's death, who were willing to die for their belief in him.

Of course, I'm not sure that Cascioli really exists. All I've seen are pictures (easily faked) and interviews with a man claiming to be Luigi Cascioli. And I'm sure that in a hundred years or so, nobody will believe that I really existed -- based on the same requirements that Cascioli places on Jesus of Nazareth. And we can't prove that anyone existed at the time of Christ based on his requirements. So unless we believe that Judea in the first century was a pretty desolate place, we have to allow for the existence of people who were not written about by Roman historians. That would include Jesus of Nazareth -- no matter what you may think of the religion that has grown up around Him.

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Shut Up Pat!!

Pat Robertson has done it again. According to Pat, Ariel Sharon's stroke is punishment from God for giving away Israeli land.

Face it, though -- we all knew this was coming. After all, we've had people talking about God electrocuting a pastor in Texas because he was part of the "emerging church" movement. And who better to say it than Pat Robertson? Seriously -- how many people are actually taking this guy seriously anymore?

Yes, his cable TV show has a ton of viewers. I'd wager that many of those viewers are people waiting for the next idiotic thing to come out of Robertson's mouth. I know I used to watch Bob Tilton all the time for the pure entertainment value of a grown man claiming he got "ink poisoning" from laying on the prayer requests that people had sent to him as he prayed over them. And I used to do a great Ernest Angley impersonation.

My point is that viewers does NOT equal influence. But Pat provides the perfect target for people who want to believe that all evangelicals are complete blithering idiots like Robertson. One of these days, maybe folks will figure out that Christians don't like Robertson any more than anyone else does.

{UPDATE: Found a quote, thanks to Aaman Lamba at Blogcritics. Added it to the story above.}

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January 04, 2006

Twelve Hours! Let the Finger Pointing Begin

It took twelve hours, but someone has finally been able to tie to corrupt Bush Nazi administration (did I leave an epithet out?) to the mine tragedy in West Virginia.

The president of the United Mine Workers said on CNN that the administration was keeping the MSHA from doing its job. He also said that the tragedy wouldn't have happened in a union mine, because union mines are safer.

I've been waiting for this. I told my wife this morning that it would end up being Bush's fault that the mine collapsed.

We have to find someone to blame. Accident's don't just happen -- they happen becasue the government -- excuse me, I mean the Government -- doesn't take care of us. The Government is our shepherd, we should never want.

Bad things happen, folks. It's a part of the fallen world we live in. Blaming people after the fact won't bring back the dead. Let's find out what went wrong, and try to make sure it doesn't happen again. And please don't start turning this into a political issue. Don't insult the memory of those who died by using their deaths as an opportunity to make political points.

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December 19, 2005

Why Now?

Why celebrate Christmas now? What made the early church start celebrating in December? We've been taught that it was to compete with pagan holidays -- in fact, one of my favorite cartoons recently mentioned it. But is it right?

Maybe not. Head over to Between Two Worlds and check this out. And think about what you've always been taught about Christmas, and how it may all be wrong.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

Political Clout?

Still think that the "Religious Right" is running things in the US? Still think that evangelical Christians have all kinds of political muscle? Well try this on for size:

We can't even influence the White House Christmas card. Excuse me -- holiday card.

While everyone is up in arms about the "War on Christmas"(tm), the White House (where George W. "What a Fine Born-Again President" Bush lives) sends out a Christmas card that wishes everyone a happy holiday season.

I personally have no problem with this. It is, after all, a season of many holidays. There are a LOT of holidays crammed into the space on the calendar between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, so calling it the holiday season is completely correct and accurate in my own humble opinion.

But haven't we been complaining about this? (And by 'we' I mean evangelical Christians in general, specifically those whom the rest of the world consider our "spokesmen") Yet "our President" isn't on message. We can't even get him to change. How much political power do we really have? Or are we all finally ready to admit that the GOP treats us like the crazy rich aunt that nobody admits they're related to until she's got presents to hand out.

We have a lot more to be concerned about this year. There are better places to spend our resources. I don't like the idea that companies are putting policies in place that don't allow employees to say "Merry Christmas" to people, but I can't change people's stupid misunderstandings of the word tolerance. What I can do is share the truth of Christmas with as many people as I can, in the knowledge that this truth can transform lives.

And I can wish everyone I see a Merry Christmas.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 06, 2005

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Most of what we actually know about St. Nicholas of Myra is legendary. He was wealthy, having inherited a fortune as a young man when his parents died. He gave gifts from his wealth to the needy, but preferred to do it secretly -- giving rise to part of the Santa Claus legend. Some even say that he threw gold coins down the chimney, where it would lodge in the stockings that were hung up to dry overnight.

Nicholas later became the bishop of Myra -- rather against his will, according to the accounts we have. He was a champion of orthodoxy, and was especially incenseced at the Arian heresy that was running rampant. Legend has it that he actually punched Arius in the face during the council of Nicea, and would have been removed from his bishopric had a vision of CHrist not told the other assembled bishops that Nicholas had done well.

We do not know when Nicholas was born, so his Feast Day is the day of his death, somewhere between 341 and 352. Nicholas is venerated by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, but it is the Russian Orthodox Church that holds him in the highest regard. He is the patron saint of seafarers, scholars, bankers, pawnbrokers, jurists, brewers, coopers, travelers, perfumers, unmarried girls, brides, robbers and children.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A Voice of Reason in this Season

I'm on a roll with Christmas posts today. This one also touches a bit on the whole politically-correct view of tolerance.

Story 1: A chaplain at Georgetown University in Washington DC threatened to resign if the school went through with plans to remove crucifixes from it's classrooms -- a move toward a policy of tolerance at the once Catholic school. No surprise there.

The chaplain is Muslim.

Story 2: From the Cincinnatti Enquirer interview with Karen Dabdoub, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations:

Who are we fooling? The Jews don’t put up a tree for Hanukah; the Muslims don’t put up a tree for Ramadan. It doesn’t take away from my celebration of my holiday for other people to celebrate their holiday. I don’t want anybody’s holidays to be watered-down. I think they’re all wonderful.

Now that's tolerance. I don't have any serious awards that I give out, or Ms Dabdoub would get one. BIG thanks to GetReligion for this one.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Priorities? What Priorities?

OK, when I first heard it, I thought it was a joke. I figured someone had pulled a Larknews and written a fake story, and then some folks with an axe to grind picked it up and ran with it. It's happened before.

But no -- it's true. The "mega-churches" have cancelled their Christmas day services.

I was going to parody this decision, but I can't. And I'm not going to pull any punches on this.

I've never heard anything so stupid in my entire life. What do they think the point of Christmas is, anyway? And don't give me the excuse that they're running Christmas Eve services -- churches all over the world are doing that, and having a service on Christmas day.

Christmas day is one of two days out of the year when many people actually think about going to church. These "seeker sensitive" churches say that they are trying to get people in the churches to hear the Gospel, yet they're closed on one of the most popular church attendance days of the year!!! Anybody else sense some inconsistency here?

We spend all our efforts to get people to remember to "keep Christ in Christmas" and then we close the doors on Christmas. Guess we aren't serious about all that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" stuff after all.

It's sad that the wise men travelled all the way from the Orient, but we can't get out from under our Christmas trees long enough to drive across town.

(Others talking about this one: Tim Challies, GetReligion, JollybloggerA View From the Pastor's Study)

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December 04, 2005

A Nice, Commercial Christmas

I'm torn on this issue, I admit. On the one hand, the pig-ignorance of people who insist on calling them "holiday trees" when Christmas is the only holiday currently being celebrated that features a tree as a symbol bothers me beyond belief. I think that it's stupid to ignore the fact that the nativity is an important symbol of the season. And I plan on sending the ACLU a nice "Wise men still seek Him" Christmas card this year.

But, on the other hand, I've been an advocate of less commercialization at Christmas for a while now, and it seems that when we boycot and protest and complain that stores aren't saying "Merry Christmas" we are actually encouraging the increased commercialization of this holiday. We're telling them that our idea of Christmas includes sales and shopping, charge cards at the ready.

I really don't care what the rest of the world calls this time of year. Last year about this time, I asked the non-Christian world to get their hands off our holiday, and it was pointed out to me that Christians are at the front of the charge, making the "holiday season" more a celebration of conspicuous consumption and debt than a celebration of the birth of our Saviour. What is our main purpose this time of year?

Don't get me wrong -- I'm still planning on exchanging gifts with my family this year. My daughter loves the idea that Santa is going to come -- though she's worried about how he's getting into the house, since we have no chimney. It's a fun time of year.

But we act as if it's our main focus. We get mad if the stores where we're spending our money don't recognize our holiday. We make sure that everyone knows it's Christmas, not "the holiday season."

And our Jewish friends sit back, with their ages-old tradition of Hannukah, safe from the commercial exploitation that we've brought on ourselves, and smile. Or maybe they laugh.

{edit -- a VERY well-written commentary on this can be found here}

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November 25, 2005

A New Christmas Poem

Not long ago, I reviewed Tim Bete's book In the Beginning, There Were No Diapers. Tim is a great person, and a very funny guy, and I get the occasional email from him letting me know about his book or something else he's written. He sent me permission to use this poem at the beginning of November, and I've saved it until now -- the beginning of the Christmas season.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED)
by Tim Bete

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse;
With only six hours left, until morning light,
Assembling kids' presents would take me all night.

19,000 pieces -- bolts, washers and screws,
To be put together, and me with no clue;
All I had for tools were some needle-nose pliers,
A Swiss Army Knife and a Phillips screwdriver.

When out on the lawn there arose such a racket,
I threw down my pliers and put on my jacket;
I swung open the door, to check out the noise,
And saw a red-suited man, bringing more toys.

I shouted, "Hey, you on my lawn, what's the idea!"
As my shrubs were being eaten by eight small reindeer;
The big man looked up at me and said with a smile,
"There's more to assemble -- it will take you a while."

"My kids don't need more toys," I countered right quick,
But he wouldn't hear "no," that stubborn Saint Nick;
"These new toys have detailed instructions," he said,
And he winked as he lifted a bag from his sled.

Then he pulled a bunch of woodchips out of his bag,
"It's a dollhouse," he said, as he looked at the tag;
"It has 6,000 small pieces, plus one or two,
You can make it if you have a gallon of glue."

"And, there are no axle holes on this toy car,
With only two wheels it won't go very far;
Perhaps you can whip up some rubber for tires,
I'm sure you can do it before you retire."

"But Nick," I pleaded, "don't you have simple toys?
Can't they build simply things -- those elves you employ?"
"How 'bout a ball, a rag doll or gun that shoots darts,
Or some other present made of only one part?"

Santa said, "Those kinds of toys are passé these days,
It's complicated gadgets that are all the craze;
So, please take these here toys and I'll be on my way,
I have houses to get to and visits to pay."

"I don't want any more toys!" I yelled quite in shock,
Then I slammed the door shut and I secured the lock;
And I took off my coat and went back to my bench,
And tried to read the directions -- printed in French.

Then just as I found I was missing a screw,
That old coot came sneaking right down through my flue;
"You forgot all these toys," said the man dressed in red,
Then he put his sack right down and here's what he said.

"You're not alone staying up all through the night,
Dads all over the world are in the same plight;
They don't have the right tools, or any instructions,
They're eyes are bleary and they're minds don't quite function."

Then he left me there speechless, alone with my work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk;
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;
But I heard him exclaim, as he jumped in his sleigh,
"You'll need 62 batteries -- all triple A."

Excerpted from In the Beginning...There Were No Diapers by Tim Bete, ©2005. Used with permission of the publisher, Sorin Books, an imprint of Ave Maria Press. Available at bookstores, online retailers, 800-282-1865 and www.sorinbooks.com. More of Tim's work can be read at www.timbete.com.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Black Friday: I Survived

OK, I said I wasn't going out. I did.

I wasn't happy about going out, but I went because we took my daughter to see Santa Claus today. We got a 5x7, a CD, AND the copyright to the picture for a decent price. And I learned something interesting.

Black Friday at about 3PM is a perfect time to visit Santa. No line, no crowd. Santa talked to my daughter for quite a while (no line!) and posed for several pictures.

I didn't buy anything. My wife attempted to get one of the cheap laptops that WalMart was selling, but she was too late. She heard from employees that security had to be called because of people cutting in line. Some people actually called 911 to report line-cutters.

Tim Challies has an excellent post touching on this American phenomenon called Black Friday. You need to read the whole thing, but pay special attention to this part:

While I am somewhat envious of American Thanksgiving I am in no way envious of Black Friday. In fact, one could make the argument that the entire long weekend is a celebration not of thanksgiving, but of excess and gluttony. On Thursday people eat far too much and follow that on Friday by spending far too much. Excess: it's the American way! Wouldn't it make for a nicer weekend if, instead of shopping, people went out and shared what they had rather than spend it?

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

In Memory: Dr. Adrian Rodgers

September 12, 1931 - November 15, 2005

It is with great sorrow that Bellevue Baptist Church announces the passing of her beloved Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Adrian Rogers. For 32 years, Dr. Rogers taught the Bellevue congregation the Word of God, displayed the character of Jesus, and showed us how to trust, love, and follow the Holy Spirit. With his guidance, Bellevue experienced tremendous growth in numbers and maturity. One can encapsulate Dr. Rogers' service to us in one brief statement: he taught us how to love Jesus. For that we are eternally grateful. His accomplishments are many; his reward in heaven eternal. We will continue to remember Joyce and the family in our prayers and Dr. Rogers in our hearts.

We thank the Lord for sending us a dedicated servant. He fought the good fight and finished the course. We echo the words of our Heavenly Father, "well done, good and faithful servant."

Dr. Rogers' body will lie in state Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 1:00-6:00 p.m. in Bellevue's sanctuary. Visitation with the family is 4:00-6:00 p.m. Thursday in the sanctuary. The funeral service will begin at 6:00 p.m.


The family kindly requests that any memorials be sent to the "Adrian Rogers Pastor Training Institute" to go toward the continuance of his ministry and vision to train pastors for the furtherance of the Gospel here and around the world.


Gifts may be sent to:

Adrian Roger Pastor Training Institute
c/o Love Worth Finding
2941 Kate Bond Road
Memphis, TN 38133

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:02 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

November 11, 2005

We Remember

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Holy Misquote, Batman!

Everyone knows I'm not a defender of Pat "Foot in Mouth Tastes Great" Robertson. But this time, I have to say something about the coverage of what he said -- and didn't say.

Associated Press

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.

But is that what he actually said? In the same article
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Mr. Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club .
So it sounds like Robertson was telling the people that if you reject God, don't come running back to Him when things get bad -- not that God was going to lay the smackdown on them. I disagree with Pat -- the examples in the Bible show me that God will answer people when they call on Him regardless of what they thought of Him before. But I really wish that the poor man could get quoted correctly. He says enough stupid things on his own without the Associated Press misquoting him.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

Someone Tell Me WHY We Aren't Mad About This!!

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the Internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."
The sad thing is where I found out about this. GetReligion didn't have it. It wasn't in The Pearcey Report, either. Haven't heard about it from Christian or conservative bloggers. I heard about it at Blogcritics. Then I read about it on Salon. I just checked my RSS feeds, and there's nothing bloggy about this topic at all.

And, to be fair, it's not a big news story. There are other things that we have to talk about. But this actually helps me support one of my favorite soapbox issues.

The GOP doesn't give a wet slap about Christians. We should be aware of that every four years, at election time, when all of a sudden they remember that we're here, and we vote. Wintertime is our time in the political spotlight, what with all the "attacks" on Christmas. {You want to stop the commercialization? You want kids to learn what Christmas is all about? Then stop going into debt every year buying things for people. You know who ruined Christmas? Christians. We messed it up by forgetting what it was all about. We stole the day from the pagans, and ever since we've let them back in a little at a time. But that's a rant for another day -- after Thanksgiving.}

I think that I'm going to buy everyone on my Christmas list a book. Why Government Can't Save You An Alternative To Political Activism by John MacArthur. I'm tempted to send everyone I know a copy -- but then I'd be going into debt buying people stuff, and that would be a bit hypocritical. But it's a message that I think Christians have forgotten.

Politics cannot save us. Moral legislation cannot save us. It's no wonder that people accuse us of trying to make Jesus come back soon -- we're acting that way! We forget that He's coming as a thief in the night (unless you're a Preterist -- then He came as a thief in the night). We try to do things that God alone can do.

We need to get back to the Prime Directive of Christianity -- go into all the world and preach the Gospel. When we do that faithfully, lives will be changed, and so will attitudes. And maybe then all our political action will be unnecessary.

Why are we not mad? Because we're sheep. We'll ignore what they say about us, what they really think about us, because we get attention. We wield our power the way a kid on a playground wields his slingshot. We're not mad because, just like the nerdy kid at the prom, we don't care that our date is being bribed to dance with us. We're just happy we're at the dance.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers: My Two Cents

I've left this story alone, for a lot of reasons -- mainly because I don't like blogging politics, partially because I've not been impressed with the nominee. But now that the nomination is gone, I want to talk a little bit about why I'm glad.

I know nothing about Harriet Miers. She may be hugely qualified. SHe may have gone on to be the best justice we've had in a long time. But the only thing we really know about her is that she used to be Roman Catholic, and converted to evangelical, Protestant Christianity.

In the Roberts nomination, religion was off the table. Anyone who mentioned his faith was chastened, because it should only matter how good a justice he would be. And I agree with that -- there should be no litmus test of faith. We all wanted Roberts to be judged on his ability.

But not Miers. It's almost like Bush was saying to us, "Don't worry about what she thinks -- she's one of us! {wink, wink, nudge, nudge}" Christians were expected to support her because she's a Christian.

I don't like that attitude. I don't like being pandered to by the GOP, as if I'm some immature kid who has to have a candy bar thrown to him every so often so he doesn't act up. There are plenty of highly qualified, conservative judges out there who would be a slam-dunk nominee.

I almost thing that the President set Miers up for failure. It's as if he decided to give everyone the nominee that everyone feared the most, and then at the last minute pull her back and give us something else. And that's not fair to Harriet Miers, it's not fair to conservative Christians, and it's not fair to the counrty.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The New Do It Yourself Industry

Do it yourself .... sodas.

Soda Club is introducing their line of countertop brewing appliances to the United States. The press release, web site, and everything I've read about them says that they're pretty popular in Europe, and are expecting great things from their entry into the US market.

I'm intrigued -- enough that I've gone totally off-topic here to mention it. The 1-liter bottles that you use with the machine are reusable, so you don't have the waste that you have with store-bought drinks. The mixes you use have 2/3 of the sugar, calories, and carbs that store-bought drinks do. And it's supposed to work out cheaper than store-bought (long-term, I'd suspect, with the starter kits running $129 and up).

And I'm getting a sample, thanks to Blogcritics. I'm looking forward to this -- it will definitely be cheaper if I don't have the expense of the machine to factor in. And you all will get a review, because I'm going to cross-post it here and at BC.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 26, 2005

A Victory for ... Whom, Exactly?

So McDonalds is going to start putting nutritional information right on the packaging of its food, huh? And this is some kind of a victory for the fast-food-eating public, huh?

It is a victory for lazy people. It's a victory for people who can't be bothered to turn over the tray liner and read the nutritional information there. It is a victory for people who can't be bothered to head over to McDonalds' web site and check the nutritional information out there. My favorite is the Bag a McMeal -- you can pick out what you're going to eat, and find out exactly how terrible it is for you.

See, I can't imagine people thinking that McDonald's means nutrition. Even before "Super Size Me," I pretty much took it for granted that my Big Mac and large fries were contributing directly to the hardening of my arteries and the expansion of my gut. Look at the grease that stays on fast food (even after it's been sitting for a while, most burgers will glisten) -- and people are amazed that the stuff is bad for them???

But McDonald's is getting some bad press, so they're doing damage control. And people will pay about as much attention to this "new information" as they ever have (you do know that it's been available for the asking in every McDonald's for a long time, don't you?). This is only a victory for the people who can't be bothered to take responsibility for their actions; the people who want to blame everyone else for their obesity.

I am overweight. I am not overweight because McDonald's duped me into eating their food -- I don't do McDonald's much at all. It's directly the result of my own bad decisions -- I sit around all day, don't exercise the way I need to, and eat stuff that ends up packed around my gut. I have dunlaps disease -- that's where your belly dun-laps over your belt (say it out loud, in a Southern accent, and it's funny. Promise.). I can't sue anyone because I'm overweight.

The next step will probably be a lawyer at every entrance to every McDonald's. Before you eat there, you'll have to sign a waiver, acknowledging that you know that the food you're about to eat is not good for you, and you promise not to sue McDonald's when, after a steady diet of Big Macs, you weigh more than your Chevy S-10. That's where we're headed, folks.

Maybe I should have gone to law school.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

NaNoWriMo

OK, this will sound really funny to anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time at all, given my occasional lack of posting, but I'm going for it this year. I've registered for National Novel Writing Month.

My goal is to prove to myself that I can actually sustain writing the same story for one month. At this point, the 50,000 words is a bonus. I've had ideas running through my head in the past, but never did much of anything with them. Now is the time.

My wife has also decided to do it, though she hasn't registered yet. Of course, she's had a short story published already, and has two novel ideas, so she's got a head start on me.

I just wish it wasn't strictly a novel writing thing -- I've got an awesome nonfiction idea that I've been playing with for the past few weeks, and I'd like to get that going. But I guess I can do the proposal this month, and do some serious work on it in December and January.

Anybody else doing this? Maybe we should form a "support group" to keep each other going!

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 19, 2005

No Thanks!!!

This one via Al Mohler. Today's Washington Post:

The federal government will help rebuild parochial schools, nursing homes and similar religious institutions but will not pay for reconstruction of churches or other houses of worship destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, administration officials said yesterday.
I call on every religious institution who was hurt by Katrina to refuse this "help." We're being reassured that any building used for "essentially religious activities" will not receive this help. I'm with Dr. Mohler when he says
Well, here's one Southern Baptist who sincerely hopes that every one of our buildings is used for "inherently religious activities." This looks like a genuinely bad idea. Government money means government entanglement. Who will decide what constitutes "inherently religious activities?"
NAMB has already rejected any federal reimbursement for the aid that the convention provided after Katrina. I hope that, as attractive as this offer is, we refuse it as well.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jesus Loves .... Ninjas??

OK, another hat tip to Tim Challies for this one.

I think that one paragraph says it all about this:

Capitalizing on the ultra-trendy Jesus clothing movement, we proudly introduce Jesus Loves T-Shirts: an edgy collection of T-shirts featuring all the people we are afraid to love.
{emphasis mine}
Ultra-trendy Jesus clothing movement??? I don't recall Jesus ever telling us that we'd be "ultra-trendy." I seem to recall something about people despising us for His name's sake, or something like that ...


Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Christian Thoughts on Halloween

Tim Challies had a great post on this yesterday, and I was planning on writing this yesterday evening, but you know what they say about "best laid plans." Tim talks about John MacArthur's response to Halloween, and talks about his own efforts. He points out that, to many neighborhood kids, a dark house at Halloween isn't taking a stand against Satanism or paganism -- it's a house full of people who can't (or won't) have any fun.


Halloween is a big deal where I live now. It's a small town, everyone knows everyone else, and trick or treating turns into a big block party, where you go visit the neighbors and they give you candy. My daughter ends up with quite a haul by the end of the evening -- and we don't go far from home. Usually, our rounds end up taking us in a half-mile loop, and last year I had to run home and get the "auxiliary bucket" when she ran out of candy room in her bag.

Scary costumes? We haven't done them yet, and probably won't. My daughter is just not that type -- she's more of a princess costume type (Cinderella this year, along with a few thousand other four-year-old girls). I don't see a vampire or witch in her future.

"But what about the pagan influences?" I can hear it now. If you're worried about pagan influences, then I hope you:


  • Didn't throw rice or bird seed at your wedding.
  • Didn't do the whole "Something old, something new ..." thing either.
  • Never put a penny in your shoe, or did anything "for good luck."
  • Don't wear a wedding ring.
A LOT of things we do just out of a sense of tradition are taken from pagan sources. I won't even go into the various pagan roots of many of our Easter and Christmas traditions, because I don't want to get people started.

My point is simple. American culture is good at one thing -- assimilation. We are the Borg of modern culture in many ways. There is no such thing as a purely American culture, because from the very beginning, we have borrowed from others to create our own traditions. While I think that Christians should be careful about what they do and don't do, I think that stubbornly refusing to participate in a holiday that is simply a way for kids to get candy without their parents paying for it isn't a good decision to make. Teach your kids about evil in the world. Teach them about good in the world. And use trick or treating as an opportunity to share the Gospel with kids.

Just don't give them any of those nasty fake chocolate things that so often get packaged with tracts. If you're going to give tracts at the door this year, give the kids something good. If nothing else, the parents who end up eating it will thank you.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 28, 2005

NAMB to FEMA -- No Thanks!

Ok, I can almost understand why FEMA wants to reimburse churches for their relief efforts. The government is trying to look good. But if any churches actually take the money, I'll be disappointed.

I'm proud of Bob Reccord, the president of the SBC's North American Missions Board. "Volunteer labor is just that: volunteer. We would never ask the government to pay for it." Charity means not getting paid back. My prayer is that more church organizations remember that -- especially when it comes time for Faith Based Initiative money. Churches don't need government money, and shouldn't go looking for it. Faith Based Initiative is a terrible idea.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

More Katrina Relief News

The blogosphere has generated donations of over half a million dollars in the past two days. That speaks volumes, I think.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us There's also an effort going on with webcomic artists. Click on the button to read more about this.

Al Mohler has an interesting article today. National Geographic talked about the devestation that a Cat-5 hurricane could bring to New Orleans over a year ago. So someone WAS able to predict this. We all should have been more prepared. My hope is that we can learn something from this, so that we are better prepared in the future.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 01, 2005

Huge Response

As of 8PM Eastern time, the blogosphere has raised over $100,000 to help in disaster relief efforts in the southeast. Thank you.

If you've donated through a blog today, NZ Bear has set up a place for you to log your donation. You don't have to do this to donate -- I figure a LOT of people aren't logging their donations. But if you are so inclined, you can do it there.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Perspective

It's hard to write about the hurricane. I've been in one (a minor deal named Erin back in 1995). My parents went through a few more after I moved. My mom has survived Ivan and Dennis in Pensacola, FL. So I know what happens, and what the aftermath can be. If you haven't been there, it's hard to imagine.

When I go home, I still see the effects of Ivan. You can see straight through to the ocean in places where there used to be only trees. Restaurants I loved to go to don't exist any more. And Ivan was minor compared to Katrina. The damage was bad, but nowhere near the scale we've seen in this storm.

Dr. Russell Moore can relate. He's from Biloxi. And he's got an interesting perspective on hurricanes in general.

The Psalmist reminds us that God originally put all things under the feet of Adam (Psalm 8:6). But the writer of Hebrews reminds us that we do not yet see all things under the feet of humanity (Hebrews 2:8), although we do see a crucified and resurrected Jesus (Hebrews 2:9). The apostle Paul likewise reminds us that the creation itself groans under the reign of sin and death, waiting for its rightful rulers to assume their thrones in the resurrection (Romans 8:20-23). The storms and the waves are one more reminder that the "already" has not yet been replaced by the "not yet."
So, amid the noisy voices of those who are convinced that God is judging the US (and apparantly taking it out on thousands of innocents as well -- don't get me started on that idiocy), we can see whose fault it is.

Our own. We had it made, and we blew it. And we can't blame Adam and Eve, because if our history has shown us anything, it's that we wouldn't have done things any better than they did. Once, we were masters of all of creation, put in charge by God Himself. But we rebelled against God, and lost our authority.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21 ESV)

If Katrina can teach us anything, it's that we are not in control anymore.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Way to Go, Pat!

Pat Robertson's latest idiocy is having some repercussions.

"Visas will be denied to American missionaries."

That was the headline in a Venezuelan newspaper Saturday in response to comments by Pat Robertson who recently called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The government of Venezuela, which was already investigating mission organizations in their country, has put a hold on all visas for missionary activity and is intensifying their investigation. NTM [New Tribes Missions] has several missionaries who have visas awaiting renewal.

So the Gospel is not going to be proclaimed in Venezuela because Pat Robertson is an idiot. Way to go, Pat.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Katrina Relief Information

There are a LOT of hurting churches in New Orleans and the surrounding area. Thanks to The Pastor for this address.

If you want to send donations to the churches in N.O. metro area, send them to this address:

NEW ORLEANS ASSISTANCE
c/o Louisiana Baptist Foundation
P. O. Box 311
Alexandria, Louisiana 71303

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Katrina Relief

The blogosphere is banding together. Instapundit, NZ Bear, everybody is supporting the disaster relief efforts in the South.

Southern Baptists are there, though most media outlets aren't really covering it. Southern Baptist teams from all over the nation are heading south -- according to NAMB, 100 disaster units have been activated. I just found out that Ryan DeBarr is headed that way as part of an SBC team.

We can all help. Support the SBC efforts (we're serving over 300,000 meals a day in the disaster areas) by donating. Click here for more information, and to send your own contribution.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2005

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
  • 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

    August 25, 2005

    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 24, 2005

    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 23, 2005

    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

    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

    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 (3) | TrackBack

    July 21, 2005

    PETA's Hypocrisy

    PETA kills animals.

    "From July 1998 through the end of 2003, PETA killed over 10,000 dogs, cats and other 'companion animals' – at its Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters. That's more than five defenseless animals every day. Not counting the dogs and cats PETA spayed and neutered, the group put to death over 85 percent of the animals it took in during 2003 alone. And its angel-of-death pattern shows no sign of changing."
    Five a day. I don't eat that many animals a day, but PETA thinks I'M the one being cruel?
    Year Received Adopted Killed Transferred % Killed % Adopted
    2004 2,640 361 1,911 1 86.3 13.7
    2003 2,224 312 1,911 1 85.9 14.0
    2002 2,680 382 2,298 2 85.7 14.3
    2001 2,685 703 1,944 14 72.4 26.2
    2000 2,684 624 2,029 28 75.6 23.2
    1999 1,805 386 1,328 91 73.6 21.4
    * 1998 943 133 685 125 72.6 14.1
    Total 15,661 2,901 12,473 262 79.6 18.5

    * figures represent the second half of 1998 only
    † other than spay/neuter animals
    » skeptical? click here to see the proof
    Of course, PETA has an answer, if you ask them. (PETA's response in italics)
    "[M]ost of the animals we receive are broken beings for whom euthanasia is, without a doubt, the most humane option."

    PETA kills 85 percent of the animals it takes in, and finds adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By contrast, the Norfolk SPCA, whose shelter is located less than 4 miles from PETA's headquarters, found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals in 2003. It’s rather hard to believe that the animals entrusted to PETA are any more likely to be “broken beings.”

    PetaKillsAnimals quotes an SPCA director thusly
    I often receive phone calls from frantic people who have surrendered their pets to PETA with the understanding that PETA will "find them a good home." Many of them are led to believe that the animals will be taken to a nearby shelter. Little do they know that the pets are killed in the PETA van before they even pull away from the pet owner's home … PETA refuses to surrender animals they obtain to area shelters for rehoming. If only the celebrity "deep-pocket" donors on the west coast knew that their donations were going to kill adoptable cats and dogs here in Norfolk.

    I admit, I don't like PETA. They are, in a word, nuts. But I never thought they were hypocritical nuts. The word needs to get out about this.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 10, 2005

    Breathing Easier

    I never know how to pray in a hurricane. Al Mohler had a great post about this -- if the storm goes a different direction, people still are affected -- it's just not "us."

    So all we can do is pray that the damage isn't severe, that our loved ones are safe, and that things turn out for the best. And that is what happened today.

    While formidable, Hurricane Dennis did not pack the punch that was expected, and certainly did not deliver the damage dealt by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.

    The estimated 76,000 to 100,000 residents who evacuated their homes should stay away for two days while so utility and road crews can continue their work and gasoline supplies can be restored, Escambia County officials said Sunday night.

    Also, Escambia County and City of Pensacola officials warned residents to stay inside while utility and road crews worked to repair damage from the storm.

    At a 6 p.m. press briefing, Escambia County Administrator George
    Touart said the hardest-hit area of the county was Pensacola Beach, where a tangled mess of downed power lines blocked access east and west of the business core.

    Nonetheless, Touart planned to send engineers tonight to inspect the Bob Sikes Bridge and road crews in the morning to clear the way.

    Electricity, water and sewer service will not be available, but he
    hopes to open the beach to residents some time Monday.

    Perdido Key was unscathed largely and reopened once tropical storm force winds died down. (from the Pensacola News Journal)

    There are still a LOT of people without power, and there is a lot of damaged property, but Dennis wasn't nearly as bad as advertized.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Storm Update

    This is all that's on my mind today, so I figure I'll blog about it. Maybe I'll feel better.

    Right now it looks like Dennis has come ashore about 30-40 miles from Mom's house. She's inland with some good friends of ours (their kids have almost adopted my Mom as a third grandmother) so she's with people who care about her, and who she cares about.

    My biggest worry is that there is so much debris still left over from Ivan that hasn't been picked up yet. The county said that the state was supposed to clear it away, but the state said it was the county's job -- end result was that it didn't get done. Piles and piles of potential projectiles to fly through windows and crash through roofs.

    But the house can be fixed. Mom is safe, and that's what matters.

    Pray for the people in Fort Walton, Navarre, and points east. They are getting a bit more of this storm than they expected, so they may not be as prepared as they should be.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 09, 2005

    And What Did YOU Get for Your Birthday??

    My Mom's birthday is today.

    She lives in Pensacola, Florida, about a mile from NAS Pensacola.

    Guess what SHE'S getting for her birthday?Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    And she just finished fixing everything from Ivan about a week or so ago. Happy birthday, Mom.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:30 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 07, 2005

    A Day of Fasting and Prayer

    One thing that blogging has done for me -- it's brought international events into a different perspective. Two years ago, the bombings in London would have outraged me, but from a purely "how dare they kill innocent people" point of view. Now, I know people in London. My first thoughts were about two bloggers I know who are in London right now, and the readers I have in London (I usually get 3 or 4 hits daily from London). The world is, indeed, a much smaller place.

    Christians throughout the blogosphere have called for a day of fasting and prayer for our leaders, and for revival among God's people on July 11, 2005. Please participate with us. History shows that fervent, corporate prayer is the one sure cause of revival among God's people -- and that revival has a habit of extending throughout the world.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    London Attacked

    By now everyone knows about this one. The tubes in London have been bombed. A bus has been blown up. And this time, it's not the IRA.

    We're under attack. Not "we" as in the United States. "We" as in Western society. Western civilization. Everything that we believe as a society is under attack, and the people doing the attacking don't care who they hurt or what they have to do.

    A list of links to check out:{Updated as of 10PM Thursday}


    As they say, more on this as it develops.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 29, 2005

    Live Free or Die!

    {Tip o' the hat to James at the PCCBoard Forums.

    On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

    Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

    The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

    Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

    "This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

    I don't know how much the rooms will be per night. I also don't care. I WILL be staying at this hotel when it opens.

    Too often the people making our laws are not affected by them. It is time that the folks in Washington find out what the legislation they are passing and ruling on means to tthe rest of the country. The only thing that I regret about this is that it won't affect Souter much at all -- the guy has enough money that he can buy a new house pretty easilly. The average American that this ruling will impact will often not have that advantage.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 23, 2005

    Flag Burning: Desecration?

    I posed this question over at the PCCBoard forums, but I wanted to ask it of all of you, my faithful readers (reader? Anyone?):

    Why do we call it flag desecration? What is sacred about the flag? Or should I say the Flag?

    I agree that the flag is symbolic of the nation. It is symbolic of the sacrifices made by our military. It is symbolic of the sacrifices made by everyday, normal Americans who make this nation what it is.

    But sacred?

    Interesting to look back through American history: the flagbearers in the Civil War, men who didn't carry a rifle, but a banner. Often the first to fall -- but another would take their place, usually before the flag hit the ground. And most of the time, the flag was simply a regimental flag, not even the national flag. Almost a hundred and fifty years ago, flags were considered important. To capture the enemy's banner was the ultimate insult to them -- a sign that they were totally defeated.

    But sacred?

    It seems to me that the Flag has become simply a part of a nationalistic religion (and I actually thought this before I read this piece on AlterNet). The Nation is our deity. The President is the great High Priest. And the Flag is the sacred symbol (similar to Christianity's cross or the Star of David). Don't disagree with the High Priest. Don't blaspheme the Nation. And don't desecrate that sacred symbol of our Nationality, the Flag.

    I don't like flag burning. I have little respect for flag burners. But I have enough respect for them that, while I disagree with what they are saying, I will fight for their freedom to say it -- and my freedom to disagree as loudly and publically as I want.

    Tombs are desecrated. Religious buildings, symbols, and books are desecrated. Flags are burned.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 03, 2005

    Been There, Done That

    Last year, I wrote about a resolution that was sent before the Southern Baptist Convention that advocated the withdrawl of all children of SBC church members from public schools.

    This year, they're doing it again.

    The Arnold-Scarbrough Resolution: (a) applauds Christians working in the government schools as missionaries, (b) calls on churches to warn their members of the devastating effects of sending their children to a totally secular institution for their education, (c) calls on churches to become aggressive and pro-active in starting Christian schools and in supporting homeschooling.
    I still think it's a bad idea.

    Yes, we need to instruct our kids about the truth, and prepare them for an educational system that is often hostile to their beliefs. But no, Christian school is not for everyone, much less homeschooling.

    I know many homeschoolers, and they have my utmost respect and admiration. The ones I am familiar with are committed to their kids' education and are willing to do whatever they can to make sure that their kids have the best education possible. I wish all parents had attitudes like that. Unfortunately, not everyone is cut out to homeschool. Not everyone can educate their kids in everything they have to have to function in society.

    Christian schools are few and far between. In my area, there is one that I would even consider sending my daughter to -- and their educational standards leave much to be desired. There are great Christian schools out there; unfortunately, there aren't enough, and there aren't enough that are affordable for many people.

    The key to making sure that your kids are getting the right education is to be involved. You may have to fight sometimes -- do you seriously believe that you'll only have to do that in public schools? I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that. If you are committed enough to homeschool, your kid will get a quality education no matter where you send him -- parental involvement is the key.

    From the old blog

    I am all for Christian schools, and even home schooling -- for the right reasons. If the public schools in your area do a lousy job of preparing your kids for life after graduation, then it's your duty to put your kids somewhere else. But if you are concerned about the moral decay of public schools, think about trying to help solve the problem. If you shelter your kids from what is happening in public schools (and I teach in one -- I know what is happening in them), what is their reaction going to be when they have to function in the real world? Will they be able to deal with people who are ideologically opposed to them, when they have never faced that opposition before?
    Back your kids. Give them a firm foundation to stand on. But don't shelter them. They're going to run into it sooner or later -- make sure they're prepared.

    Yes, I know that sounds too pragmatic. I'm not a teacher anymore -- unless you count substituting. My wife taught her last class a week ago -- she's out. NOT because of "rampant secular humanism" as some would like to believe, but because of some local issues (and some problems with NCLB, in fact).

    There are reasons to withdraw from public education. It's not always the best solution -- gifted kids often are unchallenged,special needs kids often don't get the help they need. The people who are teaching are often NOT the best qualified to teach: how many people with a Masters degree (which is a requirement in Ohio now, after so many years of certification) would work for less than $40,000 a year? There are quality people in education, I know -- I've worked with some awesome teachers. I've also worked with some who were ignorant, often anti-intellectual (how's THAT for an educator!). My point is that the Convention cannot, and should not, make the decision for parents. What the SBC NEEDS to do, is to institute a quality training program for ALL members of ALL churches (anyone remember Training Union? My wife does!) so that we can meet challenges head on, and not scurry back to our Christian ghettos.


    Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Bush and Abortion: The Truth Comes Out

    Hat-tip to Christianity Today on this one -- let's see if anyone else picks it up.

    "Abortions have increased during the Bush administration." How often have we been told that? Howard Dean said so. John Kerry said so during the campaign. Sojourners magazine reported it. And, though I've heard some people who were shocked, and some who didn't WANT to believe it, I haven't heard much refuting it.

    Until now.

    Politicians from Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Howard Dean have recently contended that abortions have increased since George W. Bush took office in 2001.

    This claim is false. It's based on an an opinion piece that used data from only 16 states. A study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute of 43 states found that abortions have actually decreased. Update, May 26: The author of the original claim now concedes that the Guttmacher study is "significantly better" than his own.

    What motivation could people have had to spread this kind of story? Obviously, to break the evangelical block that was supporting Bush. MY question is why didn't anyone check into the allegations?

    We have a "Christian blogosphere" that includes some talented people. Did we all miss this? Were we so invloved in damage control, making excuses for the President, that we took it for granted that the data was accurate? I admit, I was disturbed by this "fact" -- though I questioned how the President was going to do something about a "private decision between a woman and her doctor." Abortion is still legal. It is OUR responsibility to make sure that it doesn't have to happen.

    Our responsibility NOW is to make sure, whenever someone spouts the "abortion has increased under Bush" line, that they learn the truth. Keep the link above handy -- they have background data there as well. Now that we have the facts, it's time to start letting people know about it.

    {UPDATE: Jonathan Bunch over at In the Agora posted this two days ago. Joe Carter at The Evangelical Outpost made mention of this in yesterday's outtakes.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:32 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 30, 2005

    Judge Tells Parents what Religion to Teach

    Ok, now I may be in disagreement with everyone who reads this blog on this issue. But that's never stopped me from shooting off my mouth before.

    A judge in Indianapolis has decreed that a set of divorced parents can't teach their kid their religion. Because that religion is Wicca.

    I disagree with pretty much everything Wicca teaches. I think they are totally wrong, and deceived, concerning the nature of the supernatural world. I sometimes wish that Christians had as much of an appreciation for the spiritual forces that are out there, though -- we tend to separate things into "God did it" and "Not real at all" and reject the whole "Satan did it" category out of hand. But I don't believe that everything supernatural is essentially good, or should be harnessed.

    BUT -- last time I checked, the Constitution prohibited government interference in religion, including the religious instruction of children by their parents. As far as I can tell, the parents are in agreement about the religious training that their kids should have -- it may be the only thing they agree on, I don't know. The judge has prohibited the teaching of "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals." No definition of what "mainstream religious beliefs and rituals" actually ARE.

    THAT'S a problem area. Evangelicalism is often considered non-mainstream. So the parents can't teach their kids evangelical Christianity? Never says that specifically, but it could be interpreted that way.

    I hate to use the phrase "slippery slope" here, but it seems to fit. A dangerous precident has been established if this decision holds up. The government, or at least a representative of the government, is dictating to parents what type of religious training and education that their child can have. That is simply wrong.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    May 20, 2005

    More on the Qu'ran Desecrations

    Found this interesting article at the Wall Street Journal (registration required). Since you have to register for it, I'll quote the relevant section here.

    Soon after Newsweek published an account, later retracted, of an American soldier flushing a copy of the Quran down the toilet, the Saudi government voiced its strenuous disapproval. More specifically, the Saudi Embassy in Washington expressed "great concern" and urged the U.S. to "conduct a quick investigation."

    Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Quran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia. This would seem curious to most people because of the fact that to most Muslims, the Bible is a holy book. But when it comes to Saudi Arabia we are not talking about most Muslims, but a tiny minority of hard-liners who constitute the Wahhabi Sect.

    The Bible in Saudi Arabia may get a person killed, arrested, or deported. In September 1993, Sadeq Mallallah, 23, was beheaded in Qateef on a charge of apostasy for owning a Bible. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail the arrest and deportation of many Christian worshipers every year. Just days before Crown Prince Abdullah met President Bush last month, two Christian gatherings were stormed in Riyadh. Bibles and crosses were confiscated, and will be incinerated. (The Saudi government does not even spare the Quran from desecration. On Oct. 14, 2004, dozens of Saudi men and women carried copies of the Quran as they protested in support of reformers in the capital, Riyadh. Although they carried the Qurans in part to protect themselves from assault by police, they were charged by hundreds of riot police, who stepped on the books with their shoes, according to one of the protesters.)

    As Muslims, we have not been as generous as our Christian and Jewish counterparts in respecting others' holy books and religious symbols. Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment. TV programs that show Christian clergymen, crosses or Stars of David are censored.

    Now THAT'S what I call a theocracy. And the left in the United States don't understand that at all.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 18, 2005

    Good Question!

    The New York Sun has asked a question that I think we should all be asking ourselves in light of Newsweek's article about Qur'an desecrations

    .

    Do Muslims really revere the Koran so much more than Christians and Jews do the Bible? It would seem so. They certainly act as if they do. Think of the Salman Rushdie affair. For years this Muslim-born novelist was threatened with death all over the Muslim world for parodying certain episodes in the Koran. A Christian or Jewish novelist who did the same with the Bible would get yawned at.

    Indeed, that Muslims do take their religion more seriously is, sociologically speaking, the case. The percentage of observant Muslims in any Islamic country is considerably higher than that of observant Christians in the West or observant Jews in Israel.


    The problem is that we don't think people will get that upset about attacks on their religion. After all, people in the US routinely attack religious beliefs as old fashioned, silly, superstitious, etc. And the people they are attacking -- Christians, Jews, Mormans, Hindus, etc. -- sit by and take it. Muslims aren't going to take it.

    I think that's one reason Newsweek was so slow to retract the story -- they couldn't believe that people got that upset. "It's just a book," they think.

    The reactions of Muslims across the world should also be an indictment of Christians here in the US. When someone desecrates a Qur'an, there are riots. When someone desecrates a cross, they get government money. Bible mistreatment abounds, because people don't have any respect for it.

    If Protestants are true to their ideal of sola Scriptura, then we should be incensed when the Bible is mistreated or abused. We believe that it is the very Word of God -- as the Muslims believe the Qur'an is. They take the Word of God seriously -- Christians in the US treat it as something that is disposable. Something taken for granted. Certainly not something we build our lives and faith around.

    And that is the problem with the state of Christianity. We've developed beyond our reliance on the Word of God. We've lost our first love. And it shows in our inaction -- in everything from global poverty to our lack of evangelical efforts at home and abroad. Church membership is considered a right that should never be witheld or revoked (I may have more on the subject of church discipline later on this week -- Al Mohler is covering it in detail). There is no cost. There is no obligation. There is no duty. And we have people sitting in church pews who know nothing about their faith, and do nothing in it's cause.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 16, 2005

    From the "DUH!" File

    Newsflash!!

    Sunday Schools Teach Children Creationism

    Seriously, is this really news? Next thing you know, Mr. Baker will be leading off with a story that many evangelical churches pray, and at most the church leader (called the "pastor" by the congregation) ends the service with a half-hour speach based on a selected Biblical text. Some parishoners call this speach a "sermon," and it is often followed by an "altar call" or a "benediction" in some churches.

    This would be in the running for a Clewie award, but I'm not sure this guy can get a clue. He sure shouldn't be covering religion news if he thinks that teaching creation in Sunday School is news.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    Newsweek and the Qur'an

    I admit that I was outraged when I first heard the story about intentional desecrations of the Qur'an at Guantanamo Bay. I'm not 100% sure why I didn't blog about it, though. Maybe I had a gut instinct that we weren't getting the whole story, maybe I was nervous because I hadn't heard much about the story from other outlets (and it gets a small mention in the Newsweek article. If you blink, you might miss it). But I held off, and I'm glad I did.


    No surprise that there were riots in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine because of the story. If I had heard of Muslim soldiers desecrating Bibles, I'd have been just as outraged. 15 people were killed in these riots, though, which is tragic. I think that the story at Christianity Today is telling:

    When The Washington Times in 2002 reported that Muslims holed up in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity had used the Bible as toilet paper, Christian leaders there complained under their breath. Christian and Muslim leaders here in America were silent.

    When, on the first season of Survivor, Rudy Boesch said, "The only reason I'd bring a Bible out here is if … I needed toilet paper," it was played for laughs. There were no deadly riots—at least none that Weblog remembered.

    When an NBC sitcom plot included a joke about flushing a consecrated Communion wafer down the toilet after a Catholic funeral Mass, Weblog remembers reading one press release from an organization that complains about a lot of things. No riots. No protests. No mainstream media coverage (at least none Weblog remembers seeing). And for what it's worth, Roman Catholics believe that the host is the actual body of God incarnate.

    But if, let's say, a Christian leader had called for a boycott over such matters, the cry would go out that we are living in a theocracy.

    I recommend the rest of that article, incidentally -- very good reading.

    Of course, now Newsweek is saying that the story may have been wrong.
    In an apology to readers, Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker (search) said that its lone source for a story accusing U.S. interrogators of flushing the Koran (search) down the toilet to rattle a detainee later said he could not recall where information about the alleged incident came from.

    "We believed our story was newsworthy because a U.S. official said government investigators turned up this evidence," Whitaker wrote. "But we regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst."

    Had this been a blogger, there would have been cries of regulation, accountability, etc. Had it been Drudge, or Limbaugh, or O'Reilly, there would have been a lynch mob ready to exact justice. But it was Newsweek. So I'm betting that in a week or so (maybe less) we won't hear anything more about this, or what kind of punishment was inflicted, or who got fired or demoted. Unless the story is kept alive.

    People died because a major news source based a story entirely on the statement of an undisclosed source. Something needs to be done, internally. Newsweek needs to institute a plicy similar to the one the Wall Street Journal has -- there should be a limited number of undisclosed sources used in a story, and the story should be verified by sources who are willing to go on the record. If this happens, maybe in the future people won't die because a magazine didn't bother to check their sources.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 23, 2005

    Prayer Request

    On top of everything else I have going on this week (paper, work, etc.), and everything I had going on last week (paper, work, etc.) I am preaching tomorrow morning. I appreciate everyone's prayers tomorrow as I preach on Genesis 3, and the results of the Fall.

    It's been interesting -- each class I've had this week had something to contribute to the subject. Especially the discussion of penal substitutionary atonement we started in Systematic Theology yesterday. I ended up adding an extra point on my outline after that class.

    BTW, I've sort of moved in at the new blog. I goofed up when I requested the URL, and right now it's http://piewview.mu.nu. I asked if I could change it, but I don't know if it's too late or not. I've got the bare bones template set up -- still have to add some color, my blogrolls, etc. But I'll be able to do a lot after May 6 -- when finals are over. I should be all moved in by mid-May. I'll let everyone know about the new URL and the RSS feed address -- though if you've subscribed to the Feedburner feed, that should stay the same.

    {EDIT -- The URL has been fixed. The Future Home of View from the Pew}

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 19, 2005

    Habemus Papem

    The white smoke has been sent through the chimney at the Sistine Chapel.

    Cardinal Ratzinger is the new Pope. Pope Benedict XVI.

    Once the archbishop of Munich and for many years prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Ratzinger, 77, is one of the most powerful men in the Vatican and is widely acknowledged as a leading theologian. (from CNN.com)
    And of course, fans of Saint Malachy will be thrilled at his choice of name, since the prophecy states that his motto (actually the phrase that suits him) is Gloria olivae, and the olive is the traditional symbol of the Benedictine monks. Most people figured that the new Pope would be a Benedictine. Right now, I'm not sure what order Ratzinger is, but the name choice makes it a moot point, especially as far as the prophecy fans are concerned.
    Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 04, 2005

    News from the Pew

    Ok, maybe not news. Maybe more like shameless self promotion, but titling a post "Shameless Self Promotion from the Pew" just doesn't have the same ring to it, you know?

    I've set up a "bookstore" at Lulu.com, where you will be able to get PDF copies of whatever papers I've written for school for free. Why would you want them? I don't know, but they're free, so you won't be throwing any money away.

    The only thing I have up there right now is my last Systematic II paper, covering creatio ex nihilo, or creation out of nothing. I got an A on it, so the grader thought it was a good paper -- I wasn't too sure when I finished it, but the grader is a doctoral student, so I assume he's a better judge than I am. You can get it in PDF format for free, or if you REALLY want to spend money, you can buy it in booklet form for $4.85. I don't make any money off it at all, and neither does Lulu -- they only make a profit off books that the author makes a profit on.

    The main reason I'm doing this is that I had told some people before that I'd post some of my papers, and this is an easy way of doing it -- especially since I really don't have server space right now. Lulu's free, and it's a pretty good way of getting your writing out to people. AND it's easy to get started.

    So go download the thing, and let me know what you think.

    Unless you think it stinks -- then I'd rather not know (lol).

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 02, 2005

    News from the Pew

    First of all, slow posting this week, and probably slow posting for the month of April. I have a 10-13 page sermon due for systematic theology on the 22nd, and a 20-page paper on Andrew Fuller and Assurance of Salvation due on the 28th. Of course, I've actually started writing neither of them, so I have a bit of work to do. At least I've done the research on these already.

    Second, there is a move coming. I mentioned before that I was hoping to get a mu.nu blog -- I got it! So I will be moving there in the near future. I'll let everyone know the details when it happens -- including the new address AND RSS feed URI.

    AND sometime this weekend, or maybe next week, my wife will be blogging for me. She said she had something, and was going to post on Friday, but she didn't, so I'm hoping she'll do it this week sometime. From what she told me, it sounds like a pretty good post.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 27, 2005

    Happy Easter

    Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."
    So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
    Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord" -- and that he had said these things to her.

    On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
    Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."

    Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."
    Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

    Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    (Joh 20:1-31 ESV)

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 21, 2005

    Schiavo Fesses Up

    The scene: Larry King Live.

    The Question: Do you understand how they feel? [Concerning Terri Schiavo's parents and family]

    The Answer:Yes, I do. But this is not about them, it's about Terri. And I've also said that in court. We didn't know what Terri wanted, but this is what we want...

    It's all about what he wants -- not about what Terri ever wanted. One moment of truth in the midst of a sea of deception.

    I wonder if the MSM will pick this one up, or if it's up to the blogosphere again.

    {MAJOR Hat tip to Nick at NickQueen.com, where you can find a more complete transcript that shows you the context of the question and the answer.}

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

    LU 78, Penn State 70


    The Liberty University women's basketball team, the 13th seed in the Chattanooga region of the NCAA Women's tournament, upset the #4 seed Penn State Lady Lions last night. This is only the fourth time that a 13 seed has beaten a 4 seed in tournament history.

    The Lady Flames have been Big South champions for the past 9 years running, but have normally been given a 16 seed -- a real disappointment last year after beating teams like UVa.

    As an LU graduate, I just had to brag a bit about the Lady Flames basketball team. The men's team has been to the dance twice, once losing to UNC and losing last year to St. Johns. The women have become a fixture in the tournament, but this is the first year they get to advance. And according to the ESPN poll (as of 12:20 Eastern, anyway), they are favored to make it to the Sweet 16. They take on #5 DePaul on Tuesday at 7 PM in College Park, MD. GO FLAMES!!

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)

    March 14, 2005

    What's Hapenning'!

    No, not the 70's sitcom -- I'm talking about what's happening around here!

    First of all, I'm back in the Best of Me Symphony. Head over there and read all the great posts (including one from Nick Queen himself).

    SPEAKING of Nick Queen -- (and I was going to make this a separate post) I am returning to the King of the Blogs competition to reclaim my throne, and become the only King to rule nonconsecutive weeks (which I guess would make me the Teddy Roosevelt of Blog Kings). Head over to the KotB page and be sure to vote for me, and make sure that you trackback to the right post!

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

    February 10, 2005

    Briefly ...

    I heard a little about this story on the way to school this evening. Once I got here and had dinner, I figured I would check into it a little.

    Is anyone else VERY disturbed about this? The fact that someone can go to the FBI and claim that your sermons are inciting violence, and the FBI then shows up and gets transcripts or recordings of your messages bothers me more than I want to even think about.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

    February 04, 2005

    News Cruise

    A few other people have noticed that the US military seems to be involved in religious torture. I'm a little upset that more people aren't makeing this an issue. We need to seriously ask the questions that Jeff Jacoby asks -- "Are Americans OK with using religious humiliation as tools of war? How about religious torture?"

    Marcus Sheffield has a good editorial in the Chatanoogan about not counting on AMerica being the new incarnation of the Kingdom of God. He reminds me about Christ's words in John 18:36.

    I'll be doing the Blogroll Cruise in a bit. My medication has worn off, which is a good thing, and I'm not in pain anymore (not much pain, anyway). I might be able to manage something original soon, who knows. I missed classes this week, because I couldn't handle sitting in the car for three hours, then sitting in class for three hours. If they'd let me lay down in class, I think I'd have gone. Not much chance of that, though. I'll be back to full strength next week, though.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

    January 25, 2005

    Political Silliness


    This piece from the New York Times just cruised through the RSS reader, and I'm more than a little disappointed.

    Never mind the fact that I don't like using politics to effect a change that can really only come through Christ. Never mind the fact that I think that Social Security is in need of an overhaul. Using SS reform to get what you want socially is not a good plan.

    Let's say that Bush, for whatever reason, decides not to push for the marriage ammendment. Maybe he's decided that he resents the Religious Right(tm) thinking they own him because they voted for him. Maybe he never really wanted to do it to begin with -- it was just campaign rhetoric to get our votes. Whatever the reason, he decides not to do it after all. So the Social Security reform doesn't get passed because of a lack of support.

    Now, in thirty years or however long SS has left in it's current state, the whole thing tanks. People are upset: "Why wasn't something done about this?" And the answer? "We tried, but the Christians fought us, so it didn't get done. Blame them, not the GOP."

    Don't think it will happen? Ha. The GOP will turn on us so fast it will make EVERYONE'S head spin, if it means staying in charge and in power. They don't owe us a thing.

    The gay marriage issue won't go away because we legislate it away. The solution is changing hearts, minds, and lifestyles with the message of the Gospel of Christ. Let's be about our Father's business.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

    January 18, 2005

    What was that about a Social Mandate?

    From the New York Times:

    Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, has asked an Ohio Republican who supports some abortion rights to be his co-chairman, stirring the ire of social conservatives.

    Mr. Mehlman's choice is Joann Davidson, who was chairwoman of the Bush campaign in the pivotal Ohio Valley region and a former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Davidson declined to discuss her views on abortion. "My focus is on building a stronger party," she said.

    Her nomination awaits approval by the Republican National Committee.
    She has been a member of the advisory board of the abortion rights group Republicans for Choice since its founding in 1990, according to a statement posted on the group's Web site congratulating her.
    So what was all that back in December about how the Republicans were going to govern according to the wishes of the Religious Right(tm)? And what was that from evangelical circles about how the GOP now "owes us one?"

    Politicians aren't the answer, folks. And this shows what the GOP thinks of us, especially of the nomination passes. And from a political perspective, why wouldn't it pass? It's just what the "big tent" GOP needs. I'm just not sure that they need us anymore -- but there aren't many decent options out there.

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

    January 13, 2005

    News Roundup

    Cruising through some news stories that I've heard about today -- and commenting on them, of course!

    • 2 stories about the "James Ossuary." I tend to agree with the Observer article -- whether the ossuary is authentic or not is NOT going to change anyone's mind about the truth of Christ, or the truth claims of Christianity. Plenty of people believe that Jesus existed, and that He taught and was killed by the authorities, but they don't believe that He was the Messiah. It is reassuring to some Christians that they can point to the existence of something like this to support their faith, and we like to be able to show archaeological evidences for things that the Bible records. But we cannot rely on history or archaeology to win people to Christ -- only the faithful preaching of the Gospel and the working of the Holy Spirit can do that. Note to the Observer, though -- the jury is still out on whether the findings of the IAA were accurate. There are some indications that their findings were biased from the beginning.
    • The New York Times is reporting that religion is on the rise, but not the "fundamentalist" kind. Not surprising. I THINK they are including evangelical Christianity in their definition of "fundamentalist," and I think that the reasons people don't like evangelical Christianity are obvious. They want spirituality without responsibility. They don't want any obligation to any type of holy living. They don't want to think that God has any claim on their behavior at all. They also don't want to think about having to share their faith. They've found a type of "this works for me, go see what works for you" spirituality, and that contradicts the claims of the Bible that Christ is THE way, not A way. Biblical Christianity is an exclusivist faith, and people don't want to think that way.
    • The Dallas News (which is a great source for good religious news reporting) has an editorial that should make us thing about what we are doing when we say something like "God says" or "Jesus says." I love this statement:
      If Jesus is just a metaphor, or one of many paths to God, then speaking for him is treacherous enough. But those Christians who flatly reject that notion ought to set for themselves an even higher standard of caution. Because if Jesus really is the one and only true Son of God, then who would dare presume to speak for him?
      We all need to think seriously about that.
    • National Review Online has a great interview with Naomi Schaefer Riley about the potential influence of "Generation M" -- the students who are currently enrolled in religious schools. Not much comment on this one -- except to say that there is a LOT of potential out there to make a tremendous difference in our society.
    • Crosses have been banned along the parade route for the innauguration this year, and some Christians aren't happy about it. Personally, I really don't care if they are there or not, though I think there's a problem because no other religious symbols were mentioned in the memo.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

    January 06, 2005

    Generosity and the US

    I admit, I was a bit offended and irritated when I hear the UN call us stingy. After all, they're staying here rent-free, on a prime piece of New York real estate. And we DO send money to relief efforts -- we tend to do it through various charities and religious groups, but we do it.

    I read Kristof today (piewview; blogger42 to log in) -- I missed the last two of his pieces because I was on the road, and it looks like I'd have LOVED the December 22 piece -- and I am once again placed in the difficult position of agreeing with him. We are great at responding to disasters, but we're lousy most of the rest of the time. We focus on ourselves and what's going on here, rather than being globally minded.

    We're like this in a LOT of different ways, too. While Canadians are lamenting the potential loss of the entire NHL season this year, the subject has been missing from US papers. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. I was in Pensacola, Florida over Christmas -- there are still a lot of people who are homeless there, and a lot of devestation and damage still hasn't been fixed. Don't hear much about it, though, do you? I'd expect that the Orlando area is still trying to recover from the 'canes that hit them as well.

    We have a very short attention span. We saw in this election that the average American cannot focus on much more than a soundbite at a time. I saw it when I taught -- kids were shocked that I expected them to remember something I taught a week ago. We pay attention only to what's new and different, and ignore or forget about things that aren't. Part of the blame is simply cultural -- we live in a society that is always in motion, always fast. We buy more powerful microwaves because we don't want to wait 4 minutes for our popcorn. We want our internet fast, so we pay mor money for faster services, better wireless connections.

    My real concern is that in a few more months, when the relief efforts in Asia aren't front-page news, and when the recovery and rebuilding can actually begin, when our help is needed, we'll have forgotten all about the tsunami. We'll be on to the next big thing, and our money will go elsewhere. In another week or so, people will start complaining about the extensive coverage that the tsunami is getting -- "Can't they tell us about something else? There are other things going on in the world." And the people there will still be right in the middle of it, and they'll be forgotten.

    I hope I'm wrong. I hope that we will keep these people in our prayers, and keep their needs in mind. I hope that the generosity will continue, and our attention spans will be lengthened so we are not so easilly distracted.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

    January 05, 2005

    Tsunami Relief

    I'm not going to go into the "why" about the tsunami. I've been hearing "Why does God do this??" all week long, and I keep telling people "Who are we to be so arrogant to think that God owes us an explanation? Who are we to think that we can understand everything about God?" And those answers aren't satisfactory at all to most people.

    I'm leaving the philosophical answers to the philosophers for once. I'm trying to help with the practical stuff. There is a link on the left margin to my tsunami relief page. It's set up through Justgiving.com (which I wish I had known about back in December -- I'd have used them rather than my Amazon thing!), and wil track your donations for you -- and you get the tax deduction, too. My goal right now is about $500 -- which is ambitious for a blog with the traffic this one has, but I figured I'd aim high.

    So head over there to donate, and show the world that we care.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

    December 31, 2004

    The Year in Review -- 2004

    December 31, 2004. Another year gone.

    My first year of blogging. I know that everyone does the whole year in review thing (even the design shows on TLC have been doing them, for crying out loud!), but maybe mine will be a little different. After all, I'm a little different.

    First, my five favorite posts. The Corner suggested it first, and I have seen it don all over the blogosphere, so far be it from me to fail to jump on the bandwagon. In no particular order:


    • My First Post -- not a great one, but it's my first one. Figured some people might want to go all the way back to March and read what I had to say back in the "early days."
    • Jesus, Paul, and Peter Jennings -- my first really long, thought provoking post. Got me on a few search engines, too.
    • Any of the Today (or This Week) in Church History posts -- I just love church history. Gimme a break, OK?
    • A Nation of Jonahs -- I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this simple observation -- it's showed up on the King of the Blogs competition, the Christian Carnival, and the Best of Me Symphony. And next Sunday, I'm preaching it (actually, the same theme, but MUCH more involved).
    • Study of Mark -- it's turned into a lot more than I thought, and it's gone longer than I expected (and it's overdue!), but I'm enjoying this study.

    And there are a lot more. My comments on the Constitution Party, my religio-political posts (not always received sympathetically by people who normally agree with me). It's hard to pick favorites, and I've cheated on this list.

    The year has seen bloggers become ABC's People of the Year. Blogospherians helped take down Dan Rather. Election coverage was taken to new heights (or depths). Sociologists and communications specialists are taking notice of this "new trend" in communication. And bloggers are getting book deals. Blogging is making an impact on our culture in ways that we won't really be able to see for years, if not decades. And it doesn't look like it's going to die out. Slow down, maybe. Change, certainly. Die out, not even.

    This is the first year that I've really read blogs. I've met interesting people, discussed and argued with people I'll never see, and been quoted by people who think I had something interesting to say. Bloging is addictive, and I'm hooked. I'm looking forward to the next year.

    My hopes for the new year:

    • New host, new URL, bigger site. I can do more here than just rant, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to soon.
    • Increased exposure for the little blogs that have something to say. There seem to be two groups in the blogosphere that get the most attention -- the big pundits like Instapundit and Kos, and the personal diaries of teenagers who cannot spell, but want to tell the world about their day at school. The third group, which I think is a majority, is made up of people like me, and the people on my blogroll. People who have good things to say, but don't get much attention. I read things as I cruise through my daily-read blogs (got a nice new RSS reader just for that purpose!) and I think to myself, "More people should read this. This is good stuff." There are people blogging who should be heard, and I think that 2005 is going to be the Year of the Blogging Underdogs.
    • Increased exposure for the Godblogs. And maybe I'm being a bit selfish here, since I consider myself a Godblogger. There is a LOT of intense theoloogical discussion going on out here, and people should be aware of it. There's a lot more that I should be aware of -- I find new blogs every day that blow me away with some of what they are saying.

    And that's the year that was. 2004 was fun. May 2005 be even better, for us all. Happy New Year.


    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

    December 20, 2004

    Weekly Report

    This week's blogging will be light, unfortunately, if it is existant at all after today.

    My laptop isn't working. The cord to the power supply shorted, I can't fix it, and another power supply will cost $60 and take at LEAST a week to get. I MIGHT be able to wrangle some internet time at the public library, or from friends, but I'm not going to promise much. All the series that are running WILL continue -- and will probably be even better, since I'll have time to formulate my thoughts.

    NEXT week will be better, since I will be able to use my father in law's computer starting Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, when we get to the Virginia leg of the Kelly Family Christmas Tour 2K4(tm).

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)

    December 03, 2004

    A News Cruise

    I'm having a hard time coming up with something insightful, witty, or new to say, so I decided to cruise through the blog at Christianity Today, and add my own pithy comments on the news. Unlike CT, though, I've already registered with all the "registration required" sites, remember? Username: either piewview or piewview@yahoo.com, password is blogger42. It's that easy! (If this doesn't work on any newspaper sites you find, let me know, and I'll fix it.)

    • The UMC has defrocked their resident lesbian priest -- first time since 1987. Is it just me, or does the term 'defrocked' just seem a bit awkward in this context? I can honestly say that the Southern Baptist Convention has never had to do anything about a lesbian minister -- not allowing women as pastors kinda eliminates that problem, doesn't it?
    • The UCC (to continue the acronymical insanity) has a new commercial. Maybe you've heard about it. ABC, CBS, and NBC won't air it. Now, I don't like what they're saying -- I know of no evangelical church that would turn people away because of their sexual orientation. Now, if they wanted to be married in the church, join the church, or minister in the church, there may be problems. See, Jesus said something like "Go, and sin no more" once, if I recall correctly. We don't condemn sinners -- the One without sin has the only authority to do that. But we can not condone their sin -- that is also clear from Scripture. I think maybe part of the problem is that people identify themselves too much with what they do, rather than who they are. AND, I think that the Church often doesn't do enough about sin in it's own ranks. I remember Jesus saying something about a beam in the eye, too.
    • I really wish this story would go away. I think it's a stupid idea, and I think the Convention is overstepping their bounds by expecting people to pull their kids out of public education. Maybe we should be training people to go into the schools and be a positive influence. Maybe our youth ministers should focus more on discipleship and less on pizza parties (and yes, I know there are awesome youth ministers out there -- I know several of them from Southern). I salute parents who choose private schools. I salute parents who homeschool. I salute parents who are involved in their kids' public education. The key is to be involved, folks. There, I think I've beat that horse enough.
    • One sample of the many "Holiday Controversy" type stories. I agree with Pseudo-Polymath on this topic, I think. Let them have their "secular holiday" (now THERE'S an oxymoron!) in December. But they have to stop calling it Christmas, and leave us alone to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I end up stressed at this time of year, over what to get people, if I've gotten them enough, and all that garbage. It's easy to lose focus on what's important. Maybe it's time to reclaim Christmas as our own -- they don't really get it anyway. I think our Jewish brethren have the right idea -- how much Chanuka-related marketing do you see? Very little in many parts of the country. THAT would be refreshing.
    • And as we're fighting our own culture wars, our brethren in Europe have seemingly been pushed too far. Unfortunately, they may have been snoozing too long. Check out this Guardian story, and think about how close we have come, and how close we still may come, to a society just like this. Cultural engagement can help avert this; of course, if the left was really tolerant, they'd never have attacked us for our religious beliefs in the first place.
    • In case you were wondering why all of us evangelical-type peole got so politically active this election, Alan Boraas at the Anchorage Daily News has the answer. It's not concern for our rights as citizens. It's not a desire to make the country a better place. It's not even because we're all brainwashed. It's all because of the rapture. Read the article, and think about how sad it is that a professor of anthropology has absolutely no clue about the topic he's writing about. NOTHING WE DO CAN MAKE THE RAPTURE HAPPEN ANY FASTER!!!!!!! A good majority of evangelical Christians don't believe in the rapture anyway -- what motivates them????? No answers, because that line of questioning tends to defeat stereotypes of Christians. Too bad, the article had a little promise. And I hold out little hope that anything will change people's minds. Don't confuse them with facts, their minds are made up. And they say we're anti-intellectual.

    Now I'm going to head over to GetReligion, and see what I should have said about all these articles.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

    October 06, 2004

    The Hockey Alternative

    Since the NHL doesn't look like it will be playing any time soon, I've gone in search of an alternative source for my hockey fix this season.

    The WHA showed some promise, but I have no idea when they plan on actually playing a game. The website SAYS this winter, but I won't be holding my breath.

    The best alternative -- especially where I am -- is the AHL. Cinci has a team, as does Cleveland. And they've managed to sign some NHL players to contracts.

    Or maybe I'll just watch NCAA hockey and pro football this fall. I can get Ohio State hockey tickets at a decent price.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

    September 17, 2004

    Ivan Update

    I heard from Mom yesterday. She couldn't get down to the house because of a gas leak on Gulf Beach Highway -- and yes, that's as close to the water as it sounds. Some people on the opposite side of the road from her had major damage from the storm surge, but I don't think she's close enough to the gulf for that. I'm just hoping the roof is still on when she gets back.

    I have no idea when I'll be headed down there. In fact, right now I don't even have a car -- it's having fuel pump replacement surgery done on it to the tune of almost $600. Ah, the carefree life of a seminarian!!

    On the bright side, I think I did well on my first Hermeneutics exam. I guess that's something, anyway.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

    September 16, 2004

    Breaking (sort of) News!


    Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced Sept. 16 the establishment of the Center for Science and Theology along with the appointment of renowned philosopher of science William A. Dembski as its first director.

    I actually heard about this at 11 this morning, but I didn't have time to post it until now. Otherwise, i might have even scooped Baptist Press on this one, if only by a few seconds.

    That's why I need to get that wireless card for my PDA.....

    I'm looking forward to taking a class or two from Dr. Dembski. Of course, it may take me longer to graduate if I do that ...

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

    Lockout

    Training camp for the 2004-2005 NHL season has NOT started as usual. The story is here from NHL.com.

    I'm looking for a script that will count up from today, just to keep track of how many days without hockey I have to go. I figure withdrawl will start sometime in early November.

    {edit} Already, I want to say more about this. This will be fairly uncharacteristic of this blog, so I ask for your forgiveness in advance.

    Gary Bettman' comments are an interesting read. Of course, Bob Goodenow contradicts pretty much everything he says. And Trevor Linden gives a good view of the players' perspective.

    I'm really not sure where I stand on this. I don't like unions -- in fact, I think that in most cases, labor unions have outlived their usefulness. I think that there are cases where labor unions have actually (long term) cost their members their jobs, because of unwillingness to cooperate with "management". I think that atheletes in general are overpaid -- I recognize the fact that their athletic careers are short, but I haven't seen many former athletes who weren't able to get a good job after their retirement from competition. I can understand them opposing a salary cap, and I don't really think a salary cap will work as well as the owners think it will.

    I think the fact that the NHLPA didn't strike shows that they are willing to work things out with the owners. If the owners stick to their idea of a salary cap -- in whatever form -- we won't have hockey this year. I'm a bit irritated with both sides -- they've had a long time to try and work this out, and so far they are as far apart as they were when they started.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)

    September 13, 2004

    Storm Tracking

    Blogging might be a bit light in the next few days. My Mom lives in Pensacola, FL, and it looks like Ivan might be headed up her driveway.

    We've talked her into heading for shelter further inland, but she doesn't really want to leave. I was planning on heading down there this evening/tomorrow early morning, but she doesn't want me to come.

    So far, she hasn't even gotten plywood for her windows, because she doesn't know how to put it up, and probably couldn't do it herself anyway. Of course, her neighbors are all ready for the storm.

    So most of my Internet time is going to be spent at www.noaa.gov, watching the storm and it's projected path. And hoping it blows a different direction -- preferably backwards out to sea.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

    September 11, 2004

    9/11 Three Years Later

    This is pretty much a required post today. All over the blogosphere, people are writing about 9/11 and its impact on them.

    Three years ago, I was in front of a classroom full of highschool sophomores. I didn't even know about the attack until almost 10 AM, because I was teaching. Actually, long-term substituting for my wife, who had just had our daughter a month before. She was here in Ohio because her grandmother had dies -- I had flown home on September 10th, so I could teach.

    Second period was my planning, so I walked into the Social Sutdies faculty room, where the TV was on to Fox News (as usual). I saw the familiar outline of the World Trade Center, and smoke coming from the top. I was glued to the TV until the bell rang for third period.

    Of course, by then the kids all had heard. The rest of the day -- in fact, for most of the rest of the week -- we watched the news and talked about what happened. "Are we at war?", "Are they going to attack here?", "Is the school safe?" -- all questions I had to deal with, and "I don't know" wasn't a good enough answer. "At war with whom? These are terrorists", "Why would they attack a little town south of Atlanta? What do we have here?", "If the school wasn't safe, they'd send us home" (which was exactly what they were hoping for). Soon, classes turned into a series of lessons on the modern history of terrorism (Entebbe, the '72 Olympics, etc.), the motivations of the Islamic terrorists (US support of Israel, out troops in Saudi Arabia, etc.). It took a little effort, but I found a way for the kids to learn something out of the ordeal.

    Of course, when I got home I was different. My first concern was for my wife and newborn daughter, who were 13 hours away. We spent a lot of time on the phone that night, then I called my Mom and sister. I was most worried about Mom, who lives a mile from NAS Pensacola. She was fine, but had noticed a LOT more aircraft in the air than ever before. And there was heavy security at the gate when she went to the national cemetary to visit my Dad's grave.

    A lot has happened in the last three years. We are accepting some things that we never would have before. Some of the things we should expect, since we are at war. Some of the things we need to make sure stop when peace is restored. But I think that it is very safe to say that in another 50-100 years, historians teaching US history will differentiate between the US pre-9/11 and the US post-9/11. Because this nation will never be the same again.

    I'm not sure yet if that's a good thing or not.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

    August 18, 2004

    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 15, 2004

    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)

    July 29, 2004

    Writers Block? Just Google Moore!!

    Have I mentioned how little I care for Michael Moore?  Thought so.

    "We were used to such messages in the communist days. Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda. It was a weak film that tells us nothing new." -- VACLAV KLAUS, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the Michael Moore documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

    Pretty cool when the president of the Czech Republic agrees with my taste in propaganda films.  And notice the comparison to communist propaganda?  No surprise where Mr. Moore gets his training from.

    Thanks for the heads-up goes to By Farther Steps, who has just been added to the blogroll.  Currently, he's discussing hell, and our misconceptions of it.  All my annihilationist friends should head over there and learn something!!

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

    June 29, 2004

    Moore and Moore

    Michael Moore says he's not a member of the Democratic Party, that he's an Independant. He's almost correct.

    Almost.

    According to this article, Moore is actually registered to vote in two states -- New York (where he is registered as a Democrat, but hasn't voted since 2001), and Michigan (where they don't ask for a party when you register). So he's NOT a Democrat there, but he's not registered as an Independant, either.

    I guess technically, he's independant (small i). But, also technically, he's still a Democrat. So, again technically, he lied.

    I really don't care if Moore wants to make movies like Farenheit 911. As an American, it's his right to say what he wants. I do kinda think Disney wimped out in not distributing it, but that's their right, too. I don't like it when he claims to be making documentaries, when in reality he's making propaganda pieces.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

    May 12, 2004

    Err America -- Liberal Talk Radio at it's best

    My third all political post -- but this one DOES have some religious tie-ins, so it doesn't really count.

    I just finished skimming this NY Daily News article. I wish I could say I was shocked, or disappointed, or even surprised. I can't.

    They don't like us. At all. And they aren't very good at differentiating between liberals and conservatives when it comes to Christians. I can't think of very many devout (or even semi-devout) Christians who wouldn't be offended by what was aired. I've said it before -- this must be that "tolerance" thing that I hear so much about. I can do that, too -- but I won't stoop to that level of ignorance.

    I say let them have their radio station. Make sure it's broadcast all over the country. I want people to hear what these idiots actually have to say -- that's the best way to make sure that they are marginalized into obscurity. Which is exactly where they belong.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:01 PM | Comments (0)

    May 04, 2004

    Those Clever Lefties

    The British paper, The Guardian, has coined a new term for us -- fundagelicals. Fundagelism, it says, "oppose ... Gay marriage, abortion, gun control, taxes, the UN (and the currently top-rated candidate for anti-Christ, Kofi Annan), withdrawal from Iraq, Michael Moore, Janet Jackson's left breast". We believe in "Christian values and the future as foretold in the Book of Revelation".

    Wow. I didn't realize that we were so simplistic. Never mind that there are, at last count, at LEAST six different interpretations of Revelation among American evangelical Christians, and that even Fundamentalists (in the historic sense of the word) don't even totally agree. Never mind that to many who call themselves fundamentalist, the term 'evangelical' is an abomination, akin to calling an Ohio State supporter a Wolverine.

    I'm always amused at the simplistic ways that outsiders try to categorize Christian beliefs. I guess if you can find one segment of the population and exaggerate their beliefs to the point of absurdity, you don't really have to deal with their opposition to you in any rational form at all. Funny, I always thought that was what Christians were accused of doing.

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

    April 12, 2004

    My political rant

    I usually don't get into politics much at all. I joined the CRs in college, but only because the $5 "dues" paid for a pizza party I went to once. I joined Students for America, but only because of the cool poster they were giving out -- that and the Kennedy for Lifeguard buttons. But when I saw a few of these quotes, I got just a little steamed.

    • "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
    • "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." - Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry( D - MA), and others Oct. 9,1998

    • "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass
      destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998

    • "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons
      programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." - Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D,
      FL,) and others, December 5, 2001

    • "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical
      weapons throughout his country." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    • "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    • "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9,2002

    • "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep
      trying to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

    • "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

    If Bush lied about WMD in Iraq, what about all these fine, upstanding Democrats?

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

    April 02, 2004

    Jesus and Paul on ABC

    Monday night, Peter Jennings and ABC are going to be hosting Jesus and Paul: The Word and the Witness. It starts at 8pm eastern, and it will run for 3 hours.

    I'll be honest -- I didn't watch the Search for Jesus thing that ABC and Jennings did four years ago. I'm not optimistic about what the popular media says about Jesus, or the founding of Christianity. I've seen too many specials that rehash old arguements about historical reliability of the Gospels, the supposed suppression of the Gnostic writings, etc. With the popularity of The DaVinci Code, this has ony gotten worse. (I'm working on a fuller treatment of this subject for my web site. I may put some excerpts here, when I get something I'm happy with.)

    A lot of things have changed, though, in the last four years. I've gone from a marketing major to a seminarian (some people won't see a difference there ...). I've had a radical change of direction in my life, and I really think I need to see this special. So, assuming that my golf league is over by then, I'll be watching Jennings on Monday night. And Tuesday, you all get to read my rant right here. Aren't you lucky?!

    Posted by Warren Kelly at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)
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