The Catholic Church received just a mere 783 allegations of sexual abuse to minors in 2005. This is a decrease from 1,092 in 2004. Congratulations to all those priests who kept their pants on in 2005. Way to go!
Another new study came out saying that prayer has no effect on people’s recovery from heart bypass.
In fact, the study found some of the patients who knew they were being prayed for did worse than others who were only told they might be prayed for — though those who did the study said they could not explain why.
Just when you go and feel good about being a God believer something like this comes along and makes you feel completely stupid. Well, guess we can skip all that praying stuff now. Frees up a few hours a day for me. Bonus.
From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.
So take that! Atheists are doomed to a life of solitude and resentment. About 3% of our population is atheist. For some reason, they have trouble getting along so there is no organization of their power at all. Idiots.
Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors. He would be my favorite Christian author, I mean, besides me. He has a fascinating way with words and his insights from Scripture often make me feel like I’ve never scratched the surface of the Bible. I love that.
Disappointment With God deals largely with the book of Job and the issue of suffering. Where is God? Is He silent? Does He care? These are all questions that every believer faces from time to time.
The main problem with the book is that it’s hard to recommend to others. “So, you’re disappointed with God eh? And, what, you think I am too? Is that what you’re saying? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.” No, no, I just thought it was a good book. “Riiight.”
It reminds me of a book by Paul Tournier entitled Marriage Difficulties. It’s one of the best books he wrote but I can’t recommend it to anyone!
You will never look at the book of Job the same again. A great read. Every believer should read this book and then read everything else Yancey has written.
Chain e-mails are usually annoying and mostly dumb. Here’s an exception.
The American Family Association has not yet ordered a boycott of Wal-Mart but they are encouraging their troops to complain to Wal-Mart officials for carrying Brokeback Mountain.
“We’ve seen a downward spiral trend by the Wal-Mart Corporation in which they are more and more becoming like the world rather than the family-friendly company we grew up with.” a spokesman said.
We grew up with a family-friendly Wal-Mart? Maybe the AFA should boycott the breakdown of the American family. I grew up with a mom and a dad, not a Wal-Mart. Wow, maybe we should boycott the AFA for having leaders from dysfunctional families.
Several times I have recounted my run-ins with the old lady Jehovah Witness that stops by my house. I always feel bad arguing with old ladies, but now I have more to worry about.
Today a JW arrested for bilking a 100-year old woman out of $7 million is up for a parole hearing three years into his 25 year sentence. His accomplice was denied parole the other day and it doesn’t look so good for this guy either.
The money is still missing, and only about $400 of the court-ordered $7.15 million in restitution has been paid back, authorities said. After allegedly convincing Anderson that entrusting her fortune to them was in keeping with her religious beliefs, the pair used a complex system of interlocking companies and trusts to drain Anderson’s accounts, while they lived in expensive homes, drove luxury cars and hosted trips abroad to places like Europe and the Caribbean, records show.
How much worse will it be when a 100-year old JW bilks a 32-year old man out of his life savings? Of course, my life savings will allow her to go on a trip to Dubuque, but still. Gotta be more careful out there.
Upon occasion I come across something that is amazingly insightful. Upon occasion it just so happens that I wrote the amazingly insightful thing. I think my Anti-Itch Meditation for church this last week was one of those occasions.
I am following Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology and he is talking about the things that accompany salvation, what all we get with Christ. He made two points, which I elaborate on in the second part of the article.
1) You cannot expect the unbeliever to live up to the believer’s standard. Unbelievers wouldn’t understand it nor have the spiritual power to do it.
2) Positional truths are not felt. You do not feel justified, sanctified or redeemed, you believe it on faith.
However, the Church has gotten busy acting on the exact opposite of these two statements.
1) The Church is trying to use government to legislate morality.
2) The Church is teaching “believers” to experience God through senses rather than faith.
This leads to my conclusion, tying in both concepts in one blistering statement.
When the antichrist appears he will do two main things–tie in government with religion and impress people with signs and wonders. Aint it amazing that the Church, the institution created by God and entrusted with His Word, is doing more to facilitate the antichrist’s designs than the world is? Highly ironic and quite frankly, it makes me sick.
Last night I was doing Council Time for our 3-6 grade kids at our Awana Club. I have been talking about aspects of God for several months so I thought it would be interesting to give them a chance to ask me any questions they had about God instead of me just going on with what I thought they should hear.
It was quite interesting. Kids are capable of thinking. One girl then asked this question after someone asked how God made Adam, “Is it true that women have one more rib than men? My science book says they do.”
Now, I have never heard this before and I was a bit taken aback that her science book would say that. I did a search on the internet and came up with tons of web sties explaining that men and women have the same amount of ribs and that Adam did not change the rib cages of humanity.
I couldn’t believe she said this was in her science book. But, then again, she is homeschooled and I know enough about Christian publishing to know you can’t hardly believe anything they publish. I sure hope this error is taken care of before we train too many more kids to look completely stupid.
That question has boggled the minds of the best theologians for years. And, now we know. A woman pulled up to the Salt Lake LDS temple and ran up to the gates with her three-year old son and threw a diaper in. Security then chased her around and caught her.
“She said, ‘My blood is their covenant and I’m here to cut that.’ At one point she claimed to be Jesus.”
She has now been hospitalized and her son taken into protective custody. I don’t know, I can kind of relate to this woman. Not the whole Jesus bit, but the “Good grief, what do I do with this loaded diaper?” problem. If I had been around the LDS temple, I may have considered the same action. My son has created diapers that ended many covenants.
Two pastors in Jakarta, both at the same church, they were actually sisters, were beaten to death. Their heads were stomped and they were beaten with a broomstick, goodness. Police have arrested the murderer–a former youth pastor whom they recently fired.
On the bright side, this makes their decision to fire him look pretty reasonable. He intended only to kill the one sister but the other one walked in so he killed her too. The sister pastors were 59 and 74. It’s a strange world.
Matthew Winkler, the slain pastor from Tennessee, had his funeral service yesterday. His father, also a minister, did the officiating. Although Mary has revealed her motive in doing it, it has yet to be released to the public.
To all accounts this was a happily married couple. He had been at this church for about a year. It is amazing how much of a wrong impression you can get of people. How few people we really know.
Churches often do weird things to make money–bingo, beer festivals, guilt trips, putting a Starbucks in the lobby or maybe renting out some of their space. But this has to be the strangest example I’ve come across yet–a church renting their vicarage to a dominatrix, until recently that is.
Over at my other blog, Biking Blind, I did a post on a much needed bit of advice that many people are afraid to discuss. I, however, enjoy the liberty I have in Christ and will use it to help out my brother with this annoying problem we all face at one time or another in our lives.
And also, on the lighter side, enjoy the account of my thrilling ride of yesterday.
Today’s Theological Word is Progressive Dispensationalism. Progressive Dispensationalism.
(Yes, I understand that is really two words, work with me.) I have had the book Progressive Dispensationalism sitting on the floor of my basement for about two years now, ready to be read whenever I felt sufficiently inspired to do so. I finally did. It should have stayed on the floor.
If you are not familiar with basic dispensational thought none of this will make sense to you, so don’t worry about it. If you are familiar with dispensational thought this will make a little bit of sense to you.
Progressive Dispensationalism is an attempt to compromise between dispensational thought and covenant theology. It deals with the various covenants of God (Noah, Abraham, David. . .) as dealt with through the dispensations. It ceases to find a clear distinction between Israel and the Church. It goes so far as to say that the Church is a form of the kingdom now and that Jesus is the King of the Church.
This article will explain the dangers of it more than I ever will. If you are interested in more information about this topic please consult the book I read. It explains where they are coming from.
The nation’s major television networks have rejected an ad that shows a gay couple and others being banished from a church, saying it violates their rules against controversial or religious advertising.
The 30-second commercial for the United Church of Christ will begin airing on cable networks and Spanish-language stations next week. The ad, called “Ejector,” shows a gay couple, a single mother, a disabled man and others flying out of their pews as a wrinkled hand pushes a red button.
Text on the screen reads, “God doesn’t reject people. Neither do we,” and a voiceover says, “The United Church of Christ. No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”
I was thinking of arguing the theological point over whether God rejected people or not but then decided not to as these folks have never been real concerned with what God actually says anyway. I guess their point is fine. Whatever. Kind of weird that this ad makes our networks be sensitive.
Orthodox Jews have just been told to amputate their children’s dolls so as not to facilitate idolatry. I kid you not.
Basing the move on a Biblical ban on the possession of idols, Mordechai Eliyahu, a Sephardic rabbi, broadcast his edict on a religious radio station calling for an arm or a leg to be dismembered. In the case of a teddy bear or other stuffed animals, the children will see their beloved toys lose an ear or an eye instead. “It is very important that these toys do not remain intact so as to remove the element of idolatry,” said Eliyahu.
“A zeal for God but not according to knowledge” comes to mind. If only they could know the liberty of Christ that makes teddy bear eyes OK. As they measure the tiny weight of seeds they make people twice the children of hell. Many, many verses come to mind.
The minister’s wife accused of killing her husband shuffled into court for her arraignment Monday wearing an orange jail uniform and shackles and clutching her attorney’s hand. Mary Winkler, 32, didn’t enter a plea. Her only words were “no sir” when the judge asked if she had any questions after he read the complaint against her and explained her rights.
General Sessions Court Judge Bob Gray delayed a decision on bail until a preliminary hearing, set for Thursday.
She also issued a letter that she was sorry for everything she had done. I’d like to say stuff about it but I know nothing so I will wait and make my judgmental statements later on when my judgmentalism can be better informed.
Today’s theological word is Nestorianism. Nestorianism.
Nestorianism is the study of the biblical teaching on the living places of birds. It is rather a limited study and yet, as with most theological concepts, people make the Bible say lots more than it really does.
OK, I just made that up. Nestorianism is the teaching that Jesus Christ was not divine and human at the same time. In fact, Jesus was divine in heaven but became just a guy on earth and then returned to heaven to be God again. They would never say that “God suffered” because He didn’t, Jesus the guy did.
Nestorianism was labeled a heresy back in the fifth century. It is named after the notorious Nestorius. This is somewhat unfortunate for Nestorius because he was opposed to this teaching his whole life! In fact, Nestorius was in the argument because he said that Mary was not the mother of God, just of Christ. So people labeled him as saying that Jesus was two people.
Nestorius’s dying words were “I never. . .” Not really, I made that up too.
A new pro-life art exhibit is on display in Torrance, CA. The featured item, or at least the item getting the most attention, is sculptor Daniel Edward’s statue entitled, and I quote, ‘Nude Britney Spears Giving Birth.’ It depicts a naked Britney Spears giving birth to her son on a bear skin rug. If that don’t make you want to celebrate life, I don’t know what will.
25,000 “Christian” teens met in San Francisco to protest the violence and sex in the media. Well, it wasn’t exactly a protest as such. You had to pay to attend a two-day event with entertainment and stuff. Get this statement from a San Francisco assemblyman who opposes gatherings of fundamentalist types: “they’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they’re disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco.”
That’s funny stuff right there. Please. I mean, don’t get me wrong, “Christian” teens are obnoxious and loud, but seriously, more so than other weirdo groups in San Francisco? I think not. One youth pastor said “I’m not here to hate anybody. This isn’t about Bush or gays or anything other than being here to worship together.”
A guy went to a pet shop the other day and was looking at the Oscar fish with his kids when he noticed that one of them said “Allah” on the side of it and the other one said “Mohammad.” He bought them and has them at a friend’s house near a mosque so other Muslims can come see them.
“I believe it is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and it makes my faith even stronger.” He quoted a passage from the Koran which suggested Allah will send signs. It reads: “Soon we will show them our signs in the regions, and in their own souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth.”
Allah better knock it off or I’m gonna have to change religions pretty soon here. I’m just impressed that an Oscar fish spelled “Mohammad” correctly, I never spell it right the first three times.
Religious people have been annoyed with secular cell phones apparently, because of all the junk that comes with them. There are certain rabbis who encourage people to get cell phones that just make and answer phone calls instead of being one more entertainment device.
Muslims like phones that remind them of prayer time. Christians like to have cute little Christian song ringtones. There is even a service in England where you can text message prayer requests to a company who will then pray for you. The religious cell phone market is taking off to market to these religiosos.
I personally don’t have a cell phone. If anyone desperately needs to get a hold of me they can write me a letter. Nor do I routinely feel the need to desperately need to talk to anyone. Man has existed for centuries without being able to desperately talk to each other. It’s one more way to waste your money and no man can serve two masters. How’s that for religion?
Mary Winkler has confessed to killing her pastor husband. Still no word as to motive. Regardless of why she did it, she sure created a mess. Her three little girls were with her when she was arrested. Here is an account of it by the officer who arrested her.
“They looked like every other family, like any other person on vacation,” Whitlock said. Whitlock’s first thought: how the girls… ages one, six and eight… were coping. “First thing that ran through my head was the condition of the kids,” he added. “Were they okay? Was she going to be hostile or cooperate without any incident?”
“They were extremely upset, but we tried to comfort them,” Whitlock said. “They all came together. They were troopers, looking out for each other.” “They were really sharp,” added Lt. Rusty Roberts. “It was really heartbreaking to see them like that, but really heartwarming to find them in as good condition as they were.”
If you spend any time in the Northwoods you will notice an odd breed of pine tree that grows in straight rows. It grows like no other tree, but there will be acres and acres of these things in perfectly straight rows.
Now, no Creation Scientist has picked up on this rare tree and I’m not sure why, maybe they’ve never seen them. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out this amazing proof of Intelligent Design. If these trees can figure out how to grow in perfectly straight rows, evenly spaced, there must be a God, an Intelligent Being, behind it all.
I’ve done my part to point this out. I want to see this infallible proof in our textbooks next year.
When I was a kid my family and I would go on numerous vacations driving all over the country. Being as we were a pastor’s family, we would always notice local churches. I remember my mother driving past signs for towns with funny names and making comments to my dad about having a church there.
For instance, Embarrass, Wisconsin, “Oh Ken, how would you like to be the pastor of Embarrass Baptist Church?” Or Skunk Creek, Montana, “Ken, how would you like to pastor Skunk Creek Bible Church?”
Well, I saw an article this morning that kicked off these fine memories. I only wish we did more traveling in North Central Arkansas. Here is the line I read, “Men of all ages are invited to attend a fishing seminar and dinner hosted by First Baptist Church of Flippin on Tuesday, March 28.”
Oh, what I wouldn’t have given as a little boy to hear my sweet mother say, “Oh Ken, how would you like to pastor the Flippin Bible Church?” First Flippin Church. Flippin Catholic Church. Flippin Willowcreek. Oh, that’s good stuff.
A small Easter display was removed from the City Hall lobby on Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians. The display – a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words “Happy Easter” – was put up by a City Council secretary.
The guy who ordered the display to be taken down said it was not about political correctness. It’s about government not promoting religion.
OK, now seriously, how many of you associate bunnies with anything to do with Jesus dying on the cross? The fact that I, as a Christian, am not offended by bunnies being removed surely shows how little bunnies have to do with Jesus. I mean, I, as a Christian, am more than willing to be offended by just about anything and this doesn’t even cause a blip on the offend-o-meter.
Of course, what this really does is demonstrate once more how weird the political position of MN is. This is the same joint that banned red poinsettias because they promoted Christmas. It also happens to be the only state to cast their vote for Walter Mondale in 1984. Say no more.
The wife of Pastor Winkler has now confessed to murdering him. There has been no disclosure of motive.
Today’s Theological Word is: Hermeneutics. Hermeneutics.
The only people who use this word are people who went to seminary or want to sound like they did. Upon hearing this word, my brain conjures up images of nerds running around with no clothes on. Not a very good word for me.
A “hermeneutic” is an outline or structure by which you interpret the Bible. You may have a Covenant hermeneutic or a dispensational hermeneutic. What you read in the Bible will be understood against your basis of interpretation, your hermeneutic. “Hermeneutics” refers then to the principles you will use to interpret a text.
Let’s say I have the “God is a woman” hermeneutic. My interpretation of every verse in the Bible will be read through this hermeneutic. That being the case, I will not use the same hermeneutics to interpret a passage as a sane person would, but rather I would use the hermeneutic which would shape each verse to prove that God was a woman.
If you have a messed up hermeneutic you will have a messed up interpretation of Scripture. Got it? Now you can confidently go forth and pretend you went to seminary.
Tennessee investigators were in Alabama questioning the wife of a slain minister Friday, two days after he was found shot to death in a bedroom of their church parsonage. Matthew Winkler, a 32-year-old minister at Selmer’s Church of Christ, was found dead in the parsonage Wednesday after he missed an evening service and church members went searching for him.
Mary Winkler was found with the couple’s three young daughters late Thursday in Orange Beach, Ala., 340 miles south of the Selmer church. She had not been arrested or charged, but authorities said she was a suspect in the shooting.
“The kids are just precious, and she was precious,” Killingsworth, a church member, said. “He was the one of the best ministers we’ve ever had — just super charisma.”
This is a breaking story so it’s hard to draw any conclusions from it. What I do know is that many “precious families” aren’t really. Pray for your family and the families of those you know.