Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More 9/11 Crackpottery

Anytime a person leaves a comment on my blog I receive an email version of the comment. So yesterday evening I checked my email and a commenter named "Stinker" had left a comment under my posts from last September 2006 when I offered my reflections upon 9-11.

Those who were around then may recall the heated comment exchange that occurred between my more rational visitors to my blog and a couple of crackpots who believed 9-11 is a massive inside job pulled off by that brilliant Carl Rove and the entire Bush regime. I had told the one key agitator at the time, an anonymous person who went by the name "Surfer Boy," about a book based upon the blog Debunking 9-11 Myths put out by Popular Mechanics magazine.

The newest commenter named "Stinker" left this note:

Be sure to check out the book “Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory” due out in March by Dr. David Ray Griffin.

This is just a theory, but I personally believe "Stinker" is really "Surfer Boy" posting under another pseudonym. "Surfer Boy" was the one tenacious commenter who stuck around for a while and clearly demonstrated that he had sadly lost his mind to paranoid delusions by exposing himself to tin-foil hat style conspiracy theories. Even more grievous is his admission to being a Bible-believing Christian who believes in tin-foil hat style conspiracies.

At any rate, that book he mentioned looks to be a withering critique of the PopMech book on 9/11 myths. I mean, it is written by a man with the letters "D" and "r" before his name, so I suppose that makes him an expert in a specialized field of study that provides him the expertise to take apart the arguments put forth by the authors of Debunking 9/11 Myths.

But what kind of "Dr." is this David Ray Griffin? Is he a doctor of mechanical engineering or structural architecture? When he sifts through the massive quantities of written material by the scores of engineers covering the collapse of the World Trade Center, does his doctorate give him the knowledge to weigh the evidence and evaluate opinion? More over, did this doctor retrace the steps of the authors he is criticizing and re-interview all the countless eye-witnesses and on-sight personnel who were on the scene almost immediately after the Pentagon was hit by the 757?

I bet this Dr. Griffin fellow is eminently qualified to address these matters and to rebut this PopMech book. Right?

Well, uh... No.

What exactly is David Ray Griffin a doctor of? Drum roll please...

Religion and Philosophy!

That's right. A religion and philosophy professor is going to publish a book allegedly challenging the research presented by the Popular Mechanics book. Amazing, isn't it? And not only that, but a retired professor of religion and philosophy.

Oh, but there is more.

What do you think David Ray Griffin's specialty is exactly?

Why none other than process theology, the crackpot, a-biblical viewpoint which is really warmed over paganism that believes the god of the world is really a big, gigantic evolving man-like being who changes according to its creation. Additionally, "Dr." Griffin is one of the leading philosophers of postmodern thought which believes absolutes are unknowable and "truth" about reality is what each individual person believes it is. Funny. Dr. Griffin says his training in logic helps him figure out the truth behind 9/11. A postmodern relativist using "logic?" Logic implies there is absolute truth.

This is the "doctor" who is going to offer his expert rebuttal to the debunkers of 9/11 conspiracy theories. A retired philosophy of religion professor from Santa Barbara. When it comes to offering "expert" opinion as to what happened during 9/11, this man is just as nutty as a tree of squirrels.

Doctor indeed.


Monday, January 29, 2007

The Jolly Yumburger

Down just a couple of blocks west of Grace Community Church, where my family attends, there is a strip mall on Woodman Ave. near Roscoe Blvd. of assorted Asian restaurants.

The newest one is Jollibee, the Philippines No. 1 fast food chain

According to one of the latest press releases found on the official website (see above), this is the burger joint that has done the near miraculous task of bringing together chicken and burger lovers:

Chicken and burger lovers now have more reasons to enjoy dining at Jollibee. From those who gave Filipinos their favorite crispylicious Chickenjoy and langhap-sarap burgers comes the new Crispy Chicken Burger, Jollibee’s latest addition to its ever-expanding sandwich menu.

I can hear Homer Simpson now, "Ummmm.... crispylicious"

I am not entirely sure what a langhap-sarap burger is, but I plan to find out soon. I hope it's not fishy.

I'm taking it that some how the Filipino people have genetically mutated a hamburger and a crispy chicken sandwich into one glorious, crispylicious eating experience.

The Jollibee sign tells us how good the food is at this place:

So, all you folks coming in for the Shepherd' Conference at Grace this year, make sure you go down a few blocks on Cantara St., right behind the church, to Woodman Ave., and pick yourself up a Crispy Chickenjoy Juicy Yumburger. I mean, you haven't lived until you do.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fourth Grader's Self-inflicted Injuries Ruins Fun For Classmates

[AP - Santa Clarita] Parkview Avenue elementary school administrators were forced to enact new lunchroom rules after a near choking incident with a fourth grade student. According to witnesses, James Clifton, a student from Ms. Wells class, inhaled a big 'ole gob of milk up into his nasal cavity causing him to erupt into severe coughing spasms.

"Brent kept daring Jimmy to blow milk out his nose," stated fellow class mate David Anders, "So Jimmy sucked up a bunch of it and he must have sucked it up wrong because he started coughing milk all over everybody sitting at the table."

"It was really cool," he added, "but now we can't have any more fun during lunch time."

Principle, Cathy Burns, became alarmed that lunchroom personnel did not react quicker to the situation because they were unable to hear the student's coughing due to the noise level in the cafeteria. "By the time we came to Jimmy's aide he was red faced from coughing uncontrollably," Principle Burns said. "I knew then I needed to do something to prevent this from happening again."

She then called the other school administrators to an emergency meeting where they adopted a list of new lunchroom rules. Some of the new rules include,

- No students are allowed to talk above a whisper
- No laughing with mouths full of food
- No food of any kind is to be inserted into any bodily orifice

In a letter to parents, Principle Burns stated she understood how many people may believe the new rules are excessive. "I am sure there will be parents and children angered by the new restrictions," she wrote, "but the safety of all the students is at stake."

This is not the first time James Clifton has been the source for school administrators to enact sweeping change with school policy. Last February, administrators agreed to ban all future Valentine Day card exchanges after four girls who are known as "class dogs" received what one teacher described as rude and inappropriate Valentine cards that insulted their appearance and weight.

"I was shocked Jimmy's parents even let him come to school with them," said Rita Spencer, James' then third grade teacher, "He managed to make four girls cry, and the parents of one of them had her removed from my class."

"I know it is disappointing for the students to no longer have a Valentine's Day party," added another teacher, Anita Williams, "But they need to understand the importance of preventing someone from getting his or her feelings hurt."

The most recent change happened last October when Principle Burns had all the play ground equipment removed after James broke his wrist during a miscalculated playground stunt.

"Jimmy was swinging real high on the swings," recalled Michael White, one of Clifton's close friends, "And when Angie Pappert, one of the girls Jimmy really wants to go with showed up with some of her friends, Jimmy yells out, 'Hey everybody! watch this!' and then he jumped out of the swing to the monkey bars but missed big time. He busted his hand up real good."

The students' recess time is now spent sitting on the grass quietly for two 15 minute periods, once in the morning and a second time in the afternoon.

"Jimmy can be funny sometimes," observed Angela Pappert, another of Clifton's classmates, "but he takes his goofing around too far. He is a big ruiner."

Labels: ,

Apologetic Evangelism methodology 101 (pt 5)

Foundational blocks for building walls of defense

I believe Christians often operate under two misconceptions concerning evangelism and apologetics:

First, they mistakenly believe these are disciplines only carried out by professional clergy like pastors or seminary trained individuals. But when we search the scriptures, we see that both apologetics, defending the Faith, and evangelism, proclaiming the gospel message, are disciplines all Christians must be prepared to carry out in their daily lives.

The second misconception is the false idea that in order to be an effective apologist and evangelist a person must have knowledge about every philosophy, religious group, or cult in the world. The Bible teaches us quite the opposite. True apologetics is defending the Christian Faith and worldview against any objections with the use of the scriptures, and true evangelism is the proclamation of the Christian Faith to the unbeliever.

Now, just to clarify a bit so as not to be misunderstood. I am not saying Christians should not be familiar with religious groups and cults, or even secular, atheistic thought for that matter. It is certainly wise that if a Christian lives in Utah where there is a heavy concentration of Mormons, that in order to engage these individuals effectively, he should familiarize himself with the basic beliefs and theology of Mormonism. Knowing a little background to your Hindu neighbor's culture and faith only works to the Christian's advantage if and when an evangelistic encounter occurs.

However, faithful apologetics and evangelism begins with the Christian knowing the scriptures and the doctrines of his or her faith. For it is the Christian faith a believer defends and it is the scriptures the Christian presents to the non-Christian and it is those scriptures the Holy Spirit uses in the hearts of the non-Christian to convict him of sin and regenerate his heart to believe the gospel. Thus, an evangelistic apologist should not worry about how worldly-wise he may be, or how eloquent a speaker he may not be, or how well he may know a gospel presentation like the Roman Road. His concern should be first and for most a working understanding of the gospel and all it entails.

Turning to the Bible, I believe God has provided us with a specific revelation into how we can develop an effective apologetic defense.

First Peter 3:15-17 lends us this insight. Peter writes,

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Before proceeding, it is important to recognize that Peter wrote these words to Christians who had been dispersed primarily by persecution from the Roman state (1:1). In fact, backing up to 1 Peter 3:13-14, Peter notes to his readers how Christians are specifically marked out by God's enemies, and they are not to be fearful of their threats of harm. In our modern world today we as Christian may not be suffering physical persecution unlike our brethren in places like North Korea, China and Islamic dominated societies, but we do suffer a form of intellectual and ideological persecution from our general society.

In recent years, there has risen an anti-theistic, anti-Christian sentiment which produces "evangelists" bent on destroying the Faith. Sadly, Christian churches have squandered opportunities to prepare the people to engage these enemies. Rather than preparing Christians to live spirit-filled and sanctified lives so as to do spiritual battle with those who stand opposed to the Faith, local churches have wasted their time entertaining their youth with frivolous amusements, preparing their people to vote Republican, and how to live Red State moral lives. In turn, when these Christians do encounter hostile enemies, they are unprepared to defend themselves and many join the shipwrecked lives of those who abandoned Christianity.

Instead of these frivolous amusements, Christians need to be grounded in the knowledge of the scriptures, the theology of the Faith, and have a world view built upon the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10,11). Hence, an effective apologetic begins with a life saturated in God's Word that shows forth character submitted to the authority of Christ's Lordship. It is grounded in a person's godly character. It is not based upon knowledge alone, but upon knowledge filtered through a life transformed by the gospel.

With these three verses, I believe Peter presents,

Four foundational blocks Christians should use to build a solid defense.

First is a Christ-centered Defense:

Peter says to, "Set apart Christ as Lord" in our hearts. Set apart is the basic meaning of "to sanctify." Any object or person considered sanctified has been set apart for special use. Peter writes in 1:2 that Jesus set us apart at our salvation for His service. We in turn, in response, now set apart Christ in our hearts. This is first accomplished by the grace of God as we renew our minds. As we saw previously, the Bible tells us that when we were sinners, we had darkened minds which were alienated from God (Ephesians 4:17ff.) . Now that we have been saved, our minds have been set free from that darkness and a good portion of our spiritual growth involves us removing all of our previous sinful thinking and replacing it with godly thinking. Peter states that we set Christ apart as Lord, which speaks of his sovereign ruler ship over our lives. He is upon His throne and we are His subjects. We also set Christ apart in our hearts. Our heart is our mission control-center, the citadel from where the issues of life spring (Proverbs 4:23).

How exactly do we set Christ apart as our Lord in our hearts? I believe by having a consistent, God-centered worldview.

The Lord is our ultimate starting point. True knowledge and wisdom comes from a life looking through the glasses of divine revelation as contained in scripture. Understanding the Lord helps us to understand the world in which we live. We now have true knowledge because we have been placed into a realm where we can now understand truth correctly (Colossians 1:13). When we set apart Christ as our Lord it impacts our ethics, how we interact with our fellow men; our personal character, how we conform to the law of God and reflect it in our behavior; and our evangelism, how we engage the lost world so as to win converts. Setting apart Christ as Lord in our hearts impacts our worldview entirely and comprehensively.

A Prepared Defense:

Peter writes that we are "to always be ready to give a defense or answer" to those who ask of us. The word defense is the word apologia where we derive apologetics. I believe there are two ways we can be prepared:

Constantly prepared. A Christian should always be on the alert for evangelistic opportunities. Like a doctor on call or a soldier ready to go to battle at a moment's notice. There must be a willingness to be looking around for opportunities to proclaim the gospel. And believe me, they can happen before you know it. Perhaps coming out of the grocery store there are Jehovah's Witnesses handing out literature. How exactly would you engage them? Or maybe you sit beside a person on an airplane trip who sees you are reading a Bible or some Christian book and inquires of you as to what it means to be a Christian. How would you respond to this person? There are potentially numerous evangelistic opportunities sitting around us if only we would be alert and prepared to meet them.

Knowledgably prepared. We are to be ready to give an answer for our hope. Hope is a word that sums up the assurance we have of our salvation. In other words, when people ask of us why we believe what we believe, we are prepared to answer them with the gospel message that saved us and will certainly save them. If we are to be constantly prepared we must know what we are going to say. That is why it is vitally important for all Christians, regardless of their station in life, whether pastor or laymen, to have a working knowledge of Christian doctrine. This means first and foremost a thorough familiarization with the Bible, both OT and NT. To be familiar with the Bible means we must be reading it regularly. A Christian cannot expect to be a credible evangelistic apologist if he is not familiar with the Bible. Moreover, we must know theology. As much as it appears to be a daunting task to pick up a 900 page book with little bitty print and read through it, I believe it is a necessary exercise to be a faithful apologist.

Now, the question can be asked, "But I thought you said up above that it is unnecessary to know about a whole bunch of stuff outside of the Bible?" Yes, that is true, but systematic theology is different, because a solid theology helps the Christian understand the Bible thematically and doctrinally. It will define crucial, biblical words like justification, atonement, redemption, salvation, etc., words Christians may use in an evangelistic encounter, and we want to be prepared to use them accurately with precision. As a Christian studies faithfully the Word of God, while supplementing his study with the works of solid, trusted men who know how to handle the scriptures properly, he will have all he needs to have a prepared defense.

A Humble Defense:

Our answer to the inquirers of our faith must be presented with meekness and fear. Meekness has the idea of power under restraint. Like a massive horse that could trample a man to death, but is harnessed and controlled to pull a wagon. A Christian with much ability and knowledge with debating could easily put down a mocking opponent, but rather than overwhelming a non-Christian with that ability and knowledge, he keeps it harnessed and restrained so as to maintain respectability and a God honoring appearance to others who may be watching his response. The word fear adds to this thought of meekness. Biblically, fear is understood as a God given respect and reverence toward our sovereign creator. In the context of 1 Peter, the apostle may have in mind a fear that is a necessary caution that we do not come across as self-righteous, proud, and arrogant when we provide our answers for our Faith. Additionally, we show respect and reverence to those individuals we are evangelizing.

Both of these terms put together have direct bearing upon our speech and attitude. Because whether we like it our not, how we conduct ourselves in an evangelistic encounter will be more than half the battle. I have seen Christian young men (even I being number among them at one time) who may be theologically bright, articulate, and gifted with the ability to think fast on his or her feet when responding to the questions and criticisms of non-Christians, but their haughty attitude demolishes their entire apologetic because they come across as a jerk.

I can remember watching two Christians engage two homosexual activists on Larry King Live a few months ago. One Christian was kind, reverent, and respectful to those men he was engaging. The other Christian was angry and seemed to perceive them as enemies. Both of them basically said the same exact thing about the sinfulness of homosexuality, but only the first one earned a hearing from the homosexuals because of his meekness and fear. Remember, we are not to win an argument, but win a soul.

A Holy Defense:

Then lastly, Peter writes that we are to have a good conscience. The conscience is that God implanted ability to evaluate the moral quality of human actions and warns of sin by producing shame and guilt. All men have a conscience. It is the key factor of man being created in the image of God and the reason why hardened atheists can offer moral judgments even though they can't justify those judgments based upon their chosen worldview. A clear conscience is produced by a life of holy integrity when God redeems a person and declares him righteous on account of Christ's atoning work.

In an apologetic encounter, we are not to come across in such a way that our conduct could produce mockery on the part of the non-Christian. We want to walk with integrity before the unbelieving world. Again, this is coupled with the previous defensive principle of being controlled with meekness and fear. We never want those to whom we are witnessing Christ to have an opportunity to ridicule our Savior on account of our foolish behavior.

I have often seen Christian protestors waving cruel signs that dishonor the individuals they are intending to evangelize. Whether they be homosexuals, or abortionists, or even poor folks enslaved to a cult, the Christians, in the name of being a "prophet of God," believe it is their duty to hurl insulting religious remarks toward those they are attempting to convert. All the while, the non-Christians walk away doing exactly what Peter says we should never allow them to do: reviling their conduct. These Christians, rather than causing those who mock Christ to be ashamed due to the Christians' good conduct, allow their poor conduct to heap shame upon their heads. This is what we must avoid.

With these four foundational defenses ready in the personal lives of Christians, they then can be prepared to challenge the non-Christians. That is what I will take up next time.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Death and Taxes

So yesterday, after I blogged about the downfall of Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, a commenter left a comment under a previous post I wrote at the beginning of Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind's legal troubles back in the fall of 2006.

This is what was written:

Fred, it isn't the "government's money" it is the hard-working person's money, which is why our forefathers were against a federal taxation system. It was not until the early 1900s when the government began to get into serious debt, through irresponsibility, that the Federal Reserve was formed and soon the IRS. In order to try to pay back THEIR debt they enslaved the American worker and started the federal taxation system, which has done nothing but increase the amount of taxes as the Nation Debt has increased. Our forefathers were against American citizens paying taxes unless they lived and/or worked within the Federal jurisdiction known as Washington, D.C. The federal taxation system in this country has enslaved the American worker and it directly affects the economy, even more so now that taxes are on the rise and jobs are on the decline. It's important to check the real history of our nation. Things have not always been as they are today and were not originally intended to be this way.

O.K., let us assume a moment that all this background history is correct. I'll be honest and say up front I am a bit in the dark when it comes to the history of the IRS and federal taxes. Let us say it is true the federal government has been enslaving hardworking Americans for many years now with a phony tax system. So, what? How is a Christian to respond to all this enslaving?

Let me offer up some thoughts in response:

It isn't the governments money? I beg to differ. Al Capone thought this way. Now, I am in no way defending the dilapidated and corrupt tax system of the United States government, however, the federal government has enacted laws that makes it THEIR money. In addition, they have the authority to use force, usually displayed by messing up people's personal lives like Dr. Dino, in order to get THEIR money. It does not matter how corrupt the system is or how unfair and unjust. We as Christians, according to scripture, are to render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar even if Caesar squanders his money on 600 million dollar bridges to no where.

I also notice that those individuals, whether Christians or not, who like to appeal to how the "Founding Fathers" set things up and invoke tax principles that applied to a small, agrarian society 200 plus years ago, are individuals who tend to have a problem with authority in general. In reference to the Christians who are like this, they take the "priesthood of the individual believer" and "the independent autonomy of the local church" just a tad too far into unbiblical extremes, so that they delude themselves into thinking they are beholden to no one except "King Jesus." This mentality is a key reason independent fundamentalists get into trouble with the law and split churches. But let us remember that it is "King Jesus" who has ordained various authorities whether they be personal or governmental, good or bad (1 Peter 2:13-25); and when a person foolishly opposes some unfavored tax law, or even the reproof of the local pastor, the person is rebelling against "King Jesus" and He will judge his treason.

These are also the folks, for the most part, who have a low view of God's sovereignty over the affairs of the world. As a result of this fallacious belief, they like to entertain conspiracy theories to explain all the ills that happen in the world. International bankers are to blame for the tax system in the U.S., or something along those lines. See my Tin-foil hat theology series for more detail.

Now, to the commenter's credit, the person did conclude the comment by saying Dr. Dino is guilty and deserves what he is getting. That I was happy to read. But, I am concerned way too many fine folks are going to find themselves in a world of hurt if they make misguided ideas about tax philosophy the standard by which they function in society.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dinosaur Man to get Ten Years in Prison

There is a reason why I have Kent Hovind, a.k.a. "Dr. Dino," listed under my "Quack Theology" category in my side column: The man is a disgraceful embarrassment to the Christian faith. I have written about my feeling in more detail here.

I use to have him listed under my "Muddled Theology," but when I learned of his beliefs concerning the Christian ministry and the IRS, he was someone I found to be unqualified to defend the Faith.

I don't care how nice people say he is, or how many places he has spoken exposing modern day evolutionary theory, or whether or not he gives away his literature for free, if you attempt to side step the God ordained governmental laws because you have deluded yourself into believing you have a divinely stamped exemption, you deserve what you get.

That is exactly what happened. Dr. Dino received 10 years in prison for tax evasion.

I had to roll my eyes when I read the report, because after Hovind was sentenced, he allegedly broke down in tears and started ball babying that he didn't know and if it is just money the government wants he will give it to them. I can't believe it. He falls back on his unwitting supporters to bail him out of his woes. Why doesn't he use the funds from his quarter million dollar challenge? I mean, if the man agreed to pay a quarter million dollars to the first person who could provide clear and compelling evidence of increased complexity from one lesser organism to a higher organism, he was prepared to pay up. Right?

I am sorry, but God has extended to Dr. Dino many opportunities to repent and make right with the IRS. He has been carrying on with this "I'm God's missionary so I don't have to pay taxes" stick for 10 or 15 years. The IRS has confronted him many times and he simply ignores them.

Annoyingly, his fans want to make him into some martyr-victim of atheistic evolutionists who couldn't withstand the effectiveness of his creationist apologetics and their only resort was to silence him by dummying up some bogus "tax fraud" charges. Keep a few things in mind before you go out and embarrass yourself further with this line of argumentation. Both Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute have made significant in roads to challenging the predominant worldview of Darwinian evolution in our education system. If mean old atheists wanted anyone silenced it would be either one of these organizations. Perhaps his die-hard fans will attempt to argue that he is an easy target, but he is a self-taught amateur who relied heavily upon the work of these two other groups, especially Answers in Genesis. Dr. Dino is small fries compared to these two and doesn't command the same level of respect.

His wife, Jo, had her sentencing postponed until March 1st, 2007. She could possibly face similar jail time.

Oh, and by the way, someone may wish to contact his ministry and have them update his website. I don't believe Dr. Dino will be having any speaking engagements for a while.

Labels: , ,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Musical Tastes: My Personal Adventures in Music (Pt. 4)

My Brush with CCM Celebrity

I have been reviewing the development of my personal tastes and convictions with music. In my last post in this series, I recapped how I was introduced to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM).

As I began collecting the albums of various CCM artists, I had mixed feelings about my new found musical interest. On the one hand, as a church attending kid who wanted to take his faith seriously, I thought I must listen to CCM exclusively because it honored the Lord. Yet, on the other hand, I was a bit embarrassed by the quality of CCM. Though some of the songs were spiritually uplifting, the music had an amateurish, syrupy, bland sound and I could not, with clear conscience, recommend CCM to my unsaved friends as an alternative to their secular music.

I can remember reading a comparison chart some Christian youth magazine put together where many of the CCM groups were listed and declared as suitable matches to specific secular bands. So, if for example you liked the secular groups Duran Duran and Journey, then you would equally enjoy the CCM groups Whiteheart and Petra. The problem, however, was that neither Whiteheart nor Petra sounded as good as Duran Duran and Journey. The entire chart was dishonest because none of the CCM groups listed sound anything like their matched secular counterparts. I started to see similar lists posted in the music section of Christian bookstores and I secretly thought they were a lame attempt to make these groups to sound better than they really were.

I figured my fate as a young, music loving Christian was to suffer with mediocre sounding CCM. Then, a Southern California metal hair band by the name of Stryper came on the music scene.
Now, it was not that Stryper was the absolutely best rock band, CCM or secular, ever to play. They certainly had their share of problems. For instance, the goofy yellow and black spandex outfits and the ridiculous attempt to justify their goofy outfits by tying their band to Isaiah 53:5. Yet, in spite of these "flaws" they were just way above sounding syrupy and bland, at least in my mind, and I liked the metal edge.

By the time I discovered their existence, they had released two albums: The Yellow and Black Attack and Soldiers Under Command. I had to special order them from a rinky-dink Christian bookstore a Pentecostal couple had set up in two back rooms in their house. The lady behind the register seemed a tad troubled that such Christian music even existed, and a bit shaken some punk who lived in her town would order it to begin with. Another local music store carried full sized wall posters of the Stryper guys, so while other teenage boys hung posters in their rooms of a bikini clad Heather Thomas or Janet Jones, or big rock bands like Van Halen and RATT. I had posters of four long-haired pretty boys dressed up like bumble bees.

I collected all of Stryper's albums up to In God We Trust, the album they released before they had their year of so of "backsliding" and released a secular oriented album called Against the Law. By this time, my interest in Stryper as a group was waning, because God had genuinely saved me at the end of my college freshman year, and I was becoming more interested in spending my money on theological books rather than CCM. Plus, my true conversion was maturing my interest and conviction in music which I will chronicle in more detail with the next post.

Even after the guys from Stryper failed commercially as a secular band because their Against the Law album was not well received by anyone either Christian or worldly, and even though they made a testimony tape with Matt Crouch, son of Paul Crouch of TBN, apologizing and asking the CCM fans to forgive them for their few years as backsliders, I was no longer interested in their music.

During my first year in college, there was a smart mouthed guy named Steve Wiggins who lived in my dorm. I would often see him down in the lounge area of my dorm playing rock classics like Stairway to Heaven or Sweet Home Alabama on his guitar. He was quite talented for a smart mouthed punk. I had some classes with him and he was a favorite with all my other class mates because he was... well... a witty smart mouth.

As I noted above, God was pleased to save me the final week of my freshman year of college, so I went into my summer break a brand new Christian and when I returned for my sophomore year, my focus on life had been totally shifted. I attended church and was active in my college youth group before I was saved, but now I had a renewed commitment.

On one Sunday evening, during the "invitation" time at my SBC church, I noticed the smart mouth Steve Wiggins walking forward to speak with our college pastor. I perked up and watched him get counseled and pray a prayer. I filed the moment in the back of my mind. A few months later, I was gathered with some friends for a time of fellowship, and the host of our gathering informed us Steve was going to stop by and play some Christian tunes for us that he had written. I thought to myself, "Steve Wiggins the smart mouth?" Sure enough, he did come, and he did play, and it was outstanding. He also told us a little about his testimony and how he came to know the Lord.

After that, we began to develop something of a friendship. We would say "Hey" to each other on campus, talk a bit at Bible studies and church, and I especially enjoyed when he stopped by my place and told me, "Hey man, I wrote a new song I want you to hear." His music was excellent and the lyric content profound. We always encouraged him to make a demo tape and see if any music studio would be willing to record him. Steve did take up our encouragement, and he made a demo tape, and he sent it to a studio in Memphis that was interested in recording him.

Before I knew it, close to the last year or so before I graduated, Steve moved to Memphis to start a recording career with Ardent studios. He originally recorded under his name, Steve Wiggins, but after he recorded his second album called Big Tent Revival, he and the fellows who played with him took the name, Big Tent Revival, as the name of their group. They quickly became popular and were consistently nominated for a Grammy for the best gospel album each year they released an album. I always tried to call and congratulate Steve on being nominated and we would catch up a bit as to what was going on with each other.

In 1997 I received a phone call from Steve and he told me he was going to be in Anaheim to perform for a Harvest Crusade. He wanted me to come down to hook up after the show so we could talk. He told me he would get me VIP seats and all I needed to tell him was how many folks were coming. I invited a friend and his wife, and we drove down on a Saturday when Big Tent was performing.

Per Steve's instructions, we arrived an hour early and entered a special entrance that allowed us to by-pass the long line of crowds. Once through the special entrance, we were escorted to the VIP section where a young gal checked our names and took us to our seats. My friend and his wife left me for awhile to look for his cousin who attended Greg Laurie's church. While I was sitting there reading my Bible, I noticed three long, stringy haired guys enter the VIP section. A moment later, another long haired guy showed up and joined them. His hair wasn't as stringy as his pals. In fact, it was neatly permed like a woman's.

The young gal escorted the four of them to the row of seats immediately behind me. Even in the VIP section, the rows between the seats were exceptionally narrow, so that the knees of the guys were right up against my head. The permed haired guy sat behind me and I remember as I looked slightly to my right, I would see his zebra skinned boot as he sat with his left leg crossed. When he went to switch crossing his left leg to his right, he would bump my shoulder and I would hear this, "Sorry about that bud." To which I would reply, "No problem."

In addition to putting up with zebra boots bumping my shoulder, I had to listen to their inane conversations about pseudo-Christian topics. They prattled with each other over the infallibility of backward Bible codes in the book of Daniel and whether or not we were on the verge of the end times with the Clinton presidency. They also talked insistently about how great Van Halen was in concert when they played in Anaheim.

Eventually my friends returned and the show started and Big Tent Revival performed wonderfully. After everything was finished, my friends and I made our way down to the center stage and got Steve's attention. We spoke a bit and he told me he wanted to go get something to eat. He invited us down into the locker room area where all the other CCM bands were getting their belongings. We were again escorted with Steve, and when we went down into the locker rooms, he introduced us to all sorts of CCM folks like Crystal Lewis and Audio Adrenaline.

While Steve and I were speaking with the guitar player for Audio Adrenaline, I noticed the four guys who had been sitting behind me coming into the locker room. I immediately recognized the zebra skin boots on this little fellow with the pretty, woman-like hair. I told Steve about the guy in the zebra boots bumping me all night long, and their goofy conversation about Bible codes. The guitar player from Audio Adrenaline says, "Are you talking about him?" as he pointed to zebra boots. I replied, yep, that's the guy," and he responded, "Oh, that's Robert Sweet, the drummer from Stryper."

I was stunned. "You mean to tell me that the drummer for Stryper was kicking me in the back with his zebra skinned boots and discussing the nonsensical "theology" of Bible codes? I use to listen to their music!" I all of the sudden felt honored to have my shoulder kicked.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Billy Graham Memorial Barn

So yesterday, one of my dear, sweet volunteers took me aside privately and asked me, "I can remember some one telling me that Billy Graham is building a memorial to himself in the shape of a barn, that he wants to be buried in it, and that request has caused a rift in his family." She went on, "I've been asking around, but no one here knows what I'm talking about." She added, "Am I loosing my mind?"

I thought a moment and said, "Well, I can't comment upon your mental instability, but I haven't heard anything about that."

I could think of only one person who might: Phil Johnson. I called him immediately and he said, "Oh yeah. I read about that like right before Christmas." He continued, "Hold on a second. Here. I just "googled" Graham, Barn, Burial and came up with a whole list of articles." I got off the phone with him and sure enough, I "googled" the three magic words and POOF! There were several articles dated back to mid-December 2006 highlighting the construction of a Billy Graham Memorial Library in the shape of a barn. This is the first I had even heard of this.

One article highlighted how a person will walk through a giant glass cross entrance and be greeted with a mechanical cow designed by the Disney Company who will sing the Pirate's song. No, just kidding. I am sure the cow will give a tasteful presentation and be respectful to what the visitors are about to see. The folks will then follow straw filled paths to various multi-media presentations covering the life of Billy Graham.

As for the disagreement between family members. According to the article, Franklin wants to bury his parents at the memorial barn. Surely it won't be some massive gold laden sarcophagus in the shape of a hay bail sitting in the lobby, but Franklin's brother Ned doesn't like the idea, and so there is tension that threatens to split the "royal family of American religion" as the reporter describes them.

The barn theme, in case anyone is wondering, is a play on Billy's upbringing on a dairy farm. Its a good thing he wasn't raised on a chicken farm. The KFC people would be suing for copyright violations.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Bad Pastors

I meant to blog about the first entry in this, what I hope to be on-going, series posted by the fine fellows at Free St. George's. The second entry made over the weekend reminded me.

Having taken an ordination class my final semester in seminary, and hearing about the gauntlet the young seminarians have to navigate through in order to be ordained at Grace Church, I can sympathize with the young minister in the first post.


Friday, January 12, 2007

The wabbit and the snake

My cousin sent me this video clip.

I don't know what amuses me more: The rabbit laying the smack onto the snake or the yokel narrating the action.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

The New Founders

In case this flew right under your radar:

Clinton and Carter seeking "New" Baptist voice.

Carter said there was a need for a new voice for "progressive"(read, "we don't like the Bible telling us how to live") Baptists after the terrible schism that occurred during the 1980s.

Well, if we remember our SBC history, that schism was centered around the infallibility, inerrancy, and authority of God's Word, and as I recall, the trouble makers, like Carter and Clinton, didn't like the infallibility, inerrancy, and authority of God's Word because it conflicted with their apostate, liberal beliefs like abortion and women preachers. Ten plus years later the Bible conflicts with even newer apostasy like the embracing of homosexuality as normal, postmodern relativism, and religious pluralism.

Carter also noted that he has felt isolated over the years from the SBC. I can sympathize. I have felt isolated over the years from the SBC, but for entirely opposite reasons. Whereas Carter and Clinton believe the SBC takes the Bible too seriously so that it causes division, I believe they don't take it seriously enough.

I guess we'll see what happens.

A denomination for Israel hating womanizers. Should be interesting.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Awkward Moments

WARNING: The following post contains what some home school moms and ultra-spiritual sensitive types could consider lowbrow bathroom humor and not appropriate for a "Christian" blog. Even though I will make every attempt to be discreet, I risk offending someone somewhere. You have been forewarned.

I have an aversion with using public restroom facilities, especially when there is a need for me, as 1 Samuel 24:3 says, "to cover my feet." However, I am not like many people I know who get so weirded out by having to use a public restroom for when just such a need arises that I won't use it, if you know what I mean.

Having to use a public restroom for just such a need is bad enough. Worse still is a person who likes to chit-chat with you when you are occupying a stall. I have one goal in mind: finish my business and move on. This isn't the place to socialize. What is even worse still is if the person is a total stranger who wants to carry on a chit-chatty conversation with you. I have only had that happen a few uncomfortable times in my life.

So the other day at Wal-Mart I am overwhelmed with the urge to 1 Samuel 24:3. I go into the restroom to attend to my needs and while I am attending, another person comes in next to me. I hear some rustling around then it gets quite and then I hear,

Hey there. How are you doing?

I was stunned and responded with a reluctant, "Oh, I'm doing good."

There was a moment of silence, then I hear,

So, do you know what time it is?

I was stunned again. "Um, I don't have my watch, but I think it is around 4:30."

After another moment of silence I hear,

You know, I'll have to call you back. There's someone here who thinks I'm talking to him.

I quickly completed my goal and made a hasty retreat.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Answers that KJV onlyists are afraid you will provide (pt 3)

I have been providing responses to the KJV onlyist challenge: 33 questions that modern Bible version advocates are afraid they will be asked.

See parts one and two

This concludes my responses. I did send an email to the website owner who posted these questions, and he did leave a couple of comments, but he doesn't appear as though he is willing to be challenged. Perhaps my last few responses will draw him into a discussion.

22. Do you know - for a fact - what the requirements of the American Bible society are, for a person to participate as a translator - in a Modern Version?

OK, what exactly are the requirements? I would be curious if our KJV advocate here really knows for himself. I went to the American Bible Society website and hunted all over the place to find an official list, but apparently they have found out that a league of KJV onlyists are out to expose their New Age agenda, because they don't list the requirements for a person to be a translator. I am guessing that either a KJV advocate knows something we MBV folks don't, or he is exaggerating the nature of these so-called requirements.

The next question has 3 or so extra questions woven in to one. I will look at them in turn:

23. Do you know - for a fact - what the requirements of the German Bible Society are, for a person to participate as a translator - in a Modern Version?

I figure that if our KJV onlyists can't produce a "requirement list" for the American version, he is going to be even more hard pressed to find one for the German group, it being in a foreign language that I am sure our KJV apologist here doesn't have a clue how to read.

Do you know that the United Bible Societies, the UBS Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament - used in 95% of the seminaries today - is essentially the product of the German Society and that they retain the Copyright on the Nestle-Aland Greek Text?

OK? So what? I am sure our KJV onlyists insists there is some conspiracy to be exposed here, but I have yet to see any serious evidence for one. At least evidence for one that should strike fear in my heart. By the way, most KJV onlyists carry on about how the KJV is a non-copyrighted work, but in reality, Oxford and Cambridge presses hold the copyright on the KJV. See an extended study on the KJV and copyrights.

Do you realize that the Beliefs, Teachings, Ideology and Methods of Translation of the German Bible Society will therefore be evidence on every page of the Greek Text that Modern Versions use (since modern versions rely almost exclusively on the Nestle-Aland bad Greek Text)?

First off, it would be helpful if our MBV accuser provided some documentation, or any evidence for that matter, explaining the "Beliefs, Teachings, Ideology and Methods of Translation" by this black-hooded German Bible Society. All we have from him are baseless accusations. Secondly, how is he defining "bad." I have an idea, but in order from him to establish some credibility for his conspiratorial delusions, I would like to have something more substantial.

His next question, question 24, is fairly lengthy, so I will not quote it in its entirety.

24. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, if the Germans Bible Society was around in the Time of Hitler, (which it was), and if the German Bible Society operated during the time of Hitler's Third Reich in Germany (which it did), and if it needed a Nazi "certificate of good standing" (which it did), then what would this mean...for your modern Bible Version?

I guess it would mean that anyone who uses a MBV is a goose-stepping, SS, Brown shirt wearing Jew hater. Seems to me that is what he is implying anyways. Again, our author suffers from a lack of substantive footnoting. I would like to see a bit of documentation demonstrating a tight connection between the German Bible Society, the Nazis and my ESV. Furthermore, as the question charges, I want to see where the "Nazis" corrupted the OT. Apparently they did, correct? The older Hebrew texts are still in print. If it is true that Nazis made and approved the OT text from which MBV translated, then our KJV apologist should be able to give us clear examples where the Nazis changed the OT.

Additionally, the charge against the German Bible Society is a tad misinformed, because they did not officially organize until 1948, three years after WWII. There may had been some semi-organized group of Christians around when the Nazi took over Germany, but it is factually mistaken to charge the official German Bible Society with collaborating with Hitler.

Oh, but there is more.

The author goes on in his question to implicate Hebrew scholar, Rudolf Kittel, who published three editions of the Hebrew OT, as being a Nazi anti-Semite and tied to the Nazi party. The problem with this charge is that Rudolf Kittel died in 1929, a few years before the Nazi party came into power. More than likely, our KJV onlyist is confusing Rudolf with his son Gerhard, who is usually the one accused of Nazi collaboration. Gerhard edited the famous Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the NT that is still in use today in many seminaries and is quoted as an authority in defining NT words. Though it is true Gerhard was named as an "official" theologian by the Nazi party and the Nazi's often appealed to some of his works as an excuse for their anti-Semitic eugenic policies, the KJV onlyists who attempt a connection of modern Bible versions to Gerhard Kittel via the Nazi party are straining at some serious gnats. More over, they have to demonstrate where Gerhard's NT dictionary promotes Nazi anti-semitic ideas and where it impacted Bible translations to favor Nazism.

25. IF all of these concerns were valid, legitimate and provable, then do you still think that we should thoughtlessly chose and decide that Modern Versions of the Bible are somehow superior to the Historic Bibles that have been used around the world for thousands of years?

That is a mighty big "IF" and none of the accusations leveled here against MBV have even come close to being established as legitimate. I could ask a similar question of our KJV apologist: IF all of these concerns were shown to be invalid, illegitimate, and out right contrived, then do you think you should apologize for leading young, un-witting Christians astray by confusing them with such baseless accusations?

26. Just how happy do you think that God will be, when you get up to Heaven in a few years, and they you can explain this yourself to HIM???

Well, what about you Mr. KJV only apologist? How happy do you think God will be when everything you wrote here is revealed to be foolish and nothing by wood, hay, and stubble and all of your dishonest misinformation is burned up before the Lord?

27. If you are a Pastor, is it true that you should already have these answers, Is it true that you should already have done this research, Is it True that you should already be ready to give an answer of him that asketh you - of the reason(s) and the hope that you have within you...???

I believe I have demonstrated to my readers, and I will to any congregation God is pleased to send me to pastor, that I have done sufficient research into this area. Moreover, I believe I have shown that the KJV only questions are easily answerable and refutable and when hard pressed with counter questions, the KJV only apologist cannot adequately defend his world view.

28. We can certainly afford to be wrong ! The question is: Before God (and James 3) can you afford for us to be right ???

I am not sure what this question is asking, but lets turn it back on the KJVer. Before God, are you absolutely certain you are right about your history of Bible translations? Are you willing to repent of KJV onlyism if it can be shown to you that the belief is utterly unsupportable?

29. So, to continue...sharing truth here....Would you be surprised to learn that the German Bible Society does not follow Protestant Theology ? Would you be surprised to learn that the German Bible Society despises Martin Luther, His Bible and the Textus Receptus, and instead seems committed to promoting Bible Texts that (a) were rejected by the Christian Church for thousands of Years and (b) that "coincidentally" seem to greatly favor Roman Catholic Theology?

Again, I don't believe you have established your conspiracy about the German Bible Society. But let's say they are all devil worshipers and don't care a lick about Martin Luther and Protestants. With all the mounds of manuscript evidence we have on hand to compare to their work, where exactly did they depart from the Bible? Even more to the point, where exactly does the Received Text maintain orthodoxy where the MBV texts don't? In other words, is there any orthodox Christian doctrine that is ONLY found in the Receive Text? How exactly is their Greek text corrupted from the original? This is what you haven't shown. Like I have said before: heretics don't intentionally corrupt texts as KJV onlyists claim, they have corrupted interpretations that they bring to the text so as to twist the text to fit those interpretations.

30. Would it surprise you to learn that for the Greek New Testament used by the German Bible Society/UBS, that they (UBS) hired the head of Theology of the Roman Catholic Church, the head of the Pontifical Institute in Rome (which trains the best of the Roman Catholic Theologians and Priests)...who is Archbishop Carlo Maria Martini of Milan ? And they hired him to be one of the main overseers of the Greek Text that is being used by almost all Protestant Seminaries in the USA today ? What should we do when we find this out ? Should we ignore it ? Should we pretend this practice does not take place, and maybe it will go away ? Do we keep smiling and say nothing ? Or do we decide to seek Truth, Love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and start asking the questions that others have been afraid to ask ? Do we finally decide that we will stand for something, take a risk and ask some very hard questions ???

This has already been mentioned before, but let me ask one more time just in case our KJVer skipped quickly over the question. What do you do when you find out Erasmus, the man who gave us the Received Text, the text KJV onlyists insist is the pure Word of God, was a life long Mary worshiping, Eucharist taking, infused grace believing, celibate priest who never recanted his Catholicism? Do you keep smiling and say nothing? Or will you recognize your hypocrisy of accusing MBV folks of collusion with Catholics even though the very Bible you claim is straight from heaven was edited in its original by a Catholic who didn't care for Protestants? Will you finally decide to stand for the truth and answer some hard questions, even if it leads to abandoning your KJV onlyism and in spite of being named an apostate by Peter Ruckman?

31. Keeping in mind that the corrupt Greek Text of Westcott & Hort are used for a great deal of the UBS/Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament Text, How much research have you personally done on the Occultic Practices of Westcott & Hort, or do you wish instead to email us, and we can share with you some of the details of this, from their own writings ???

I have actually done quite a bit and if you will read my testimonial on leaving KJV onlyism, you will note how it was my research into the lives of Westcott and Hort, sparked by Gail Riplinger's monstrous book, New Age Bible Versions, that placed me on the path of leaving KJV onlyism once and for all. How about you? Have you personally done any research into what Westcott and Hort REALLY believed? Or do you choose to only believe second and third hand misinformation published by KJV apologists who have distorted the lives of these men to the point of out right lying against them? Have yo taken the time to read the research of James May, who has read through nearly all of Dr. Westcott's printed works and has shown that KJV onlyists totally manufacture the bulk of their libelous citations against him?

32.. Would you be surprised to learn that many of the translators of the modern versions of the Bible state in their own writings that they do NOT believe in the literal Bible ? Have you personally done research on this topic yourself ? Have you read 3 books on this specific subject ? Have you even read one?

I want to see some documentation to the first question, and then I want to see him make a direct connection between their so-called unorthodox belief about the Bible and how that belief has corrupted their translation.

As for doing research on this topic: I have read at least 50 books on the subject, many of which are KJV only publication I still own to this day. How's them apples? Additionally, I have read hundreds of web articles from KJV only publications and I participated on at least two KJV only web board discussion groups and interacted personally with KJV onlyists for nearly a year or more until I was dismissed from their groups for being a "troublemaker." I will say that after spending that time with these self-taught experts, maybe except for two or three, none of them had any solid grasp on textual criticism, let alone proper translation technique. A good portion of them were not even familiar with the original biblical languages except for use of a Strong's concordance or a Bible software program. And all of them were prone to fits of conspiratorial nonsense and contrived historical revisionism in order to lend support to their KJV only world view.

Let me ask you: Have you read at least 3 books that critically evaluate the claims set forth by KJV only apologists? How about one? And I mean you truly read it, not thumb through it to find more selective grist for your KJV only mill. I mean truly read it and pondered what the author was saying against KJV onlyism?

33. Don’t feel so good if you have read the "King James Only debate" by James White. Are you even aware of how much re-writing there was, between the First Edition of this book, and all of the Editions that came after ? Have you also gone on the internet to see, learn, read or study the answers that Gail Riplinger gave ? (We are simply trying to help you assess - for yourself - just how thorough and truth-seeking your research, which you have personally done, has been)

OK, so the accusation is that James White, a scholarly critic of KJV onlyism, re-wrote his book, The King James Only Controversy, several times thus producing several editions. The implication of this question is that James has been deceptive about his multiple editions and that they were necessary because he had so much difficulty dealing with KJV only argumentation, or he distorted the truth about the credibility of the KJV apologists he was criticizing.

Seeing that I happen to know James just a bit having spent some time with him in extended conversation with several other men, and seeing that I know many men who are much closer to James than I am and can vouch for the integrity of his character, I find the accusation posed in this question to be... well ... trashy. So, I personally emailed James White through his ministry, Alpha and Omega Ministries, and presented to him this question. This is what he wrote back to me:

There has been only one edition of the book to begin with. While I would like to do a new edition, it would be hard, since I did the original typesetting myself! So I have no idea where these folks are coming from or what they are referring to. I shall look into their charge.

In other words, this KJV only apologist has either been misinformed as to the nature of Mr. White's book, or he is making this lie up. I know James, and I do not believe he is lying to me. So which is it Bible Discernment guy? Are you intentionally making this charge up or have you bought into the distortions of fact? I notice that you got the title of his book wrong when you wrote out this question, so maybe you are a dupe depending upon 2nd or 3rd hand information. Additionally, you seem to think that Ms. Gail Riplinger is a credible apologist for your cause even though she has been debunked by even individuals within KJV onlyism. See for example David Cloud's two articles I found easily after a quick search here and here.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Oh, and by the way...

I should have noted this in my previous blog, but today's mail just reminded me.

When we arrived home from Arkansas, my wife and I took a good hour or more on the evening we returned to shift through our mail and open all the Christmas cards from friends and family. I must commend at least 12 of our card sending acquaintances who sent family picture cards including themselves along with their kids. This past year of 2006, the front of our fridge was covered with the pictures of strange children. It was like a milk carton collection. I understand that they belong to old friends and family, but I wouldn't know seeing that my adult friends FAILED TO PUT THEMSELVES IN THE PICTURE!

So I give you a hearty "thanks" you Christmas card senders.

Shame on the rest of you. Learn how to use the timers on your cameras. Or at least call a neighbor over to take it with you in it.


Home Again

After a long and exhausting Thursday traveling from a rainy Arkansas, my family and I finally arrived back to a rainy So. Cal. Nothing can make a person more "unspiritual" than having a long traveling day with three children under four. I will say they all did fairly well. Even the youngest, who was getting stir crazy having to be confined to a seat for a good three hours of so, didn't break out into one of his characteristic ear piercing screams.

We had two flights: One from Little Rock to Memphis that was suppose to take just 28 minutes, but became an hour and 10 minutes due to weather and North Western having too many terminals used up, then a flight from Memphis to LAX which was thankfully, uneventful; though our kids loved the turbulence during the first hour. Once we landed, we had to collect our five huge bags of stuff and catch the bus to Van Nuys where a friend was going to meet us with his van for a lift home.

It was during the bus ride that our kids came emotionally unglued. The baby was the worse, but thankfully he fell asleep about midway through the ride. The other two became irrational with disobedient acts and because we were in public, LA public specifically, there could be no displays of discipline to bring them back into line. I gave one of them a nice pinch, but he only yelled out "Stop hurting me!" Right as we pulled off the freeway and arrived at the station did they finally fall asleep, and of course, I had to wake them up again, which only intensified their mental breakdown. My wife always exhorts me to think positive in adversity and I can say I was happy this breakdown didn't happen as we were getting off the plane in Memphis.

Over all we had a marvelous time visiting with nana, family and friends. I had a couple of opportunities to teach two different Sunday school classes. One for a friend in Springfield, Missouri, and another for a friend at the church where my mother attends. The kids had a glorious time gorging themselves on candy and assorted chocolate dipped foods (their parents did as well) and running around in a giant back yard.

I Want a Wii

My video game playing skill is on the level of 80s era pac-man, space invaders, and centipede. Once on my old Atari 800 computer with 64 megs of RAM, I reached a million plus points playing Defender. The only reason I didn't go higher was that I was getting bored playing it. My dad took a picture of the screen before we shut it off.

I have been pretty much left behind with the new video game age because the games are too complicated for me to figure out and the controllers are beyond just a joystick and a red firing button. The "newest" game I have ever really played with any regularly was Doom. I could play it with regularity because my brother had a list of cheat codes that allowed my character to be invincible and have unlimited fire power.

On New Years evening, my wife and I were invited by one of my brother's old high school friends to play his new Nintendo Wii at his house. The Wii (pronounced "we") was this year's competitor to the Playstation 3 that everyone wanted. I haven't played the PS3, but after playing the Wii, I want to obtain one. We primarily played the Wii sports games like boxing, bowling and baseball. The characters are semi-crude. They have bodies of sorts, but remind me of the Vegetale characters who have no legs or arms. The objects they are supposedly handling float around them like they are lifting them up with invisible arms.

What makes the game fun to play is that you have to physically work the characters on the screen with the controller. For example, if you bowl, your little man stands with the ball in hand and then you have to swing the controller like a bowling ball and release a button at the right time to make the character work. If you are playing baseball, you have to swing the controller like a bat to hit, or flick it in your wrist to pitch. When you box, you hold two controllers, one in each hand, and punch with your arms to hit your opponent. I was absolutely delighted with the game and if I had the resources, would get one forthwith. My wife was not nearly as amused with it as I was and matter-of-factly said, "we could always go real bowling as a FAMILY." But we can play it together as a family.

Thanks for the plug

Before we left Arkansas, I discovered that on the Pulpit Magazine blog, the "official" blog of the Shepherd's Conference, I have been listed on their blog roll. I consider that a great honor. I also liked their description of my blog:

Fred has chosen one of the most interesting names for his blog in the blog-world.

Yes, "Hip and Thigh" is a bit unusual for a Christian blog, because, as I have always said, it either sounds like a suggestive innuendo for an adult site, or a blog about joint pain. In fact, a lot of my "hits" are during the weekends from Europe where folks are searching around for porn sites. But, in defense of my title, I believe I explain it well in the by-line.

The plug goes on to say how I specialize in answering KJV onlyism. Though that is one of my passions, it certainly isn't what I am all about. To date, I have written about 17 articles, according to my label counter on the new beta blogger, on the subject addressing KJV onlyism. I have written 13 articles on the evolution-creation issue, so it comes in at a close second. I will admit that KJV onlyism is the most popular topic I have ever addressed. To this day, in fact even yesterday, I receive personal email from folks either praising me for my work and helping them understand the issue, or cursing me as some Jesuit plant whose work is to undo Christ's Kingdom. I hope my interesting blog title continues to stick in people's minds.

Labels: ,