Saturday, April 05, 2008

The call and the awakening

I have been watching "The Call" from Montgomery AL.

The great awakening has begun, in fact it is already well underway. When I see tens of thousands of young Christians passionate and sold out for Jesus in city after city I see the wave coming.

These are exciting times. I'm glad to be alive.

Of course people will criticize them. Too bad. Things they are a-changing. You are either in on it or left behind. God is on the move. Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God) says Find out what God is doing and Join HIM.


This supersedes denomination, tradition, and prejudices for and against certain things in the worship of God.


Come to think of it, Blackaby long ago defined the things that will lead to this new awakening:

* Learn how to hear when God is speaking to you.
* Find out where God is working and join Him.
* Discover that God pursues a love relationship with you that is real and personal.
* Face crises of belief as you join God where He's working.
* Experience God doing through you what only God can do!


I have a friend, Del, who has been consuming Blackaby's study and it has changed his life forever. I mention that because we need to be aware of what all these convergences of movements are about. God is on the move. The great awakening is here. God said Behold I do a New Thing. If it's new to Him it's sure going to be NEW to you. Ya Think??

Friday, April 04, 2008

For something completely less funny

Not nearly as humorous as the Deutschland and Mexico one's below. Real Time Real Life.

This would be bad because?? JUST KIDDING!!

What about Latvia and Estonia. My German forefathers were Estonian before they moved to Pommerania in the 1600s.. And why did we send folks to Africa anyhow. I saw Casablanca. Get that map right.

I am kidding, but when I lived in Germany It was pretty much like the map in many ways. This was after the wall fell but before the Euro. The D-Mark was king.

I'm an Germanophile in many ways and perhaps that explains my warmongering.

Some days a guy just feels like invading Belgium.

And, the French plant trees along the Highways so Germans don't have to march in the hot sun.




This is News??

This from a vodka company thinking it's funny, shocking, or whatever it takes to sell vodka I guess. The fact is, if you live or work in this area the reality is worse than the "Joke". It's already Mexico defacto. That's not a country, that's a fact.

I'm an Athiest when it comes to the Religion of Global Warming

I just can't get past that "Experience" thingy despite all tradition, scripture (Algore) and "reason".

Brrrr... Antarctica Records Record High Ice Cap Growth
Brrrr... South America Has Coldest Winter in a 90 Years
Brrrr... Iraqis See First Snow in 100 Years As Sign of Peace
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in a Decade in China Cause Rioting
Brrrr... Jerusalem Grinds to a Halt As Rare Snowstorm Blasts City
Brrrr... Worst Snowstorms in 50 Years Continue to Cripple China
Brrrr... China Suffers Coldest Winter in 100 Years
Brrrr... Pakistan Suffers Lowest Temps in 70 Years-- 260 Dead
Brrrr... Record Cold Hits Central Asia-- 654 Dead in Afghanistan
Brrrr... Severe Weather Kills Dozens in Kashmir
Brrrr... Tajikistan Crisis!! Coldest Winter in 25 Years!
Brrrr... Record Cold Wave Blasts Mumbai, India
Brrrr... Snow and Ice in San Diego?
Brrrr... Wisconsin Snowfall Record Shattered
Brrrr... The Disappearing Arctic Ice Is Back And It's Thick
Brrrr... Turkey's snowiest winter continues.
Brrrr... Record Cold & Snow Blankets Acropolis in Greece (Video)
Brrrr... Longest Ever Cold Spell Kills Cattle & Rice in Vietnam
Brrrr... Most Snow Cover Over North America Since 1966
Brrrr... Australia Suffers Through Coldest Summer in 50 Years
Brrrr... Record Snowfall Slams Ohio River Valley
Brrrr... New Data Gives Global Warming the Cold Shoulder

Why the Black Church is in Such a Mess Right Now - It's all GOD

God said He was Beginning "A Unique Shaking and Cleansing of the White and Black American Church"
Op/Ed By Harry R. Jackson, Jr. (April 4, 2008)

FOUNDING EDITOR'S NOTE: After reading the following article and referendum, please consider signing it. Harry Jackson will be on FOX NEWS approx. 2pm EST again on Friday, the 4th of April. Bishop Jackson is being a bridge between White and Black, and between the media and the Church. He is both a PEACEMAKER and a man with great wisdom for this hour as it relates to bringing about Reconciliation between the races. Remember to consider "signing" this referendum, and be SURE to let Harry know—within the same email—if you're a pastor, minister or any type of ministry head. Blessings, Steve Shultz, BCN.

Bishop Harry Jackson Jr.Eight years ago, I was waiting for God to show me what was happening in the presidential election. I remember fasting and intensely seeking the face of God during that time. Many were shouting that blacks had been disenfranchised in several states. Many Bible believing whites felt that God had ordained George Bush's presidency in order to avert a major judgment from God. I felt uneasy with the typical assessment of both black and white Christians. I was uniquely aware of the different set of moral priorities that these two powerful branches of the Church embraced. As I agonized in prayer, the Lord spoke to me that He was beginning a unique shaking and cleansing of the American church.

DEALING WITH WHITE-LED AND BLACK-LED CHURCHES DIFFERENTLY

The Lord said that He was dealing with the white-led church and the black-led church differently at that time. He also showed me that there was coming a time when He would bring these two wings of the American Church together, implying that He would integrate the Church in a greater way than ever before.

The Lord showed me that the white-led church was about to enter into a period of extreme chastening, followed by the black-led church experiencing the same kind of cleansing. At the end of these back to back dealings, the Lord would have a new group of "bridge churches" ready to lead the American Church into a new phase of Biblically based justice that would glorify His name. For the last eight years the Lord has prepared many local churches to receive a huge influx of new ethnically diverse members. The preparation has been one of the heart and outlook of leaders and members. All of this is a part of the great awakening that God showed to me.

CLEANSING OF BOTH THE WHITE-LED CHURCH AND THE BLACK-LED CHURCH

The black church had entered into a time of harvest in 2000. The Lord told me that, beginning in 2000, He would judge, cleanse, and realign the white-led church in America, leaving the black-led church in a continuous time of harvest. After He finished cleansing the white-led church He would begin an aggressive cleansing in the predominately black church. The Lord then said to me, "As the second judgment on the black church begins I will [introduce] many people to new wineskins." I got the distinct impression that all of this was to be in preparation for a huge visitation from Goda third great awakening.

EXPOSURE OF SIN INCREASES—FIRST IN THE WHITE-LED CHURCH

Shortly, after that word, the massive national expose' came out concerning priests engaged in molestation. Today everyone is aware of the numerous court cases that the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in nationally. Next came the struggle about ordaining openly gay ministers in the Episcopal Church. The consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003 marked the height of voluntary rebellion against the written Word of God. This is all a part of God cleaning house in the white-led church. Scores of Episcopal churches in the US have withdrawn from American leadership and submitted to Anglican Archbishops like Peter Akinola of Nigeria and other African leaders who still believe in the authority of Scripture.

Next we saw Ted Haggard, head of the NAE, fall from grace and become a national disgrace just before the 2006 elections. As an aftershock of this scandal, many national and regional leaders were exposed for sins of "Biblical proportions" according to the press. In addition, political leaders who seemed to be aligned with Christian values have repeatedly been exposed by the media. The mid-term election shakeup of the Congress and Senate was partially a signal from God that He does not choose partiesHe chooses faithful men.

NOW THE LORD HAS BEGUN TO DEAL WITH THE BLACK-LED CHURCH
– Jeremiah Wright controversy and his bitter message demonstrates the Lord's chastening of the black-led church.

The recent problem with Jeremiah Wright (Barak Obama's former pastor) shows that the Lord has begun to deal with the black church. Time and time again, I have been told by liberal Christians that Pastor Wright's preaching is in the "prophetic" tradition of the black church. Nonetheless, people of goodwill will recognize the bitterness of both the message and the messenger. This is a very visible sign that we have entered into the season of the Lord's chastening of the black-led church. True black prophetic voices will come forth as the house of the Lord is cleansed.

So where does all of this leave us?

You and I have an opportunity to create a new wineskin for the glory of God. We must end prejudice in the Church on our watch. In response to John 17, we can make up our minds to become a unified, racially reconciled Church. The secular world will know that Jesus is Lord if we show His love. Racial reconciliation within the walls of the Church will be the beginning of the nation's next great awakening.

Please remember that in the first great awakening, race was dealt with, and blacks heard the Gospel. After the second great awakening, an awareness of the need for the abolition of slavery led to the Civil War. Next, the justice, grace and anointing on Martin Luther King, Jr. pricked the conscience of the entire nation forty years ago.

The following article will appear in major newspapers in the next few weeks to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chuck Colson, Tony Perkins, Marcus Lamb, Rick Joyner, Steve Strang, Wellington Boone, Gary Simons, Steve Shultz, and scores of other pastors are signing on to the letter which we have called the Reconciliation Referendum. We plan to end the segregation of the Church in the next decade. It can be done! Once we're healed, we'll heal the nation.

You can sign on by sending an e-mail to info@hilc.net. Please remember to let us know if you are a pastor.

Source: Harry Jackson Jr. - High Impact Leadership Coalition




In recent weeks, there has been a national debate about the appropriateness of sermons preached by Dr. Jeremiah Wright from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Two weeks ago the controversy led Senator Barak Obama to deliver an important speech on race in America.

Opinion leaders in the national media praised the speech as courageous, but the notion that simply more talk is needed will no longer suffice. While politicians like Barack Obama and the national media wring their hands over a problem that has persisted in this country for nearly 400 years, they offer no solutions to the problem.

The tragedy of this most recent revelation of America's racial divide is that incendiary remarks by Rev. Wright were delivered in a church, at the pulpit, by a pastor of a Christian church. If there is one that can and is healing the racial wounds of America, it is the Church. However, this latest incident underscores the lack of progress and the urgent need for a deliberate and coordinated effort among Christian pastors and spiritual leaders in America to lead the nation in racial reconciliation.

unity in the ChurchThe failure of good Christian people to provide a clear and convincing example of racial unity within the Church has contributed to the divide between the races in the nation and it only appears to be widening.

We must recognize that racism is not just a social problem in America; it is also a spiritual problem. It is a matter of the heart. Healing racism in the nation is, therefore a challenge facing our country that must first be addressed in and by the Church. We believe that contrary to what Americans have seen in the last few weeks, the Church can and must help lead the nation toward reconciliation among the races.

This diagnosis of the nature of racism in the US is in keeping with the clear teaching of Scripture. Jesus prayed that His followers would be united. He also said in John 17:21 that the world would believe His mission and message because of the unity of His followers.

A racially reconciled church can eventually unite the nation. Evangelical churches are especially prepared to seize this strategic moment in American history because of their shared theology and value system.

The basis of our action is an empowerment theology that is based upon the Scriptures. In contrast, liberation theology as preached by people like Rev. Wright, if taken to the extreme, can fan the flames of class struggles and racial prejudice.

Many churches have already done a great deal to solve this problem, but there will be dire consequences if the racial tensions of the nation are not addressed. Just 16 years ago, on April 29, 1992, a major race riot sent shockwaves from Los Angeles around the world. Seven hundred million dollars of property damage, 13,212 arrests, 2,383 human injuries, and 54 deaths lay in the wake of an initial lower court verdict concerning the beating of Rodney King by four L.A. policemen.

We believe that a repeat of that riot is possible today. The protagonists may be black, white, or Hispanic but the danger of unresolved race-based anger deserves a national "intervention" by the Church.

There is no time to waste.

It is time for America to see the Church as an unbiased representative of Christ. We want to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by announcing this Reconciliation Referendum on April 4, 2008-the 40th anniversary of his assassination. Over 40 leading ministers20 whites and 20 blackshave made a commitment to bring racial reconciliation to our nation within the next decade. We collectively make a commitment to take the following intentional and purposeful steps to begin the healing:

1. Pray for racial healing and spiritual awakening in America.

2. Strategically evangelize across racial boundaries.

3. Conduct pulpit exchanges in our communities or regions which congregations of different racial majorities.

4. Commemorate the contributions of Christian blacks, Hispanics and other racial minorities to both the Church and the nation through black history month and other dates of multi-racial and cultural significance.

5. Develop cross-cultural leadership within our local ministries, including spiritual and administrative positions.

6. Recognize that Biblical justice is a part of our social mandate.

7. Develop trans-denominational approaches to address domestic poverty.


What about practical solutions for non-churched people? In our book Personal Faith, Public Policy we give a visionary game plan for a racially reconciled Church to serve the entire nation. As the Church unifies, there are many specific public policy initiatives we can introduce in order to create a greater atmosphere of Biblical justice in our land.

We are calling for all Bible believing Christians to accept this Reconciliation Referendum and become proactive healing agents in this nation.

(You can sign this "Reconciliation Referendum" by sending an e-mail to info@hilc.net. Please remember to let us know if you are a pastor)

How to Debate as a Liberal (for tv but applies here)

1. Avoid factual arguments, they're usually against you anyway.

2. If for some obscure reason the facts actually fall your way (an extremely rare occurrence) then repeat them endlessly regardless of the reply of your conservative opponent. Remember time is limited, use this against him.

3. Get as personal and vicious as you can, maybe it will distract your opponent from his train of thought.

4. If you are unable to insult him with the usual insults such as 'racist', 'homophobe', or 'bigot', then insult someone else on his side (someone related to the subject under discussion is preferable but not required).

5. When you're losing, and you usually will be, abruptly change the subject. Again the object of this is to distract and deflect attention from your opponent's argument.

6. Talk loudly and rapidly, don't allow your opponent to get a word in. Remember the more time you consume, the less time your opponent will have.

7. Use hyperbole as an example of your opponent's argument and suggest that that is what they are suggesting.

8. Purposely misunderstand what is being said by your opponent and distort it into something you can use.

9. Make up 'facts' most people don't check them and anyway, you'll be long gone by the time the truth is known, and so will the audience.

10. Expect perfection. Focus on the slightest flaw in your opponent's argument, any kind of mistake, grammatical, spelling, contextual, anything no matter how slight is sufficient to deflect attention away from how vacuous your arguments are.

11. Act insulted. Take umbrage at the slightest contradiction and act as if it is a personal insult. This will make your personal attack seem warranted and just.

12. Mug the camera or audience while your opponent is speaking, make faces, sneering is good, head-shaking better, and looking toward the ceiling is best [notice the avoidance of the word Heaven, Liberals avoid words of a religious nature WM]. Let the audience know you disagree with your opponent (even if you’ve no idea what he’s saying)

13. Use condescending laughter as much as you can. It serves two purposes, first, it dismisses your opponent as being unworthy of your respect and second, it shows your contempt for his arguments. This is a very powerful tool and can really annoy your opponent and disrupt his train of thought.

14. You’re an arrogant Liberal; demonstrate your obvious intellectual superiority by acting in a condescending manner.

15. Forget how many of the wealthiest in this nation are Liberals, always beat the drum of “Rich Republicans” and “working class Democrats.”

16. Finally, always remember style trumps substance. Know it, Live it.

Tip of the hat to Mongo

If you REALLY want the truth about the Foolishness of Al Gore and his followers

I saw and read in detail this paper just given at a climate change summit in Asia.  It shocked them and it will shock you if you have the courage to read it all.
 
The world is going thru climate change.  Bigtime.  Almost none of it is due to you or your SUV.  In fact if you read this you will want to STOP all carbon credits and carbon sequestering into the atmosphere tomorrow. 
 
We are in deep doo doo and much of it can be laid at the feet of alarmists.  I was particularly saddened by people I respect connecting with Al Gore in this mission. 
 
Is there no one left with common sense anymore?  Very few.  I'm going to do my best to help you come out of the fog and enter reality.
 
Read it all here and then weep at how badly we are all decieved.  Its a big file but well worth the while.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It Pays to Be a Christian Businessperson and stand for something

From the Indianapolis Star.

"We don't see that running a business from Christian principles causes customers to shy away. Rather, we find that people—even those that don't share that faith—are intrigued or even impressed that the business would choose to remain true to its foundational principles (rather) than capture more market share."

Dan CathyAccording to a report in the IndyStar, Christian businesses around the country are no longer as hesitant to speak out about their faith as they once might have been. Reporter Dana Knight coins the trend as spirit-based Christian businesses "coming out of the closet." Take for example: Intel, Deloitte & Touche, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, or Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby whose stores are closed on Sunday. (Photo: Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A President and CEO - Gary Moore/The Star)

Real Black Liberation Theology that Sets People Free

In Minneapolis there was a discussion on a radio show about the Rev Wright and how he instructs the flock he is responsible for and to. Rev Wright does not represent the black culture I know. My friends from Black Churches are NOT victims.

The fact is there are sane and reasonable voices in the black religious community. Once such is this precious Pastor from The Twin Cities. Listen to the whole thing.

Hat Tip to Jim Redlin

Mine is Longer than Yours

Life Expectancy that is. A good essay by Michael Kingsley.
It's
In The New Yorker where he says:

We are born thinking that we’ll live forever. Then death becomes an intermittent reality, as grandparents and parents die, and tragedy of some kind removes one or two from our own age cohort. And then, at some point, death becomes a normal part of life—a faint dirge in the background that gradually gets louder. What is that point? One crude measure would be when you can expect, on average, one person of roughly your age in your family or social circle to die every year. At that point, any given death can still be a terrible and unexpected blow, but the fact that people your age die is no longer a legitimate surprise, and the related fact that you will, too, is no longer avoidable.

With some heroic assumptions, we can come up with an age when death starts to be in-your-face. We will merge all sexual and racial categories into a single composite American. We will assume that there are a hundred people your age who are close enough to be invited to your funeral. Your funeral chapel won’t fit a hundred people? No problem. On average, half of them will be too busy decomposing to attend. As Max Beerbohm noted in his novel “Zuleika Dobson,” “Death cancels all engagements.” And why a hundred? Because it’s easy, and also because it’s two-thirds of “Dunbar’s number,” of a hundred and fifty, which is supposedly the most relationships that any one set of human neurons can handle. We’re crudely assuming that two-thirds of those are about your age.

Anyway, the answer is sixty-three. If a hundred Americans start the voyage of life together, on average one of them will have died by the time the group turns sixteen. At forty, their lives are half over: further life expectancy at age forty is 39.9. And at age sixty-three the group starts losing an average of one person every year. Then it accelerates. By age seventy-five, sixty-seven of the original hundred are left. By age one hundred, three remain.

So, if I read that right, I'm about to lose one of my 100 63 year old friends this year. I hope it's not you Chuck or Barry. And, I hope it's not ME!

An Agnostic Takes on the Atheists and Bad Science

A man has written a book called The Devils Delusion - Atheism and it's Scientific Pretensions. He is not a Christian. He's a secular Jew. His criticism is how Atheism has hijacked Science to advance an unscientific areligious agenda. My personal criticism is how much of Junk Science (Like the Global Warming debate) roots in denial of the existence of God. So, the debate goes on.

Here are what others are saying. I think it's worth the read.

Editorial Reviews from Amazon

Review
Berlinski knows his science and wields his rapier deftly. He makes great sport with his opponents, and his readers will surely enjoy it.”
—Tom Bethell, bestselling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science

“A powerful riposte to atheist mockery and cocksure science, and to the sort of philosophy that surrenders to them. David Berlinski proceeds reasonably and calmly to challenge recent scientific theorizing and to expose the unreason from which it presumes to criticize religion.”
—Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University

Berlinski’s book is everything desirable: it is idiomatic, profound, brilliantly polemical, amusing, and of course vastly learned. I congratulate him.”
—William F. Buckley Jr.

“With high style and light-hearted disdain, David Berlinski deflates the intellectual pretensions of the scientific atheist crowd. Maybe they can recite the Periodic Table by heart, but the secular Berlinski shows that this doesn’t get them very far in reasoning about much weightier matters.”
—Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences, Lehigh University, bestselling author of Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution

“David Berlinski plus any topic equals an extraordinary book.”
—Chicago Tribune

Product Description
Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community.

“The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.”

A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:

Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence?
Not even close.

Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here?
Not even close.

Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?
Not even close.

Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?
Close enough.

Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?
Not close enough.

Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good?
Not even close to being close.

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?
Close enough.

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even ballpark.

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?
Dead on.

Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated.

This brilliant, incisive, and funny book explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it can be–indeed must be–the ultimate touchstone for understanding our world and ourselves.

About the Author
DAVID BERLINSKI has a Ph.D. from Princeton University and has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and in France. He is the bestselling author of such books as A Tour of the Calculus, The Advent of the Algorithm, and Newton’s Gift. A senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle and a former fellow at the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, Berlinski writes frequently for Commentary, among other journals. He lives in Paris.

Jay at National Review Online Muses

This is a pretty well written article by a man I respect. Jay takes a look at the world and sees it for what it is. Not really perfect but there's always golf.







Three of a kind, &c.

By Jay Nordlinger

So, there’s a little Olympic boycotting going on — not by countries or teams, but by certain leaders. The three who recently said they would not travel to Communist China? Merkel of Germany, Tusk of Poland, Havel of the Czech Republic. What do all three of those people have in common? Of course — they grew up under Communism. (Havel was a little older when the Communists took over — about ten.) They know Communism.

Do we? I mean, sufficiently?

President Bush is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony. About this, Speaker Pelosi said, “I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do.”

That doesn’t sound very leaderly to me. And isn’t Bush famous for not conforming his actions to “what other heads of state do”?

I confess that it’s still somewhat difficult to type the words “Speaker Pelosi” — even at this late date . . .

Let me return to an old theme: It OUGHT to have been that way! Those black-church burnings: It OUGHT to have been that way! (In some sick, psychological, political way.) Landing in Bosnia under sniper fire: It OUGHT to have been that way!

Of course, the Clintons aren’t the only ones guilty of this kind of thinking, or feeling — far from it. But they are awfully prominent examples.

Have you noticed that some big-time liberals have been really, really unloading on Mrs. Clinton? I’m kind of startled to see this. For years, they wouldn’t say a word against her, and they wouldn’t hear a word against her. But then, her opponents were Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, me, the Devil . . . (I guess I shouldn’t place myself in such august company.) And now her opponent is Barack, whom they like. So . . .

Let me put it another way: Before, it was too dangerous to criticize her. Because if you did so, you could give Jerry Falwell and me comfort. But now — there’s no danger at all. (Less’n she comes back and wins . . .)

Maybe I’m the last to know this, but I recently learned that Obama’s church espouses a “black value system” — that this is a raison d’être of the church. How depressing. How very depressing. A value system based on skin color? Rather than based on . . . well, you know: morality and principle and whatnot?

Just about the greatest thing this country has is E pluribus unum: Out of many, one. And the separatists and racialists and grievance-mongers have been picking at this, trashing this, for decades now. They have made horrifying progress.

I hope Obama does some explaining — a little more explaining — before he lands in the White House. He makes reference to “untrained ears.” Well, maybe he ought to train those ears, in some fashion . . .

Just in case you were sleeping a little too well at night:
BOGOTA, March 26 (Reuters) — Colombia said it seized at least 66 pounds (30 kg) of uranium from the country’s biggest left-wing rebel group on Wednesday, the first time radioactive material has been linked to the four-decade-old guerrilla war.

The uranium was found in a rural area long considered a Marxist guerrilla stronghold just south of the capital Bogota.

(For the complete article, go here.) Chávez & Co. are serious. Ahmadinejad & Co. are serious. So are the Norks. Good thing there are a few Uribes and Bushes around — and a few Boltons and Wolfowitzes. These next years will be all too exciting.

“Teach your children well,” goes the old hippie song. What are they teaching them in the PA (and I ain’t talkin’ Pennsylvania)?

A children’s puppet show featured on Hamas TV shows a child stabbing President Bush to death.

“Who are you to come here and threaten me?” Bush says in the puppet show video. “You are on my own turf, you little child, you. Get out.”

The child tells Bush that he killed his father in the Iraq war, which made him an orphan.

“I have come to take revenge with this sword — revenge for my mother and my sisters,” the child puppet says. “You are a criminal, Bush.”

“I will kill you, Bush, because that is your fate,” the child says before stabbing Bush repeatedly.

Great. Just great. If they get ’em from the cradle — what chance do they, and we, have? (By the way, I have quoted this item.)

Cal Thomas had an exceptionally stirring column. It addresses the recent conversion of Magdi Allam, whom the Pope baptized. I wish to quote one passage in particular. Thomas says that, during Allam’s baptism, “three bodyguards provided by the Italian government stood nearby. When someone converts to Islam in the West, there is no need for security.”

There is a whole lot in that statement — a world to ponder. Reminds me of that abhorrent movie The Last Temptation of Christ. A few Christians launched humble protests outside movie theaters, carrying around signs and so on. I’m sure the moviemakers simply chuckled, hoping for as much notoriety as possible. I asked, What if they made a similar movie about the Prophet? How long would they be alive? Twenty minutes? A half-hour?

This is a running theme of mine — another one: How come wire-service reports, which are supposed to be neutral, dry, just-the-facts, are loaded up with opinion? Take this, as a recent example. We read, “Last week, in a major foreign policy address, McCain laid out a robust national security policy, but offered olive branches to US allies alienated by the Bush administration’s go-it-alone approach.”

Now, I don’t think the Bush administration has had a go-it-alone approach. (They’ve been willing to act unilaterally when necessary.) But you may think so, and that’s just fine. But does that statement belong in a wire-service report — as a premise, simply a given truth? (I can hear a chorus of liberals saying, “Yes!”) (Well, it’s their media.)

Last night, I dipped into the new New Criterion, and it’s a garden of delight, as usual. I very much admired a review by Martin Gardner — of Peter Ackroyd’s new biography of Newton. I later went to Gardner’s Wikipedia entry. Do you know he was born in 1914? This was the year World War I began, of course. And Gardner has been churning out books faster than I can churn out Impromptus.

Just remarkable.

And, by the way, I talked to Bernard Lewis the other day — born in 1916. He could not have been more formidable, or more commanding, when he was 30, or 40, or 50. He simply couldn’t have been. Impossible.

My own contribution to the new New Criterion includes an account of a concert by the Kronos Quartet. May I share a bit of that with you? (It does not have to do with music, exactly.)

From Iran came a lullaby, or rather an arrangement of a lullaby . . . And the program notes are worth quoting a little. They complained that the Iranian government gets a bad rap, in part because “the West’s political agenda and media portrayal . . . are preoccupied with fundamentalist mullahs, oil reserves, and nuclear proliferation.” Yes, the thought of Armageddon — promised Armageddon — will preoccupy you a bit.

And then I quote those notes:

It’s true that when the Islamic Revolution swept away the Shah’s regime in 1979, in an excess of fundamentalist zeal, strict restrictions were placed on music. But apart from a ban on Westernized pop music, these restrictions were swiftly dropped. It’s often forgotten that the Iranian Revolution was as much about reclaiming traditional Persian culture as espousing an Islamist agenda. Indeed, the long-term musical effect of the revolution has been a revival of Persian classical music, which had suffered in the face of heavy Westernization during the Shah’s regime.

Folk music in Iran is a strong living tradition and has probably also been boosted by the “back-to-roots” aspects of the revolution . . .

Then my commentary:

This is a stunning apologia for the Iranian regime, and a dubious one, especially where the revolutionaries’ regard for “traditional Persian culture” is concerned. It proves the old point that anything will be defended, as long as it’s anti-Western. Consider just one practice of the Iranian regime: It stones to death young girls for the crime of having been gang-raped. And, incidentally, the Kronos Quartet — and its composer friends — would not last three days in Iran.

Anyway, just wanted you to see.

Received something hilarious from a friend of mine, an old Michigander, now in Seattle. Michigan is on very hard economic times, as you know. And an ingenious short film — whether specifically about Michigan or not — illustrates the point perfectly: here.

I just wrote “very hard economic times.” Maybe I should be a little more judicious. If these are “very hard economic times” — how do we talk about depressions, such as the Great one?

Let’s have a little language. A very good writer wrote the other day that someone had forbidden someone from doing something. I’m seeing that more and more. Used to be, “forbid to do something,” “prohibit from doing something.” “The law forbids you to smoke.” “The law prohibits you from smoking.”

Anyway . . .

Let’s have a little music — three reviews published in the New York Sun. For the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in recital, go here. For Prokofiev’s Gambler at the Metropolitan Opera, go here. And for Puccini’s Bohème at the Met, go here. On this occasion — the occasion of the Bohème — Franco Zeffirelli was honored.

So, I was in Starbucks (no apostrophe, right?), drinking a hot chocolate. And the cup has this political message. A guy named Chip Giller — I wrote his name down — is saying how dire global warming is, and dumping on the “skeptics.” And I’m just sitting here, trying to drink hot chocolate. Starbucks, in fine print, says this view is not its own.

Whatever. Is there any refuge from environmentalist lecturing? (Not at Starbucks, I realize.) Kind of reminds me of CNN in airports . . .

In last Friday’s Impromptus, I mentioned a bizarre — and, actually, deranged — review, published in Lawyers Weekly. It was of Martin Sieff’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East. A reader wanted me to say that Lawyers Weekly is not the Lawyers Weekly we have here in the United States — but rather one in Australia.

Done.

Finally, check out this:

Hey, Jay!

Want to drop a request. I’d love to know your golf fantasy foursome. All members must be alive. You made my list along with Alistair Begg and Tim Tebow. Trust me, it’d be a fun 18 holes. One sentence at the end of an Impromptus . . . I’m begging.

Well, I am mightily flattered. There are many possible answers — personal and less so. Do you mind if I stick to living golfers — living professional golfers? Tiger and Jack (of course). And who’s the fourth? Actually, I’d kind of like to play with Seve. I know he can’t hit it now. Neither can I.

See you.

P.S. I just want to emphasize that this is not my official foursome. I’d have to think about it more. And I’m rushing. But it’s not a bad one . . .

P.P.S. All-time fantasy foursome would have to be Jones, Hogan, and Jack. But how can I leave out Tiger? I think Hogan might have to go . . .

I don’t know.

Living to 150 years old is an OLD idea

A couple nights ago Barbara Walters had a special on the idea of living to 150 years. 
 
I didn't watch it. I have read much about it.  Frankly I read fast enough that investing an hour was wasting whatever time I have left on this earth.
 
I somehow suspect the well preserved Walters is very interested in this idea.  She turns 80 next year. 
 
I had a preacher I admired and still watch him on video tape on TV sometimes that towards the end of his life became convinced that death was conquered and we can live to 150.  He was about Ms Walters age then.
 
Now, I understand.  Turning 60 was a shock. 63 isn't much better. I'm guessing that I won't enjoy 80 either.  I worked hard outside physically yesterday.  Loading and unloading plants.  Boy do I feel it today.
 
My buddy Aleve had to step in.  I'll be all better. 
 
So, I know getting older is part of it all.  I also know that keeping going is critical.  Living well and living right is good too.  Look at the post below for evidence of that.
 
I'm going to start living right any day now. 
 
But, there seems to be a trigger that is pulled in many people who feel good, who even look good as they get close to the end of days.  They seem to not believe this whole thing is going to end.  That's the way it may be with Ms Walters and my Pastor Friend. 
 
Even though Pastor Les is still on TV from time to time via the eternal pulpit of video tape, They don't show his sermons on living to 150 year's being God's will.  Why, well because he died at age 83.
 
Of course theologically Les didn't die.  He just changed worlds. 
 
Let's face the facts I don't want to face and neither do most people as they get close to the end.  Increasing Average life spans is a myth.  Sure, because infant death is less, and medical care is better and many fatal diseases have been conquered people ON AVERAGE are living longer.
 
But for those who live a long time they are dying at about the same age as they did in King David's Time.  Old then was about 80.  
 
It may be there will be more 100 year olds.  There were a few back then.  Not many.  There are about 85,000 in the USA today.  Out of 300,000,000.   Not a huge percentage.  It was ever thus. There will be more and the AVERAGE life span will go up a little.  But, people will die at the age they always did for the most part.
 
God said in Genesis 6:3: And the Lord said, My spirit will not be in man for ever, for he is only flesh; so the days of his life will be a hundred and twenty years.
 
I read that to mean that even if you had perfect health care, perfect habits, perfect everything you hit tilt at some point.
 
The Bible talks about what long life meant 3000 years ago: Seventy years are given to us!   Some even live to eighty.  But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;  soon they disappear, and we fly away.  Psalms 90:10 NLT
 
Not much is changed.  We get 70 pretty good years, maybe 80.  Anything beyond that is a gift and if they are good years a double gift. 
 
I want to live full and well.  BUT!  I remember seeing my Uncle in a Nursing home, a man with big hands, a man with power, a man who worked hard.  He lived well into his late 80s.  Then he survived into his late 90s.  The last time I saw him before he died he was curled up in a fetal position.  It's the position he existed in the last few years of his life.
 
I suspect the scientists can keep some of our tissue alive in the future in a test tube to 150 years.  That is about the same idea as the end of life maintinance that happens in some nursing homes.
 
I want life, I want all my 80 years.  I want them well and full. 
 
It has always been ever thus.  That's what Barbara Walters wants.  I hope she knows Jesus, she will never have to die.  Her hope in a 150 year life span is just a daydream.
 
In Heaven according to folks who have been there and come back, She'll look GOOD.
 
There's a evangelistic outreach idea who's time may have come.

What Hard Living will do for YOU

One of these persons is 64 and the other is 96. It is difficult to see which is which, no?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What bad energy policy from Washington and bad Agricultural Programs get you

'Silent' famine sweeps globe
Rice, fertilizer shortages, food costs, higher energy prices equal world crisis

Posted: April 01, 2008
8:59 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily


WASHINGTON – From India to Africa to North Korea to Pakistan and even in New York City, higher grain prices, fertilizer shortages and rising energy costs are combining to spell hunger for millions in what is being characterized as a global "silent famine."

Global food prices, based on United Nations records, rose 35 percent in the last year, escalating a trend that began in 2002. Since then, prices have risen 65 percent.

Last year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's world food index, dairy prices rose nearly 80 percent and grain 42 percent.

"This is the new face of hunger," said Josetta Sheeran, director of the World Food Program, launching an appeal for an extra $500 million so it could continue supplying food aid to 73 million hungry people this year. "People are simply being priced out of food markets. ... We have never before had a situation where aggressive rises in food prices keep pricing our operations out of our reach."

The WFP launched a public appeal weeks ago because the price of the food it buys to feed some of the world's poorest people had risen by 55 percent since last June. By the time the appeal began last week, prices had risen a further 20 percent. That means WFP needs $700 million to bridge the gap between last year's budget and this year's prices. The numbers are expected to continue to rise.

The crisis is widespread and the result of numerous causes – a kind of "perfect storm" leading to panic in many places:

  • In Thailand, farmers are sleeping in their fields because thieves are stealing rice, now worth $600 a ton, right out of the paddies.

  • Four people were killed in Egypt in riots over subsidized flour that was being sold for profit on the black market.

  • There have been food riots in Morocco, Senegal and Cameroon.

  • Mexico's government is considering lifting a ban on genetically modified crops, to allow its farmers to compete with the United States.

  • Argentina, Kazakhstan and China have imposed restrictions to limit grain exports and keep more of their food at home.

  • Vietnam and India, both major rice exporters, have announced further restrictions on overseas sales.

  • Violent food protests hit Burkina Faso in February.

  • Protesters rallied in Indonesia recently, and media reported deaths by starvation.

  • In the Philippines, fast-food chains were urged to cut rice portions to counter a surge in prices.

  • Millions of people in India face starvation after a plague of rats overruns a region, as they do cyclically every 50 years.

  • Officials in Bangladesh warn of an emerging "silent famine" that threatens to ravage the region.

According to some experts, the worst damage is being done by government mandates and subsidies for "biofuels" that supposedly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fight climate change. Thirty percent of this year's U.S. grain harvest will go to ethanol distilleries. The European Union, meanwhile, has set a goal of 10 percent bio-fuels for all transportation needs by 2010.

"A huge amount of the world's farmland is being diverted to feed cars, not people," writes Gwynne Dyer, a London-based independent journalist.

He notes that in six of the past seven years the human race has consumed more grain than it grew. World grain reserves last year were only 57 days, down from 180 days a decade ago.

One in four bushels of corn from this year's U.S. crop will be diverted to make ethanol, according to estimates.

"Turning food into fuel for cars is a major mistake on many fronts," said Janet Larsen, director of research at the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group based in Washington. "One, we're already seeing higher food prices in the American supermarket. Two, perhaps more serious from a global perspective, we're seeing higher food prices in developing countries where it's escalated as far as people rioting in the streets."

Palm oil is also at record prices because of biofuel demands. This has created shortages in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is a staple.

Nevertheless, despite the recognition that the biofuels industry is adding to a global food crisis, the ethanol industry is popular in the U.S. where farmers enjoy subsidies for the corn crops.

Another contributing factor to the crisis is the demand for more meat in an increasingly prosperous Asia. More grain is used to feed the livestock than is required to feed humans directly in a traditional grain-based diet.

Bad weather is another problem driving the world's wheat stocks to a 30-year low – along with regional droughts and a declining dollar.

"This is an additional setback for the world economy, at a time when we are already going through major turbulence," Angel Gurria, head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, told Reuters. "But the biggest drama is the impact of higher food prices on the poor."

According to the organization, as well as the U.N., the price of corn could rise 27 percent in the next decade.

John Bruton, the European Union's ambassador to the U.S., predicts the current trend is the beginning of a 10-15 year rise in food costs worldwide.

The rodent plague in India occurs about every half century following the heavy flowering of a local species of bamboo, providing the rodents with a feast of high-protein foliage. Once the rats have ravaged the bamboo, they turn on the crops, consuming hundreds of tons of rice and corn supplies.

Survivors of the previous mautam, which heralded widespread famine in 1958, say they remember areas of paddy fields the size of four soccer fields being devastated overnight.

In Africa, rats are seen as part of the answer to the food shortage. According to Africa News, Karamojongs have resorted to hunting wild rats for survival as famine strikes the area.

Supplies of fertilizer are extremely tight on the worldwide market, contributing to a potential disaster scenario. The Scotsman reports there are virtually no stocks of ammonium nitrate in the United Kingdom.

Global nitrogen is currently in deficit, a situation that is unlikely to change for at least three years, the paper reports.

South Koreans are speculating, as they do annually, on how many North Koreans will starve to death before the fall harvest. But this year promises to be worse than usual.

Severe crop failure in the North and surging global prices for food will mean millions of hungry Koreans.

Roughly a third of children and mothers are malnourished, according to a recent U.N. study. The average 8-year-old in the North is 7 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter than a South Korean child of the same age.

Floods last August ruined part of the main yearly harvest, creating a 25-percent shortfall in the food supply and putting 6 million people in need, according to the U.N. World Food Program.

Yesterday, the Hong Kong government tried to put a stop to panic-buying of rice in the city of 6.9 million as fears mounted over escalating prices and a global rice shortage. Shop shelves were being cleared of rice stocks as Hong Kong people reacted to news that the price of rice imported from Thailand had shot up by almost a third in the past week, according to agency reports.

Global food prices are even hitting home in New York City, according to a report in the Daily News. Food pantries and soup kitchens in the city are desperately low on staples for the area's poor and homeless.

The Food Bank for New York City, which supplies food to 1,000 agencies and 1.3 million people, calls it the worst problem since its founding 25 years ago.

Last year, the Food Bank received 17 million pounds of food through the Emergency Food Assistance Program, less than half of the 35 million pounds it received in 2002. And donations from individuals and corporations are also down about 50 percent, according to the report.

High gas prices, increased food production costs and a move to foreign production of American food are contributing to the problem

Self Promoting Ministry

My brother and I were talking yesterday about a guy who is a self promoter in ministry. He jokingly said I should self promote. I won't. But, this joke post from Lark News is one of those that is more true than false. Funny stuff with a tinge of truth.

Man's ministry flourishes after he dubs himself an apostle


LAFAYETTE — A little-known evangelist from Louisiana has become a rising star in the South ever since he added the title "Apostle" to his name. George Mahaley, once a no-name itinerant preacher who criss-crossed Alabama in a trailer with his family, is now packing out large churches and selling truckloads of books.

"It really was simple," he said in a phone interview. "I just woke up one morning and started calling myself 'Apostle Mahaley.' I printed up letterhead to that effect, and changed my voice mail. People started paying attention."

He made no other change in his ministry, which friends have characterized as "decent preaching with a few funny personal anecdotes."

Mahaley had sold cars and carpets before entering the ministry in 1988. But he struggled and sometimes sold "magic wands" door to door to supplement his income.

"A magic wand is something you wave over your head and it sort of makes you feel better," he says. "It's more an idea than a product. The people who bought them knew that."

He made the 'Apostle' change because he "thought it was a good marketing idea and I had to juice things up." Friends of his are considering making similar name changes and "coming into their full ministry potential." •

Actual Work

Blogging will be lightish for a couple days. I have some actual work to do.

Back at ya in a couple. Stay tuned for some REAL entertainment. Later

Meanwhile a study in contrast:

A blogger of personal acquaintance who's photography skills and descriptive prose are truly extraordinary. I read her blog every day. She is in Washington DC and has visited the war memorials. Her reaction to them is reflective of a political bias she holds. One with which I disagree greatly. On the other hand, it's well thought out and the photography is moving.

Read her blog here, and read the visit to the memorials here.

For a marked contrast is a visit at the exact same time by another person. They might have walked right by one another. His view on the same exact memorial is in marked contrast to hers. Read them here.

It's all a matter of perspectives and it's all fully subjective. There is no absolute truth when it comes to this.

Well, maybe a few, War is Hell, war kills people and breaks things. Some war is essential. Which one is the question.

I wish I lived in an obscure place that had nothing anyone wanted to take from me and no real position of power in the world. Then I too could be a pacifist. However, I'm an American and for that reason eternal vigilance and a posture of power used or unused must be mine or the enemies of all things American would overrun us.

The quote from Lutheran Pastor about pacifism is apt here. If the USA doesn't stand then smaller countries will fall. I'm proud to be an American.
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945


The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Small countries enjoy the fruits of this and pick away at it.

I guess that's what a leaders do.


Thanks for Occupying my Mindlessness

A Plant Loving Friend of mine sent me this link. She insisted that it would help me sleep when I wake too early. I didn't wake this morning as usual. For that I am thankful.

So, the link is: http://www.freerice.com/index.php

It is a vocabulary quiz. I quit at 40. No perseverance. I got two wrong. They aren't hard words but you have to think sometimes.

SO, go for it.

Besides, according to the guy who's site this is he feeds people by playing this quiz.


The Three Candidates

I got this picture from my college roommate, Don Beeks from Washburn. I miss seeing him as I did last summer. He's a good guy.


What is so disheartening is one of these three is about to become President of the USA. I demand to see the wizard. I want to go back to Kansas. I'm tired of fantasy land. Where's Mike Huckabee when I need him?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bad Sleep Habits

I know this is a function of oldernessisms.  I don't sleep like a baby any more.  I'm not a baby unless you count baby plus 63 years, baby.
 
So, no matter what time I  go to bed I wake up at the same time. 4AM.  I know because I turn on my little radio and they tell me the time.  Every morning the same.
 
Most of the time I toss and turn and attempt to get a few winks more.  Mostly I don't. I just toss and turn.
 
So, this morning I rolled out at 4 AM and turned on the Prayer Room from KC off the Direct TV channel 365.That was good.  I answered some overnight emails and did some other work.  Then about 6 I went back to bed for an hour.  However, 7AM, my bioclock said get up you slugabed.  So, I'm up for the day.
 
I'm OK but I'm grumpier than usual if I don't get a good nites sleep.  That would be 7 on the Richter grump scale.
 
That's why I need sleep. 
 
Degrumifying.
 
Oh, I have the joy of the Lord, it's just the non Lord stuff that I'm grumpy about.  Like a lack of sleep.
 
I'll sleep good tonight.  I hope.  Time to break out the melatonin again.  That works really well for me.  But, I'm not consistent.  Please don't write me with the take a drink of milk or something.  Sometimes just a restless day is payment enough.  I'll sleep tonight.

The Hope of Atheism and Humanism: The Ultimate Fate of Life, the Universe, and Everything

by Rich Deem

Introduction

Cosmology & Hope

Cosmology is the study of the universe - its beginning, history, and likely fate. One hundred years ago, scientists assumed the universe was eternal and changeless. However, it is now clear that the universe had a beginning, but will have no end. Moreover, the nature of its laws of thermodynamics and dark energy guarantee that the universe will eventually destroy all life, knowledge, and consciousness as it suffers permanent heat death. This is the ultimate "hope" of atheism.

Contrary to the explanation offered in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is not 42. Christianity claims that the universe is a temporary abode for spiritual creatures who are destined to live with or without God for eternity. Until recently, science had no answers about the ultimate fate of the universe. However, humanism (the philosophical arm of atheism), through its manifestos and declarations, claims to offer hope for humanity. Are these declarations consistent with the reason and science that they are supposedly based upon?

Humanist affirmations

Humanism is a collection of philosophies that claim that right and wrong can be determined rationally, without appeal to any kind of religious revelation or dogma. Most forms of humanism are secular or atheistic in form. Throughout the 20th century, numerous humanist manifestos and declarations have been written to delineate the "creeds" of humanism.1 Humanists goals are lofty and optimistic. Along with these humanist manifestos are a list of affirmations, published by the Council for Secular Humanism. The 20th affirmation says in part:

We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.2

Presumably, this affirmation is a comparison between religious and humanistic philosophy. Accordingly, religion would be expected to lead to pessimism, despair, dogma, ignorance, guilt or sin, fear, hatred, selfishness, ugliness, and blind faith or irrationality. With such a list, it is a wonder why anybody would ever want to be religious, much less choose religion3 over humanism. So, just what kind of good things can we expect based upon what we know from science?

Dark energy and thermodynamics

One hundred years ago, atheist scientists assumed that the universe was eternal. However, there were some puzzling data that suggested otherwise. The development of the first and second laws of thermodynamics in the 19th century said that energy could neither be created nor destroyed and that the overall entropy of the universe was continually increasing. These laws suggested that at some point in the distant past, the universe was at minimum entropy. Obviously, the universe could not be eternally constant if its entropy was constantly increasing.

Albert Einstein's equations of general relativity showed that the universe was expanding.4 Soon, observations by Vesto Slipher, Alexander Friedman, and Edwin Hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding, demonstrating that it was not eternal, but had a beginning. In 1998, observations of type Ia supernovae at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggested that the expansion of the universe was accelerating.5 The source of this accelerating expansion is thought to be due to "dark energy," which associated with the fabric of space. Accordingly, as the universe expands, the force of dark energy increases. Even now, dark energy is thought to make up nearly three-quarters of everything that makes up the universe.

The fate of the universe

Lawrence Krauss and Glenn Starkman realized that the discovery of dark energy had tremendous implications about the ultimate fate of the universe. In 2000, within two years of the discovery of dark energy, Krauss and Starkman published an article entitled, "Life, The Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-Expanding Universe," in the Astrophysical Journal, documenting the probable fate of the universe.6 As the universe expands, cosmologists will be able to see less and less of the universe, until at one point, only the local group of galaxies would be visible. Of course, an increasingly rapid expansion of the universe implies that the entropy of the universe will continue to increase at an accelerating rate until it reaches a point of maximum entropy. This point will result in a loss of all usable energy as all stars burn out for all eternity. Here are their concluding statements:

The picture we have painted here is not optimistic. If, as the current evidence suggests, we live in a cosmological constant dominated universe, the boundaries of empirical knowledge will continue to decrease with time. The universe will become noticeably less observable on a time-scale which is fathomable. Moreover, in such a universe, the days—either literal or metaphorical—are numbered for every civilization. More generally, perhaps surprisingly, we find that eternal sentient material life is implausible in any universe.

Krauss and Scherrer wrote a more recent, popular piece in Scientific American in March, 2008, The end of cosmology?, which comes to similar conclusions.7 So, although humanism may pretend to offer optimism, in reality, science tells us that all sentient life is doomed to eternal destruction.

Christianity and the creation of the universe

Atheists often ask why God would create such a large universe if He intended it only as a place for human beings. Why not create one star and one planet? In fact, God created such a large universe as a demonstration of His power. The Bible says that the heavens declare the glory of God.8 It certainly wouldn't be very glorious if the universe were composed of two heavenly bodies. In order to see this glory, God has placed the Solar System a distance from the galaxy’s center at the "co-rotation radius," where it tends to stay between two spiral arms, away from the dust and gas found in the spiral arms that would obscure our view.9 In addition, it appears that we were created at the ideal time when we could determine how God created the universe. If we had been created earlier in time, we would have been unaware of dark energy.10 If we had been created later in the history of the universe, Hubble expansion would be unobservable, along with cosmic background radiation, and Big Bang nucleosynthesis.10 In essence, scientists would have been unable to determine how the universe came into existence, but would have assumed that it was eternal and static:

The remarkable cosmic coincidence that we happen to live at the only time in the history of the universe when the magnitude of dark energy and dark matter densities are comparable... Observers when the universe was an order of magnitude younger would not have been able to discern any effects of dark energy on the expansion, and observers when the universe is more than an order of magnitude older will be hard pressed to know that they live in an expanding universe at all, or that the expansion is dominated by dark energy. By the time the longest lived main sequence stars are nearing the end of their lives, for all intents and purposes, the universe will appear static, and all evidence that now forms the basis of our current understanding of cosmology will have disappeared.10

The ability to see the expansion of the universe is crucial to confirm the predictions of the Bible, since it first claimed this truth11 thousands of years before verification by science. So, the Bible's claim that the heavens declare the glory of God is confirmed by our position in the universe and the timing with which we were created, since we are at the ideal location at the ideal time to see the glory and design of the universe's creation.

Christianity and the end of the universe

Christianity claims that the universe is not eternal, but was created by God as a temporary abode to house God's spiritual creatures.12 After God's purposes are accomplished, He will destroy the entire universe in a cataclysmic apocalypse,13 and create a new universe14 with entirely different laws of physics.15 This universe is the best possible for the purpose for which it was created, which is a place in which spiritual beings can choose to love or reject God. So, evil exists in this universe as the means by which a choice can be made. In the New Creation, there will be no evil and no evil choices, since the creatures who will have chosen God in the current universe would have voluntarily given up such choices. So, although atheism offers only death, the end of consciousness, and the end of knowledge, Christianity presents a universe in which life and consciousness is eternal, and the Source of all knowledge dwells with glorified human beings for all eternity.

Conclusion Top of page

Cosmology shows us that the hope of atheism and humanism is ultimately bankrupt. Without God, the universe has no purpose, other than to just be, and its ultimate destiny is to become increasingly more hostile to life- until life, consciousness, and knowledge are eternally destroyed when the universe suffers permanent heat death. In contrast, Christianity says that the universe was designed by God to be a temporary place where spiritual creatures can determine where they want to spend eternity. The New Creation, God's perfect, eternal creation will replace this universe before it becomes inhospitable to human life, offering eternal life with God - the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom.

Al Gore's April Fools Joke

Since it's going to be 22 degrees here tonight I thought I would be the first to declare Global Warming a bad April Fools Joke.
 
It's so cold the buds on the trees are doing nothing.
 
Bunk.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Amen Rev Jackson

From Bishop Harry Jackson, a voice of sanity in an insane world of black and white racism:

Jeremiah Wright’s controversial sermons have created a huge media buzz concerning race in America. Most of us have heard nothing else on the cable news networks for nearly two weeks running. Last week I sat in the green room of the Lehrer News Hour preparing to discuss Wright’s theology and the role of the church to bring healing to the race problem in our nation. The segment just before me featured the head of the Pew Research Center.

The Pew representative stated surprising results from their survey conducted from March 19-22. Although 35% of voters cited that their opinion of Barak Obama has grown less favorable and most voters were offended by Wright’s comment, the debacle had somehow not undermined the support of the Obama faithful. He has maintained a 39 to 49 percent advantage over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. The turning point for Senator Obama was his nationally televised speech on race. The speech distinctly stopped his political bleeding. Pew concluded that the speech was positively received by his base. In addition, both Clinton and McCain supporters also gave Obama high marks for the speech. While many believe that Jeremiah Wright’s sermons will come to haunt Senator Obama in the general election, the Senator seems to have dodged a bullet.

As I mused on the dynamic changes occurring in American culture, I could not help thinking that many racial “absolutes” are shifting dramatically. Let’s take a moment to think about 5 absolutes that may be changing.

MYTH #1 - SUNDAY MORNING: THE MOST SEGREGATED TIME IN AMERICA

Sunday brunch and “mall patrol” are becoming part of many unchurched American’s routines. Sunday is often a leisure/ outing time for the secular community. Increasingly places like Georgetown and Tyson’s Corner in the Washington, DC area are awash with a multi-racial group of “mallers.” Additionally, mega churches are actively attempting to integrate the pews. White churches no longer have an invisible “no blacks wanted” sign hung over their doors. The integration of congregations is not just being led by white pastors. In 1981, I was one of the first black preachers in America to lead a predominately white congregation.

What was novel in those years, is becoming more and more common place today.

MYTH #2 - BLACKS WITH COMPARABLE EDUCATION TO WHITES GET PAID LESS

As my co-author and I searched the dusty pages of income data by race in preparing our new book (Personal Faith, Public Policy), we were shocked at how close salaries actually are. Black PhDs actually make more money on average than their white counterparts, while black bachelor degree holders make less than 9 percent fewer dollars than whites.

MYTH #3 - ONE RACE IS SUPERIOR OVER ANOTHER

The inferiority of one race versus another has been debated back and forth from the beginning of the nation. For example, one of the justifications for slavery was the “inherent inferiority” of black people. Time and time again sports authorities have claimed superiority of blacks in certain sports along with the limitations of whites.

Careers have risen and fallen on an announcer’s statement about black sports prowess. Most shocking in recent years was Michael Irvin's comments that Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboy superstar quarterback, had to have black blood. Ironically, Irvin is a black, pro-football great, turned sportscaster. Similar statements by white media figures would have gotten them fired. Whether cultural truisms acknowledge it or not, racial distinctives in adulthood are due to nurture not nature.

MYTH #4 - THE BLACK COMMUNITY IS MONOLITHIC

The unity of the black community was its greatest strength in the civil right days. In addition, black political unity gave rise to its influence in the Democratic Party. It is easy to see today that unconditional black commitment to the Democratic Party has become a real liability to the advancement of black community concerns.

The black community is growing. A Pew research study released in November of 2007 shows that blacks self identify as two different black communities. They reported that African Americans see “a widening gulf between the values of middle class and poor blacks.” In light of this split they do not feel that blacks can be considered one race any more. Once this truth was teased out by the Pew survey, it is little wonder that many blacks are less positive about their future than any other time since 1983.

Although blacks feel very strongly that discrimination is still very much alive in the nation, the study showed that overt racial hatred is less for both blacks and whites than it has been in decades. Pew found that blacks are unified in their lack of confidence in the criminal justice system as well.

MYTH #5 - BLACK POLITICIANS CANNOT COUNT ON WHITE SUPPORT AT THE POLLS

White voters have followed through in supporting Barak Obama thus far in this election. Therefore, the failure of attractive black candidates to close the deal with the American public at the polls (sometimes called the Bradley or Wilder effect) seems to have been nullified by Senator Obama.

A decade from now the entire racial landscape of the nation can be changed for the better if we seize the moment. The evangelical Christian community has the greatest chance of any community to lead the way in resolving the race issue in America. In light of our unique position in modern history, let’s make a difference starting today.


Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.