Saturday, February 14, 2009
Dark days are ahead for America, and the tragic part of it all is that it could have been prevented. Our government has gotten us into this economic crisis, and now they think they are the ones who can get us out of it. They should all be flogged for the mess they have made of our economy.
It was Democratic policies of forcing banks and other lending institutions to lend money to individuals who they knew lacked the resources to make their payments, all for the sake of fairness, that started this mess. It doesn’t seem too fair to those of us who played by the rules and did not get in over our heads and faithfully met our payments each month; now, we suffer right along with those who indulged in greed.
This stimulus bill is not the answer to our financial woes. But, it will grow bigger government--the ultimate goal of liberals. Power, power, and more power.
Of course, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid recognize that the porkulus bill is just that, and that it is doomed for failure. They just plain do not care about the American people. If it was such an all-fired good piece of legislation, why would they want the Republicans’ name on it? Since when do they want to share the credit for success? The dirty little secret is that they want Republicans on their side so when this bill bombs they can share the heat.
Read what a Harvard economist has to say about the stimulus disaster, via The Patriot Room:
Harvard Economist: "Stimulus is probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s"
“Considering that a lot of bills have been put forward by Congress in the last 70 years, this is really saying something.
Dr. Robert Barro is one of the most influential economists in the world.
From The Atlantic via Stephen Spruiell at The Corner, who got it from Will Wilkinson.
‘This is probably the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s. I don't know what to say. I mean it's wasting a tremendous amount of money. It has some simplistic theory that I don't think will work, so I don't think the expenditure stuff is going to have the intended effect. I don't think it will expand the economy. And the tax cutting isn't really geared toward incentives. It's not really geared to lowering tax rates; it's more along the lines of throwing money at people. On both sides I think it's garbage. So in terms of balance between the two it doesn't really matter that much.’
It is common knowledge that the Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush (43) tax cuts spurred the economy back into shape. By contrast, the FDR spendfest in the 1930's, as well as attempts in Japan and Argentina to spend their way out of recessions did nothing. These are proven (and disproven) models.
Obama's combination of mega-spending and (welfare payments) tax rebates to people who don't pay taxes (as opposed to cuts in the tax rate), are a double-whammy of pure Socialist folly.
One keen Democrat notes that this is neither a stimulus bill nor a pork bill. It is actually a permanent Democrat patronage bill, designed to create an army of people beholden to the Democrat Party for decades to come.
And yet Obama bleats on with The Big Lie that the economy is in the worst shape since the Great Depression.
This lie is so easily disproved, and yet (surprise!) the MSM won't call him on it. Jammie Wearing Fool via Gateway Pundit has a little graphic that shows that, far from the worst economy since the Great Depression, our economic situation isn't even nearly as bad as downturns in the 1970's and 1980's.
The Big Lie is that Obama knows this and yet deliberately uses phony numbers and rhetoric to pass a bill that may itself cause a depression.
Change we can believe in?”
We’re going to power our economy with scavenged energy[PDF] from intermittent, low-density solar and wind power. The Chinese are going to power their economy with eight-packs of nuclear reactors that they roll off assembly lines in vast numbers.
We have a culture that holds engineers and inventors in contempt and who view new technologies first and foremost as threats to be mitigated. The Chinese nearly worship engineer and inventors and adopt new technologies with a reckless disregard of all but the most gross dangers.
Our best and brightest dream of going into politics or “non-profits” that exist largely to suppress commerce and invention. The Chinese best and brightest go into engineering and business and try to figure out how to make and sell things.
Our intellectual class spends its time trying to generate contempt of our institutions, history and traditions and to shatter our belief in our own capabilities. China’s intellectual class spend its time creating instilling a fierce confidence in their institutions, history and traditions and building a belief they can accomplish anything.
The Chinese have become the lean and mean, energetic barbarians sweeping down on a fat, decadent and leaderless civilization. They have the same cowboy attitude towards technology and commerce that drove America to the top in late 1800’s. They are going to do to us what we did to Europe in the pre-WWII era and for the same reason. The difference this time is that the Chinese share no cultural bond to the rest of the world as America did to Europe.
They will face political challenges in the short term, especially in a global recession, but long term they will dominate for the simple reason that they will be able to keep the lights on and we won’t.
I suppose we’ll learn to adopt an attitude of superior impotence just as the Europeans have done. China will do great things while we will claim we’re to wise and mature to attempt such things.
We shall live in interesting times.
This church is located in the Geneva area and is in a huge spurt of growth. In the last year almost doubling. They are on the rise. What is the secret I wondered, good preaching, good music, good facilities? All that is essential, but lots of churches in our area have that. In fact if you don't have that you are out of business. That's how essential having the basics is.
We knew 4 of the couples. So, being gregarious I decided to mingle and do a little serial focus grouping. Most of the couples there were 20s and 30s (and had kids). They didn't know who I was. Just a guy.
I asked these questions of each of the men (I only spoke with men) and here are some of the answers I got: (the different answers separated by ///)
Q-1: How long ago did you join up with this church? (they don't have membership rituals, people just join themselves to the Church and there is no voting in the church govenment).
A: 18 months ago/// 6 months ago /// A year ago. (none of these were long timers I spoke with)
Q-2: What was your religious background before coming here?
A: Catholic /// My wife was raised in a Church, I never went, even as a kid /// Nothing
Q: Why did you decide to commit to this body of believers?
A: They have been so good to us as a family /// They are so loving (I heard that more than once) /// They have been so patient with us /// There is such love and joy here
Q-3: What difference has being part of this Church and knowing Jesus made in your life?
A: I was on a bad path before knowing Jesus and he has brought me back /// Our family life is now in order, we weren't making it before (near divorce) /// My life is changed immensely, I know have purpose in my life /// I am exited to be part of something that matters and changes people for the better - I'm on a mission.
I asked other questions but what I learned was instructive. I think church leaders (including me) need to hear what they say. I'll summarize:
People who come to us aren't steeped in things religious. They don't know what we assume everyone does. Many have no background at all. JOINING a church to them means they come, take part, tithe and feel family. NOT some intimidating (I'm a member and you're not) kind of spiritual hazing and pledge taking only Greek Fraternities force people to go thru to join. I might have joined with a fraternity if it hadn't been such rigmarole. And there were the innies and outers. Churches do the same thing. Many of your most excited and involved people will be short timers and not fully attached yet. Allow that to be the case. Quit the guilt trip.
It was acceptance and love that kept them coming back. They want us to be patient with them. They want us to nurture them and listen to them. They want to feel a part of the family FOR REAL. No status Christians loving one another. And they want to feel JOY. If we are unloving, if we are separate, if we are unwilling to walk with them , if they sense they are somehow not fully part of the Body they will walk away. They come to us uncertain and we must be careful to allow them to assimilate without our hindrance. Much of what we call ministry amounts to getting in the way of someone trying to become part of the Body of Christ we represent. Stop it.
People come to us in Crisis. Mostly if occasionally someone walks thru the door because things are great, life is good, we will have people shallow and uncommitted. IF being part of the Church doesn't represent enormous change for the better in their lives, then why are they here? Some are here of course to serve. But, most come because they have to find Jesus or DIE. I did. People have a Maslow sized need to belong, to matter, to contribute, to feel meaningful. If we give them a chance, they can and they will. People want to believe in miracles, not just for salvation and rescue from hell, but that the here and now, this side of the veil will be better. We have not helped people grasp the miracle working power of the Living Christ Jesus. We offer programs, we offer education, we offer good services and sermons, but we don't encourage them to reach out in faith believing for the miraculous in their lives.
I think the church at large is missing out on the greatest revival ever seen. This will be bigger than we imagined. Will we be part of it? That is up to us. If God sends us souls, will we run them off? I saw this video, it's a little foul mouthed, but it's instructional and should be seen by every church leader. Many of us have been treated this way, some of us have been the one treating people this way.
The church I visited will be a major player in years to come. Others will wonder. Yet they have openly allowed us to go to school on them.... if we only will.
At President Obama's town hall meeting in Fort Myers on Tuesday, Henrietta Hughes stood up and told the President she has been homeless since 2003 and can't find a job.
She also says she's reach a dead end with government assistance and none of the local charity agencies will help.
However, a local organization is coming forward saying Hughes isn't being honest about how much help she's had in the past.
The director of We Care Outreach Ministry, Tanya Johnson, says just last month she offered Henrietta Hughes permanent housing and a place to stay free for three months, but Hughes refused.
"We would have allowed her to stay for the first 90 days, no income. You know free," said Tanya Johnson.
We Care Outreach Ministry is a faith based organization in Fort Myers.
Johnson says she also gave Henrietta and her son Corey, money, food and offered Corey job training courses, but it was refused.
"We have extended a lot of her services to her," Johnson said.
But Henrietta Hughes says these services weren't free and the apartment in East Fort Myers came with a price tag.
Hughes says Tanya Johnson wanted $400 a month immediately.
The disability check Hughes gets is a little more than $800 a month.
Hughes owes money on a loan, has her car insurance payment, a monthly storage bill and says she couldn't afford the rent.
"Where was I going to get $400 a month to give her if I got these expenses," Hughes told WINK News.
WINK News Reporter Nick Spinetto went back to talk to Tanya Johnson.
She stands by her story.
Henrietta Hughes says she's never taken advantage of the system and doesn't choose to be homeless. Like other programs she's tried to get help from,she says We Care couldn't meet her needs.
I am not sympathetic at all. I know many like this. People who work the system in the City of Chicago. They are wonderful people, but totally without any motivation to exert actual effort on behalf of themselves. Sadly Obama gives her a kiss and makes it all better. She gets a free house from a REPUBLICAN.
Turns out she is good at living off the kindness of strangers except she isn't a good looking as Blanche DuBois.
That's why I am not big on supporting homeless shelters. They need to come with severe strings attached when they give help. Most efforts to help the homeless is enabling people who have learned to work the system.
This is a tragedy worthy of an opera.
Friday, February 13, 2009
He has arrowheads, axes, etc etc. He gathers flint and shapes it into replicas of Indian artifacts. He calls his artifacts, the tribe of Alar.
He has done deep vault study on the lifestyles they lived and what happened to them culturally. It's not all the white man. It's corn.
His analysis showed that when the American Indian ceased being a hunter gatherer their health went to pot. When they began cultivating grains and animals, agriculture, they began to suffer.
I don't know much about it, I'm not nearly as fascinated with all this as he is, but when he tells me that there is 6000 years of historical Indian culture in ILLINOIS alone that is very interesting.
Each culture distinct. Each one a little less peaceable.
So, if you want to be healthy and have peace, become a hunter gatherer and quit turning corn into ethanol.
I think that's the message.
Darwin's disbelief eventually spread beyond Christianity to include any sort of belief in God. While writing the first edition of The Origin of Species, he claimed that he had probably been a theist because he saw the "impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man ... as the result of blind chance or necessity." But that belief too had gradually eroded. "The old argument of design in nature ... which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered." Moreover, it seemed inconceivable to Darwin that an omnipotent God could sanction the cruelties inherent in nature's struggle for existence--"the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time." Having demystified the world through natural selection, Darwin was no longer filled with "higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion" when looking at nature. "I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind."
Thus Darwin, like so many atheists and liberals ever since, got rid of the troubling apparent contradiction between God and the injustices of life by getting rid of God--and, in so doing, getting rid of wonder in the face of nature, getting rid of admiration at the fact of man. No more could Darwin say, with the psalmist:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,No more could Darwin say, with Wordsworth in "Tintern Abbey":
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
And I have feltIt is true that some atheists say they experience a sense of wonder at nature despite their disbelief in any higher truth. But when we remember that it was Darwin's The Origin of Species that made atheism respectable and increasingly dominant in the modern world, Darwin's own growing atheism, and the resulting deadness and coldness in his feelings about life, become paradigmatic of modern materialist man.
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth.
This whole thing is a sad sad commentary. I do not celebrate his Birthday. I mourn. I mourn for Darwin. He now knows the truth....too late. I mourn for a world lost in a lie. This must be one of the devil's best schemes ever. Deception is everywhere.
Today being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, I thought I would pull together various resources relating to the creation-evolution controversy. Writing about the impact of Darwinism, Al Mohler offers a simple summary statement: “The Darwinist account of the cosmos and the living organisms found within represents a straightforward rejection of the role of the Creator as revealed in the Bible.” That conclusion will be challenged by many Christians, including many evangelicals who think that evolution as an explanation for the cosmos can be reconciled with the Christian faith. Alas, the evidence leads in the opposite direction, which is that a full-throated acceptance of Darwinism leads eventually to a rejection of the Christian faith. I know, I know, there are some well-known Christian thinkers who find a way to “reconcile” the Bible and Darwinism, but I think it is a mistaken attempt to join things that move in opposite directions.
A Gallup Poll released yesterday shows that only “39 percent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.” The research also shows that those who attend church most often are least likely to believe in evolution.
Let me pass along something I found in one of William F. Buckley’s books. It’s a quote that Buckley says he got during his days at Yale University. It comes from “a crusty academic believer” who was asked during the rise of Darwinism in the l800s, How can you still believe in God? He answered, “I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop.” He’s right, of course. Those who prefer to believe in the mutton chop are free to do so.
Here are a few resources offered on Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday:
If Genesis 1:1 is true, evolution in the macro sense cannot be true. It won’t do to say “God created by evolution.” That’s a cop-out. We might as start where the Bible starts, with “In the beginning God."
Presuppositions matter greatly in the whole creation-evolution debate. Where you start determines where you end. Nothing matters more than deciding where you will begin.
Some people say that Genesis was written to show us the who of creation, not the how. While freely granting that the Bible is not a scientific textbook, I argue that the early chapters of Genesis are not a myth or legend or some sort of mythic poem. They provide a sober account of how the universe came to be.
If you leave God out, you’ve missed the fundamental truth about the universe. That means that in order to understand human origins and the true history of the universe, we must begin–not with the vain speculations of science–but with God’s understanding as he has revealed it to us in His Word.
Every church wrestles with the issue of how to deal with the creation-evolution controversy. Some prefer to ignore it, others have capitulated to the point of celebrating “Evolution Sunday.” I think it is wise for churches to say plainly what they believe and how they intend to teach about human origins. Here are twelve statements that provide a framework for teaching about creation and evolution in the local church.
This message shows the importance of believing what the Bible says about creation. God has already done everything necessary for you to have a relationship with him. He created the world and then left his fingerprints everywhere. He even placed you where you are so that you would seek him.
Thing's aren't really tough yet, but they will be. Yet he is acting as if he didn't know how HARD being President would be. I hoped he would hire some good people around him. He did but he seems to be tone deaf. Today Kathleen Parker nailed it. To be fair, I have problems with Parker's dismissive attitutude toward Sarah Palin.
On this I tend to agree with her when she says:
The first however-many days of Barack Obama's presidency have been a study in amateurism.
Many suspected that Obama wasn't quite ready, but kept their fingers crossed. Optimistic disappointment is the new holding pattern.
What's missing from Obama's performance isn't the intelligence that voters acknowledged in electing him. It's the experience they tried to pretend didn't really matter. Experienced politicians, after all, got us into this mess.
Absent is maturity -- that grown-up quality of leadership that is palpable when the real deal enters a room. There's a reason why elders are respected. They have something the rest of us don't have -- yet -- because we haven't lived long enough. We haven't made the really tough decisions, the ones that are often unpopular.There's also a reason why it's lonely at the top. The view is better, but the summit isn't so much a mountaintop as a deserted city.
Read the Whole Thing.
A Piece by Fazale Rana, PhD
Feb. 12, 2009 --A sage once said, "It's not what you know you don't know that's the problem; it's what you don't know that you don't know."
When Charles Darwin advanced his theory of biological evolution, there was a lot of biology he didn't know. Some of it he recognized. But there was much he never even thought about.
During the 150 years since then, scientific advance has yielded important understanding about life's origin, history and characteristics. These accomplishments provide the framework for modern biology. Even more, they are causing scientists to question his theory. Learning what scientists know will equip Christians with a response to the Darwin anniversaries and his theory of biological evolution that can change minds and lives.
Darwin didn't address life's start in his seminal work, The Origin of Species. However, in 1871, while writing to a friend, Darwin speculated that the first spark of life may have taken place in a "warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. present, so that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes."
Still, it took until the 1920s before Russian biochemist Alexander I. Oparin and British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane independently provided a comprehensive scientific hypothesis for abiogenesis (life coming from nonlife) based, in part, on Darwin's musings. Providing detailed pathways from inorganic systems on primordial Earth to the first living entities, the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis postulated an atmosphere without oxygen. Instead, reducing gases-hydrogen, ammonia, methane and water vapor-supposedly dominated. Energy discharges formed simple organic (prebiotic) molecules that accumulated in Earth's oceans to brew the primordial soup. There, presumably, chemical reactions led stepwise to life's first forms.
In the 1950s Stanley Miller provided what many considered the first experimental verification of this hypothesis. By passing an electrical discharge through a reducing gas mix, Miller produced amino acids and other organics. His success launched the origin-of-life research program and became standard textbook fare.
These now-famous experiments inaugurated a series of experiments by others that seemingly provided ongoing support for Oparin's and Haldane's ideas. Giddy with Miller's accomplishment, many scientists predicted the origin-of-life problem would soon be solved. But several recent discoveries have diminished that confidence.
Miller's Experiment Didn't Matter
Few textbooks acknowledge that today most origin-of-life researchers consider Miller's experiment irrelevant. Strong evidence revealing a primordial atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water has changed the scientific consensus. This gas mixture does not yield organic compounds in laboratory prebiotic simulation experiments-a devastating blow for the evolutionary scenario.
In the May 2, 2003, issue of Science, Jeffrey Bada and Antonio Lazcano, Miller's long-time collaborators, commemorated the 50th anniversary of his experiment. While explaining its
historical interest, they acknowledged that "contemporary geoscientists tend to doubt that the primitive atmosphere had the highly reducing composition used by Miller in 1953."
Equally problematic is the lack of any evidence for a prebiotic soup. If life arose from a chemical stew, then Earth's oldest rocks should bear that soup's chemical residue. Yet, according to origin-of-life researcher Noam Lahav in Biogenesis, so far, no geochemical evidence for the existence of a prebiotic soup has been published. Life could not arise from a primordial soup that never existed. (Read more about the debate between Atheists and Creationists)
Life's Amazing Design
Researchers have traditionally maintained that hundreds of millions of years would be necessary for abiogenesis. They also claim that the first life to emerge would be extremely simple, evolving toward complexity.
Darwin embraced the protoplasmic theory-the idea that the cell consisted of only a wall surrounding a nucleus and a homogeneous, jellylike protoplasm. This understanding made early evolutionary explanations of abiogenesis plausible. Biologists and chemists easily envisioned chemical routes that could produce the single ingredient believed to form the cell's protoplasm.
By the end of the 19th century, however, this concept waned. With the discovery of enzymes in the cell's protoplasm capable of catalyzing a large collection of chemical reactions, scientists recognized protoplasm as a complex heterogeneous system.
During the last century, advances in biochemistry continue to affirm the complexity of life at a molecular level. Even the simplest bacterium requires nearly 2,000 different proteins in the "protoplasm" to exist as a living entity. Not only are the cell's chemical systems irreducibly complex, but they also display an extraordinary degree of order undergirded by an elegant, sophisticated logic.
Biochemists have also discovered that the salient characteristics of biochemical systems are identical to features immediately recognizable as the product of human designers. This close match logically compels the conclusion that life's most fundamental processes and structures stem from the work of an intelligent Agent.
Many of the proteins that operate in the cell function as molecular-level machines. And many bear a striking resemblance to man-made machines replete with drive shafts, camshafts, turbines, clamps, lever arms, bushings, stators and rotors.
Even atheists agree that life's chemical systems appear designed. The late Francis Crick, who shared the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, cautioned in What Mad Pursuit that "biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved." By all appearances, life's chemistry looks like the product of a Creator.
Because common experience teaches that information and codes always emanate from a mind, new discoveries about the information systems in the cell and the genetic code refute Darwin's theory while providing powerful evidence for the work of an intelligent Agent.
Necessary to give meaning to the information stored in DNA, the genetic code supplies rules used by the cell's machinery to make proteins that also harbor information. Additionally, biochemists have recently learned that these rules are optimally fine-tuned. Given the time scale for the origin of life, natural selection would have had to evaluate roughly 1055 codes per second to find the genetic code. On this basis alone, it couldn't have an evolutionary origin. There simply wasn't enough time for natural processes to stumble upon it. (See how Darwin's 'The Origin of Species' changed the world.)
Fossil Record Finds
Darwin knew that the fossil record didn't offer much support for his ideas. In The Origin of Species, he devoted a chapter to the "difficulties," with two features considered most troubling: the absence of transitional forms and the abrupt appearances of biological groups the first time they occurred in the fossil record.
Darwin lamented that "by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?"
Convinced that the fossil record was incomplete, Darwin expected missing transitional forms and gradual evolutionary transformations to be uncovered over time by paleontologists. And indeed they have found fossils that supply two key pieces of evidence to support biological evolution.
The fossil record shows that past life is different from life today and simple life preceded complex. For many scientists these features indicate life must have evolved.
But the work of a Creator, who brought different life forms into existence at different times, could just as easily account for these factors. The Genesis 1 and Psalm 104 creation accounts record this pattern.
Despite all discoveries, the overall features of the fossil record still look the same today as in Darwin's time. Transitional forms are scarce. When new biological groups appear in the fossil record, they show up explosively, then undergo little change.
Perhaps the chief example of sudden appearances is the Cambrian explosion. About 540 million years ago complex marine organisms exploded into the fossil record. Instead of relatively simple organisms originating at the base of the Cambrian, then evolving toward increased intricacy, complex animals appeared early and suddenly.
Evolutionary biologists struggle to account for this because they believe life transitioned from simple to complex in a gradually branching, treelike fashion. Yet explosive appearances are exactly what to expect if a Creator orchestrated life.
In The Blind Watchmaker atheist Richard Dawkins admits: "The Cambrian strata of rocks, vintage about 600 million years, are the oldest ones in which we find most of the major invertebrate groups ... many of them already in an advanced state of evolution, the very first time they appear."
Such explosive appearances dominate the fossil record. Every time biological innovation occurs, it happens explosively. A big bang occurred when life first appeared, when the first complex cells originated and when animal body plans arose.
The Origin of Humanity
Although Darwin carefully avoided humanity's start in The Origin of Species, he detailed it in The Descent of Man. He speculated that, like all species, humanity evolved. "In a series of forms graduating insensibly from some ape-like creature to man as he now exists, it would be impossible to fix on any definite point when the term 'man' ought to be used."
Darwin interpreted humanity in a fully materialistic fashion. According to this view, all of human nature, not just humanity's physical makeup, emerged through natural selection. Lacking direct evidence, Darwin argued that humans must have evolved from an apelike animal based on anatomical comparisons and embryological similarities among man and other mammals.
By then, paleontologists had discovered 35,000-year-old Cro-Magnon fossils. But these human remains and the first Neanderthal specimen discovered in 1856 did little to support Darwin's theory.
The first so-called ape-human intermediate interpreted from the fossil record wasn't discovered until 1890, in Java, Indonesia. It became known as Homo erectus.
In 1924, anthropologist Raymond Dart uncovered a small skull interpreted to have a blend of ape and human features that appeared to be humanity's most primitive predecessor. This fossil, nicknamed the Taung child, was formally classified as Australopithecus africanus. In the early 1960s Louis Leakey unearthed the first Homo habilis specimen in east Africa. Paleontologists considered this species (the first to use stone tools) to be the connection between the more primitive apelike australopithecines and Homo erectus.
Then the floodgates opened. In the ensuing decades, paleontologists unearthed many hominid fossils that encompassed a wide range of species and accompanying archeological remains. Each new hominid appeared to fill in the evolutionary tree and clarify the pathway that human evolution took over the last 6 million years.
But some of the most recent advances related to hominid-human relationships raise questions about evolution's validity. In 1997 fragments of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA from a 40,000- to 100,000-year-old skeleton were found in West Germany. When scientists compared them with the corresponding fragment of human DNA, the researchers discovered that Neanderthals made no contribution to human genetics.
Indirect genetic comparisons now eliminate Homo erectus from human ancestry also. The discoveries of new fossils caused evolutionary biologists to eliminate "Lucy" (Australopithecus afarensis) and the Taung child from the human evolutionary lineage. The last few years have forced evolutionary biologists to completely abandon the traditional view of human evolution presented in biology textbooks.
Scientific consensus confirms that humanity originated about 100,000 years ago in east Africa near the location ascribed to the Garden of Eden. Mitochondrial- and Y-chromosomal DNA markers trace that origin back to one man and one woman. Also, this research indicates that humanity migrated around the world from in or near the Middle East.
Referred to as the Out-of-Africa hypothesis by evolutionary biologists, this account of humanity's origin appears to be simply an awkward attempt to force the biblical model into an evolutionary framework. If humanity's genesis happened as Scripture describes, genetic diversity patterns should be identical to those observed. Science attests to a real Adam and Eve who gave rise to all humanity.
So, why then would so many people, especially scientists, celebrate Darwinism? Part of the reason has to do with the Christian approach to these matters. Often Christians are quick to point out the many problems. Rightly so. But merely explaining the difficulties isn't enough.
In The Triumph of Evolution and the Failure of Creationism, paleontologist Niles Eldredge explains that creation scientists have not managed to come up with even a single intellectually compelling, scientifically testable statement about the natural world. So there is as little of substance in the scientific creationists' treatment of the origin and diversification of life as there is in their treatment of cosmological time.
He goes on to complain that creationists refuse to pose testable hypotheses or make predictions worthy of science. Instead they devote their efforts to "attacking orthodox science" to establish "the truth of their own position."
To be taken seriously, Christians must present a positive case for creation and offer scientifically testable ideas. Many scientists and scholars have been involved in developing a biblically based creation model-one that makes predictions so the creation theory can be compared with new discoveries and scientifically tested.
Presenting the biblical account in the form of a testable model provides a powerful and exciting new approach to evangelism and apologetics. Not surprisingly, many recent scientific discoveries validate the biblical description of the origin and history of life. In sharp contrast, the most recent scientific data contradicts the predictions motivated by Darwin's ideas. If only he had known.
Fazale Rana, PH.D., is the vice president of science apologetics for Reasons to Believe and author of The Cell's Design. He is an award-winning researcher, who also co-authored, with Hugh Ross, Origins of Life and Who Was Adam? Hugh Ross, PH.D., is the founder and president of Reasons to Believe. His latest of many books, More Than A Theory, reveals a testable model for creation.
The problem is, if that is your measure The Apostle Paul would have had to stay in his chair when the call is made by the leader of those meetings.
I have a problem with the way the Five Fold ministries and any other God ordained Ministries are treated by the Body of Christ. It seems like we have become uniministry focused. Read Ron's post:
Many Christians do not understand the difference between a calling and paid employment. A calling is what God created you to do. It is what will make a permanent difference in the world. Paid employment is what you do to support yourself and your family.
A few Christians are able to get paid employment doing their calling, but that is not normal. People called to be pastors can often get paid employment doing pastoral work (many are actually doing management or administration). A person called to be a prophet is unlikely to get paid employment doing their calling. That is why so many become pastors, which is a pain for everyone.
Paul was called to be a apostle, but that did not pay well, so he often took paid employment as a tentmaker. This will be the situation for most Christians. They will not be able to get someone to pay them to do their calling, so they will need paid employment in field where they have skills to earn a living to support themselves while carrying out their calling. They should seek paid employment in a role where the can earn enough to live on as quickly as possible. This task may not be fulfilling and it may not have much eternal significance (all Paul’s tents have rotted away), but that does not matter, if it leaves lots of time for the real calling.
I am called to Christian economics. I have never seen a job advert for a "Christian economist", so I cannot support my family doing my calling. My solution has been to find employment in a role that has very little eternal significance, but allows me to earn a living in three days a week and gives me plenty of time to fulfil my calling.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Sometimes for various reasons she is absent the world of blog. She is missed. Then suddenly like a dust devil on the prairie she blogs up a storm.
She has been gone a while. She's back. And she is once again writing things that I could only dream of being as lucid about. See there, I dangled that preposition without shame.
She has been writing about her recent experiences in Nicaragua. They are poignant.
I could only hope in my dreams to write that well.
I'm practicing. You are my bankboard.
Now a disturbing new Chicago bloodsport has emerged. Read this article only if you dare. Caution, graphic details.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
More than Two-thirds of the Nation Still Lives in Their Home State
In which states do folks tend to stay home? Here's a look at Americans still living in their birth states. New York and Louisiana top the list. Upwards of 82% of the US-born residents living in New York and Louisiana were born there. Looking at the map, you can see that the highest numbers reside in the rust belt and northeast. The most transplants tend to live in natural amenity rich western states, except for California.
More than 72% of US born Californians were born in the state. That number is over 74% in LA county, but only about 60% in San Diego. Other high transplant areas include New Hampshire and Vermont in the northeast, and not surprisingly the Washington DC area, Florida, and Nevada.
Only 41.7% of US born Alaskans were born there. I suppose if you are living in Alaska, you've come there for good reason.
|Percent of Native Population Born in their Current State of Residence|
|Geographic area||Percent||Margin of Error|
|District of Columbia||45.5||+/-0.7|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005-2007 American Community Survey
This year I am going to demand that they put a culvert in my back yard so I can cross the ditch and not get wet or muddy.
So this year when I pay my taxes I am going to withhold 300 dollars and send it only when they promise to put that culvert in. I'm sure they won't mind. I need the culvert. I pay taxes. I just need to designate some of my tax money to apply to a specific designated project.
Do you think that's OK? Since I see you have a smile on your face you know that what I have just proposed is silly, wrong and just not the way it is done.
Yet, it happens all the time in Churches. Designated tithing. God's house is to be governed by Godly men and women who in oversight make good decisions based on prayer and revelation on how to best use the tithe money given in obedience to the word of God. There is no where in there that allows giving for designated giving. Just like the county and my culvert.
Yet this happens. Too much. It causes hard feelings. People build little empires by designated giving. I'm not talking about an offering fund like for example a building fund, a missions venture or some other embraced fund to receive offerings, I'm talking about money used to do extra ecclesial functions.
This is wrong. And it's out of line. Pastor Dan was death on these kinds of things. It undermines the mission of the Church to such subversive giving.
If the county allowed me to get away with the culvert thing they would have everyone targeting and designating giving to accomplish various purposes. The general operating fund would founder.
One other thing. This is not hypothetical. I really do want a culvert. If I paid my full taxes and then if I went to culverts are us and without approval just installed one where I want it I would be arrested. I have no right or privilege to modify the public right of way for my own interests.
So the idea in the church that its OK for a person to just go ahead and buy something that THEY deem is necessary, even if it doesn't remove from the tithe is subversion. I wish I could get that in people's heads.
I am having serious Deja vu all over again.
Obama is using fear to motivate legislators to go along. He is using exactly the tactics that the left accused Bush of using. Fear to drive legislation. Obama is using fear to make policy.
Obama lied people starved. OR is he mistaken because of false and partisan information.
Just like Bush.
That means she lived in three different centuries. Three different eras. In a few years there will be no one left who lived in three centuries. My grandparents were all born in the 1800s. I remember people alive when I was a child who were born during the Civil war. My dad would have known men who Fought in the Civil War if he had been in the right place at the right time.
I know all this is just so much rumination, but living 115 years bears some honor. Well done.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I never listen to the programming on the service. Most of it is way off the mark theologically.
The one thing they do that I enjoy quite a bit is the Bible Reading narrated by Hendric Van Dyke. He's an excellent reader.
He just reads it. Straight up. No fanfare. Raw word. I'm always riveted when he does. Particularly when he reads the prophets. He's in Ezekiel right now. It thrills me to hear it read without comment. I could listen to him for hours.
I guess I'm weird too.
Creationism is where it starts. Did we evolve or were we created? Did God really have a garden? Where was it? Was there an Adam. An Eve. A serpent? Did they sin? Were they really expelled from the garden? Did they have sons. Cain and Able? Did Seth become a father that led to Jesus? Rahab, Jesse, David, Do the genealogies tell the truth that are in the word of God? Is that all just metaphor? If it is, did Jesus even exist? Did he actually die on a cross? If he isn't who the Bible says he is, genealogies and all, then what else is false?
You see, when you pull one linchpin out of a journey thru the Bible, you destroy the credibility of the whole of scripture. I believe every single word in the word of God from Genesis to Maps. Every word. Nothing added, nothing missing.
I can't explain it all.....yet. But someday it will be revealed. As we believe Him, he reveals truth to us and we come to mature faith in God. No rationalization, just pure rich faith in creator God. I am of the opinion that any man or woman who preaches the Gospel and doesn't have the revelation of the Truth of Creation, or even has doubts, is a fraud and should step down until they have come to faith. You don't get to pick and choose. God said it, I believe it, that settles it.
I don't need science or evolutionary theory to validate scripture. I allow scripture to validate science. When they don't agree I depend on the tick of time to prove the word of God true once more. It always does.
So, when I see Christian's trying to harmonize Biblical Creation with Evolution I am puzzled.
Why bother to evangelize? To what? A myth? A story? A rationalization?
Jesus is REAL. He created all things by the power of his word. He still is.
Is the world zillions of years old. Were there dinosaurs? Have there been other humanoids on the earth? Did God create man as we read in the Bible? YES to ALL.
But it wasn't evolution. God created, after their kind. I'm most saddened by men and women who are pastors and leaders who attempt by reason and intellect to grasp the reality of Jesus the Creator. They never will. We come to God by faith and then he rewards us by revelation as we diligently seek him.
We have a lot of un revealed truthers standing in pulpits every Sunday. Know God, Know Truth.
Here's a truth to hang your hat on. This chart about dinosaur evolution has a lot of empty spaces and dotted lines. There are no intermediate fossil evidences. There is no "was once a dino and is now a bird" kind of intermediate. They just were and then went extinct. Like DODO birds. Like passenger pigeons. Created and then extinct at some point.
Note that ONLY the dark purple are fossils, there are no intermediate fossil forms ever found, just hypothesised. Know why? it would violate the truth of God. He created after their kind:
There are influences that can cause you to go off course:
- Wanting to be liked
- Wanting to be seen as fair
- Wanting to keep peace
- Wanting to pave the path early for re election
- Wanting to honor gifted partisan advisers
- Wanting to reward those who voted for you
- Wanting to be popular
- Wanting the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd
I am hopeful that BHO will overcome his weaknesses and spinelessness and become the President he is not yet. He will offend his "Base". He must become more like George Bush and ignore the nattering. He must develop a spine of steel and move ahead ignoring the voices of defeat.
I pray he will. I really do.
In a Presidential contest replete with novelties, none was more significant than this: A candidate’s campaign—for his party’s nomination, then for the presidency—was itself virtually the entire validation of his candidacy. Voters have endorsed Barack Obama’s audacious—but not, they have said, presumptuous—proposition, which was: The skill, tenacity, strategic vision and tactical nimbleness of my campaign is proof that I am presidential timber.
He’s still at it. Stop Campaigning, start governing Sir.
That's what a dog does. He marks his territory by piddling on it. He doesn't own the hydrant after the marking he does. He isn't installed as watcher over the hydrant. He just sees that hydrant as his and you better not mess with it or you'll have Him (or her) to answer to. He marks it and expects that you will honor his possessive act.
When the fur really rises on the pooch is when another dog comes along and piddles on the same hydrant. Now what?
So, things get sidelined, things are derailed and sometimes things are even sabotaged. I have seen this happen a couple times in the last couple weeks. In church if you get in the way of a person who rightly or wrongly believes certain ministries are his or hers alone and that they are king of all they survey, you will be unpleasantly surprised when you do to find fresh urine sprinkled all over the top of that hydrant when you walk in.
Ultimately, there must be a Fire Hydrant Ownership proclamation. Peeing doesn't count.
That has to come from the chief fire hydrant supervisor (that would be the pastor).
I understand fire hydrant marking. It has to do with hard work done, perceived position, perceived authority, perceived status, perceived self worth. Unfortunately, in the end it's just a fire hydrant and it's not yours. Never was.
Now go find somewhere else to pee.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Most churches don't treat their congregants as family.
More like customers, clients, Members. To be a part of the family you have to take a family training course, you have to be given a copy of the family rules, you have to take a family pledge and then if you are good enough we will accept you (conditionally) as a family member until you screw up. Then you are out on your ear.
That's not family, that's the Elks Club.
Fraternity, not Family.
What's worse is most churches like fraternities have hazing rituals. You are shunned until you show yourself approved.
I know I'm being hard on churches but if you are a pastor and if you examine your own congregation you will know how far from true family you really are as a fellowship.
Alan Knox has a great series going that I continue to post on this blog. Remixing the scripture. I'll bet with a little poking he could have some fun with the passage in acts were 3000 were added to the church in one day.
Take a look at families. They are messy. There are fights. People disagree. Feelings get hurt. But they are irrationally committed to each other. They center their relationship around Jesus.
I think it all has to do with how the leadership of the church views the people who come into the church building. Clients, Customers, potential Members? or GIFTS from God.
In a real family, that's what children are, GIFTS FROM GOD. On Saturday at Men of God (Our monthly men's meeting) I used tools as a representation for what God places in his body. Tools, gifted tools that are used for differing purposes at differing times. Valued tools. Revered tools. I Corinthians 12 has a long list of tools (Gifts). Romans 12 has another list. And Ephesians 4 has a list of those who are tool sharpeners and tool engagers.
In a family, when the gift of a child comes in, the goal of that mom and dad from that day forward is to mature that child to leave the home and start their own family. That way they become grandparents and great grandparents.
Most churches with MEMBERSHIP roles are like bad dysfunctional families, they have a hard time being parents. They want to hang on to the kids as long as possible. They are dependent on them being there to take out the garbage.
We have adult children living at home instead of out starting homes of their own.
This is not as it should be, in churches or in homes.
Your congregation is not a group of customers, clients or members. They are family. Young people you should be in the process of maturing to be sent out from you to start new families. You don't have any rights to them except the rights of a parent. They will be messy. They will be difficult.
But they are family, they didn't earn family-ship any more than a child does. They don't take a class to be a member of a family. They just show up and POOF they are a part of the family, they appear in pictures, they are Kin. No one asks them to sign a membership document.
Let's re-examine the way we look at those who God has placed in our care. We can do better than we are doing. Get rid of the Elk's Lodge mentality and accept people for who they really are. Family. Gifts from God placed in our care for our maturing and then sent out.
I see no evidence in the New Testament at all of "Membership Rituals" along with the accompanying hazing at all. If you can give any example I want to hear it. In the Old Testament there are examples of enrolling. That was for land ownership and priestly succession.
If you were born a Jew you were at once part of the Jewish Body.
That's as it should be, if you are born again, you are at once a full member of the Body of Christ.
Anything else is counterfeit and not scriptural.
I get the who gets to vote part of membership. That's not scriptural either. The Church is NOT a democracy. It's a kingdom. Look at that example and you will understand.
Membership has no place in the Church. I believe in identification and affiliation. But that's as easy as saying to someone, I am bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh.
There is something surreal about the debate surrounding the stimulus bill which now appears headed for passage in the Senate. On the one hand, you have conservative Republican lawmakers railing against the bill’s pork-laden provisions with all the earnestness and fervor of the born-again, fiscally responsible politicians they have suddenly become. It’s as if we are getting lectures in morality from a pimp who, after seeing the light and embracing Christ as his savior, now feels compelled to preach against the evils of prostitution. You are happy for the transformation but leery about how long it will last.
Whether GOP legislators are now beating the tambourine for fiscal responsibility out of conviction is a matter open for debate, although being trounced at the polls may be reason enough for them to suddenly rediscover their conservative roots.
And what of the Democrats and their equally sudden metamorphosis from earmark crazy gigolos, bedding down any lobbyist who winks in their direction, to warriors for safeguarding the taxpayers’ money? Admittedly, the Democrats have a much harder sell given the blatant and sometimes comical fraud they are trying to perpetrate on a public scared out of its gourd by a president whose hyperbole and predictions of “catastrophe” if the bill is not passed immediately is matched only by his cynical refutation of any semblance of the “bi-partisanship” he so blithely promised to bring to Washington during the campaign. No one doubts the economy is bad and getting worse. But when the president of the United States stands up and asks us to give in to our fears, to blindly obey his call to pass a bill with tens of billions of dollars in spending that even the bill’s proponents say is wasteful, one has to ask what happened to the party who once told us: “All we have to fear is fear itself.”
How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday.
“So what?” Obey asked in response to a question on NPR’s “Morning Edition” about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. “This is an emergency. We’ve got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Thus speaketh the voice of fiscal responsibility.
Who are these people and what have you done with the Republicans I'm used to seeing?
The leaders went to the bank for a construction loan. The bank wanted to make sure that the money would be there to pay the note if the bank were to lend the money. That's the times we live in. Ultra Conservative banking. Fear. Needing certainty.
They made a strange request of the Pastor. Of the top 185 givers of the church they wanted to know:
How long had they been giving at this level
How sound were their Jobs or Incomes for future giving in a depression world view
What does their income represent in giving as a percentage of the total church budget
Good questions. A report was generated. Every person on the list was examined.
Here's the result. Every one of those people has jobs or income sources that is likely to stay solid for a long time. Firefighters, Police, Doctors and sound long term retirement incomes.
The income of those 185 families was estimated to be 1.75 million.
What was most interesting was that these people had almost all been with the fellowship for 10 years or more, steady, faithful in giving, solid and never wavering even when times got tough.
Looking over the givers of less was a pattern of in and out of the fellowship, in an out of jobs and work.
We stand before people and say to them that if they are faithful to God in Giving He will be faithful to them. He is as good as His word.
Now, are we as good as our word?
AND the REALLY BAD NEWS IS:
Ah yes, dear reader…that is where we are. In trouble. At the beginning of a depression. The old structures must be swept away to make way for new ones.
Change! Can it be stopped? Yes we can’t!
“So, what’s the solution?” asked a colleague this morning, after we explained why the stimulus programs cannot work.
“The solution to a depression is a depression,” we replied.
We live in a world run by simpletons.
In this morning’s paper is a front-page article describing how Japan “wasted trillions” on its various stimulus programs.
The International Herald Tribune:
“Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams, and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s.”
Public spending was so aggressive, it boosted Japan’s government debt to 180% of GDP – more than two times the current U.S. level. But did all that cement buy Japan out of its slump?
You be the judge. Housing prices in Japan are now back down to where they were in 1975 – nearly 90% below the late-’80s peak. And stocks? The Nikkei index is back down to where it was a quarter century ago. Stocks sell for half their book value – and they’re still considered too expensive for beaten-down, hyper-fearful Japanese investors. The downturn began in 1990. Over the following 19 years, it did more property damage than the Great Tokyo Fire of ’23 and the Enola Gay combined, wiping out wealth equal to three times the country’s GDP. This was despite interest rates at zero…and a heroic effort at Keynesian stimulation.
If America were to follow Japan’s example, it would have to leave its interest rates near zero for the next decade…and add about $10 TRILLION to its public debt. And if it got the same results, you’ll be able to sell your house in 2026 for the same price you paid in 1992.
But the simpletons have no other idea.
We have to go thru this, get government out of the way and allow the forces of self interest to prevail. Anything else will make the pain worse. Read the whole article.
Tip o the Hat to Blessed Economist
Sunday, February 08, 2009
This is the 40th installment of "Scripture... As We Live It":
He's a novice and is reverting to his old community organizing ways to solve his problems. Transactional analysis tells us that whatever we learned or were told to do as children, we revert to when we are placed under pressure. Boy, he is in spades on this one.
Obama under pressure hasn't done very well. His tirade against people who opposed his Stimulus package was a prime example. He's just not very good at this yet. I'll give him a chance but he has a HUGE learning curve and he started so darn far down it.
The fact that most of the stimulus rewards and encourages behavior that is counter productive to the economic health of the USA seems to be overlooked by most of those analyzing this mess.
The amount of money for welfare, food stamps, medical care, free money and unemployment insurance extensions is inversely helpful to the economy. Oh sure, money goes in to the economy and is spent on food and for Chinese junk at Walmart, I get that. A short spurt will follow. But in the end, the economy can't recover if people aren't employed, self sufficient and effective. We are rewarding and encouraging people to rush to the bottom of the barrel. We are rewarding the least productive segments of society. Social reverse engineering.
Obama started out well. He hired some bright folks. People I trust and respect. Based on what I see he has gone tone deaf, or just deaf to wiser voices. He isn't listening to them. He's reverting to the slash and burn politics of his past. He's doing things that make no sense in this environment.
Some kind of foolish stimulus package will pass. It will fiddle with the market, but in the end it will fail. Horribly and with terrible consequence. That will mean Obama will be a one term failed president. I said right after the election that I had hoped he would be a good one. A successful one. Based on the "Leadership" I saw this week, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask the question John the Baptist asked of Jesus, "Are you the one, or should we look for another".
We will look for another. I wish he could have come to this with more experience. But, inexperienced uninformed people put him in office, and now look what we got.