Sunday, March 30, 2008

Opening Day

It's that time of year again. Opening Day of the baseball season. It should be a national holiday in America. It is as close to that as possible in Cincinnati, as a tradition. Setting aside the "regular season" games already played last week between the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox in Japan, tonight's game in Washington DC's new stadium marks the real start to the season. Tomorrow and Tuesday mark opening days for all other clubs, with home opening days to occur later for those clubs starting the season on the road. My Giants will take on their bitter rivals the Dodgers tomorrow in Los Angeles, but their home opener won't occur until the following Monday.

Opening Day is a wonderful day where all hopes are renewed, if not for the possibility of winning the World Series then for the expectation that there will be a game to go to or listen to on the radio almost every day for the next six months. Baseball is a great game, and I hope many of you out there will be able to enjoy the day, whatever team you cheer for. Even if you live in New Zealand or the Middle East and might know preciously little of American baseball, I'll try to live the day for you vicariously and talk it over with you in the kingdom to come. You will by then have been so perfected in patience that you won't mind me rambling about it for an extended period of time.

Belated Easter Week: Good Friday

Good Friday is called such because even though Christ's crucifixion was brutal and bloody, our sins were laid upon Him. Our sins are atoned for. His cry of "it is finished" meant the deal was done. As good as Good Friday is, it is only part of the story. The other part is better. More to come...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Christian Liberty

For a long time, whenever I heard the term "Christian liberty" I usually associated it as a reactionary term against the evils of legalism. No drinking, no dancing, no listening to FM radio. "Hey, we have Christian liberty" was the protesting response. Then an explanation came to mind about the positives of what activities we have liberty to engage in. Wine is God's creation that was given to us to enjoy, or defenses of certain genres of music. I don't fault anybody for taking these things on. But where I made a mistake in this thinking, is that Christian liberty is limited to these things; it is a mere reaction to legalism.

But the scope of Christian liberty is much greater. Christ came so that we may have liberty. Liberty is essentially the freedom to do what is good. Yes, it includes drinking a beer or listening to the Beatles (or not!), and giving thanks to God for those things (or for not doing these things), but exercising our liberty to do good - any good - is part of Christian liberty. Buying some land, tilling the ground and feeding people with your produce is part of Christian liberty. Starting a family and training your children in the ways of the Lord is part of Christian liberty. Writing a book, having a career, changing the world with acts of good, inventing something, producing wealth, helping the poor and disadvantaged, advancing God's kingdom. These are all part of liberty. Let us fully engage our liberty upon the world for the cause of Christ.

(p.s. Jason's post inspired my writing of this. I've wanted to write this for a while, so thanks, Jason for the trigger, even though it's not directly related to your post.)

Things That Annoy Me

There are a few things in this world that really annoy me. One is when somebody installs a roll of toilet paper with the loose end being loose on the back side of the roll. This makes it almost impossible to grab the loose end, as it is both obstructed by the roll itself, and once the roll is unrolled to expose the loose end, the loose end clings to the wall so as to not be grabbable. Toilet paper was meant to be installed so the loose end comes over the top as if to say, "grab me." Mrs. Scott is an over-the-top toilet paper roll installer, so I know I married well, but I can't say as much for the janitor at work. You would think that after at least a hundred years of toilet paper being used by billions of people in Western culture, that this thing would have been figured out by now.

Bugs annoy me. They really annoy me if they get into the house. Lady bugs excepted. There's one on the header to the hall door now. It's orange with black spots. Dog crap on my lawn annoys me. No, wait. It makes me want to go postal; it infuriates me. Stupid bumper stickers annoy me, unless they're so stupid as to be funny. Being annoyed annoys me. Some times I'm so annoyed at being annoyed that it's really annoying.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yahoo Spam-Block Problems - Any Help?

I don't know what criteria ISP's use to determine what spam is, but I've developed a problem with my Yahoo account. Suspected spam is put into a "bulk" mail folder. If it's not spam, you can simply click the "not spam" button to take it off the spam list. But my "not spam" button has disappeared from my bulk mailbox toolbar. Yahoo keeps the bulk mail around for a while, but I have to manually move it to my inbox. Regular emails (like site hit software reports) and recent email exchanges with friends (Gene) are being marked as spam. I don't know how to restore the "not spam" button. Any ideas?

Steve Scott's Economic Stimulus Package

If raising the minimum wage by a very small amount, like 25 cents per hour, is good, then raising it by more is better. Why think small?

Here's my plan. Raise the minimum wage to $1 million per hour. Based on a 2080 hour work-year, every working American would become a billionaire in only six months. Enough people would then retire to make room for all the unemployed to become billionaires in as little time. Our entire country could then retire and hire the rest of the world to do everything. It might take a few years, but the whole world could be billionaires, we could all retire, and life would be perfect forever.

Just think, I could buy season tickets to all baseball teams everywhere, and go to any game I like. I could even travel to Antarctica. Write your Congressman or woman.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Belated Easter Week: Maundy Thursday

I beg the pardon of those more liturgical than myself, but I really have no clue what Maundy Thursday is. Blame it on my non-denominational background, I guess, but some regard one day above another, and some regard every day alike. I think I first heard the term just last year. I gather that it has something to do with the last evening Jesus spent with His disciples before being crucified.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Belated Easter Week: Palm Sunday

Jesus came into Jerusalem with fanfare and recognition as the king. But I read a historical commentary a few years ago that added a dimension to Jesus' motives, and I found a small clip from Googling the triumphal entry that echoes it. Apparently, Jesus not only entered Jerusalem to show His kingship, according to these authors He did so in a calculated way to make an enormous political statement. He entered at the same time that Herod did, in full mockery of Herod's kingship. Herod, as king of Judea and knowledgeable in the Jewish religion, would have entered the city for the great feast. Kings did such things with fanfare, pomp and circumstance.

Jesus spent much of His time in the stories of the four gospels "in the face" of authority. He rebuked the religious leaders of His day quite often to their faces, mocked them in His actions, and openly defied their traditions in front of them. He rebuked Pontius Pilate to his face. It doesn't surprise me to read of His triumphal entry in the same way. (Read blog post here).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Withholding The Truth

"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" John 16:12

"You can't handle the truth." Jack Nicholson - A Few Good Men

Jesus withheld things from His disciples because they were not able to bear what He had to say. They were not at a point yet to eat meat; they were babes in many ways, and could only handle milk.

Sometimes people make an issue out of not getting the truth told them, not understanding that they don't have the capability to understand or to bear the consequences of knowing the truth. The truth for them is a cause of consternation and upheaval. Sometimes this can only be discerned of those people by starting to tell them truth. Sometimes this isn't a good idea, and should end as soon as it starts.

Belated Easter Week

I wanted to comment on the days of celebration for Easter week, but wasn't able to. I'm hoping to do a belated series of posts this week. I'd like to post on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and on the Sabbath in between, and maybe St. Patrick's Day as well, since it fell in Easter week this year.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lucky To Be A Calvinist

I have been what is called in theological terms a five-point Calvinist since about five years before my conversion to Christianity. Calvinism holds that people aren't self-determinite in relation to salvation. Well, then, how lucky am I to be a Calvinist? Dang lucky. Today, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth, that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Zoning Laws (Part 12) Zoning as Theft

Read entire series here.

Jim Fedako at Anti-Positivist carries one of his own articles on zoning laws. He suggests that zoning laws constitute theft of private property, and those who support zoning laws are the thieves. Read it here.

Part 11 .

The Calendar Week

This was a busy calendar week. Palm Sunday on Sunday, St. Patrick's day on Monday, first day of spring on Thursday, full moon on Friday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. We're going to my folk's house for Easter dinner, so the kids can also see grandma and grandpa. We missed our church's Good Friday service tonight. We couldn't get childcare covered and the baby was under the weather enough to help make that decision. Our kindergartner is off of school this coming week and my annual review for work is on Monday. I'll be asking for a million dollars an hour raise to cover for gas to get there. Pray for me!

While Harry Was Sleeping In Seattle, Sally Got Mail

I've often wanted to make a movie parody that skewered the romantic comedy genre. It would be the perfect romantic comedy because both sexes could enjoy it. It would actually contain a romantic plot, so the chicks would watch, but it would be a mocking of the whole idea - a comedy - so the dudes could watch, too.

I would combine all the cheesy plot material of all the favorite romantic comedies (When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle, Notting Hill, Wedding Planner, etc.). I would use real actors, but not stars, that had names that were very close to the names of real romantic comedy stars. Names like Julie Roberts, Tim Hanks, Marge Ryan, Jennifer Lopes. I would even splice movie titles together to get the super parody name - While Harry Was Sleeping in Seattle, Sally Got Mail. I would watch it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Slow Blogging Week

It has been an unexpectedly slow blogging week for me due to the rest of life. I hope to get back to regular types of topics shortly.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In A Trance

I have become a regular listener to a genre of music known as trance. It is an electronic music (European) like that heard in dance clubs, and I find it helpful to listen to at work. It is interesting enough and has enough energy that it helps me get in the groove, yet is not so musically intricate that it distracts me in pulling my attention away from work to listen. A great background music. Hear it at and use the "listen now" dropdown to find trance among a whole range of electronic music. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stupid Blogs Update

The woman on the freeway was a good friend of mine and we were joking around.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Stupid Blogs

On the freeway this morning, a woman next to me started honking at me. My exit was the next one, and we happened to stop next to each other at the light. She rolled down her window and told me that my blogs were stupid. Some people.

Argument For A Three-Party System

James Leroy Wilson nails my beliefs on the head in his post about the advantages of having a three-party political system. With three parties, there would be a vastly reduced chance of one party ruling, or with the two existing parties ganging up on the people through "bi-partisan" legislation. More arguing, bickering, in-house fighting, confusion and chaos would result from a three party system, drastically reducing the efficiency of the government being able to function. Without a functioning government, liberty for the people would be greatly increased. I'm all for it.

Market Correction and Attitude

Economists say that the market is making a correction to the housing bubble. I've been anxious about things lately, and my anxiety has made me so tired the last two days that I don't even care about what I was anxious about. Attitude correction.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Making The Invisible Church Visible -OR- Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 20)

A long-standing doctrine in Christian history is the doctrine of the invisible church. This doctrine makes a distinction in God's church. It holds that there are "true believers", the ones who are truly saved, but known only to God (hence the "invisible"). This group of people are distinguished from the "visible" church, which is the group of people in its totality who are part of churches. The distinction is made that although there are many people in the church, not all of them are truly saved, as there are false believers in the midst of the church which cannot be readily identified by mere men.

I have recently abandoned belief in the doctrine of the invisible church. I think it is a theological construct that has no real practical basis in this world. One of my reasons for doing so is due to the ironic applications that people make of this doctrine to real life. In my arguments and discussions with those who disagree with me about what constitutes church membership (an example in the comments section here), I've discovered that most of these people use the doctrine of the invisible church in order to identify God's true sheep. They feel the need to construct a formal membership so that pastors can know who they are responsible to pastor. But this betrays a lack of belief in the invisible. Trying to make visible what only God can see is ultimately an attempt to be equal to God. It turns their doctrine upside down. If God is the only One who can see who his elect are, then any attempt on earth to identify these people can only result in failure because we creatures are not God. It's just that simple.

What these people are saying is this: we cannot walk in faith that in ministering to each person who assembles with the church that all of God's people are covered; instead we must walk by sight by only ministering those who we deem as God's true believers that are written down in ink on a list we made. Walking by faith is not possible (and a burden, by the way), therefore walking by sight is necessary.

The New Testament gives no means to divide God's church in this way, and the only expression of the church is the local church; a church of assembled people to claim to believe in Christ.

(For the entire series of posts on re-thinking church membership, click here.)

Part 19 . . . . . . . . Part 21

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blog Plug: Islam and Christianity

What I originally found to be an interesting blog that shed some facts on Islam, has turned out to me to be a very fascinating slice of real life in the real world. Abu Daoud writes on his blog, Islam and Christianity, which is subtitiled, "This blog is written by a Christian living in the Middle East. My desire is to discuss Islam and Christianity in ways that will be helpful for people of the other religion."

Abu's blog isn't some warmed-over extension of the post-9/11 image of Islam that we have courtesy of the mainstream American media. He is an intelligent, articulate, educated, well blog-read, passionate Christian who actually lives in the Middle East, and gives a depth to his topics in a way that few Americans can even imagine, much less experience. He writes not only about Islam and Christianity, as separate religions, but about the entire history of their interaction. Also, he writes much about the Koran, Islamic theology, Sharia law, folk religion, Muslim influence in Europe, Africa and America, unreached people groups, and personal interaction with Muslims where he lives.

A must read for anybody interested in Islam or Middle Eastern culture.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Political Worldviews

James Leroy Wilson essentially shows the folly of holding to only one possible solution to our country's problems - a political one. One's political views will only end up giving the opposition a way to label an individual in a negative light. Read his post here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogging Off Days and Spying

So I go one solitary day without blogging and Gene Redlin at Northern Gleaner is all over it. I know this post is dated Wednesday even though it is Tuesday night after midnight, so in my reality, Monday was a day without posting. Maybe Gene is spying on me. Or maybe it is a prophetic utterance. Maybe a subliminal message. Maybe out of fear that he will lose one of his regular reads. I guess the world does revolve around my blogging. Or, maybe it's just a coincidence.

Anyway, there seems to be three ways of counting days. The ancient Jews counted days from sundown to sundown. We Westerns count days from 12:00 midnight to 12:00 midnight. I count days by when I go to bed and when I wake up. I only went one day. I could blog for a week about what kind of day it was.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

House Cleaning

I've reworked my blogroll and other links. The blogroll section now contains most of the sites I personally engage, while the "other links" section contains sites I visit frequently, although not as often or maybe not as engaging. Of course, if a blog is listed, it doesn't necessarily mean that I endorse their views, just that I read them. Oh, and I mopped the floor at 4am. But you knew that.

Mopping The Floor And Other Trivialities

So why am I mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors at 4:30am? I've recently fallen into a habit of falling asleep in the La-Z-Boy late in the evening, short of my bedtime, only to wake woefully early without the ability to fall back asleep. Tonight it was after feeding the baby. Mrs. Scott took him from my arms and put him down while I slept. The chair is rough on my back and I don't get all the usual stuff in like brushing my teeth. So, I woke after 3am, took care of other business and started mopping before 4am. Now to blog.

Regular maintenance of a home is better than letting things go. Mowing the jungle in the back yard is an example. I mowed it last weekend (or the weekend before) so this time it took much less time.

Maybe I can go to bed and get a few hours. The clocks have been set already so I know what time it really is. I heard a funny one on the radio. The DJ reminded us all to set our gas pumps ahead one dollar this weekend.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Poor You Always Have With You

"And while He was in Bethany at the home of Simon he leper, and relining at table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "For what purpose has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, 'Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me.'" Mark 14:5-7

I've wanted for a while to write about Jesus' statement about the poor always being with us. A friend once talked about this to me, that it was a hard statement. Why are there poor people and why would they always exist?

First, why are some people poor? Some people are born poor and have no way out of their poverty. Some people are poor because they are stupid and cannot hang onto wealth. Some people are poor because others have stolen from them. Some people are poor because others have mismanaged their money. Some people are poor because their government makes them poor through bad policies. And, some people are poor because God's providence makes them poor.

I'm a firm believer that sin is the largest determiner of people being poor. Not necessarily the sins of the poor themselves, but any sin. God gave Adam and his descendants the whole world to rule over, but because of sin, the world is cursed, and most people are poor.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Psalm 121

Recently I have been gravely afflicted by God's providences. Or maybe more accurately, I have afflicted myself with my mind's projection of what I consider to be the logical consequences of my current circumstances. So at what I consider to be my lowest point in years, my pastor's call to worship this Sunday was Psalm 121, my favorite Psalm. It provided instant relief for a short period of time. I thank God for that reading.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night
The LORD will protect you from all evil; he will keep your soul.
The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sick At Home Today

I developed some respiratory ailment yesterday, and woke up this morning with a fever. I've got that slight dizziness that often accompanies a fever or flu like illness. So, here I am at home. Usually when I'm home from work like this, I will suddenly realize that I feel fine and wonder why I'm here. Better get up to do something. Then standing up and walking will make me dizzy and make me realize why I'm home.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why Do Women Hate Snakes?

Keith Darrell at In Athens has a short short about a scientific study as to why we fear snakes. I extended it specifically to women. Garden of Eden proven by science?