Monday, December 28, 2009
I had an interesting -- and admittedly cynical -- thought hit me this evening while watching the latest news about the would-be Detroit airplane bomber.
From the reports, it appears this young Nigerian alleged wannabe terrorist was in considerable pain from third-degree burns after his botched bombing attempt aboard the Delta airliner. What if it turns out that the current powers that be ordered painkiller withheld from the terrorist until he talked. What if? Just imagine.
If such a thing indeed happened -- and I am only surmising -- do you think that the hue and cry from the media and the left will be as vociferous as it was against the Bush Administration for waterboarding Al Qaeda terrorists?
Just asking. And I'm waiting for the leak from within.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I really didn't want to end my blogging break just yet, but I had to. Sometimes the news demands it.
This linked story is heartbreaking. It would be awful enough at any time of the year, but it's even more heartbreaking at Christmas.
As you'll see from the story, this young man was only 13 and out getting drunk, apparently upset over a girl. Young Jordan was also a fan of Slipknot, an American heavy metal band. He was wearing a hoodie with the group's name, and a reference to "no hope" on the back.
Many years ago when I was still in secular radio, I worked with a man whose 12-year-old son had to be hospitalized after a suicide attempt. I had met the boy at the radio station, and he was unusually street-wise for his age. He also had a very dark outlook on life for one so young. As most with most kids, he liked rock music. But in his case, we're not talking about the more innocuous kind. With him, the more dark, hopeless and nihilistic, the better.
I told his father that he needed to take authority over his child and get that garbage out of the house. A child who already has psychological struggles doesn't need to be taking lyrics filled with hate, rage, darkness, hopelessness and futility of life into his spirit. This was more than 20 years ago, and I have no idea what has happened since with the young man or his father.
Seeing this tragic story out of England brought the memory back to me, along with the sadness and anger I feel whenever I see stories like this . . . when someone so young comes to a tragic end. I don't know if this was an accident, a murder or a suicide. It's too early to tell. But it's obvious something is wrong when a 13-year-old is out getting drunk and ends up dead in a river.
Did the Slipknot music have anything to do with it? I can't say for certain. But nihilism and hopelessness is deadly. It's deadly to adults for sure, but especially deadly in the mind, heart and spirit of a young child who still has a lot of maturing and learning to do about life.
Parents, wake up to what your children are doing, and to what they're listening. And remember. You have the authority in the home. Exercise it.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US” (Matthew 1:18-23).
Unless there is something earth-shattering that takes place between now and January 1, I will be taking a Christmas break from blogdom. The Seventh Sola wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I've always been fascinated by volcanoes, even in young childhood. I devoured every book I could find about them.
When Mount Saint Helens blew in 1980, it was the first volcanic eruption on the U.S. mainland in my lifetime. Needless to say, I was glued to the television screen and everything in print I could find.
Now, the beautifully symmetrical Mount Mayon in the Philippines is at it again. This article from the London Daily Mail highlights the imminent eruption, and something else that's always fascinated — and troubled — me besides the volcanic eruptions themselves.
Why do people insist on remaining in harm's way when they know they could pay with their lives? Why would one want to build a home on the slopes of an active volcano?
It's understandable if the volcano has been inactive for thousands of years. Some volcanoes are extinct, with little possibility of future eruptions. However, other volcanoes are dormant, or asleep. Others erupt quite frequently, such as Italy's Mount Etna, Stromboli in the Mediterranean, and Mount Mayon in the Philippines. Caribbean volcanoes can be quite deadly, as the inhabitants of Martinique and other islands can attest.
With Mount Saint Helens, the eruption in 1980 caught many by surprise, but it wasn't long before it was obvious to all that the thing was ready to blow its top. Yet a stubborn old man named Harry Truman remained put, insisting that he and St. Helens were friends and she wouldn't hurt him. He died along with about 50 others when the inevitable eruption took place. I would venture to guess that most people won't want to build a chalet on the slopes of St. Helens anytime soon.
Any place has its risks. In the Midwest, we have tornadoes. The Gulf Coast has hurricanes. You realize the risks and weigh them when choosing a place to live. But living on the slopes of an active, regularly erupting volcano passes my understanding.
Why this death wish? And right here at Christmas time?
Get out of there, people!!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The following post is from my archives and was originally written back in 2005. As the issues involved are rather timeless, and the political debate in Washington is making me crazy, I am reposting it today. While the emphasis of my commentary is theological, it can certainly apply to the political as "truth" is at stake in both. And that's putting it mildly.
Clarity and Postmodernism
In Ephesians 4:29-5:12, the Apostle Paul writes the following . . .
Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption....But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper for saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks . . . Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience . . . Do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
Pretty clear, isn't it? It doesn't take someone of Mensa intelligence to get it. Unless you are a postmodern...or worse yet, a so-called postmodern Christian (an oxymoron in my view).
What is the postmodern mind? Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You (Dr. John MacArthur's ministry) put it very well in a presentation he did on postmodernism:
Postmoderns don't like authoritative definitions. Try to define something clearly, and they will nitpick endlessly over every ambiguity, every exception to the rule, and every supposed paradox that challenges your definition. They will exploit every generalization to try and make it appear absurd. They like to blur the line in every dichotomy . . . They would probably call me irresponsible for even trying to simplify and explain something as "complex" as postmodernism (quotes mine). Then they would quibble about every sweeping statement I might make. They would use pettifogging arguments to try and overthrow every definition I give and every dichotomy I make.
Well said, Phil. It is one thing when such mental and linguistic gymnastics are bandied about by and among unbelievers. I can remember when former president Bill Clinton (supposedly a believer, open to question) famously told the grand jury, "it all depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." He knew perfectly well what "is" meant and so did everyone else.
The media might have thought Mr. Clinton was clever, but such games won't fly before the judgment seat of the Lord. As Romans 3:19 says, that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God.
When those who are supposed to be Christians engage in these types of mind/word games and cast question on the very Word of God itself, it is evil . . . and that is the nicest word I could use to describe it. Most evil of all are the so-called teachers who ought to know better -- teachers and authors who are misleading millions through their books and lectures. This mindset permeates our culture today, especially among younger people, and it threatens to gut the evangelical church, which was built on the foundation of Christ first of all, and with the labors of the Reformers, who gave their lives to put the church back on a foundation of biblical truth.
I believe in the Lord who wrote the end of the story from the beginning. "Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" And later, "it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
We had best not play games with Scripture, nor quibble endlessly hunting for loopholes and exceptions. As far as this believer is concerned, "God said it..I believe it..and that settles it."
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I've been watching the climate circus in Copenhagen of late, at least as much as I can bring myself to stand. This morning, I clicked on the Drudge Report to find this little news clip about Venezuelan dictator/nutcase Hugo Chavez bringing down the house.
I want you to read his words very carefully. I also want you to consider the reaction of the crowd, if this indeed is an accurate story. Then, I want you to draw the appropriate conclusions. This is the brave new world that these malevolent clowns want to impose on you.
Let's hope more people wake up in time.
Monday, December 14, 2009
By now, most have heard about the latest tragedy on Oregon's Mount Hood. And it is a tragedy on more than one level.
As with the last time fatalities on Mount Hood made national news, this appears to be a group of young people who were known as Christians active in their churches. Normally, especially so soon after the death of one of the young men, and with the other two hikers still being sought, I wouldn't make comment until later. But this has happened often enough now that I think something needs to be said.
I want to stress at the outset that I have no desire to cause pain to anyone with what I am about to say. By all accounts, these were experienced climbers who thought conditions were perfect to make the climb up the mountain. I have no desire to judge their hearts or their motivations. My intention is to address a general principle while using this tragedy as an example.
I realize that there is something within the human spirit that is drawn to adventure. But for those of us who are Christians, do we ever stop to think that our lives are not our own? The Lord did not give our lives to us to throw away on stupid, unnecessary stunts just to prove how intrepid we are. After all, He bought and paid for us with a very dear price -- His own shed blood.
Do those of us who are Christians consider our loved ones and families when we set out on such adventures? Is it really honoring to the Lord to risk our necks for no good reason, and to cause our children, friends and/or parents the deep, inconsolable pain of loss when our foolhardiness eventually ends up in death or permanent disfigurement?
The danger of Mount Hood is well known. Climbing it is always dangerous, but never more than in the middle of winter, when sudden snowstorms and avalanches make it even more deadly. This was not unknown when this latest group decided to brave its slopes.
It doesn't have to be climbing dangerous mountains in the middle of winter either. This could be directed at any so-called "extreme" sport where there is a high probability of fatality or permanent injury. Cliff-diving comes to mind. There really is no justification for it that I can see. Seriously. I can't see how getting yourself killed doing something dumb brings glory to God. The only thing it really brings is deep heartache.
There will probably be some who will chide me for posting something so harsh and perhaps adding to the grief of a family. To reiterate, that is not my intention. If anything, my hope -- and I have no doubt the climbers would now hope -- that someone might be deterred from getting themselves killed so needlessly to the everlasting grief of their families.
My remarks, if aimed at anyone, are aimed at Christians who are pondering all of this right now. We really, really ought to know better. We've been commanded by our Lord and Savior to place the needs of others ahead of our own. And it's a hard lesson to learn because we human beings are innately self-centered.
So just think a bit before you decide to hike an active volcano, climb a peak in blizzard and avalanche season, dive off of a cliff in Mexico, walk into a snake pit, or anything else you can think of to get your jollies. Remember that you're going to have to explain to the Master why you did it, and to what purpose.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My regular readers have probably noticed that I haven't been very prolific with posts of late. I regret that very much, but so it is.
The reasons are numerous. First, I've had a recent change in job responsibilities, and that has kept me very, very busy. When I get home at night after spending much of the day on the computer, I don't feel much like tangling with it again. Second, my mother has not been well in recent weeks, and just got out of the hospital with a bout of pneumonia. Third, I almost think I'm on information overload. There are many things happening day by day that deserve some comment, but I feel all commented out at the moment. I'll bet you never thought that could happen!
Seriously, bear with me through this rough patch. I will do my best to snap out of my writers' block, pun intended. Might not happen until after the holidays, but we'll do our best.
I must be feeling something. I'm using the royal "we."
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
A chemist, a biologist and an electrical engineer were on death row
waiting to go in the electric chair. The chemist was brought forward
"Do you have anything you want to say?" asked the executioner,
strapping him in.
"No," replied the chemist. The executioner flicked the switch and
nothing happened. Under State law, if an execution attempt fails, the
prisoner is to be released, so the chemist was released. Then the
biologist was brought forwards.
"Do you have anything you want to say?" said the executioner. The
bioligist replied "No, just get on with it."
The executioner flicked the switch, and again nothing happened, so the
biologist was released. Then the electrical engineer was brought
"Do you have anything you want to say?" asked the executioner. "Yes,"
replied the engineer. "If you swap the red and the blue wires over,
you might make this thing work."
Monday, December 07, 2009
Recently over at the Pyromaniacs blog, commenter Rick Potter posted the following thoughts on postmodernism. He has graciously given me permission to repost them here . . .
The deconstructive power of postmodernism’s attempt at leveling the signs and stigma of a given culture has given rise to a social fragmentation that enslaves freedom through a purely nihilistic ideological superstructure. The eclipse of justice is prevalent in the multiplicity of Cartesian trends which span the spectrum end to end. This quasi techno-interpretation of justice has aimed its charges directly at the Church and has demanded she be interrogated for the reason of her hope in the old paths. Christianity finds itself on a collision course with the dominance of an ever changing virtual emerging reality which abhors any absolute. This nucleus of opacity (postmodern freedom) dispenses its own brand of justice within a utilitarian network of transparent significations – suspicion, uncertainty, and conflict. While suffering opposition is nothing new to the Christian, Christology has never before in the history of mankind been subjected to the kind of ruthless analysis any hollow chested street corner skeptic proffers. It would behoove us to remember these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I have said for a long time that postmodernism -- especially its "Christian" variety, is nothing more than the deification of doubt. We see the ultimate fruit of this as those who imbibe too deeply of postmodern thought begin to throw off core Christian doctrines one by one. It's basically an endeavor to enjoy unbelief while maintaining a veneer of spirituality.
I hate to be so gauche as to bring up biblical prophecy, but I'll do it anyway. The biblical writers warned us in advance about this sort of attitude gaining ascendancy in the last days. Even so, it's still grieving to the soul to see it happen.
Friday, December 04, 2009
An interesting story out of Holland today, where the former health minister of the country now believes they made a mistake in legalizing euthanasia. In the article, the former official said that they should have focused instead on palliative care.
One thing that leaps out at me in the article was the implication that they did it "too quickly." In other words, even though there would have been a focus on palliative care, euthanasia was still an option down the road. In other words, it seems she still thinks euthanasia is morally acceptable. And that is frightening.
Let's hope and pray that the Dutch conscience is fully awakened on this issue, but I am glad to see that there are at least some regrets being expressed. God forbid we ever go the rest of the way toward euthanasia here. Doctor-assisted suicide is bad enough. They never should have let Dr. Kevorkian out of jail.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
I think we've known for some time that many within academia despise the Constitution, as well as those who advocate sticking to it. Over at WorldNetDaily, columnist John Lofton gives a pretty devastating example.
Take some time today and read John's column. It's worth every word.