Wednesday, April 30, 2008

How the rich and famous do the Kentucky Derby | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal

How the rich and famous do the Kentucky Derby courier-journal The Courier-Journal

Overheard on the News

I did a double take with my ears this morning when listening to the news report from the Wall Street Journal (XM Channel 166.) The update was concering the 0.6% growth in the economy as reported. However, the follow up on the report was something to this effect: "But it is still up to the American public to determine whether or not the economy is in a recession."

Clearly numbers mean nothing. Instead, we live in a culture more driven by opinion - and opinion poorly shaped by the media, at that. Maybe I just do not understand higher economics...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Playing Politics

This "pact" below is a better version of what I have been saying for some time about the presidential race and the next President. Lost in the polarization of the past 18 years in politics is the respect that we should have for the President of the United States. No matter now much I may disagree with him (or her), I disagree more fervently with the kind of extreme rhetoric which has been employed by those opposed to the political decisions being made.

My Non-Derangement Pact if Barack Obama Wins the Election

HT: TruePravda

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is This a Problem?

Study: Single parenting costs billions - Life-

Since the cost is to the federal government and the taxpayer, some "fix" has to be discovered.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How Much for Some Christianity?

Since you're not doing anything productive, go read TruePravda's "God as Commodity."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pike Place Roast

As Starbucks continues to try to find itself the latest attempt involves going back to the original with Pike Place Roast. I had a cup Tuesday, another Wednesday, brewed some at home Thursday morning as well as another from the store this afternoon. Not bad. Even more than the flavor of this new 'old' coffee, I do like Starbucks' supposed return to the basics. Time will tell if it is successful.

I don't look for any of this coffee, though, anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Executive Experience and the Presidency

Here's a chart showing the executive experience of U. S. Presidents prior to becoming president.

For some time I've been thinking that the position of Governor is a greater experience for a would be President than other political offices. I had also wondered how many former Presidents were Generals.

The chart is interesting - I'm not going to pretend to be able to give deep analysis. Just a few observations:
  • John Kennedy was the last President to have had only experience deriving from the Senate
  • Prior to JFK, the previous President to have had not executive experience was Abraham Lincoln
  • 4 of the last 5 Presidents had experience as Governors
  • Eisenhower was the last General to become President

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Stem Cells: Adult Variety

What the mainstream press does not like to cover: (video at Family Research Council of real live people who have been medically helped by adult stem cells.)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Call to Ministry (Part 3)

[Read Part 1 and Part 2]

I heard a statistic a few years ago that the number of ordained Southern Baptist ministers was several thousand more than existing Southern Baptist churches. I’ve found no way to verify such information, but I would not be surprised if such a ratio is correct. Whether true or not, the relationship of the local church to the process of ministers becoming ministers has certainly evolved into a shapeless process in some denominations in our era.

What does it mean to be “called to ministry”? One of the things which D. M. Lloyd-Jones develops in his book Preaching and Preachers is that with some young men the appeal of the position of pastor is likely to cause them to want to be in such a role in the church. A person who is zealous for the Christian faith is not necessarily to pursue a “career” in Christian ministry. The tendency, of course, is to push anyone who has any great interest in studying Scripture and pursuing a devout Christian life into full-time ministry. Shouldn’t such a pursuit of the Christian life be true of every Christian man?

At least in the Baptist tradition, the authority and autonomy of the local church has backfired creating a culture where the church’s role in forming ministers and sending them into the ministry has been minimized. Churches often take a very passive role in the formation and evaluation of those who might be qualified for Christian ministry. As I mentioned before, the usual method is that a man or woman approaches the pastor in order to announce to the church that he or she is called to the ministry and seeks the church’s approval. For most, the very fact that this person has been called to ministry is enough – no further evaluation is needed. In many cases, then, the most important thing the church will do in the process is to sign a form giving their approval for the ministry candidate to go to seminary, to into missions, or serve in some other capacity.

Of course, today you can be “ordained” via the internet because the meaning of being ordained is completely subject to whatever religious organization is in question. So one of the real problems in our society today is that there can be little, if any, recognition of what an official ordination should be (or even if there should be such a thing.) One of the things I learned in doing some searching on the topic was that historically the place of ordination has held a rather low position in Protestant churches since the Reformation. Wm Lloyd Allen’s article “The Meaning of Ordination” is helpful especially in provided an historical context for the practice. As one could imagine, there is a danger is viewing those who are “ordained” as some higher religious figure which can confuse one’s understanding of the role of a pastor as compared to that of a Catholic priest or a Jewish priest. That, however, is another discussion.
Allen writes:

The original Baptists in the first decade of the seventeenth century defended
the equality of each member of the body of Christ against the historic claims of
clergy privilege made by the bishop led Anglican Church. These earliest
Baptists formed congregations of baptized believers who covenanted to share
equal authority and responsibility in the body of Christ.

The role of the modern-day seminary may have also played a role in taking the church off course as it relates to ordination and the role of ministers in ministry. There are many great advantages to attending seminary, and I am a firm advocate of such an education for most who would desire to pursue Christian ministry. (Seminary is not for everyone, though, and should not be a requirement for a man to serve the church.) Especially pertaining to serious study of biblical languages and classical theology, the collection of skilled instructors at a seminary cannot be matched by private study or in most cases reproduced in the local church setting.

At least in Baptist seminaries, all that is required as it pertains to the student’s home church is a letter or recommendation. Once a letter is attained, the seminary student is then completely free to move to seminary and pursue an education free of his home church. While seminaries do require that students are attending of a church in the local city where the school is located, this is a soft requirement at best.

For Baptist churches, though, ordination is not linked directly to seminary. The local church may ordain whomever the congregation chooses to ordain, for better or worse. As stated before, this creates a great disparity in understanding about what it means to be ordained to the ministry, and no local church can rely too heavily upon what another church has decided in terms of ordaining a minister.

Called to ministry? I find it unlikely that individuals are “called” outside of their involvement with their local body of believers. I do believe strongly that individuals are called to serve God in the ways in which God has gifted them. Such calling by God is worked out in many ways which do not need to be mysterious, but really seem to be quite obvious and logical many times. A healthier view of the entire process is one which closely involves the church in helping individuals decide how to pursue using the gifts with which God has gifted them.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Spiritual Gifts Word Find

Spiritual Gifts Word Find from the Kentucky Baptist Convention Website.

The description: "This fun activity will help you learn more about spiritual gifts! "

(I could not possibly make this kind of stuff up!)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Missions and Golf

I've seen and heard of these "fundraising golf outings" before, but I saw a church sign this morning which was announcing their church's Missions Golf Tournament. I just cannot square in my mind how a form of recreation like golf (which I enjoy) is honoring to God in our desire to participate in giving to missions. It just seems to me that the mandate to support the work of the spread of the gospel should be enough for Christians to give sacrificially. I could be wrong...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Book: The Appeal by John Grisham

The Appeal had little appeal. The story was a fairly interesting at points, but seemingly written more like a documentary than a novel. The plot was vintage Grisham overall, but ended by fizzling out.
I am a character-driven reader of fiction, so I was disappointed. While there were certainly numerous colorful characters wrapped up in the intricate plot, none were personal. There was no Rudy like we found in The Rainmaker and no Mitch McDeere the likes of The Firm. I won’t remember any of the characters’ names in another week or so because none of them seemed to come to life at all.
I’ve always liked Grisham’s books, and I am not trying to write an overly critical review (& this is hardly a review.) However, I was disappointed in this book. The novelette which Grisham released a few months back, Playing for Pizza, had a much more developed and colorful main character, Rick Dockery.
Some aspects of the plot of The Appeal I did find intriguing:
· Critical picture painted of the church’s involvement in politics
· Grisham’s continued insistence that the church is inconsistent by being against abortion and in favor of the death penalty
· The understanding the book develops of the relationship between big money and the legal system and politics

In a funny sort of way, I can see this book being a better on the big screen than it was on the page. I think I recall that Grisham was done with allowing his books to be movietized, but I don’t think he has anything to lose with this one.