February 2008

29 Feb 2008

Tonight, watching a ballgame four days before the Ohio primary, we saw, conservatively, 500 Obama ads.

Barack Obama’s words are as uplifting as cardboard and not nearly as useful. Behind the platitudes lurks doctrinaire liberalism, but who really cares nowadays? To quote Frank Morgan, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Good satire is corrective. The Dilbert mission statement generator is great satire. Unclear words are tacked together into a deep-sounding, meaningless whole. Just like your average corporate mission statement. Perhaps someone will come up with an Uplifting Barack Obama Speech Generator. It would spit out quotes like: “Let us hope in the faith that speaks to the dreams that all Americans, from all walks of life, can believe in.” Put an emphasis on “all.” For this, friends, is the audacity of hope.

Obama’s incoherent use of clear Biblical terminology isn’t accidental. When you deny the real thing, the wispy counterfeits march in.

28 Feb 2008

This blog was once hosted by IPower. My 2+ year experience with them matched these reviews. There were the day-long periods of downtime that were not fixed until I called, downtimes that belied the touted 24/7 monitoring. There were the endless and often fruitless waits for customer service. There was the site upgrade they did last year that knocked email out for a week. The final straw was experiencing long site load times that went on for days and days without explanation. I don’t know if they ever straightened that one out, because a few weeks ago it was time to say “adios, IPower.”

Jack’s Pipe is now hosted by Hostmonster. So far, so good with them. They had a 2h outage the other day, but I could see via their tools that they knew there was an outage. It’s been the only outage I’ve noticed. The site has been loading quickly and without incident. Hostmonster, unlike providers like Lunarpages and Hostgator that profit off men’s lusts, doesn’t host porn sites.

The migration to Hostmonster was easy, but I recently noticed that some older posts had goofy characters in them that were apparently introduced by the database move. These garbage characters were mostly showing up instead of apostrophes and quotes. So… I reviewed and corrected every post where I noticed errors. Feel free to drop me a line if you see others. Apologies for any inconvenience.

26 Feb 2008

As we age, God shows us more how we are, in the end, unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10). As Lewis said, “All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you; I’ve never had a selfless thought since I was born.” Any godliness noticed by others in widescreen pales when we consider our minute-by-minute lives. We don’t need a microscope to see our countless, faithless thoughts, words, and deeds. Therefore, a hearty “Amen” to this observation by R.C. Sproul. Consider it.

In one respect, Christ’s sinlessness is more astonishing than his resurrection. Other people have come back from the dead, but no other person has lived a sinless life. His perfect life is amazing because no one of us has ever loved the Lord with all of his mind, heart, and strength. … Can you imagine someone living every minute of his entire life loving God with an undiluted, perfect affection, whose whole mind is devoted to the Father, who has no other desire than to obey the Father’s will? That is more difficult for me to comprehend than that Jesus came out of the grave. -from Truths We Confess

20 Feb 2008

I like to poke at classic rock, but occasionally its old warhorses assert themselves. Apparently some video game has awakened interest in this song by Kansas. It was written by the band’s lead guitarist, Kerry Livgren, in the midst of a journey that led him to Christianity several years later. That journey is well-reflected in these Prodigal Son lyrics (cf. “The Wall” from Leftoverture). Equally notable here is the caliber of the music: great harmonies, songwriting, pinpoint accuracy, interesting parts galore, and the cohesiveness of a talented band at its creative peak. It’s amazing that they came anywhere close to recreating it without a tape machine, but here it is… live! Livgren is the blonde dude.

14 Feb 2008

A recent Sobran column reminds me of how my Darwinist faith finally died in a college anthropology class. The teacher would tell us that a certain skull was thought to be the missing link, then a few years later it turned out to be human. Then another skull was thought to be a missing link and it turned out to just be an ape. After watching this pattern repeat itself over and over again, I wondered: If the history is one of being wrong, why are we taking tests on this stuff as if our current understanding is right? It was a joke. It sure wasn’t anything to believe in.

The fact that no missing link has ever been found, and the sheer distance between any animals and humans, makes evolution one of the silliest of all belief systems. If millions or billions of years ago the earth was a bowl of soup, what would logic tell you it’d be a million years hence? A bowl of rotten soup? A dried out, rotted bowl? I know one thing: it wouldn’t be anything resembling the complexity of our current ecosystem. The idea that eyeballs and brains and other such wonders would evolve themselves is really the height of absurdity.

It’s a symptom of the blindness of men that they believe such nonsense. Lewis said that the Life-Force God is the world’s great achievment of wishful thinking, and he’s right. But second place belongs to evolution. If you believe in such hocus pocus, who are you to insult a witch doctor?

09 Feb 2008

Baylyblog is stirring the waters again with Carolyn Custis “two last names” James. Pastor Gleason has followed suit.

Why all this whining about pastorettes and deaconesses? Moody would’ve asked us to focus on winning souls. Today’s leaders might ask us to meet people where they are (or worse, to help defeat global warming). In any event, this whole “women thing,” we’re told, is something on which all Christians of good will can disagree. It’s adiaphora, a matter of indifference.

Really? Perhaps we can take the temperature of those fine denominations with ordained women. That great pragmatist, V.I. Lenin, said that peace treaties were scraps of paper. So are the confessions of faith of these churches. They have sodomy lobbies gathering steam, if not already in control. They have pastors who deny that anyone really needs the righteousness of Christ; why, any spiritual belief will do. The moderates who do so much damage in aiding this transition (“thus far, but no farther!”) find themselves, like the original Russian Marxists who welcomed revolution, cast into a whirlwind that carries them far from their intended destination. When you deny the obvious, when you deny what Scripture says directly and you deny its entire context (no female apostles, no female priests, etc.), then you’ve denied its authority. When doctrine divides and confessions and confessionalism just don’t matter, then church discipline doesn’t matter. Eventually the Gospel doesn’t matter. Eventually Jesus isn’t the heavenly high prophet, priest, and king, but just a fine man.

Fr. Bill Mouser has a post in the aforementioned Baylyblog post that is well worth reading. An excerpt:

Evangelical Protestantism in the second half of the 20th century fell [I’d say, more accurately, is falling] in exactly the same way that Protestantism fell in the second half of the 19th Century: its heart was captured by world dominating ideas that are fundamentally anti-Biblical and hostile to the gospel. In the 19th Century it was Darwinism and the zenith of post-Renaissance rationalistic hubris. In the second half of the 20th Century it was sexual egalitarianism and the zenith of modernist individualism. The beachhead in both defeats is found in the seminaries. Soon after these were well-infected, the contagion spread to the publishing houses and denominational and mission agencies. That is why Grudem’s recent book catalogs so completely the capitulation of American evangelicalism’s institutions to the egalitarian cause. That is why modern evangelicals virtually identify evangelism with modern marketing techniques aimed at consumers of religious products and services.

The interesting thing about the 19th century northern Presbyterian church is how quickly it fell. Towns across America are still filled with liberal mainline churches in beautiful old buildings. Many of the people in those churches are finally bleeding into megachurches with faulty underpinnings– vague theology, non-confessional, fad-driven. Would anyone be surprised to see Unitarians wandering the halls of Saddleback in a generation?

Meanwhile, the orthodox in the PCA have fight, but cleaning up the mess that has gotten to this point could be something like what the Baptists experienced some years ago. And the cries for “peace, peace” will be at every turn.

08 Feb 2008

Our stereotyped image of dictatorship is one-man rule. A single man (usually recognized by his funny mustache) somehow imposes his will on an entire population, who endure his autocracy in fearful silence. In truth, successful dictators are usually very popular. Their regimes are distinguished not by silence but by roaring crowds and festive rallies… Tyranny requires more than suppression. It has to make as many people as possible dependent on the regime for jobs and other benefits. -Joseph Sobran

01 Feb 2008

Even mushy evangelicals aren’t enamored of feminist harpies. You know, the wild hairs who march around with coat hangers. But I find “Christian egalitarians” far more offensive. They deny things that no one seriously denied for two thousand years. They speak in measured tones about “mutual submission” and “creating opportunities for women” while reading their TNIVs and denying the authority of Scripture. That’s really what the whole debate about feminism, just like the debate about homosexuality, comes down to: denying that the Holy Spirit has come along as intellectually and morally far as us moderns.

That said, Gene Veith notes that it’s easy, given necessary wars against egalitarian heresies, to see passages like Ephesians 5:22 solely as dealing with authority and yet missing the point that the whole purpose of vocation, including marriage, is to love and serve one’s neighbor, and the husband is to take the lead in establishing it:

If marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the church, with the husband in Christ’s role, then the husband ought first to give himself up for his wife, whereupon in response the wife, playing the part of the church, will respond by submitting to his good intentions for her. –God at Work, p. 81-82

When we went through marriage counseling last century, my pastor at the time pointedly remarked how ridiculous it was to see women driving men around town. He imitated a guy sitting like a lump in the front seat, with the lady doing the work and leading the way. I think that remark came on a day when my wife-to-be drove me to the church. Now I drive most of the time.

Another area where I have come to find a cheap and fresh joy is in seating my wife in the car before I get in. It seemed unnatural at first, but now I get such as pleasure from it that I can barely bear to not do it. It’s too enjoyable to miss. Similarly, it’s fun to let my wife off at the front door of a restaurant while I go park and trudge through the snow or rain. Does she appreciate it? You bet she does. My love and service is lacking in many other areas, but these minor victories are a small picture of Christ’s joyful service for us. As John Piper is fond of pointing out, Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).