Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review

~Best and worst of 2008.
~Predictions for 2009.
~Should we celebrate the new year?
~Making and keeping new year’s resolutions.

Links:
Top news stories of 2008 by Christianity Today
Top 10 theology stories of 2008 by Christianity Today
Top 10 everything of 2008 by Time
Top 10 Christian stories of 2008 by Crosswalk
Top 10 religious stories by RNA.org
Innovation by Christian Science Monitor
How to fix your life in 2009 by Wall Street Journal
Top 10 stories of 2008 by Hulig.com

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 41: Joseph’s Coat (Genesis 37)
~What does it mean that “God’s Word does not return void?”
~Does the Sermon on the Mount require us to cut off our hands and poke out our eyes?
~Is prayer only about words?
~Is God humble?

Links:
Bible References:
Humble, Humility
Humility by Wikipedia
Is God humble? by Shidon.blogspot.com
Is God humble? by LegionofAngels.net
How to be a force for peace by Justpeace.org
Pope asks God for peace by Catholic News Agency

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ethics: Should We Reward Children For Being Good?

I figure most all of us parents reward good behavior, either with praise or with incentives or simply by not punishing the child, since the conceptual parallel of rewarding for doing good is to not punish for not doing bad. But the real question is whether this is good parenting or merely common parenting? Here’s my concern. If we reward children for doing good, then they ultimately learn to do good in order to get a reward. But what if the reward is not forthcoming? Will they simply stop being good because they aren’t being paid enough? And even if the pay suits them, have we grown good people or merely prudent people? If a person only does good because of what it will get him, how is that any different from a person who does bad because of what it will get him? The worldview for both is to get what they desire, never imagining that anything other than self-servingness is the goal of human life. So what I’m really wondering (and very much wanting to talk with you about today) is how we can cultivate goodness rather than merely good behavior.

When And Where Would You Like To Go?


Although I suppose some people dislike them, the vast majority of people like to take a vacation and explore some novel place and meet interesting people. But of course it’s possible to imagine that the most interesting places to visit would not merely be places but also times. So, today, in the spirit of Bill and Ted’s excellent thought experiment, I thought we could discuss what places and times (other than 33 AD Palestine, of course) would be the most interesting to visit, presuming that time and space travel were slightly more easy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas and Prophecy


Though some people mistakenly claim that Christmas is not an important part of Christianity, the Bible says otherwise. God didn’t just give us Jesus suddenly. He prepared the way for Him with many prophecies that confirmed His identity in advance of His birth and His miraculous life. What are these prophecies, and how were they fulfilled? We’ll read the Scriptures and discover the answers.

Bible References: Gen 3:13-16, Gen 12:1-3, Gen 17:15-21, Gen 18:16-19, Gen 21:9-13, Gen 22:15-18, Gen 49:10, Numb 24:17, Deut 18:14-19, Psalm 2:7, Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 7:10-16, Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 11:1-10, Isaiah 16:5, Isaiah 37:31, Jer 23:5-6, Jer 31:15, Jer 33:14-18, Daniel 9:24-26, Hosea 11:1, Micah 5:1-5, Matt 1:1-25, Matt 2:1-23, Matt 4:13-16, Luke 1:1-2:38, Luke 2:1-38, Luke 3:23-38, John 18:37, Acts 3:22-26, Rom 15:12, Gal 4:1-5, Eph 1:10

Links on Christmas and Prophecy:
Messianic prophecies by Christiananswers.net
Prophecy, the Bible, and Jesus by CARM.org
Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Biblia.com
Biblical prophecies fulfilled by Jesus by BPRC.org
Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Godonthe.net
Prophecy of Christ's birth by Bibletools.org
Messianic prophecies by ClarifyingChristianity.com

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 40: The Birth of Jesus (Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2 )

~What does it mean that “God’s Word does not return void?”

~Does the Sermon on the Mount require us to cut off our hands and poke out our eyes?

~Is prayer only about words?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let's Sing Christmas Carols


At this time every year, I like to take an hour and do what I’ve done every year for as long as I can remember: sing Christmas carols. So here’s the deal. You may call and sing a solo. You may call with a group of people and sing together. You may ask me to sing with you or tell me to be quiet. But there’s a catch. If you don’t call, I will sing by myself, and we know that nobody wants that to happen. So call and sing your favorite Christmas carols today from 5:00-6:00.

Ethics: How To Respond To A Bad Gift


We’ve all received gifts given by other people that were either not what we expected, not what we wanted, or (at the very worst) things we decidedly did not want. Such experiences turn what could and should be a moment of great joy and closeness into a moment of difficulty, social etiquette, ethical conundrums, and relational crisis. The overwhelming consensus of advice in these situations is to smile, say, “Thank you,” and remind yourself that it’s the thought that counts. It’s a horrible thing to be honest in such moments and reward generosity with punishment. After all, you can just regift it to someone else later, right? But is this the best response in terms of Christian ethics? Is this the best response in terms of relational development? Is it possible, in fact, that someone who responds this way is actually doing something immoral and lazy compared with the best alternative?

Bible References: Prov 21:14, Eccl 3:12-13, Eccl 5:18-20, Matt 5:21-24, Matt 5:40-42, Matt 6:11, Matt 7:6-12, Matt 10:8, Matt 19:21, Luke 6:30-36, Acts 2:38, Acts 20:35, 1 Cor 12, Rom 5:15-18, Eph 2:8-9, James 1:17, Rev 11:10

Articles by Andrew:
Bad Christmas gifts part 1, Not giving them
Bad Christmas gifts part 2, What to do when you get them

Links:
Parent Alert: Video Games To Avoid by ABC News
What To Do WIth Bad Gifts by Blackamericaweb.com
Top Ten Worst Gifts From Last Christmas by 1stholistic.com
Anatomy of a Bad Gift-Giver by 1stholistic.com
Bye-Bye, Bad Gifts by USA Weekend
Humor: Things To Say About Bad Gifts by Zozanga.com
The Gift That Keeps On Being Given by Orlando Sentinel
Marketing, Convenience Drive Gift Card Growth by USA Today
Regifting by Wikipedia
Regifting 101 by Regiftable.com
The Regifting Debate by CBS News
12 Rules For Regifting Without Fear by MSN.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--There Are Many Paths To Heaven

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~It wouldn’t be fair to people who haven’t heard the Gospel to give them no pathway to God at all.
~Saying Jesus is the only way is extremely narrow-minded and arrogant.
~Nobody ever says, “I’m sure there’s only one way to God, but I have no idea what it is.” Claiming your religion is the only one is just self-serving propaganda.
~People throughout history have been widely recognized as having an extra large dose of the divine spark, even though they were clearly not Christians. Would you deny that these people were really tuned into God?
~Even the Bible says that there are many more things that Jesus taught than are contained herein. ~Maybe some of the other stuff is what shows up in other religions.
~If the single God at the heart of Christianity, Islam, Bahaism, and Judaism aren’t all the same ~Being, then suddenly you have two (or more) Gods, rather than just the one. Pirsig’s argument.
~There are certainly some elements of truth in all religions.
~Religions agree about a great many things, including the importance of living a holy life, being generous to the poor, and doing good things for other people.
~It’s not particularly loving to condemn people to hell for simply not having even the chance to respond to the Gospel.
~Even Jesus talked about how He only came for certain groups of people, like Jewish sinners, rather than the righteous or the non-Jews.
~If only those who accept Christ go to heaven, then Jesus certainly wasn’t a very good advertising executive. He should have gone to more places rather than just a few square miles of middle eastern desert.
~People can’t be judged for rejecting Christ if they never heard of Him, right?
~So much of Christianity instructs the same basic things as other religions, how different or unique can you really think it is?


Post-Show Thoughts: The key in responding to this idea is to ask the right questions. The first, most useful question is, "If Jesus is one of the ways, what do you think His way is?" or "What do you think the Christian way is?" Since no one who actually knows the Gospel would ever say this, all you have to do is listen for the ways in which they do not understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then lovingly explain it to them. A second question which can be very useful is, "Why do you think that Jesus had to die on the Cross?" This also will reveal what they do or do not know about the Gospel and point out the silliness of thinking that all religions are basically the same as Christianity. Other things are worth saying, but here's my basic advice. Try to avoid getting into an argument and instead try as much as possible to simply clarify the Gospel. The key is to know the difference between moralism and Christianity. Only someone who doesn't know this difference will be likely to be swayed by this argument. And remember that a Gospel is a world-changing event or fact that everyone must deal with. It is only by pondering the Gospel and embracing it that we are changed, at which point the rules are not rules but simply descriptions of how we already want to behave in honor and gratitude of Jesus Christ's gift to us.

Wacky Wednesday--We Should Eliminate Grades

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~It’s always subjective, there are only degrees of subjectivity.
~Students learn to work for an extrinsic reward rather than for the sake of learning itself.
~Grades turn education into a coercive transaction rather than a voluntary or pleasurable one.
~Good students idolize grades and derive their sense of worth and identity from them, which makes them arrogant and also sets them up for devastation when they go to Princeton, where someone has to get the Cs.
~Bad students also idolize grades and derive their sense of worthlessness from them, which blinds them to their unique talents and their intrinsic value as people.
~The school setting is so artificial that grades are always misleading. It’s dominated by the visual/auditory learning style. Test-taking aptitude is the primary skill which most testing certifies. ~And creativity is heavily stifled in school.
~Graded events like tests, mid-terms, and finals primarily reward effective cramming rather than long-term retention and integration of material.
~It’s very harmful to children’s self-esteem to get bad grades.
~You can get great grades and be really stupid.
~You can get great grades and be a moral wretch.
~You can get great grades and have lousy social skills.
~When you get into your first real job, after the first year or so, the grades you got, the degree you got, and the place you got them become practically the same as worthless.
~The bell curve only applies to large numbers but it gets applied to small samples, such as 25 students.
~Different graders will assign different grades.
~When so much emphasis is put on grades, people will do anything to get them, such as exhibit cutthroat behavior and cheat.
~Grades create an adversarial rather than a collaborative environment in schools, but collaboration is one of the very best educational paradigms for both parties.

New Article by Andrew

Check out my most recent article, "A Christmas View of Abortion" on the articles blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 39: John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-17, Luke 1:39-45, Luke 3:1-22, Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 7:18-39, John 3:22-36, Mark 6:11-33, Luke 9:12-27)
~What does it mean that “God’s Word does not return void?”
~Does the Sermon on the Mount require us to cut off our hands and poke out our eyes?
~Is prayer only about words?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ethics: Gift Giving and Receiving


Every year, we do a show on this topic because it’s such an important part of Christmas. Why, exactly, do we give gifts? What are the key ingredients to a good (and a bad) gift? What should you do when you get a gift you don’t want? Should you be honest with the person? Aren’t Christians supposed to tell the truth? Would you want to know if you failed at giving someone else a gift?

Reverse News

The news has long bothered me for a fairly simple reason, it purports to inform us, but it usually winds up misleading us grotesquely. Not because the things the news reports are false, but because they are only a small slice of the truth. And if all we see on a regular basis is the most strange and shocking slices of the truth, in the process our picture of the whole truth has become badly distorted. So, today I thought it would be fun to pretend to be newscasters who do the opposite: report on the vast majority of the truth of any subject rather than only the most captivating exceptional cases.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ethics: Opposing Gay Marriage


After the disheartening experience reading a Newsweek article today explaining to me that the Bible actually embraces gay marriage and hearing that Iowa of all places is next to consider judicially mandated gay marriage, I thought it might be useful to step back and examine the ethical question of whether we are really doing the right thing in fighting gay marriage. This may seem like an easy question to answer, but I hope to raise some issues you may not have considered and at least try to clarify our objectives in this discussion.


Links

Skills Every Man Should Know


I came across this article from Popular Mechanics which listed the 100 things every guy ought to know. I found the list rather amusing, both for what it included and for what it did not include. But I certainly thought it would be an interesting discussion to have.
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Links

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--Jesus was rich

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~He traveled doing ministry without working for 3 years.
~He had a treasurer.
~His followers owned homes and tombs.
~He consorted with the wealthy easily.
~The disciples were businessmen.
~So many people teaching it, it must be true.
~Why would God allow His beloved Son to be poor?
~The three wise men set him up for life.
~Jesus came to give us an abundant life, would He not have one Himself?
~Paul prays for us to prosper. Would Jesus not have done so Himself?
~The patriarchs prospered: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon.

Links:
Was Jesus rich? by Come let us reason

Was Jesus wealthy or poor? By E-Ggospel
Was Jesus rich or poor? by Claude Mariottini
Wealth and poverty by Kerby Anderson

Wacky Wednesday--We should not help the poor


Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Didn’t Jesus say they’ll always be with us?
~If you can’t make it in America, what’s your problem?
~They’re blessed already, don’t interfere with that.
~They’re ungrateful for any help you give them.
~If we really believe in freedom and capitalism, we would allow the poor to suffer the consequences of their choices just as we do for the wealthy.
~Don’t I have an obligation to be a good provider for my family?
~The poor are already more than taken care of by our government, and all those foreigners who are poor aren’t really my responsibility.


Bible References: Lev 19:18, 1 Sam 2:8, Psalms 82:3, Prov 14:31, Prov 19:17, Prov 21:13, Prov 22:9, Prov 28:27, Isaiah 58:6-11, Matt 5:43-45, Matt 11:1-6, Matt 19:16-19, Matt 22:35-40, Matt 25:14-30, Matt 25:31-46, Mark 12:31-33, Luke 3:9-11, Luke 4:14-37, Luke 6:20-38, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 12:30-34, 2 Cor 9:7-15, Eph 2:8-10, James 1:27, James 2:8, James 2:14-24, 1 John 3:17-19, Rom 13:9, Gal 5:14, 1 Tim 6:17-19

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Bible League

Africa is the second largest continent in the world with over 900 million people, a number which is expected to triple by 2050. In this land of 3,500 ethnic groups and over 2,000 languages, where one third of the people live on less than one dollar a day, the most pressing need is not economic reform, political reform, or even basic sustenance. The most pressing need is for Bibles. The vast majority of African Christians do not have a Bible they can study for themselves, and the even greater number of African Muslims do not have access to a Bible which they are in fact eager to read for themselves. The Bible League is helping to end this Bible famine by providing copies of God’s Word to people who participate in bible studies and then help plant churches. For every four dollars you contribute, an African desperate to study the Bible for herself receives one. You can call 1-800-YES-WORD (1-800-937-9673) or click on this link to send the most valuable form of aid you can to these precious people. For more general information about the Bible League, click here.

Links:

To help end the Bible famine in Africa
For more information about the Bible League

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aunt Kim's Killer Corn Casserole

This is a disturbingly yummy way to make corn.

2 pounds frozen corn
1 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter
2-3 tsp salt (to taste)
2-3 tbsp sugar (to taste)
2 tsp corn starch
4-5 oz FRESH shredded parmesan cheese

In a pot, bring corn, cream, butter, salt, and sugar to boil (adjust salt and sugar to taste, but you should be able to clearly taste both the salt and the sugar when it's right). Reduce heat to low, and add corn starch, stirring until mixture thickens slightly. (It should still be a liquid in consistency.) Sprinkle or shred (blocks make the best result) the cheese over the top and broil until the cheese is brown (5 minutes or so).

Ethics: What's Bad About Money?

Recently, I’ve done several shows on the value of money in an effort to remedy what I think are some of the most pervasive wrong-headed notions about money and capitalism. But in the process of undoing those mistakes, I haven’t taken very much time to talk seriously about some of the real problems that come with money. So, as a way of making the conversation more complete, I thought we could discuss some of the real dangers that are associated with or caused by money.

Favorite And Least Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes

In asking people today what their favorite Thanksgiving food item was, I inadvertently discovered that people seem to have far more passion in sharing which item they can’t stand rather than sharing the ones they love. So, what’s your favorite and also your least favorite traditional (or not) Thanksgiving food item? Also, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks for making it better next time around, particularly cooking and organizational ideas. And, if you encountered a Thanksgiving problem, ask and our highly talented radio audience will surely have an answer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 38: The Stoning of Stephen (Acts 7-8)
~Is prayer only about words?
~Why did David put away his concubines?
~Was John the Baptist right to confront Herod’s adultery?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ethics: Should you have a DVD/VCR in your car?

Children watch television these days, lots and lots of television. And, as a concession to the television culture, all minivans these days come with at least the option of having a VCR/DVD player in them. But is it good to have such a device in the car? After all, it’s not as though kids have a lot of other options for the use of their time in the constrained quarters. It certainly keeps them entertained and mostly quiet. But is there a downside in terms of anything worth mentioning? And how does the presence of television alter the nature and value of a long drive, such as for family vacations? Is boredom an inherently unhealthy condition?

Links:
What’s wrong with boredom? by CS Monitor

How Is Your Spouse Weird?

Relationship books are great, especially if you are starting from a position of knowing nothing about how to relate to the opposite gender. But relationship books all have one significant flaw: they are books about spouses, not about your spouse. And, as with so many other things, what is true for most women may not be true for your woman, and what is true for most men may not be true for your man. Perhaps your wife doesn’t like jewelry or chocolate. Perhaps your husband is the talker in the relationship. So, both for the sake of a little fun and also to demonstrate this point, I’d like us to talk about some things about our spouses which don’t fit the model laid out in relationship books for most spouses.

Links:
To husbands: how to have a great wife by Andrew Tallman
His needs, her needs by Willard Harley
The five love languages by Steven Chapman

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--No-Fault Divorce Makes Sense

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~NFD stops involving the courts in whether a divorce is legitimate.
~It discourages exaggeration because no fault-finding is necessary.
~Frees up both parties to marry again.
~Avoids the taint of guilt.
~It takes two to make a marriage fail.
~No one is ever truly innocent.
~The old standards were too high. (Adultery, abuse, neglect, abandonment.)
~Makes it easier to get out of bad marriages.
~Has led to reduced rates of domestic violence.
~If a divorce is going to happen, we should try to make it as painless as possible, especially for children.
~Reduces the heavy load and difficulty of family courts.
~Financial settlements become based on need not on fault.
~Shortens the time for getting a divorce, which is good for both sufferers.

Links on No Fault Divorce (NFD):
Arizona Covenant Marriage by AZ Supreme Court

No-Fault Divorce by Wikipedia
The Issue of NFD by Cathy Meyer
FAQ on NFD by Nolo.com
Index to some readings on NFD
Has NFD made marriages stronger? by Reason.com
Don’t let divorce off the hook by NY Times
Five myths about NFD by Stephen Baskerville
A debate on NFD by Legal Affairs

Wacky Wednesday--We Should Get Rid Of Money

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~If it weren’t for money, there would be no debt (or debt collectors).
~You wouldn’t have gambling (or gambling addiction).
~You wouldn’t have prostitution (it always begins at the time of money).
~You couldn’t have bizarre financial instruments like got us into this current crisis.
~Without money, there is no possibility of having interest. God hates usury, right?
~The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. If there’s no money, then by definition there can’t be any love of money.
~There’d be no inflation.
~Money has no intrinsic worth. So getting rid of it doesn’t affect the world one single bit.
~Governments wouldn’t be able to manipulate money, currency markets, and mismanage money.
~Money entices people to do things they don’t want to do anyhow and don’t really believe in.
~If it weren’t for money, we could all do what God built us to do.
~Without money, you wouldn’t have beggars and the need to feel bad about not giving them your money.
~There’d be no taxes.
~How greedy can you be when there’s no money?
~Money reinforces the notion of desert and earning things, which translates into really counterproductive theology
~God’s kingdom is about giving and receiving, not buying and selling.
~Think of how much good could be created by all the people currently involved in the banking, finance, and even just the Treasury if we didn’t have money.
~How would you have hoarding without money?
~Money and relativism go hand in hand.
~Money gives power to the wrong people and lets value be placed on the wrong things.

Links on Money:
Home of the Brave? by Altruists.org

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 37: The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)
~Is prayer only about words?
~Did Jesus have childhood friends?
~Is church optional for Christians?
~Why did David put away his concubines?

Links on the Tower of Babel:
John Wesley’s Commentary by StudyLight.org
Adam Clarke’s Commentary by StudyLight
David Guzik’s Commentary by StudyLight
Matthew Henry’s Commentary by StudyLight
James Love sermon
Manfred Schreyer by SpiritRestoration.org
Susan Leo by BridgeportUCC.org
Don Fortner by FreeGrace.net
Peter Neale by CRBC.co.uk
HG Taylor

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ethics: Sneetches and the ethics of exclusion

Dr. Seuss was a brilliant crafter of moral allegories. One of the most well-known is a short story called simply, The Sneetches, in which a shyster comes to take all the money of a small community simply by finding a way to profit from their class divisions and class envy. It was certainly meant by Seuss as an antidote to racism, but like so many other Seuss works (especially Horton Hears a Who), he overshot unintentionally. I think there’s much broader implications to this story, especially for Christians. So tonight we’ll talk about it.

What do you love about your job?

Chances are that you don’t ask yourself this question a lot. If you love your job enthusiastically, answering this might be easy. If you don’t love your job, it could be that you’re in one that’s wrong for you, but it could also be that you’re in the right one and don’t deliberately remind yourself of just how good you have it. Me, I’m fascinated by what people do and why they do it, so I thought it would be both a great opportunity to learn about some of you and also a chance to remind people how to be happier in their own jobs to talk about this subject today.

Links:
5 keys to job satisfaction by Mary Foley
Take this job and love it by Psychology Today
Top 10 job expectations by Career Key

Anti-FOCA petition

The Freedom of Choice Act would attempt to establish abortion on demand without any restrictions as a federal right just one shade short of a Constitutional protection. It would eliminate all federal restrictions (such as the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban) and could entail the elimination of all state efforts to reduce abortion, such as waiting periods, parental consent, and government funding restrictions. Barack Obama has pledged to support this as one of his first priorities in office. Click here to sign the online petition and help stop this radical bill from becoming law.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--It’s Good For Teens To Watch Racy TV


Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~They’re going to be exposed to it anyway, why try to limit it?
~What you watch doesn’t determine how you behave. Most of us watch things that we do not act upon regularly such as adultery, murder, violence, drug use, profanity, lying, and all sorts of criminal activity.
~How do you build up a tolerance to something without exposing yourself to it?
~This is how vaccinations work.
~The racy shows are the shows that everyone is watching, and keeping your kids out would make them weirdos.
~Learning how to handle it rather than how to avoid it is the key to adult Christianity.
~These are teachable moments and you can teach your children how to teach other people’s children. But if they’re ignorant, they won’t be able to teach anyone.
~It’s no different than letting them read common teen magazines like Cosmo and YM.
~Just because you see something doesn’t mean you do it.
~The Bible is full of racy activity. Should kids not read that, either?
~A massive amount of classic literature and art is about love, passion, and sexual misbehavior.
~Should children not be exposed to these things either?

Wacky Wednesday--We Should Be Fake At Church


Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Church should be a foretaste of heaven, and so we should do our best to represent heaven here and now. If we were real and honest with people, this would certainly not be a great reflection of heaven.
~“Fake it until you make it,” works. Just give it a try, and you’ll see.
~We want people to like us so that they learn to like Christ.
~We are the walking Bible for most people, when you start acting like it (even if it isn’t really true inside) people will start responding.
~If one guy smiles and shakes my hand because he thinks he’s supposed to and another guy smiles and shakes my hand because he really wants to, what’s the real difference to me?
~More people will like you.
~It’s a good witness to visitors.
~Your example will inspire others to live better.
~Isn’t this why you dress up? You’re presenting your best you to God for worship.
~Who would like you if you were really honest?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Theological Tuesday

Bible Stories 36: Desert Rebellions (Numbers 16-17, 21)
Is prayer only about words?
Does morality matter for Christians?
Why did David put away his concubines?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Do The Rich Owe Us?

I recently wrote an article on exactly this question, and I want that to be the launching point for our discussion in the second hour. Based on the response I got from some Christian forums, the idea that the rich owe everyone else is a deeply held belief that many people have. It’s even represented in the archetype of Robin Hood, who took from the rich to give to the poor. But does this belief come from an accurate view of money? Is this belief compatible with what the Bible teaches about money? Supposing that the rich do not owe us, does that mean that they have no moral obligations with regard to their money? Do moral obligations equate to an obligation?

Whom Do You Despise?

For most of us “good Christians,” our first response to this question is to say that we despise no one. After all, we are called to love everyone, and despising anyone would be a violation of that command. Okay. But back to reality. If we’re honest with ourselves (first) and others (second), most of us despise some people. In fact, it’s probably true that an awful lot of us despise an awful lot of people. So here’s a slightly easier way to think of it. Who do you look down on? And what does it mean that you look down on them? Who has the capacity to make you angry? And why do you get so angry at them? I don’t so much mean particular people so much as kinds of people. Perhaps it’s people who are wealthier or more beautiful than you. Perhaps it’s fans of the wrong sports team. Perhaps it’s people who have no taste in clothing. Perhaps it’s people who eat unhealthily. Perhaps it’s people who drive rudely. Perhaps it’s subscribers to pornography. Perhaps it’s people who preach heresy. So, today, let’s talk about who you despise and what we can learn from despising.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 Election

U.S. President:
Candidates positions on over 70 issues (excellent resource)
Presidential views by votesmart.org

Arizona State Propositions:
Note: Two years ago, I developed a new paradigm for thinking about propositions. Instead of voting Yes at 51% and No at 49% or less, I now require myself to support the proposition by 75% or more to vote for it. Here's why. When my support for a proposition is less than 3/4, the reason is usually that I don't know enough or can't properly predict the consequences of it. But this is precisely why I elect representatives to act on my behalf, trusting that they will have access to better information and the time to master it. Since I'm not a professional legislator, I don't want to tinker with things that I don't know enough about. In addition, propositions should only be used when we don't believe our elected officials can do what's necessary. Since they are a last resort alternative to representative democracy, my default setting is to vote against them all unless there is overwhelming reason to support one. Hence, anything below 75% support (sort of a personal super-majority) will now be receiving a No vote from me, and you may see me recommend against a proposition even though I support it more than halfway.

Prop 100: Property Tax Reform 97% = Yes Results Passed 77%
Prop 101: Medical Care 80% = Yes Results Failed 49.9% (Pending)
Prop 102: Marriage Amendment 100% = Yes Results Passed 56.5%
Prop 105: Majority Rule on New Taxes 15% = No Results Failed 34.3%
Prop 200: Payday Loans 05% =No Results Failed 40.5%
Prop 201: Homeowners' Bill of Rights 45% = No Results Failed 22.1%
Prop 202: Employer Sanctions 05% = No Results Failed 40.9%
Prop 300: State Legislator Salaries 95% = Yes Results Failed 35.5%

Arizona State Candidates:
Note: We have contacted all the relevant candidates for the Phoenix area for interviews. Below are the candidates who have responded to our request. The rest are apparently scared of my harsh interrogation techniques.

US House Dist 7: Joseph Sweeney (R) (10/15/08)
State Senate Dist 4: Jack Harper (R-2002) (10/13/08)
State Senate Dist 4: Robert Boehlke (D) (Declined Interview)
State Senate Dist 6: Pamela Gorman (R-2006) (10/20/08)
State Senate Dist 6: Jim Larson (D) (10/16/08)
State Senate Dist 7: Jim Waring (R-2002) (10/14/08)

State Senate Dist 7: Dennis Grenier (L) (10/14/08)
State Senate Dist 9: Karen Price (D) (10/13/08)
State Senate Dist 10: Linda Gray (R-2004) (10/15/08)
State Senate Dist 10: Martin Monroe (D) (Declined Interview)

State Senate Dist 14: Debbie McCune Davis (D-2006) (10/20/08)
State Senate Dist 14:
Mike Renzulli (L) (10/29/08)

State Senate Dist 16: Daniel Veres (R) (10/29/08)
State Senate Dist 18: Russell Pearce (R) (10/28/08)
State Senate Dist 18:
Judah Nativio (D) (10/28/08)
AZ Corp Commission:
Marian McClure (R) (10/16/08)

AZ Corp Commission: Sandra Kennedy (D) (Missed Interview)
Maricopa County Attorney: Andrew Thomas (R) (10/28/08)
Mayor Scottsdale: Jim Lane (10/23/08)
Mayor Scottsdale: Mary Manross (10/23/08)

Links
Election Results for Candidates at AZ Republic
Secretary of State Jan Brewer Election Info
PBS 8 on the 2008 Election

Vote Smart Arizona
Arizona Republic on the 2008 Election

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Food for the Poor—Haiti

Food For The Poor, the 2nd largest international relief and development organization in the United States, does much more than simply feed the millions of hungry poor in 16 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. They provide emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96% of all donations going directly to programs for the poor. They have the highest rankings from Charity Navigator and Ministry Watch. Today, we will be helping feed families in Haiti, with $144 feeding an entire family for all of next year, and our goal is to feed 52 families in 2009. You can call 1-800-433 HOPE (4673) or click here to help us meet our goal.

Links:
Food For The Poor - Rating by Charity Navigator
Food For The Poor, Inc. by Ministry Watch
Click here to donate - Foodforthepoor.org

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--Christians Shouldn’t Participate In Halloween

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Halloween is not merely a non-Christian holiday, it’s an anti-Christian holiday, when people celebrate the occult and evil. If Satan has any annual party, this is it, right?
~Children dressed as demons and devils.
~Children dressed as evil characters like Darth Vader.
~Teenage (or younger) girls dressed provocatively.
~It doesn’t glorify God. When a child asks how it serves Jesus, you can’t say.
~How can you reconcile skeletons, zombies, witches, and scary stuff with the idea that we should focus only on the pure and noble things?
~Apple-bobbing was a fortune-telling exercise.
~We’re supposed to take a stand against Satan, not stand with him.
~Humans have been tricked by Satan before, all the way back to Eden
~Some things we think are fine, God may dislike.
~God hates witchcraft.
~We are enthralled with supernatural things, and this is a tendency we must rein in and control.
~We are supposed to be different from the world. To come out from among them.
~We must be willing to say no to popular but wrong things.
~There’s nothing wrong with teaching our children that some things the world does, we don’t do.
~Children will watch you taking a righteous stand.Satan is a master of disguise, and ignorance of how he operates is our downfall.


Post-show thoughts: We participate in Halloween. Our kids dress up. We go around and give great joy to lots of other people. At our home, we give out candy with inoffensive, age-appropriate information about Christ on it. Our goal is to be a blessing and to redeem something which does not inherently glorify God. Since Jesus loves little children and dressing up is fun, it's hard to comprehend why so many Christians oppose this event. Whatever murky origins it may have, and no one knows for sure, the reality of it today is entirely benign. If we hide in our houses, we have either no influence or anti-influence for Christ. If we participate, we have postitive influence both in relationships and in bringing joy to others. I think most Christians opposed to Halloween are terribly inconsistent about their opposition. Hiding inside your home is not loving if this thing is evil. Explaining that evil to others while they are doing it would be the correct course of action. But the reluctance to do so is exactly from the recognition that it's not nearly as bad as you make out. If we are supposed to be salt and light in this world, it's hard to see how that is accomplished by turning out our porch lights and hiding behind dark windows. Nonetheless, if your own personal conscience is troubled by participation in this, I would never tell you to participate. My concern is that Christians eager to find another reason to be hostile to the culture have propagated the notion that this is a key identifier of true Christian holiness. With as much respect as I can muster, I disagree vehemently. If we're going to take a stand and look like weirdos and expend our social capital on something, we'd better be really sure it's worth doing. Halloween as it exists and is practiced in 2008 in the United States is not that something.

Bible References: Deut 18:9-14, Ezek 44:23, Hosea 4:6, Matt 18:6, Acts 15:19-20, Acts 19:18-20, Rom 12:9, 1 Cor 8:4-13, 1 Cor 10:21-30, 2 Cor 6:14-17, Gal 5:19-23, Eph 5:1-21, 1 Thess 5:14-22, 1 Tim 4:1, James 1:27, 3 John 11, Rev 21:5-8

Links:
Misc: Halloween and Christian views of Halloween by Wikipedia.org
For: Can Christians celebrate Halloween by Richard Bucher
For: What to do about Halloween? by James Dobson
For: Hallowing Halloween by Christianity Today
For: Is Halloween a witches brew? by Chrsitianity Today
For: Why I let my kids go trick-or-treating Today's Christian Woman
For: The inevitable Halloween discussion by Tim Challies
For: Halloween.com
Against: Should Christians participate in Halloween? at ChristianAnswers.net
Against: Halloween at JeremiahProject.com
Misc: Halloween on Heels by Allison Glock at New York Times
Misc: Halloween and Christmas by Hank Hanegraaff