Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 33: The Exodus (Exodus 12-16)
~How should we pray, physically?
Excellent index of various prayer stances in the Bible

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ethics: Drinking Age

A group of college leaders this summer called for a national discussion on whether the legal drinking age for alcohol should be lowered from 21 to 18. Since I’d never want to disappoint the leaders of colleges, I thought we could talk about it today. Is it a good idea for younger people to be allowed to drink? How young? Why do we have a drinking age in the first place? Would more adults drink if it were lowered? What about consumption of alcohol with minor children by their parents? Well, as always, we’ll talk about it.

Legal drinking age by Wikipedia

Lowering the drinking age by George Will
Colleges' misguided plan for drinking by LA Times
College leaders renew debate on drinking age by LA Times
Should you drink with your kids? by Time
Colleges and teh legal drinking age by LA Times

Favorite Musicals

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of the musical to American culture this past century. Though not everyone enjoys them, some of the best known songs haven’t come from the radio but from the stage. Greased Lightning. The Hills Are Alive. I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair. Hakuna-Matata. So I thought it would be fun to spend an hour talking about musicals and, of course, singing a little bit.

Shows by Musicals.net
Musical theatre, TV, and film by Musicals101.com
Musical theatre by Wkipedia
List of musicals by Wikipedia

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Various Current Events

Bailout—Plan explained by NY Times
Bailout--Henry Paulson on
Fox News Sunday, Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation
ARM, Subprime Lending, and Crisis by Wikipedia
Bailout--Explained with a creative alternative by Wash Post
Bailout--Includes student and car loans? by Washington Times
Bailout--A second opinion by NY Times
Bailout--The establishment lives by David Brooks
Bailout--We must teach teens money skills by CS Monitor
Bailout--Wall Street needs new rules by CS Monitor
Bailout--The $700 billion question by NY Times
Bailout—Just say no by Townhall.com
Bailout—Build a better offer by CS Monitor
Bailout—Keating 5 and McCain by LA Times
Bailout--Perhaps we could do nothing by LA Times
Campaign--Paulson asked McCain to suspend by Newsbusters
Campaign--Obama favors clean coal
Campaign--Biden’s rules out clean coal
Campaign—Biden’s recent gaffes by Canada.com
Campaign—RNC catalogs Biden gaffes
Campaign—Biden’s economic history by Michael Medved
Ministers plan to test IRS ban on political speech by LA Times
Pulpit Freedom Sunday by ADF
Iran--Ahmadinejad’s UN address
Iran—Executing apostates? by Christian Post
Pastor covers porn use with cancer claims by Christian Post
AoG angry about anti-Palin cartoon by Christian Post
View the cartoon by Washington Post
Emmy winners make political speeches by LA Times
Emmy resultsFood for the taught (Great Idea!) by CS Monitor
Amazing Pictures from Ike by Boston Globe

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--Arranged Marriage Is Better

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.

~Dating is unpleasant.
~They reduce pressure on you to find one yourself.
~No need to try the milk before you buy the cow.
~People could afford to be honest rather than all the deceptions that go on in dating.
~The Father arranged a marriage between you and Jesus. Are you complaining that you didn’t get to choose for yourself?
~How is the current system working for us?
~They have a lower divorce rate.
~Involuntary relationships like family are really important.
~You can learn to love anyone. Do you love your children less because you don’t choose them?
~It’s not what you have that counts, but what you do with it.
~If parents pick, then you are guaranteed a parental blessing, which is hugely important.
~If the community is going to be involved in helping you make your marriage work, why not get that same community involved in creating the match in the first place?
~Other people don’t have their judgment clouded by your emotions.
~Because it allows others to ask the uncomfortable questions about a person (money, sin, reputation, etc.) it’s the romantic equivalent of doing a background check and getting a credit score.
~Do you use a dating service?
~Parents have a much better sense of wisdom from their own experience about who is a good pair than you do.
~Good marriages are built on mature commitment and unconditional love, not emotion.
~You should enter marriage to serve, not receive.
~Marriage is something you make, not something you find.
~Love is a choice, not a feeling.

Arranged marriage by Wikipedia
Arranged marriages and Dowry by Pardesiservices.com

Wacky Wednesday--Sandwiches Are Evil

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.

~The ideal use of food is to nourish along with creating fellowship and communion with others.
~Food deliberately designed to be eaten in isolation is the source of all our problems today.
~The drive-through convenience culture did not start with McDonalds. It started with the Earl of ~Sandwich telling us that food could be reduced to such a minimalist experience.
~Sandwich makes you want chips makes you want soda. It’s a vicious cycle.
~They’re unhealthy. The meat, the condiments, the bread, all of it.
~They’re unpatriotic. Eating sandwiches doesn’t stimulate the economy as much as eating out does.
~Earl of Sandwich developed them because he liked to gamble at cards so much he wouldn’t stop to eat. So its history is associated with gambling and addictive social gaming.
~They encourage you to work through lunch, but we all need down time.
~Leavened bread—don’t you know the significance of leaven Biblically?
~They’re sort of low-class.

Sandwich by Wikipedia
History of sandwiches by WhatscookingAmerica.net
Mama Cass didn't choke on a sandwich by Snopes

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Theological Tuesday

Bible Stories 33: Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10)
Is sin ever useful for Christians?
Thoughts on “A New Earth”
Is prayer only about words?
Should Christians study heresy?
Should we ever test God?
What does it mean to have a circumcised heart?
Is tradition a good or a bad thing, Biblically?

Peter and Cornelius

Bible References: Lev 11:20-25, Deut 10:17, Deut 14:4-20, 2 Chr 19:7, Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:12, Eze 4:9-17, Dan 1:5-8, Matt 15:1-14, Mark 7:14-23, Acts 15:7-12, Acts 15:19-20, Acts 15:28-29, Rom 2:11, Rom 14:13-23, 1 Cor 10:14-33, Gal 2, Gal 3:26-29, Eph 6:9, Col 3:25, 1 Tim 4:1-5, Titus 1:15, 1 Peter 1:17

Bible Gateway Commentary
Adam Clarke’s Commentary
David Guzik’s Commentary
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Peter’s Vision by Frank L. Hoffman
Peter’s Vision by Harold Staugh
Peter’s Vision by JudaismVChristianity.com
Is Peter’s vision about food? by a Messianic Jew

Monday, September 22, 2008

Used Or New: What Things Do You Buy Which Way?

I read this wonderful little editorial by Mary Hunt on the basic things you should buy used instead of new, and I thought it would be fun to talk about what things you prefer to buy which way. Cars, clothes, houses, pets, furniture, electronics, toys, CD/DVDs, etc. Especially in the current economic climate of concern, finding a way to shave a few dollars off your budget can make a big difference in your life.

The Ethics of Belief Formation

Most people don’t think generally think of the issue of what things you believe as an ethics topic. But if the Bible is to be received as true, then what we believe isn’t merely an ethical issue, but possibly the supreme ethical issue. As Jesus so famously said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” So, presumably, knowing truth from error is fairly important to God. But what motivates us to believe the things we do, and what motivates us to resist accepting new beliefs we should? How are our beliefs formed, and how might understanding that process aide us in changing them? Also, what beliefs are you committed to in the sense that it’s difficult for you to seriously consider them being false?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Various Current Events

Operation Homefront Home Page
Tina Fey's Sarah Palin on SNL by Hulu.com
Economic news by NY Times
SF might legalize prostitution by LA Times
How our brain keeps us from straying by LA Times
CA's prop 4 on abortion waiting period by LA Times
Russia, Georgia, and sovereignty by CS Monitor
Economic slump and greed by CS Monitor
Website posts income data by CS Monitor
Homeschooling beyond religion by ABC News
Nashville must pay Teen Challenge by Christian Post
Sharia law in Britain? by The Times
Georgia offers evidence on Russian invasion by NY Times
Why experience matters by David Broder, NY Times
Did Obama press Iraq to hold off until elections? by NY Post
Obama's version of the story by Breibart
Palin's amnio and pro-life view by Sherry Colb, Findlaw.com
Lynda Carter rips Palin by LA Times
$85 billion loan rescues AIG by NY Times
Baby formula scandal in China by NY Times
Should banks have to buy failed insurance? by NY Times
Obama would reach out to Muslims by The News and Advance
Obama tries to censor author from WGN by The Swamp
No rosaries at school because gangs wear them? by Fox News
Ride out Wall Street's hurruicane by CS Monitor
Should statutory rape laws be changed? by Findlaw.com
The sky is falling by NY Times
Greed is not good enough by NY Times
Palin interviewed by Sean Hannity by Fox News
Palin interviewed by Charles Gibson by ABC News
Mavs' Howard disrespects national anthem by Fan Nation
Palin's Yahoo account hacked by CS Monitor
Should Oprah have on Palin? by Findlaw.com
Teen leaves newborn in dumpster by AZCentral.com
Protecting marriage to protect children by LA Times
Bush administration supports rights of conscience by NY Times
Obama tells supporters to vote across state lines by The Hill
Obama pays female staffers 77% of male staffers by CNS News

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Various Current Events

Palin--Tries to Follow God by NYT
Palin--She Did Refuse the Bridge by WSJ/Jim DeMint
Palin--Bridge to Nowhere by CAGW
Palin--Alaska Grows Up by CAGW
Palin--Where She Stood on Bridge by Anchorage Daily News
Palin--Flip-Flops on Bridge by Gather.com
Palin--Gravina Island Bridge by Wikipedia
Palin--AL Independence Party by RightPundits
Palin--NYT Retracts on AL Ind Pty by NYT
Palin--Pentecostalism Obscured by Christian Post

Palin--Two Different Offices by Albert Mohler
Palin--Gender Roles and the Bible Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Palin--Trig Is the Issue by Mona Charen

Palin--Success In Getting Pipeline Deal by CNSNews
Palin--Why She Isn't Constitutionally Qualified by John Dean
Obama--Far Left Abortion Position by Frank Pastore
Obama--Claims Too Flippant on "Pay Grade" Gaffe by Christian Post
Obama--Impoverished Half-Brother by Dinesh D'Souza
Obama--Sex Ed for Kindergarteners by ABC News Read the Bill Text
Biden--Scolded by Bishop for Abortion Comment by Christian Post
US Takes Over Fannie/Freddie by NYT
F/F Crisis and Few Options by NYT
Why the F/F Takeover by CS Monitor
F/F Bailout's Lessons by NYT
F/F Shows Danger of Government Guarantees by Fred Thompson
Sex-Ed Column by NYT

Two Weeks of News You Missed by William Faulk
Statement Issued on Jewis Evangelism by Christian Post
Creator of Basic Instinct/Showgirls Converts by Christian Post
New Research on Happiness by LA Times
Make Cars That Can't Speed by NYT
Lying Is Useful by CNN
Young Men Getting Preemptive Vasectomies by CNN
25 Affirmations About Forgiveness by Crosswalk
Ike Hits Cuba by AZ Republic
What's Wrong with Boredom? by CS Monitor
Arranged Marriages Surge by CS Monitor
VMA Host's Hostile Remarks by Christian Post
The VMA, Sex, and Purity by LA Times
Ministers Against Politics in Church by Christian Post
Phoenix Police Bust Gang Members by AZ Republic
Catholic Church Bars Use of "Yahweh" by Christianity Today

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--It’s A Sin To Be Sick

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.

~Would there be illness if there was not sin? Then at the deepest level, we recognize that sin and sickness are tied together.
~Is medicine a gift from God? Why? Because we believe that God is a God who heals, right.
~The difference between a sick person and a healthy person is the degree of their faith in Christ.
~Righteousness is to believe on him whom the Father sent.
~By His stripes were you healed.
~Is it God’s Will that everyone who loves Him would be healed? Do you believe in God’s Will.
~Jesus came to set the captives free.
~Are you telling me that Jesus healed masses of strangers but wouldn’t heal His own beloved disciples?
~If you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you can move mountains. If you don’t even have that much, how can you even be saved?
~Faith comes by hearing the word of God, and we know it’s a sin to not study the Word faithfully.
~Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.
~Seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be given unto you.
~You have not because you ask not.
~They that believe must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
~Jesus came to give life and abundantly more life. How is this compatible with being ill?
~If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
~When was Jesus sick? Aren’t we supposed to be like Him?
~The great commission tells us to lay hands on the sick and make them recover.
~If we’re sick, we should ask the elders to anoint us with oil. Why, except to get healed?
~The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
~Therefore I say unto you, what things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 32: Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)
~What should we make of laminin?
~Should Christians study heresy?
~Should we ever test God?
~What does it mean to have a circumcised heart?
~Is tradition a good or a bad thing, Biblically?
~Is prayer only about words?
~Thoughts on “A New Earth”

Links on Ananias and Sapphira, from Studylight.org:
Barnes' notes
Adam Clarke commentary
David Guzik's commentary
Matthew Henry complete commentary
J.W. McGarvey's original commentaries

John Wesley's explanatory notes

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ethics: Credit Cards

There are essentially four sorts of people: Those who don’t use credit cards, those who use them and pay them off every month, those who carry a balance they can handle every month, and those who are out of control. As a credit counselor friend of mine once quipped, “Credit cards are like crack cocaine, and banks are very smart drug dealers.” Was his assessment correct? Are credit cards so dangerous they ought to be illegal? What about those who pay them off every month? Is it ethical to use a service in this way which costs the company money? Isn’t that being a parasite at the expense of all the irresponsible addicts who really fund the existence of these cards?

American Consumer Credit Counseling by ConsumerCredit.com
Exploit credit cards by Christian Science Monitor
Credit cards can be good by Bankrate.com
Best credit cards for consumers by Bankrate.com
Gas credit cards may have benefits by AZCentral.com
Credit cards 101 by BusinessWeek.com
Survival guide by BusinessWeek.com
College campus credit cards: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

How Do You Study The Bible?

We all (or most of us anyway) say the Bible is God’s Word and presumably read it regularly. But I think we all do this differently, and I thought it would be fun to talk with you about how you study the Bible, what resources you use, and how regularly you read it. Plus, we’ll talk with Stephen McGarvey, editor of Crosswalk.com, about a new resource they have to help people study the Bible.

Bible Study Resources:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Various Current Events

GOP convention home page
Speech text index by GOPConvention.com
Speeches: Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Joe Lieberman, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson

On Sarah Palin:
VP selection speech by RealClearPolitics.com
Beliefs and positions by OnTheIssues.org
Fundamental right to refuse by LA Times
New life of the GOP by LA Times
Who is your neighbor? by Christianity Today
Which party better on poverty? by Christianity Today
Bold choice, or desperate one? by Christian Science Monitor
Forged maverick path in Alaska by Christian Science Monitor
Palin by comparison by Hugh Hewitt, Townhall.com
Palin has real experience by Wall Street Journal
What the pick says by NY Times
Clinton aides: Palin treatment sexist by Politico.com
Palin took on energy companies by LA Times
A star is born? by NY Times
Conservative female abuse by Michelle Malkin, Townhall.com
What standards? by Cal Thomas, Townhall.com
Secession flirtation by LA Times
Palin speaks by NY Times
Not a stand-in for Hillary by Fox News
Not every woman supports women's rights by NOW.org
About Palin, by Alaksa resident by ThePresidentialCandidates.us

Other links:
Edible landscaping saves money by Christian Science Monitor
It's half past 12 somehwere by Christianity Today
Fear of kidnapping grips Mexico by LA Times
Dobson to pull McCain lever by Dennis Prager, Townhall.com
Dem apologizes for hurricane joke by CNN
Small change from Obama by Washington Post
Cindy McCain interview by CBS News
Michelle Obama interview by CBS News
The experience question by Christian Science Monitor
Edwards, McCain, and political affairs by Findlaw.com
2 Christians kidnapped, killed in Iraq by Christian Post
Edgy sex-ed videos spark debate by ABC News
There goes the sun by IBDEditorials.com
Border drug wars threaten US by Washington Times
"Protests" at GOP convention result in 284 arrests by USA Today
After Gustav will we heed warnings? by Florida Sun-Sentinel

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wacky Wednesday--A Woman Shouldn’t Be President Or Vice-President

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.

~There’s a lot of men who will say they would vote for a woman but wouldn’t in reality. And they might not even be lying, they think they would, but they wouldn’t.
~You get selected for VP largely because you’re a woman as a political maneuver rather than because you are the most qualified to serve as the VP.
~Why do women earn so much less than men? Is it entirely because of sexism?
~Are there so few women in leadership because women can’t lead or because men don’t want to be led by a woman?
~I’d only vote for a good mother, but if she’s a good mother, she wouldn’t be leaving her children to run for office, right?
~Politicians have to do nasty, awful, horrible things…things that are inherently contrary to being feminine. Do you consider Margaret Thatcher feminine?
~Would you want a pregnant President?
~Aren’t we supposed to be the protectors of women? I don’t want to see women exposed to what happens in politics because that harms them and women in general as it becomes acceptable to attack women the way we do men.
~Undermines the natural and very important function of men in wanting to and being able to protect women.
~Why should a woman, who cannot be forced to go to war, be commander in chief?
~What if the President’s husband gives her an instruction of some kind? Isn’t she supposed to submit to him?
~God gave sovereignty in the home and the church to men. How likely is it that He intended the opposite in politics?
~Isn’t the President a spiritual leader for the nation?

Wacky Wednesday--We Shouldn’t Study The Book Of Revelation

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.

~People who get into Revelation become weirdos. Not just a little flaky. But really strange. This, in turn, makes Christianity look bad.
~Differing views cause division within the Body of Christ.
~It’s undecipherable, so why try?
~It confuses and scares people.
~Too much emphasis on the Second Coming causes people to not work for the future because they think Jesus is coming right back soon.
~Theologians can’t even agree about whether this is a future, past, or ongoing current set of events.
~Because of the difficulty and the variety of opinions, people become very proud of their arcane points of view. Just consider license plate frames that say, “In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned.”
~It’s not essential for anything crucial to Christianity. This is shown by the number of Christians who don’t comprehend it and yet still manage to lead quite successful Christ-glorifying lives.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Theological Tuesday

~Bible Stories 31: The Centurion’s Faith (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10)
~Interview with Gary Allen Taylor about Focus on the Family’s Truth Project
~Which is more psychologically rewarding: atheism or Christianity?

Links on the Centurion's Faith:
Healing of the centurion's servant by Bible.org
Did Jesus speak with the centurion? by ApologeticsPress.org
Dr. Joan Crossley sermon by ThisIsChurch.com
Was the centurion with Jesus? by ComeReason.org
Who brought the centurion's request to Jesus? by CARM.org
Jesus and the centurion by CCMurrieta.com

Post-show thoughts on psychology of atheism and Christianity:
Areas where atheism is more satisfying
It’s a lot easier to live as an atheist
Intellectual difficulty
Praise of elites
Academic reinforcement
Feeling of superiority
You get to set your own rules.
Your story doesn’t have to be mysterious, complex, and difficult.
There is no accountability for making mistakes.
You don’t have to follow the rules, but you can appeal to other people’s sense that they should follow them when they catch you.
You can’t be accused of hypocrisy.
You don’t have to reconcile difficult passages in the Bible or believe unpleasant things in the Bible.
There is no psychological pain of being told you are totally wrong and even worthless.
You won’t get fired for being an atheist.
You don’t have to give to the church.
You don’t have to go to church.
No one else can embarrass you because you only belong to yourselfism.
The Crusades
No necessity for forgiveness
No necessity for self-denial.
No requirement to be willing to die for your faith.
No requirement to do things that make no sense to you in obedience to God.

Areas where they seem about equal or there’s competition:
Social status
Worldview fitting society
Ease of finding compatible mate/friends

Areas where Christianity is more satisfying:

Praise of common people
Seeing an impact from your beliefs
Support of history
You can believe that humans are special.
You don’t have to believe in evolution.
Nazism and Communism over the years as the key examples of atheism.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

Being an atheist was the easiest thing I ever did. I didn’t want to believe. It would lose me the respect of other intellectuals. The experience of most Christians is that life was much easier before they became Christians, even though in some major areas, life is much simpler. I think this allegation is actually atheists projecting their own knowledge of their belief system onto Christians. If Christianity is a nice story made up to make us feel better, well, all I can say is that we’re very bad inventors indeed. I mean a good God to invent would look like Santa Claus, rather than the God of the Bible. Instead we come up with mystery, paradox, and the danger of everlasting torment.