Friday, December 31, 2004

New Years

I have been journaling for years. The past year this activity has turned into blogging instead of journaling. (I am still a secret journal writer just because I like to write. I write in notebooks and on the computer. I even got a palm just to journal on. Okay, I justified it as a schedule mechanism but in reality, it is a tool for journal writing.) This is the time of year that I write about goals and visions. I really is not about resolutions for me, more like brainstorming and reveiwing what I want to acheive. This next year is a new year and what do I want to accomplish?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Guest Blog

This is a guest blog by the Pruitt Communications daughter #1:

I just got back from college here recently and it has been interesting being at home again. When I had just got back from finals week, my dad was still working on his translation project for semenary. It got me thinking that even after I get my bachalors I still want to take classes, even when I get to be my dad's age or older. Some of my proffesors at school still take classes that are unrelated to their area of expertese, just because they like taking classes. Most of the people in my life that I respect are life-long learners and that is something that I hope that I can emulate. Not all of them take college classes, but they are always learning new things through reading or talking with people. Keeping a broad range of subjects that one can talk about intelligently and being able to bring ideas from other displines into one's area of expertese makes a truly educated person.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

What Do You Mean, Lost

What Do You Mean, Lost

Check out Dr. Bud Powell's parable about lost sheep. Some days I think evangelism is a side issue. I think it has to do with wanting to be successful at things I do. Time to tell the old, old story again to those who have never heard.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

My Dominant Intelligence is Intrapersonal Intelligence

Your Dominant Intelligence is Intrapersonal Intelligence

Reflective and thoughtful, you enjoy spending time alone.
You are good at analyzing yourself - and knowing your true feelings.
Totally self aware, you are in tune with your dreams and desires.
A spiritual and philopsophical person, your inner calmness inspires and helps others.

You would make a great philosopher, researcher, or theorist.

What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

Hat Tip: Reverend Mike's House Of Homiletic Hash
By the way, check out Mike's interesting and informative blog.

Singing Praise To Our King

We have a holiday upon us. Music has been a big part of Christmas for me. As a teen I was in the marching band, concert band, and jazz band. The Christmas concert practices always got me in the mood for Christmas before it actually happened. One of my big favorites all time was Russian Christmas Carol. It was an arrangement of a lot of Christmas music from Russia. It has a sort of somber feel to it. I also remember singing various years parts of the Handel's Messiah. You have to love it. Then of course there is the singing of Christmas carols, both in church and on the annual Caroling to the sick and shut-ins.

My pastor mentioned in his sermon last night that the original Greek text of Luke does not specifiy singing done by the angels. He is right, it is 'lego', to say. But lego is the word used often when singing is meant. How do we know the difference?
1.) Does the passage sing?
2.) Is it poetic?

Friday, December 24, 2004

bigred5: Elf-Snow Ball Fight

bigred5: Elf-Snow Ball Fight Check out my wife's recommendation for holiday madness.

Technology Review - Article on Wikipedia and Epistemology

Welcome to Technology Review I think I've blogged about the virtues of Wikipedia before so I'll save it for later. But Technology Review has a good article on Larry Sanger who is a philosopher who started Wikipedia. I would like to read Parableman's take on the philosophical issues raised in the article. (Hey, instead of "Blog This" we need a "Blog That" feature to blogs.) I would like to see a wiki-Bible commentary started, and wiki-Bible encyclopedia and a wiki-community exegesis (analysis of a community for church planting) and other sites to help encourage the church. Doctrinal issues would have to be handled some way. One could require adherance to a creed, work off generally agreed upon evangelical faith statements or something else perhaps.

Since I'm brainstorming I would like to hear other's reactions and ideas.

Archeology Dig Associated With Cana of Galilee

Yahoo! News I'm recommending this video clip regarding pottery shards found by archeologiests. There is no large break through in Biblical archeology, but you do get to see the pottery shards and the landscape of the area. It is worth the couple of minutes to see.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

La Shawn Barber's Corner � Kwanzaa Is for Pagans

La Shawn Barber's Corner � Kwanzaa Is for Pagans this is an posting worthy of reading. La Shawn Barber explains her views on Kwanzaa. Before reading this article I thought the holiday to be benign.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

180 on Buildings

I think I wrote a blog some time ago on my change of heart on church architecture. I followed the idea a few years back that the church was the people so buildings were unimportant. Meeting in schools, theaters and other commercial property was just fine in my mind. From experince, I now know that being in someone else's property taxes your volunteer force. It also affects the asthetics of the worship service.

They are putting up a new church building near my house. I don't know the denomination or even the name of the church. They are replacing a commerical metal frame with a wooden frame. I wonder if that is really all that much of an improvement asthetically and functionally.

The church I visited in Hawaii had a very plain sanctuary with a fantastic circular window behind the pulpit through which the congregation could see the beautiful landscape as the pastor exposited the Word of God.

What is the proper balance between artistic design and proper focus kept on the Word of God?

Who is the right person to design such a balanced building? Where are the Christian architects?

Can existing buildings really be adequately transformed? If so, how?

Normal functional areas of a church are
1. Worship Sanctuary
2. Sunday School Rooms
3. Food and Fellowship Areas
4. Recreation Areas
5. Office and Administration Areas

How much do you need of each? Is only the worship and Sunday School areas the only necessary areas?

Responses welcome!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Deuteronomy 6

When the Lord talks to the children of Israel about teaching his Word to their children, he tells them to talk about it all the time. When the sit in their house, when they travel, when they get up and go to bed. That is all your free time. I see that all our waking moments are to be filled with scripture. But today is the first time I noticed that in the Hebrew the word of God is to posted between our eyes. Deuteronomy 6:8. Talk about putting it right there all the time. :-)

Friday, December 17, 2004

Covenant Books and Coffee

I mentioned yesterday that Barb and I visited the Bookshop and Coffee shop while in Honolulu. The bookshop sells Reformed books. I wish it was not Christmas time so I could spend lots on books. Some of you are probably saying why did you not just buy stuff there for friends and family. Well, gifts are supposed to be for others.

The ministry idea is great, create a place where people can linger and look at great Christian books. The inexpensive but tastie food made it a place to linger even for those not interested in the books. I saw more than one person picking up food as carry out. Here in my own community I don't think the same concept would work since we have a fine bookstore. But the books at Covenant were Reformed and not your usual Christian bookstore mass market. They were definately historic, deep and hard to find titles. I was looking at a Baxter book I thought....

Well, back to reality here. You might find some interesting stuff on their website even if you can't visit in the brick and mortar facility.


Which member of the JLA are you?


Rocketed to earth by his parents to escape thier doomed planet Krypton. Kal-El(Clark Kent)'s contact with the Earth's yellow sun gives him amazing abilities that he uses to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. He fills the role of leader in the JLA.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Visiting A Church While Away From Home

When Barbara and I got married we married on a Saturday. Of course the next day was Sunday and so we visited a church though we were on the road. The pastor preached a sermon on going to church while on vacation. I thought, "Man, what perfect timing." Do we really expect all our congregation to visit other congregations while they are on vacation? Barb and I have had both positive and negative experiences visiting a church while on vacation or traveling for work. Once we visited a Presbyterian church while in southern Viginia where they spent most of the worship service time on a business report of some sort. I thought, "Wow, lousy timing on my part". If you are traveling with family or co-workers who don’t share your persuasion, it makes it quadruple the trouble to find and go to church. Then there is the issue of taking kids into a new environment. I’m comfortable going somewhere that is not exactly what I believe, but then are the kids going to have a positive experience? Exactly how do you pick a church while traveling?

Do you select one based on your denomination? You probably will be comfortable theologically and quite possibly regarding worship style but not very adventure some.

Do you visit a large well-known church that is nationally or historically known? You might get to experience something new but you might not really be there enough to connect with what is going on there. I have visited nationally known churches both lead-bleeding edge and historic.

Do you visit a church based on how good their yellow page ad is? Well, this is exactly what I did this past week in Hawaii. I went to the church in Honolulu that advertised itself as “Reformed”, Honolulu Bible Church. They don’t have a website but they do have a great church. So I am writing a review on the worship experience.

Honolulu Bible Church Review -

Order of Worship

The church is a modest size congregation but very much a live in its worship. One unusual aspect of their order of worship was that they did not have any special music. They did instrumentals for the prelude and offertory, but it was just one of the hymns that was sang by the congregation. When the men were finished taking an offering, the instrumentalists were done playing. This sort of sped up the service and kept it moving. They read a couple of the questions and answers from the Heidelberg Catechism. They also sang Psalms. They used the Trinity Hymnal and another book of metrical Psalms. The tunes used were from the Trinity Hymnal and so the tunes were familiar. The order of worship was efficient but did not lack any spiritual depth.


They music style was eclectic. They had a bass guitar and a steel guitar that gave it an modern beat, but violin, piano and organ gave a classical-traditional feel. While the pastor led the music as we sang hymns together, a group of about seven women made up the vocalists. While we sang only hymns and metrical psalms, the music worked. I’m not sure everyone could pull it off like they did. The music was distinctive, interesting and encouraging.


The preaching was a sermon on Acts 2. The sermon was basically on tongues and how the modern tongues phenomenon is not actual languages as it was in the book of Acts. The preaching was gracious towards those to whom the pastor would disagree and he ensured that the congregation understood that they should NOT be contentious with their brethren who are in charismatic churches. His sermon was clear and used the scripture well. I believe he connected well with his audience. Solid preaching, I enjoyed it.


The church was a diverse group situated in a suburban neighborhood. I believe some were native Hawaiian. There were people from various Asian backgrounds. Others seemed to be military stationed in Hawaii, and some from the international community working in Hawaii. We had a fifteen year old girl greeted us after the service and ensure we were welcome. One Australian grad student spent time sharing a little of his time with us and invited us to visit the church associated coffee house and bookstore, Covenant Bookstore and Coffee House. In intend to blog about that tomorrow. The church has some other outreach activities; they sponsor R.C. Sproul on the AM 750 radio and they had an Art Club. I'm imagining that the art club is a Francis Schafferish type engagement ministry. The church has a plurality of pastors. I’m not sure if this is a doctrinal issue or an issue of just practicality. But the pastors were friendly too. All in all, it is a friendly church.

I highly recommend visiting Honolulu Bible Church if you are in Hawaii.

I hid the comments because I really don't want negative comments about any congregation stirring up strife. Check out my most called "Traffic Up: Issue Driven"

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Found Some Sets

I have spent the past couple of weeks in Hawaii. While there I found in the newspaper several story on my favorite TV Show LOST. I was surprised to find that many of the sets used to produce the show were places I was familar with. The Iraqi camp set was at a park/military facility in Diamondhead crater. The airport scene that supposedly happens in Australia is the Hawaii convention center. The set where some of the show is shot is on Nimitz Highway, the old Xerox building. It's address is 1200 N. Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI. I wanted to find the beach where those scenes are shot but no luck there.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Addicted To The Internet

Here I am in the Internet Cafe, and a taxi driver announces, so your addicted to the Internet. I ask him if he was talking to me. Perhaps he was.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Open Office

I was talking to someone the other day who had a problem because their home computer was not equiped with Microsoft Office. In particular, they did not have Microsoft Excel, which by the way is an excellent program. (As a side bar, has a great deal of power to make nicely formated documents.) When I mentioned that they might try Open Office they made a comment about Linux and its future. Aside from the question about Linux, I think there is a mis-perception that the free software movement is all about Linux. Fact: you can download OpenOffice for Windows. I have mostly used Star Office and Open Office outside the Windows. More specifically, I have used Star Office on a Sun workstation and on Mandrake Linux. I have used Open Office on a SUSE Linux machine. While I have not had great success with transfering PowerPoint slides to StarOffice and back to PowerPoint, the Word and Excel documents have pretty much the same formating and functions. The PowerPoint/StarOffice problem is that the functions are the same but the formating is not quite right.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Best Internet Cafe

The idea of the Internet Cafe that sort of came, had a lot of flurry of possibilities and then changed all of a sudden to Wi-Fi hotspots. Don't get me wrong, hotspots are cool but I don't have a laptop. Wi-Fi is cool, but I just have not gone that way. So when I travel I'm always looking for Internet access. I have visited Internet Cafes in various places I've traveled. Most are not reasonable with what they charge or the ease of getting on. I want to tell you about the world's best Internet cafe. It's not far from Wikikie. I think the kicker is their fees are calculated by an application that is always tracking it for you.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Top 10 Words of 2004

...according to searches of Merriam-Webster Web sites. Wouldn't you know what number one would be?



I heard this talked about on a news program, I think CNN. The announcer asked what were people reading that had the word "defenestration" in it, which means thrown out the window, he did not explain that. I looked it up. There are a couple of websites out there using the word. One of them is a swap shop type of website. What are you throwing out your window, others can have it.

Hat Tip: Rebeccah Writes

Lost TV Show on ABC Episode 10 - Raised by Another

So Claire has been to a soothsayer. I was not really comfortable with that. I really don't like the occult but as a plot devise, it is something is really interesting. If you know enough details about cause and effect, you basically have a lot of power. Given that you know an infinate amount of knowledge about what causes what, you can manipulate a lot. Of course if you don't have power, then the knowledge of the future becomes a curse. The psychic's powers are not infinate, but the manipulation he brings to the Claire's future brings an interesting thoughts about the future. I studied futurology for a while. That is not a religious topic, but some academic types look at trends and predict the future based on the logical conclusions to those trends. A famous futurologiest is Alvin Toffler. (By the way, I heard him speak a few years back. I really enjoyed hearing him.) The problem with futurology is that trends don't always continue. Sometimes people don't take it to the next step.

What kind of knowledge does God have of the future? Is it a mystical future? Is it trend analysis? Is it deduced from logic? I beleive he has already experinced the future.

In our human experince, how do we predict the future? Is it by trend analysis? Is it by feeling?

Query you're thoughts!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Book of Galatians Introductory Questions

Book of Galatians Introductory Questions

a. Authorship Who wrote it? (Author) When and Where did he write it? (Date and Place of Origin)

Paul introduces himself as the author of Galatians in chapter one, verse one. The style and content bring no doubt on the authenticity of Pauline authorship. The location from which and the time period in which the book was written is more debatable. These questions are dependent upon the assumption of whom exactly is the audience of the letter. (See section b.) The most likely audience is the churches of the southern Galatia area. Given this assumption, one would conclude that the period the letter was written was before the Jerusalem council mentioned in Acts 15. Looking at the content of Galatians 211-15 and Acts 15 one might conclude that they are separate accounts of the same event. This is problematic because Paul explains his contact with the Apostles and James, the half brother of Jesus, in Galatians. His account is meant to show a balance of respect for other church leaders but also show his true source for authority being the call of God on his life. It would not make sense to detail the number of contacts he had with the Jerusalem leadership and leave out one of the contacts. The most natural way to correlate Acts and Galatians accounts of Paul's first and second visits to Jerusalem are as follows

First Visit

Acts 9:26
And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.

Galatians 1:18
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.

Second Visit

Acts 11:30
And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

Galatians 2:1
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.

This second visit was one that is not detailed in Acts but is explained at length in Galatians. This second visit proceeded the Jerusalem council and probably prepared them to deal with these issues later. The Jerusalem council of Acts 15 has been placed at about A.D. 48 and the letter of Galatians just shortly before the council in A.D. 48. Perhaps Paul was in Antioch when he wrote the letter (Acts 1426).

b. Audience To whom did he write it? (Destination, Readers) Characteristics
Non-Christian or Christian; Jewish or Gentile (if mixed, which predominates?)

The term Galatian initially referred to the Gaul tribes living in the north central part of what is now the Turkish peninsula. They settled this region in the third century B.C. The Galatian kingdom was expanded south in the first century B.C. The Romans took over the kingdom and made it a province. So under the Romans, the province included ethnic Galatians in the north and a mix of peoples in the south. This southern area also included Jews of the Diaspora. Later, after the third century, the Romans changed the Galatian border by moving it north so the southern cities were excluded from the provience. Traditionally the church has thought of the term Galatian to mean the northern area, thinking in terms of the later Roman provience. This may be because subsequent generations of Christians assumed that Paul meant the same thing they did when he used the term Galatian. Some what analogous, we do not mean the same area as Lewis and Clark did when we say Louisiana.
The substantive arguments for a southern Galatian audeince are linguistic and geographic. Of linguistic arguments, we have already alluded to the fact that it is not enough to merely assert that Galatian means Gaul. Place names and ethnic groups are dynamic and change with time and usage. Paul often used Roman imperial names which would included the southern part of Galatia. According to F.F. Bruce, the best meaning of Òthe region of Phrygia and GalatiaÓ in Acts 166 and its parallel passages is as follows

"the territory through which Paul and his friends passed after leaving Lystra, the territory in which Iconium and Pisidian Antioch were situated."

From a perspective of geography, the challenges of travel in ancient times make it likely that Paul, who was suffering from a malady, would stick to well established routes. The northern route does not seem to be a well traveled route and was rural in nature. Paul tended to stick to cities, at least in evangelizing. Additionally, the Jewish Diaspora was not well settling in northern Galatia. The emphasis on circumcision is more likely to come out of a community which was at least familiar with this Jewish practice. The audience is definitely Gentile who were being asked to take on Jewish covenant sign of circumcision.

c. Composition Why did he write it? (Occasion and Purpose/Theme)

Paul is up front with his intention for writing; the Galatians were abandoning the Gospel for another. There were those who promoted circumcision and thwarted the freedom of the Gospel. Given the questions of authority addressed by Paul, these promoters of circumcision may have been asserting their own authority. They may have been Jewish or Gentile but they claimed legitimacy based on their circumcision (Gal 512) and the Jewish law. Not only does Paul counter their claims by explaining the freedom of the new covenant, he addresses issues of a moral life. Possibly he addresses this to clarify that Christian freedom is not freedom to do evil. In this way he would preempt any opposition which would say Paul was promoting immorality. Again PaulÕs main concern is that the Gospel of Christ not be replaced by a system of merit based on Jewish law.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Repetition As A Teaching Technique

After reading David Dorsey on the Old Testament I see the stories in the Pentatuch differently. I have always loved Genesis and Exodus, basically the narratives. But Deuteronomy and other books of the law I endured. But after reading Dorsey, I see the repetition as a teaching technique. I am enjoying the books of the Law more.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Synthetic Study on Colossians

Synthetic Study on Colossians

General Impact on Me
Paul starts out his letter by drawing attention to the connection of the Colossian believers and other believers, to include himself. (Col. 13-8) This emphasis on commonality and union paves the way to begin dialog and explain why he should care anything about things happening in a river valley in Asia minor. He explains that they have a common friend, Epaphras, who may be the cause of the letter. (Col. 18) It may be that Epaphras explained to Paul the difficulties that he was having as a pastor in Colossia. Paul addresses the issue of the supremacy of Christ in contrast to the dominion of darkness. (Col. 113) Christ is not to be mistaken as another spiritual being among many others. He is above all authorities, whether earthly or heavenly. (Col. 115-20) He emphasizes the ColossianÕs union with Christ, and the mystery associated with the wonder of Christ, the hope of glory, being in the believer. (Col. 124-27) PaulÕs concern is for more than those whom he has met personally, or congregations he has established. He is understands the true connection between believers, between congregations. (Col. 21,5) Paul points out that faith in Christ for daily life, just as for salvation, is the source of that blessing. (Col. 26,7) This is in contrast to man made traditions, circumcision, following the law, ceremonies, venerating angels, or ascetic practices. (Col. 2 8-23) That is not to say that we donÕt live holy lives, but holiness flows from virtue empowered by an abiding walk with Christ. (Col. 31-17) These virtues have practical application in our basic roles in life such as a wife, husband, child, father, worker or employer. (Col. 318-41) Prayer is the means of practicing this faith. (Col. 42-6) The last chapter goes over the relation ship with outsiders (Col. 45,6), and the relationship with insiders. (Col. 47-17)

Atmosphere as a Whole
While there are many references to Jewish religious things, Paul does not give the usual dose of quotations from the Old Testament. (Col. 211, 14, 16, 18) The explanations center around the superiority of Christ and a faith which flows from the heart. This is a departure from PaulÕs normal mode of making many quotes of and allusions to the Jewish scriptures. Paul does this to make his letter better communicate to the audience. The Colossians were probably exposed to a form of Judaism which mixed animism with Jewish elements. Rather than chiding them for their immaturity, Paul encourages them to understand the supremacy of Christ over the animistic powers they fear. He also explains the true spiritual growth for the Christian does not involve ecstatic visions, ceremonial righteousness or asceticism but rather a walk with God that flows from the heart.

HIGHLIGHTS key passages, key words and phrases
dominion of darkness (Col. 113; 29; 215)
Divinity of Christ and his exalted state; fullness (Col. 115ff; 29; 31)

Personal application

Christ is supreme over all other spiritual powers that a person may experience. For those coming out of animistic backgrounds, such as folk Islam, the focus should not be to ward off evil spirits but to trust in Christ. Other spirits are not his peer, he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Col. 115) Rather than attempting to ward off evil through asceticism or ceremonial acts, the Christian should focus on a humble walk with Christ, grounded in prayer and shown through virtue flowing from the work of the Spirit. (Col. 220-23; 42-6; 315-17; 31-14)

Contemporary Situation
Much of the thought in our current American Christian culture comes from a modernist world view. A modernist world view says that we can understand our world through scientific study of things and phenomena. It says our world can be understood by understanding the natural causes of each thing and phenomena. There is a recognition that there are limits to human perception capabilities and challenges in attempting to rightly correlate a cause to its effect. But all in all, there is a trust in perception, scientific method and an unwavering faith that everything can be explained by its natural cause. This precludes any explanation that something has a supernatural cause.
Christians, pastors in particular, have had different approaches to explaining the supernatural flavor of the events in scripture and the tension that has with a modernist world view. The church as a whole has take the lead from the various approaches of its pastors. While the approaches truly are as a varied as the individuals, I will attempt to categorize some general approaches to this problem.
The explanations may seem to be exaggerated or overly simple but this is not intended to mock particular parties. Simplicity is used as a means of starting point to deal with the problem. An particular group may be mentioned as using an approach but individuals within that group may choose to explain the tension in a different way. The tension between the two world views is the proverbial elephant in the room (church) no one wants to mention.

Looking At Scripture Through Naturalistic Glasses,
Seeing The World Through Naturalistic Glasses

Many of the liberal or neo-orthodox pastors take this view, that scripture makes supernatural explanations of events caused by natural causes. They de-mythologize the scripture. When some poor soul comes their way that really believes in the feeding of the five thousand as a supernatural event, they quietly dismiss his or her belief as uneducated. In response to someone believing that a particular blessing or misfortune being caused by God, they would look for natural cause explanations. Criticisms of the supernatural are often circumspect, so as to not put jobs and positions at risk.

Looking At Scripture Through Supernatural Glasses,
Seeing The World Through Naturalistic Glasses

Many in evangelical pastors could be described as believing the supernatural events in scripture but would distance themselves from such realities existing here in the 21st century. Demon possessions were real in the days of Jesus but all derangements today are caused by biochemical or psychological causes. The supernatural existed for a period of time in the past, but we can distance ourselves from those events in the present. The factor of this approach which allows the two points of view to coexist is the death of the last apostle. This allows the believers to distance their own experience from what they see in scripture. As far as I can tell, this view is relatively new in the church. Perhaps it is a reaction to Pentecostal extremism and is a way to embrace Modernism while maintaining belief in scripture.

Looking At Scripture Through Supernatural Glasses,
Seeing The World Through Supernatural-naturalistic Bifocals

Some evangelical pastors are not systematic in their theology. In some seminaries, the training even avoids systematic thought as a misdirection of energy. Based on personal bent, the evangelical pastor many choose to allow from some supernatural events but at other times not think it is appropriate. The mysterious is allowed, but not tested or verified. Decisions on direction for ministry are based on some leadings or feelings and the mechanism for that decision is never discussed. To summarize this approach is that the supernatural is allowed as long as we donÕt get carried away.

Looking At Scripture Through Supernatural Glasses,
Seeing The World Through Supernatural Glasses

The Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors often explain the world in terms of the supernatural. An addiction is caused by a demon. Safety in a car wreck is caused by God or an angel. (I donÕt have a lot of contact with people from this particular train of thought so I must be brief in my analysis.)

The middle two views are the ones which are held by the Christian communities with which I associate. The total disbelief in the supernatural is a part of the church I distance myself from and I want to avoid excesses of the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. The two middle views are less direct in dealing with supernatural beliefs and are the ones I will attempt to address.

I have attempted to do evangelist work with Arab Muslim and one of my future ministry goals is to spend more time evangelizing Arab Muslims. Many Arab Muslims come from an intellectual background and are very philosophical. This segment of the Arab Islamic community may embrace western Modernist thought. However another segment, that of a folk Islamic background, embraces the supernatural. Dreams are particularly important to some from this background. Contact with Jinn (evil spirits) is talked about and believed to be the cause of trouble.
As a westerner who has been influenced by Modernist thought, how do I deal with these supernatural events taking place in Arab Islamic communities? One of my fellow beleiverÕs approach is to dismiss present supernatural realities and as Arabs are converted to Christianity, see to it that they also adopt a modernist world view. The adoption of a Modernist world view is not explicit but is the expectation. This may be comforting for the Westerner working in a foreign environment, but do we really want to export Modernism while we evangelize for Christ? But at the same time, we have a problem that we are not explicit in our beliefs concerning the supernatural. Most of our evangelical thought side steps the issue. The evangelical system of thought is developed in reaction to Pentecostalism, Modernism and evolution; not directly addressing the issue of the supernatural in the modern world.


It may have been easier for Paul to dismiss the folk Judaism beliefs of the Colossians. But this was not his approach, instead he pointed to what was good. He explained the preeminence of Christ above the other spiritual powers. He directs the beleiver away from ceremonies and ascetic acts, both of which are common in folk Islam, to a virtuous life filled with prayer. As a Christian evangelizing in this environment, I must teach the doctrine of Trinity at every opportunity so that the elevated status of Christ is understood completely.
The evangelical Christian community must address the supernatural in a more straight forward manner. So much of our thought is shaped by the American experience that we fail to address issues found in the Arab world or other parts of the 10/40 Window. Paul took on a difficult issue of his day and so must we.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Blessings From Years Ago

My friend from many years ago is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Southwest Metro. You might want to take the test to check your knowledge of the book of Ruth in the section called Fun Stuff. (I got them all but one. Those two sickly and weak boys messed me up.) No, there is no character that you get to say you are correlated to, but you do get a cool test. Also check out Ken's sermon. Firefox users, pull up your 96% of the market type browser for this one.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Genesis 2:6-19: My Own Translation and Comments

Genesis 2:6
And a mist came up from the earth and this is how all the surface of the ground was watered.

The word for WATERED is hiphil so it has something a sense of causative. The face of the ground is the ancient turn of phrase—probably means surface of the ground.

Genesis 2:7
The LORD God formed man out of the dust from the earth and breathed in his nose the breath of life and man became a living soul.

Certainly there is word play in that man and earth have a similar sound. Earth is what man is made of. The connection is a continual reminder of the man’s but made of the dirt, soil, earth, or land. The three verbal actions is a three phases of the creation of God; forming, breathing and then the end state of those two processes, a living soul. The becoming a living soul is an equational clause and so does not have a normal verb.

Genesis 2:8
The LORD God planted a garden in Eden, which is in the east, and there he placed the man that he had made.

The important verbs here are planted and placed. In both cases we have verbs that in a sense are God’s arrangement of his creation, the third verb is in distinction of the other two due to its placement in a relative clause. It is how the LORD God is geographically arranging his creation. Man is of the earth and so a special place in the earth is made for him. It is a perfect environment for him. Organization of the creation is always an aspect of God’s creation. “From the east” seems to be in reference from the writer of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 2:9
The LORD God cause every trees that is good to look at to spring from the earth and good for eating, and the tree of life was in the middle of the garden and the tree of knowing both good and evil.

Notice that the first criteria for the trees to be placed in the garden is beauty, then second is its usefulness for food. “Tree of life” is a noun in construct so that the genitive English form is derived from a Hebrew form that has only two nouns in it. The noun in construct for the “Tree of knowledge of good and evil” is much more complex. The adjectives good and evil are both applied to knowledge. It is really not good or evil but rather good and evil. The word good is used at the beginning of the verse to indicate good for eating and then later applied to the knowledge of good and evil. The use of the word for good is built for euphony and interest. But there is an emphasis of the trees being an environment that is good to be within the garden. This is not a mere functional environment but a good one.

Genesis 2:10
And a river went out from Eden for the purpose of watering the garden and from there it was divided to become four heads.

Here we have a purpose for the river, that is to water the Garden of Eden but then it so happens to become four water sources. I’m not sure why. The verb to divide is niphil, and therefore has a sense of passivity.

Genesis 2:11
The name of the first is Peshon that encompasses the whole land of Havelah where there is gold.

Genesis 2:12
The gold of the land is good, there is bdellium and onyx stone.

Genesis 2:13
The name of the second is Gihon, this is the same surrounds the land of Cush.

The Garden of Eden is often thought to be east of Ur of the Chaldees, however, Cush is south of Egypt. There is an apparent contradiction here, but of course that is based on the assumption that the geography before the flood has some relevance to that afterwards. Given all the geographic details given, it seems more a more likely solution is that Cush is not that of Africa, but another Cush.

Genesis 2:14
The name of the third river is Hedekel, that is it goes toward the east of Assyria, the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Genesis 2:15
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and care for it.

Genesis 2:16
The LORD God commanded the man saying, “Eat heartily of all the trees of the Garden”.

This way that the eating is described is “eat eatingly”, which does not make sense in English. This construct is an intensifier. It does not just say that you may, but commands that one should eat of all the trees with gusto.

Genesis 2:17
“From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil do not eat from it because in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Again in this verse as in 16 there is a construct but this time it give an intensifier for dying.

Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper for him.”

Genesis 2:19
The LORD God formed from the earth every creature of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought to Adam to see what he would call it and every creature that Adam named, that was its name.

The Main Message: God placed man in a perfect environment, a garden with animals. He was to till the earth and name the animals; working with his hands and his minds. These callings are still with us and should be embraced, not endured.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cats, cats and more cats

A few months ago a Joy Of Tech comic showed cats blogging about their favorit subjects. It was hilarious. Then I noticed that the blogging book from O'Rilly had cats on the cover. (Camel for PERL; Cats for blogging) I posted a blog a while back on how blogging is a content publishing tool. Blogging is not really a new medium, its just easier to put out content onto the web. But cats on the other hand are content creators. It's what many people blog about! Well, now I've found it, the Carnival Of Cats.

Genesis 2: 1-5 : My Own Translation and Notes

Genesis 2:1
The earth and the heavens were finished with their populations.

This is a summary formula, opening formula. While the word for hosts is here, often referring to the angels of heaven, the LXX uses the words “world of them”. Given the pattern from Chapter 1, the environment made and the population of that environment there may be a connection there between the earth and heavens and those who populate them.

Genesis 2:2
God finished on the seventh day his works and he rested on the seventh day from his works.

This is poetic in form. The verb is changed from the first phrase to the second phrase but there is a repetition of the ending phrase, thus giving emphasis on the actions, finishing and resting.

Genesis 2:3
God blessed the seventh day and made it holy and thus began to rest from all of his works he had begun.

Genesis 2:4
This is the generations of the heavens and earth when created in the day that that God made earth and heaven.

There are a couple of things strange about this verse. One is the use of the generation formula to talk about the heavens and earth. This formula is probably not meant to be a anthropomorphic generations of the heaven and earth but instead is supposed to draw attention to the formula as a key to finishing out a section and introducing the next. The niphal is the form used for created (BRA), giving a sense of passive but then the qal is used for God’s active making. Sort of using both passive and active verbs in the same sentence. The turning of heaven and earth/earth and heaven is probably phrases that way for euphony.

Genesis 2:5
And every plant of the field before it was on the earth and every herb of the field before The LORD God caused it to rain on the land and there was not a man to till the land.

The function of man to till the earth seems on par with the plants growing and rain. In a sense, the land its inhabitants are complete with man tilling the land.

And all together....

Genesis 2:1-5

The earth and the heavens were finished with their populations. God finished on the seventh day his works and he rested on the seventh day from his works. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy and thus began to rest from all of his works he had begun. This is the generations of the heavens and earth when created in the day that that God made earth and heaven. And every plant of the field before it was on the earth and every herb of the field before The LORD God caused it to rain on the land and there was not a man to till the land.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Can't Find The Channel

I guess I have to say, what is up with ABC not showing the next installment of Lost! By the way, the Indy Star reporter said that IF they use me in the article on Lost it would show up in a couple more weeks. GO INDY STAR!



Thank you for ....

The grace of salvation,
The brokeness that brings us to you.
The Word of God,
The comfort of prayer.

The joy of my wife's friendship,
Our children laughing together.
The meal times together,
Our enjoyment of life.

Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Repetition Is Helpful If Done Right; Appropriately Repeating Yourself Can Help Your Listener

Higher criticism is a school of thought which attributed the simularity of many stories in the Old Testament, especially in the Books Of Moses, to a redactor combining several traditions into book. In other words, according to higher criticism the repetition is a result of an editor having the same material twice and he did not want to through either out so he used both. There is a lot made over which name of God is used, Elohim or Yahweh, as a way of deviding up the texts. When I first heard the theory I was disturbed that there was an attitude that the scripture was not the Word Of God. There seems to have developed a consensous among conservative scholars that results of the higher criticism are so varied that shows the theory as bankrupt. While this is true, David Dorsey in his book
The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi
shows how the repetition is not a mistake, but a feature. This understanding of the Old Testament text is probably the strongest arguement against the higher critical school of thought. For instance the two stories of Abraham telling someone Sarah is his sister is repeated, not because a redactor (editor) did not know what to do with the story but because the author wanted to emphasize a point. (Abraham is not earning God's favor through his righteous life but he is weak and given God's grace freely.) Often the story of Judah's sexual sin with Tamar is seen as a strange story, but Dorsey rightly points it out as a study of contrast of Joseph and his fleeing sexual sin. Judah does wrong and is blessed; Joseph does right and is thrown in prison. It is a repetition which explains.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Jonah, Jonah, Jonah, When Will You Learn: A Discussion Of Ministry And Freewill

As I mentioned in my other posting, I grew up in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. There the "freewill" was an important doctrine. As I mentioned before, every sermon had a choose and decide for God appeal. But something that I also noticed is how men came to be called to the ministry was not a freewill issue. Ministers in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church often talked about a struggle with God calling them to ministry. As a youth a few people told me that I should go into the ministry. I told them that God had not called me. Then one day while reading Isaiah, I noticed Isaiah saying, "Here am I Lord, send me." I felt like I could also sense that I had the choice to serve the Lord in ministry. The burden to preach came from the Lord, but it also came from a need of those who need to hear the message. I accepted that call, and have been preparing for ministry for over 20 years. (I don't know when I will finish.) But along the road, at one time I felt like I had missed God's call somehow. I gave up on that sense of call. God started burdening my heart. I knew that he was not going to give me any peace if I did not pursue the ministry. At that time I was more like Jonah who did not want to preach because of his audience. I was intimidated that I was not good enough. I think Jonah's motives may have been different than mine but both of us were not being faithful to the work God had for us.

It is funny to me that a church could hold freewill as a sacred doctrine when it comes to salvation but the call is everything when it comes to ministry. Yes, I beleive in freedom and the will, but I also beleive in a call. All are a part of salvation and ministry.

My Own Freewill Journey

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
-- John 3:16 (ESV)

I grew up in the Cumberland Presbyterian church. My friend Laird says it is Arminian in theology. I believe that is an over simplification, however, the congregation that I belonged to in Lebanon, Missouri definately believed in the "who-so-ever-will" doctrine. In most sermons I heard growing up there was a section near the end where the preacher would explain that you had a choice to make, that Jesus was standing there at door of your heart knocking, waiting for you to open the door to your heart. I developed a theology of the will. I believe without reservation that we were free to choose or not choose God and this would determine our eternal state. When I got to High School my geometry teach had a us do an exercise which he called "writing your own math, language or game". In essense, what you would do is form a set of definitions (starting points) and the reason from there the conclusions derived from those definitions. It was fun. We had fellow students created D&D like games, athletes simply explained their system of training, and I of course explained the freewill to the class. That was not the title of my paper or talk but that is what I was getting at. I explained how each of us had a will and that as we experinced life our will would make a decision on what to do with those experinces. When I was finished my teacher said I was a "fatalist". I did not know what that meant and it troubled me. But given my "system" if a person was presented with the exact same circumstances, would he or she make the exact same decision each time. Say I was choosing which car to buy, given the exact-- and I do mean exact same -- situtation would your will ever choose one thing over another consistantly. So is the will an organ of the body that functions a certain way? The heart beats and pumps blood, it can do nothing else except not do that and then it is going to kill you. The stomach is made to digest food. When it does not, it will kill you. Where is the will and what does it do? If I am free to choose, based on what? Do I choose based on reason, on emotion, on what? My teacher also said that I beleived in "determinism". I did not know what that meant either. There are several types of determinism that are prevelant. There is Freudian determinism which says that we choose based on our drives. Often said to be sex but his definition of sex is way too broad and includes things that I'm just not comfortable grouping all together. Then there is biological determinism. Our DNA determines our decisions. We like blue or green or pink due to DNA. Which also brings us to chemical determinism, we make decisions based on body chemistry; what we ate, the drugs we take, the bio-chemical processes of our brain which create our decisions. My thoughts on all of that said, "Hey, I beleive in freewill!" "Don't change my system to make me like all of that!" I beleive in freewill because our freewill is what God uses to save us. He gives us a choice and then what we do with it is what determines our eternal fate. "HEY, I BELEIVE IN FREEWILL!" But saying it louder did not really do much for the logical struggles I was having. If the will is supreme, what is the will? Where is it located? If it is not mind and emotions, what is it? (I was taught we have a mind, will and emotions.) Why must God bow to our will? If our will is so supreme, what makes it able to decide to do good or bad in terms of a decision for Christ? Would God really bring us to a point that we could choose eternal bliss or eternal punishment and make it sit in the balance, one or the other being just as likely to win out? If so, would our desire for some pet sin create a situation where we would not choose God? Would that not make our emotions more important than our will? In my own system, doesn't it seem that deciding to accept the free gift of salvation seem like a work? Which of course makes the gift not free if I am earning it through my decision to "accept the free gift of salvation".

The second step that really made me think about my theology of freewill happened years later. Something else that really change my ideas of freewill is the fact that as an adult, I really did not have all choices equal to me. Many things limited my choices. My education education was a limiting factor, which was limited by my families economic situation which was limited by ...and the list went on. I often got things that I asked for from the Army in terms of assignments, however, within the confines of my job specialty. As much as I thought freewill was supreme in how God deals with us, in my life I understood that there was a lot limits to my choices. If the will is so important, why is it so powerless?

In the end, I could not accept a type of determinism which was based on a theology of the freewill. I felt if I was to restore a real human being who actually had a chest with a heart in it and that God made, I must give up this theology of the freewill. I could not accept a theology which said that our salvation was based on merit, merit of our decisions. Yes, we have a will and we have choices to make, but freewill could not save us, only God can save us.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Correspondence Of Gen 1-11 and Exod. 13:17-19:2

I'm still reading David A. Dorsey, The Literary Structure Of The Old Testament. I have to say that had I not read the book I would think the section which shows the correspondence between the primevial history (the time before Abraham) and the wilderness journey to be somewhat of a stretch. Basically Dorsey shows how in Hebrew literary structures he uses repetition, especially in patterns of seven and thirteen. In patterns of thirteen, the seventh position is often the highlight. On page 68 he shows the correlations:

1. Both the Red Sea and the creation/flood stories show God's power over the sea.
2. Both the Red Sea and the creation stories show God's powerful use of the wind.
3. Both the Red Sea and the flood stories show God drying the land with the wind.
4. Both the Red Sea and the flood stories show God's power by destroying his enemies and saving his people through the water.

Dorsey has some other subtile differences which I think are aspects of the same. His point is that this is one section (Gen 1:1 through Exo 19:2) as a historical introduction of the law.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Their Food And Weight Loss

If your interested in a little video on the set of Lost, check out this clip which features Evangeline Lilly, Jorge Garcia and Matthew Fox.

It seems that food is a big thing on the set. I suppose that is why they are listed at the end of movies.

I'm looking the location of the set, besides being in Hawaii. Is it Oahu, Maui, or another?

RSS Speeding Up My Blog Read - Blog Weekend

Since I started using RSS on Firefox, I can run through all my favorite blogs faster, I mean really faster. I am going to have to search for new blogs to follow since I get done in record time. Something I did not expect to find out was, I notice that people tend to blog more during the weekdays, and less on the weekend. That is sort of what happens in a lot of news websites too. (The Sunday paper is the big exception to this. ) I have also noticed that Thursday is my biggest traffic day for people reading my blog. My question is, how does blogging fit into your schedule? And I mean that for both reading and writing blogs. Comments welcome.

Friday, November 19, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Episode 09: Solitary - Part 2

I was looking forward to some comments on the literary references in Episode 9, I has someone mention last night something I totally missed. Rousseau! Daniell Rousseau was a reference to the philosopher Rousseau.

To quote a website dedicated to Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Rousseau's profound insight can be found in almost every trace of modern philosophy today. Somewhat complicated and ambiguous, Rousseau's general philosophy tried to grasp an emotional and passionate side of man which he felt was left out of most previous philosophical thinking.

In his early writing, Rousseau contended that man is essentially good, a "noble savage" when in the "state of nature" (the state of all the other animals, and the condition man was in before the creation of civilization and society), and that good people are made unhappy and corrupted by their experiences in society. He viewed society as "articficial" and "corrupt" and that the furthering of society results in the continuing unhappiness of man.

So the woman Daniell Rousseau is a scientist who lives a life of intense passions and is successful living as a savage. The tensions that Sayid had were from living in a corrupt society.

Oh by the way, a reporter from the Indianapolis Star wrote in my comments...

This post is from reporter Abe Aamidor of The Indianapolis Star, at 800-669-7827, extension 6472, and email We are doing a little feature on the popularity of the TV show "LOST" and would like to speak to fans (or critics) of the show from Central Indiana (or with an Indiana connection, if they've moved out of state). Thanks.

Most of you have probably caught that I do not live in Indiana, though I'm sure I would enjoy it. So if you watch LOST, and are from Indiana, give Abe a call.

Krazy Ken Visits Glen Burnie

Yesterday's featured website at Ken Radio was about a different Ken, Krazy Ken. Krazy Ken goes around the country getting his picture taken as he immitates Oscar the Grouch, not in voice or color, just habitate. One of the towns he features in his Maryland visit is Glen Burnie.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Episode 09: Solitary

There is a LOST quiz out there. I found it a little too simple and a just four questions long so I did not like it. Okay, I did not like the results! Perhaps you will like it better.

The Sayid episode. I was looking for some sort of literary reference but none was standing out. I did not know the music box tune. Did someone else recognize it? The golf as a tool of civilization seemed to work as means of removing social barriers. As I've written before, I think sports are a good way to build relationships though I'm not athletically inclined. Locke and the Walte seem to build bridges, just not the gentlemen's sport, they like that more outdoorsy stuff. Huntin', knife thrown' and stuff... I think that was supposed to be for contrast. The golf also contrasted with the French woman Daneill's hunting for men. What was the trap for? To catch one of those bears? What did the cable do? Did it have a function going into the ocean?

By the way, having taken Arabic, the Arabic is genuine, both spoken and written, however, the written Arabic looks a little too readable. It looks like something I would have written, not an Arab. Arabs like flowing handwriting. They find it beautiful, I find it hard to read.

The Jollyblogger mentioned to me the theory that each character name is a literary figure:

Jack = Jack and the Bean Stalk
Kate = ?
Charlie = ? Perhaps Charlie and the Chocatlate Factory (Addictions)
Hurley =
Boone = Daneil Boone (He is as much fiction as history).
Shannon = ?
Michael = ?
Walt = Walt Disney
Sayid = ?
Sawyer = Tom Sawyer
Locke = John Locke
Jin = ?
Sun = ?
Claire = ?

Anybody got any suggestions as to how they map?

Top Ten Reasons To Live In Glen Burnie

10. A great Greek salad at The Honey Bee Diner.
9. 20 minutes from the Baltimore Harbor, (a two story Barnes and Nobel, Walters near by, National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and Little Italy!)
8. Everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who works for you know who....shshshs...the "government". (I've probably said too much, sorry.)
7. All those gov'ies and vets are really patriotic!
6. Glen Burnie Evangelical Presbyterian Church
5. Crabs
4. The Chesapeake Bay
3. Playing "Bay Games" on the way to Rehobeth Beach
2. The BWI Trail
1. The Baltimore-Annapolis Trail

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Pastorial Visitation Of The Congregation

I grew up in a rural community in Missouri. Our pastor was not particularly dynamic but he visited the congregation, especially the sick. When I had a chance to do some student pastoring I found initially this something that was intimidating. My first church I found it difficult. My second church, things clicked for me. I visited the shut ins on Saturday and preached expositorially on Sunday. It was a good experince. As I have tried to come to grips with ministry and what it is, I do think the visitation feature is an important one. There is a good article in the PCA Zine called "Visit and Prosper". Good encouragement for those who are faint of heart in visitation ministry.

Christian Carnival

I write my blog for a couple of reasons. One is that I have kept a journal for years. A journal is a part of my spiritual disciple to think through problems, express my frustrations, and record what is going on with me. Blogging lets me to that in a new form. Since I have been journaling for over ten years, at times it gets stale. Blogger helps to keep my journaling from getting stale by putting a little discipline in my writing. A second reason I blog is to participate in community. As I see what others are writing about and share thoughts and feelings, I get to know other bloggers. The Christian Carnival has helped me to find new blogs that I return to again and again. By posting my own article on the Christian Carnival it gives others an oppritunity to sample my blogging. I encourage my fellow bloggers to submit your own entry.

christweb (at)

The cutoff date is Cut off date is Tuesday at midnight EST

Please put Christian Carnival in the Subject

Provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Description of the post

Monday, November 15, 2004


I was surprized to find that Reuven Lerner in Linux Journal assesses Atom to be the better technology between the different feeds. The article is not available on line anymore but if can get a issue of Novembers Linux Journal it is an interesting article.

At the Forge - Aggregating with Atom
By Reuven Lerner on Mon, 2004-11-01 00:00.

For all you who are in the Maryland area, I'll loan you my copy!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I'm Fozzie

Fozzie jpeg
You are Fozzie Bear.
You are caring and love your friends as if they
were family. For only they will put up with
your stupid jokes.

"Wocka! Wocka!"
Gags Beasley, comedy writer

Telling jokes, dodging tomatoes

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

His joybuzzer, his whoopee cushion and Clyde, the
rubber chicken.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hat Tip: Rebecca Writes

Video Clips Are The Next Big Thing (NBT)

In keeping with my blog postings which I propose that the next big thing (NBT) not being video on the Internet, but short video on the desktop. NBT Video of choice today is on Amazon. They have a video, featuring Minnie Driver, called Portrait. Like the Superman-Seinfeild video, its a commercial,..but,...but who cares. It is entertaining!

Amazon Write Up:

Original Short Film: "Portrait"
Directed by Jordan Scott

In this comic Hollywood fable, an ugly duckling turns out to be as pretty as a picture. Minnie Driver stars as a narcissistic corporate honcho who learns a lesson--the hard way, of course--about the importance of what lies beneath.

Bridging the Chasm

My good friend the Jollyblogger has been writing on Bridging the Chasm, meaning the church communicating with the secular world. In the early 80's YWAM put out a pamphlet on missions prayer. One of the things they encouraged Christians to pray for was different areas of influence:

* Government
* Business
* Media/Journalism
* The Arts
* Education
* Entertainment

(I'm not sure that is the complete list.) As I prayed for these areas of influence, I found that Christians really wrote about a couple of these in the early 80's; Government and Business. For government you had movements like the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family writing actually about a very narrow aspect of government; moral issues. Yes, I'm grouping all Focus on the Family's issues in the area of moral issues. The government is so much more than moral issues. The business issues were mostly addressed by Bill Gothard, Larry Burkett and later Ron Blue. I'm not sure how adequate Christian thought was in that arena. My good friend Randy seems to have prospered by using such principles in his business. But in the areas of media, journalism and education the Christian tendency has been to create an alternative Christian form of the institutions. We don't read romance novels, we read "Christian" romance novels. We don't listen to radio we listen to "Christian" radio. Does these alternative forms of media reach-in or reach-out or is it just a quick way to make some bucks?

Quick Assessment By Media Type for the Christian Alternative Medias In America

If a medium helps Christians in their growth as a Christian or as a person, I say that it is good "in-reach media". If it merely sells a product labeled Christian but does not help people in their lives, if it merely entertains, I see that is a "poor in-reach media". If a medium actually engages non-Christians to consider the Christian faith I say it is a good "out-reach media".

Blogging: Blogging uses the same physical media and same delivery mechanisms as secular. Sort of different. Perhaps blogging does not fit the Christian alternative category. We will move on.

Christian TV: I don't watch a lot of this. The majority of the medium is Pentecostals and Charismatics so non-Pentecostal are often embarrassed by the flamboyancy of these high energy groups. While there is a lot of variety in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, generally speaking they have a different education level and different subculture values than other parts of the evangelical church. (I'm sure you can name exceptions!) By they way, Pentecostal and Charismatics are not a marginal group, they are a significant portion of the evangelical church. All of these subculture issues are magnified once on TV and for me becomes embarrassing. I have attended and I am comfortable visiting most Pentecostal churches. Many people are not comfortable in the environment. So when it comes to Christian TV, these subculture issues detract from the medium. In order to finance the efforts in this medium, one has to be comfortable asking your audience for help. It is an incredibly expensive medium. The fund raising techniques in the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches fit the medium and that is one reason they are successful. I don't think we as a Christian community found a happy spot with TV. Christian may do some in-reach , but most of what is happening in Christian TV I see as substandard and not reaching out to the world.

Christian Radio: I do listen to a lot of Christian radio. There is preaching, radio drama, talk shows and Christian music. This medium is mostly for Christians, not an outreach. I do believe there is some production excellence. I don't know that non-Christians are attracted to it. What is the financial means to fund Christian radio? Is it donations or is it commercials? I don't see a great deal of difference in the content either way. I think some good things are happening but it is not an outreach medium. (I'm sure you can tell me exceptions.) Perhaps the main reason we developed Christian radio was because we could not get enough air time for everything we wanted to say on mainstream radio. That was limited to preaching for the most part when religious radio was mostly church services being broadcast on Sunday mornings for the shut-ins. Also, as radio became more syndicated, perhaps we found it more difficult to find time slots. Again, not an outreach medium but quality as an in-reach medium.

Christian Music: I do listen to a lot of Christian music. This medium has changed a lot since the 70's. We have a wide variety of labels who produce a wide variety of styles. While Nashville has a lot of this industry, there are significant labels in California and Florida. It is a mixed bag of spectacularly mundane music which is a poorly baptized version of the world's music and some stuff which is outstandingly artistic and spiritual. And there is a lot in between. This a mostly in reach medium, I don't know of any significant out reach stuff being done. I know a lot of people like to think the world will listen to our music all get saved, but I have never, never heard of Christian music having a significant evangelistic impact. If you know of exceptions let me know. A quality in-reach medium but not an outreach medium.

Christian Books: I don't read mainstream popular Christian books, I read mostly Christian scholarly works, commentaries, etc... When I read for fun, I read mostly biographies, history and travel stories. I'm not sure I'm in touch with the market any more. It seems so-called Christian fiction has taken over the Christian bookstores, stuff in that I have no interest. I have a hard time seeing how what I perceive to be poorly written fiction is going to transform lives. The good thing about print is that there is lots of room for variety and the big publishing houses do not have the medium to themselves. There are a lot of niche publishers and if you care to you can higher a vanity press to publish yourself. You merely have to be determined. Check out and buy the book Like The Stars by Dr. Glenn Parkinson. It's on the culture wars and it fits my posting too. Many people I have heard come to Christ through books like Mere Christianity but that is not a part of the popular Christian market. So the popular Christian market is not an outreach medium and from what I know of it is not a quality in-reach medium either; however, there is enough variety in print that there are many good things happening here.

Christian Video: My family and I have watched a lot of Christian video; NEST Entertainment and Big Ideas (a.k.a. Veggie Tales). Both NEST and Big Ideas have quality products, and I'm not so sure they don't have a small outreach market. We have loaned our videos to people who view them with their children. We loan them out not as some evangelistic plan but because their fun, funny and entertaining. They also have a good message. Not sure, solicit your own comments.

Christian Movies: Film, like TV, is an expensive medium. Worldwide Pictures of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has probably the most noble effort at making Christian films but has a small production schedule. While I have not seen one of their more recent films, usually their quality of production is higher than a B grade movie but can not compare with the high budget films from the high end. The Jesus Film was good, but I'm not sure where we go from there. I'm not sure if their is a significant role for "Christian" film. Solicit your comments.

Over all, I would say creating an alternative media for Christians is poor for outreach. But I would like to hear from others on this topic.

Medium Rating As I see it. 10 is High 1 is Low
Popular Market....3
Other Markets.....9

Print is both our strongest medium and weak one too. Our second strongest medium is Radio. I would like to see others use the above scale to rate the mediums I have discussed. Perhaps explain your criteria.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Foil Project

If you ever wondered what would happen if someone who was into practical jokes took steroids while dreaming up their devious plans, you might want to check out this website. The Foil Project is a dorm room covered in tin foil.

Warning! The video of the reactions have explicatives. You might imagine what was said by those who actually owned the room.

Disclaimer: I don't know that steriods were or were not involved.

Hat Tip: Ken Radio

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

ABC TV Show LOST - Episode 08: Confidence Man

My good friend the Jollyblogger beat me to the punch on my first question...What is Sawyer's real name?

Is there any other allusions to Watership Down other than two communities forming?

Why did Sun not just go gather the herbs herself? It would have been less strain on her relationship with Jin.

It would seem to me that Locke has much to benifit from being on the island. Was he talking about himself when he said that the person who hit Sayid had something to benifit by staying on the island?

What is the deal with that lip lock? (Avert your eyes....!)

A Model for Determing the Most Needy Unreached

Mission Frontiers this month has an article by Dan Scribner called A Model for Determining the Most Needy Unreached or Least-Reached Peoples. He covers four criteria they used for their model:

1. Progress of, or Response to the Gospel
2. Population Size
3. Country Location - persecution, economics, education and spiritual environments
4. Ministry Tool Availability - Bible translation, broadcasts, etc...

Joshua Project has been around for years but I have not seen the results and numbers until now. I was encouraged by seeing the number so that I know how to pray for missions. I was also encourage to see the availability of the information on the Joshua Project website. Paul had a strategy for his ministry. He said that he was praying to go to Rome. He had a burden to go to Rome and share in the church life there.

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
---Romans 1:9-12 (NIV)

He had travel plans, he had communication plans and he prayed about those plans. I beleive it is important not just to have a strategy, but to have a prayer life developing that strategy. Perhaps I would find a country in need of the gospel through the numbers, for instance Yemen, but if I am missing the element of prayer that is the same as using strategy to win at chess or baseball. God may be with the chess player or the baseball player, but that is not ministry, it is competition. Any work of God needs to be a work of prayer.

I encourage you to read data like that of the Joshua Project to help guide your prayer life.

We live in a world that is rich in media but poor in prayer. Give us prayer lives that exceed our ability to crunch numbers and database facts. Lord, guide our efforts to spread the gospel in this generation.
Your Servant Terry

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Mr. Martin S.

Recently I was wondering about some Old Testament Chronology questions. I asked an older gentleman in our church his opinion. I went to him with the question because is has been a Bible teacher for years and I wanted to hear what he had to say. He brought me a packet of a chart he had put together, some pages out of a commentary, a book on OT Chronology and talked with me patiently on the topic. God is good. He puts a variety of gifts in the church. Thank you Lord.

Podcasting And Kenradio

I listen often to Ken Radio. He is a fan of couch media; TiVo, video games, etc... He is has been talking down the bloggers for quite some time but now he says he is podcasting. In reality, I beleive that Ken has been blogger for some time. He just was not calling it that. Podcasting is a form of blogging, so welcome Ken and Ken you've been here quite some time. Andy his co-host has a blog. Andy and I are desktop media and mobile media.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Incredibles

Last night my daughter Elaine, my wife and I went to see "The Incredibles". We loved it. Lots of action, lots of cool graphics, and lots of humor. Oh by the way, cool "Bond" music is also a part of the coolness too. By the way, the trailer you have seen where Mr. Incredible is trying to fasten his belt but it is too tight, its NOT in the movie. In essense, it is a short and tells you what the movie is about without showing you any of the movie itself. Movies trailers have become so full of the plot and best shots of the movie that the trailer often shows the whole thing. The Mr. Incredible belt fastening segment also feeds my theory of short video clips as a solid medium.

Hogsneck 5 Mile Race

I ran the Hogsneck 5 Mile Race today. My time was not too good, 44 minutes and 55 seconds. That figures out to be about 9 minute miles. I was disappointed with my time. I have had knee problems and been on rehabilitation for about a year. Gaining a little weight in the process I'm sure did not help. So I'm feeling blue about my run times but this Fall my wife and daughters have started running. I can see a big change in their fitness levels. They came and participated too. My brother-in-law came and ran we ran together. There was a lot of good things that happened but all I feel is my own disappointing time.

Sports was a big trial as a child. I did not understand all my problems. I'm right handed, but left eye dominate. It has to do with an injury at birth to my right eye. I could not catch, throw or do in regards to hand-eye coordination. I also was pretty out of shape. Read, too much TV. I had very little sports ability.

Joining the Army, I ran/jogged regularly and my fitness improved. I became adequate for the Army but not so much so in comparison to people with athletic talent. In a sense, my successes have been good for me, but insignificant in relative to others who actually have talent. Not only do I find my fitness something that I'm mediocre at, I find that if I don't work at it hard, I end up much worse off than the average person who does not work out. In other words, work hard and reap little. Well, I'm a one-talent sort of guy, and though my talents be few athleticly speaking, I intend to use them for the Lord.

The Parable of the Talents

14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15 To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17 So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18 But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 "After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'
21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
22 "The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'
23 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
24 "Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'
26 "His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 " 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Friday, November 05, 2004

Podcasting - As In iPod and Broadcast

The hot thing I'm reading in tech news these days is podcasting. Basically it is a mix of the words iPod and broadcast. Wikipedia has an artical on it already....

The term podcasting was coined by Dannie J. Gregoire [1] ( and made popular by former MTV VJ and Dutch weblogger Adam Curry and RSS pioneer Dave Winer to describe succinctly the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the "pod"), or another audio player that supports the MP3 format, at their convenience.

For the rest of of Wikipedia article click here.

I was talking to someone about this. They asked me if I was listening to this yet. In a sense no and in a sense yes. I listen to KenRadio and other audio content when I'm on my computer. But I don't have an iPod or MP3 player. That would make listening to Internet audio content practical for on the move. My Zire 71 has an audio output but I have not used it as an MP3 player. I just don't want to run with a moderately fragile piece of technology.

I see a lot of potential for bloggers to move into this type of medium. In fact, I'm thinking some of you who are reading this would make excellent postcasters. Its an area churches could do some interesting things on their websites too. I'm intriged and hopeful of new ministry oppritunities to emerge from this.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

LOST - Where Is That Transmitter?

Radio Direction Finding (DF) is not something that is impossible to do. In fact is it is a big hobby for some people. Check out the page of of Amateur Radio Direction Finding enthusist, Joe Moell. I was amused by the strange efforts of Sayid on this week's LOST. If the transmitter is not moving, take a line of bearing (LOB), move and get another LOB. Better record these some how, maybe on a map. Pretty soon you can see where all the LOBs intersect and you have a FIX. The FIX is an area where the transmitter probably is. (Sometimes you get it wrong.) Its the same principle of resection with a compass. Equipment that automatically figures the FIX is three or more recievers taking reading togethers. The LOB from one radio is transmitted to a station that calculates where the FIX was on a computer.

1. Where was the map, electronic or paper, that was going to be used for the DF?

2. How were these walkie-talkie radios going to transmit their data? If you could transmit data, what was it going to transmit? Sayids radios could show a general LOB, but there was nothing that he was carrying that could figure a FIX through automation.

3. How were they calculating the location of the radios with no maps? Maps are key to DF.

4. By the way, they do need to find that French transmitter because it has an awesome power source. What is powering that thing?

With no map and radios that just showed the highest power reading of the reciever, probably one would be better off just walking, take a reading and walk and take a reading. Soon you it would be able to find the strongest LOB and start walking it. Recheck occationally to keep you on course. If you find the strongest signal behind you, you just passed it!

Thanksgiving Comes Early In The USA

Thank God we can have an election!

1. Our form of government is a blessing. We can keep or toss a leader without resorting to violence.

2. Thank God everyone was civil when the election was close and hours of counting were ticking away.

3. Thank God we have a president who is a faithful Christian. I trust he will ask God to give him wisdom and act morally. He did not run as a Christian candidate but is a Christian who ran to be the president of all Americans regardless of how they exercise their freedom of religion. I think faithful Christians serving in public office and Christian thinkers articulating sound policies based on wisdom and morality is much better than trying to mobilize a grass roots mob of bullies to carry out a "Christian agenda".

4. The election has meaning to the policies of the US, both domestic and foreign. I know President Bush would rather have his legacy be an administration which pushed the American education system to the next level. Instead he will continue to fight the war on terror. In my humble opinion, Bush has shown courage as Commander in Chief. I believe many Americans have forgotten 9/11, I praise the Lord that many other Americans did not forget we are at war. Thank God for President Bush and his courage.

I'm A Pundit

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few.

Hat Tip: Rebecca Writes

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Maps Differing

I'm comparing maps from NY Time, World Magazine, CNN, and The Washington Post. They are not agreeing with one another. I'm amazed at the trust in predictive analysis that some of these organizations are willing to put out there. The NY Times has a cool map that shows the states in terms of electoral college. Therefore Montana is small, New Jersey is large. Check it out.

Voting Software Review

I went to the polls today with my wife. We had a great walk/jog on a Fall day. I had a good time out and about. The voting machines I think need commenting upon.

On the following webpage from the county there is a page to familarize people with the software.

Some of my observations on the software and hardware.

1. I could see what other people voted. There were no privacy curtains or anything else to keep people from seeing for whom people were casting their votes. Turn the machines away from the lines!

2. Red was the color used to highlight the box for the candidate for whom you voted. Red is usually a color used to say mistake or stop. Pick another color. By the way, red was later used to say their may be a problem in casting your ballot if you did not mark anything.

3. The instructions were way too verbose.

4. The final casting of the ballot was without cerimony. A person stood a slight chance of clicking before they were really finished.

Bible Patterns - Aural Patterns of Seven

My most recent reading is for my Old Testament class. The book is all about the literary structures of the Old Testament. Some of the initial insights from the book include the following:

1. The Hebrew Bible was meant to be listened to, not read silently. The patterns are aural markers, no titles or other print oriented clues.

2. The Hebrew Bible has patterns of seven. Seven does not hit me as an easy number of things to remember. However, in one of my telecommunications class, Doug Kerr mentioned that a lot of research was done by the Ma Bell to determine how many numbers a person could remember. Guess what, 555-1212 is structured the way it is because seven is an optimal number for memory.

3. Repetition was considered a good thing. The author I'm reading compares the repetition in stories like "the Three Little Pigs", and the old TV show "Dragnet" as examples in our own culture of lots of repetition.

I plan on writing a review on the book after I finish.


I'm also planning on writing a quiz on what kind of Bible reader are you. Any suggestions on types of readers are welcome. Initial categories are devotional reader, scholar, mystic, and prophecy maven.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Even More RSS Experiments

I finally showed up on the League Of Extraordinary Reformed Bloggers. I got an email asking my secret. In reality, I don't have one. Since I'm not sure of all the variables, its difficult to tell what worked and what did not.

The Thing I Was Dissatisfied With
I want my blog name, not feedburner to show up on the aggregator title. I tried to change a couple of things to fix that.

1. Turn off the Feedburner advertisements so that perhaps my blog title shows up instead. (The Jollyblogger may be more jolly if that works.)

2. Turn off the fancy style sheet. Simple is better I think. It's a xml feed! XML is for machines not people.

The Thing I Liked
The feature that I think is desirable is a part of the posting showing up. This is a feature known "summary burner". (I may see a naming convention.) That needs to be turned on, I think.

Regulated Not Approved

Nagid Ben Chesed entry on how slavery was regulated but not approved in the scriptures. He articulates this concept much better than I have heard others discuss it.

By the way, check out his biography. Its sort of interesting too!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Really Adding RSS To My Blog

I attempted to add RSS to my blog a while back. I'm a details type of person and can get caught up there if I'm not careful, and I was not careful. I've read some on RSS and the like and have recommended the article by Reuven M. Lerner on RSS.

I have added a Feedburner RSS link to my blog. Feedburner has some nice features, such as a way to add a feed to MyYahoo. I'm a Yahoo fan by the way because it gives my family an added layer of protection against viruses. I don't know how the League Of Extraordinary Reformed Bloggers will read this new feed in the aggregator but I hope I will show up with likes of Parablemania, Challies Dot Com, or Tulipgirl.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

I'm Pompom

I'm Pompom.

It is probably because I have teens that I know who Strongbad is. Strongbad is what all the teens call it, but the official name on the website is Homestar Runner. The site has short clips made with Macromedia. The clips are funny. They follow the principle that I talked about in my earlier posting The Next Big Thing, the story is shorter than the normal TV video length.

Which Homestar Runner character are you?

this quiz was made by jurjyfrort