Friday, May 27, 2005

A Short Review 3: The Mystery of Godliness

A Short Book Review 3

This collection of sermons is based upon the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) and expounds a wide variety of doctrine and practices. From the truth of election and salvation to the requirement of godliness and prayer, Calvin’s addresses clearly express a pastor’s heart while articulating a scholar’s grasp of the Bible. With fourteen sermons at about fifteen pages apiece, this book becomes good food for meditation and contemplation.

Being a translation from 1580 and transported to America in 1830, it is written in the style of the King James Bible, but without much of the grammatical oddities. Calvin’s sermons are also more direct than our sensitive ears may be accustomed to hear (as even the original preface of this book points out). He spoke and wrote during a time of great upheaval and direct confrontation with heresies and lies; thus, he was very zealous to comfort and guard the flock, “Let us therefore endeavor to bring back those that have strayed…but when [some]…make confusion in the church…we must not spare them, because the whole salvation of the people of God is in danger.” (p.172). He also has no problems calling public enemies of the gospel “mad beasts” (p.40).

For those without a fear of older writing styles and plain speech, this little treasure will encourage the reader to take the biblical commands of truth and obedience to heart.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Subtle Socialism

A few days ago, the Today Show presented the coveted "Profile in Courage Award"--combing the country for those rare souls that will stand upon conviction with a fortitude that would shame the Congress. These men and women, endowed with strength of character and singular drive, hailed as paladins of American ideals and guardians of the precious institutions undergirding our nation.

And both of them were socialist.

The first gentlemen displayed great boldness and tenacity in trimming the budget at the local state school. Rescuing one of the cheif planks of Karl Marx himself, this lion-heart rescued schools within his purvue from certain financial ruin.

The second person, a veritable Joan of Arc, was the coveted Mayor of Atlanta. Her great deed involved raising city taxes by 50% to eradicate the financial buggabear, unbalanced budgets. She courageously protected the important city services (all of them) by reducing the workers by 12%.

These are tomorrow's heroes today.

Velcome to Amerika.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

the man who really should have been Pope

Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and as a young man aspired to become a priest. However, he was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943, resulting in the loss of his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a military chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent.

In 1997, Father Grapje (now an Archbishop) was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a massive cave-in trapping scores of miners deep in the earth.
Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer comfort and last rites to those too
severely injured to be moved. While underground another shaft collapsed and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. Some time after being rescued, he developed a severe (but rare) condition known as purpura. This condition is the result of extensive underground time and exposure to the high silver content in the mine's air. It is characterized by purplish skin blotches and is found in many life-long silver miners. For his heroism and selfless service to others, the church elevated him to Cardinal.

With the passing of Pope John Paul II, he joined the other Cardinals in Rome for the funeral and the conclave to select a new Pope from their ranks. Although Cardinal Grapje
devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor and holy man; church leaders agree he will never ascend to the Papacy.

After all, no one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Philosopher-Kings & Court Jesters

Plato thought the best form of rule over people would be through wise, intelligent and informed leaders who excelled not only in all things worth knowing, but especially in the “love of wisdom”—philosophy. They would debate in a rational and calm manner to find the truth; and they would rule accordingly. Hence, philosopher-kings. Now, fast-forward several thousand years later, where in a land that prides itself in information and knowledge of “all things”, the expert reigns supreme—sociologists, psychologist, etc.; in this land, America, it has one particular expert who is the grandfather of all, an ideal philosopher-king: the “Scientist”. However, these philosopher-kings live in ivory towers in utter contempt of the common man and utter hatred of Christianity….And many cannot argue their way out of a paper-bag. …they are more like court jesters than kings. Is this a simple name-calling from a “radical-right winger”—is this the dreaded “ad hominem”? No; I have hard evidence to back up my claim:

Locale: Nightline, May 9, 2005. Topic: Intelligent Design.

Watching the first three rounds showed an interesting trend: the Darwinian materialist (the one with the disdainful smirk) virtually opened every rebuttal with snide comments against his opponent and the “unnamed” cabal that pulls his strings. The Darwinian materialist virtually never answered the questions raised by the opponent, but accused him of being part of the well-known society (with matching jackets and all) of the “right-wing fundamentalist” creationist—all of whom any one with half a brain would know to be full-blown Pre-millennial, Fundamentalist. The Darwinian materialist virtually opened every rebuttal with a snide…wait, I already said this! He was basically name-calling; this is called an “ad hominem” and is totally irresponsible in any college-educated man—especially one with a Ph.D in philosophy!! (in contrast, the Intelligent Design proponent (not a believer) tried to answer in a somber serious manner—the moderator's cajoling didn’t help much).

Not only was this philosopher more of a laughing court jester--he laughed many a time amidst his repeated declamations (of one form or another): “You can’t really believe that…”—he appeared to be an uneducated boob or a straight-faced liar as well! Why? The fact that the claimed (in point two above) that all creationist were “Premillennial, Apocalyptic Fundamentalist” waiting for the “Rapture” probably showed his historical, theological and philosophical ignorance of the well-known event called the Reformation which was originated by Luther and continued and cemented by Calvin.

Calvinism or Reformed Theology is known in philosophical circles (my philosophy college professor knew—and she did not have a Ph.D (piled higher and deeper?)! Calvinist/Reformed are not “Premillennial, Apocalyptic Fundamentalist”. It was not a debate; there was no direct answer to direct question in a calm and dignified manner--it was a joke! He was a joke! Most television formats (expect maybe PBS) are not conducive to deep debates. This was no exception. The court jester received kudos for thirty-second in-your-face sound-bytes, but his opponent won the debate. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know that. Many Americans would rather laugh with the jester instead of laughing at his deplorable manners during this so-called “debate.” The kingdom of Darwin, with the Universe-of-Chance God sitting on a throne was well served by their court-jester this day. And neither one had any clothes.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

But We Need More Medicine

From a fellow blogger:
Today was part two (see part I here) of the local health care saga. At 4:00 today I met with about 10 other area citizens to consolidate notes and discuss priorities for reporting our feedback to the Illinois state task force on health care.

I left the meeting accomplishing one of my two goals for participating in this. I didn’t tick anyone off or say something that got me publicly labeled as an extremist. At some point speaking the truth will require me to give up on that goal but for right now I want to continue to participate and that means remaining peaceful.

My second goal? To stop socialized medicine from taking over the system in Illinois and the United States....The rest...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

24 is da' bomb!

24--no, this is not a blog about the infamous Genesis debate (goto the OPC report on that!).
This blog is a little about my favorite t.v. series: 24

I stopped watching television in '82. My father threw out our small, white European-made t.v. that fateful day after unsuccessfully trying to break our visual addiction (both my sister and I would stare at the boobtube instead of cleaning the house).

20 years later we have a t.v. (that is another story--all I can say is we got it for free; and I'm all about free). I regulated its watching to a small set of evening shows. It is mainly used for movies (1$ at Redbox-McDonalds [I said I was cheap!]).

The point is that even without a t.v. I knew most the shows were junk. In the military the dayrooms had televisions which I would watch periodically (usually I would play Nintendo)--usually for the movies. Some shows were boring. Others had language. Still others had sexual innuendoes.

All three of these categories have increased ten-fold since then.

But not with 24! This show has it all: action, suspense, plot and *gasp* even character development (no, really!!).

It is intelligently written and directed. It keeps my attention. It is riveting.

Of the cable shows that I know about from others, 24 ranks above them hands-down. There are two reasons: it has no sexual innuendoes and it has a plot.

Many of the famous cable shows (and, of course, t.v. shows) are dependent on cursing or sex. This show is dependent on plot (mostly action) and subplots. Continuing, cross-seasonal subplots. Some characters even die. It is so packed with plot-twists, mystery and characters, it's like watching a movie! I've already forgotten much of the details from the last three seasons.

As I get older, I grow more intolerant of filthy shows and movies. Comedies have too much sex, movies have too much cursing and life is too short. I stick with action flicks and an occasional "slow" movie. But as for t.v. shows--24 is it!!

I told my wife that when I'm 50 she can buy me the complete set.

And I'm sure when I'm 50 the entire industry will be the Hollyweird Filth Show. So, I'm stocking up on good shows right now.