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October 31, 2008

Daily roundup

Breaking News: Evangelicals Missing

According to this article from a recent daily roundup, evangelicals are missing in most newsroom, resulting in a liberal bent, and misrepresentation of Christians, in mainstream news. Do you agree that there's the lack of diversity in the press? If so, is having more Christians in the newsroom the solution, or should we just accept the fact that the mainstream media will always be biased against Christians?

Open book thread

Open_book_2 Rob Stennett's The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher isn't your typical novel. The characterization shows little depth and the plot and style are deceptively simple. But there's a reason for that. This story of an unbeliever who finds fame and fortune by starting a megachurch is really more of a fable than a novel -- a fable about the state of the Christian church in America in the twenty-first century. As such, it works as a devastating satire of the consumerization and Oprah-fication of contemporary Christianity (even echoing Flannery O'Connor at certain points). And yet it leaves ample room for grace, compassion, and understanding . . . even for its clueless huckster of an antihero. For all these reasons, this unusual tale is worth a look.

What are you reading these days?

Reformation rap

Well, I guess this is one way to celebrate Reformation Day . . .

(H/T The Corner)

Five Simple Things

A recent study indicates that people can help protect their mental health if they will do five simple things each day.

Connect: Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors will enrich your life and bring you support
Be Active: Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
Be Curious: Noting the beauty of everyday moments -- and reflecting on them -- helps you to appreciate what matters to you
Learn: Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking -- the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence
Give: Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

As Christians, we would certainly add daily spiritual disciplines to the list (prayer, Bible study, using our spiritual gifts to serve God and others, etc.) to this list. Still, it's a nice reminder that the simplest actions can make a huge difference in the quality of our lives. 

Guardian Angels combating D.C. crime

Guardian_angels Guardian Angels have been sighted in southeast D.C. But these angels aren't packing feathery wings and white robes.

Concerned D.C. residents have formed a volunteer crime-stoppers group, calling themselves the "D.C. Guardian Angels." These unarmed residents are patrolling the streets and making citizen arrests as necessary, hoping to curb the growing violence and theft in their area.

Talk about proactive. Isn't this the way our country was founded: taking personal responsibility for our communities? The "Angels" hope to patrol the area around one of the heavily assaulted Metro stations a few hours every night till January, when crime in the area normally decreases. The police department reports that violent crime is down 29 percent in the district since last month.

Read more about them here.

(Image © Peter Lockley for the Washington Times)

A fate worse than death

Apple_bite_2 Reading John Miller's review in The Wall Street Journal of a new annotated edition of the classic Bram Stoker novel, Dracula, got me thinking, of all things, of the Garden of Eden.

Always one for a good scare, I shuddered in agreement when Miller wrote of Stoker's novel, "An early scene in which its iconic antihero climbs out a window and crawls headfirst down a castle wall remains one of the creepiest in English literature." This, despite the fact that we all know the basic story line of Dracula: undead count leaves his castle by night to bite the necks and suck the blood of unsuspecting victims, dooming them to his own fate: living forever in a dead existence. Their only hope for release from their pitiable state is for someone to kill them with a stake through the heart, putting their souls finally at rest.

Which brings us to the Garden. We all know that famous story, too (this time, one that is true). Two humans living an ideal existence in an ideal location until a dreadful bite changes everything. One bite out of the only forbidden fruit in the garden consigned Adam and Eve to death. But that wasn't the only result of their fateful snack. Genesis 3:22 quotes God as saying, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil, Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever --" (ESV)  The Amplified Bible adds this footnote, "This sentence is left unfinished, as if to hasten to avert the tragedy suggested of men living on forever in their now fallen state." That tragedy was averted by Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden, home of the Tree of Life.

Tonight, when I see little miniature Draculas standing at the front door with their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins held aloft for a handful of candy, I think I'm going to breathe a sigh of relief that I serve a merciful God who wouldn't let His creation suffer the fate Stoker imagined for the count's victims.

Why Autumn Matters

120pxautumntreeseasternus As only Rod Dreher could put it:

I do not want to live forever. Not in this place, not in this life, which is only a preparation for the life to come. Over a lifetime of autumns embraced and understood, we soften, we ripen, we mature, we are made ready for the harvest — and invited by wisdom to delight in the fullness of nature — and, if we have lived wisely and loved well, in the fullness of our own natures. Rilke’s prayer in “Autumn Day”:

Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine;
give them further two more summer days
to bring about perfection and to raise

the final sweetness in the heavy wine.

Some people find autumn doleful, because the numinous awareness it brings of the truth of the human condition — of our longing for the eternal within the limits of the temporal — makes them sad. But then again, some people can’t tolerate stories without a happy ending. For those who find comfort in wisdom and rest in finitude, autumn is the most philosophically consoling time of the year.

Besides, if you ask me, ale never tastes better than in the backyard on a crisp fall day.

Voting for Those Not Yet Born

Chuck Norris has written a thoughtful column explaining why he is "Voting for Those Not Yet Born."  He quotes Thomas Jefferson ("The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government") and he argues that "in order for us to get back to our Founders' understanding, we need to get back to a view of humanity that emphasizes the immortal worth of every human being." Read, and enjoy, Chuck's insights on this issue as it relates to the current presidential race. 

Halloween timewasters

Black_cat Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, you can indulge in a little cat bowling, pumpkin carving, or cat mazes.

(Second timewaster via The Corner)

The Point Radio: The Right Time

What do you do when your conscience nags you?...

Click play above to listen.

"Man Returns Stolen Plaque After 50 Years," MSNBC, 4 October 2008.

October 30, 2008

Daily roundup

We can be just as (un)scientific as the next pollster

In these days when our lives are ruled by phone polls, Internet polls, man-on-the-street polls, poll results on every news broadcast, and every other kind of poll imaginable (and some unimaginable), we'd be remiss if we didn't join in the misery fun. Vote in our poll at right, and stop by the comments section under this post to tell us about what you're doing for your candidate, especially if you voted for "Other." (As long as your version of "other" didn't involve anything crude, lewd, or illegal!)

Click below for the results of the previous poll . . .

Continue reading "We can be just as (un)scientific as the next pollster" »

All Hallows Eve: When We Flip the Devil Over on His Back

Devil_costume OK, so I'm wading into dicey waters here as the end of my favorite month approaches. Autumn in West Virginia in general, and October in particular, is the highwater mark of culture back in West Virginia. As in many parts of America, we have exceptional fall festivals, the harvest, school dances, pick-up football games in the late afternoons before dark . . . and yes, we do Halloween up right, too.   

In addition to the trick or treating, the elaborate costumes reflecting the imagination of parents and their children alike, we've even kept bobbing for apples alive, along with reading tales by Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. But the costumes are what stand out in my mind's eye. My dad was a very busy man with long hours at work, but he always found time for two things with me growing up: fishing, and making the most of every holiday. 

Halloween was no exception. He helped me create some neato costumes year after year for our community's annual Halloween costume contest. Thanks to his help, I either won or was in the running in my age category. After all, who had ever seen a huge Hershey's Kiss before, with just my ten-year-old feet visible underneath its eight-feet circumference at the bottom  Lots of aluminum foil! Others played devils, witches, and ghouls -- you know how little kids like to feel empowered for once, growling playfully at their friends or the adults.

I know the honest religious objections to all this deviltry and revelry. Are we not celebrating the fallen angel in all this, making this his day somehow? Hasn't the comedy of Halloween robbed us of All Saints Day and its more serious tone?

Respectfully, as those who have enjoyed the predominantly innocent activities of Halloween know, the objectors are missing our point. For when we can take the devil's day and mock him, laughing at his imagined power over us as children of the risen Lord, we are taking away his power, not adding to it.

Every time I see a little kid (or even a dog) dressed up hilariously like a devil at Halloween, I am reminded of Thomas More's immortal words: "The devil, that proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked." Mock on, trick or treaters, mock on!

(Image courtesy of Amazon)

Home at last

Home Last week on a roadtrip with my family, I finally had a chance to read Marilynn Robinson's new novel, Home. If you've read her previous novel, Gilead, you'll want to go back and read it again after finishing Home.

Gilead was written from the perspective of Reverend Ames, who has a key conversation with Jack, the black sheep son of his best friend Reverend Boughton, toward the end of that book. Ames is only a peripheral figure in Home, but the stories overlap enough that, if you're like me, you'll be anxious to go back and remind yourself what exactly Ames was thinking during this or that conversation.

Reading Gilead before picking up Home will also give you some valuable insight into the big secret that Jack alludes to throughout Home, but which isn't revealed until the final scenes of the book. It's the same secret that changed Ames' opinion of Jack at the end of Gilead, so if you've already read that book, many of the conversations and hints in Home will make sense to you immediately.

Of course, Home is a great read. Robinson is a wonderful storyteller. But she also incorporates a fair amount of spiritual content into Home. Take this scene, for example. Jack, the prodigal, struggling with his propensity to disappoint others, asks Ames about predestination.

Continue reading "Home at last" »

I don’t need a sugar daddy, I need a Savior

Owens_book America is about to pick the man to lead us into the next four years, for better or for worse. Watching the daily news and opening each morning's newspaper on the Metro, I've spent some time considering the meteoric rise of Barack Obama. What caused a virtually unknown junior Senator to rise so rapidly to claim the attention of the media and to win his party's ticket for the presidential seat? Yes, he's charming and charismatic and has a beautiful family. But of his substance, we know little, and yet 49% of the country (according to the latest Gallup poll) is willing to elect him as President of the United States. What is creating such quick loyalty and trust? I think it boils down to an inherent need in our society.

We are watching our society collapse economically, morally, and politically. Wall Street alone in the past few weeks has kept many fear-stricken. It has also become increasingly difficult for parents to steer their children away from the moral erosion in our entertainment industry. Society is looking for a message of deliverance everywhere we look.

And thus, Obama's message of hope and change appeals to those looking for deliverance in some shape or form. But we are looking in the wrong place -- and this stands true no matter your political affiliation. We will not find the solution to society's ills in Barack Obama or John McCain or any other man.

Author and founder of Higher Standard Enterprises, Inc., William Owens, Jr., conducted his own little informal poll of black American voters, randomly asking those he saw with Obama stickers in their car and store windows why they were voting for him. In his book, Obama: Why Black America Should Have Doubts, he writes of his findings: "I will tell you flat out, most could not give me a good solid answer..." In fact, Owens was startled by the level of trust one young man was willing to place in a candidate he did not know. The young man proceeded to tell Owens that he felt an Obama presidency would improve his lot in life. When Owens asked him what he believed in, he shook his head and said, "Nothing really." This young man was ready and willing to put all his faith in one mortal man to change his life, because he had no belief system to sustain him.

An African-American and family man himself, Owens writes in his book:

Let's face it; we are likely headed for tough times in America...It's hard enough to feed, clothe and educate a family today, let alone worry about holding the line against a growing tide of negative and degrading output from an increasingly irresponsible entertainment industry...As Black American mothers and fathers, we must rethink whey we are voting for Barack Obama. If you are not spending quality time in the lives of your children, what exactly are you expecting Barack Obama to do?

Continue reading "I don’t need a sugar daddy, I need a Savior" »

A Timely Question

"Does the United States of America Still Exist?" -- that's the question posed by Douglas MacKinnon as he explains the role of the "Fourth Estate" (the mainstream media) in shaping America into something our Founding Fathers wouldn't recognize. MacKinnon asserts, "There is no greater threat to our liberty and this Republic than a biased media that despises traditional values and only speaks and lies with one voice."

The art of happiness

Poppy Though I don't think I've ever seen a Mike Leigh movie, I'm fascinated by this interview with the director about his new film and its heroine:

Played by the radiant Sally Hawkins in Mike Leigh's comedy "Happy-Go-Lucky," Poppy emerges as an altogether new kind of heroine at a time when -- in Hollywood, at least -- violence, bleakness and pessimism are continually confused with moral seriousness. Observed with insight and compassion by Leigh during a few weeks of her crammed and contented life, Poppy may first impress viewers as an irritating or lovable ditz, depending on their temperament. But as channeled by Hawkins in a performance bursting with insight and fizzy joie de vivre, Poppy gradually comes into her own as a character of rare depth, wisdom and even courage. . . .

Considering Hollywood's recent bleak-equals-deep aesthetic bent, Leigh has done a genuinely radical thing in giving happiness its own moral weight, imbuing it with narrative tension and pride of place more often reserved for dark spectacles and nihilistic tragedies. One of the most fascinating things about "Happy-Go-Lucky" is how it confronts viewers with their own expectations that happiness will be punished, as they find themselves waiting for the inevitable shoe to drop.

To this, Leigh offers begrudging agreement, noting that audiences are "hard wired" by Hollywood to expect the worst. "Look, I've done my fair share of dealing with pain and violence," he says. "But in this case I decided, okay, now's the time to do a film that is celebratory and upbeat and comic. . . ."

Giving happiness its own moral weight. I like it. I really like it. I haven't even seen the film -- I may not get a chance until it's out of the theaters and onto the DVD shelves -- but I feel refreshed just reading about it. I feel like I used to feel in the good old days when my movie-watching was mostly confined to MGM musicals (I fell in love with my all-time favorite film, Singin' in the Rain, largely because it was the happiest movie I'd ever seen).

Actually, I'm wondering why I ever decided to watch anything else.

Okay, that's taking it a bit far. But when I start thinking about what I found in popular culture once I broadened my viewing habits, I realize that most of it had exceedingly little to do with happiness. Angst, pain, injustice, anger, loneliness -- yes; happiness -- no.

Continue reading "The art of happiness" »

The truth about government

This says it all, I think.

The Point Radio: Reading Between the Lines

When it comes to reading the Bible, age matters....

Click play above to listen.

View statistics on Bible beliefs and readership from The Barna Group.

October 29, 2008

Big Brother is watching you

Okay, that's a little dramatic. But it's kind of hard to avoid the impression.

From the Mouths of Babes

Shrek Brangelina may finally be ready to tie the knot, and it is nothing less than a green ogre that's making the difference. Angelina Jolie told the Italian edition of Vanity Fair (read more at People Magazine) that it is pressure from their children that may turn the mother of six into Mrs. Pitt.

You know, they see films and start asking questions. Such as, "Why are Shrek and Fiona married and you're not."

While I still find it difficult to cope with their relationship, considering its illicit start, it is refreshinig to hear that their young children (all under the age of seven, I might add) are the nudge behind this big decision. Though raised in an environment that lacks commitment, these young kids are realizing that something is out of place. Even a cartoon has got them thinking. Good for them. It is somehow embedded in young souls that there is a right way to do things and that mommy and daddy should be doing that. Props to the Brangelina Bunch! Hopefully they won't forget this important step when starting their own relationships one day.

(Image © DreamWorks)

The New Confessing Church

Paul Edwards' article "The New Confessing Church" identifies a recent politically correct trend among some American churches, one which should disturb any Christian who believes that our job is to be spiritual non-conformists when it comes to culture (Romans 12:2). Read his article to see what these churches are doing. 

It's not that Christians -- singularly and collectively -- don't have sins we need to confess. But Edwards points out that "whoever created this package of confessions missed the point that most of these so-called 'sins'  are nothing more than liberal media stereotypes of conservative, evangelical, gospel-preaching churches whose real sin is offending the sensitivities of the culture by maintaining their faithfulness to the Word of God." 

Perhaps it's time for those of us who believe God's Word is the standard for determining what is and is not sinful to read up on what happened in the historic Confessing Church. Now, where did I put my copy of Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship?

The battle of grief is like contractions...

A father, on losing a child:

The battle of grief is like the contractions a woman experiences during the birth process. The contractions start far apart and gradually come closer together until the baby is born. Grief pains or contractions start out close together, one after another, and gradually occur farther apart. But no matter how far apart they are, when one comes it is just as painful as the first one.

The 10th anniversary of Jeff's death is approaching. The contractions still come every now and then. Will they ever stop coming? I don't know. Very well-meaning people have said to us that time heals all wounds. I respectfully disagree. I do know, however, that the same One with Whom Jeff now enjoys eternal bliss is the same One Who comforts us with that blessed hope, "He's with Me."

(A subscription to World Magazine is required to read the complete article.)

Religion Not Required for Altruism

In the latest bid to convince us that altruism is a product of our evolutionary development, Robin Lloyd writes, “Religion and its promotion of empathy get undue credit for our unselfish acts. Instead, it’s our less-than-virtuous psychological perception that a moral authority is watching us that promotes altruism, a new review essay suggests.” (Emphasis added).

But isn’t it religion that informs our apprehension of an omniscient “moral authority?” Evidently not, according to Mr. Lloyd: “In fact, the courts, police, cameras, credit records and other justice-related authorities can serve the same purpose nowadays, encouraging proscial (sic) behavior among large groups of strangers.”

With all due respect to Mr. Lloyd, while Big Brother can influence behavior modification through fear of punishment, the police state cannot engender the selfless, other-centered love of true altruism. Sadly, it was an ethical and moral vision no higher than the “authorities” Lloyd cites that gave us Watergate, Enron, Worldcom, sub-prime mortgages and a $700 billion bailout package.

Nevertheless, Columbia professor Richard P. Sloan adds,

I don’t believe there is any evidence to support the necessity of religion for prosocial behavior…There are people who make the argument that altruism and prosocial behavior evolutionarily preceded the development of religion for a long time. You can see evidence of altruistic behavior in humans dating back for a long time.

While evolutionary psychologists work overtime to demonstrate that universal notions about God and morality didn’t drop from the sky, but are wired in our DNA by the creative power of random change, necessity and adaptation, sociologist Rodney Stark argues otherwise, as I note here.

Palin’ Groovy

Palin_rally Due to The Crazy Real Job, I am late in relating my fun, Palinriffic Monday. The day started out with an early, chilly-outside, warm-inside rally for Sarah America in Leesburg, Virginia. I had the double good fortune of both standing behind someone with a great sign and being 6-foot-2 and thereby edged my way into NRO's photo journal of the rally (tall white guy on the left). I, unfortunately, was unable to manage a sign of my own, given that I had my gun bitterly clutched in my left hand and my "religion" bitterly clutched in my right.

Next, after a Crazy Real Job interlude, we celebrated our two-year-old daughter's birthday, including some good old-fashioned, mind-numbing American arcading at Chuck E Cheese. Continuing the day's Sarah America theme, the birthday girl eschewed the toddler activities and repeatedly insisted on playing Arctic Thunder ... a snow-machine racing game! I certainly didn't encourage it, but I admit feeling both fatherly and patriotic pride.

Oh yeah, my daughter's name? Yep -- Sarah.

(Image © National Review Online)

A Practical Experiment in Redistributing Wealth

You gotta love this reporter's practical application of the concept of taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who do not. See how one Obama supporter (a waiter and college student) liked it when it was his wealth being redistributed! 

A scare for the kiddies

Campfire_stories It won't be ready this year, but on future Halloweens you'll be able to give your kids a good scare with Richard Dawkins's upcoming children's book. I can see it now . . .

"And then Uncle Dickie wagged his Finger of Doom at the naughty little girl who wouldn't stop reading fairy tales, and told her she was Very Stupid and Wicked and Ignorant and must go in the Big Dungeon with her Bad Parents who wouldn't stop reading the Bible!"

(Image © Andrew Tyra for Traverse)

The Point Radio: Earn, Save, Give

How do you manage money in tough financial times?...

Click play above to listen.

Click here to read Wesley’s sermon on the use of money.

October 28, 2008

Missing link

I have a 6-month-old daughter and she will be vaccinated [for HPV] once she is old enough. I cannot imagine thinking that preserving her virginity or preserving some set of expectations about her sexual behavior would be more important to me than protecting her.

"Melissa," letter to "The Checkup" feature in the Washington Post Health section, October 28

I respect Melissa's concern for her daughter, but did it truly never occur to her that there might be some sort of connection between sexual standards and sexual health?

Sounds Like a Cult

A group of Texas scientists is trying to stop Texas teachers from teaching students the "strengths and weaknesses" of Darwinian evolution.   

Science writer Denyse O'Leary analyzes the situation thus:

Any theory whose strengths and weaknesses cannot be discussed is not a theory in science. It is a creed. If you want to be received into a sect, you cannot doubt the sect’s interpretation of obscure doctrines in Scripture. But you should be surprised and concerned if, when you want to learn about evolution, you are not allowed to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the prevailing evolution theory.

It sure does make one wonder why some scientists are refusing to be--well--scientific about the whole issue. 

Shouldn’t this bother us?


Most of us have probably seen the videos of schoolchildren singing songs about how Obama is going to change (or save?) the world. In other videos, people actually call him the messiah. And then there is the photo of a "Saint Obama" candle I saw posted online the other day. Now, Obama himself claims that a "righteous wind" is propelling him to victory. 

Is anyone out there bothered by this but me? After all, when people tried to worship Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14), they "tore their robes" (a sign of great grief) and issued vehement denials -- turning the people's attention to Jesus instead. 

I know that members of Sen. Obama's team will say, "He's not saying these things about himself -- other people are doing that, and he has no control over them." But where are his denials? As a Christian, shouldn't Sen. Obama be bothered by how people are referring to him? (I think I would be terrified: a holy God will not be mocked!)

If anyone has heard Barack Obama deliberately deny the "deifying" rhetoric of some of his followers, then please let us know. And if he hasn't, then what does this tell us about him?

(Image courtesy of the Houston Chronicle)

The Grim Reaper and the Dead Donor Rule

Dr. Gregory Rutecki sounds a loud warning about the danger posed to human life by the premature removal of donor organs.

Auction Angel Saves a Foreclosed Home


A woman went to an auction on foreclosed homes and ended up buying back a home for a complete stranger. Some are calling her an angel.

God moves in mysterious ways.

(Image courtesy of WFAA-TV)

Media coverage of ’The One’

It is no secret, even to those across the pond, whom the mainstream media is working to install as our 44th President. Check out Melanie Phillips' bracing commentary.

The Point Radio: Abandoned

Parenting can be overwhelming....

Click play above to listen.

Father Gets Rid of 9 Kids at Hospital,” Associated Press, 25 September 2008.

Iowa Girl Abandoned Under Nebraska Law,” Associated Press, 8 October 2008.

October 27, 2008

Daily roundup

A way to cut your medical costs

Tape The next time you wonder what's causing that pain in your knee, don't waste money on an MRI, just peel off some Scotch tape.

(Image © AP/UCLA)

No Exceptions for Life

Fetus I appreciate what South Dakota legislators are trying to do, but putting exceptions on an abortion ban is like giving someone a list (no matter how short) of justifications for murder. By watering down the legislation to make abortion appealing to a broader audience, they're negating the point: that all life is sacred! Yes, even life that was created through circumstances as horrible as rape or incest.

Rape is traumatic enough. Let's not allow women to suffer the horrendous experience of abortion as well. After all, we can no longer play dumb about the tragic effects that abortion has had on countless women (and men).

And, let's not forget the transforming truth that can be found in the midst of tragedy--that even the child of a rape or incest could have a life full of hope and possibility.

Thought for the Day

"Who can satisfy God in the last times,
when the noble rules of truth have been changed,
save for those who scorn this present world?"

-- Columba, 6th-century Irish pastor

(Quoted by T.M. Moore in "Crosfigell," the daily devotional at Myparuchia)

Hard to Believe

Wedding_rings_2 According the AP News, no one has yet entered this contest, looking for a couple who will remain abstinent until their wedding day. Even though it's limited to a few counties in Atlanta, I can hardly believe that a contest offering $10,000 toward a wedding has had no takers. If you know a young couple in that area who are committed to purity, pass the word along. Someone please prove this wrong. This is ridiculous.

God, or your God?

Moses_with_tablets I'm always fascinated by the conversations in the Bible between prophets or leaders, like Moses and Jeremiah, and the people who relied on them to act as a go-between with the Almighty.  Frequently these exchanges include something like this:

THE PEOPLE: Pray to the Lord your God on our behalf.

THE PROPHET: Okay, I will pray to the Lord your God.

It's as if the people believed that the prophets and leaders had an exclusive inside track with God, while the prophets continually tried to remind the people that the Almighty was the God of all the people, not just the well connected.

In her book, No Other Gods, which talks about the modern day idols that turn our attention away from the only God we should be serving, Kelly Minter talks about this issue of "your God."

"I am the LORD your God." It is the core of our beliefs, the essential resolve from which Christianity stems. Without this fundamental starting point--the Lord is God--our belief system loses its backbone. If he is not actually God, or if what he proclaims is not truth, we have nothing on which to stand. Yet this opening line of the Ten Commandments serves as more than just a proclamation of God's deity, as that could be said as "I am the Lord God." But an additional word is written, one that takes his unattainable God-ness and endearingly personalizes it, making it "I am the LORD your God." It's the one word that changes everything, the word that brings what could have been a faceless God into a reachable One, the word that sparks the question, "Is he God, or is he your God?"

Supreme Court wasn’t ’radical’ enough to reinterpret Constitution and redistribute wealth

Gee, Senator Obama, that's too bad.

A Monday morning laugh

Thanks to Anne and her husband for this. No, it's not real, but it's hilarious.

The Point Radio: Doing Something About Slavery

There are 27 million slaves in the world today. Some of them may be in your backyard....

Click play above to listen.

Here are 33 things you can do to help fight modern-day slavery.

October 24, 2008

The daily roundup open

In keeping with the spirit of Open Friday, you readers are in charge of the daily roundup today. What articles have you been reading today that you'd like to share with the rest of us? Post them here (and if things get political, as I expect they will, please remember to keep it civilized)!

Open book thread

Open_book_2 Cindy Easley, wife of my former pastor Michael Easley and an accomplished speaker in her own right, has a new book out called What's Submission Got to Do with It? -- a pretty courageous move in this day and age. Cindy handles a sticky topic with grace, thoughtfulness, and humor, as you can tell from this recent three-part interview with FamilyLife Radio. Her book is worth picking up if you'd like to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible's teaching on submission in marriage.

More on this topic later. In the meantime, what have you been reading?

Open music thread

Trebleclef2 CDs I've been listening to lately:

Linda Eder, The Other Side of Me. Good songs, mostly (except for the saccharine "They Are the Roses"), but with a bitter aftertaste. When you're used to a singer releasing albums full of happy love songs, it's kind of a downer when she releases an album about her divorce. These things happen, of course, but it's sad, even when she takes the triumphant I-will-survive kind of approach. Perhaps especially when she does.

I haven't yet listened to all of Kenny Chesney's Lucky Old Sun, which I bought for my mom, but it's got something of the same vibe going on, according to the Washington Post review. I do get a chuckle out of the buoyant "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," though. Title aside, it's not exactly what you'd call a Christian song -- but it's honest in a way that Christian songs don't always manage to be.

Finally, I recently picked up Kristin Chenoweth's A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas, even though, as the salesman remarked, it's a little early for Christmas music. (One of those salesmen who couldn't sell a life preserver to a drowning man, I'm guessing.) The obvious problem with pop Christmas albums is that they're all drawing from more or less the same well, and after a while, it gets old. I could go the rest of my life without hearing "Silver Bells" again, in any form, and be a happy woman. The good news here is that Chenoweth manages to throw in enough lesser-known songs to keep things from going stale. "Come On Ring Those Bells" is particularly nice.

Your turn. What are you listening to these days that you'd recommend (or not)?

About a Movie

A couple of weeks ago, all I wanted to do was watch a couple of real side-splittingly funny movies -- but two movies later, instead of laughing I was having a major hissy fit. 

My husband had rented two from the comedy section. After 15 minutes of the first movie I left the room. The next evening we started to watch the second one--and that's when I really lost it. 

The movie was Definitely, Maybe, which was heavy with political garbage, but the worst thing for me was to see how the director, producer, and actors involved children in their sexually suggestive movie. 

After my emotional diatribe and angst over wasted money, I'm "definitely" leery about renting other comedies. However, I just picked up a copy of Accidental Husband because of an intriguing review by Damaris co-founder Nick Pollard.

I'd be interested in hearing from you Pointers for a list of good movies--and not just comedies.

Open Friday

Note to readers and commenters: Today is your day. I'm taking some much-needed time off, so Kim and I have set up some threads that will go up at intervals during the day where you can discuss favorite movies, music, and more. Travis will be on hand to publish your comments. But he has my phone number, so everybody play nice. See you Monday!