Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Documenting the Pregnancy


My wife, Leah, has done a great job of documenting things during her pregnancy on her blog. Being a photographer, she's very inclined to document everything through photos. Just wanted to point out some of the posts she has done:


Thanks, Leah, for doing such a good job of capturing these memories for us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mostly Pro-Life McCain vs. Completely Pro-Choice Obama

Randy Alcorn continues his blog campaign to crystalize the debate among pro-lifers as to what this election means. What would it truly mean to have Obama as the president of the United States? Why is it better to vote for McCain, who doesn't have a 100% pro-life voting record? What could McCain really do for the pro-life cause if elected anyway? Haven't other pro-life presidents failed to make any progress whatsoever for the cause? Isn't it better to vote for Obama if you like his other policies better since abortion is simply one issue?

These are just some of the questions Randy answers in his lengthy blog entry yesterday. It's a thoughtful piece, which seeks to honestly answer genuine concerns that pro-life voters have when trying to make their decision this year.

I particularly found this analogy helpful. In it, Randy explains why it's better to vote for mostly pro-life McCain instead of completely pro-choice Obama or not vote at all:

Suppose in the town you live in, there’s a lake where, for the last thirty-five years, children have been taken by parents to be drowned. Say that every day 100 children are brought to this lake.

As a town citizen, you are presented with two candidates for mayor. (You can vote for a third party, but clearly one of these two candidates will be elected.) One candidate publicly states that he believes the right thing is that the children not be brought to that lake. They should be allowed to live, except the one or two conceived by rape. By longstanding town law the 100 daily drownings are all legal, and the mayor can’t change the law. However, this mayoral candidate has publicly stated that the law should be changed, and he hopes to appoint judges who help that happen, so that 98 or 99 of the 100 children would live rather than die.

Now, the deaths of those one or two children conceived by rape should rightly disturb you. And if until now zero children had been killed at the lake, it would be evil to vote for a man willing for one or two to be legally drowned. But for thirty-five years, 100 children have been killed there each day. This man is trying to move the town in the right direction, even though he has stopped just short of a 100% reversal. No additional children will be killed if his position were in place, because those one or two children would have been killed anyway under existing law. But 98 or 99 a day would be rescued from the death they will face if his position isn’t put in place.

The other mayoral candidate believes that not one of those 100 children chosen for drowning by their parents should be rescued. He believes that the doctors holding them under the water should be allowed to do this. He is prochoice about the drowning of children. In the last twenty years there have been some limited prolife measures voted in by townspeople that have made it more difficult to drown children, saving some lives. But this candidate has promised to sign a bill that would remove all those restrictions. He would invalidate the requirement that doctors explain to parents what it means to drown a child. He would invalidate the law that requires grandparents to be notified if their children are going to drown their grandchildren.

In fact, this man has said of his own daughters, “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” He would support their right to hire a doctor to drown their babies, his grandchildren, in the lake. And he promises the town’s legal drowning organization, which makes considerable money by drowning children, that he will only appoint town judges who are in favor of the legalized-child-drowning laws.

Now here is our moral dilemma. Our next mayor will either be the 98%-don’t-drown-the-children candidate OR the 100%-drown-all-children-whose-parents-don’t-want-them candidate.

We could write in someone who has no chance of winning. It would be a protest vote, showing we don’t totally agree with either candidate. However, if others who believe all babies deserve to live do this same thing, the result will be that the 98% prolife candidate can’t win, and the 0% prolife candidate will be our mayor.

If you vote for the candidate in favor of saving 98 babies, it could be argued that you would be voting for the lesser of evils, since killing one or two children is evil. But after all these years of child-killing, you see the opportunity—if the 98% prolife mayor takes office and makes those prolife court appointments, countless future children’s lives could be saved. It’s not certain, but it’s a real possibility. And what is certain is this: if the candidate in favor of legalized child-killing wins the election, due to his agreement to remove any of the town’s existing child-killing restrictions, more children will die who wouldn’t have if the other candidate takes office.

Read the whole post here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Music Video of the Week

Andrew Peterson - "I've Got News (Live Acoustic)"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Andrew Peterson - Resurrection Letters Volume II

One of my favorite Christian artists, Andrew Peterson, released a new album this past Tuesday entitled "Resurrection Letters - Volume II." Andrew is one of those rare musicians whose lyrical ability takes you into his songs and holds you there, clinging to every word while he takes you on a journey through the story he tells. His ability to seamlessly weave theology with biblical stories with autobiographical statements is amazing.

It saddens me to know that his songs will never be played on Christian radio, because there are many people who need to hear these songs. I need to hear them. He has a heart for serving other through his music, and it has served me well.

Here's a part of his blog entry the other day:

I can't tell you how excited I am about this album. Tonight I downloaded the newest mixes of the 12 songs, put them in order, burned them to a disc and hopped in my car. It was midnight, and the roads that wound through the Tennessee hills were deserted. I prayed while I drove that these songs would make it to the ears that need to hear them, and it hit me today that I need to hear these songs as much as anyone.

Somebody said that you have to preach the gospel to yourself daily. I hope this album will help people to do just that: to remind themselves of the gravity of their sin and the glory of God's mercy, of the promise that Death is nothing to fear, that resurrection is a worthy hope.

Amazing stuff. Speaking of amazing, here are the lyrics to probably my favorite song on the album (tough to say, though, because there are many great ones). This is truth I needed to hear recently. Thank you Andrew. May God continue to bless your music.

Hosanna

I am tangled up in contradiction
I am strangled by my own two hands
I am hunted by the hounds of addiction
Hosanna

I have lied to everyone who trusts me
I have tried to fall when I could stand
I have only loved the ones who love me
Hosanna

Oh, Hosanna
See the long awaited king

Come to set his people free

Oh, Hosanna

Come and tear the temple down

Raise it up on holy ground

Hosanna


I have struggled to remove this raiment
Tried to hide every shimmering strand
I contend with these ghosts and these hosts of bright angels
Hosanna
I have cursed the man that you have made me
I have nursed the beast that bays for my blood
I have run from the one who would save me
Hosanna

Oh, Hosanna
See the long awaited king

Come to set his people free

Oh, Hosanna

Come and tear the temple down

Raise it up on holy ground

Hosanna


We cry for blood
We take your life
Hosanna
We cry for blood
We take your life
It is blood and it is life that you have given

You have crushed beneath your heel the vile serpent
You have carried to the grave the black stain
You have torn apart the temple's holy curtain
You have beaten death at death's own game
Hosanna

Hail the long awaited king
Come to set his people free
(We cry)
Oh, Hosanna

Come and tear this temple down

Raise it up on holy ground

Oh, Hosanna

I will lift my voice and sing

You have come and washed me clean

Hosanna

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Romans 1:19-23

From the ESV:

19
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

1 Point Calvinism

Few issues can divide a group of Christians more powerfully than the Calvinism/Arminian debate. It has become such a divisive issue that many Christians won't even bring the subject up unless they know those who they're talking to will agree. This is sad, because the bible is not silent on these issues, so we shouldn't be either. A difference in tone and perspective can help, though. That's why I appreciated this explanation by J.I. Packer, which was pointed out by Scott Thomas at Acts 29:

"The very act of setting out Calvinistic soteriology [the doctrine of salvation] in the form of five distinct points (a number due, as we saw, merely to the fact that there were five Arminian points for the Synod of Dort to answer) tends to obscure the organic character of Calvinistic thought on this subject. For the five points, though separately stated, are inseparable. They hang together; you cannot reject one without rejecting them all, at least in the sense in which the Synod meant them. For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners.

"God – the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing.

"Saves – does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies.

"Sinners – men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. God saves sinners – and the force of this confession may not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between God and man and making the decisive part man’s own, or by soft-pedalling the sinner’s inability so as to allow him to share the praise of his salvation with his Saviour. This is the one point of Calvinistic soteriology which the “five points” are concerned to establish and Arminianism in all its forms to deny: namely, that sinners do not save themselves in any sense at all, but that salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever; amen."

J.I. Packer, “Introductory Essage,” in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen (London: Banner of Truth, 1959) 4-5.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Write a Bad Worship Song

Ah, the worship song debate. What's makes a good worship song? Is it the emotions it evokes? Is it the truth the song communicates? Both? More than that?

The quest to write "good" worship can be difficult, but as someone with quite bit of experience doing just that, Bob Kauflin shares some tips on how to avoid the songs that most people will agree are "bad" worship songs.

From his blog:

In my eleven years as director of worship development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, I’ve reviewed hundreds of worship songs and written a few of my own. I’ve noticed recurring tendencies that keep our weak songs from becoming good or great songs. I’m intimately acquainted with them in my own songs and I’ve listed my top ten below. While these apply to songwriters, they can relate to leading worship as well.

So if you want to write bad worship songs, here are some tips:


1. Aim to write the next worldwide worship hit.

2. Spend all your time working on the music, not the words.


3. Spend all your time working on the words, not the music.


4. Don’t consider the range and capabilities of the average human voice.


5. Never let anyone alter the way God originally gave your song to you..


6. Make sure the majority of your songs talk about what we do and feel rather than who God is and what he’s done.


7. Try to use as many Scriptural phrases as you can, and don’t worry about how they fit together.


8. Cover as many themes as possible.


9. Use phrases and words that are included in 95% of all worship songs.


10. Forget about Jesus and what he accomplished at the cross.

Bob's explanations of these points are very good too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sharing the Gospel with My Son

As anyone who reads this blog at all (or who can look at the counter on the top-right of the blog) will know, my wife and I are expecting our first child in December. My son will begin his life outside the womb sometime around the first or second week of December. I've been reading lots of books (and blogs) and talking to lots of people to understand my responsibilities as his father. I've come to understand my main responsibility, and the one that intimidates me the most, is to raise him to have faith in Christ.

There are many challenges associated with this responsibility. I am called to lead my family in a way that glorifies Christ, including prayer, devotions, etc. These are things that, in a family context, are quite foreign to me. I'm learning what it looks like to lead in this way, but it's still uncomfortable and difficult.

I will also be called to instruct my son (and his siblings should God give him some) in knowledge of God and Christ. I will need to articulate the biblical gospel to him so that he understands what Christ has accomplished. I will need to give him a foundational knowledge so that the faith he learns from me will be able to transform into his own personal faith in Christ. There is truly nothing I will want more for him than to obtain this faith.

While there are many things about becoming a parent for the first time that are a little overwhelming (lack of sleep, lack of freedoms, lack of quality time with Leah, the responsibility of providing), this is the one from which I feel the most weight on me. How can I be sure that my son will know Christ? What can I do to make sure he "gets it"?

With these things rolling around in my head, I found this post by Tim Challies particularly helpful today. In it, Tim responds to a parent struggling with Election and his responsibilities as a father. What if his child isn't chosen, he asks? Tim does a great job outlining the basics of biblical election (total depravity, unconditional election, etc.). He closes with this:

Too often, I think, we approach this subject from the point-of-view that every person deserves a chance to go to heaven. We see our sweet children and are unable to believe that they justly deserve an eternity of separation from God. And so we deem it unfair that they may not be among the elect and hence can never turn to Christ. But Scripture tells us that all men, even children, have turned away from Christ. All men have committed an act of cosmic treason and deserve to be punished for it. God chooses to extend grace to some, but not all. But the very fact that it is grace tells us that it is not deserved; it is a free gift.

I conclude by pointing again to the goodness (Psalm 107:1, James 1:17, Psalm 84:11) and sovereignty (1 Samuel 2:6-7, Psalm 135:5-6, Proverbs 16:9) of God. God is good and does only what is good. This is as true in election as in any other area. When the Lord calls us home and when we stand before him, we know that none of us will question God's wisdom; none of us will deem him unfair or unkind. We will rejoice in his goodness and will rejoice in his sovereign choice.

It is a comforting thought to realize that my child's salvation does not depend on how well I do instructing and teaching him. It doesn't depend on his intelligence, ability, or anything in himself. It depends on God. This doesn't negate my responsibilities as his father, but I can rest knowing I'm not ultimately responsible for his soul.

I like Mark Driscoll's perspective on this: "Work like an Arminian, but sleep like a Calvinist."

Music Video of the Week

Aaron Keyes and Stuart Townsend - "My Soul Finds Rest (Psalm 62)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Freedom of Choice Act

There has been a bit of talk recently about the Freedom of Choice Act, which Barack Obama has said is the first piece of legislation he will sign if elected president.



Planned Parenthood is very excited to have this legislation signed, but what exactly is it? Justin Taylor attempts to explain the devastating effects this act would have. You need to read the whole explanation, but here is Justin's summary:

So to summarize this act--which again, Barack Obama has promised to sign as his first order of business in the White House--abortion on demand will become codified, all regulations and restrictions will be stripped away, Christian hospitals and physicians will not have a choice regarding the performance of abortion (since their accrediting agencies are approved by the federal government), teenagers will not have to tell their parents about an abortion, and prolife taxpayers will be forced to pay for abortions at any stage of the pregnancy for any reason.

And just another quote from Obama himself to show where he stands on abortion and what he feels is at stake in this election:

"Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women's health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.

"Throughout my career, I've been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president."

For further information on FOCA from National Right to Life, click here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ESV Study Bible

Ever since it was announced way back in the spring, I've been looking forward to October 15th, when my ESV Study Bible would arrive. I was so excited yesterday to arrive home from work and see that package sitting on the front porch. I quickly dispatched of the packaging and proceeded to examine the goodness that is the ESV Study Bible. I am not disappointed in the least with what I see.

First, let me just say, this has to be one of the biggest bibles in history. With so many notes, articles, charts, essays, etc., it is huge. It's got to be at least 33% bigger than my Reformation Study Bible. While I can't know for sure since I haven't read it all yet, I'm assuming this is a good thing. While the biblical text itself is obviously the most important part of any study bible, the shear volume of notes and information will serve well in bettering my understanding of that text. They also seem to be very balanced notes, presenting both sides of difficult issues where the biblical text isn't 100% clear.

Also, the quality of the bible seems very good. I have the black leather version. It simply looks great. The pictures I've seen on the ESVSB website simply don't do it justice. You can, however, see some great pictures of the black Tru-Tone version here.

Another interesting part of the ESV Study Bible is the online version that was simultaneously released. You can access the text and make your own notes for free, but by owning a hard version of the bible, you can access all notes, articles, charts, etc. online. I am especially pumped about this. I've always felt like my study was fairly shallow on occasion. It's simply difficult and time-consuming to lookup all cross references and really seek to understand certain themes or passages in light of the rest of the bible.

With the online software, this becomes simple. You can hover over cross references to see them, and a simple click brings up all references with the orignal text above them. It really is simple, but amazing in the potential benefits. The efficiency gained will allow deeper study than ever before. You can also make your own notes on passages to track what you learn.

Check out the FAQ for the online version here.

Overall, I am thrilled to have these tools to aid in my understanding of God's Word. I cannot wait to really dig into it over the next year (my plan is to read through the bible again starting in January). Thanks Crossway and all who worked tirelessly to make this gem possible.

I purchased mine from Westminster Bookstore, and they still have some amazing deals on the ESVSB going on (40% off right now).

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Update: Apparently, I wasn't the only one really excited about the ESVSB. Before even reaching the official publication date, they've had to send it back for a 2nd printing (with a 3rd printing coming soon). Great to hear so many people are excited about a tool to help them study God's Word better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama's Extreme Pro-Abortion Positions

Many Christians (even some "leaders") have taken up the mantra that Christians can (and even should) be voting for Barack Obama in this election. After all, they say, Republicans simply throw out pro-life statements, but never actually do anything about the issue. Since that's the case, we should vote for Obama whose other policies are better anyway, and he's said he wants to reduce the number of abortions.

Robert George wrote a great article yesterday exposing the truth about Barack Obama's extreme pro-abortion views. Despite what he has tried to spin whenever confronted on abortion (like saying he wants to reduce them), he is, by far, the most extremely pro-abortion candidate for president (or pretty much any office) our country has ever seen. As George points out, this is not simply pro-life fear rhetoric; Obama's record speaks for itself:

"[D]espite Obama's injustices against the most vulnerable human beings, and despite the extraordinary support he receives from the industry that profits from killing the unborn (which should be a good indicator of where he stands), some Obama supporters insist that he is the better candidate from the pro-life point of view.

They say that his economic and social policies would so diminish the demand for abortion that the overall number would actually go down-despite the federal subsidizing of abortion and the elimination of hundreds of pro-life laws. The way to save lots of unborn babies, they say, is to vote for the pro-abortion-oops! ''pro-choice''-candidate. They tell us not to worry that Obama opposes the Hyde Amendment, the Mexico City Policy (against funding abortion abroad), parental consent and notification laws, conscience protections, and the funding of alternatives to embryo-destructive research. They ask us to look past his support for Roe v. Wade, the Freedom of Choice Act, partial-birth abortion, and human cloning and embryo-killing. An Obama presidency, they insist, means less killing of the unborn.

This is delusional."

Al Mohler commented on this article and the issue today as well. Despite what Donald Miller might say, Christians need not vote for Obama out of frustration with a lack of progress. The consequences of that kind of thinking could be dire.

"Some now argue that pro-life voters can nevertheless vote for Sen. Obama. As Professor George argues, this is delusional.

There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.

This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other issues.

There is fatigue and frustration with the Republican Party and with limited progress. There is frustration with mixed signals and missed opportunities. There is the acknowledgment that we have too often been told what we want to hear and then ignored.

There is the sense that the battle has grown old -- along with those who are fighting it. There are signs that the culture is closing its ears. We all have other concerns as well. Can we make any progress on those if we remain tenaciously committed to opposing abortion?

Yet, there is the reality that we face a choice. This is a limited choice. And we cannot evade responsibility for the question of abortion. Our vote will determine whether millions of unborn babies live or die. The Freedom of Choice Act, if passed, would lead directly to a radical increase in the numbers of abortions. The abortion industry has told us that themselves.

The question comes down to this: How many lives are we willing to forfeit -- to write off as expendable -- in order to "move on" to other issues of concern? There is no way to avoid that question and remain morally serious. The voting booth is no place to hide."

My child is about 7 months old. He will be born in about 2 months. My wife and I talk to him, sing to him, even play with him (he responds to touch and sound all the time). He's my son...already. The thought that Obama supports my wife's right to kill my son at any point in the next 2 months is repugnant. It almost brings me to tears just thinking about it (it did for Leah).

This issue is not just one of many in this election. Some issues are just more important. This is obvious. We cannot afford a president like this. My son cannot afford it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Rhett and Link Videos

I know I just posted 3 of their videos, but Leah showed me 2 more last night that were just too good.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Desiring God - James 3: A Story

Desiring God posted this video, which was shown at the National Conference on the power of words. James 3:8-10:

Music Video of the Week

Anberlin - "The Unwinding Cable Car"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rhett & Link

So 2 posts on humor in a row...my wife introduced me to these 2 guys - Rhett and Link. Leah saw them at a Campus Crusade for Christ event back in college, and some friends of ours who are on staff with Crusade were talking about them last night. Had to share a couple of these. You can find more at their YouTube page.

Facebook Song:



Economy Meltdown Song:



The American Idol Song:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hot Pockets!

I love listening to good stand-up comedians. They're rare, but I have a few favorites that actually keep their acts clean and are hysterical at the same time. My wife's family recently got me listening to Jim Gaffigan. His bit on Hot Pockets had us rolling. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Don't Desire Wealth

With everything happening in the financial markets recently, and with even Christians struggling to determine how to respond to it, I found this post by John Piper today particularly helpful and encouraging:

I can smell it. It’s like toast or steak or brownies. It doesn’t just draw our desire, it creates desire. Deep drops in the stock market make many people salivate. They know it will rebound. They are sitting on cash. By year’s end their pile could ride the recovery to riches. For such people I have a word from God. The word is: Don’t desire to be rich. It will kill you. And in a world like ours many will probably perish with you. Paul’s language is more graphic than mine:

There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1Timothy 6:6-10)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lifehouse - Everything Skit

I found this video a long time ago, but never got around to posting it on here. I usually don't like these kinds of things that churches do to try and dramatize the gospel, but I actually thought this one was pretty good. Plus, it's set to my (and Leah's) favorite Lifehouse song, "Everything."

Look Who's Irrational Now

There was a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago about the prevalence of superstitious beliefs in connection to religious beliefs. People tend to assume that people who believe traditional Christian doctrines are irrational people, but the facts simply don't bear that out.

The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity. Do dreams foretell the future? Did ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis exist? Can places be haunted? Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Will creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster someday be discovered by science?

The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.

Even among Christians, there were disparities. While 36% of those belonging to the United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama's former denomination, expressed strong beliefs in the paranormal, only 14% of those belonging to the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin's former denomination, did. In fact, the more traditional and evangelical the respondent, the less likely he was to believe in, for instance, the possibility of communicating with people who are dead.

Another interesting note in the article dealt with Bill Maher, probably one of the most scornful critics of religion of any kind whose movie "Religulous" came out last week. Apparently for all his talk of religion being irrational, Mr. Maher isn't the model of scientific apostleship.

On Oct. 3, Mr. Maher debuts "Religulous," his documentary that attacks religious belief. He talks to Hasidic scholars, Jews for Jesus, Muslims, polygamists, Satanists, creationists, and even Rael -- prophet of the Raelians -- before telling viewers: "The plain fact is religion must die for man to live."

But it turns out that the late-night comic is no icon of rationality himself. In fact, he is a fervent advocate of pseudoscience. The night before his performance on Conan O'Brien, Mr. Maher told David Letterman -- a quintuple bypass survivor -- to stop taking the pills that his doctor had prescribed for him. He proudly stated that he didn't accept Western medicine. On his HBO show in 2005, Mr. Maher said: "I don't believe in vaccination. . . . Another theory that I think is flawed, that we go by the Louis Pasteur [germ] theory." He has told CNN's Larry King that he won't take aspirin because he believes it is lethal and that he doesn't even believe the Salk vaccine eradicated polio.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Music Video of the Week

Derek Webb - "Savior on Capitol Hill"

Friday, October 3, 2008

Some of the Best Criticism You Can Get

Tim Challies posted this on facebook:

Here is just a small portion from a long email in which a reader of my blog took issue with my review of The Shack. In doing so, she paid me what I consider a great compliment.

*****

"I guess I just feel that when I read your website about the shack I saw you sitting at a table with the bible on one side and the shack on the other. Reading both at the same time and if it didn’t say it like the bible then it is a wrong message."

The is the best criticism a christian book reviewer could possibly hope for. Great job, Tim.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Job - John Piper

John Piper has released a new book simply called Job. It is illustrated with very moving pictures and features Piper's poetry based on the book of Job. You can buy the book and/or listen to Piper's reading of the poem here. Also, they put together a very powerful trailer with Piper reading clips from the poem along with some gripping images:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lecrae - Rebel

Lecrae's latest album, Rebel, dropped yesterday. Here's part of an interview with the Resurgence (the whole interview is worth the listen):

The inspiration for the album was largely realizing my own need for a biblical worldview. As I would navigate through arts, economics, politics, media, and culture as a whole I'd wrestle with a dichotomy between sacred and secular all the time. I'd either embrace aspects of secularism or the other extreme be very separatist in my views. I began read and listen to stuff by D.A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Francis Schaeffer, and taking another look at Genesis, Daniel, and Romans and I found a better grid to see the world through.

Over time I've worked to see Urban culture through a biblical lens and it's really helped. So I wanted to share with the listener the need to take a stand for Christ in culture yet still be a blessing and cultivator for the culture.

This is one of the better albums I've heard in a long time (and probably the best hip-hop album I've ever heard). It is truly amazing how Lecrae can take deep, biblical truths and not only put them into rhyme form with amazing beats, but make that theology real (like when he tackles "Indwelling Sin" or dealing with the guilt and shame of sin on "Desperate"). Seriously, if you at all enjoy the genre of hip-hop (the sound, not what's talked about in secular hip-hop), get this album.

Here's the first track of the album, "Rebel Intro," which has a clip from a Mark Driscoll sermon about how Jesus was a rebel and how we need to rebel against the norms in the culture today.

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