Wednesday, March 31, 2004

77 Wallpaper

Need some inspiring wallpaper for your computer? Jon has some lovely Christian themes.

I hadn't looked at Jon's web site for over two years, since my father died. Jon is a young man with congestive heart failure, and a very interesting web site about that disease. He has recently had great success on the Dr. Atkins diet.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

76 Christian Critics

Carl Manthey-Zorn was born in Sterup, Schleswig, Germany in 1846. He was a graduate of the Leipzig Mission Institute in 1870 and served as a missionary of the Leipzig Mission to India (1871-1876). He left the Leipzig Mission after theological differences (the church survived) and came to America, where he served as a pastor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (1876-1881), and in Cleveland, Ohio at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, the second oldest Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Ohio (1881-1911).

He was a prolific writer and it appears he wrote and preached in German. I picked up an English translation titled Questions on Christian Topics answered from the Word of God, for ten cents at a yard sale. He had some interesting things to say about trade unions, insurance companies, capitalism, fraternal lodges, churches that hold bazaars, charging interest, as well as fellowshipping and praying with “unorthodox” Christians.

I mention this author here only because of the current controversies surrounding “The Passion of the Christ” and the wide spread use of The Purpose Driven Life by many different denominations. Many Christians, conservative and liberal, Catholic and Protestant, are critical of this movie and Warren‘s book, claiming they are misleading or unbiblical, or pro-Catholic or anti-semitic, or insert tradition or advocate Marian worship, or in the case of the Warren book, uses bad translations (i.e., not the King James Version).

Manthey-Zorn was a Lutheran--Missouri Synod, although I don’t know if it was called that in 1913 (I‘m not a pre-natal Lutheran). He describes in his book churches that are “unorthodox,”--those that teach false doctrines. These are, in Zorn’s catalog of failures, The Roman Catholic Church, The Greek Catholic Church, and all branches of the Reformed Church (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Methodist and Baptist by his count). In his criticism of other Lutherans, he often detects creeping Calvinism.

Among Lutherans, he calls the state churches of Germany, “sad.” Listing the American synods of that time, he says The General Synod was a mess because it used the word “contained” in declaring the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures; The United Synod of the South was tolerating false doctrines; The General Council opened her pulpits to preachers of unorthodox sects; The Ohio Synod assumed a Lutheran coloring by declaring harmony with the Missouri Synod, but weakened its position by saying God has met us half-way, and where can you find that in the Bible; The Iowa Synod was sticking with Ohio and thus teaching that faith in Christ is not solely and entirely due to the grace of God; The Buffalo Synod was leaning toward popery and ordination to the ministry, and was so far afield it almost wasn‘t worth discussing.

For Manthey-Zorn, finding an orthodox, true believing church was like herding cats, as it is for many of Gibson’s and Warren’s critics.

Monday, March 29, 2004

75 Affordable Housing

I'm a big fan of Habitat for Humanity International and receive its bimonthly publication Habitat World which updates donors on projects, volunteers, shelter needs world wide and makes appeals for more funding.

Although I agree that affordable housing for the very low income family is scarce, I don't think it is helpful to cite the average house price in the US as $224,000 in 2004. There is in many cities housing in the $60-$100,000 range, and in small towns and rural area the prices are even lower. I'm sure there are programs by churches, community groups and government loans to help people buy in these areas--at least I hope there are.

Eventually we will resell to a relative a home we just bought. It is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch for under $117,000 in a good school district, a lovely neighborhood, with parks and shopping, close to free-way access within 5 miles of his employment. Our first priority was location, second price, and third, it couldn't be a fixer-upper. When talking about affordable housing, quoting an average or a median price isn't helpful, especially if it is a first home for the family, a first experience paying a mortgage and keeping property in good repair.

Our first home was a 50 year old duplex in a neighborhood on its way down, not up. The zoning was light commercial, we had no garage, the yard was weeds, and the basement floor had never been poured except where the furnace stood--it was dirt.

My great grandfather inherited his mother's land in Tennessee, sold it and moved to Illinois with his large family. Years later my great grandmother loaned my father money to buy his first home, and he and my mother rented out the extra bedroom to boarders. Twenty five years later my Dad loaned us the money for a downpayment on our duplex, and the renters paid our mortgage and taxes. We'd like to pass along the help we were given which actually was put in motion over 100 years ago. But we'll have to pass on that "average priced" American house.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

74 What Wesley Said

There is a lot of Calvin in Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, in the chapters on the sovereignty of God, but he includes John Wesley in the sections on service and how it glorifies a sovereign God. I love this quote on p. 259 (uncited):
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."

Saturday, March 27, 2004

73 My new blog

My occasional hobby for 30 years has been collecting first or premiere issue magazines and journals. I decided to create a blog so I could write about them. The reasons publishers and editors give for start ups are fascinating. LowCarb Living (January/February 2004) developed out of the personal diet of the publisher. Journal of the Spiritual Counterfiets Project came about because the newsletter had too many pages. So drop by "In the Beginning" and take a look. Today's entry is on SCP Journal, which tracks cults, how it got its start back in 1977 and what is happening today in that organization.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

72 My Dad

Today March 24 is my father's birthday. He was born in 1913 and died in 2002. I call this poem "A child's eye view."
My Daddy drove a bright red truck,
he smelled like gasoline.
When I turned up my nose, he’d laugh,
“Smells just like money green.”

My Daddy had a stern deep voice
he used when he was mad.
When I would hear that tone from him
I’d feel both scared and sad.

My Daddy hid a secret huge
he seemed afraid to tell,
So late in life I asked him, “Dad,
are you afraid of Hell?”

“I’ve asked so many times,” he said
“ ‘Jesus, be real to me,’
but I’ve never felt assurance--
salvation I don’t see.”

“Dad, listen to your daughter, it’s
not what you see and feel,
Our faith is in Lord Jesus’ work--
the only thing that’s real.”

“Just thank Him now that long ago
He heard your every plea,
and felt what you’re supposed to feel,
and saw what you can’t see.”

Dad died when he was eighty nine,
I cannot hear his voice.
Today I thank my Father God--
my father heard the choice.

March 24, 1913 - May 18, 2002

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

71 Dear Pete

Congratulations on having the Broad Street Presbyterian project written up in the Columbus Dispatch. I’ve looked at your web site, read the history of your firm, and am thrilled you are doing so well.

But Pete, I’m a little concerned about that first line in the article. “Broad Street Presbyterian has 37 restrooms. . .” and the intention, if the writer got this right, is to consolidate them into one area?

Pete, I know a little about restrooms in churches. I’m a member of PSALM (potty sign and light ministry) at our church. No one at my church listens to me, but not to worry, my advice is still good.
1) Don’t consolidate too much. Elderly members and mothers with toddlers will want easily available restrooms. They need to be near entrances, classrooms, recreation areas, and dining areas.
2) Don’t rely on “can” lights. If you must use them, install small incandescent wall lamps over each stall like Panera‘s. Having every third stall bathed in eery dim light is not good stewardship.
3) Don’t install the toilet paper dispensers so low to the floor that people have to bend over to tear off a piece. Eventually the toilet paper is dragging on the floor and water from the toilets is splashing, if you get my drift.
4) Don’t install the paper towel dispensers so high that children can’t reach them, or spec a brand that can be packed so tightly you develop rotator cuff problems using them.
5) Needless to say, don’t spec those awful hot air hand dryers--women hate them, and they are very unsanitary, blowing urine and fecal matter around. You can't mop up water, wipe a child's face, or dab at the chicken salad you spilled on your shirt with those dryers.
6) Look for soap dispensers that won’t dribble all over the counters.
7) Don’t make all the toilets low enough for 5 year olds so that all the adults head for the handicapped stalls.
8) Restroom stalls need to accomodate people larger than a size 2. Take a look at the BMI of the average member, and work from that scale.
And Pete, if anyone tells you churches don’t need separate coat rooms anymore, I invite you to stop by ours any Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and look at the jumbled, ugly mess that idea causes.

My love to the wife and kids.


Thursday, March 18, 2004

70 Vigilantes and Pedophilia

Perverted Justice, a website run by vigilantes across the United States who troll regional chat rooms hunting for would-be pedophiles, is featured in Wired Magazine. “[It] has made more than 600 busts since it was formed in July 2002. The group's volunteers pose as kids in chat rooms, and when an adult engages them in sexual banter, they publish the person's personal data on the site so the group's supporters can harass the adult by phone and e-mail.”

“The group says it's protecting children from sexual predators, but critics say its aggressive tactics seldom lead to convictions.”

Maybe the volunteers figure these creeps won’t get the “justice” they deserve going through the legal system?

“In recent months, the group has worked with television stations in eight cities across the nation to bust men on camera. In these media busts, Perverted Justice directs groups of men to a rented home in a residential area for what they believe will be a tryst with an adolescent girl; instead the men are greeted by a camera crew and a reporter sticking a microphone in their faces. In February, 16 men showed up for such a sting in Missouri and 20 showed up in Detroit.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

69 “Will the Christian Church survive?”

This the title of a 1942 article in the Atlantic Monthly. You could lift entire paragraphs and insert them in any news story or commentary about the Christian church today in war time and people might not notice the date. For instance:
“There was no country in the whole world, in the year before the war broke, in which the Christian Church had for years been expected or permitted to exert a controlling or even a largely critical influence on education, politics, industry, the arts, marriage and divorce. These are life's chief activities. In respect to every one of them, modern man had become used to ignore what might be the will of God for him, to substitute a desired self-expression for an attempt to do that will; and in respect to them all, he assumed his own entire competence. This same self-centeredness and self-confidence are also characteristic of the programs now variously offered for the shaping of things to come. Without a complete rediscovery of its own function, the Church is hardly likely to matter any more tomorrow than it mattered yesterday or than it matters at the moment, which is just about not at all.”
However, a complete reading of the article reveals a misunderstanding of Christ’s purpose. The author, Bernard Iddings Bell, considered a “prophet” in the 1930s, worked the Chautauqua circuit and was the author of 18 books (then). There is a faculty chair named for him in a religion program at Bard College. He wrote and lectured extensively on American culture and in the 1950s he wrote about the failure of progressive education, so you can find him quoted everywhere on many topics.

Bell’s Atlantic article offers seven moral and ethical teachings of Jesus, then says that “these ethical convictions are clear in the New Testament, recognized by reputable Christian theologians. . . In accordance with these teachings, Jesus lived. It was because He proclaimed them that He was crucified.”

1) Life’s chief end is to know God; 2) all people regardless of race or ethnicity were meant to live together in harmony; 3) we have an obligation to take care of the less fortunate--servanthood is more pleasing to God than positions of power; 4) love your enemies; 5) live each day as though it is the last and do what is right; 6) it is more important for children to be loved than mothers and fathers; 7) riches are immoral if that is your final security.

The church, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish, (he was a popular lecturer for all faiths in many countries) had lost its mission to renounce and denounce he said. He saw small glimmers of hope on the horizon--Catholic Social Action, efforts by the Anglicans and Episcopalians [alludes to a 1940 conference], and . . .“The Federal Council of Churches and its emerging child, the World Council of Churches, show signs of understanding the revolutionary character of the Christian morality.”

He had the root of the problem correct--“For years that world has been hearing and heeding the assured and strident cries of the hawkers of pottage, while the trumpets of God have sounded faint, obscure, confused,” but his faith in ecumenism and social action certainly falls flat today as we look back over the bloody, tired 20th century, and the new culture wars of terrorism and religious conflict of the 21st century.

Tim Bednar of Moxy Turtle thinks this is a wonderful article with a message for today (Jan. 3, 2004). I disagree. Bednar misses the crux (no pun intended) of Bell’s article--that Jesus died because his moral and ethical teachings offended the powerful, and that is what the church isn’t proclaiming.

After WWII the church was further weakened by the very things Bell recommended--more social action, more ecumenism, and more emphasis on moral teachings. Today we have dead and dying main line Protestant churches, not only NOT heeding the message of the cross about personal repentence and faith in Christ, but charging full steam ahead with the cultural agenda of the day, and a Catholic church embroiled in scandals of leadership. All the things wrong with our culture and the church in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s when Bell’s message was so popular and energized so many Christian leaders, are still true today.

Yet, I doubt that a single person ever came to saving faith listening to him.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

68 Now who's Wacko?

We watched Andy Rooney Sunday night. He displayed the huge stack of e-mail and letters he received from the critique he did of Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ. About 30,000 he estimated. He said Mel was "wacko," which says a lot about his opinion of those of us who saw and liked the movie.

Does Andy see any problem with Andy? No. He thinks getting blasted for his opinion by 30,000 viewers indicates "how divided our country is." He's so self-centered he doesn't think it says anything about him. Now that's wacko.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

67 10 great things about America

Dinesh D'Souza writes about the 10 great things about America at his web site. Take along a tissue when you visit. Here's just one:

"America has found a solution to the problem of religious and ethnic conflict that continues to divide and terrorize much of the world: Visitors to places like New York are amazed to see the way in which Serbs and Croatians, Sikhs and Hindus, Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, Jews and Palestinians, all seem to work and live together in harmony. How is this possible when these same groups are spearing each other and burning each other’s homes in so many places in the world?

The American answer is twofold. First, separate the spheres of religion and government so that no religion is given official preference but all are free to practice their faith as they wish. Second, do not extend rights to racial or ethnic groups but only to individuals; in this way, all are equal in the eyes of the law, opportunity is open to anyone who can take advantage of it, and everybody who embraces the American way of life can “become American.”

Of course there are exceptions to these core principles, even in America. Racial preferences are one such exception, which explains why they are controversial. But in general America is the only country in the world that extends full membership to outsiders. The typical American could come to India, live for 40 years, and take Indian citizenship. But he could not “become Indian.” He wouldn’t see himself that way, nor would most Indians see him that way. In America, by contrast, hundreds of millions have come from far-flung shores and over time they, or at least their children, have in a profound and full sense “become American.” "

And it took an immigrant to tell us.

Friday, March 12, 2004

66 Children's Art

On March 20 our Visual Arts Ministry is going to hang a children's art show--we've cut mats and adhered the art to foam core for about 120 projects for the children of Highland Elementary School in the Hilltop area of Columbus. And I use the term "we" loosely--my husband cut all the mats, and another member of the ministry cut and affixed the foam core. The school has supplied labels with the name, age and grade of each child.

I am really excited about this show. I haven't seen every piece, only the ones that were propped up in our living room in mid-project. But they represent some of the best art I've ever seen by children, and I'm trying to figure out why kids who are poor, may not have intact families, probably didn't go to pre-school, and have little home enrichment or encouragement, can do such a great job with color and design.

The show opens Sunday, March 21, 2004, at the Church at Mill Run, 3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, OH 43026, on the second level.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

65 Christian music

At we have no control over the advertisements decorating the top of the page, but they are fairly unobtrusive. Because I've mentioned Rick Warren's book several times, advertisements for the book and his church appear, so today I clicked on Saddleback, the name of his church. It has a radio feature--modern praise stuff, a tad boring for someone my age. So after listening to 2 or 3 of the songs, I went to the Google window and typed in "Christian hymns radio" and found "Old Fashioned Christian Radio." Actually, they aren't that old--at least I've heard some that were popular in the 70s, like "Easter Song" by Second Chapter of Acts, one of my all time favorites. These are what I've just heard--good variety, so I'm just leaving it on.
  • Voices of Praise, "Lay up your Treasure"
  • Tom Fellke and Billy Ray Hearn, "Worship the Lamb"
  • Angie Zachary, "Then Jesus Came"
  • Fred Bock, organist, "Amazing Grace"
  • Johnathan and Nathan Reed (piano & violin) "It is well"
  • Paul Dempsey, "Oh brother be faithful"

    I'm listening on high band, but there is a low band option, too. There is a list of the top 20 hymns which is determined by whether listeners leave the station while these songs are played. Top for NOT leaving is 16 singing men, "Because he lives." Walking away to unload the dishwasher or clean toilets is not detected as long as you keep the computer set for this URL.
  • 64 Modern Baal Worship

    Modern Baal Worship!
    Why is it that Christians actively worship professional base-baal, basket-baal, foot-baal; when these are the very tools that Satan has used to keep people out of the House of God on Sunday? "Vanity of vanities saith the preacher..." We need to clean up our homes, our pulpits, our churches and then we can pray to Heaven and God will heal our land!
    Seen in Fair Dinkum #62 (Bro Johnny, USA) (Note: "Baal" was an idol of the pagan Canaanites.)

    On the other hand, ball games are just about the only safe thing to watch on TV, or were until Janet Jackson.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    63 Purpose Driven Panera's

    Five days a week I have my morning coffee at Panera's Bread, read three newspapers, and enjoy a warm fire and classical music. Two days a week I enjoy my coffee at Caribou where I used to stop when I worked at the university and chat with the folks I know there. After a period of time, you develop a nodding acquaintance with the people passing through. A few weeks ago a guy I met there came over and fixed my computer problem.

    I often take along my latest copy of American Artist or Wired, to read if the papers are late or the news is boring. Some days I carry in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

    I don't know how useful the book is for evangelizing, but it certainly is an aid for starting up conversations with strangers and finding new Christians friends when I have it on my table while I reading the paper.

    I've met the counter person, Chris, an OSU student and a Baptist (see #30) with whom I then had discussions on The Passion; a man who works at McConnell Heart, a Presbyterian, carried his into the Bethel Rd. store Tuesday and we discussed the book; a super-enthusiastic, athletic father who raves about his 8 year old's sports activities told me he got a copy from his family for Christmas; a member of my church stopped at the table to talk about the book; and today a school teacher from a vo-tech school stopped at the table to talk about the book.

    A high carb, high purpose bakery.

    Sunday, March 07, 2004

    62 Romans 12:4-5

    Our memory verse for today, which we’ve been singing the past two Sundays to help with memorization, and which goes along with our study of “The Purpose Driven Life” is Romans 12:4-5.

    “Just as each of us has a gender and we don’t function the same,
    So in Christ we who are guys form one body,
    and each gal belongs to those members who look like her.”

    Just kidding. That’s my very own Church of the Acronym paraphrase, a living out of God’s Word in how we structure our church. Our “leadership team” is 100% male, 13 men--pastors, finance, technology, worship, programming, and board president. Our paid clerical, administrative staff, and education directors are probably about 90% female. I think the building manager and custodians are males along with all our musicians, part-time pastors, and miscellaneous positions. I don’t have the most recent directory, but including our 4 pastors we have 16 women and 24 men on our church staff. That is a body count; I have no idea what the FTE is.

    However, when it comes to the programs and ministries that bring people into the church, those are overwhelmingly run by women. Our Women of the Word programming reaches hundreds of women every week through carefully planned Bible studies offered many different days and times. Our Vacation Bible School in June attracts about 2,500 children and their families, and may be the single biggest program that introduces new people to the church. Next to VBS, the aerobics classes are probably the second most effective evangelizing tool we have, and it is run quietly and effectively many times a week by a dedicated group of strong, athletic women believers.

    The women of the church do not seem to object to this arrangement. I occasionally hear grumbling, but they know that the male leadership is what keeps attracting men to the church. As in many large, successful Protestant churches, the women run a “parachurch” inside, rather than along side, the primary church structure, but below the radar. They allow the men to get together for running things they aren‘t particularly interested in, and then go off and do their own thing. This division of labor works well in suburbia.

    Saturday, March 06, 2004

    61 Revising the hymnbook--12 suggestions

    If your group is considering a new hymnbook or revision of a hymnbook, you might take a look at the Open Letter to the New Worship Hymn Resources of the ELCA by Gracia Grindal, Professor of Rhetoric, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. She makes twelve strong points concerning hymnbooks revision, and specifically addresses concerns for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

    Prof. Grindal points out that The New Worship Resources Committee of the ELCA has in its Renewing Worship Songbook taken a narrow view on inclusive language for God representing only one perspective. In an attempt to remove masculine terms, the committee has substituted “Creator” for “Father” and “God” for “Lord.” Grindal supports language that would include both women and men in the hymns, but thinks the battle over the sex of God had been settled nearly 20 years ago, and the committee is ignoring that this is an attempt to change the Christian faith.

    She also points out that some proposed hymn revisions are so different, they need to be listed as new hymns, and that the quality of the poetry is troubling. The hymn selections are parochial in the sense contemporary hymns are scarce, but also the Scandinavian Lutheran traditions were left out, favoring the German and English hymns. Grindal complains that there are too many “directional and devotional” hymns and too few homiletical and Biblical hymns.

    Finally, she says their timing is terrible. “The making of a hymnal is a huge task. It takes lots of work, heaps of money, and no small amount of courage. That the ELCA would embark on this project while it is embroiled in issues on ministry and sexuality is ill advised. Once again, the work was almost all done before the materials were released for comment.”

    And doesn’t that seem to be a consistent theme, regardless of where you go to church?

    Friday, March 05, 2004

    60 Unbelievable stupidity in my profession

    There is an article this month in the Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol.30, no.4, that proposes:

    "Pornography has become part of mainstream culture. As such, it has become a subject of academic research, and this, in turn, has implications for university libraries. Focusing on adult Internet pornography, this study suggests that academic libraries should provide access to adult pornographic Web sites by including them in their online catalogs."

    As if funding wasn't tough enough at tax supported institutions! And how about those law suits for harassment the libraries will get from "forcing" staff to do this work. When I chose to do research on private libraries, I was on my own. It was not considered "academic" enough for funding. I managed. Got published and promoted. Porn afficionados can do the same. It's not like they need a quality filter of a live librarian.

    Genealogy is also mainstream and is next to pornography in internet popularity, and I'm willing to bet academic libraries aren't rushing out to build their genealogy collections.

    The authors are Canadian.

    Thursday, March 04, 2004

    59 Two Jesuses, please

    One Saturday morning at a coffee shop (not the one here, but the one in Bassett's IGA near Lake Erie) a man strides up to the counter, sits down and orders "two Jesuses." I have my nose buried in a book, but that order did interrupt my train of thought. Two? You order this at a coffee shop? What sort of a kook is this?

    The waitress starts to prepare the order, but I couldn't see what she was doing. Then he proceeds to tell the waitress, and anyone else close by, that he had driven in from Cleveland, and found a lot of snow driving through urine. That one I could figure out. Huron, Ohio is between Cleveland and the coffee shop, I had scraped snow off my windshield, so I figured he'd driven through Huron on his way to get a cup of coffee in a snow squall.

    I looked at the posted menu. Latte. Breakfast pizza. Hot chocolate. Flavored coffees. Muffins. No Jesus. Finally I figured it out. He'd ordered TWO CHEESES (probably a breakfast sandwich on a bun or bagel or muffin).

    58 Lenten recipe

  • Take marshmallow Peeps
  • Place in microwave oven
  • Turn on High for approximately 20 seconds or less.
  • Watch the Peeps grow to double their normal size
  • Turn microwave off and watch Peeps shrink back to normal size.
  • Don't step away. Stay to watch the show.
  • Wednesday, March 03, 2004

    57 Letter to the critics

    In USAToday letters to the editor, Roger Louden of Florida wrote a letter to the film critics who panned the Passion. He wrote, "This movie is for the demographic group that Hollywood has forgotten. It is ours. Don't tell us how to perceive it. If you don't like it--I can't wait to say this--watch something else!"

    Tuesday, March 02, 2004

    56 Evolution and bagels

    As I was slicing an asagio cheese bagel to drop into the toaster so that its warmth would melt the margarine I planned to slather, I was struck by the fact that this bagel, about double the size of the bagels of the 1970s, also had no hole. Evolution. A fat, cheesy, supersized bagel with no hole.

    And that’s about as far as I’ll go in support of evolutionary theory. I haven’t believed in evolution for over 30 years, and even in school where it was taught as “fact,“ knew it just well enough to make my way through my biology, physics and chemistry courses. Even so, I’ve only recently become a “six day creationist.” The reasons I never really accepted evolutionary theory were completely practical, not biblical--I didn’t believe there had been enough time, using any dating system, for all the complex changes to evolve, say, a horse from a lower, smaller 3 toed equine creature, let alone all the bees and the flowers to get on the same time cycle to ensure their continuation. Any changes I’d seen in animals and humans (and also in society and history) never showed development to a higher level, only entropy, deformity and decay.

    Our church group (called SALT, Serving and Learning Together) had a guest, an engineer from my husband’s Wednesday morning church group, speak to us about his “conversion” from a conformist to a creationist. He pointed out various errors in the teaching of science, scientific facts that are never taught to school children, and presented a variety of ordinary things in his large basket of models ranging from a candle to a hard drive to a dried sunflower. With barely an hour to speak and many interruptions, he had little time to present his case, and even though speaking to conservative Christians, he wasn’t preaching to the choir.

    This isn’t a Christian vs. non-believer disagreement, but “young earth” and “old earth” adherents among Christians. And it isn’t new. I have a 25 year old book on my shelf, “How to think about evolution and other Bible-science controversies,” by L. Duane Thurman (InterVarsity, 1977). The author examines not only evolution, but all the creationist theories--gap theory, flood theory, progressive creation and revelatory day theory. Obviously, people who believe in the saving work of Christ and the breaking through of the supernatural into this world, have honest, thoughtful differences in their interpretation of the Bible‘s account of creation.

    As for me, I’m going to accept what the Bible says about it--that God created all the universe in six 24-hour days, that at the end of creation, he pronounced it good and complete and rested on the seventh literal day (i.e., didn‘t rest for eons). That in those six days, no death or sin had occurred. That whatever was created had the appearance of age, including the first man and woman, who were old enough to reason, had language, who had responsibilities and could procreate from their first day on earth. If you start messing with it in Genesis, it just gets more and more tangled as you go along, and you have to keep making excuses for God, and evolving some very basic theological concepts, like sin and grace.

    Bagels can evolve. I’ll accept God’s way.

    Monday, March 01, 2004

    55 Amazing grace--on the Internet

    The Internet never ceases to amaze me. I was looking at a listing for sites on home schooling prepared by Google, and came across one called Eclectic Homeschool Online. It specifically targets the needs of Christians. I followed a link for Bible study, for something called the Blue Letter Bible. What a handy little site. You can check any verse or phrase and get hymns (and listen to the music), maps, charts, outlines, timelines, concordance, dictionary, and alternate translations, including the Latin Vulgate.