5.30.2006

On Abortion

Enabling Conversation
A frame of Reference for Christians Who Disagree


Following are excerpts from my 10 page ethics paper.

Introduction
Presently, the topic of abortion and embryonic research are highly divisive. In the broader discussion, issues in world view hamper our ability to communicate. Often decisions about women’s rights or politics cloud our ability to think clearly about the beginning of life. Among Christians, assumptions about theological perspectives and biblical exegesis make their way into our judgment haphazardly and with little reflection, but once adopted are nearly impossible to dislodge. What I would like to do is offer a way forward for those who may disagree about the legality of abortion, the ethics of it, and the ways the discussion should be framed, but who agree on some broad principles. Those who can in any small way agree with my apriori assumptions, I hope will find the following template useful.

Some of the quotes I made use of:

Stevens, Supreme Court Justice
The State’s interests in the protection of an embryo – even if that interest is defined as “protecting those who will be citizens” – increases progressively and dramatically as the organisms capacity to feel pain, to experience pleasure, to survive and to react to its surroundings increases day by day. The development of a fetus -- and pregnancy itself -- are not static conditions, and the assertion that the government's interest is static simply ignores this reality.1

Beckwith
It is apparent then that the main dispute in the abortion debate does not involve different values, but disagreement about both the application of these values and the truth of certain facts. The abortion rights advocate does not deny that human beings have a fundamental right to life. He just believes that this right to life does not extend to the unborn...and their existence demands that another is asked to make significant non-obligatory sacrifices. The pro-life advocate does not deny that human persons have the liberty to make choices… He believes this liberty does not entail the right to choose abortion since such a choice conflicts with the life, liberty and interests of another.2

Gushee
Both full-personhood and potential-personhood views---and a variety of options that exist along a spectrum between them---demand that Christian disciples practice the welcoming and nurturing of human life. Likewise, a just society extends its respect and protection to the un-born, developing in complete vulnerability in their mothers’ womb. The fetus is certainly a form of life; it is a form of human life; it is (at least) developing into a human person. The burden of proof is certainly on anyone who would intervene it its life in order to destroy it. (italics mine)3

Conclusion
In our present state, the guardian has all the power. It is ultimately him or her that will make the decision regardless of what we say here. By putting the burden of proof on the guardian, I think I have better balanced the equation. It is not up to the being that has no voice, to prove their value or their worth. These things are inherent in their being. Having balanced the equation by putting the burden of proof for the destruction of fetal life on the guardian, I think we must be careful not to overbalance the equation, putting men and women in a place where they feel as if they can not make any decisions for fear of committing a grave and horrendous sin that no one would understand. We live in a sinful world. One in which we cannot depend too heavily on textbook ethics or theology to make our decisions for us in advance, nor on how we ‘feel’ at the moment, as if we lived in a vacuum. We must make our decisions prayerfully before an awesome God, weighing all factors.

I believe I have out lined a way for us to discuss our differences. I also hope that I have given us a template to lay over our real world decision making. By keeping this template in mind, we will all be able to make wiser, more ethical decisions, and we will be able to discuss our differences from a mutual frame of reference.

Though we do not agree on how one is to weigh the various competing rights, by keeping the interest’s of all relevant parties in mind, not just one side or another, we will live more graceful and peaceful lives.

Notes
1. Thornburgh, p. 778
2. Beckwith, p. 27
3. Stassen, p. 224

Bibliography
Baird, Robert M., and Stuart E. Rosenbaum, Ed. The Ethics of Abortion. Rev.. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books,
1993.

Beckwith, Francis J. Politically Correct Death: Answering Arguments For Abortion Rights. Grand Rapids MI:
Baker Books, 1993.

O'Rourke, Kevin D., and Philip Boyle. Medical Ethics: Sources of Catholic Teaching. 3rd ed. Washington D.C.:
Georgetown University Press, 1999.

Stassen, Glen H., and David P. Gushee. Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context. Downers
Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.

Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986)

Somewhat Naughty or Lousy Sense of Humor?

So that post two spots down, What I Learned in Ethics Class, my wife tells me it is officially not funny. I thought it was stinking hilarious (and kind of makes a point) but she says no. She is probably right, but before I admit defeet to the great one, lets put this to a vote.

Do I have:

A) A sophisticated sense of humor that is somewhat naughty.

B) A lousy sense of humor made worse by too much time in Fuller’s library.

Realise that this is a him vs. her battle, so guys, I need you on this one.

; )

5.28.2006

Happy Memorial Day

Another thing I’ll miss about Cali; on the spur of the moment we have decided to head up the coast for the night. I don’t know what your doing tomorrow, but I’ll be studying on the beach.

Happy Memorial Day

...and O' yah, if you get a chance, between your beer and your BBQ, don't forget why were taking the day off.

5.25.2006

What I learned in ethics class.

So that previous post mentioned double effect and unintended consequences. Let me illustrate what that means.

If you ever want to kill someone, first off, don't. Rather, kill the fly on their forehead with a bullet from your gun. (you may have to put a dead fly up there, but don't tell anyone.) I'm not sure precisely what would happen if you did kill a fly on a forehead with a bullet from a gun, but if anything negative happens, that's just unintended consequences, And one other thing, when the police come knocking, make sure you stick with your story about your intention of saving them from the deadily viruses deposited by that fly.

(this is just a joke people, don't have a cow... or call the ATF, although if you don't and something happens, and the police want to blame you... that's right, unintended concequenses... see your catching on.)

A little rant, and a good laugh

A couple things here. One, I really don’t like “feel-good” fwd’s, or most of the political one’s that are usually just half truths. I never trust them and I don’t have time to vet them.

But here is what I really don’t like: “Funny how we forward jokes to our whole address list, but are very careful who we pass e-mails that mention Jesus on to” or “pass this on to ten people you love, including the person who forwarded this to you to let them know how much you love them” How bout not. If you don’t know I love you already, I probably don’t. And the Jesus one’s, believe me, when ever I see that, I delete it, especially if it has that verse about if your ashamed of Jesus he will be ashamed of you. I will not have my arm twisted by a forward. Besides, if I think they are thoroughly annoying, how is someone who doesn’t care about our stupid evangelical sub-culture going to feel? I can count on one hand the number of fwd’s I’ve passed on.

Now that I've had my little tizzy, here is what I don’t mind getting forwarded, jokes.
And speaking of which, here is a good one.


THE GUYS' RULES

AT LAST A GUY HAS TAKEN THE TIME TO WRITE THIS ALL DOWN FINALLY , THE GUYS' SIDE OF THE STORY.

WE ALWAYS HEAR "THE RULES " FROM THE FEMALE SIDE. NOW HERE ARE THE RULES FROM THE MALE SIDE. THESE ARE OUR RULES!
PLEASE NOTE.. THESE ARE ALL NUMBERED "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. MEN ARE NOT MIND READERS.

1. LEARN TO WORK THE TOILET SEAT.
YOU'RE A BIG GIRL. IF IT'S UP, PUT IT DOWN.
WE NEED IT UP, YOU NEED IT DOWN.
YOU DON'T HEAR US COMPLAINING ABOUT YOU LEAVING IT DOWN.

1. SUNDAY SPORTS. IT'S LIKE THE FULL MOON
OR THE CHANGING OF THE TIDES.
LET IT BE.

1. SHOPPING IS NOT A SPORT.
AND NO, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO THINK OF IT THAT WAY.

1. CRYING IS BLACKMAIL.

1. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.
LET US BE CLEAR ON THIS ONE:
SUBTLE HINTS DO NOT WORK!
STRONG HINTS DO NOT WORK!
OBVIOUS HINTS DO NOT WORK!
JUST SAY IT!

1. YES AND NO ARE perfectly ACCEPTABLE ANSWERS TO ALMOST EVERY QUESTION.

1. COME TO US WITH A PROBLEM ONLY IF YOU WANT HELP SOLVING IT. THAT'S WHAT WE DO. SYMPATHY IS WHAT YOUR GIRLFRIENDS ARE FOR.

1. A HEADACHE THAT LASTS FOR 17 MONTHS IS A problem . SEE A DOCTOR

1. ANYTHING WE SAID 6 MONTHS AGO IS INADMISSIBLE IN AN ARGUMENT. IN FACT, ALL COMMENTS BECOME NULL AND VOID AFTER 7 DAYS.

1. IF SOMETHING WE SAID CAN BE INTERPRETED TWO WAYS AND ONE OF THE WAYS MAKES YOU SAD OR ANGRY, WE MEANT THE OTHER ONE .

1. YOU CAN EITHER ASK US TO DO SOMETHING
OR TELL US HOW YOU WANT IT DONE.
NOT BOTH.
IF YOU ALREADY KNOW BEST HOW TO DO IT, JUST DO IT YOURSELF.

1. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS DID NOT NEED DIRECTIONS AND NEITHER DO WE.

1. ALL MEN SEE IN ONLY 16 COLORS, LIKE WINDOWS DEFAULT SETTINGS.
PEACH, FOR EXAMPLE, IS A FRUIT, NOT! A COLOR. PUMPKIN IS ALSO A FRUIT. WE HAVE no IDEA WHAT MAUVE IS.

1. IF IT ITCHES, IT WILL BE SCRATCHED.
WE DO THAT.

1. IF WE ASK WHAT IS WRONG AND YOU SAY "NOTHING," WE WILL ACT LIKE NOTHING'S WRONG.
WE KNOW YOU ARE LYING, BUT IT IS JUST NOT WORTH THE HASSLE.

1. IF YOU ASK A QUESTION YOU DON'T WANT AN ANSWER TO, EXPECT AN ANSWER YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR.

1. DON'T ASK US WHAT WE'RE THINKING AOBUT UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO DISCUSS SUCH TOPICS AS BASEBALL, THE SHOTGUN FORMATION OR GOLF.

1. YOU HAVE ENOUGH CLOTHES.

1. YOU HAVE TOO MANY SHOES.

1. I AM IN SHAPE. Round IS A SHAPE!

1. THANK YOU FOR READING THIS.
YES, I KNOW, I HAVE TO SLEEP ON THE COUCH TONIGHT;
BUT DID YOU KNOW MEN REALLY DON'T MIND THAT? IT'S LIKE CAMPING.

5.24.2006

How Do You Want to Die?

How do you want to die? That was the question in a film we watched in my Ethics of Death and Dying class.

Did you know that for many that are dying, the use of ever larger doses of morphine to control pain, expedites their death.

A basic principle of ethical reasoning is that like situations should be considered alike.

So consider two similar situations in which a drug is administered to alleviate suffering that eventually causes death. One is called morphine, the other is called physician assisted suicide.

Now yes I know about "double effect" and "unintended consequenses" and other viable arguments, but that's beside the point. The question is "how do you want to die?"

5.22.2006

On Illegal Immigration and World Economics

So my mother sent me a story about the children of illegal immigrants being ungrateful for the free breakfasts they get and things like that, which spured me on to write what follows. At first it was an e-mail addressed to her, but then I figured I would just post it, seeing as how I haven’t written anything about immigration on this blog. (If this is too long for you, go to the bottom to get my final take, though it won't make sense without everything in between)

Mother, the story is standard propaganda. Just as stories about immigrants dying of thirst in the desert is propaganda from the other side. They are probably true, but also probably inflated. More importantly, consider the source and the reason for writing. There are so many competing interests on the issue of immigration, I don’t know where to start.

First off this is about illegal immigration, not racist anti-immigration in general… and it’s also not. It’s also about the deficiencies of capitalism and our global economy. (Which doesn’t automatically mean I’m a communist, much as I might like to be.)

Just a few things. (Ok, so having finished this, I guess it’s not a few things.)

You can’t read the stories of Jesus and not care about the poor.

Christians need to have the primary identity in Christ, not in America, or Republicans, or Democrats or Kennedy, or Bush, or whatever.

As Christians we believe in both justice and mercy. Can anyone say “woman at the well”?

It is not about security. 9.11, Spain, London, these were all carried out by legal immigrants. So what if we have a terrorist watch list? The bosses just send a bomber over here that’s not on the list, and there is no shortage of those. They’ll fly over here on an American Airlines flight with all their paper work in order, walking right past the INS. Six months or six years later, they will carry out a terrorist attack. And if it is about security, I’ll grant you that we would be marginally safer with 10,000 more border guards and a fence. But at what price, and would it really work?

At the end of the day the border and illegal immigration is about money, more than anything else.

No matter how this goes, someone it going to benefit financially. The question is who. Arguably, more people benefit from the status quo than in any other arrangement. (Which in no way means that’s what I’m in favor of.) The illegal immigrants have moved up a few rungs so they are happy (not really, but…), even though their working conditions are terrible. Corporations make bigger profits, which translate into higher stock prices so the upper middle class and rich get richer, and some of those savings are passed on to everyone at the grocery store, so we all benefit.

Who isn’t happy? Poor Americans, who’s wages are driven lower. And the illegal immigrants, who though better off, are routinely taken advantage of.

That whole, “Americans don’t want to do these jobs” thing. They probably would if the price was right, but then you would be paying twice as much for your produce, and that is something we just can’t tolerate! Better that a few million families be split up, dad in the fields of the US, mom and kids back home than I pay even a nickel more for my oranges.

If you are barely making it here in the States as an illegal, and you can’t go to the authorities if you are abused, and your boss realizes this… think about it. How many illegal immigrant women have been raped, or men for that matter? Now you can say, “go home, and it won’t happen” but if we stop and think about it, we know this isn’t true. Many of these people would be in similar circumstances back home, different dynamics, but still poor and living hand to mouth.

(Jesus still cares about the poor, that hasn’t changed in the time it’s taken to read this far)

On this rule of law thing. Would those that advocate for “rule of law” do so if the law were open borders? Somehow, I don’t think so. Any anti-abortion advocate realizes that laws don’t necessarily represent morality or wisdom. That said, I’m not in favor of breaking them to do what is right. At least, that is my stance as an American. But if I was born a poor Guatemalan, you bet I would be headed to the US, consequences and “morality” be damned.

What this issue really highlights is our broken international finance and labor market/economy. This is about more than just the border between Mexico and the U.S. Of course its not broken by Wall Street’s standards, things are humming along just fine there. A few million, getting rich on the backs of the billions working our mines, fields, brothels (usually not by choice), and hotels; here and around the world. Again this is not just about illegal immigration between the US and Mexico, it’s about the haves and the have nots the world over.

The question for Christians is so what? There is a lot more I could say, but I’ll just leave it at this, focusing on the illegal immigration thing.

At the end of the day I’m in favor of helping the poor, no matter where they come from or what they have done. And I’m in favor of tougher illegal immigration standards, and I’m in favor of more legal immigrants, and I’m in favor of raising the standard of living for all of America’s poor. Full Stop. (as the British would say.)

5.21.2006

Playing the "Pastor" Card

So I played my “pastor” card for the first time today. In the past, my activities at church have been under the rubric of “intern” or “volunteer”. But today, accompanying two friends to the hospital, it was expedient to use the word pastor, and I must say, it sounded different. I can see how easy it is to get a big head with this title. “Pastor” is much like “Doctor”. It is a title that is earned, but so easily abused, not usually officially or on purpose, but abused none-the-less. I think it can all too easily lead to a type of pride that is wholly un-pastoral.

So more about this trip to the hospital.

If you remember from a previous post, I took a job at a recycling center to befriend the homeless. Well, low and behold that happened, and as a result, a married couple that is homeless started coming to our church. One thing led to another, and now they are trying to detox from alcohol. Well today when they came to church, she was in bad shape, going through alcohol withdrawl. Talking with her after the service, we found out just how bad it was, so Itook her to the emergency room. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing pastor, even taking the liberty of parking in the spot designated for pastors.

For the rest of the afternoon, I was Pastor David to the hospital staff, as I accompanied my friends through the affair of being admitted to the ER, getting an IV and all the rest. When we weren’t talking to nurses, and doctors, and social workers, we were talking about this or that, some of it “spiritual” stuff, and much of it not, though in reality, all of it being very much linked to the spiritual stuff. For the sake of privacy I won’t say more, but suffice it to say that this was the most pastoral I have ever been.

My reaction… hmm. By which I mean that in the past, even with doing this internship and all, it's kind of like I only play a pastor on TV, it's not really real. Today it was real. There was a sense in which I loved it, and there was a sense in which it gave me great hesitation. Why? That's an intricate thing I'm not sure I have wholly wrapped my own head around, but I think it has something to do with this, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." And this, "Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."

5.16.2006

Throw them all out

Between this: Democratic congressman denies bribery charges

And this: Kentucky governor indicted over hiring practices

And this: DeLay is facing criminal charges

I want a new class of elected officials.

Right now, in my mind, most elected officials are guility by association. I'm not saying everyone should be charged with something, nothing like that. But if half the people up for election got thrown out on their ear that would be fine with me. At a certain level, I don't care who replaces them, or what party their from. We need some new blood in there, making it clear to those that remain that they work for "we the people", and not for their own gain, or the special interests perpetually chattering in their ear!

As a side note, the fact that two of those people listed above are Republicans, and the fact the Abramoff scandal disproportianally affects Republicans, illistrates why I think evangelicals have made a grave mistake in associating themseleves so closely with the Republican party. There are plenty of aspects of both parties that are both Christ-like, and anti-Christ.

5.10.2006

Christ is the Only Answer

David Holt, the pastor of the church I grew up in, was interviewed by the local paper on the topic of salvation and conversion. He didn't lob in a softball, or try to water down what he thought, he put it right out there, saying Jesus is the only way to heaven.

As you can imagine, it illicited no shortage of responses when the story was posted on the LaCrosse Tribune's web site. I found the replies interesting, and helpful in gaging where people are at on this stuff.

I may have answered the questions slightly differently, but I have no problem with David pushing the envelope, no matter how politically incorect it may be. Sometimes I wonder if the final result is what we would like, but I'm not going to fault someone for going at it from this angle. We each have to answer for our own actions, so I applaud Pastor David for not shying away from his convictions. Below are some excerpts from both the article and the responses. You can read the entire article here.

Interview
Tribune: Can you explain to somebody who hasn’t had it what the saved experience, of coming forward in a church, is about?

Holt: You have to realize you’re a sinner. Recognize that God enables you to recognize you’re a sinner, and that the only way for you to be forgiven is through Jesus Christ...

Tribune: What’s your relationship with other religions?

Holt: I believe that all religions outside of Christianity are not true religions. He said the way leading to life is narrow, few will enter.

Tribune: And you think Jesus was talking about religion when he said those words?

Holt: Any attempt to get to God outside of Jesus is false. I ultimately believe that they’re Satan’s way of deceiving you...

Tribune: How do you relate to accepting a person who hasn’t been saved?

Holt: Truth and grace. Truth and compassion. Because where I think Evangelicals many times have been off base is sometimes truth without compassion, without grace.

Tribune: What happens inside of you when you speak with someone who hasn’t had the experience of being saved? What are you thinking? How are you feeling?

Holt: I’m praying that God opens their heart. Because until the Lord opens a person’s heart they won’t understand it’s possible to come to Christ. Salvation is a gift. God has to grant it. So I share with people. I pray inside. I’m praying, “God just help them understand.”

Tribune: So are you praying for me right now?

Holt: Yeah, I am. And I asked some people that knew we are meeting to pray.

Comments
"SIGH....why is it that so many people are arrogant enough to claim to have all the answers in life? Why is it that these people look down their noses at others just because they don't view the world in the same way? WHY is it that these people use false humility and patronizing comments while portraying themselves as "good people"??? WHY??? "

"It takes a lot of guts to proclaim you beliefs in the newspaper. I thank you Pastor Holt for your boldness in proclaiming Christ."

"SD, who are YOU to say what the truth is or what sin is? Who is Pastor Holt to say? NONE of us holds the monopoly on the "Truth". Opinions are like belly-buttons; we all have one. If there is a universal sin, it is being arrogant and narcissistic enough to tell others how they are to live and love. It is an even worse sin to claim Divine Right to do it. The worst bigots and hypocrites always claim to have God on their side. "

"I think it's more about spirituality than religion. You don't have to agree with Pastor Holt, but please respect his message. we as human beings need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. I, for one, do not subscribe to the evangelical school of thought, but I am not going to discount that it has merit for others. I can take what I hear from others and learn from it. "

"I am very much in agreement with Pastor Holt.. He speaks of how the Bible tells us to be saved. I know that that ruffles some feathers around here.. But in reality, that is why Christ Came.. He came to save us, but He also came to choose between the saved and unsaved.. That we all have a choice..

5.09.2006

On the Precedent of Warrantless Searches

Following the election of Lieberman and Clinton in 2008 to the presidency and vice presidency respectfully, and the ensuing liberalization of abortion law, a new spat of abortion doctor assassinations by ultra conservative Christians followed.

In the name of security, and citing his predecor, Lieberman authorized the FBI to conduct warrantless wiretaps and searches of thousands of evangelical organizations and churches, the overwhelming majority of whom unequivocally stood against the conduct of a very few on the far right who had committed these atrocities.


Think about it Bush lovers. What kind of precedent is your beloved president setting, and by whom and for what will the precident be used?

5.08.2006

What is the Role of Government?

When ever I study ethics, I’m left with a question: What is the role of government in all of this?

To answer this I’m setting up a directed study. Meaning I present a professor, in this Case Glen Stassen, with a list of questions I would like to answer, and together we make a reading list. (about 2000 pages) I do the readings, and the research, we talk about it, and a 30 page paper latter, I get a grade. In this case I’ll be doing it in conjunction with 2 other people.

In order to better understand the role of government and ethics in relationship to the church, the state, and the people, I will be doing an analysis of Western political thought since 1600, and its affect on America and Christianity in America. Specifically, I would like to focus on the practical implications for Christ followers in this paradigm.

Here are some questions I would like to answer during this directed study.

Regardless of what I think on a given issue, what is the role of the church and the state?

How should a Christian politician conduct himself?

How should a pastor/elder conduct herself in relationship to the State?

By what criteria should we decide when to advocate for legislation/judicial action?
And when should persuasion proceed or even negate legislation?

This last question is of particular interest to me.

In order to answer these questions we’ll be looking at some more theoretical stuff, the likes of Lock and such, and then seeking to apply what we have learned to the contemporary setting.

5.06.2006

Babylon Blog

Here are a few excerpts from an interesting blog I found today. It's called Babylon Blog, and is written by LtCol. Glen Morris, a Marine public affairs officer in Iraq.

The terminal, if it exists, is a small plywood room or a concrete bunker. When they check for weapons, they're making sure you HAVE them. From Combat Air Travel

I’m sure Irene will back me up on this, but one of the main reasons men go off to war is that it gives them an excellent reason to acquire lots of cool gear. From Guci Gear

No amount of schooling could prepare me for this. Meetings like this are difficult under any circumstances. But here were three different groups: local Iraqis, out-of-town Iraqi soldiers, and completely-out-of-country American Marines attempting to find some common ground. The non-attending members may have had the biggest input of all: the insurgents. From Sandbags, Sheiks, & Cigarettes

The God of War took away the sun today because of our feeble attempts to wage a counter-insurgency via Power Point briefs and endless Operational Planning Team meetings. From And Then It Started Raining Frogs

We loaded our weapons, chambered a round, and rolled out of the dam compound. For the first time since arriving in Iraq I was “leaving the wire. From A Dam Fine Place

The two buildings we occupy are old, dirty and dark because all of the windows are sandbagged. They weren’t designed to be lived in by 200 Marines, so there are bunk beds and offices crammed into every little room. Electricity, computer and communication wires run everywhere. There’s not much in the way of plumbing so we “use” a handy invention called a Wag Bag instead of the usual porta-johns. From FOB Sparta

Blogging for Fuller

I while back I applied to blog on behalf of Fuller’s admissions department, and was selected. This week it went live. There’s no need for you to read it because I just paste my favorite post of the week from this site on to that one, but you can see it here anyway if you want to. There is another student there, and eventually they want to have several more.

Death Penalty

Jury: Cop fabricated confession in death row case

This is why I’m not in favor of the death penalty. It’s not that I don’t think those actually guilty of murder technically deserve to die, it’s that I don’t trust the system to get it right. Furthermore, is it impossible for the “system” to show mercy? I don’t see a problem with being part of a society that says, “even though you deserve to die, we will show you mercy.”

Mexico v. Venezuela

One reason I will be sad to leave LA is the opportunities for things that just don’t happen other places. I just went and saw a “friendly” soccer match at the Rose Bowl between Mexico and Venezuela. I have to say, you got to love international football. The fans were so great, there was more energy in that place then there are for some baseball playoff games.

The game was the final warm-up for the two teams prior to heading to Germany for the World Cup.

If you ever get a chance to see an international match, GO! From what I’ve heard, MLS just does not compare.

5.05.2006

The Energy Wars

Here's an article from Newsweek

The Energy Wars
The rise of a new global energy elite means high oil and gas prices are here to stay.

A wonder how one should think theologically about the changing geopolitical reality?

How should the church respond?

I don't have any good answers, but I know this, we must not respond nationalistically, we must seek to put others ahead of ourselves.

Got some suggestions, some questions? Don't hesitate to leave a comment.

5.03.2006

Who read's this thing anyway?

Not many people, mostly new people that apparently don’t come back. This thing averages 7 hits a day. About a third are google hits, a third are returning visitors, and a third are “other”. What are people googling? Several times a week I get hits in conjunction with this post on the murder of Andrew and Jamie Schliepsiek by Andrew Witt. Emerging Church, Christ and Culture, Missional, and Swimming or Deep End or both are other routine topics. The other way people get here is from the blogs I’m linked to, of which the A-team and Urban Onramps send me the most traffic. When I first put the hit counter on here I labled it an ego inflating device, and I think that’s about right, though in my case it is a reminder that apparently it seems most people only stumble on to this site by accident, and don’t stick around very long when they do. I think many visitiors here are simply looking for more information about swimming pools and for whatever reason click on this site when they see the link in google.

So here’s a little survey question for you to wrap this up.

How did you get to this site today, and did it meet your needs?

You can say something like, “no but it’s interesting”, or “no it’s retarded”, or “I read it everyday because I’m stalking you”, you know, whatever fits the bill.

5.02.2006

Praying the Hours

One of the classes I’m taking this quarter is The Spiritual Disciplines. We are appropriating things from the ancient past (by which I don’t mean 1776, I mean 276) which are helpful, taking a look at the Desert Fathers and others from our Christian history.

One of the things I have found helpful is my own adaptation of “praying the hours”. I set my watch to beep on the hour, at which time I pray the Lord’s prayer. This has been helpful, but also telling. For the first few days I really enjoyed this. It was good to have this help keeping me aware of my creator. But as the days have gone on, I have found the practice indicative of my own deficiencies. Sometimes I don’t feel like praying, and I am actually annoyed by this call to prayer. So it is for this reason I pray: "Our Father who art in heaven holly is your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth (and in my life) as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever and ever. Amen."