Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: 2011
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Abortion doctors charged with murder

Two abortion doctors are facing murder charges in Elkton, Maryland.

Pro-life marches in the Netherlands

Pro-life marches in the Netherlands increase in size.

This is an encouraging sign, given the politically powerful culture of death that is one of the main features of modern secular European society.

Please pray to end the genocide of abortion.

Today's verse

Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

Deuteronomy 33:29 (KJV)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Due to the fear of poisoning Asia Bibi must cook her own food. She was also denied visitation by family members on Christmas.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Reading list

The Great Bridge, by David McCullough.

Today's verse

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.

Psalm 63:1 (KJV)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Movie night

The Philadelphia Story (1940).


As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:9-10 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Pslam 9:13-14 (KJV)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today's verse

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8 (KJV)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Movie night

Metropolis (1927).

Today's verse

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Luke 2:21-4 (KJV)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

The American Thinker has an exclusive interview with Asia Bibi.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Pentecostal churches growing in Tanzania

An interesting article about the growth of Pentecostal churches in Tanzania.

Today's verse

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Luke 2:15-20 (KJV)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Today's verse

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:1-14 (KJV)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today's verse

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi to remain in prison through Christmas. Her health is also said to be "frail".

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 40:1-5 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Movie night

The Nativity Story (2006)

Today's verse

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Micah 5:1-2 (KJV)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's verse

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, and thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Matthew 2:1-12 (KJV)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wave of the future?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be offering free online courses starting in the spring of 2012. These courses will be offered to students both inside and outside the MIT community.

I am working towards a MS in mathematics through an online program, so this is of great interest to me. I would love to take coursework in such topics as abstract algebra, topology and complex variables. I would also be interested in any special education courses.

Like it or not, more and more college-level coursework is being offered online. In the fall of 2012 I will be teaching an online trigonometry course. Until now, this has been available only through traditional classroom instruction and "blended" courses (a mixture of classroom instruction and video conferencing).

The barriers to education are falling. So grab your computer and start learning!

(h/t: Instapundit)

Today's verse

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38 (KJV)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Reading list

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens.

Today's verse

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5, 14 (KJV)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today's verse

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14 (KJV)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today's verse

And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.

Exodus 18:20 (KJV)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Today's verse

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Canadian Parliament applying pressure on the government of Pakistan to release Asia Bibi.

I am not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, the fact that Canada's Parliament is doing anything at all about this issue is amazing. The cancer of multiculturalism is far more widespread in Canada than in the United States. Given the endless fretting about appearing "Islamophobic" (which is defined as any criticism of Islam whatsoever), this news is is as surprising as watching the sun rise in the west.

On the other hand, these sorts of governmental actions are almost always a kind of public dismissal of the issue, a polite way of saying, "We don't really give a damn." I suspect the actions of Canada's Parliament will end up have the same legal force as (say) a resolution declaring December as National Dill Pickle Month. The plight of Christians worldwide being persecuted, tortured and murdered is not really a concern to progressive governments, however much they may gas to the contrary.

In short, we must put our faith in God, not the princes of this world.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:18-21 (KJV)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Today's verse

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding

Proverbs 2:6 (KJV)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

A Muslim lawyer in Pakistan estimates that 95% of the blasphemy cases have no merit.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

Psalm 14:1 (KJV)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Today's verse

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Proverbs 30:5 (KJV)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

When does counterculture become culture?

Dan Gainor has a good article on how the media has suppressed traditional values in order to elevate the so-called countercultural. I say "so-called", since cohabitation, filthy language, tattoos, hooking up, body-piercings, violent movies, violent music, and violent games are now the norm for many young people. Christianity is the true counterculture, and it takes real courage for someone to buck the media-driven culture that is all around us.

It should also be noted that "media" means movies, talk shows, sitcoms, so-called reality TV shows, magazines, newspapers, and news programs. The difference between (say) CBS Evening News and The Daily Show has become minimal at best. The media is increasingly in the business of manufacturing reality - or attempting to.

At any rate, it is hard to agree to the media's proposition that what they term "countercultural" is some daring form of independence and bravery. If everyone is a rebel, then just what are they rebelling against?

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi has reportedly been the victim of an assault while still in prison. The attack took place in October.

Key quote:

A female prison officer assigned to provide security for a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death on “blasphemy” charges beat her earlier this month, sources said.

Sources in Pakistan’s Sheikhupura District Jail said Asia Noreen, also known as Asia Bibi, was beaten on Oct. 5 by a prison officer identified only as Khadeeja, allegedly because of the Muslim officer’s anti-Christian bias, while other staff members deployed for her security looked on in silence.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Islamists win big in Egypt

This is not good.

Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt. Their life, which is already harder than anyone in the West can imagine, is about to become a living hell.

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

Psalm 6:2 (KJV)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Today's verse

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Movie night

Desert Fox (1951).

Today's verse

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Psalm 104:24 (KJV)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Today's verse

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Psalm 50:14-15 (KJV)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Former minister Sherry Rehman has been appointed Pakistan's ambassador to the United States. Rehman has worked to reform Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws.

Key quote:

A British newspaper had reported that with two of three Pakistani politicians who opposed the blasphemy law assassinated, friends of Sherry Rehman now fear for her life. She has been advised by government ministers to leave Pakistan, the report said. (Note: the two murdered political leaders are Punjab governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti)

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Good news from Michigan!

Two abortion centers, the Health Care Clinic in Delta Township and the Women’s Choice Clinic in Saginaw, have been closed. The closure resulted from a lawsuit filed in Eaton County Circuit Court by Bill Schuette, the Attorney General for the state of Michigan.

Key quote:

The action comes as the result of an Attorney General investigation into allegations of improper medical records disposal at the clinics. In addition to the lawsuit filed today, Schuette referred evidence uncovered by investigators suggesting possible regulatory violations to the Bureau of Health Systems and the Bureau of Health Professionals, agencies within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Today, Schuette’s office informed LifeNews that the permanent dissolution of Health Care Clinic, of Delta Township, and the affiliated Women’s Choice Clinic, of Saginaw, has taken place. The top attorney said they had been “operating without the proper physician ownership required by State law.”

Despite its brave talk about "comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable", the secular media is too often the docile and obedient bootlickers of powerful lobbying groups like the abortion industry. The close of these two abortion centers represents an actual victory for the weak and powerless.

Please pray for those who fight against the genocide of abortion.

UPDATE: the HTML code for the link has been fixed.

Today's verse

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Jonah 2:9 (KJV)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy birthday Tanzania!

Mungu ibariki Tanzania!

Persecution of Christians in Kenya

Former Somali converts from Islam living in Kenya find themselves still in danger.

Please pray for Christians facing persecution.

Today's verse

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 (KJV)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today's verse

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

Deuteronomy 19:15-19 (KJV)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movie night

Texas Rangers (1936).

Today's verse

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.

Psalm 102:1-2 (KJV)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today's verse

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Matthew 14:14 (KJV)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reading list

Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz, by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird.

Today's verse

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

Psalm 6:1-4 (KJV)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Today's verse

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Isaiah 40:28 (KJV)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi remain unbroken. Her faith in Christ sustains her.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Psalm 35:1 (KJV)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today's verse

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 10:3-5 (KJV)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The mathematics of the post-Christian Church

David Barnhart has an interesting post at his blog that shows the membership of the ELCA since its beginnings in 1987. With the exception of 1990 and 1991 the denomination has lost members every year.

Overall, the ELCA has experienced a 19.2% decline in its membership from 1987 (5,288,048) to 2010 (4,274,855). By far the steepest decline was from 2009 to 2010 (5.9%, or 268,182 members). It will be interesting to see what the figures for 2011 will be like.

Supporters of the ELCA might argue that most denominations have been losing members during that period of time. That may be so, but as I recall one of the major selling points of the ELCA's 2009 decision to reject the clear teachings of the Gospel was that the new emphasis on "diversity" and "tolerance" would bring in the unchurched. That does not seem to be happening. The mathematics of post-Christian churches appears to be subtraction (driving away faithful Christians) and division (bringing conflict and chaos among those who remain).

By far the most interesting aspect - to me, anyway - of the ELCA's decline is the fact that it is slow and steady. Had the ELCA lost 19.2% (one in five) of its members in 2009-10 instead of the actual 5.9% it might have caused quite a stir among those left behind. A major loss like that would have captured the attention of even the most laid-back of laypersons. It might even (horror of horrors!) have caused people to dare to ask questions of the ELCA's leadership.

It is a situation familiar to every driver. If one of your tires blows out, you are forced to stop the car and deal with the problem. But if you have a slow leak, you can be tempted to put off facing the situation and drive on. The second scenario is the one the ELCA appears to be locked into.

The question of what the ELCA will look like a decade from now also fascinates me. I seriously doubt that the ELCA will one day go completely out of business, so the question is: will it be absorbed into another denomination (such as the Episcopal Church USA) or become a small rump of what it once was? To me the latter seems most likely. But only God knows, and He will make it known to us in good time.

Today's verse

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 89:15 (KJV)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Today's verse

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Proverbs 10:2 (KJV)

Today's verse

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

John 15:10 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today's verse

Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

Psalm 35:19 (KJV)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi is "weak and frail, but is high in spirit", according to her husband. She and her family continue to pray for her freedom.

Key quote from the article:

“We are praying and fasting for our mother so that she can be with us,” said Alishba Bibi, one of Asia’s children. “Each time I meet her, I can’t hold my tears. My mother tries to hold my hand through the gaps in the grilled window and says, ‘Have faith in the Lord. He will bring me home one day’. Every time I hear these words, I cry to the Lord to bring my mother back so that we can be with her again”.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Psalm 112:1 (KJV)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today's verse

Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalm 40:4 (KJV)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today's verse

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Psalm 100:1-2 (KJV)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading list

How learning works, by Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, Norman, and Mayer.

Today's verse

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Psalm 25:18 (KJV)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today's verse

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Psalm 9:13-14 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

A powerful story about Asia Bibi's plight.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:13 (KJV)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Today's verse

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy.

Psalm 86:1 (KJV)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Snoopy come home!

Apollo 11 landed men on the moon in 1969. What is now known to only a few is the fact that Apollo 10 made a dress-rehearsal that involved an approach of less that 10 miles to the moon's surface.

Once the moon part of the mission was completed, Thomas P. Stafford, Eugene A. Cernan, and John W. Young fired the spent LM (Lunar Module) ascent stage into solar orbit.

Now a team of scientists are looking for Snoopy (the name of the LM). The group is being led by Nick Howes.

Key quote:

"We're expecting a search arc up to 135 million kilometers in size which is a huge amount of space to look at," Howes continues. "We're aware of the scale and magnitude of this challenge but to have the twin Faulkes scopes assist the hunt, along with schools, plus the fact that we'll doubtless turn up many new finds such as comets and asteroids makes this a great science project too."

If the team find a potential suspect, they will turn to detailed spectral analysis to see if the hidden messages in the reflected light can confirm if they have succeeded in finding Snoopy.

Read the whole thing.

Today's verse

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 (KJV)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Today's verse

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Movie night

Song of the Thin Man (1947), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Today's verse

And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Mark 2:14-17 (KJV)

Friday, September 16, 2011

The cult of global warming

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a winner of the Nobel Prize for physics, has resigned from the American Physical Society because of its position on global warming. In particular, Dr. Giaever was upset by the APS's rigid stance and unwillingness to consider all evidence except that which supported its position.

Key quote:

"In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period."

Ironically, Dr. Giaever supported Barack Obama in 2008. I doubt that will protect him from the attacks from global warming cultists that are certain to follow. Thou shalt not blaspheme "settled science"!

Today's verse

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (KJV)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


For me, 9/11 began on 9/12.

I was living in Moshi, Tanzania at the time. I did not hear about the terrorist attacks until almost a full day after they had happened. One headline in a Tanzanian newspaper read TANZIA MERIKANI, which translates as "Obituary for America".

There will be many words written and spoken today. Sadly, some of those writers will ignore the uncomfortable facts about Islamic extremism that provoked the terrorist attacks in the first place.

But one story caught my eye, and seems to best sum up what this day is really about.

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was a rookie F16 pilot at Andrews Air Force Base. Her mission was to bring down Flight 93.

Without weapons.

To accomplish this, she was being asked to ram her F16 into the hijacked airplane before it could kill more innocent people. In short: a suicide mission.

Key quote:

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth plane could be on the way, maybe more. The jets would be armed within an hour, but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons.

"Lucky, you’re coming with me,” barked Col. Marc Sasseville.

They were gearing up in the pre-flight life-support area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye.

“I’m going to go for the cockpit,” Sasseville said.

She replied without hesitating.

“I’ll take the tail.”

It was a plan. And a pact.

Penney was willing to sacrifice her life to save others. She represents the best about America - something some editorial writers prefer to forget.

She never had to make the sacrifice. The equally brave passengers of Flight 93 fought the Muslim terrorists - and lost their lives in the process.

Today we remember those who lost their lives at the hands of murderous fanatics. We honor those who gave their lives for their fellow Americans - and those like Penney who were willing to make the sacrifice as well.

Today's verse

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13 (KJV)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dream schools in Somalia

In the city of Kismayu English and science studies have been banned from the school curriculum by the group Al Shabaab. Instead, schools will be required to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Key quote:

"Parents have to make sure they teach their children the principles of Islamic jihad," said [Al Shabaab], which wants to impose its version of sharia law on all of Somalia.

Sounds like a school system that both al Qaeda and multiculturalists can love!

Ferry disaster in Zanzibar

A ferry has capsized off the island of Zanzibar, killing 163. Passengers accuse officials of overloading the ferry.

Please pray for the victims of this disaster.

Today's verse

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

Psalm 16:5 (KJV)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Haters vs. "haters"

My hometown newspaper - the Eagle - has been publishing a series of editorials this week. The opinion pieces, which are written by non-journalists, are billed by the Eagle as a remembrance of the horrific events of September 11, 2001.

Up until today, however, the editorials have largely avoided 9/11 and the uncomfortable issues that day raises. Not a word (so far) about the heroes who saved lives pulling victims from the World Trade Center, or who fought back against the Islamic terrorists in a hijacked plane over Pennsylvania, or who died on the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the most part, the authors of the editorials have contented themselves with promoting pet political causes that have nothing to do with the worst terrorist attack in American history. The Eagle may as well have used the space to peddle Twin Towers Cola or Flight 93 designer jeans. It would have been just as disgusting as what they did publish, but at least it would have been honest.

Today's editorial (written by Karan Watson and Nancy Watson) was about the suicide of one of their friends. The authors seemed to be blaming anyone and everyone who was a "hater" for their friend's death.

To anyone acquainted with modern multiculturalism, the Watson's definition of "hater" was all too familiar. Those who do not wholeheartedly endorse the Watson's view of "tolerance" are somehow guilty of murdering their friend. The Eagle is not exactly known for thought-provoking journalism and rational debate, but even by its own already low standards today's editorial was more than a bit over the top.

One problem I have discovered in arguing with multiculturalists is that many of them see disagreement as not just wrong, but a criminal act that indicates you are not quite a human being. You are a "hater" if you disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, affirmative action, abortion on demand, or any other position they hold as sacred. It was not hyperbole or journalistic license that led the Watsons to accuse those they disagree with of slaughtering their friend. They really mean it.

Perhaps it is time to remind the Eagle that the world is a bit more than what they encounter in the pampered, privileged bubble they live in. Unlike the Watson's fictitious "haters", real haters are killing innocent victims every day all over the world. China, Cuba, and North Korea routinely imprison, torture and murder people with rarely a peep of protest from the journalists at Eagle. Hitler's rise to power led to an orgy of blood-letting and a world war. The Soviet Union and the Communist Bloc came terrifyingly close to world domination while strangling the life and soul out of its subjects. The United States threw off the evils of slavery only after fighting a vicious civil war, and nearly a hundred years later almost did so again in order to get rid of lingering racial discrimination. Throughout history Jews have been a favorite target for bloodthirsty maniacs. And just try being a homosexual (or a Christian) in places like Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, and others the Eagle would prefer to forget.

Perhaps it is time to remember who the real haters are.

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi will be the subject of a new book. The book will be written in collaboration with French journalist and author Anne Isabelle Tollet.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Today's verse

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

At, there is a good article about the sometimes misleading coverage in the West over the plight of Asia Bibi and other victims of radical Islam.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Reading list

Stalin: Breaker of Nations, by Robert Conquest.

Today's verse

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake

II Corinthians 4:5 (KJV)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Today's verse

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 (KJV)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Shahbaz Taseer, the son of the murdered Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, has been kidnapped. Shehrbano Taseer, Salman Taseer's daughter, has already left Pakistan due to death threats.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family, and for the family of Salmaan Taseer.

Today's verse

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Matthew 10:34 (KJV)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Zanzibar and Ramadan

Tourists to Zanzibar (an island that is part of the United Republic of Tanzania) have been advised that "it would be to their benefit if they refrain from eating and drinking in public during Ramadhan".

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I was often embarrassed by the poor behavior some Western tourists showed when they were in Tanzania. Many young European women dressed (and acted) like they were on their way to a pole-dancing contest. The overt sexual behavior that has decimated Western culture is not yet fully established in Tanzania, and many Tanzanians want to keep it that way. It would be nice if some Westerners would stop viewing Tanzanians as backwards, sexually-repressed morons who need to have their consciousnesses raised - even if it against their will.

On the other hand, I know from experience that this advisory against eating and drinking in public has less to do with respect for local customs than with the safely of Western tourists. While In Tanzania (I lived and worked on the mainland) I never had anyone warn me against public eating and drinking during Ramadan. But the islands are different - the population is 99% Muslim, and the guarantees of religious freedom are not always available to non-Muslims. Church buildings have been attacked in Zanzibar, and Christians live under a constant threat of oppression. My wife knows of cases where non-Muslims living in the islands have been dragged from restaurants - and even their homes - and beaten for eating during Ramadan.

In my opinion, this warning to tourists is the result of the growing influence of radical Muslims who have no interest in religious pluralism or tolerance. To the best of my knowledge, no Western tourists have ever been attacked for public eating and drinking. But given the fact that the islands seem well on their way to becoming a de facto Islamist state, that situation may not last.

Today's verse

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired [Jesus] that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Matthew 16:1-4 (KJV)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Today's verse

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Proverbs 4:13 (KJV)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Train ride

Yesterday we went to ride the Bertram Flyer. Here are some pictures:

Lord, I thank You for the chance to spend time with my family.

Today's verse

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

John 8:12-18 (KJV)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ramadan in Zanzibar

Tanzania has long had an interesting religious/political division. Tanzania originally was Tanganyika, and later incorporated the islands such as Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

The people of the mainland of Tanzania are mostly Christians, while the coastal area and islands are 99% Muslims. This has caused a great deal of political strife, and has weakened the central government's authority over the islands and coast. It basically amounts to a country within a country.

Now the Zanzibar government wants the police on the islands to "arrest and charge anyone caught eating, drinking, or selling food at daytime during the current month of Ramadhan". This includes non-Muslims. This also violates Tanzania's guarantee of religious freedom.

New Catholic bishop in Tanzania

A new diocese - the Kondoa Catholic Diocese - has been created in Tanzania. On August 14 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Bernardino Mfumbusa to be the first bishop of the new diocese. Fr. Mfumbusa had been vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of St. Augustine of Tanzania (SAUT).

Please pray for Bishop Mfumbusa.

The aliens are coming!

Space aliens, that is. And they are angry about our carbon footprint (I wonder if Al Gore is exempted from their wrath).

Key quote:

It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

Perhaps those Penn State scientists have been watching too many movies like The Day The Earth Stood Still. At any rate, someone please remind me again how global warming is science.

Today's verse

Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Psakm 21:13 (KJV)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani minister who was murdered by Muslim extremists because of his opposition to the country's blasphemy's laws, will not be honored by President Zardari. However, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer (who was also murdered) will be honored. Both men defended Asia Bibi - and paid with their lives for it.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Planned Parenthood update

Planned Parenthood will stop performing abortions in three Arizona cities. God be praised!

The above article by the Associated Press is rather whiny in tone. This is not surprising, since the secular media has been one of the abortion industry's loudest cheerleaders. But it shows that ordinary men and women can make a difference for the better - even in the face of massive amounts of campaign money spent against them, and a media determined to demonize and dehumanize all opponents to abortion.

Please pray to end all abortions.

Today's verse

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (KJV)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reading list

To infinity and beyond, by Eli Maor.

Today's verse

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

James 3:13-14 (KJV)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Movie night

The Fox and the Hound.

Today's verse

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3 (KJV)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Witness to the faith: Susan Ithungu

A 14-year-old Ugandan girl was tortured by her father after converting to Christianity.

Susan heard the Gospel and decided to become a follower of Jesus. Her father, a Muslim, locked her in a sunless room for six months with no food or water except what her brother was able to smuggle to her. Susan was finally released, but is now unable to walk.

Please pray for Susan.

Today's verse

The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Psalm 138:8 (KJV)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Today's verse

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Proverbs 16: 16 (KJV)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today's verse

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

John 15:20-25 (KJV)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

CBN News reports that the VOM petition to save the life of Asia Bibi has collected over 200,000 signatures. You can see and sign the petition here.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

Mark 7:24-30 (KJV)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Today's verse

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

Psalm 48:1 (KJV)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Opportunity at Endeavour crater

The NASA rover Opportunity has reached the edge of Endeavour crater. Opportunity has been traveling for three years over the surface of Mars to arrive at this point.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalm 8:3-4)

Reading list

After America, by Mark Steyn.

Today's verse

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi is praying for those around her, and for those who are persecuting her.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.

Luke 20:21-25 (KJV)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Today's verse

The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?

Amos 3:8 (KJV)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Movie night

Easy to wed (1946), starring Van Johnson, Esther Williams, and Lucille Ball.

Are interracial marriages necessary?

The answer is "Yes", according to Ralph Richard Banks, the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. In a recent article titled An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage Professor Banks laments the declining marriage rates of black women in the USA, and suggests that they open themselves up to the idea of marrying men who are not black.

The article deals with the various reasons that black women either end up in bad marriages to black men, have few marriages to non-black men, or fail to marry altogether. Rather than critique the entire article (it is worth reading it for yourself and drawing your own conclusion about some of the interesting issues Professor Banks raises), I am going to write about a few things that captured my attention.

Here is one section that caught my eye:

Black women lead by far the most segregated intimate lives of any minority group in the U.S. They are less than half as likely as black men to wed across racial lines. Only about 1 in 20 black women are interracially married.

Part of the reason ... is the market. Numerous studies of Internet dating confirm that black women are the partners least desired by non-black men.

Several paragraphs later there was this:

To understand the intimate segregation of black women, we must go beyond the question of whether black women are wanted and look instead at what they want. For some black women, the personal choice of an intimate partner is political. They want to help black men, not abandon them. As one woman told me, "If you know your history, how can you not support black men?"

When I first read this paragraph, it sent a jolt through me like an electrical current. Just prior to marrying my wife in Tanzania, I had the chance to speak with an American lady who taught at an international school in Germany. She told me that she believed interracial marriage was the only hope of bridging racial differences. In other words, she saw my marriage to my beautiful Tanzanian bride as a political act.

There is something terribly sad - as well as disturbing - in the willingness to see marriage as political activism designed to bring about some desired social good. Some years ago I heard a story (perhaps apocryphal) about a white pastor who announced to his congregation that he planned to marry a black woman. He said that he was doing this in order to provide a living lesson in the need for racial tolerance and harmony. Not surprisingly, the marriage quickly fell apart. When human beings are reduced to mere tools designed to further a certain political outcome, disaster is usually the result.

The purpose of this post is not to provide a Biblical justification for interracial marriage. A very solid case can be found in the excellent book Just Don't Marry One. Nor is this post about the Biblical requirements in general for marriage (for a good source, check out Fit To Be Tied). Rather, this is a lament about the degree to which people are willing to deprive themselves of love and intimacy just to worship a god of secular political activism. Is it really worth it?

Finally, for anyone desiring to date (or marry) someone in order to further a political cause like race relations, I beg you: don't. The person you will be involved with is not some sterile political ideal, but a living human being with feelings. Do your would-be partner a favor by not messing with their lives in such a selfish and thoughtless way.

Today's verse

And [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Luke 18:9-14 (KJV)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

The Commission for International Religious Freedom wants Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare Pakistan a “country of particular concern.”

Key quote from the article:

"As human-rights concern with serious security implications, the need for greater respect for religious freedom and related rights should be an integral issue in the U.S. bilateral relationship with Pakistan," USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo and its commissioner Felice Gaer said in an op-ed in The Hill. "We have identified this as a problem, and the U.S. should be devising and demanding solutions. While it is complicated and awkward to do so in the case of an ally, the abuses and threats posed by a growing religious extremism threaten both countries," they wrote.

The USCIRF also brought up the case of Asia Bibi and the two Pakistani political leaders who were killed while defending her:

Both [federal minister for minorities Shahbah] Bhatti and [governor of Punjab province Salmaan] Taseer had angered extremists by demanding a review of the controversial blasphemy law in light of the case of Asia Bibi – the first woman to be sentenced to death under the blasphemy law in Pakistan. Bibi, a Christian mother of two and stepmother to three others, was accused of blasphemy against Islam’s prophet. Although she has denied speaking ill of the Muslim prophet, she was beaten and has been imprisoned since June 2009. Bibi is still in prison and waiting for a court hearing date for her appeal.

At a time when the secular media is promoting intolerance and hatred of Christians in the USA, it is important for Christians to remember that the persecution of their brothers and sisters in places such as Pakistan may one day come here. Jesus warned us, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." (John 15:18). The fact that Christians in America are not being imprisoned, tortured and murdered for their faith is no guarantee that it will not someday happen here. For a long time the secular media has turned a blind eye towards the fate of Christians like Asia Bibi, and there is little indication that they will suddenly change their ways.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35 (KJV)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Today's verse

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Church burnings in Tanzania

Christian church buildings in Zanzibar and Pemba are burned by Muslim extremists.

Please pray for Christians in Tanzania who live under the threat of persecution.

Today's verse

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away

1 Corithians 13:1-8 (KJV)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Today's verse

O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

Psalm 7:1-2 (KJV)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Be civil, you $#@*&!!

One of the most damaging accusations leveled against Christians is that of hypocrisy. It is sometimes a fair charge. We are all painfully aware of the televangelist who cheats with every woman he can gets his hand on, the priest who molests children, the church treasurer who absconds with the funds. If there is one Bible verse every non-Christians knows and loves, it is, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged." (Luke 6:37)

But judging others - especially those whom they hate - is probably the secular media's favorite pastime. In the aftermath of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords earlier this year, the secular media rushed to condemn anyone whose political or religious views annoyed them. Christians, the Tea Party, opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens, Republicans, Sarah Palin - all of these and more were painted as the "real" culprits. The secular media was engaged in a vicious smear aimed at those who dared to disagree with the secular progressive viewpoint.

One self-serving result of the secular media's blood libel was an emphasis on what was called the "new civility". Anyone who has even been on a college campus or lived in a totalitarian state will instantly recognize the "new civility" as nothing more than the old cries for censorship. "Disagree with us," the secular media says, "and anything bad that happens in the country will be blamed on you, no matter who actually did it. Be polite, but don't you dare disagree with whatever we say." Numerous politicians chimed in, perhaps seeing the political windfall that could be had from muzzling political opponents.

But the "new civility" seems to be a strange state of affairs indeed. James Taranto has an interesting sample of the reaction in the aftermath of the recently-passed compromise on raising the debt ceiling.

Some key quotes:

A New York Times editorial calls the [compromise] deal "a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. . . . This episode demonstrates the effectiveness of extortion. Reasonable people are forced to give in to those willing to endanger the national interest." Haha, remember "civility"?

Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman is even huffier: "By demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, [the deal] will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status. . . . What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question."

Roars Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect: "The United States has been rendered ungovernable except on the extortionate terms of the far-right. For the first time in modern history, one of the two major parties is in the hands of a faction so extreme that it is willing to destroy the economy if it doesn't get its way. And the Tea Party Republicans have a perfect foil in President Barack Obama."

And, as Roll Call reports, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, the Kansas City, Mo., Democrat, "said early reports of the new deal appeared to be 'a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.' " Hey, it's better than peas!

Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden reportedly attended a meeting of Congressional Democrats who labeled their Republican counterparts "terrorists". No word if they were being force-fed Satan sandwiches at the time.

That is just a small sample of the reaction to the deal. For my part I oppose the budget deal, but ... supporters are now terrorists? Hostage-takers dispensing Satan sandwiches? Is this the "new civility" we were promised? And whatever happened to, "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged"? If this is the "new civility", then include me out.

Incidentally, Congresswoman Giffords voted in favor of the compromise - her first vote since the shooting. Do her Democratic colleagues consider her a terrorist?

Today's verse

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:14-18 (KJV)

Monday, August 01, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

CBN has a good article on Asia Bibi.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:1-3 (KJV)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Today's verse

Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

Exodus 22:22 (KJV)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

The US House of Representatives has voted to create a US envoy to protect the rights of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Asia.

Key quote from the article:

"In Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries where the United States has invested its treasure and the lives of countless brave American soldiers, persecution of Christians runs rampant," said Representative Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia who sponsored the bill.

He pointed to the case in Pakistan of Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad, and the assassination this year of two politicians who defended her.

Personally, I am skeptical of this move. What, exactly, will this envoy be able to do that the US State Department is not already capable of doing? To me, a far more serious problem is the near absolute lack of concern by the secular media for the plight of Christians in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Pakistan. Often, the secular media describes the imprisonment, torture and murder of Christians by Muslims as "sectarian strife", as if Christians are somehow at equal fault.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

The poor you shall always have ... to use for political gain

I thought that mixing Christianity and politics was an unmitigated evil. Or so the secular media has always claimed. Apparently if your politics are acceptable to secular progressives, then mix away.

Jim Wallis believes that the trillions the US has already spent on so-called anti-poverty programs has not been enough. He is demanding more, as if the colossal failure of the modern welfare state never happened.

Like any other US citizen, Wallis is free to petition the government to enact policies he supports, although in the past he has shown undisguised hostility towards those whose politics disagrees with his. But he is not entitled to his own facts. For decades Wallis and other progressives have exploited the poor for political gain. When will they be held accountable for putting their greed over the needs of their brothers and sisters? When will they be required to explain why so much money only made the problem of poverty worse while poisoning the political debate in the process?

Wallis' attitude, I am sad to say, is a major sickness in Christianity today. The ELCA and other politically-minded denominations are quite willing to regard the poor as a kind of political cash cow to be invoked and used at will. On the issue of poverty these denominations take a harsh, uncompromising stance that allows no debate and tolerates no criticism. They also mix politics and religion to a degree they would immediately condemn if the so-called Religious Right tried it.

The irony is that if Wallis and other progressives stopped pushing failed government programs that only make poverty worse, if they merely sat on the sidelines and did absolutely nothing, it would be a far greater contribution to fighting poverty than they are presently making.

Today's verse

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (KJV)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Reading list

Post Captain, by Patrick O'Brian.

Today's verse

How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me

Psalm 13 (KJV)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keep your law(suits) off my prayers

"Keep Your Laws Off My Body" is used as a rallying cry for pro-abortion forces and secular progressives. My response is: keep your hands off the body of your baby, and we will call it even.

But the secular progressives are persistent if nothing else. Recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry in an effort to keep him from recognizing a national day of prayer event or participating in it. However, a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit.

Key quote from the article:

"I wonder if we had a Muslim governor what would happen if the whole state was called to a Muslim prayer," said Kay Staley, one of five Texas residents named as plaintiffs in the suit. "I think the governor needs to keep his religion out of his official duties."

Oh? First of all, attending an event like The Response (Aug. 6 at Houston's Reliant Stadium) is not a mixing of religion and state, much as Ms. Staley would like to pretend otherwise. Like other Americans, Governor Perry has First Amendment rights - and that includes the right to freedom of worship. If we took Ms. Staley's views seriously, then anytime an elected official attended church - or (Darwin forbid!) prayed silently - he or she would be guilty of trying to establish a Christianist theocracy. Does Ms. Staley really want to go down that road?

Finally, Ms. Staley's statement sounds rather ... Islamophobic. Talk about Christians being intolerant of other religious faiths! If religious pluralism is so offensive to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they should consider moving to a country more receptive to their seek-and-destroy attitude towards religious faith - like North Korea, perhaps.

The struggle against Christophobia continues....

Today's verse

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

Mark 3:1-5 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's verse

I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

Psalm 41:4 (KJV)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Mission News Network reports on a worldwide petition drive on behalf of Asia Bibi. The petition itself can be found at A Call for Mercy.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please continue to pray for Asia Bibi and her family.

Today's verse

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

1 Peter 3:8-11 (KJV)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today's verse

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.

Psalm 86:1-6 (KJV)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bullies big and small

Yesterday, my son and wife went to McDonalds. At some McDonalds restaurants play equipment can be found. My son loves to play there, and to play with the other kids he meets.

But yesterday was a bad day for him. No - he was not physically hurt while playing. Instead, he was taunted by a little girl. The details are not clear, but he was deeply upset by what she said to him.

My son has reached the age where he realizes he is different from other kids. His autism interferes with both his communication and social skills, and that is what contributed to yesterday's incident. I now realize that I would gladly suffer the loss of one of my limbs - or even my life - if he could be spared the teasing that will only grow worse as he gets older. But that is a trade no parent can ever hope to make.

Teasing and taunting are not limited to children such as my little boy's tormentor, who was simply being a thoughtless brat and will probably outgrow it someday. Our culture not only allows attacks on Christians that it would never tolerate for (pick one or more of the following) Muslims, women, blacks, Hispanics, and homosexuals, it rewards them. Fame and fortune await those who can make the cruelest and ugliest taunts aimed at Christians.

Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it hated Him. Too many American Christians fail to realize that the relative tolerance they have enjoyed for most of America's history is actually a miracle, and that most Christians worldwide today live under the threat of some sort of oppression. This has been true throughout most of history. I believe that the present ugly smears and demonizing of Christians that characterize so much of American popular culture will someday give rise to actual repression. Are you prepared?