Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: June 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)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Christian college in Bennington, Vt.

The Northeastern Baptist College is scheduled to open in August 2013. Plans are for the four-year college to offer three degrees: music, Biblical studies, and education.

I am working towards a Master of Science degree in Mathematics at a large state-run university in Texas. My coursework this summer has convinced me of one thing: many state-run colleges and universities are openly prejudicial towards Christians and Christian beliefs. Christianity is one of the few subjects where you can say anything you want about it, no matter how demeaning and derogatory. But if you change the target to (say) Islam or homosexuality, you can face possible discipline and even expulsion. Defending Christian beliefs, or even questioning sacred topics like evolution, is risky.

So what are Christians to do? A "slow march through the institutions" - Christians moving up the ranks and taking over positions of leadership in these state-run colleges and universities - will be a difficult process that has no guarantee of success. It will be a long time (if ever) before Christians are free of the growing prejudice and bigotry they face in these institutions. Nor is there any assurance that Christians who attempt this will not end up being changed by the institutions and participate in the discrimination.

The alternative is to support Christian colleges like Northeastern Baptist College. The problem is that many colleges and universities that bill themselves as Christian may not really be very Christian. An example: Texas Lutheran University is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I have heard some parents complain about the growing secular views of the administration and faculty of TLU (my own experiences with TLU tend to confirm this). It remains to be seen if TLU can maintain some degree of independence and avoid the downward spiral into secular political activism that is consuming the ELCA.

There are no easy answers. But lately I have begun to warm to the idea of Christians forming more of their own colleges and universities. And to those who protest that Christians should not segregate themselves from the rest of the world I would say: no one has an obligation to be a doormat simply to prop up the fragile egos of those who hate them. Turning the other cheek does not involve slapping yourself, and Christians have no calling to compromise with and give credibility to those who clearly hate them. Instead, let the faculty and administrators who run the state colleges and universities explain how promoting Christophobia is somehow consistent with "diversity and tolerance".

Today's verse

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood and its new friends

In Egypt there are reports that the infamous Muslim Brotherhood is forming a coalition with "liberal and secular parties".

I have always been fascinated by the weird alliance that seems to have formed between secular progressivism and radical Islam in the USA. On the surface, the two would seem to have little in common. Radical Islam is a 7th century barbarism that promotes the persecution of women and homosexuals. Secular progressivism supposedly champions reason and human rights over religious faith. Far from being friends, the two would appear to be natural enemies.

But both secular progressives and radical Muslims are deeply hostile to religious pluralism and basic liberties such as freedom of speech. Both hold totalitarian philosophies that see the State as supreme to the individual, and believe that the State should control every aspect of the lives of its citizens. Both have an especially strong antipathy towards Christians and Jews. For these reasons, secular progressives and radical Muslims have common interests. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is the operating principle motivating both sides to link up with each other.

No one forms a political alliance unless they think they will benefit, and I believe that is what is going on in Egypt. If these secular and liberal parties in Egypt are anything like their American counterparts, they share the same basic totalitarian longings and beliefs as the Muslim Brotherhood does. The only quarrel will be over the exact form of the police state to come: which "enemies of the people" get tossed into the dungeons or tortured to death. In other words, a marriage of convenience is taking place.

UPDATE: It occurred to me after I made my initial post that I was guilty of an "Americanism" - that is, I looked at the political situation in Egypt through an American lens. It is quite possible that these "liberal and secular" parties may have another reason for joining the Muslim Brotherhood: self-preservation. Right now the Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful political force in Egypt, and after the upcoming elections they are likely to be even more powerful. They are certain to use the levers of government to punish the "infidels" who stood in their way.

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.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today's verse

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me

Psalm 31:1-3 (KJV)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading list

Infinity, by Brian Clegg.

Today's verse

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

Proverbs 2:6 (KJV)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Salmaan Taseer, is in the US speaking against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Salmaam Taseer, the Muslim governor of Punjab province, was murdered on January 4 by Mumtaz Qadri. The governor had also been a critic of the laws.

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 the Pharisees came to [Jesus], and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Mark 10:2-9 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today's verse

[T]he disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4 (KJV)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We don't do history no more

An interview with historian David McCullough confirms what I have seen during my time in education. Modern history textbooks have a political rather than an educational agenda. The end result has been to dumb-down students.

My wife is currently pursuing a BA degree in mathematics. Her American history courses consisted of little more that testimonials from "marginalized" voices (How can these voices be marginalized when they are the only ideas and opinions allowed in the classroom anymore?). As a result, she has practically no knowledge about the timeline of American history nor major events such as the Dred Scott decision, the New Deal, or the reasons why the Civil War was fought.

Key quote from the interview:

[M]any textbooks have become "so politically correct as to be comic. Very minor characters that are currently fashionable are given considerable space, whereas people of major consequence farther back"—such as, say, Thomas Edison—"are given very little space or none at all."

Indeed. These textbooks are also profoundly Christophobic to the point of outright distortion. Too many authors (and teachers) believe it is their duty to "raise the consciences" of those they consider to be intellectually and morally inferior to them - meaning just about everybody outside their little circle of friends.

I see this in the graduate-level class I am presently enrolled in. The course is supposed to be about curriculum development, but is in fact nothing but a series of leftist political harangues. No wonder the education system is in trouble.

Ironically, if I engaged in the same behavior that my college instructor has, if I used my position as a mathematics teacher to proselytize for Christianity in the same way he has preached secularism and Marxism, I would be fired and probably sued. In the university settings I have found that free and open debate is something that is denied to Christians.

Right now, outside of a few sporadic incidents (some of which I have written about on this blog) there is no systematic discrimination against Christians in the US. I believe that is about to change, and that the same repression and terror that is the normal condition that other Christians face worldwide is about to come to America. This will catch a number of Christians off-guard, but it should not. Did not Jesus say,
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 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." (KJV - John 15:18-21)

Happy Father's Day

If there is any message that I would give to fathers everywhere, it would be this: love your children.

Love your children by loving your wife.

Love your children enough to be there for them.

Love your children by providing for them as best you can. What law says they have to live in a million-dollar mansion, or wear expensive clothes? If you are honestly trying to meet their needs, they will know and appreciate it more than all the riches in the world.

Love your children by passing up that extra drink, or refusing that drug. Hasn't that stuff done enough damage?

Love your children by staying away from those sites on the Internet. You know what I am talking about!

Love your children by staying away from other women and clinging only to your wife. And if you are divorced, be careful of the women you have in your life. Like it or not, they will have an influence on your children.

Love your children by passing up that extra work at your job you don't really need to do. Work is what you do; not what you are.

Love your children by teaching them about their Heavenly Father. Do you think God loves His only Son any less than you love your own children? Yet He sacrificed Him for your sake - and the sake of your children.

Remember that you are the head of the family. That means you serve your wife and children, and not the other way around. If you doubt me, ask yourself this: exactly where in the Bible did Jesus demand that the disciples wash His feet?

Today's verse

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Luke 11:11-13 (KJV)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today's verse

And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,
Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

Zechariah 7:8-10 (KJV)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Church Lite

Only 15 percent of members of the Church of Sweden believe in Jesus. Another 15 percent are atheists.

I am shocked to the very core of my being: I had no idea there was still a Church of Sweden.

Key quote from the article:

"Many are members, not for religious reasons, but because of the role the church plays in society, or because it serves as an organisation which maintains Swedish traditions," said [Jonas] Bromander.

"In fact, there are many members who would rather that we focus more on our social work in Sweden than on Sunday services."

That is the ELCA in a nutshell. Less of that pesky troublemaker from Nazareth who claims to the Son of God, and more protests, campaigning, and signing petitions.

Theologically and intellectually the ELCA's laity and clergy are very weak. The ELCA is primarily a political organization in thrall to a god of secular politics. Gone is the Lutheran tradition of salvation through grace alone. Gone are thousands of years of Biblical scholarship. Gone is the testimony of Christian witnesses and martyrs for the faith. Gone.

Instead, a purely secular doctrine has become the new gospel, in which race, ethnicity, gender, age, and income are the real measure of our character. And forget Heaven - the ELCA believes that paradise on Earth can be fashioned by government laws and regulations. Thank Darwin the ELCA can fix what God screwed up! In fact, this calls for a new Beatitudes:

Blessed are the petition-signers, for they shall be praised in the pages of the New York Times.

Blessed are the political protestors, for they shall be on TV.

Blessed are the community activists, for they shall hold a two-thirds majority of the seats in Congress.

Blessed are those who spend taxpayer money for all sorts of social programs, for they shall receive the praises of the glitterati.

Blessed are those who deconstruct the Bible, for the Bible was written by a bunch of racist misogynist homophobic dead white guys who lacked our modern scientific understanding of the world.

Blessed are those who fashion their own gods in their own images, for they shall be called the fathers of gods.

Today's verse

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's verse

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Proverbs 10:12 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Update on Asia Bibi

The International Business Times lists the five most dangerous countries for women. Pakistan is listed as #3, and there is a picture of Asia Bibi's daughters in the article.

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 it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Luke 6:1-5 (KJV)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Banning the Bible

An Islamist party in Pakistan has called for the Bible to be banned.

Please pray for Christians in Pakistan.

Today's verse

The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1 (KJV)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

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)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reading list

Riemann's Zeta Function, by H.M. Edwards.

Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian.

Today's verse

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Psalm 148:1-6 (KJV)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Today's verse

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Deuteronomy 32:1-4 (KJV)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Autism linked to possible genetic defects

Dr. Manny Alvarez has more.

Update on Asia Bibi

According to the British Pakistani Christian Association the family of Asia Bibi reports that she is in good health, but requests more support.

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 seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:1-12 (KJV)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Today's verse

A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Today's verse

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 2:15-17 (KJV)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Ever wonder ....

...what the meaning of the famous "Coexist" bumpersticker is? Rev. Paul McCain over at Cyberbretheren has the answer.

Today's verse

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:16-17 (KJV)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Another cut at an old evil

Sorry about the title of this post. Actually, this is nothing to joke about.

In November San Francisco plans to vote on a ban on circumcision. I have no medical knowledge on the subject, so I have no opinion for or against such a ban.

But a comic book developed as part of the anti-circumcision campaign is blatantly anti-Semitic.

There is absolutely nothing coy about it: the bad guy (named Mohel) plainly resembles a Hasidic Jew. The hero in this comic book - named Foreskin Man (I am not kidding) - is a blonde Aryan.

See for yourself.

Not a prayer - or maybe there is

A ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery banning the Medina Valley Independent School District (Texas) from using specific religious words in their high school graduation ceremony on Saturday has been lifted by a Federal appeals court.


Does Judge Biery seriously believe that Medina Valley High School valedictorian Angela Hildenbrand's desire to say a prayer during her commencement speech constitutes a dire threat to the Republic?

In my career as a teacher, I have heard a lot of speeches at school graduations. Some have been good, more have been bad, and the rest have been downright ugly. One or two of them were so boring they should have been classified as a menace to public health (just kidding).

Is this the sort of thing we want a Federal judge - or any judge, for that matter - to concern himself/herself with? There is such a thing as overreaction.

As for those who are offended by a valedictorian's prayer, I say: suck it up and get over it. Right now, in addition to teaching a college algebra class in the local prison, I am enrolled in a graduate level education course. The course is supposed to be about curriculum and instruction, but in reality it is nothing but a bunch of left-wing activist claptrap. Both the textbook's author and the course instructor are narrow-minded obnoxious bores. So what? Life sometimes dictates that we must listen to those whose ideas and opinions we do not value. In order to graduate with a masters degree in mathematics I have to have this course. There is no escape.

If I have to suffer through five weeks of politically-motivated crapola, then opponents of a valedictorian's prayer at a graduation ceremony can likewise suffer a few moments of indignity. Deal with it.

UPDATE (6:10 PM): In Little Rock, Arkansas, there is a controversy about a high school yearbook. It seems that the yearbook from Russellville Middle School lists the "5 worst people of all time." President George W. Bush and Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, are listed right after Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Charles Manson.

I breathlessly await Judge Biery swooping in to save us from this terrible peril.

Today's verse

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 2:15-17 (KJV)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

"Absolute truth" ain't what it used to be

Jill Abramson set to become NY Times new executive editor.

Key quote:

Ms. Abramson, 57, said that as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she considered being named editor of The Times to be like “ascending to Valhalla.”

“In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion,” she said. “If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”

Hmm: journalism as religion. Is the headquarters of the Times now a church or a temple? Are kiosks that sell the Times prayer stations or sacrificial alters? Should critics who point out the fact that the Times and much of the rest of the secular media is biased and inaccurate be considered heretics or infidels? When Times reporters write editorials endorsing candidates, does this violate the separation of church and state? Should the Times be considered a religious document and banned from public schools along with the Bible? And - Darwin forbid! - does throwing away a copy of the Times or letting your pet poop on it constitute desecration?

It looks like the Times will soon be giving the Onion a run for its money.

UPDATE (11:18 PM): It appears that in addition to "absolute truth" not quite being absolute, it is also not permanent. The Times has removed the quote I cited in my post. Over at Instapundit (a daily must-read for me) Professor Reynolds has noticed it as well.

I had thought about doing a screen capture of the original article, but I decided against it. Foolish move on my part. I should have realized that Abramson's quote was so dumb it probably would be dumped down the memory hole sooner or later. Which is exactly what happened.

Today's verse

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Jesus: a prophet of Islam?

That's the claim made in a series of billboard ads in Australia.

Which leads to the following questions: can movies, TV shows, books, magazine and news articles, college classes, athiest groups, and art exhibits that mock Jesus be considered Islamophobic? Are "artists" like Madonna and Brittney Spears who make sneering references to the crucifixion of Jesus Islamophobes? In countries such as Canada could they be prosecuted for "hate crimes"?

Please continue to pray for 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

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 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. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:6-12 (KJV)