Saturday, September 27, 2014

Careful what you ask for

A man facetiously said that he prayed that God would make him good, but not as good as Job. He didn't want Satan to take that much notice of him.

(Or maybe he wasn't being facetious at all.)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Next quotes

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." -- Ernest Hemingway

"I am certain that to preach the wrath of God with a hard heart, a cold lip, a tearless eye, and an unfeeling spirit is to harden men, not benefit them." -- Charles Spurgeon

"Trouble is a soil in which faith grows." -- copied

"Since the apostles of the Lamb have finished their course with us in the flesh, no history of the church of God should be allowed to lure us from the doctrine which they taught, the judgments they recorded, the ordinances they have enjoined; nothing is to be added nor aught diminished from the perfect standard of faith and order they established, which is confirmed by all the valid authority of earth and heaven." -- Gilbert Beebe

"When you're in deep water, look to the ONE who walked on it." -- copied from a church sign

"Preach to hearts, not to heads. Everyone has a heart; not everyone has a head." -- R. G. Lee

“Theological Seminaries, in attempting to qualify men to preach the gospel, virtually profess to hold at their disposal the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and to impart them to men for money.” -- By Gilbert Beebe

"Atheism is a strange thing. Even the devils never fell into that vice." -- Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Next links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 8 Fascinating Secret Societies and Bohemian Clubs -- "Most people have heard of groups like the Skull and Bones Society‎, but see what you make of these other organizations."
* 11 Emabarassing Bodily Functions that are Actually Signs of Good Health -- "You might be surprised to learn that those bodily functions that are so mortifying are actually signs that we have healthy bodies."
* Archbishop of Canterbury admits he has doubts about God -- "The extraordinary thing about being a Christian is that God is faithful even when we're not."
* A Response to Matthew Vines: The Bible Doesn't Support Same-Sex Relationships -- "This issue and these arguments aren’t going to go away."
* Crest Will Eliminate Microbeads From Its Toothpastes -- "...what you probably assume are flavor crystals in your toothpaste may actually be plastic microbeads."
* Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack (They're Different for Women) -- "Bottom line: a heart attack doesn't always look like the typical Hollywood heart attack..."
* Meet the Young, Evangelical, Pro-Gay Movement -- "...Matthew Vines...became an internet sensation with his hour-long video on why Bible-believing Christians can and should become affirming of LGBT people."
* Pew Poll: Liberals Choose Tolerance Over Faith -- "...there are sharp ideological differences in what parents choose to emphasize in the upbringing of their children."
* School accused of 'purging' Christian books -- “She was told by one of the library attendants that the library has been instructed to remove all books with a Christian message, authored by Christians, or published by a Christian publishing company.”
* Teaching the Children: Sharp Ideological Differences, Some Common Ground -- "As the public grows more politically polarized, differences between conservatives and liberals extend their long reach even to opinions about which qualities are important to teach children..."
* The Global Divide on Homosexuality -- "There is a strong relationship between a country’s religiosity and opinions about homosexuality."
* The NFL and the church share the same culture of silence on abuse -- "Many church leaders do not realize that all evils are present in their congregations, especially sins that carry a heavy culture of silence."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who's more righteous?

A recent study (published 12 Sept 2014) has found that Religion Doesn't Make People More Moral. This has been reported in various ways, often in words similar to the title of the article by Elizabeth Palermo at LiveScience, linked above.

I agree with  Macrina Cooper-White's conclusion "So much for religious people being more righteous than non-believers." Religious people are not more righteous, even though some religious people think so. But that doesn't tell the whole story (and Macrina tells the story with traditional Huff Post spin).

According to Palermo, the study was conducted in this manner: "Researchers asked 1,252 adults of different religious and political backgrounds in the United States and Canada to record the good and bad deeds they committed, witnessed, learned about or were the target of throughout the day." Further explaining, she writes, "For three days, participants received five text messages a day that included a link to the study's mobile website, where they could record any moral phenomena that they had experienced in the past hour via their smartphones."

Reports of the study state that religious or non-religious people committed both moral and immoral deeds with “comparable frequency.” The same held true of regardless of the participants' political viewpoints.

One benefit of the study is that it takes such study out of the "lab" and moves it into real life experience -- perhaps the first study to do so. "As far as I know, this is the first study that's used this kind of lived-experience approach to track morality as it's happening," said Dan Wisneski, a professor of psychology at Saint Peter's University in Jersey City, and one of the leaders of the study. Perhaps it will also have some benefit in combatting "Phariseeism", though Phariseeism usually seems to produce the fuel on which it runs.

But there are some problems I see (or think I see) with the study. Researchers used Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to recruit over 1200 people with the incentive of winning an iPod Touch. By this method they apparently recruited a diversity of participants -- in some ways. But it seems like the not-so-social media savvy folks who aren't interested in an iPod Touch got left out! Could that skew the results? Though it is not clear who determined what was "moral" behaviour, it seems very likely that along with the self-reporting was a certain amount of "self-classification" -- that is, the reports by the individuals are skewed by their own views of their behaviour. One false conclusion that some will have is that religion does not have any direct effect on morality and is therefore not beneficial. (Or more likely, those who already have that view will point to this study as proving it.)

In the end it will be well that we all remind ourselves that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."

The study can be found here:
* Morality in everyday life and can be read if you have a "sciencemag" account.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Be Still My Soul

1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Written by Katharina von Schlegel, 1697 - 1768
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813 - 1897

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brilliantly quoted

"Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living and Tradition is the living faith of the dead." -- Jaroslav Pelikan

"Jesus knows me, this I love." -- copied

"When you preach the wonderful Gospel this morning, don’t be thinking about how our society and culture offers more monetary rewards to elevator installers than you. You deal with Jacob’s Ladder. Let them get greasy with Otis." -- William Thornton

"...the fashion industry understands what the pornography industry does: female nakedness makes more money than its male counterpart." -- Jeff Pollard

"I’ve never seen any cleavage at church that helped me worship the Lord." -- Doug Sayers

"I think music in itself is healing." -- Bill Joel

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." -- Robert Frost

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." -- Babe Ruth

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle of which you know nothing." -- copied

Friday, September 19, 2014

Brilliantly linked

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 5 Things Our Parents Did That Would Get Them Arrested Today -- "Read on for a list of things that your parents may have done -- or let you do -- that would get them into hot water today."
* An Oration, commemorative of the late Major-General Alex R. Hamilton; pronounced before the New York State Society of the Cincinnati, on Tuesday, July 31, 1804. By J. M. Mason -- "Sad, my fellow-citizens, are the recollections and forebodings which the present solemnities force upon the mind."
* Court hears challenge to clergy housing allowance -- "The Freedom From Religion Foundation argued that singling out clergy for preferential tax benefits violates the Establishment Clause."
* Here's The Most Educated Town In Every State -- "Using the 2008-2012 ACS estimates for places with at least 1,000 population, Business Insider made a map showing, for each state, the town with the highest percentage of adults over 25 who have at least a bachelor's degree..."
* King Richard III's Final Moments Were Quick & Brutal -- "...Richard III was almost certainly brought down by more than one man — and more than one weapon."
* Pope Francis Supposedly Claimed Virgin Mary Is Second Trinity, At Godhead Level -- "Pope Francis, with his open-mindedness and more humanist approach to Catholicism reportedly promoted that the Virgin Mary should be at the second Holy Trinity, even putting her at Godhead level."
* Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone -- "...if you caffeinate immediately before napping and sleep for 20 minutes or less, you can exploit a quirk in the way both sleep and caffeine affect your brain to maximize alertness."
* The New Abortion Abolitionists -- "Being pro-choice is passé nowadays."
* Top 10 myths about the Constitution on Constitution Day -- "The Constitution is our most endearing document, but not everything you read online about the Constitution is accurate!"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Robert Griffin's T-shirt

Yesterday I read Cyd Zeigler's RG3 forced to turn religious T-shirt inside out. I miss most of this sports press conference stuff unless it makes the news or commentary. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III appeared for a post-game press conference with a T-shirt that read "Know Jesus Know Peace" (and with "No Jesus No Peace" embedded within that). He was told not to wear/show it, so he turned it wrong side out so the text wouldn't show.

Some Christians see this as an attack on Christianity, but I have no problem with it -- as long as it is a consistent rule consistently applied. And, on the face of it, it was. Zeigler quotes NFL bylaws prohibiting players having personal messages on clothing on game-days: "Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office." Yes, constitutionally we have free speech, but some people voluntarily enter into agreements that limit their speech. Such is their right.

Zeigler, nevertheless, was not just concerned with NFL bylaws. He was offended by the statement on "RG3's" shirt. He wrote, "I'm glad they told him not to wear it." Zeigler's glee was not founded in the application of NFL policy, but in the fact that he didn't like Griffin's message. We should not be surprised that in a pluralistic society that has made an idol of tolerance that a "Christ only" message has been and will increasingly be met with intolerance.

Zeigler somehow "expected more of this man," but the problem is not in Griffin but in Zeigler's expectations. In Copperas Cove, Texas, Robert Griffin attended the Christian House of Prayer. They believe that all have sinned and  that salvation "is made operative by grace through faith in Jesus Christ."  While at Baylor he attended University Baptist Church. Probably the more liberal of the three, they nevertheless believe that Jesus Christ is "the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father," and that He died for our salvation. The church he currently attends (Cornerstone Fellowship Church, Frederick, MD) believes that the Bible is God's Word, speaking "with authority and without error." They believe that all of mankind is lost in sin and that Jesus Christ is the only hope. This is a common and historic evangelical Christian belief that should surpise no one.

Focusing on promoting positive messages and censoring negative messages, Ziegler misses the point. It is not that some Christians "live life in turmoil" and some non-Christians live a "peaceful existence." 'Know Jesus, Know Peace/No Jesus, No Peace' is not just about some snapshot of a particular moment in time. It is "without Jesus, there is no peace." It is essentially a statement that Jesus is the only way of salvation. Jesus preached it: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me." Peter preached it: "Neither is their salvation in any other, for their is none other name, under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." Evidently, Robert Griffin III believes it. And so do I.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More quotes

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened." -- Mark Twain

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not all ships are for." -- copied

"In order to know a community, one must observe the style of its funerals and know what manner of men they bury with most ceremony." -- Mark Twain

"You may talk about a man all you please, but when you do, please do it on your knees." -- copied

"The best swordsman in the world doesn't need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn't do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn't prepared for him." -- Mark Twain

"The worst thief of all is the one who will rob you of truth." -- copied

"Journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft (when committed in the pecuniary interest of a journal,) & admires the thief...However, these same journals combat despicable crimes quite valiantly--when committed in other quarters." -- Mark Twain

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -- Jim Elliot

Monday, September 15, 2014


The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 5 ways America changed God -- "Our making God into our own image isn’t a new trend. We’ve been changing God since Anglo Saxons first stepped foot onto these shores."
* 10 Foods to Eat for Healthier Hair -- "Add these tasty foods to your diet and fight everything from dullness to hair loss."
* 49ers suspend broadcaster Ted Robinson for insensitive Ray Rice comments -- "The San Francisco 49ers suspended Ted Robinson for two games in response to comments the radio broadcaster made regarding domestic violence, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The suspension is the same Ray Rice initially received for knocking his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator."
* Christian group sanctioned at two dozen college campuses -- "A well-established international Christian student group is being denied recognition at almost two dozen California college campuses because it requires leaders to adhere to Christian beliefs..."
* Christian Modesty: The Public Undressing of America -- "The fashion industry does not believe that the principle purpose of clothing is to cover the body; it believes that the principle purpose of clothing is sexual attraction. This is the very opposite of Christian modesty."
* Common Core Teaches Kids New Way To Add 9 + 6 That Takes 54 Seconds -- "Perhaps the best example of Common Core’s sharp focus on “why” in math came last summer when The Daily Caller exposed a video showing a curriculum coordinator in suburban Chicago perkily explaining that Common Core allows students to be totally right if they say 3 x 4 = 11 as long as they spout something about the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer."
* Google Says Not To Worry About 5 Million 'Gmail Passwords' Leaked -- "Google itself says less than 2% of the leaked address-password pairs were current for Gmail. That sounds small but it means nearly 100,000 people need to change their Gmail passwords ASAP. If you’re one of them, Google should have already notified you."
* Mysterious Fake Cellphone Towers Are Intercepting Calls All Over The US -- "Rather than offering you cellphone service, the towers appear to be connecting to nearby phones, bypassing their encryption, and either tapping calls or reading texts."
* The Church and Violence Against Women -- "We must train up men, through godly mentoring as well as through biblical instruction, who will know that the model of a husband is a man who crucifies his selfish materialism, his libidinal fantasies, and his wrathful temper tantrums in order to care lovingly for a wife."
* The future of the church isn't youth -- "...youth ministry isn't about setting aside a special place for young people in the church but about moving them into the center of the church community..."
* Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage -- "...the history of Christian ethics actually shows that the faith has been surprisingly consistent on the topic of sexuality."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Old Prospect Church Anniversary

On Sunday October 5, Old Prospect Baptist Church -- of the Sand Flat Community in southern Rusk County -- will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Find information about  Old Prospect Anniversary on Facebook by clicking the link.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

In memory 1926-2014

Today all that was mortal of Gladys Velma Seaton Woolverton was laid to rest at the Holleman Cemetery. Gladys was one of the people I've known all my life. Dad and her husband Bill were cousins, lived in the same community, went to the same church -- Dad and Bill even worked for the same contractor for a number of years. In addition their son Joe and I were born only one day apart. Growing up, we were always trying to be at one another's house.

Gladys loved gospel singing and loved to sing. She had a beautiful and distinctive alto voice. Up to the end she was concerned that the third Saturday night singing at her church would go on. Now she is where she can sing on forever!

"I want to meet you by that beautiful river
On that eternal morning in the sky;
Where we will live in peace thru endless ages,
Where we will never say goodbye." (Albert E. Brumley)

Monday, September 08, 2014

Hurrah for Common Core (not)

* Common Core Teaches Kids New Way To Add 9 + 6 That Takes 54 Seconds

"Perhaps the best example of Common Core’s sharp focus on “why” in math came last summer when The Daily Caller exposed a video showing a curriculum coordinator in suburban Chicago perkily explaining that Common Core allows students to be totally right if they say 3 x 4 = 11 as long as they spout something about the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer.

"Earlier this month, Canada’s National Post reported that a group of neuroscientists has issued a study finding that rote memorization of discrete math facts plays a critical role in mathematical development in young children.

"In short, the study found, memorizing multiplication tables and answers to basic arithmetic problems is cognitively vital because, without such memorization, children will have a much harder time later on with complex math problems."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Feldman decision on homosexual marriage

* String of gay marriage victories broken in Louisiana -- "A federal judge in Louisiana upheld that state's prohibition on gay marriage Wednesday and belittled a string of 20-plus federal court decisions striking down state bans as 'a pageant of empathy'."

I use for e-mail, so I often check its home page for news items. Of late the site has followed every judicial decision against states laws banning homosexual with numerous articles. Unless I missed it, the above news was ignored by Yahoo News. Perhaps it did not fit their agenda? Here's a few excerpts from the USA Today article.

"Since the justices ruled in U.S. v. Windsor that the federal government must recognize legal gay marriages and provide appropriate benefits, no federal judge had upheld a statewide ban. Feldman not only did so — he cited both Windsor and the flurry of federal rulings that have followed for helping to make his case:

"• The Windsor decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, 'references an amorphous but alluring 'evolving understanding of the meaning of equality,'" Feldman said. Nevertheless, he noted, it upheld states' rights to regulate marriage.

"'Louisiana's laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage's historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents,' he said."

"If states can't do that, Feldman said, they may not be able to prohibit marriage among minors, groups of people or members of the same family. After all, he said, 'all such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another.'"

Saturday, September 06, 2014

1 quotata, 2 quotata, 3 quotata, four

"Desperate people think they hear God's voice where there is silence and make terrible decisions." -- William Thornton

"When your child spills milk, he doesn't need a lecture -- he needs a rag." -- Kevin Lehman

"Many men have tried to become God, but only one God became man!" -- copied

"I know nothing, Madam. I am a journalist." -- G. K. Chesterton

Friday, September 05, 2014

Sacred Harp in Ringgold

We're singing from The Sacred Harp tomorrow at New Providence Primitive Baptist Church in Ringgold, Louisiana. Click the link for the information, and come and be with us.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Eden Foods and Obamacare

* Two Months On From Hobby Lobby Ruling, Grocery Co-ops Dump Eden Foods Products From Shelves

Most everyone has heard of Hobby Lobby (and its legal case). Probably fewer of Conestoga, and even less of Eden Foods. Eden is organic food company, owned by Michael Potter, who is opposed to some things "Obamacare" was going to require his company to pay for. The company sued the U.S. Government over the Affordable Care Act’s employee birth control mandate.

Eden Foods choice, however, has created a backlash among some of this country’s regional grocery co-ops. For example:

"Madison, Wisconsin’s two-store Willy Street co-op this week announced it’d be removing nine of Eden Foods’ popular products from its shelves after a comment period."

"San Francisco’s 40-year-old Other Avenues co-op has opted to remove all traces of Eden Foods from its store..."

Kirstin Moore, of Willy Street, stated that Eden Foods “ought to understand how some of our consumers may draw the conclusion that today’s Eden Foods — the Eden Foods that filed suit to retain control over how certain employees may use the healthcare compensation Eden Foods provides — has fallen short of our cooperative values.”

Other Avenues wrote to its customers, “While we appreciate Eden Foods commitment to other political causes such as the non-GMO movement, we are saddened by their decision to fight against providing basic reproductive health services to their own employees, and cannot in good conscience continue to carry their products so long as they continue to oppose this fundamental right.”

These co-ops (and others) interestingly use their political leanings as a reason to punish Eden Foods for their political leanings. And that is well within their rights. A few, like Bob Bejesky, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, fight boycotting for such reasons with their own actions: "I go out of my way to buy Eden products because of their stand, which I don't necessarily believe in but I respect their belief."

It sounds like Eden is in it for the long haul and sticking to their guns. Founder and CEO Michael Potter "is a devout Catholic who does not believe companies should be forced to fund insurance that includes that coverage." The company's statement stands by doing what they believe is the right thing regardless of the consequences. "We realized in making our objection that it would give rise to grotesque mischaracterizations and fallacious arguments. We did not fully anticipate the degree of maliciousness and corruption that would visit us. Nevertheless, we believe we did what we should have."

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Old news, new news and some opinions

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

* 151 years after his death, Union officer to receive Medal of Honor for heroism at Gettysburg -- "...Obama will award the medal in a ceremony on Sept. 15 to two Vietnam War soldiers who also received the congressional exemption — Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat."
* Mother With Alzheimer's, Daughter Share Moving Moment of Clarity -- "According to, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, which is a form of dementia that gets worse over time and affects memory, thinking, and behavior."
* Reading Hamilton From the Left -- "The Left has always favored Thomas Jefferson over Alexander Hamilton."
* Seeking Facts, Justices Settle for What Briefs Tell Them -- "Over the five terms from 2008 to 2013, the court’s opinions cited factual assertions from amicus briefs 124 times..."
* The Divine Purpose of God -- "Our salvation is no simple stumbled over fantasy.  It is the well though out purpose of the wise and sovereign God."
* The Public Undressing of America -- "The fashion industry does not believe that the principle purpose of clothing is to cover the body; it believes that the principle purpose of clothing is sexual attraction. This is the very opposite of Christian modesty."
* Two Months On From Hobby Lobby Ruling, Grocery Co-ops Dump Eden Foods Products From Shelves -- "Eden Foods did not, however, escape without a boycott effort by some of the country’s best-known regional grocery co-ops."
* Why isn't the media covering the killing of an unarmed white youth by a black police officer? -- "According to Tapper, though, the Brown case is more newsworthy because of the national reaction it sparked..."