Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pathologically Incapable of Accepting Responsibility

This video of MEP Dan Hannan tearing a strip off British PM Gordon Brown in European parliament has gone viral.

My two regular readers know that I lean right of center; and maybe moreso since Obama has rammed his "solutions" (more about that when I have more time) down the throats of American People. So to see something like this during this current news cycle is a breath of fresh air.

Driving while texting

Coincidentally saw this article and video below yestday:

Drivers Gone Wild
If you thought typing a text message while dodging traffic at 65 mph was dangerous (it is), consider the perils of shaving your legs, reading a book or lifting weights while driving — all of which (and more) are happening on America's roads — every day.[Read more]

Monday, March 23, 2009

WWYD? What would you do?

A very interesting situation Link [via SC]:

New England Town Outraged After Pastor Takes In Child Killer

CHICHESTER, N.H. — A pastor in this quiet, picturesque New England town opened his doors to a convicted child killer who had served his time but had nowhere to go.

But some neighbors of the Rev. David Pinckney vehemently disagree with the pastor's decision — one even threatening to burn his house down after officials could find no one else willing to take 60-year-old Raymond Guay.
What would you do? More details:

Guay already had a criminal record when he was charged in 1973, at age 25, with abducting and murdering a 12-year-old boy in Nashua. Authorities said he planned to sexually assault the boy, whose body was clad only in socks and undershorts.

Guay pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to up to 25 years. He kidnapped a Concord couple after briefly escaping from the nearby state prison in 1982 and was sent to a federal prison in California, where he stabbed an inmate in 1991, court records show.

After 35 years behind bars, he was released in September and ordered to serve his parole in New Hampshire. Guay's release followed a failed attempt by state officials to keep him incarcerated as a dangerous sexual predator under federal law.
Would you let him in? Would you even let him near you? I'm not sure I would.

Read the whole article. The article mentions that the arrangement was set up by a prison fellowship staff worker. The article doesn't mention whether or not Guay was saved in prison. Does it matter? Would you let him in if he was?

Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Friday, March 13, 2009


Cov-er [kuhv'-er]-noun: a recording of a song that was first recorded or made popular by somebody else

There are a ton of covers out there--popular music is full of them. Everything from Madonna doing American Pie (Don McLean), to Alien Ant farm doing Smooth Criminal(Michael Jackson). Even Christian music has it's share of covers, the most popular of which are done by DC Talk--The Cross (Prince), In the Light (Charlie Peacock), Lean on Me (Bill Withers), etc.

Every once in a while, there comes a cover that makes you do a double take. I found one last night. Matt Weddle, of the band Obadiah Parker (a band I've never heard of, but will look more into now), does a cover of the song Hey Ya by Outkast. Just him on the acoustic guitar:

There are a lot of other cool covers out there too. I've linked some below for your auditory pleasure. Enjoy.

Franco Battiato - Ruby Tuesday (Rolling Stones) (This video is really bad. Just minimize the youtube window and listen.)

Blue Man Group - Baba O'Reilly (The Who) (Incidentally, anything by the BMG is very, very cool)

Snow & Voices - Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)

Chris Dunnett - Blue (Da Ba Dee Da Ba Di) (Eiffel 65)

Kevin Max - The Cross (w/ DC Talk) (Prince)

I'm not sure if this is a cover or a re-mix, but I'll include it just because:

Pussycat Dolls - Destiny (Jai Ho) (A.R. Rahman/Slumdog Millionaire)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The coming evangelical collapse

[CS Monitor Via a facebook friend] I've inserted some comments in between. Thoughts? Comments?

The coming evangelical collapse

An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.

By Michael Spencer
from the March 10, 2009 edition

Oneida, Ky. - We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the "Protestant" 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I'm convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

Why is this going to happen?

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can't articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap ofbelieving in a cause more than a faith.
[So true. They will know we are Christians by our policital action, moral outrage and self-righteous anger (not to mention boycotts!)]

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we've spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.
[Doctrine divides, don't ya know! Everything is relative! My faith is emerging! No need for orthodoxy!]

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.
[See fascinating article: Bill Hybels says "We Were Wrong"

Consumer-driven is not a term I would have thought of before to describe Mega-churches. Is that how the world sees them?]
4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to "do good" is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

7. The money will dry up.

What will be left?

•Expect evangelicalism to look more like the pragmatic, therapeutic, church-growth oriented megachurches that have defined success. Emphasis will shift from doctrine to relevance, motivation, and personal success – resulting in churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith.

[This desire for relevance is already here. Doctrine is not important, it divides. We need to be more palatable for people who don't share our faith, but by watering down?]
•Two of the beneficiaries will be the Roman Catholic and Orthodox communions. Evangelicals have been entering these churches in recent decades and that trend will continue, with more efforts aimed at the "conversion" of Evangelicals to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
[Side note: Son of Francis Shaeffer, Franky, now subscribes to Eastern Orthodox teaching due to disillusionment of the evangelical (and I suspect, the religious right) message.]
•A small band will work hard to rescue the movement from its demise through theological renewal. This is an attractive, innovative, and tireless community with outstanding media, publishing, and leadership development. Nonetheless, I believe the coming evangelical collapse will not result in a second reformation, though it may result in benefits for many churches and the beginnings of new churches.

•The emerging church will largely vanish from the evangelical landscape, becoming part of the small segment of progressive mainline Protestants that remain true to the liberal vision.

•Aggressively evangelistic fundamentalist churches will begin to disappear.

•Charismatic-Pentecostal Christianity will become the majority report in evangelicalism. Can this community withstand heresy, relativism, and confusion? To do so, it must make a priority of biblical authority, responsible leadership, and a reemergence of orthodoxy.
[All Bible believing churches need to do this.]

•Evangelicalism needs a "rescue mission" from the world Christian community. It is time for missionaries to come to America from Asia and Africa. Will they come? Will they be able to bring to our culture a more vital form of Christianity?

•Expect a fragmented response to the culture war. Some Evangelicals will work to create their own countercultures, rather than try to change the culture at large. Some will continue to see conservatism and Christianity through one lens and will engage the culture war much as before – a status quo the media will be all too happy to perpetuate. A significant number, however, may give up political engagement for a discipleship of deeper impact.

Is all of this a bad thing?

Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?

Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.

Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.

The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.

Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.

Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.

Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.

The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.

Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."

We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.

We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.

I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?

• Michael Spencer is a writer and communicator living and working in a Christian community in Kentucky. He describes himself as "a postevangelical reformation Christian in search of a Jesus-shaped spirituality." This essay is adapted from a series on his blog,


A. R. Rahman

With all the attention on Slumdog Millionaire and A.R. Rahman these days, I thought I'd relink to a video of his arrangement of the Indian National Anthem Jana Gana Mana. It is very cool. The first half is instrumental, and the second half is vocals. The vocals are apparently done by superstars of Indian music. Enjoy:

He also wrote the music to the Broadway show Bombay Dreams. Personally, I don't think it's as good as Slumdog's soundtrack, but the Broadway cast recorded a version of "Joy to the World" as part of the Broadway's Carols For a Cure CD. I've been looking for this song for a couple years, since I'm too cheap to buy the whole cd for one song. I can't find a youtube version of it either. Life somehow goes on.

Most of the stuff on this site is pretty disgusting, but this you have to see:

What is this, you ask? A meatloaf cake, with potatoes and ketchup as frosting. I wonder what my cake decorator friends think of this? [Via Jon]


Detroit, it seems, has been hit very hard by the current state of the economy. I guess I am a pseudo-Detroiter (is that what one would call someone from Detroit?), having grown up in one of its "suburbs".

With the exception of the Red Wings, even the sports scene is depressing: almost everyone thinks that the Tigers will have a fire sale in mid June; the Pistons traded for Iverson ('nuff said); the Lions, well, they're the Lions.

Some interesting links though:

A depressing photo essay.

Buyers are buying Detroit properties by the dozen

WWGD--What would Google do to save Detroit