Friday, December 30, 2005

Ten Commandments Display Ruled Constitutional

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a display of the Ten Commandments along with other historical documents was constitutional setting up a possible showdown at the Supreme Court over the issue of religious displays and the so-called "wall of separation between church and state" (Hat tip: Captain's Quarters):

A federal appeals court has upheld a display of the Ten Commandments alongside other historical documents in the Mercer County, Ky., courthouse.

The judge who wrote the opinion blasted the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the display, in language that echoed the type of criticism often directed at the organization.

Judge Richard Suhrheinrich's ruling said the ACLU brought "tiresome" arguments about the "wall of separation" between church and state, and it said the organization does not represent a "reasonable person."

The decision was issued by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati. It upheld a lower-court decision that allowed Mercer County to continue displaying the Ten Commandments along with the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other documents.

All of the items were posted at the same time in 2001.

The most striking aspect of the ruling is not only the outcome of the case but the threefold criticism of the ACLU's arguments.

First, the Court blasts the ACLU's reference to separation of church and state. The Court states that:

This extra-constitutional construct has grown tiresome. The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state.

The phrase "separation of church and state" was actually taken from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist church to affirm the First Amendment principle that the government would not establish a religion. The phrase actually does not appear in the First Amendment.

The second flaw cited by the Court is that the Ten Commandments are strictly religious:

Second, the ACLU focuses on the religiousness of the Ten Commandments. No reasonable person would dispute their sectarian nature, but they also have a secular nature that the ACLU does not address. That they are religious merely begs the question whether this display is religious; it does not answer it. “[T]he stablishment Clause inquiry cannot be distilled into a fixed, per se rule.” Pinette, 515 U.S. at 778 (O’Connor J., concurring); see Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 597-98 (1992). Although treating the subject matter categorically would make our review eminently simpler, we are called upon to examine Mercer County’s actions in light of context. “Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment Clause.” Van Orden, 125 S. Ct. at 2863 (plurality opinion). Moreover, “[f]ocus exclusively on the religious component of any activity would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the Establishment Clause.” Lynch, 465 U.S. at 680. The Constitution requires an analysis beyond the four-corners of the Ten Commandments. In short, “proving” that the Ten Commandments themselves are religious does not prove an Establishment Clause violation.

In other words, the context of the display is as important as the content. Because the Mercer County display included other historical documents alongside the Ten Commandments it was deemed constitutional. However, it is reasonable to expect that a Ten Commandments display, on its own, may be considered unconstitutional depending on where the display resides.

It's also important to consider what the purpose of a display might be. In Mercer County, the purpose was to recognize a number of historical documents that were part of the foundations of our country. The Ten Commandments contain the principles upon which our legal system is based. Within this context, it's appropriate to display it alongside the other documents contained in the Mercer County exhibit.

Finally, the Court dealt with perhaps the most important aspect of the ACLU's argument against such displays:

Third, the ACLU erroneously–though perhaps intentionally–equates recognition with endorsement. To endorse is necessarily to recognize, but the converse does not follow. Cf. Mercer County, 219 F. Supp. 2d at 789 (“Endorsement of religion is a normative concept; whereas acknowledgment of religion is not necessarily a value-laden concept.”). Because nothing in the display, its history, or its implementation supports the notion that Mercer County has selectively endorsed the sectarian elements of the first four Commandments, we fail to see why the reasonable person would interpret the presence of the Ten Commandments as part of the larger “Foundations” display as a governmental endorsement of religion.

We will not presume endorsement from the mere display of the Ten Commandments. If the reasonable observer perceived all government references to the Deity as endorsements, then many of our Nation’s cherished traditions would be unconstitutional, including the Declaration of Independence and the national motto. Fortunately, the reasonable person is not a hyper-sensitive plaintiff. See Washegesic ex rel. Pensinger v. Bloomingdale Pub. Sch., 33 F.3d 679, 684 (6th Cir. 1994) (Guy, J., concurring) (describing the “eggshell” plaintiff as unknown to the Establishment Clause). Instead, he appreciates the role religion has played in our governmental institutions, and finds it historically appropriate and traditionally acceptable for a state to include religious influences, even in the form of sacred texts, in honoring American legal traditions.

The Court has exposed the fallacy of the ACLU's and other lawsuits that have been filed to stop any type of religious activity. The mere acknowledgement of religion is not the same as establishment. Acknowledgement is a recognition of the existence and even influence of religion. Establishment means that by law a religion or church is established as the only legal religious entity that may exist.

With this ruling, The Sixth Circuit has provided the Supreme Court with the perfect opportunity to clarify the law with regards to such displays as the Ten Commandments. As the battle to confirm Judge Alito heats up, it is reasonable to expect this to be one of the many cases that he will be asked about in his confirmation hearings.

Cross-posted at Stones Cry Out and Two or

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Book Review: Think Before You Look

Pornography has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The Internet has made access to material that was once reserved for adult bookstores and required real effort to obtain easily accessible to just about anyone who wants it. It is an addiction that ruins the lives of millions of men each year and countless marriages as well. Even Christian men are not immune to the destructive power of pornography. For those who struggle with pornography, simply deciding one day that you're not going to look at any more is not enough. In order to successfully free yourself from its grip requires not just breaking a habit but developing an entirely new way of thinking. It involves a renewing of your mind to focus on the things of God rather than things of the flesh.

Daniel Henderson's book Think Before You Look: Avoiding the Consequences of Secret Temptation is an invaluable resource in the fight against pornography and helps those affected by it to renew their minds through the study of God's word. In the book, Henderson presents forty reasons to avoid the temptation of pornography. Each segment focuses on one particular biblical truth and gives the reader practical help for fighting the battle. Although I had no problem reading the entire book at once, it's true power is when it is used almost as a devotional, reflecting on each of the forty truths one at a time. Henderson also does not talk down to the reader. He aproaches the issue as one who has counseled numerous individuals who struggle with this issue. He also writes as one who has a passion for seeing men be freed from the evil grip of pornography.

For any man, single or married, Think Before You Look is a terrific resource that you will want to have in your library. Given the culture we live in where sex is so much a part of what we see and hear, men need to be on guard against all kinds of temptation. This book will give you the weapons you need to fight the battle.

This book was provided to me by Living Ink Books through Mind and Media. No compensation was received for this review apart from the book.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One More Christmas Story

As we wind down our celebration of Christmas, here is one final story worth reading. As I read it, I could not help but think of the many young men and women who are away from home this Christmas to ensure that we all can celebrate in safety and security.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The True Meaning of Christmas

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1-20

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"I Just Want A Snuggle"

I am fortunate to be able to work at home. The blessing is that I can see my family just about anytime I want to. The downside is sometimes family interrupts me while I am trying to work. But the other day I had an interruption that I was only too glad to receive. My youngest daughter, who is 8, came in and said "I just want a snuggle". Every once in a while she'll ask me to just give her a big hug. It's her way of knowing that she is loved. It would have been easy for me to tell her I was too busy or that I had other things I needed to do. But at that moment, there was nothing more important than just giving her a hug.

So often we become busy (and Dads especially have to fight against the pull of our jobs on our time) that we neglect the simple moments that God gives us to remind our children how much we love them. Take time to give your children a hug now and then. More importantly, make sure that they are getting to spend plenty of time with you. Before you know it, they'll be grown up and gone.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Message for Homeschool Dads

Still looking for that perfect gift for your homeschooling wife? How about a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? It's the perfect way to encourage your wife in her efforts to educate your children. Each issue is packed with practical advice, features, and reviews of new products all written by fellow homeschoolers.

You can also take advantage of their buy one, get one free Christmas special. Purchase a new two-year subscription and get a one-year subscription for a friend for free. In addition, both you and your friend will receive 19 free homeschool gifts. Already a subscriber? If you renew now for two years you'll get a special gift plus a free one-year subscription and 19 free gifts for a friend.

A gift of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is the perfect way to show your wife how much you appreciate her hard work in teaching your children. Your whole family will benefit from this wonderful magazine.

Note: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has provided me with a complimentary subscription as compensation for this post.

Total Truth Study Guide Available

Nancy Pearcey has just made the study guide for her book Total Truth available on her website for free. Click here to download the study guide. (Hat tip: Mind and Media)

To find out more about the book, you can read my review.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Book Review: Hedges

Divorce. Infidelity. Proliferation of pornography. A sexualized culture that no longer recognizes propriety as something of value. Each one of these forces bombards many a married man tempting him to cast aside his vows in exchange for a fleeting moment of pleasure. How can any man who is seriously committed to protecting their marriage stand up against the seemingly endless barrage of temptations hurled at him?

Thankfully, Jerry Jenkins has updated and republished his classic book Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It. Specifically geared towards men, this is a very practical book that encourages husbands to take very deliberate steps to protect themselves from sexual temptation.

As Jenkins points out in his introduction, the biblical response to temptation is to flee. With temptation all around us it is easy to think we need to hang in there and fight against it.
But temptations can often be so subtle that they can trip us up before we know it. That's why we need "hedges": groud rules for how we interact with the opposite sex that protect ourselves, our marriages, our employers, and our churches.

This is not a Puritan list of rules to follow. Rather, Jenkins draws on his own life experience as well as the experiences (both positive and negative) of numerous couples he has known and counseled to demonstrate the real dangers that marriages face in light of today's over-sexed culture and practical steps that husbands can take to protect themselves. Although he does not recommend implementing every single one of his own hedges, most readers will find that his hedges are really good hedges to make their own.

This edition of the book includes a bonus DVD featuring a lecture by Jenkins and is a wonderful supplement to the book.

This is a book that every man needs to own and to read over and over again. By applying the simple principles contained in this book you will be going a long way towards protecting your marriage from the temptation of infidelity and sexual sin.

This book was provided to me by Crossway through Mind and Media. No compesation was received for this review apart from the book.

Which Narnia Character Are You?

"As Aslan, you are brave, noble and have an astute awareness of morality. You may be quick to anger at times, but you have a heart of gold, and are respected greatly among your peers."

To find out which character you are, click here to take the quiz.

Hat tip: AllThings2All.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Vote for the Homeschool Blog Awards

The first Homeschool Blog Award nominations have been announced. Yours truly was fortunate enough to be nominated in the Best Homeschooling Dad Blog category. Be sure to stop by and vote for all your favorite blogs. Voting ends December 26th.

Narnia: Box Office Savior?

With the huge opening weekend success of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the film appears to becoming a year-end blessing for an otherwise dismal year at the movies:

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe helped melt a box office in winter. With a dose of broadly appealing fantasy based on C.S. Lewis' famous novel, overall business was up 15 percent from the comparable weekend last year, and, with King Kong looming, 2005 is poised to end on a high note despite being the first down box office year since 1991.

Playing on about 6,800 screens across 3,616 locations, Narnia drummed up $65.6 million, exceeding industry expectations in the $50 million range. The opening was the second-biggest ever for December behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's $72.8 million and the third best start for distributor Buena Vista, behind The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.

The same report goes on to note that the content of the film had a lot to do with this past weekend's success:

Saturday exit polls by Buena Vista indicated that families made up 53 percent of Narnia's audience, and that 55 percent of moviegoers were under 25 years old and 52 percent were male. Audiences generally liked the picture, grading it an "A+" in CinemaScore's opening night surveys, which also showed that the "subject matter" was by far the top reason people saw the movie.

It is this same desire for more family-friendly content that drove Philip Anschutz (owner of Walden Media which produced Narnia) to start his own film companies with his own money. The American Enterprise has a terrific profile of Anschutz entitled "Movie Messiah" that details the billionaire's journey in the world of movie making (Hat tip: C-Log). If the success of Narnia is any indication, Anschutz's Walden Media has figured out how to succeed in Hollywood. If the rest of Hollywood starts to take notice that it's the content of the movie that matters as much as the story being told then perhaps there is hope for the movie industry after all.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Book Review: Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

What do sex and Jesus Christ have to do with each other? When we think about Jesus are we really thinking about sex at the same time? Or vice versa? The answer is most likely no. However, according to John Piper, the two are closely linked. In fact, he makes the point this way in the opening chapter of Sex and the Supremacy of Christ:

"I have two simple and weighty points to make. I think everything in this book will be the explanation and application of these two points. The first is that sexuality is designed by God as a way to know God in Christ more fully. And the second is that knowing God in Christ more fully is designed as a way of guarding and guiding our sexuality. I use the phrase "God in Christ" to signal at the outset that I am going to move back and forth between God and Christ because the biblical assumption of this book is that Christ is God.

Now to state the two points again, this time negatively, in the first place all misuses of our sexuality distort the true knowledge of Christ. And, in the second place, all misuses of our sexuality derive from not having the true knowledge of Christ.

Or to put it one more way: all sexual corruption serves to conceal the true knowledge of Christ, but the true knowlege of Christ serves to prevent sexual corruption."

(page 26, emphasis in original)

The subsequent chapters in the book explore these two basic points from a number of different angles: from the man's perspective, from the woman's perspective, from a historical perspective, and examining the issue in light of distortions that naturally occur because of sexual sin.

The book is essentially a compilation of the speeches given at the 2004 Desiring God National Conference and even includes a DVD with the various addresses. Each contributor is clearly knowledgeable on their individual subject and tackles their issue quite well.

However, the fact that there are twelve different contributors, each with their own unique style, makes it a little difficult to read straight through the book. This is not necessarily the type of book you would want to sit down and just read through. Instead, it's greatest asset is as a resource on the topic of sex and our relationship to Christ. Pastors and teachers will especially appreciate the presentation as a resource to use in their own teaching endeavors. My recommendation is for anyone who wants to read the book to be prepared to take their time and take each chapter one at a time spending sufficient time with each to fully absorb the material that is being presented.

This book was provided to me for review by Mind and Media through Crossway, publishers of the book. No other compensation has been received for this review.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Who is C. S. Lewis?

While anticipation is building for Friday's release of the movie adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, much attention has been focused on the man behind the magic, C. S. Lewis. Christianity Today and Christian History Magazine both have several terrific articles that provide keen insight into the man who is so revered by evangelicals:

Why Lewis is someone every Christian should know.

Interesting and unusal facts about Lewis.

A look into the mind of C. S. Lewis.

And his famous friendship with J. R. R. Tolkein.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Weblog Awards 2005

The 2005 Weblog Award nominations have been announced and several of my fellow Mind and Media reviewers have been nominated for awards:

Mind and Media has been nominated in the Best Business Blog Category.

Heather from Mom2MomConnection has been nominated in the Best Blog Design Category.

Matt from Mere Orthodoxy has received a nomination in the Best Religious Blog Category. So has new reviewer Jay Adkins.

And friend of this blog Catez Stevens of AllThings2All has been nominated in the Best Australia or New Zealand Blog.

Voting continues through December 15th. You can vote once per day per category. Be sure to stop by and vote for your favorite blog.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Homeschool Blog Awards

Spunky Homeschool is sponsoring the first Homeschool Blog Awards. Stop by and nominate your favorite homeschool blog in any of the following categories:

Best Homeschooling Mom Blog
Best Homeschooling Dad Blog
Best Homeschooling Family blog
Best Homeschooling Teen blog
Best Informational Homeschool blog
Best Inspirational Homeschool blog
Best Homeschooling Humor blog
Best Team / Group Homeschool Blog
Best Homeschool Curriculum / Business Blog
Best Homeschool Blog Template Design
Best Canadian Homeschool Blog
Best International Homeschool Blog
Best Current Events Homeschool Blog
Best Homeschool Arts Blog
Best Homeschool Photo Blog

Spunky will be receiving nominations until December 11th. Make sure to stop by and nominate your favorite blog!

Friday, November 25, 2005

DVD Review: Left Behind: World at War

It's been eighteen months since the mysterious disappearance of millions of people. The world has managed to recover from what the Bible refers to as the Rapture and 172 world governments have consolidated power in one Global Community under the leadership of Nicolae Carpathia (Gordon Currie) . On the surface, everything appears to be peaceful as nations have willingly laid down their arms in the name of world peace. President Gerald Fitzhugh (Lou Gossett, Jr.) has led the United States into this alliance - a decision he will soon regret. Vice President John Mallory (Charles Martin Smith) informs the President that Carpathia is about to unleash a biological weapon on the United States. Fitzhugh barely has time to let the news sink in before Mallory is assasainated and the United States is plunged into war. Fitzhugh turns to reporter Buck Williams (Kirk Cameron) and militia member Carolyn Miller (Jessica Steen) for help in trying to stop Carpathia before it's too late.

This third installment of the Left Behind movie series was surprisingly well done. The action is taught and the movie left me on the edge of my seat even when the characters would stop to pray. Christians are portrayed realistically without resorting to overused stereotypes. They are not fearless warriors of faith but rather human beings that are struggling to understand how God can allow war and death to continue to persist.

This installment also cleary benefits from the financial backing of Sony Pictures which was willing to support the film and provide the larger production budget necessary to create many of the special effects so well utilized through the film.

The filmmakers were also not afraid to also deal with the spiritual content which is clearly at the heart of the novels. The characters (particularly Fitzhugh) are on a spiritual journey that causes them to face danger head on and evaluate their lives in very spiritual terms.

Overall, this is a well-produced film and probably the best of the series thus far. Left Behind: World at War not only entertains but presents the truth of the Bible squarely in front of the audience and will no doubt cause careful self-examination by anyone who watches the film. Even those viewers unfamiliar with the books or previous films can still find this movie enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

As families all across America prepare this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, it's worth pausing to reflect on why we celebrate the holiday. This essay from Mark Alexander at the Federalist Patriot traces the history of the Thanksgiving holiday and why we should stop and thank God for the blessings we all enjoy.

From our family to yours, may you have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Douglas Gresham on Homeschooling

The Fall 2005 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine includes an interview with Douglas Gresham, stepson of C. S. Lewis. While much of the conversation focuses on the upcoming Narnia movie and Gresham's relationship with Lewis, there is some frank discussion about Gresham's own strong support for homeschooling. Here is what Gresham had to say about homeschooling:

Homeschooling and why I advocate it is not a matter of whether the schools are good or bad, though obviously I would rather children went to good schools than to bad ones, if go to school they must. It is that, as someone who has been trained and works in the field of post-childhood abuse trauma, and has devoted considerable thought to the mattter, I have formed the opinion that the entire concept of school is flawed. In fact, it is a terrible mistake.

Look what we do: we observe what God has designed, a pair of parents, one of each
sex, and two pairs of grandparents, often with a few aunts and uncles thrown in. In fact, a Family. This is the unit designed by God Himself for the specific purpose of ministry of raising each new generation.

Then what do we do? We take the child and remove him from this carefully designed support group of parents and close family members, all of whom share a genetic bond with the child, and plunge him into a mass group of his peers, all of whom are as ignorant and as demanding as he is, with one adult stranger supervising. In terms of the psycho-emotional development of the child, this is complete madness.

A child is best nurtured by having the one-on-one attention from each of the two parents for a specific period of time each day. Ideally, a child should be homeschooled by both parents sharing the task equally, though I do realize that this is not always possible. Bear in mind that I am not referring to idiotic parents, criminal parents, drug-addicted parents, or self-indulgent, self-obsessed parents, nor to anyone else who should never be graced (in my view, not God's, of course) with progeny in the first place. I am referring to normal, well-adjusted, good parents. And with our modern habits of sending children away from their home and families for the better part of every day these [well-adjusted parents] are becoming more and more scarce as the vast majority of people are damaged or scarred emotionally and intellectually themselves by being exiled from their home and parents and placed in the hands of strangers at a young age.

It is a trans-generational progression exacerbated by the fact that those who are damaged very often are not even aware of it. If I had known back then what I know now, my children would never have gone to school until they were at least 18 years old. Satan hates what God loves and God loves us, Mankind. The basic unit of Mankind is the family, so Satan has targeted the Family, and he has been pretty successful, mostly by using "good intentions." I think that "School" is one of his very clever inventions. As far as I am concerned, schools are for fish.

(The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Fall 2005 issue, page 57)

Well said.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Review: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - Fall 2005

I just received the latest issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and once again have been impressed by the depth and breadth of articles that they manage to put together in each issue. The Fall 2005 issue is packed with features that will be an encouragement to every homeschool family.

In this issue, there are a number of great features to help families become better homeschoolers. One of the main sections deals with "Finishing the Race" and focuses on how to homeschool your high school student. Another feature tells the story of one family's encounter with a social worker and offers tips on what to do when social services comes calling. There's encouragement for new homeschoolers and tips on how to get started and not be bound to old ideas of what school should be like. There are holiday craft and gift ideas as well as how to intergrate school with the holiday break. Best of all, there is an exclusive interview with Douglas Gresham, stepson of C. S. Lewis on the upcoming movie The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a valuable resource to any family who has chosed to educate their children at home. Packed with tips and product information as well as other resources, this quarterly magazine is a great tool that every home educator will want to have. I highly recommend this to anyone who has taken the initiative to educate their children at home.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is available at major bookstores or can be ordered through their website. No consideration was received for this review apart from the complimentary magazine.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Final Salute

Jim Sheeler and Todd Heisler at the Rocky Mountain News have published an incredible article entitled "Final Salute" that gives a close-up look at the task of the Marines' casualty assistance calls officer. This is a moving account well worth reading. Thanks to Tony in Boulder for the tip.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Congratulations Aaron

Please join me in congratulating my Two or colleague and fellow Mind and Media reviewer Aaron Earls who has just joined the fine group of bloggers at the World Magazine blog. Aaron also has The Wardrobe Door blog and is well deserving of this honor.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Judge Alito's Conservative Credentials

The Washington Post has a front page article today that tries to ease liberals fears about the possibility of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. But in fact the article only reinforces Judge Alito's conservative credentials. First, here's the misleading lead paragraph of the article:

Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. has signaled he would be highly reluctant to overturn long-standing precedents such as the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling, a move that has helped to silence some of his critics and may resolve a key problem early in the Senate confirmation process, several senators said yesterday.

At first glance, it would seem that Alito supports Roe. Reading further, it's clear that Alito is merely showing respect for the rule of law:

In private meetings with senators who support abortion rights, Alito has said the Supreme Court should be quite wary of reversing decisions that have been repeatedly upheld, according to the senators who said it was clear that the context was abortion.

"He basically said . . . that Roe was precedent on which people -- a lot of people -- relied, and been precedent now for decades and therefore deserved great respect," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) told reporters after meeting with Alito yesterday. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she had a similar conversation about an hour later with Alito, who has made clear that he personally opposes abortion.

"I asked him whether it made a difference to him if he disagreed with the initial decision but it had been reaffirmed several times since then," Collins told reporters. "I was obviously referring to Roe in that question. He assured me that he has tremendous respect for precedent and that his approach is to not overturn cases due to a disagreement with how they were originally decided."

Collins, Lieberman and others cautioned that they did not directly ask Alito if he would vote to overturn Roe, and that his comments should not be seen as a guarantee of how he may rule. But the conversations appear to be building Alito's resistance to what might be the biggest impediment to his confirmation: liberals' claims that he is a threat to legalized abortion, which most Americans support, according to opinion polls.

One of the hallmarks of conservative jurisprudence is the respect for precedent. This does not mean that every case decided by the Supreme Court is set in stone and can never be overturned. However, it also does not mean that cases can be overturned based on the whims of the judge, either.

Liberal judges are notorious for ignoring precendents and deciding cases based on their own agenda rather than on the facts and the law. Ironically, it's liberals who are making the case that precendents need to be respected especially when it fits their political agenda. Once again, the hypocrisy of the Left is apparent.

But conservatives, especially pro-lifers, didn't help their cause during the debate over Harriet Miers' by insisting on a judge that would state they would overturn Roe. Judicial activism that ignores precedent is never justified even if the goal is admirable.

Respect for the rule of law is what helps maintain an orderly society. Judge Alito clearly respects the rule of law. He should make a terrific Supreme Court Justice.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day 2005 - Virginia Governor's Race

Much is being made of today's gubernatorial election here in Virginia as a bellwhether of the 2006 and 2008 elections. The Virginia electorate is almost evenly divided between urban and rural areas and as a result is thought by many to be a good predictor of national electoral trends. Since the state went for President Bush last year by nine points there is a feeling that this election will be a referendum on his presidency. Whether that's really the case is at best debatable.

If Democrat Tim Kaine wins today, it will be in part because of help he has received from popular Governor Mark Warner. Warner is himself a possible 2008 Presidential candidate. And while he is on the surface an attractive candidate, his popularity is in part due to a Republican-controlled General Assembly that worked closely with him to get his legislative agenda enacted. That will likely allow him to portray himself as somone who can work with both parties in the general election. Given these factors, Kaine should have been able to build a large lead. However, the race remains a statistical dead heat.

Whoever wins today will claim that this result will somehow show how next year's congressional elections should play out. I wouldn't bet on it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Daddypundit Will Return.....

We're away on vacation for the next several days. We don't have reliable internet access where we are plus our computer chose this particular time to crash. I have the feeling that these events were by God's design and for a specific purpose. I'll have more to share about that as well as our other travel adventures when I return. Regular blogging will resume on November 7th.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.

While the mainstream media will try to paint this as a defeat for President Bush, this actually relieves him of the pressure from conservatives to withdraw her nomination and allows him to nominate someone who is more likely to gain wider support from conservatives. Ms. Miers mave have done the President a huge favor. It will be interesting to see who the President decides to nominate next. Whoever the next nominee is, it's a safe bet the confirmation process will still be ugly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Book Review: The Thinking Toolbox

Before I began reading The Thinking Toolbox by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn I decided to conduct a little experiment. Since the book is supposed to be for children age 13 through adult, I decided to allow my daughters (who are 10 and 8 and both avid readers) to take a look at the book and give me their impressions of it. Was it a book they would want to buy if the saw it at a bookstore? Did it interest them? Little did I know that I was going to be causing a fight as both of them were immediately drawn to the book and decided to read it on their own.

This experience at least proved to me what I suspected when I first received the book: that the Bluedorns had done a great job of making logic fun and entertaining which is not necessarily an easy thing to do. In fact, when I think about a logic textbook I think of something that is dry and boring to read. The Thinking Toolbox is anything but boring.

The book is divided into four sections:  tools for thinking, tools for opposing viewpoints, tools for science, and projects you can complete to help reinforce the principles taught throughout the book. Each lesson is brief and ends with a practical exercise to help the reader understand how to apply the principle that is being taught.

This book can either be read individually or as a group and can easily be incorporating into a classroom or homeschool setting. Anyone who invests in this book will be picking up a valuable resource that will help them not just understand logic but how to apply a biblical worldview to thinking tasks.

The Thinking Toolbox is published by Christian Logic and was provided to me for review through Mind and Media. No consideration was received for this review apart from the book.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I Support the Miers Nomination

Ever since Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court was announced, I've been sitting on the fence trying to decide whether to support the President's choice. Since N. Z. Bear has issued a call to conservative bloggers to take a stand on this issue, I figured it was time to finally make up my mind. I am supporting the Miers' nomination.

This is not a decision that I have made lightly. Early on, I wrote about reservations I had about how Ms. Miers' faith was being used as the primary criteria for supporting her nomination. I'm still troubled by prominent evangelicals such as James Dobson, Charles Colson, Pat Robertson, and others who have been mixing faith with politics especially on this issue. I do not believe it is wise for evangelicals to seek political power in and of itself. But I also do not believe that a faith test is proper, either. Just because someone professes to be an Evangelical Christian disqualifies them from public service.

There is no doubt that this nomination has not been handled properly by the White House. I have no doubt that they were not prepared for the backlash within their own party that they have received. But I don't understand how Republicans can honestly believe they can oppose this nomination and not pay a political price.

I also understand the frustration of fellow conservatives who had wished the President had nominated someone else. Many names of qualified judges were tossed around following Chief Justice Roberts' confirmation. My own personal preference was for the President to nominate Judge Janice Rogers Brown. I relished the idea of Democratic Senators trying legitimately oppose her nomination particularly when they have regularly relied on overwhelming support of African-Americans in winning elections. But the reality is that the nomination of someone like Judge Brown (or a Hispanic candidate such as Miguel Estrada or even Alberto Gonzales) would simply politicize the nomination process. It's messy enough without making a nomination simply to score political points.

I even understand the desire of some of Ms. Miers' critics to know more about her position is on certain issues, particularly abortion. But the fact is that abortion is only one issue in a broad range of issues that the Supreme Court will decide. In reality, a good judge should be evaluating cases based on the facts and the law, not their own feelings about a particular issue. I am honestly more concerned about learning more about how Ms. Miers will approach her job as an Associate Justice than her opinion on any number of high-profile decisions that have been handed down over the years by the Supreme Court.

I know in taking this stand that I am in direct opposition to many of my fellow conservatives. I honestly haven't read their opinions so I don't know how well-reasoned their opposition to Ms. Miers might be. They may simply be opposing her nomination for any or all of the reasons I've outlined above.

My support for Ms. Miers does not have anything to do with Hugh Hewitt's or any other blogger's support for the nomination. However, this post from Hugh is probably one of the best written arguments I've read thus far in support of her nomination.

My support for Ms. Miers is also not a cheap ploy for more traffic even though I've noticed from the traffic reports that lots of visitors to this blog of late have been searching for a post on Ms. Miers.

Why, then, would I go out on a limb and support Ms. Miers? It comes down to this: I trust the President when it comes to judicial nominees. It is the one area where he has consistently proven himself capable of making wise choices. Since I don't know Ms. Miers personally or anything about her judicial philosophy or personal convictions I have no choice but to decide whether to trust the person nominating her.

This President has made tough choices before. He's not afraid to make unpopular or politically risky decisions (e.g. stem cell research, Iraq, Social Security reform to name a few). A lesser man would have folded like a cheap tent in the face of the vicious political rhetoric this President has had to face on a daily basis. Even when I disagree with President Bush on certain issues (illegal immigration, runaway federal spending) I still admire his willingness to stick to his guns. A man willing to take such risks does not rush into decisions. I have no doubt that he has thought through (and I would even venture to guess carefully prayed through) the issue before taking a stand. A man willing to display such leadership is worthy of my unwavering support.

If Ms. Miers' nomination is defeated, it will not be because the President made a bad choice. It will not even be because the White House did not properly manage the nomination process. It will be because Republican Senators did not follow their leader as they should have. And if that leads to political defeat in 2006, 2008, or beyond then the Republican Party will get exactly what they deserve for not following their leader.

It's My Blogiversary!

Actually, it was two days ago but I thought it was today. I had been going by the Sitemeter at the bottom of the page which has been counting visitors since October 24, 2004. But according to my first post, I started this blog on October 22, 2004. So October 22nd would truly be my blogiversary.

Anyway, it's been an interesting trip so far with this blog. When I first started the blog, I was primarily focused on political matters since we were in the throes of the 2004 election cycle. But as time moved on, I've branched out to post on all sorts of other topics that I hadn't even considered when I started. In fact, this blog has become so much more than I imagined that it's amazing to see what has happened in this past year. In addition to getting to know a whole host of bloggers from literally all over the world (see the Blog Friends list in the sidebar and you'll know what I mean) there have been a bunch of other great highlights:

All of this is quite amazing to me that I have been allowed to do so much with this little blog. I am truly blessed to have had so many opportunities thus far. I appreciate everyone who has come to visit over the past year and has cared anything at all about what I've had to say. Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to seeing what's in store for the blog this next year.

Interview: Jennifer Ehle

Jennifer Ehle is probably best known for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 miniseries Pride and Prejudice. Although she often believed to be British, she actually was born and raised in North Carolina. Both her parents are well-known. Her father, John Elhe, is a novelist while her mother, Rosemary Harris is an acclaimed actress.

This past summer, Ms. Ehle appeared on the London stage opposite Kevin Spacey in The Philadelphia Story. As the production was nearing the end of its run, Ms. Ehle agreed to answer questions from fans and bloggers submitted through the Jennifer Ehle Fan Blog. In all, 135 questions were submitted and she was gracious enough to answer almost all of them. Click here to read the entire interview. Here are my questions along with her answers:

Given the popularity of Pride and Prejudice when it first appeared, it would have been natural to expect you to try to capitalize on its success with your subsequent roles. However, it seems that you went out of your way to try not to be typecast in the same type of roles as Elizabeth Bennet. Can you share how you selected the roles you accepted after Pride and Prejudice and whether a fear of typecasting played a part in those selections?

~ When Pride and Prejudice came out September of ‘95, I was already working at the RSC and under contract with them till February of ‘96 — so there was nothing I could have done to ‘capitalize’ on the show’s success then, even if I had wanted to.
It suited me perfectly to be unavailable; and to sit tight and wait out the hoopla.
Once I was released from the RSC, I just continued to do what I always had done, which was to take the most interesting (to me) jobs that I was offered. This has changed a little now that I have a family — and am open again to working — but it has not changed a great deal. Now it has to be the most interesting job that is also interesting enough to ask my family to commit to.
I do not feel as though I have ever been type cast. The women I have been lucky enough to play have been complex enough to allow me to use a varied pallet. Although I have played a few women whom I think of as ‘warmth-exuders’ who stand by their men — they have been quite varied apart from having that quality in common.

One of the wonderful aspects of Pride and Prejudice is the relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and her father (portrayed by Benjamin Whitrow). Can you tell us about the chemistry between the two of you and how it affected your portrayal of Elizabeth? Does the relationship between these two characters in any way reflect your relationship with your own father?

~ I really enjoyed filming the father/daughter scenes with Ben. It was one of my very favorite bits of the filming. They were shot right at the start of the five month shoot and so, I was not yet exhausted — and they were done all in a clump, with just the two of us there.
The relationship between Mr. Bennet and Lizzie was always my favorite part of the book. It was, for me growing up, the love story in the book; and I would weep whenever I reread it and would get to the bit where Lizzie tells Mr. Bennet that Darcy is the best man she has ever known. It is such an important part of the whole female fantasy of the story — the favorite daughter who idolizes her father above all men and then, when he fails to protect Lydia
from herself, is exposed as a mere human being.
Then, and only then, is the young woman free to find her own mate and open her heart to him.

Of the following men from Pride and Prejudice- Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley or Mr. Bennet- which would you want your son to grow up to be like and why?

~ These are the options?! It’s amazing the species continues.

You mentioned in an interview that the only role that would take you away from your family would be Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story. How have your career choices changed as a result of getting married and having a son?

~ Well, when I met my husband, I knew that I wanted to pay full attention to this relationship. I had not enjoyed acting for a lot of my twenties and wanted to step away and see how that felt; to see if the desire to act would return in full.
So as soon as my commitments exhausted themselves (Possession and Design For Living) I took that time.
Three years later, I was curious to see how it would feel to act again and it was fine. I liked it, but still wasn’t sure.
Now, four-and-some years on from ‘walking away,’ I am really enjoying it and have not felt this unambivalent about working for at least a decade. It’s fun being an actress. Who knew?

How much influence did your parents have on you in your choice of acting as a career? How much has your mother influenced you particularly in your career as a stage actress?

~ While most kids may be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” — the question always put to me was, “Are you going to be an actress or a writer?” — and I really never did consider anything else as a possibility. Having grown up with parents in these quite bohemian, joyous, autonomous careers, I do not see why I would ever have looked much further.

How did you prepare for the role of Tracy Lord? She seems very over-the- top compared to your previous roles that are far more understated. Have you had a chance to see the film and if not do you plan to see it?

~ Still haven't seen the Grant/Hepburn movie. I’m sure I will one day.

The most important question any North Carolina native should answer: which do you prefer - Eastern or Western North Carolina barbecue and why?

~ I don’t know! I don’t know! Oh, help.
I would imagine I have never even had Eastern. Have not had a lot of BBQ, because my Mother is involved in reforming the way pigs are farmed so we avoid factory-farmed pork as a rule. But did I mention her cheese grits?

This interview is covered by Creative Commons License.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A New Blog from Nancy Pearcey

Nancy Pearcey, author of the award-winning book Total Truth (and one of my favorite writers) has started her own blog with her husband Richard called The Pearcey Report. This will be a blog that you will want to check often.

Hat tip: Writing Right.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Book Review: The Boundaries of Technique

In The Boundaries of Technique, Professor Andrew Yuengert (Professor of Economics, Pepperdine University) uses the moral philosophy of Thomas Aquinas to show that economics and ethics cannot be isolated from one another but are in fact intertwined. In other words, economics is not a morally neutral discipline. Rather, the economist must understand why are they are doing what they do in their studies instead of just what they are doing. Professor Yuengert points out that most economists are focused on method rather than motivation and fail to see the importance of ethical considerations in their work.

Frankly, I found the book a little difficult to read partly because I am neither an economist nor well-read in the area of philosophy. However, Professor Yuengert appears to have researched the topic rather well and makes a carefully documented case for the incorporation of ethical considerations into economic studies. This is a book that I would recommend for students of economics as there are considerations that should be made for a moral compass to guide one's studies.

The Boundaries of Technique is part of the Studies in Ethics and Economics series from the Acton Institute and is published by Lexington Books. The book was provided to me for review through Mind and Media. No other consideration was received for this review.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What if the Miers Nomination is Withdrawn?

President Bush has certainly taken a lot of heat, especially from conservatives, over the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. What would happen if the President decided to withdraw the nomination? Carol Platt Liebau, in a column today on Human Events Online, says that withdrawing the nomination would be a terrible move:

First, recall that at the conclusion of the Roberts hearings, Republicans gleefully pointed out that 22 Democrats, led by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), had voted against a clearly qualified and truly outstanding nominee at the behest of far-left special interest groups. Forcing the President to withdraw the Miers nomination likewise would open Republicans to charges that the President is toeing a line laid down by a highly energized and vocal interest within his own party. That, in turn, would position the Democrats to argue, wrongly but credibly, that judicial selections are being dictated by an elite cadre of "scary extremists." Hardly the impression that Republicans want lingering in a voter’s mind on Election Day.

Moreover, for the past five years, Republicans have, quite rightly, faulted Senate liberals for imposing an ideological litmus test on judicial nominees. Noting that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed with a vote of 96-3 and that Antonin Scalia ascended the court on a 98-0 vote, Republicans have repeatedly invoked the days when nominees were evaluated on their qualifications and competence – not on their ideology. By opposing Ms. Miers on the basis of their worst (but yet unproven) fears about her political preferences or philosophy, conservative critics lend credibility to the argument that both judging itself and the evaluation of judicial nominations are irreducibly political exercises.

Finally, a premature withdrawal of the Miers nomination would create other political problems. Outside-the-beltway Republicans, along with evangelical leaders like Dr. James Dobson and Richard Land, look favorably on the Miers nomination. Anti-Miers rationales – ranging from "we're afraid she's not an originalist" to "she's not the best qualified candidate" to "the President should have picked someone else" – simply don't resonate with a significant portion of the Republican base. They see nothing amiss with Ms. Miers' credentials, and are inclined to trust the President's judgment on the nominee given his record on appellate judges, tax cuts, the war on terror and social security reform. Seeking to sabotage the Miers nomination before a hearing creates the misimpression within the party (and without) that some prominent Republicans disdain the achievements of a woman who is, at the very least, an accomplished legal practitioner and trailblazer.

I don't know whether the President expected the criticism he has received especially from fellow conservatives over this nomination. He's not been one to back down from a fight before. My guess is he'll run the risk of having the Senate deny Ms. Miers a seat on the Court before he would withdraw the nomination. Given the political fallout that could occur if he did withdraw the nomination it's probably better to go ahead and fight this one out even if it means losing the battle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Curse of the Black Sox

Dave Anderson writes today in the Austin Times-Statesman that the Chicago White Sox are haunted by the Black Sox of 1919, the eight players who took money to throw the World Series. (Hat tip: Baseball Musings)

While the Black Sox scandal is a fascinating story and an important part of baseball history, I don't think that it has anything to do with the success or failure of the current squad. The current Sox have proven capable of overcoming adversity (and even a bad call or two) in order to win. I expect them to be a formidable opponent for either the Cardinals or Astros in the Series.

If you would like to know more about the Black Sox scandal, I highly recommend Eliot Asinof's terrific book Eight Men Out as well as John Sayles' movie by the same name.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Next Great Awakening?

The September/October issue of Rare Jewel Magazine features a number of stories on the Next Great Awakening. In other words, are we poised for another widespread revival in this country as we have seen in the past?

To get a better understanding of where we are as a country and where we are headed, it's helpful first to look at where we have been so far. Through the articles contained in this isue, they do a good job of laying the historical foundation of previous revivals and showing what factors were involved so that we can get a better sense of whether such a revival can occur again and what our role as individual believers might be in such a revival.

As with prior issues I have reviewed, Rare Jewel has proven why it is such a great tool for believers who want to be involved in the critical issues of our day. Though we can debate whether another Great Awakening can occur (and whether we should be seeking one), we can at least be prepared if it does by consulting this great magazine.

No consideration was provided to me for this review apart from the magazine.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Breaking the Curse.....Again?

Last year the Boston Red Sox broke their World Series drought with a victory in the Fall Classic against the Cardinals. Now it's the Chicago White Sox turn to break the curse as they clinched a spot in the Fall Classic with a terrific win last night over the Anaheim Angels. Following a series opening loss, the White Sox managed to get four complete games from their starters en route to a 4-1 ALCS victory. It marks the first time since 1959 the Sox have made it to the Series and they haven't won since 1917 (they would have most likely won the 1919 series if it hadn't been for the Black Sox who intentionally threw the Series).

While the NLCS still remains to be decided (Houston can clinch tonight with a victory over St. Louis), the Sox look like they are going to be tough to beat. As much as I hate to say it (and you know as a Cubs fan, I do) this may be the year for the Sox.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Troubling Aspect of the Miers Nomination

Although I want to be able to trust President Bush's judgement in nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, I am experiencing increasing difficulty in supporting his decision. Statements that have been made about her being an evangelical Christian have done nothing to ease my reservations. In fact, in some respects, the invoking of her faith as the main reason for supporting her nomination has caused me even greater anxiety about her capabilities as a Supreme Court justice than before.

Stephen Crampton of the American Family Association apparently shares some of the same reservations and clearly articulates the problem with the nomination and the methods being used to defend Miers' selection (hat tip: Best of the Web):

Merely being an evangelical Christian does not automatically qualify one for any position. Specific knowledge and skills are required for almost any job, and sitting on the highest court in the land is not just any job. Dr. Dobson’s endorsement, while admittedly weighty, was predicated upon the private assurances of Ms. Miers’ friends and colleagues, and her church affiliation. While these may be important factors, they do not provide assurance that she possesses the necessary skills and knowledge for the job, and they do not settle for most of us the question of her judicial philosophy.

The fact that Ms. Miers is an evangelical Christian is irrelevant to the issue at hand: whether she is qualified to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court. In fact, the first question that should have been asked is whether she is the best candidate available. Just because someone professes the same faith as I do doesn't make him or her the right person for the job especially one as important as this one.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Outdoor Bible

A few weeks ago I received a sample in the mail of a new Bible called the Outdoor Bible. When I first heard about this I was admittedly skeptical given the recent efforts to repackage the Bible and market it to different audiences (this and this are some of the more extreme examples of this practice). However, when I actually got my hands on the Outdoor Bible I was pleasantly surprised.

The Outdoor Bible was the brainchild of two friends who loved the outdoors but couldn't figure out how to carry a Bible with them that wouldn't get wet or ruined by weather. Eventually they came up with this product which is very durable and folds compactly and is easy to carry in a backpack.

This is one of the few instances where I can say a "repackaging" of the Bible makes sense as this is a very handy way for hikers and other outdoor lovers to carry the Bible with them wherever they go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Christian Carnival XCI

The latest installment of the Christian Carnival is up at Matt Jones Blog. Why not stop by and check out all the great posts featured in this week's Carnival? You'll be glad you did.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What's a Worldview and Why Should I Care?

It's not uncommon these days to hear Christians talk about the need to develop a biblical worldview but often we don't know how to do it. Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth, tackles the issue in an article entitled "Why Worldview Matters" in the latest issue of Homeschool Enrichment Magazine. Although the article is targeted towards those who have chosen to homeschool their children, there is great instruction there for all parents. Regardless of educational choices, parents need to be equipping their children to think critically and through the prism of biblical truth.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Peeking Into Walden Media

Christianity Today has just posted an interview with Walden Media co-founder President Micheal Flaherty whose company is producing the film adaptation of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe which is due be released in December. While many fans of the C. S. Lewis books have been wary of Disney's involvement in the film, it turns out that Walden had total control over the creative development of the film:

Why the partnership with Disney for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?

Flaherty: Because the marketing and distribution of films is such an enormous undertaking. With this film, we have full creative control, while Disney is in control of the marketing and distribution. They're certainly proving that there was no better studio to take this and really create a great franchise with it. We couldn't be happier with the job that they've done.

But hiring the filmmakers and making all the big decisions is all Walden?

Flaherty: All Walden. And that was all in place before we closed any deal with Disney.

Many evangelicals boycotted Disney for a while. And Narnia is very dear to that audience, so there's some irony that Disney is involved. Was that discussed before you partnered with Disney?

Flaherty: What was discussed was that we just need to make a faithful adaptation of this book. That's our sole prerogative. We wanted a guarantee that we had control over that, and Disney really understood that. Everyone was on the same page in terms of making a faithful adaptation out of this.

So if people have gripes about the film adaptation, they should come to Walden, not Disney.

Flaherty: Absolutely. We're trying to build a brand for Walden as something that parents, pastors, teachers and librarians are really comfortable with. So if they see our logo on a movie poster, they'll know that they're going to get a certain experience. We hope that with Holes and Winn-Dixie, people are starting to get an idea.

I've already seen Holes, I Am David, and Because of Winn-Dixie and have been impressed with the quality of the productions. Based on the trailer and the obvious attention to detail The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe promises to be a terrific film.

The Harriet Myers Nomination

It's too early for me to say that I am in agreement with President Bush's nomination of Harriet Myers for the Supreme Court since I haven't read enough about her yet to know whether this was a wise choice. It is interesting that the President has managed to upset folks on both sides of the political spectrum with this choice and so it will be interested to see how it plays out. It was a surprising pick to me given the number of other qualified candidates that seemed to be available.

However, I'm inclined to agree with my Stones Cry Out colleague Jim and simply trust the President on this choice.

My Two or colleague Aaron also has some interesting analysis on the nomination which he claims the Democrats brought this on themselves.

It should be an interesting confirmation process.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Right Call

This story is one of the most inspiring I have read in a long time. (Hat tip: Matt Crash).

There's no doubt that Charlie Weis made the right call.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It's a Music Theme

Here’s a fun game to play (with thanks to Marla Swoffer for pointing me to this).

  1. Go to

  2. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year.

  3. Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about). (since Blogger won't allow me to strikethrough I put the ones I hated in italics)
Class of 1984
This was a pretty horrible year for music as was most of the ‘80s. But there were a few songs that are still worth listening to. My music changed drastically (for the better, I might add) once I got into college and started my brief stint in radio as a DJ. I started listening to Christian music about the same time but didn’t make the shift to listening to mostly Christian music until just recently.

1. When Doves Cry, Prince
2. What's Love Got To Do With It, Tina Turner
3. Say Say Say, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
4. Footloose, Kenny Loggins
5. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now), Phil Collins
6. Jump, Van Halen
7. Hello, Lionel Richie
8. Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Yes
9. Ghostbusters, Ray Parker Jr.
10. Karma Chameleon, Culture Club
11. Missing You, John Waite
12. All Night Long (All Night), Lionel Richie
13. Let's Hear It For The Boy, Deniece Williams
14. Dancing In The Dark, Bruce Springsteen
15. Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper
16. The Reflex, Duran Duran
17. Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper
18. Jump (For My Love), Pointer Sisters
19. Talking In Your Sleep, Romantics
20. Self Control, Laura Branigan
21. Let's Go Crazy, Prince and The Revolution
22. Say It Isn't So, Daryl Hall and John Oates
23. Hold Me Now, Thompson Twins
24. Joanna, Kool and The Gang
25. I Just Called To Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder
26. Somebody's Watching Me, Rockwell
27. Break My Stride, Matthew Wilder
28. 99 Luftballons, Nena
29. I Can Dream About You, Dan Hartman
30. The Glamorous Life, Sheila E.
31. Oh Sherrie, Steve Perry
32. Stuck On You, Lionel Richie
33. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, Elton John
34. She Bop, Cyndi Lauper
35. Borderline, Madonna
36. Sunglasses At Night, Corey Hart
37. Eyes Without A Face, Billy Idol
38. Here Comes The Rain Again, Eurythmics
39. Uptown Girl, Billy Joel
40. Sister Christian, Night Ranger
41. Drive, Cars
42. Twist Of Fate, Olivia Newton-John
43. Union Of The Snake, Duran Duran
44. The Heart Of Rock 'N' Roll, Huey Lewis and The News
45. Hard Habit To Break, Chicago
46. The Warrior, Scandal
47. If Ever You're In My Arms Again, Peabo Bryson
48. Automatic, Pointer Sisters
49. Let The Music Play, Shannon
50. To All The Girls I've Loved Before, Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
51. Caribbean Queen, Billy Ocean
52. That's All, Genesis
53. Running With The Night, Lionel Richie
54. Sad Songs (Say So Much), Elton John
55. I Want A New Drug, Huey Lewis and The News
56. Islands In The Stream, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
57. Love Is A Battlefield, Pat Benatar
58. Infatuation, Rod Stewart
59. Almost Paradise, Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
60. Legs, ZZ Top
61. State Of Shock, Jacksons
62. Love Somebody, Rick Springfield
63. Miss Me Blind, Culture Club
64. If This Is It, Huey Lewis and The News
65. You Might Think, Cars
66. Lucky Star, Madonna
67. Cover Me, Bruce Springsteen
68. Cum On Feel The Noize, Quiet Riot
69. Breakdance, Irene Cara
70. Adult Education, Daryl Hall and John Oates
71. They Don't Know, Tracy Ullman
72. An Innocent Man, Billy Joel
73. Cruel Summer, Bananarama
74. Dance Hall Days, Wang Chung
75. Give It Up, K.C.
76. I'm So Excited, Pointer Sisters
77. I Still Can't Get Over Loving You, Ray Parker Jr.
78. Thriller, Michael Jackson
79. Holiday, Madonna
80. Breakin'... There's No Stopping Us, Ollie And Jerry
81. Nobody Told Me, John Lennon
82. Church Of The Poison Mind, Culture Club
83. Think Of Laura, Christopher Cross
84. Time Will Reveal, Debarge
85. Wrapped Around Your Finger, Police
86. Pink Houses, John Cougar Mellencamp
87. Round And Round, Ratt
88. Head Over Heels, Go-Go's
89. The Longest Time, Billy Joel
90. Tonight, Kool and The Gang
91. Got A Hold On Me, Christine McVie
92. Dancing In The Sheets, Shalamar
93. Undercover Of The Night, Rolling Stones
94. On The Dark Side, John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band
95. New Moon On Monday, Duran Duran
96. Major Tom (Coming Home), Peter Schilling
97. Magic, Cars
98. When You Close Your Eyes, Night Ranger
99. Rock Me Tonite, Billy Squier
100. Yah Mo B There, James Ingram and Michael McDonald

Now, if you want to get an idea of what I listen to (when I'm not listening to Christian music), you can click here for my favorite Internet radio station.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

About Me

Heather from Spirittibee has tagged me on a biographical meme. So, here are a few things about me:

Things I want to do before I die:

  1. Play one round of golf at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland where the most maddening sport known to man was created.
  2. Play a round of golf at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, probably the best public course in the U. S.
  3. Take in a baseball game at Fenway Park before someone is stupid enough to tear it down. Same goes for Yankee Stadium.
  4. Visit Hawaii with my wife.
  5. Visit every other major-league baseball park I haven't been to yet.

Things I can do:

  1. Hug my wife and kids....often.
  2. Read to my children.
  3. Teach my children to love music.
  4. Teach my children how to use money wisely.
  5. Pray for my wife and my daughters.

Things I cannot do:

  1. Dance
  2. Draw
  3. Hit a curveball (or any other pitch for that matter)
  4. Speak another language
  5. Imagine a father who wouldn't give up everything else to be with his family

Things that attract me to my wife:

  1. She's drop dead gorgeous (at least I think so)
  2. She always knows just what to say when I'm feeling low
  3. She gives me the freedom to be able to tell her anything and still loves me
  4. She's the greatest cook in the world
  5. Her constant faith in me (even though she knows all my faults)

Celebrity crushes I've had in the past:

The only one I can remember was Farrah Fawcett (I was 12 years old) when Charlie's Angels was a regular fixture on TV. Of course, the other cast members were great, too. Let's just say that my tastes improved greatly as I got older (and wiser).

People I want to do this next:

  1. Sistersophist
  2. Purple Puzzle Place
  3. Keer "Unplugged"
  4. The Anchoress
  5. Byrd Droppings

UPDATE #1: Sistersophist responds. Although she's my sister-in-law, she's more like the sister I never had.

UPDATE #2: Keer "Unplugged" adds her response.

UPDATE #3: Here is the response from Purple Puzzle Place.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Prayer Request

Please pray for my Stones Cry Out colleague Rick Brady who is leaving for Washington, DC for FEMA training on Sunday followed by a minimum 3 month assignment in one of the areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina. This will be a difficult time for him as well as his wife and children.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Love For Reading

Our family loves to read. That really shouldn't come as any great surprise given my hobby of reviewing books for Mind and Media. But we all love to read and have for quite some time. My wife got her degree in English and so she had to do a fair amount of reading. Actually, she had enough credit hours to have received two degrees in English she was so steeped in books in college. Though I had my fair share of books to read for my literature classes in college (and hated many of them) I still enjoy reading a great deal.

My wife and I both made a committment when our children were born to instill in our children a love for reading. We've been able to do this mostly because we both read to them. It's a precious time that we have as a family that they both truly enjoy and covet.

We started reading to them when they were just babies. Most of the time, I would read to them. As a father, I can't think of anything else that is more precious than to read to your children. My girls are constantly begging me to read more to them. I think they would rather do that than anything else.

Because we homeschool, we also have an opportunity to incorporate reading into our school activities. Usually my wife is reading a book with them during school time and I read a different book with them in the evenings.

Where do you begin? How do you find out what books are good books to read? It's difficult in this day and age to often find books that appropriate for kids even when they've theoretically been written for kids. A good resource we've discovered is Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. While we don't necessarily agree with all her recommendations, she does a good job of highlighting the best children's books available by age group and genre and provides a brief synopsis of each book that will help you decide whether it's a book your family would be interested in.

If you're ready to start reading aloud to your kids but don't know what to start with, let me recommend The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. These timeless tales are ideal for reading aloud to your children. Your children are also likely to want to start reading the books on their own after you have finished reading them aloud (which my oldest daughter has decided to do on her own).

I've added to the sidebar "What We're Reading" that will let you know what I'm currently reading to my kids. My wife and I will also be compiling a list of books in the next few days that we've read aloud to our childrenthat we can recommend for family reading time.

Fathers, let me encourage you to put down your newspaper, turn off the television, put aside all the other things that distract you from time with your children and take the time to read aloud to them. A good book read by a father to his children is a truly precious gift and one that you will be glad you shared with your children. You will not only instill in them a love for reading good books but more importantly given them one of the most precious things that you have: your time and your attention.