Monday, February 28, 2005

Special Easter Shoe Box Collection for Tsunami Victims

Samaritan's Purse has just announced that they are collecting shoe box gifts for Tsunami victims. They do a great job of reaching kids through their Operation Christmas Child program. They will be collecting boxes now until April 4th.

The Daddypundit Interviews

In the past few days, I've had opportunities to be interviewed from around the world (literally). Catez from AllThings2All (who is in New Zealand) and Pete from Cantate Domino (who is in Canada) both asked some great questions. First up is Catez from AllThings2All:

1. What is the best thing about where you live?

We live in a small town that is very quiet. We've lived in bigger cities before but it's nice to live somewhere that has very little traffic. We are also close to family including my parents and brother and his wife. Our daughters get to spend lots of time with their grandparents which is a great situation to have.

2. Why did you decide to be a pundit?

At first I started blogging just as a way to express opinions about politics and particularly about the presidential election. But the longer I've been blogging the more I realize that God had other things in mind for my blog. I believe that he has used it more as a place that I can not only express my opinions but share what he has been doing in my life.

3. What sort of music do you like?

My musical tastes tend to be pretty varied but most of the time I have either Christian rock or worship music in the CD player. I will also occassionally listen to a little bluegrass or jazz.

4. What is your pet peeve?

My greatest pet peeve is people who don't do what they say they are going to do. I'm a big believer in keeping my word to someone else and it really annoys me when others don't follow through on what they say they are going to do.

5. What has been your greatest adventure?

When I first read this question I thought about places I had gone or things that I had done. But the more I thought about the question the more I realized that I'm on my greatest adventure every day as a husband and father to two wonderful girls. God has done things with me and taken me places in my walk with Him that I could have never imagined. Every day brings exciting new things with Him.

Next up is Pete from Cantate Domino:

1. Why did you decide to blog, and what impressions do you want blogs to leave your site with?

My decision to blog was inspired in part by Hugh Hewitt. I had just finished reading If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat just a couple of months prior to our election last year. I had a friend who was running for Congress. So I guess part of my motivation to start was political and in the first few weeks I blogged extensively on the election. I also saw that our mainstream media was not reporting accurately what was happening in the campaign and I wanted a way to express the opinions I had about it. However, I will also say that God has led me to blog about a lot more than just politics.

I hope that visitors to my site will see first that I am a Christian and that I approach issues from a Biblical point of view.

2. Are there any blogs that inspired you to begin blogging?

In addition to Hugh Hewitt who was my main source of inspiration I also read The Kerry Spot (now known as TKS) and Best of the Web on a regular basis. I quickly discovered there were a number of Christian bloggers and read Stones Cry Out and Evangelical Outpost on a regular basis.

3. What do you consider your best post to date?
I don't know that I could narrow it down to one post but there are three posts that stand out for me as my "best" posts. I would choose any of these three as they all grew out of specific things that God had been teaching me and each took a while to write. They are (in no particular order): Seeking Balance, Getting Ahead of God, and Hanging Out.

4. Can you tell us some background about yourself?

I've been a Christian for about 25 years. I came to know Christ when I was in high school. Although I currently attend a Southern Baptist church I don't necessarily consider myself a Baptist since I've also been part of a Methodist Church, a Presbyterian Church and an Evangelical Free Church.

I've been married to my lovely bride for almost 14 years and we are blessed to have two beautiful daughters.

We are fortunate to live in a small town with lots of very good friends and family close by.

My ministry is leading worship in our church. I also serve as an elder in our church.

5. Describe the church you want to belong to.

I am blessed in that many of the things I believe should be visible in the church are already present in the church I belong to. I believe the church should be primarily about equipping the body to share the gospel with those who do not believe in Him. The church should be a community of believers that love one another, encourage and support one another. The church should be committed to teaching the Bible and encouraging everyone to live their lives according to the Scripture.

Thanks to both Catez and Pete for the great questions. If you would like to be interviewed, here is what you can do:

1. Leave a comment on this post saying "interview me". The first five people to respond will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will post your answers to the questions on your blog.
4. Be sure to include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I won't ask anything too personal or embarassing. Let me know if you'd like to participate.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Quick Takes

I normally do this type of post on Fridays but I'm off from work tomorrow and will be travelling out of town over the weekend. I might have a chance to blog a little over the weekend and will post if I find the time to write. In the meantime, submitted for your consideration are the following links.

Blogs for Terri, AllThings2All, and Wittenberg Gate are the places to check in on the latest developments in the Terri Schiavo case. Captain Ed looks at the bigger picture in a post entitled "Schiavo Case Points Out the Spiritual Death of Modern Society".

David Limbaugh asks whether blogs are out to destroy Old Media? Personally, I think the Old Media (also known as mainstream media) do a fine job of destroying themselves without any help from the blogosphere. But the question of whether blogs are intentionally trying to destroy the Old Media is an interesting question worth mulling over.

Aaron Earls, one of my blog partners over at Two or Three (.net) has been doing some theological blogging with his posts Hell as a Moral Option and Exclusivity of Christianity related to other religions. Dan Sinclair, my other blog partner, has two posts on Christianity and Healing Depression (part 1 and part 2).

JT at Between Two Worlds has an interesting post on The Emergent Church.

Jim at The Rooftop Blog has a terrific essay on The Supreme Court and Eminent Domain. He's absolutely right that we better start paying attention to these types of cases or we're going to find that our property rights have been taken away by the courts.

Stacy Harp from MediaSoul has started a new blog called Mind and Media which she is using as a way to promote films, books, and other media throughout the blogosphere. (Hat tip: Wallo World).

Drew at Stones Cry Out has a great post on Sanctity of Life as the #1 Moral Problem in America.

Wallo World has this week's Christian Carnival. As always there are lots of good posts worth reading.

Kevin Kennedy has written a great essay on why spring is the most wonderful time in baseball. (Hat tip: Mark Daniels)

Thanks to Rick Brady at Stones Cry Out for plugging our group blog Two or Three (.net).

Blogroll changes: I've separated the blogs that link here and other blogs that are worthwhile that I read on a regular basis. New additions to the reciprocal blogroll this week are The Haughty Politic and Pickled Pundit. I've also added The Anchoress and Wittenberg Gate to my regular reads.

And be sure to check out our group blog at Two or Three (.net).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Update on Terri Schiavo

I just posted this update over at Two or Three (.net):

A great victory today for Terri Schiavo and her parents. Judge Greer has extended the stay against removal of her feeding tube for an additional 48 hours.

State Circuit Court Judge George Greer extended until 5 p.m. Friday an emergency stay that was to expire Wednesday afternoon. He said he needs to decide whether her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, can have more time to determine if she has greater mental capabilities than previously thought.

It also appears that the State of Florida has decided to intervene:

The Florida Department of Children & Families moved to intervene in the case Wednesday, hours after Gov. Jeb Bush told reporters he was seeking a way to keep Terri Schiavo alive.

Details of DCF's involvement in the case were not immediately available and both the governor's office and the agency declined comment. Greer denied a DCF attorney an opportunity to speak at the afternoon hearing.

A court filing by the agency remained sealed, but attorneys for Schiavo's husband and her parents said it was related to allegations Michael Schiavo abused his wife.

Those allegations, which have been raised before, are based partly on bone scans showing Terri Schiavo suffered fractures and statements she made to family and friends that she was unhappy in her marriage. Michael Schiavo has denied harming his wife.

Please continue to pray for Terri and her family in their ongoing legal battle. Also pray for Judge Greer and that God will grant him the wisdom to make the right decision in this case.

Homespun Bloggers Radio Show #5 is on the Web!

Homespun Bloggers Radio has returned with a new installment on the Social Security Debate. Click here to listen to the latest installment. For more on what's in the latest program, click here.

If you'd like to find out more about Homespun Bloggers and what we're all about, click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Media and Terri Schiavo

Aaron made a great point in our Terri Schiavo post at Two or Three (.net) about the media's failure to accurately represent the facts in her case.

Consider the headline in this Associated Press Dispatch: "Emergency Stay Issued in Right-to-Die Case". This has never been a right to die case. This has been about whether Terri Schiavo has the right to essential nutrition to sustain her life.

Then there is this passage from the story:

While she breathes on her own, she relies on the feeding tube to survive. Doctors have ruled she is in a persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery.

Still, her parents, who visit her nearly every day, report their daughter has laughed, cried, smiled and responded to their voices. Video showing the dark-haired woman appearing to interact with her family has been televised nationally. But the court-appointed doctor has said the noises and facial expressions are reflexes.

I'm not a doctor but it doesn't seem to me that someone who is in a "persistent vegetative state with no hope for recovery" would be able to respond to other people.

If the media would take the time to investigate the facts, they would realize they are only getting Michael Schiavo's side of the story. I'm not going to claim that the media is biased in this case but it's certainly clear that they are not checking the facts. Perhaps if they started with this post at Wittenberg Gate and followed the links to other blogs they would realize there is much more to this story than they have reported so far.

Blogging for Life: Terri Schiavo

Barring intervention from the courts, Terri Schiavo's feeding tube will be removed today. Allthings2All has a wrap-up of the situation as well as suggestions on what can be done in a post entitled "Terri Schiavo: Will You Help to Wash Her Feet?"

For more on this situation, also check out this aggregator of pro-life blogs that are posting about this situation.

UPDATE 2:40PM: Judge George Greer, who has been overseeing this case, has issued an emergency stay stopping Michael Schiavo from ordering her feeding tube removed until 5:00PM EST Wednesday, February 23. A hearing has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2005

New Group Blog: Two or Three (.net)

I am pleased to announce a new group blog that I will be participing in: Two or Three (.net). The name for our blog comes from Matthew 18:20 where Jesus says: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

The idea for this blog was started by Aaron Earls from The Wardrobe Door. In a recent post he had expressed a desire to start a group blog. I had already been thinking and praying about an opportunity to join a group blog for some time. Dan Sinclair from When You Return had also expressed an interest in joining in the blog. So after we took the time to get to know each other better and continued to pray through this idea we decided to go forward with it.

Dan has done a nice job of summarizing our mission in this post. As he points out, we are still looking for a couple of other contributors so if you are interested, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to share it with the other guys.

Our hope is that by coming together we can be a more effective voice in the blogosphere than we could with our own individual blogs. By no means am I giving up on this blog as I plan to post frequently on both blogs with content that will be unique to each.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me with this blog so far. I hope that you will visit the new blog and find encouragement there as well.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Stand to Reason Blog

Stand to Reason, a leading apologetics organization, has started their own blog. Check out this entry on Hugh Hewitt's Blog. They make the compelling case that every believer ought to start blogging.

This is a blog worth checking on a regular basis.

Friday Quick Takes

It's Friday, which means it's time for another edition of quick takes. Here are the highlights from my blogroll surfing during the week:

Kudos to Johnathan Last at the Weekly Standard for tapping into the writing talent of the blogosphere. In addition to the Powerline guys and Hugh Hewitt, they now have Ed Morissey (a.k.a. Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters) writing about the Eason Jordan blogstorm. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt)

Lockjaw's Lair has a great post comparing the MSM and the blogsophere and how they treat the news. (Hat tip: Polipundit)

Rebecca At The New York Minute Blog has a great post entitled "Free Speech Isn't Free" and makes a compelling case for homeschooling children.

Jim Jewell and Rick Brady at Stones Cry Out have been debating over whether Senate Republicans should exercise the so-called "nuclear option" to prevent Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees. Jim's take is here and Rick's response is here.

New blogroll addition: The New York Minute Blog. Rebecca has a lot of great insights and her blog is worth checking regularly.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Peggy Noonan on the MSM and Blogs

Peggy Noonan has a great column today on the MSM and blogs. (Hat tip: Stones Cry Out) She analyzes the MSM response to the recent blogstorm over Eason Jordan's remarks in Davos. She has a couple of bold predictions on the future of the blogosphere.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt takes on the Wall Street Journal in today's column for the Weekly Standard.

Both are worth reading.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's the First Day of Spring!

Actually, it's the first day of Spring Training which means baseball is back and spring is upon us. I always look forward to the beginning of spring training because it not only means that baseball is returning but that it's a time to be optimistic, that opportunity lies ahead in the fresh start of a new season.

My love affair with baseball came relatively late in life. Unlike many other baseball fans, I really didn't catch the bug until I was in college. Growing up in North Carolina in the heart of ACC basketball country meant that basketball was the supreme sport. Football was a way to pass the time until the basketball season started. Baseball was a way to fill in the summer until football started.

I played my fair share of baseball as a kid in the streets of our suburban neighborhood. But I was lousy at it like a lot of other sports. We also played a lot of football in our front yard (much to the consternation of my father who tried in vain to get grass to grow in our yard).

My love affair with baseball started in 1985. I was a sophomore in college. One of my friends was a big fan of the Toronto Blue Jays (to this day I'm not sure why). I had sort of followed the Kansas City Royals for a few years and had great admiration for George Brett. 1985 was, as any true baseball fan knows, the year of the Royals miraculous World Series Championship. It was the first time that a team had come back from a 3-1 deficit in both the League Championship Series (against the Blue Jays, no less) and in the World Series (against the St. Louis Cardinals). It was also the year of Don Denkinger's infamous blown call which breathed new life into a Royals team thought to finished in Game 6 and allowed them to come back and win Game 7.

1986, of course, brought the infamous World Series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. Game 6. Do I need to say more? I can still hear Vin Scully's call of the ball passing between Bill Buckner's legs.

By the time I had finished college in 1988 I had really been bitten by the baseball bug. For one thing, I had discovered baseball literature (yes, there is such a thing). I started reading books like The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof (which was made into a fine movie by John Sayles), and Thomas Boswell's How Life Imitates the World Series and Why Time Begins on Opening Day. I even managed to get my hands on The Fireside Book of Baseball which proved to me that great baseball writing was not just confined to sports writers.

1988 was also remarkable for another reason: another great World Series. At least Game 1 was memorable. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Kirk Gibson, who up to that point had not played due to injury, came to bat for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the highly favored Oakland A's. In his only at-bat during the series, he hit a home run to win the game and help the Dodgers go on to win the series. It was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie. That's because it was. The movie was The Natural.

I'd also started spending some time following a local Class A minor-league team: The Durham Bulls. Yes, those Durham Bulls. From the movie Bull Durham. In that same ballpark where the movie was filmed. An interesting side note: I missed my chance to be an extra in the film. I was attending UNC at nearby Chapel Hill when they were filming the movie and a call had gone out for folks in the area who wanted to be extras as spectators at the games to come and fill the stands. A friend of mine did go and she ended up meeting Kevin Costner.

Another side note: I've been to several major league games in my lifetime. However, the intimacy of the minor leagues, especially at the Class A level, is something very special. I firmly believe that my minor league experiences had a lot to do with fostering that early love for baseball.

Having been totally infected with the malady known as baseball fever, the only issue left to be resolved was to which team I would pledge my allegience. By 1989 I was working the graveyard shift in radio and would sleep during the day. As a result, the only baseball that I would get to see would be whoever was playing during the day. That team turned out to be the Chicago Cubs.

They happened to win the National League East title that year. I foolishly believed that I had latched onto a winner. It was not until I dug into their history that I realized the Cubs were cursed. But by that point it was too late.

Living in Chicago for one season only deepened my love affair with the Cubs. I actually made it to Wrigley on the second day of the 1993 season. Although it was bitter cold (what else would you expect in April in Chicago) it was a great game. Our seats were right behind home plate and Jose Guzman led the Cubs to a 1-0 victory with a one-hitter against the Atlanta Braves.

Since the Cubs played most of their games during the day (as they still do today) that meant being able to hear Harry Caray call the games on WGN Radio while commuting home from work.

Although I haven't lived in Chicago for quite some time, I continue to follow them closely and thanks to the Internet I can read the local coverage in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Herald.

Baseball is back. And that's a really good thing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Baseball and Steroids

Former Major League slugger Jose Canseco is making news this week as he is plugging his new book "Juiced" in which he claims that steroid use was common among major league baseball players.

I have not read his book nor watched his interviews on 60 Minutes so I do not know how credible he is. However, Skip Bayless of ESPN thinks that Canseco's disclosures are a good thing for baseball.

Will Carroll from has read the book and seen the interview and has a couple of questions for Jose. (Hat tip: Baseball Musings)

I do believe that baseball has a serious issue on its hands with the rampant allegations of steroid use. Maybe Bud Selig would be wise to come out a make a statement like this one suggested by Mark Daniels.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Why Baseball is Better than Football

Since spring training begins on Wednesday with pitchers and catchers reporting to camp and we're only 48 days away from Opening Day, it seemed to be an appropriate time to remember why baseball is better than football. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post listed 99 reasons in a 1987 article and for the most part they're still valid.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Eason Jordan Quits

This is a surprise.

As Hugh Hewitt correctly observes, the issue was not just his remarks but the cover-up which continues to this day. The tape should still be released so that the truth can be known once and for all. Mr. Jordan should still apologize for his remarks.

Perhaps the MSM would do well to learn the lessons of Watergate. It was not the break-ins that brought down the Nixon presidency, it was the cover-up. If not for the dogged reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the world would never have known what really happened.

The lesson for the MSM to learn is that they are now being held accountable by average citizen journalists. Maybe they'll report the truth for a change. If not, the bloggers will still be around to get the truth out. That's a healthy development indeed.

Friday Quick Takes

Although I've received my fair share of traffic from blogging on the Eason Jordan story, I feel it's time to move on to other subjects. I'll still be watching to see how it all unfolds and may have more to say on it at a later date. For now, I recommend checking in at Easongate for updates on this story. Their blogroll has a number of bloggers who are doing a much better job of keeping up with the story. Larry Kudlow, co-host of CNBC's Kudlow and Cramer, posts on three U. S. Senators who are pushing for release of the videotape. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt)

Here are some interesting links I found this week while surfing the blogs:

Between Two Worlds has a great post on "Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth".

Mark Daniels asks "What is a Positive Attitude for a Christ Follower"? This is a very timely post given what some so-called Christian preachers are offering in their churches.

Jeremy at In Search of a Clue predicts my alma mater, UNC, will win the men's college basketball championship. Of course, after he posted this, UNC lost to archrival Duke 71-70. However, he still makes a compelling case to favor UNC for the championship.

Doug Payton at Considerettes has a terrific essay on the Democrats constantly changing positions on issues.

Know your neighbors: One of the more interesting blogs I've found on the Evangelical Blogroll is Be Bold, Be Gentle. Glenn Brooke has developed this blog into a forum of encouragement for Christian Men. It looks like a site worth checking on a regular basis.

The Happy Husband has an interview with The Proverbial Wife. Both of these folks are part of the Evangelical Blogroll and have great blogs.

This week's Christian Carnival is up at Dunmoose the Ageless.

New blogroll additions: XBIP and Considerettes.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Eason Jordan Update

Congratulations to blog friend LaShawn Barber who is now contributing over at Easongate. She's been on top of this story since the beginning. Today she asks an important question: "Where Do We Go From Here?"

First, I believe that there are bloggers who want to "get" Eason Jordan, i.e. put the pressure on CNN to fire him or put enough pressure on Jordan that he will resign. I doubt either is going to happen.

Therefore, bloggers should continue to dig for the truth by talking to eyewitnesses and pushing for the release of the videotape of the proceedings.

Slowly there are media outlets that are starting to report this story. Easongate has links to Joe Scarborough's commentary on MSNBC and a discussion on Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume.

Marvin Olasky also uncovers the reason why Jordan may have made his remarks at Davos in today's column on

Bloggers have reported the story extensively, often accusing Jordan of giving aid and comfort to terrorists and their appeasers. This is the type of story that's harder to cover than one in which dollars clearly change hands, but it may be a more subtle form of bribery. Fox is beating CNN in the United States, but CNN is No. 1 around the world and wants to stay that way. What better way than to kiss up to Europeans and Middle Easterners than by telling them what they want to believe about those awful Americans?

UPDATE: Bret Stephens, who was in the audience at Davos when Jordan made his remarks, has this account today at

UPDATE #2: DJ Drummond over at Stolen Thunder weighs in with his thoughts on the Bret Stephens article.

Senator Chris Dodd (who was in the audience at Davos) and Senator George Allen have called for release of the videotape. (Hat tip: LaShawn Barber)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 day period known as Lent. Tod Bolsinger has some insight on the meaning of Ash Wednesday and encourages Christians to begin to observe Lent. This is the first of a series of posts Tod will be doing on Lent.

I confess that I've never really made it a habit to observe Ash Wednesday or Lent. However, if I was in San Clemente today, I'd be at Tod's church observing the day with them.

Mark at Stones Cry Out has collected some other interesting links on Ash Wednesday and Lent.
(Hat tip: Blue GoldfishSurface)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Christian Views Symposium

Lennie over at XBIP has started a Christian Values Symposium in an effort to get thoughts from Christians and non-Christians alike on different issues. This week's symposium deals with Charity. He's asking some very interesting questions that are worth a close look.

Big Media Responds to Eason Jordan

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz finally wrote about the Eason Jordan Controversy today in this article. He doesn't exactly say anything new except trying to pass off the whole controversy as irrelevant since the critics of Jordan have mostly been bloggers:

No transcript exists of the Jan. 27 session, which was supposed to be off the record, and a videotape of the event has not been made public. The dispute erupted when Rony Abovitz, co-founder of the technology company Z-Kat, posted an account on the forum's Web site of what Jordan said, while also noting that he had backpedaled when challenged.

This triggered widespread denunciations of Jordan by conservative bloggers, who have also criticized the mainstream media for not reporting the remarks.

Although Kurtz himself doesn't say it in the article, the Post does acknowledge at the end of the article that he hosts a show on CNN.

LaShawn Barber has been closely following the story and has lots of links to other great critiques of the article. She also correctly suggests that the bigger issue is CNN's pattern of anti-American, anti-military coverage of which Mr. Jordan's statements are just a small part. Could it be that CNN is trying to rebrand itself as the ideological antithesis to Fox News?

Meanwhile, this was discussed last night on CNBC's Kudlow and Kramer (video available at this link). (Hat tip: Instapundit)

It's clear that Howard Kurtz was doing the best he could to try to cover for his boss. Whether he agrees with Mr. Jordan's statements is not clear from the article.

It's also clear that CNN stands by Mr. Jordan's statements and fails to see the problem not just with this statement but previous statements as they continue to allow Mr. Jordan to have a job with the network.

It's even clearer that the MSM are not reporting this story in an attempt to protect one of their own. I suspect that there are many within the MSM (particularly in positions of authority) that agree with Mr. Jordan on this issue.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Best Ad of the Super Bowl

I'm not a huge football fan but I generally tune in for the Super Bowl more for the ads than the game itself. Although I didn't see much of either the game or the commercials, I did catch this ad which has to be the best ad I have seen in a long time. (Hat tip: Michele Malkin)

Be sure to check out the other homecoming stories from soldiers in Michele's post.

Hanging Out

This past weekend we spent a lot of time hanging out with our church family. Friday night, we were together with our Bible study group. Saturday, we had a churchwide progressive dinner. Then last night we got together with our Bible study group again to watch the Super Bowl and polish off leftovers from the previous night's dinner (our group did most of the hosting for the progressive dinner).

At one of our stops on Saturday, the host shared from the following passage:

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 - emphasis mine)

Fellowship is a spiritual act. God has been telling me for quite a while that fellowship is a key to growing the church. Because it is within these times of fellowships that relationships are developed and true accountability occurs. This is what Tod Bolsinger refers to as the spirtual discipline of "Hanging Out". He's absolutely right. I can look back at periods of my greatest growth as a Christian and it has come in the context of hanging out with other believers, whether individually or in small groups. The more we hang out together, the more that the emotional walls we put up are torn down by other believers and we become more comfortable with bearing each other's burdens.

Perhaps this is why the author of Hebrews wrote this verse:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday Quick Takes

A personal word before getting to this weeks links:

I've come under convinction that blogging is interfering with other important activities such as work and family. When I started blogging, it was as a pasttime. It still is. I don't get paid to do this. I blog because I enjoy it and because it's a great outlet for me to write not only my opinions on different subjects but to share with others things that God has been teaching me. I also want to use the blog to highlight other bloggers' work that I admire and respect.

Each Friday, I plan to offer a roundup of links that I think are worthwhile. I'll also accept suggestions from people who want to send me links to their blog. Just send me an e-mail and I'll look at your post and add it to the list.

Also, if you add my site to your blogroll please let me know so I can blogroll your blog. The "Favorite Blogs" blogroll is primarily blogs that have linked to me and I want to continue to highlight those blogs.

Here are this week's links:

LaShawn Barber is maintaining the Eason Jordan Repository. Check in with her for the latest updates on this developing story. Hugh Hewitt has an interview posted with Rony Abovitz, the blogger who first broke the story. Jim Geraghty has some astute observations in light of these revelations.

James Jewell gives his thoughts on the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals as identified by Time Magazine.

This week's Homespun Bloggers Symposium: Do you think that the elections in Iraq vindicated President Bush's decision to invade Iraq?

Lorie Byrd has a picture of the best moment from the President's State of the Union Address.

Speaking of the State of the Union address, Charles Colson explains how the President's speech reveals his biblical worldview. Mark D. Roberts has also been examining the President's worldview as expressed through his second inaugural address.

Michael Spencer has an interesting post entitled "The Method in the Madnees: The Mystery of Joel Osteen". (Hat tip: The Rooftop Blog)

Drew at Darn Floor has some thoughts on Alberto Gonzales' confirmation as Attorney General.

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has some last minute tips for Valentine's Day.

Tod Bolsinger has a great post called "Sex and Worldview: Overlooked Lessons on Love" which leads into a recent sermon series from Song of Solomon.

In case you missed it, this week's Christian Carnival is up at Wittenberg Gate.

Amanda Witt shares her experience with Planned Parenthood. It's a great story.

Thanks to JT at Freedom Of.... for the mention on his Friday blogroll roundup.

New blogroll additions this week: In Search of a Clue, rj3blog, Sonspot, and The Senescent Man.

UPDATE: Bob Hayes at Let's Try Freedom has the latest on the controversy surrounding the University of Colorado and Ward Churchill.

One more blogroll addition: News from the Great Beyond.

Have a great weekend!

Eason Jordan Update

It looks like the print media are finally starting to wake up to the Eason Jordan story. The Washington Times has an editorial this morning entitled "CNN's Line of Fire". (Hat tip: LaShawn Barber) They're asking the same question a lot of bloggers have been asking: if there is any evidence to support Mr. Jordan's remarks then he should present it. If the remarks are false then why does CNN continue to stand behind him?

Will any other media outlets begin to cover this story? We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Weathering the Blog Storm

CNN's Eason Jordan has made outrageous statements about the U. S. Military torturing or killing journalists depending on which statements you read. His latest remarks alleged that journalists that had been killed in Iraq were being targeted by the U. S. Military.

Yesterday, the blogosphere jumped all over the story calling for Mr. Jordan to come clean about his statements. Rather than come straight out and apologize for his remarks, he went on defense first claiming through a statement sent out by CNN that his remarks were taken out of context. I was among many bloggers to receive that statement in a comment posted on my first post on this subject.

Later in the evening, Carol Platt Liebau and Rebecca McKinnon posted responses that they had received from Mr. Jordan which essentially stated that he had been misunderstood. However, Captain Ed pointed out that Mr. Jordan had made similar statements in the past. He also challenged Mr. Jordan to answer a few questions.

It's clear that Mr. Jordan and CNN, with an assist from other media outlets willing to turn a blind eye to this story, are trying to weather the blog storm.

However, Mr. Jordan's better strategy would have been to come out and simply admit his mistake.

This affair reminds me of a scene in the movie Clear and Present Danger. At the beginning of the movie, an American businessman and his family are murdered aboard their yacht. He happens to be a friend and contributor to the President's election campaign. As the investigation ensues, it turns out that the slain businessman was laundering money for a Columbian drug cartel. This presents a political problem for the President who must now decide how to deal with the crisis. While his first instinct is to deny that he knew the businessman, Jack Ryan (portrayed by Harrison Ford) offers some different advice: admit he was your friend. When the press pushes back and asks how well the President knew the victim, the President should admit that they were good friends. When pressed further about their friendship, the President should respond that they were close friends. In other words, by being honest about the relationship up front, the President is not giving the press anywhere to go with the story.

Mr. Jordan would have been better off to admit his mistake and apologize for his remarks rather than attempting to spin this by making excuses. Until he comes clean and admits both in print and on television that he was wrong both his credibility as well as that of his network will continue to be questioned.

Bloggers are a tenacious bunch. They're not going to give up on this story until Mr. Jordan admits that he was wrong. Does CNN really want to risk what little credibility that they have left over this story?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Eason Jordan Responds

Carol Platt Liebau has posted a statement from Eason Jordan (Hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

"To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq. I said so during the forum panel discussion. But, nonetheless, the U.S. military has killed several journalists in Iraq in cases of mistaken identity. The reason the word "targeted" came up at all is because I was responding to a comment by Congressman Franks, who said he believed the 63 journalists killed in Iraq were the victims of"collateral damage." Since three of my CNN colleagues and many other journalists have been killed on purpose in Iraq, I disputed the"collateral damage" statement, saying, unfortunately, many journalists-- not all -- killed in Iraq were indeed targeted. When someone aims a gun at someone and pulls the trigger and then learns later the person fired at was actually a journalist, an apology is appropriate and is accepted, and I believe those apologies to be genuine. But such a killing is a tragic case of mistaken identity, not a case of "collateral damage." That is the distinction I was trying to make even if I did not make it clearly at the time. Further, I have worked closely with the U.S. military for months in an effort to achieve a mutual goal: keeping journalists in Iraq safe and alive."

This seems to essentially be a restatement of the statement issued by CNN to several bloggers earlier today. Except now he is claiming he was misunderstood rather than the comments being taken out of context.

Even if journalists were being targeted, wouldn't it make more sense that the terrorists would be targeting journalists? It would certainly be a great way to grab a lot of attention especially among media outlets that have definite anti-war biases.

Captain Ed also points out that this isn't the first time Jordan has made such outrageous accusations.

Mr. Jordan still has a lot of explaining to do. So does CNN.

UPDATE - 12:10AM - Rebecca McKinnon at RConversation has posted a reply from Eason Jordan. It appears to be essentially the same staement that was given to Carol Platt Liebau.

Meanwhile, Captain Ed has several questions for Mr. Jordan to answer.

The Silence is Deafening

At the World Economic Forum, CNN Chief News Executive Eason Jordan made the outrageous claim that the U. S. military forces were targeting journalists in Iraq. (Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt)

This is the same Eason Jordan who in 2003 admitted in a New York Times Op-Ed that he withheld information about the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime in order to get permission from the Iraqi government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open. That he would knowingly withhold this type of information tells us a great deal about Mr. Jordan's so-called "journalistic ethics". The fact that he still has his job tells you a lot about the ethics at CNN.

The reason that Mr. Jordan and others within the MSM get away with these types of remarks is the lack of accountability at least within the MSM. But as the blogosphere proved with Rathergate, the MSM are accountable to the public at large.

Hugh Hewitt correctly asks the question: where is the outrage from the MSM? Where are the other media outlets with their reports on Mr. Jordan's remarks? Is the MSM truly interested in getting the facts out or will that fall to the blogosphere?

Hugh points to an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled "Are Bloggers Journalists?" I can safely say that I am not. The fact is that journalists can no longer be trusted to get the facts right.

Consider this story yesterday that appeared yesterday on the Associated Press. within a few hours, Little Green Footballs (who was one of the leading bloggers to uncover the flaws in the TANG story at the heart of Rathergate) had a posted proving the story was a hoax.

(Clarification: the original version of this post suggested the AP story appeared mid-afternoon. I later discovered while listening to Rush Limbaugh earlier today that the story had moved across the wires yesterday morning and the MSM ran with it. The original version of the post suggested that the story had been debunked within an hour when it was actually a few hours. The fact still remains that the blogosphere was able to rapidly fact check a story that should have taken the AP or any other media outlet a short time to debunk if they had wanted to take the time to do the research.)

The main point of the Christian Science Monitor article is that bloggers are not accountable. But when we make mistakes we can instantly correct them. Just this morning, I had posted on a couple of posts I had seen at Stones Cry Out. I incorrectly attributed one of the posts to the wrong contributor. I received an e-mail about an hour after I posted from the post's author pointing out my mistake which I then corrected. In other words, instant accountability.

If the MSM wants to show that they have any shred of ethics left within their collective soul they need to come clean and hold Mr. Jordan accountable for his outrageous remarks. That burden is heaviest for CNN which needs to show that they cannot tolerate such outrageous behavior particularly from someone in a position of such great responsibility within their news organization.

UPDATE - 6:10PM: A second blogger who also happens to be a former CNN reporter who worked for Eason Jordan is confirming the story originally reported at Forumblog as an accurate representation of Eason Jordan's remarks. (Hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

UPDATE #2 - 8:50PM: I received the following in the comments section of this post (fifth comment):

Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordansimply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has alsonoted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions.

Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong.Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage."

This comment was purportedly submitted by CNN Public Information ( The odd thing about this comment is it is identical to an e-mail that Jim Geraghty at TKS posted (a TKS reader received it in response to comments he submitted to CNN). Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters received the identical message in an unsolicted e-mail from CNN.

It looks to me like CNN is trying to spin this the same way CBS did with Rathergate.

Meanwhile, Brit Hume commented on this story as well as the fake GI abduction tonight on Special Report (video available at this link).

Developing a Christian Impact on Society - Revisited

Matt Stokes posted yesterday at Stones Cry Out on the lack of evangelicals in the media, particularly within the conservative media. Mark Sides then continued the conversation in this post sharing that there are a fair share of evangelical heavyweights, however, they seemed to be confined more to Christian than secular media outlets.

(Correction: I originally incorrectly attributed the second post to Rick Brady. Thanks to Mark for pointing out my mistake.)

Both of these posts are indirectly speaking to an issue that has been circulating for a while in the blogosphere: how do Christians develop greater influence on society at large?

Consider this parable from Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost in a post entitled "Breaking Out of the Ghetto":

A guy named Saul finds himself in dire straits. His business has gone bust and he's in serious financial trouble. He's so desperate that he decides to ask God for help. He begins to pray: "God, please help me. I've lost my business and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lottery." Lottery night comes, and somebody else wins it. Saul again prays: "God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well." Lotto night comes, and Saul still has no luck.

Once again, he prays: "My God, why have you forsaken me? I've lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don't often ask you for help, and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lottery this one time so I can get my life back in order." Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Saul is confronted by the voice of God Himself:

"Saul, meet me halfway on this: Go buy a ticket."

In other words, we need to be engaged in the culture. As a blogger, it's not enough to simply have our own blog and write eloquent posts on matters of faith and life. We have to engage in conversation with other bloggers. We also have to be willing to blog about the ordinary things, not just deep theological issues (though there is a place for that as well). Pastor and blogger friend echoed this sentiment in a comment in response to the upcoming GodBlogCon.

The lack of evangelical presence in the media noted by Matt Stokes is because Christians as a whole have been withdrawing from the culture at large and developing a Christian subculture that in many ways looks a lot like the culture at large except it is dominated by "Christian" stuff. We have Christian books, Christian magazines, Christian music, Christian radio stations, Christian bookstores and many other things that primarily serve Christians as their audience and market. Is that bad? Not necessarily. But I think that it's help to contribute to the withdrawal of Christians from culture at large.

I confess I am as guilty of this as the next person. If you look down my blogroll, you'll see that most of the blogs I link to are fellow Christians. There are very few (if any) blogs that I read that aren't written by Christians.

Let me be clear about this: I have no problem with blogs that have as their purpose to encourage and equip other Christians as their vision. I think there is a definite place for those types of blogs. In fact, I think that those blogs will become a valuable discipleship tool as the blogosphere continues to grow.

However, I also believe regardless of the specific emphasis of our individual blogs, we as Christians have an obligation and an opportunity to engage other bloggers in conversation for the sake of spreading the gospel.

Therefore, here is the challenge: to start seeking out well-written blogs that are not written from a Christian point of view and begin to engage those bloggers in conversation. Make it a point to read a blog a day from someone who is not a Christian. Begin to comment on their posts. Start a conversation with them. Use it as an opportunity to spread the gospel.

We're already on our way to developing an influencial segment of the blogosphere through the multitude of great Christian blogs. If we do not reach out beyond our comfortable borders, we are destined to just become another segment of the Christian ghetto. I believe we're being called to something much greater than just reaching out to other Christians.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Homespun Bloggers Radio Show #4 is on the Web!

The fourth Homespun Bloggers Radio program is on the air! This edition of HBR includes the following segments:

Jay Dean (The Radical Centrist) shows how California politics could be made more responsive to the voters.

Andrew Ian Dodge (Dodgeblogium) has advice for British libertarians who are trying to regain a foothold. We also feature a song by his band, "Growing Old Disgracefully".

Derek Gilbert (Weapon of Mass Distraction) observes that in the evolution / creation debate, certain news organizations and certain bloggers are ignoring discoveries that don't conform to their positions.

To listen, click here. The current audio feed is a loop of show #4. Also, you can click here to download a CD-quality version of the show. The 3 previous shows can also be heard by

The Mood of the Democrats

Scrappleface has a great post today on the mood of the Democratic Party as they look towards the upcoming State of the Union Address by the President. As usual, his satire is right on the mark.

The New Stones Cry Out is Here!

Stones Cry Out, the wonderful blog started by Rick Brady, has moved to its new home. Even more exciting is the team of bloggers that will be working together on the new site:

Rick Brady, founder (the original Stones Cry Out is here, Rick's own page is here)

Mark Sides, who has been blogging at Sidesspot as well as contributing to the old Stones Cry Out

James Jewell, who has been blogging at the Rooftop Blog

Drew who has been blogging at Darn Floor

Matt Stokes, who has been blogging at Matt Crash!

All of these guys are terrific bloggers in their own right. It's exciting to see how God will use this new endeavor.