Saturday, July 29, 2006

Surfin' the Blogroll

Here are a few links that caught my eye this weekend while checking out the blogs on my blogrolls:

Doug posted an interesting item on the unreported consequences of abortion. Would abortion advocates be so enthusiastic if they paid attention to what the real cost of the procedure is on lives of women?

Here's an interesting twist on Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

Intelligent Design blogging: check out's Designwatch Blog.

Tim Ellsworth reports on the growing anti-spanking movement. I spanked my kids when they were younger and they've turned out just fine. I've met too many parents who didn't spank their kids (or discipline them in general) to believe that the occasional spanking is wrong.

I haven't spent any time studying the issue of cessation of spiritual gifts. It's an interesting debate and one that invokes strong feelings on both sides. However, Ilona from Intellectuelle dove in and sums up her post with a very good point:

In the end it doesn't matter what we'd rather have or rather do in God's
Kingdom, but giving ourselves to what The Lord has for us. He is simply the only
one who sees the whole picture, and I think in many of our debates we tend to
forget that. Perhaps this is an emotional appeal, when a reasoned debate is
desired, but there have been reams of reasoned debates when sometimes what is
needed is true desire to reconcile and keep the fellowship of the faith.
Sometimes, I myself have been slow to see that, and mistook it for compromise.
But I think of how often Paul used the word, "beseech" and how highly he
recommended keeping peace and unity in our common faith, and I feel this is what
is called for when looking at these contested scriptures. I feel Adrian Warnock
was so successful in doing that in his post. And I'm glad it is being discussed,
but there is whole segment of Christians who have been hurt by the deployment of
some of the arguments. Because not everyone has been so even handed and kind.
And so it gets back to that.... what does it matter if I speak in the tongues of
angels if I don't show love?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Doctrines of Men

Thirsty Theologian has a great post on an issue my fellow Two or contributor Aaron has commented on previously: the Southern Baptist Convention's unbiblical prohibition of alcohol use by its membership. (Hat tip: Evangelical Outpost)

The argument that this resolution is a clear violation of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone is authority over the life of a Christian) is compelling. In fact, I'm not sure which is worse: the fact that the SBC would sink to such depths of legalism or that the passage cited to justify the resolution was ripped totally out of context and twisted to justify the convention's actions.
This is, of course, nothing new for the SBC or other churches, for that matter. Different groups have longed try to use Scripture to justify positions that are not directly addressed in God's word. These teachings are what Jesus referred to as the "doctrines of men".

When our attention becomes focused on issues of Christian liberty and practical applications of God's word (in which there can be legitimate disagreement) rather than Scripture itself, Christians run the risk of becoming irrelevant and losing our influence in a world that so desperately needs to hear the truth.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Vacationing in Lebanon?

Rich Galen has a great column today on the 25,000 or so Americans who are stuck in Beirut and waiting for the U. S. Government to come rescue them.

One question: why are they there? Sierra Faith has some answers.

Honestly, would you want to spend your vacation in a war zone? Personally, I prefer Walt Disney World.

Never mind the fact that the State Department has had warnings posted for six months about the dangers of travelling to Lebanon.

Mike Gallagher's analysis of the situation is right on the mark:

Once more, we’re confronted with the ugly image of people shirking their personal responsibility and wanting to blame everyone else for their decisions. If you make the choice to take a holiday in a place like Beirut, it sure seems like there’s a possibility that you might not enjoy it when the terrorists get antsy. At the very least, you might want to hold your tongue and not complain, gripe and moan about your country when it comes and rescues you.

These people likely learned a thing or two from the reaction to flooded New Orleans. Sure, there were some people who couldn’t leave when Katrina was on its way. But let’s face it, there were many people who became victims because they made a choice to stay in New Orleans despite being warned to get out of town. Their bad decision became the government’s fault.

Just once, I’d like to see an American on TV express some appreciation for their country during times like these. What a joy it would have been to turn on the television and see an evacuee from Lebanon say something like, “Boy, was I ever dumb for deciding to take a vacation in Lebanon. But thanks to the United States, I’m now safely sitting in the Baltimore airport and am I ever grateful. Thanks to the brave men and women who helped rescue my family and me, and God bless America. It sure feels great to be home.”

No, that wasn’t what these people said. Not even close. Their sense of outrage and entitlement is slowly but surely becoming the American way. And it’s positively disgusting.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Not So "Disproportionate" After All

So much for the criticism that Israel's response to Hezbollah has been "disproportionate" (hat tip: Mark Levin):

Israel has been willing to give up the element of surprise in its battle against Hizballah to warn civilians that they should flee areas where the Air Force is planning to attack, an army official said on Thursday.

Israel has been accused of using disproportionate force in its response to Hizballah attacks on Israel, and in some cases, of deliberately targeting civilians.

For the last eight days, residents of northern Israeli communities, including Israel's third largest city, Haifa, have stayed in bomb shelters and security rooms as more than 1,600 Hizballah rockets have crashed into the country. Twenty-nine Israelis have been killed and hundreds more wounded.

Israel has launched massive air strikes on what it calls Hizballah targets, including weapons caches, trucks that may be used to transport weapons, and other infrastructure that may be of use to Hizballah. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Wednesday that more than 300 Lebanese civilians have been killed in the last eight days.

But Israel said it is going to great lengths to prevent civilian casualties by warning civilians of impending attacks.

"We've taken numerous actions telling civilians to leave, [even] losing the element of surprise trying to not injure civilians," said Army Capt. Doron Spielman.

"[Hizballah] is imbedded within densely populated areas. We're losing [part of our] military might [by dropping fliers]," said Spielman in a telephone interview. "We're not always able to drop fliers," he added.

The Israeli army has dropped fliers in many areas where it intends to bomb Hizballah targets, warning residents -- sometimes hours in advance -- that they should leave the area because it will soon be attacked, said Spielman.

The fact that Israel is willing to sacrifice the element of surprise is amazing. It's no secret that Hizbollah imbeds their personnel among civilians making it extremely difficult to separate the terrorists from the innocent bystanders. Perhaps critics of Israel's tactics will think twice and realize who are the real villians.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Developing Discernment

The other day my daughters were watching a movie on one of the kids' channels on TV. Based on what they had told me about the movie (which was all that they knew from looking it up online) it sounded like it would be okay. But after it was over and they came to tell us about it, we discovered that there were elements of the story that were not necessarily things we would want them to be exposed to. In fact, if we had known about it ahead of time we probably would have told them not to watch it.

However, I was not angry with them nor did I get angry with them. Instead, I used the opportunity to discuss with them the issue of discernment and being able to determine whether something was appropriate for them based on what was contained in the program. We discussed specific examples of other programs we have told them not to watch and why we found them objectionable.

Our goal is not to police everything they watch or read. Rather, it is to help them to develop discernment and to understand what worldviews are being represented in different programs. Often, we find that material that is theoretically targeted towards kids our age (they are 10 and 9) has content that is really more suitable for older children. We've had to work with them to help them understand that they need to be aware of the messages that are being relayed through media and be able to understand the agenda behind the entertainment.

Developing discernment in my kids has not simply been about telling them what is right or wrong. Nor has it been to say "this is okay" or "this is not okay". Often, we have to go beyond simple right and wrong and explain the reasons why we object to something. By explaining this to them we are helping them to make wiser decisions on their own. That's really the point of training a child in the way they will go: so that they can make wise decisions when they don't have Mom or Dad to make them for them.