Sick, sick, sick

January 31, 2005

Terrorists used a disabled child as a suicide bomber on election day, Iraqi interior minister Falah al-Naqib said today.

In all, 44 people were killed in a total of 38 bomb attacks on polling stations. Police at the scene of one the Baghdad blasts said the bomber appeared to have Down’s syndrome.

[Full Story]

Hell doesn’t burn hot enough for these troglodytes, whom Michael Moore and his Hollywood moron friends want us to believe are like the Minutemen.


Disgraceful

January 31, 2005

Yet another outrageous policy from the moral cesspool that is Old Europe:

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year. . . .

Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

[Full Story]

So now the German government thinks it’s just grand to offer unemployed women the choice between starvation and sexual exploitation, simply because some bureaucrats are too lazy to draw an important legal and moral distinction between a whore and a waitress.

*sigh* The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again.


Iraqi elections in a nutshell

January 30, 2005

Given the method the scrutineers in Iraq are using to prove someone has voted, Jimmy Akin’s headline is the best summation of today’s election.


Joel Osteen: Easy listening Christianity

January 30, 2005

I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re ok, so

I think I’m gonna buy my own radio show

Spread the good news and the Barry Manilow

Happy talk, no rock, non-stop easy listening

– Steve Taylor, “Easy Listening”

I have heard an awful lot about Joel Osteen over the last year or so, mostly positive. But I’ve never had a chance to see his program until today – in Canada it only airs at 9 am Sundays on Vision TV, when I’m normally at church. Well, today I was under the weather, so I skipped the morning service and took advantage of my situation to turn Osteen on.

Well, as the Dread Pirate Roberts told Buttercup, I should get used to disappointment. The message was theological pablum, along the lines of: Have a positive attitude and trust God when things don’t go your way.

Giving Osteen the benefit of the doubt – perhaps this was an atypical message – I downloaded a couple more from his Web site. It wasn’t. In fact, after viewing two more messages – I really couldn’t have handled thirty more seconds of his plastic smile and feel-good “preaching” without a massive dose of insulin – I concluded that Have a positive attitude and trust God when things don’t go your way is pretty much the sum total of Osteen’s message. He’s a one-trick pony. Start with a positive-thinking theme. Throw in a few illustrations from Scripture (from the Old Testament exclusively, from what I saw) and some personal anecdotes. Sprinkle liberally with Holiness buzzwords like “abundant life” and “victorious living.” Congratulations, you’ve just built the largest church in the United States.

Unfortunately, Osteen’s message is about a mile wide and a millimeter deep. Osteen’s Bible gets the most miles on it when he holds it aloft and leads his congregation in the weekly “This is my Bible” mantra. Where is “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21)? Where is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2)? Where was Jesus at all, outside of the formulaic “salvation prayer” he tacks onto each message with no connection to what was said? Is a church that professes Christ fulfilling its mandate if it fails to preach Christ and the whole counsel of God?

Call it what you will, but don’t pretend Christless vapidity is “Christian.” 35,000 people in Lakewood Church want to have their ears tickled with this easy-listening message.

The motto of Osteen’s massive Lakewood Church is “Discover the Champion in You,” which strikes me as a great motto for Wheaties. Of course, boxed breakfast cereal is sweet, tasty, convenient, and doesn’t require the hard work and sacrifice of a big breakfast. But it’s a poor substitute for oatmeal, bacon and eggs, and Joel Osteen’s happy-sappy affirmations are a poor substitute for authentic, biblical Christianity.

Postscript: After posting the above, I did my sort-of-daily blo run. Coincidentally, Michael Spencer, the redoubtable Internet Monk, has also been thinking about the same subject, obviously for longer than me, and posted a call to Evangelical bloggers to “out” Osteen. The iMonk has accrued considerable “credibility capital” on the Net and deserves to be read. He asks: “When evangelicals have been represented by John Stott and Billy Graham [and Francis Schaeffer, as he says elsewhere], are we going to be silent while Osteen becomes the new voice of evangelicalism?” I’m not usually one to jump on the bandwagon, myself, but in this case it looks like I was already on the side of the road, trumpet in hand, waiting for it to arrive.


And now . . . this – Jan. 28/05

January 28, 2005

Beer: Not just for breakfast anymore

Who says drinking is bad for you? From the home of one of my favourite lagers, or at least near it:

A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains. . . .

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

[Full Story]

This does raise an important question. Since beer looks like urine, how come the more beer you drink, the less your urine looks like beer?

I knew I liked Stolichnaya for a reason . . .

Another heartwarming story of a life-saving adult beverage:

A 30-year-old Muscovite fell out of the window of his friend’s apartment on the fourth storey of an apartment block. The man stood up on his feet and returned back to the apartment as if nothing had happened.

According to the information from the Moscow Rescuing Service, the man named only as Oleg, came to see his friends on Friday night to have a friendly discussion. The company of men finished with two bottles of vodka rather quickly. No one of them saw Oleg leaving the party. They noticed that Oleg did not return to the apartment from the balcony, where he went out to have a smoke and take a breath of fresh air.

[Full Story]

I suspect the vodka had little to do with saving his life so much as numbing the pain of the sudden stop at the bottom. I’m reminded of one Friday night in university when one of the engineering frosh, in an extreme state of chemical-induced merriment, launched himself out of our second-story window. He enjoyed it so much he came back for another jump. (God bless you, Skippy, wherever you are!)

Screw you!

Friends don’t let friends drink and ice-fish:

A man is accused of attacking a friend with an ice auger after the two argued over where to drop their fishing lines during an ice-fishing outing.

Michael Olson, 25, suffered cuts on his arm and had to be taken by ambulance to St. Cloud Hospital, where he was treated and released, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department said.

[Full Story]

You know, you can really do some damage with one of those things, if you can get your enemy to stand still for about five minutes.

Torpedoes away, Keptin!

The story is a bit old, but the rumour mill only brought it to my attention today:

The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source – antimatter, the eerie “mirror” of ordinary matter – in future weapons. . . .

The energy from colliding positrons and antielectrons “is 10 billion times … that of high explosive,” Edwards explained in his March speech. Moreover, 1 gram of antimatter, about 1/25th of an ounce, would equal “23 space shuttle fuel tanks of energy.” Thus “positron energy conversion,” as he called it, would be a “revolutionary energy source” of interest to those who wage war.

[Full Story]

Yeah, but the thing is, they’re also going to have to spend gazillions on R&D for the kick-ass vehicle they’re going to need to deploy this puppy:

Klingons off the starboard bow!


We all know that people are the same wherever you go

January 28, 2005

Friends of Democracy reports on the first political debate in Iraq:

A member of the audience stood up and asked Mr. Hakem Khazal: did you obtain your seat at the council as a result of an argument with Sami Ghazara? Mr. Hakem answered: I represent a political movement. A man is judged on what he did and what he will do, this is what determines his success in elections. He added: you know that four people so far have been killed because of the fuel crisis; does this show that the governorate administration is successful? He then accused Mr. Al Zayadi of not having completed his high school education.

It is worth mentioning that the debate was very hectic at times and that the two candidates presented the problems of the governorate in a way far from expressing a clear political concept.

[Emphasis added; Full Story]

Ah, it’s so nice to know a politician is a politician anywhere in the world.


Friday in the wild – Jan. 28, 2005

January 28, 2005

Here’s my usual end-of-the-week roundup of what I found new and interesting around the blogosphere (and elsewhere) since last Friday.

My first laugh of the week came from Judd at Melodion, who received an absurdly over-packaged order from Amazon.com. (H/T to Boar’s Head Tavern.)

Tim Challies rethinks his indifference to anti-rock crusades:

This morning at church I noticed an invitation to attend a Media Awareness Seminar at a nearby church. They provided a link to the organization which provides these seminars and I decided to visit their web site. There is an interested section on that site where they break down the top 40 countdown from a certain popular radio station. The list is current as of May 18, 2004  – a little dated, but recent enough to be relevant. I am not easily shocked, but samples of lyrics from the songs on this list blew me away. Despite spending my life as a believer, I don’t consider myself sheltered, yet these songs still made my eyes bulge a few times. I don’t even know some of the words, though I can generally guess at their meanings.

[Read Top 40 Radio Examined]

Wittenberg Gate wants to play a game of Spot the Fallacy with an article about evolution and intelligent design. Have fun.

Parableman notes the discovery by archæologists that (surprise, surprise, surprise!) the Edomite nation existed when the Bible said it did. As Jeremy notes: “About 50 years ago the general attitude was to doubt anything in the Bible that didn’t have specific evidence (besides the record in the text) confirming it.” At this rate in another 50 years the trend will be to trust the Bible unless there’s evidence to the contrary.

Marla Swoffer things the Godbloggers have hit critical mass and are up To something.

Looks like Darren of Nicene Theology is starting a series critiquing the theology of the Holiness movement, about which I have also made the occasional remark here and there.

Mr. Standfast has been running down the categories in his blogroll this week. I highlight the generalists simply because I get a mention there, thanks to my saying pretty much what’s on my mind instead of sticking to a particular theme like many bloggers do. The whole series is kind of fun reading, since I don’t classify my favourite blogs like this (I do catalogue my personal list of blog bookmarks in very broad categories such as “Christian” or “News” or “Canadian,” but wouldn’t have to explain them).

This week I exercised my personal prerogative and added the just-started blog of Don Elbourne, Locusts and Wild Honey, to my blogroll. Don is a Baptist pastor in Louisiana, a Ph.D. candidate, a contributor to the SWORD Project, and all round Web wonk from whom I’ve learned a fair bit about designing my own sites. He has also scanned and made a whole bunch of historic Southern Baptist literature available.

In the Google rankings, the Crusty Curmudgeon moves up to #4 in searches for crusty, although it was actually at #3 yesterday. Apart from that, no interesting search queries brought the curious to the blog.