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(36 posts)

81% Calvinist

Friday··2009·07·17 · 8 Comments
Are you a Calvinist? Take the test. I scored 81%. The final question makes it worth your time. HT: Pure Church. (image source)
These are just a couple of loose thoughts rattling around in my head this morning.1 Item One: This was brought to my attention twice in one day (Thursday, to be precise). I take that to be a sign from God that I must comment on it. First, I heard it on the radio. As I seldom listen to the radio, that must be significant. Then, I was reminded in print2. Since in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established,3 I take this as an anointing of the spirit4 to share a word of knowledge4. And, today being Saturday, this is as good a time as any to share my wisdom. Prepare for the profundity. Anyone who can sing Easy like a Sunday Morning5 has obviously never gotten eight (or even one or two) children ready for church on Sunday.6 If that requires any explanation, you should perhaps consider a life of celibacy. Item Two: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, or perhaps I should say, alleged moon landing. No, Im kidding; but God, in his loving providence, has given us some entertaining folks who are not. More proof of his providence is that this was captured on video. Im not saying what Aldrin did was right; I am saying that viewing it provided me with a moment of schadenfreude7 for which I have yet to feel convicted. Item Three: I like lists and footnotes.8 1 Yes, you may say it: along with a couple of loose screws. 2 You wont see it in this link, but the text that came through my Google reader was Easy like a Sunday Morning. 3 Matthew 18:16. Yes, I know I am ripping it violently out of context. Believe it or not, Im only following a precedent Ive encountered in using this verse. 4 You may insert one of those rolling-eyes emoticons here, if your religion allows. 5 A truly horrible song, second in horribleness only to Well Sing in the Sunshine. 6 No, ladies, I dont have to be a mom to know that. 7 A word that makes me look scholarly. 8 Footnotes add to the illusion of scholarshipliness. Lists give the appearance of orderly, structured thinking.* * Footnoting a footnote is taking it a bit too far.

Weekend Miscellanies

When can we stop pretending that Islam is a religion of peace, and publicly acknowledge it as a genuine threat to all civilization? Now, maybe? Jimmy Carter is a hot topic lately, having apostatized from the SBC over their misogynist policies. Southern Baptists are naturally interested, but old Jimmys even got the attention of at least one Lutheran. And Dan wraps up my thoughts pretty well. Ill just add one comment: So? Hes undeniably the worst former President in history, and now the former worst President in history (note the clever word-play there). Should we expect him to be a great theologian? In another not-so-strange moment, on a program featuring the non-stop, simultaneous, incoherent babbling of five silly women, Whoopi Goldberg admits that conspiracy theories of the alleged moon landings do make her wonder. (HT: Fred, who offers this in Whoopis defense.) I hate hearing the derisive expression, Thats gay, or the more emphatic That is so gay. The folks at agree. Well, actually, they dont. When I ask, When you say Thats so gay, do you realize what you say?and I do ask, if I know the offending party sufficiently wellI mean, and say, Do you really think sodomy is involved here? Is that the picture you want to paint? Because, unless you mean exuberantly happy, thats exactly what youre saying. Would you like me to elaborate on what that means? No? Then ThinkB4YouSpeak, indeed. (HT: Frank) Here is an echo of my thoughts on boycotts. The money quote: It is easy, it is without cost, to refrain from drinking Pepsi and send them them emails explaining your moral outrage. Now, put your money where your mouth is. The United States of America collects taxes, some of which goes to funding legal partial-birth abortions. If you think the dyslexic sexuality (I wish I could remember who came up with that description) of gay people is bad, how much worse is infanticide? Quit paying your taxes and boycott a country that funds killing babies if you think boycotts are the way the Kingdom is grown. (I hear crickets chirping.) But I have to pay taxes you say. No you dont. You will go to jail if you dont. It will cost you and your family unlike switching from Pepsi to Coke and sending Pepsi a few emails. So, do your really think boycotts are the way to go out into the world with the Good News to the glory of the Triune God? The citizens of the state of my birth had me shaking my head when they elected The Body governor in 1999. But when the land of 10,000 flakes elected Al Franken to the Senate, they confirmed once and for all what I already knew: Minnesota is no longer peopled primarily by level-headed, hard-working Scandinavians. Anyway, it terrifies me to think of Franken as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. But thats not what Im after here. I want to correct a misconception that came up in an exchange between Franken and Judge Sonia Sotomayor during the Sotomayor nomination rubber-stamping hearings: that the right to privacy is not in the Constitution. It is, in the same way that the Trinity is in the Bible. Check the Fourth Amendment. Finally, here is something that is unconstitutional: in case youre interested, heres a list of who has gotten financial bailout (TARP) money so far.

Weekend Miscellanies

More love from the religion of peace. Famous musicians shouldnt grow old. Im not sure the younger (1974) is so much better than the older (2008). Stephen King once wrote of a character singing with a voice that could melt screws. I think weve found him, if you can call that singing. On the other hand, heres a famous musician who got old: hear him in 1957, 1969, about (Im guessing) 198590, and in 2009at 100 years old. I guess it all depends on what you call music. Oh, Benny. This is so ironic you wouldnt want to leave it out in the rain . . . you know, because it would rust. Conclusive proof we elected the wrong man: our President drinks light beer. And finally, possibly the worst joke I will ever tell. This is no exaggeration. It is utterly horrible, but its also so much my style that I cant resist. The worst part is that its original; it just popped into my head the other day. Its really only funny in the perverse way of bad puns and the twisted minds that love them. So you have my sincere apologies in advance. Prepare the tomatoes. David, son of Jesse, King of Israel, walks into a bar . . . Yep, clich?d lead-in and all. Sorry. . . . has drink, shares casual banter with the bartender, etc., and leaves. Spends the afternoon writing several Psalms, plays Harp Hero with one of the boys. Wanders back to the bar later that evening. The bartender says to himself, Wow, man. Dave ? Jew.

Weekend Miscellanies

Dig the zany hijinx of those rascals from the Religion of Peace®. (Do I seem to be belaboring the point? Yes, I suppose I do.) I just finished reading State of Fear by the late Michael Crichton (October 23, 1942 November 4, 2008). This is definitely recommended reading. I want to share one short excerpt from the book. Crichton was not a Christian, but, at one point, managed to invoke the name of Jesus accurately, which is more than I can say for the majority of the WWJD crowd.    One of the leading characters is holding forth on the billions spent researching and combating the fiction of global warming. He complains that all that money could be spent on genuine humanitarian causes, such as AIDS in Africa. In another world, he says, it would be a criminal waste.At the very least, we are talking about a moral outrage. Thus we can expect our religious leaders and our great humanitarian figures to cry out against this waste and the needless deaths around the world that result. But do any religious leaders speak out? No. quite the contrary, they join the chorus. They promote What Would Jesus Drive? As if they have forgotten what Jesus would drive is the false prophets and fear mongers out of the temple. Michael Crichton, State of Fear (HarperCollins, 2004), 457. Of course, fair and balanced as I am, I offer you this alternate viewpoint. This ( 7:54) may or may not be fair and balanced, but if you dont think its funny, youre just wrong. If you think the election of Barack Obama marks an historic milestone in the fight against racism, think again ( 7:54, HT: Biblical Christianity). Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it [George Santayana]. Regarding socialized medicine, weve been here before, and I dont mean Hillarycare. Listen to a voice from the pastfourty-eight years pastexplain how it works ( 10:06, HT: The Constructive Curmudgeon). This post, which is just a conversation starter from one pastor to others, reminded me of how big a job our pastors have, and how much they need our support and prayers.

Weekend Miscellanies

Saturday··2009·08·15 · 4 Comments
What would Jonathan Edwards say? Yale Press Bans Images of Muhammad in New Book. I suppose it takes some nerve to disagree with a man whose IQ is higher than mine and all my readers collectively, but I do take issue with Scott Clark on cremation. Clark writes: As we contemplate the last thing that will likely happen to our bodies let us at least give some serious thought to the message we are sending about the body and its relation to the image and to human dignity rooted in the image of God. If cremation is unavoidable, we can at least arrange some clear testimony to the hope of the resurrection. If, however, cremation is just one option among many, then we must ask, are we, as much as lies within us, testifying to our hope of the bodily resurrection or are we unintentionally sending another message? Theres no question whether God can and shall re-constitute bodies at the resurrection, the question is what message are we sending by our acts? And I ask, what message does it send to bury our bodies in the ground where, in a very short time, they will be reduced to dirt? If Clarks point is valid, shouldnt we do all we can to preserve our bodies, ? la Lenin? No, the message we send regarding the resurrection is not in the disposition of our bodies, but in the life we live and the words we speak. Ive attended several funerals where the gospel and the hope of the resurrection was preached with conviction and power, and the condition of the empty corpse would not have mattered a whit. The Right to Bare and Keep Arms, or Clothes Dont Always Make the Man, or In the Country of the Unarmed, the Naked Man with the Baseball Bat Is King. (HT: Semper Reformanda. Do take the time to watch the video at the top.) From the Dr G. A. Riplinger school of hermeneutics comes this fun little piece: Did Jesus Reveal The Name Of The Anti Christ? Since you asked, I like my coffee black. Thats the way real men drink it. However, that doesnt prevent me from occasionally indulging in a splash of flavor. Sometimes, especially in the afternoon or evening, Ill throw in a shot of Baileys and a spoonful of brown sugar. My occasional Starbucks is a small (I refuse to call the smallest size on the menu tall) caramel cappuccino, double espresso. Straight black Starbucks tastes like used motor oil with a shot of antifreeze and hints battery acid, but without the pleasant aftertaste.

Weekend Miscellanies

I want to agree with John Piper on the tornado that struck the Apostate Lutheran Church of Americas national convention this Wednesday. There is a good chance hes right. On the other hand, I agree with Scott Clark: we cant interpret providence, nor do we need to. And then theres this, from Lutheran (the genuine kind), novelist, and ersatz Viking Lars Walker. As a Norwegian-American raised on lutefisk and lefse, I am obligated to take anyone named Lars seriously. In any case, Pipers reminder to consider Luke 13:45 is appropriate. Update: ELCA completely embraces homosexuality. I have no doubt that Piper is right about this. Southern Baptists flock to Malaysia. I love this. Liberals hate Obama now, too. (Warning: contains the kind of language you would expect from sailors or trendy preachers from Seattle.) If those narcissistic Puritans had only used 140 characters expressing their thoughts about stuff, wed be asking, Jonathan who? Public service message: the weapon referred to in this article is not an assault weapon. In fact, whenever the media or a politician used the term assault weapon, you can be sure they are never talking about the genuine article. No one wants to ban assault weapons, because no one but military and law enforcement agencies have them. What anti Second Amendment zealots are against are guns that look like assault weapons. Oh yeah, and any other firearm, as well. Todd Bolen, previously featured on this blog here, has produced a new collection of photo CDs from Israel. I am very excited to announce the release of a new photo collection from and The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection includes more than 4,000 high-resolution photographs taken by professional photographers living in Jerusalem from 1898 until the 1940s. Ive worked with a team for the last five years organizing and improving this collection so that the photos are the highest quality, accurately identified, carefully organized, and elucidated by observations of well-known 19th-century explorers. (read more here)I am the fortunate owner of a couple of Todds previous collections, and I can attest to the superb quality of both the photos and presentation.

Weekend Miscellanies

Ive been sitting on some of these (yes, its uncomfortable) for a couple of weeks, so they might be a bit stale. This might not be very nice of me, but few (trivial) things would give this non-sportsfan more pleasure than to see the Packers vs. the Vikings in the playoffs, and then to watch Brett Favre lead the Vikings to their first Superbowl victory. On second thought, the state that sent Al Franken to the Senate deserves no such victory. Speaking of Franken, I know Ive said some negative things about him. However, he does have one skill that impresses me. Really, it does. And speaking of politicians, take heartaccording to Tim Hawkins, The Government Can! Youve likely seen this by now, but its a good analysis of the American medical industry: How American Health Care Killed My Father. Its disappointing to see that the author still tips his hat to socialism near the end (For lower-income Americans who cant fund all of their catastrophic premiums or minimum HSA contributions, the government should fill the gapin some cases, providing all the funding.), but its an otherwise good look at the problem and its solution. Are you a parent, or just another pathetic, spineless weenie? In the news: Star NFL player goes to prison for dog fighting. Meanwhile, a basketball coach murders his child in cold blood. We are assured that he will take no leave of absence, and will coach next season. Whew, thats a relief. Walter Cronkite is still popping up in the headlines here and there, but I wonder how many have read about The Man Who Wasnt Cronkite. Gene Veith: The new new-NIV may be even more gender-inclusive. Well, thats good to know. Now I can still not buy one. Albert Mohler has a message American evangelicals desperately need: Why Moralism Is Not the GospelAnd Why So Many Christians Think It Is. Before you complain about the outdated language in hymns, make sure you know what youre talking about. In the Not Hymns category, the worst worship ever. I hope worship isnt another word well have to throw out as meaningless, along with fundamentalist and evangelical. As one YouTube commenter wrote, i [sic] feel bad for jesus [sic]. all [sic] his friends are idiots. And then theres this: Fratello Metallo. On Twitter: Doug Groothius (The Constructive Curmudgeon) is a man after my own heart. Just for fun: make your own Silly Putty or get your own custom bobblehead. After my post on Monday, Im sure youve been thinking, Man Ive got to see Jaws again (or perhaps for the first time). Well, here you go: Jaws in 30 Seconds, re-enacted by bunnies.

Algebra Blues

Friday··2009·09·18 · 7 Comments
Summer is over. Which brings us to the question we’ve all been contemplating over the last few months: What is the radius (r) of a sphere the surface area (sa) of which is 46π cm²? First, we write out the equation. Teaching this, I find it helpful to color-code the factors to make it easier to follow them when we invert the equation to find the radius. Since the sa of a sphere = 4πr², we write the equation thus:sa = 4πr² = 46π cm²Then we invert the equation to find the radius:r = √46π cm²     4πEliminate the factors common to numerator and denominator:r = √46π cm²     4πr = √46 cm²     4 2   (4 = 2²)And the solution is:r = √46/2 cm* School is in session. The problem above is easy, just a review from Algebra 1, but I’ve got a whole year of teaching Algebra 2 ahead of me. Math is fun, and that’s no joke. I really do enjoy it. But teaching it is somewhat less fun at times. Buy stock in McNeil-PPC.* Solution corrected thanks to Aric.

Weekend Miscellanies

Saturday··2009·09·26 · 4 Comments
The Obamessiah displays more of his unfathomable hubris. This guy gets scarier every time he opens his mouth. If I wasnt a Calvinist, I dont think I could face another day. Twenty-five years late, it is now 1984, in the UK, at least. Can we be far behind? Jimmy Carter reminds us once again why November 4, 1980 was such a high point in American history. Can anyone translate Proverbs 26:11 into Russian? But enough of politics. Heres something to get the bad taste out of your mouth: Even Phil Johnsons diet is quite mundane compared to this. Notice: the Thirsty Theologian cannot vouch for the contents of that site beyond the linked page. (That is, the page, not Phils.) In case you need something to wash that down . . . Warning: Southern Baptists will want to plug their ears and sing la la la I cant hear you through this one. Tim Archer has written what looks like a pretty good series on alcohol. He links both to me and to Bob Haytons excellent article on Isaiah 16:10 and the Two-Wine Theory, so Im linking him here. Cheers! The Christian and Alcohol (Alcohol abuse) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 2 (Alcohol in the history of the U.S.) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 3 (Seeing what the Bible says about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 4 (What the Pentateuch says about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 5 (What the rest of the Old Testament says about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 6 (What Proverbs and Ecclesiastes say about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 7 (What the gospels say about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 8 (What the rest of the New Testament says about alcohol) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 9 (Additional passages to consider) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 10 (Additional passages to consider) The Christian and Alcohol, Part 11 (Modern concepts forced onto an ancient text) Now youre wondering (Im sure), How do I keep my beer cold? Try this. Now, on to the topic most guaranteed to bore me to death: sports. This is one reason why I like tennis, and the only reason I hate hockey: in tennis, the players are expected to behave themselves. That is all. Have a good weekend and a blessed Lords Day.

Not Like the Other

Saturday··2009·10·03 · 6 Comments
Hey, kids! Want to play a game? I was looking over my book shelves, andwell, heres one you didnt see on Sesame Street. One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesnt belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others Before I finish my song?

Indecent Exposure

Nothing too serious here today . . . I spent a few minutes YouTubing last night. Its kind of embarrassing to admit it, but with one click leading to another, in a very short time I had forgotten what I was looking for in the first place. Anyway, I ran across a video posted by a sanderson1611 (guess what one of his pet doctrines is) entitled Charles H Spurgeon Exposed!!! sanderson1611 (I love how these KJVO guys who dont use the 1611, have probably never seen one, all use 1611 in their screen names, church signs, etc.) is apparently an equal opportunity exposer, having exposed heretics as diverse as Kirk Cameron and Peter S Ruckman!!! (put a great big [sic] after all odd punctuation, capitalization, etc. in this post; its a fundy-KJVO thing) He also seems to know a lot about hell. John Hagee is not merely a heretic, but a Heretic from Hell. Billy Graham is going to Hell. A sermon is preached on A book Straight Out of Hell (hint: it doesnt include the digits 1611). I think its only fair that I EXPOSE SANDERSON1611!!!!!!!! Sanderson1611 is Stephen L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Phoenix Arizona. You might know him from his very helpful semi-famous sermon on biblical urination. Pastor Sanderson maintains a site called The Repentance Blacklist. You might think its a list of HERETICS!!! who need to REPENT!!! or they will go to HELL!!! and I suppose it is, but what they need to repent of ishang onpreaching repentance. Conspicuously absent from the list is John MacArthur, perhaps the most famous preacher of Lordship Salvation; but he promises many more to be added very soon. So I feel I must warn you that Sanderson himself is, in fact, a HERETIC!!! I cant judge, however, whether or not he is Going To Hell!!! But now Im rambling. Back to Spurgeon . . . The thought that came to mind immediately was this: here we are, in the year 2009. Spurgeon has been gone for 117 years, and for all those years has been revered by the greatest theologians of the church. His vast catalogue of works has been published for all to see, so there has never been any mystery surrounding his doctrine. What Spurgeon was is and always has been well known. Isnt it pretty far-fetched, then, to believe that we have been waiting all these years for some young weenie to expose (!!!) him?

A Few Opinions

. . . inspired by my week on the internets: This Chinese admiration of Obama is not at all surprising. We should never expect to be accepted just the way we are. We should, however, love people as they are. How ignorant and/or biased do you have to be to report on the demise of the Berlin wall without even mentioning Ronald Reagan, and then call Hilary Clinton a veteran of the cold war? Pretty darn, Id say. Kim thinks Im a gentleman. That says something about Canadian standards, I think. Rick Warren is being biographized. At the tender age of fifty-five. Think Im joking? I should be, but Im not. But I suppose, if Obama can have a Nobel Prize . . . This entirely objective opinion has been laying on my chest for a while now. Brian Regan is not funny. Yes, I know, you love him and hes clean, and Im glad of that, but just like a Bible verse tacked onto a lame painting doesnt make it good art, not dirty ≠ funny. Finally, If you make your living harassing celebrities, and get decked in the process, you got what you had coming; and too bad for you if youre dumb enough to pick Mike Tyson.
Absolutely nothing is what youll get from me today. Feel free to come back as often as you like and take as much of it as you want.
I almost titled this New Toy, but then you might not take me seriously. And I do so want to be taken seriously. I am not a tech junkie. I don’t carry any electronic devices, not even a cell phone. I have my PC, which, for entirely practical purposes, I couldn’t live without. Yes, I would continue breathing, but you know what I mean. So it’s big news when I take another technological step forward. And I have big news. I just bought my very first laptop, and, as the kids say, it’s a pretty sweet machine, and it’s pretty much the opposite of everything I’ve done computer-wise to this point. In the past, I’ve usually gone for the biggest and best that I could afford. My first purchased computer (I had previously been given an antique with a HD measured in megabytes and Windows 3.1) was the top of the line at the time, with a 120gb hard drive, 512mb RAM (I updated to 1gb a couple of years later), an 18 inch flatscreen, and Windows XP. The price was obscene—I’d be embarrassed to publish it here—but it was the best, so I had to have it. It irked me to no end when the next year’s upgrade of the same model came with a 160gb hard drive, 1gb RAM, and a 19 inch flatscreen, all for $500 less. After my first colossal purchase, I knew it would be a long time before I traded up, and I still haven’t, although I did buy a 24 inch widescreen a couple years ago, once again paying a premium price—three times the price of the same screen today. My new laptop is not the biggest or most expensive by a long shot. It’s the Dell Mini-10—that’s right, a 10 inch widescreen—with Windows XP, which starts at $279. Mine came to $444.26 with Microsoft Office, upgraded processor and battery, and Bluetooth. It’s a “bigger” machine than my boondoggle of a desktop, and I could almost hide it under my shirt. Why you would want to know all that is beyond me, but maybe I can add some useful facts and tips that might interest you. Right now I’ve got my desktop monitor, keyboard, and mouse plugged into the laptop, so it’s better than the old monster in almost every way, plus I can unplug it and take it with me. I don’t know if I’ll ever buy another desktop PC. I used to customize everything, but I’ve toned down a little. The first thing I did is download Firefox. Then I began customizing it. There are tons of things you can do to make Firefox behave as you like it by typing about:config in the address bar. You can really mess things up if you get carried away experimenting with this, but the worst that can happen is that you might have to download Firefox again and start over. The one customization I really like is getting rid of the tab close button (the little red x at the right corner of the tab) and placing a single close button at the far right of the tabs bar, like it was in older versions of Firefox. I don’t know how many times I’ve accidentally closed a tab when hurriedly clicking on it. To fix this, scroll down (in about:config) to browser.tabs.closeButtons, double click, and enter 3 for Value. I also added the Google Toolbar for Firefox. I don’t have much use for the toolbar itself, but it comes with a Gmail notifier and an autofill function for one-click filling of online forms. Since those are the only functions I use, and I don’t like giving up screen space to another toolbar, I just right-click the toolbar, click customize, and drag those two buttons up to the main toolbar. Then I click view>toolbars and uncheck the Google toolbar. Forcastfox is a favorite Firefox add-on. Monitor the weather without ever leaving your parent’s basement. One caveat: if you’re running a low-powered machine with little RAM, Forecastfox will freeze your machine momentarily every time it updates, so if you’re playing a DVD, you’ll want to close Firefox first. The following customizations might lead you to believe I’m a bit fussy, but that’s only because I am. At least the half-dozen or so CDOs* reading might appreciate these. I don’t like being nagged to restart my computer to install updates. I’ll do that when I’m good and ready, thank you very much. If that irritates you too, press Windows-R on your keyboard, and in the Run dialog that should pop up, type “sc stop wuauserv,” and click OK or hit Enter on your keyboard. The bad news is that you’ll have to run this every time you reboot, but after the first time the command will appear in the dropdown of the dialog, so it’s just a 3-second inconvenience. Or, if you forget, just do it the next time the restart nag pops up. Are you obsessive about the order in which programs appear on your taskbar? Taskbar Shuffle is your friend. Drag-and-drop to rearrange your taskbar and tray icons at will. I like a clean desktop. I mean really clean. But there’s that pesky Recycle Bin shortcut that you just can’t move. Well, now you can at least hide it. Copy the following code into notepad and save the file as Recycle.reg in My Documents (or elsewhere). Go to My Documents (or your preferred folder) and double-click it. This will import it into the registry, and a new option will be listed in the Folder Options dialog box that will let you configure the Recycle Bin icon. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\Folder\RecycleBinOnDesktop]"RegPath"="Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer\\HideDesktopIcons\\NewStartPanel""Text"="Show Recycle Bin icon on the desktop""Type"="checkbox""ValueName"="{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}""CheckedValue"=dword:00000000"UncheckedValue"=dword:00000001"DefaultValue"=dword:00000000"HKeyRoot"=dword:80000001To hide the Recycle Bin icon, open Windows Explorer, click Tools> Folder Options>View, and uncheck the newly-available “Show Recycle Bin icon on the desktop.” Voilà! Clean desktop! And that is all for today. Have a good Saturday and a blessed Lord’s Day. * That’s OCD to you normal people.

Always and Forever

Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented. Oh, oh, the irony! Jon Stewart I was going to write something today about the climategate debacle. I was going to say something to the effect that up until the CRU emails were leaked, all climate-change propaganda came from liars and the exceptionally gullible, but since then, it now comes exclusively from liars and fools. I was also going say something about interested parties who try to sneak away unnoticed, and others who just plug their ears and sing la-la-la I cant hear you. But thats not the kind of tone I want to set here on a Monday morning. Instead, as an addendum to my post of Saturday last, I give you, with my apologies, this.
Today is your last chance to break any 2009 New Years resolutions you might have inadvertently kept until now. Clear em out and make room for more!

Saturday Smoke

Saturday··2010·01·09 · 3 Comments
Cigarette ads on television, if you remember them at all, are a dim memory for most of us, having been banned from television in 1970. So I was surprised to learn recently that when The Flintstones first appeared in 1960, the show was sponsored by Winston cigarettes. I have mixed emotions about these ads. Im not sorry that the ads are gone, especially from a program aimed primarily at children. I am sorry for the loss of liberty to broadcast them. In any case, whether or not I should, I get a kick out of seeing them.
A Curmudgeons Rant for the New Year or, Linguistic Perversions the New Year Can Do Without or, Linguistic Perversions without Which the New Year Can Do or, Why Do You Hate the English Language? or, Shut up before I rip your tongue out! so i was like thinking about stuff that really annoys me or whatever, and I was like, wow. just, wow. people today are like so inarticulate. its like . . . yeah. i mean, what part of you sound like an illiterate boob dont you understand? im listening, and im like, whoa, dude! is english your first language or . . . yeah. the abuse of language totally sickens me. its like, i think i just threw up in my mouth a little. it literally turns me inside out. just. stop. it. now. i get up and from the get-go, its like, twenty-four-seven, all i hear is like, whatever, you know? these dudes think they sound cool, but at the end of the day, <span style="language: english;">people like me no longer take them seriously or are interested in whatever it is they want to say. </span> and by the way: fail is a verb. just sayin.

A Little What?

The President says his health care legislation has had a little buzz saw this week. Ignoring the nonsensical nature of that phrase, I wonder if he even knows what a buzz saw is.
. . . for the true gospel.

Home School Heaven

I usually try to say something original and profound on Monday. My thoughts this morning are most probably not original, or, in my estimation, very profound. I offer them anyway: Teaching trigonometry is like going to heaven*: most wont, and for those who do, the rewards vary. * It can also be like going to hell, but thats no way to think first thing Monday morning.
At the risk of breaking my tradition of posting nothing important on Saturday, I bring you this bit of sad news.
I dont think I can quite salute the Japanese flag, but Id sure like to give the Japan Ski Association a big round of applause. Tokyo, Japan (CNN)-- Olympic snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo is the talk of Japan. Not for his athletic ability -- but for his appearance.The 21-year-old member of Japan’s national team unwittingly caused outrage from cabinet-level government lawmakers to the patrons at the corner pub when he arrived in Vancouver for the winter games. Kokubo was wearing the team-issued uniform, which consisted of a suit, shirt and tie. But he wasn’t wearing it quite right. Kokubo’s shirt was untucked, his pants hung low below his hips, and his tie was loosened revealing an unbuttoned shirt. Kokubo sported dark glasses indoors and double nose piercings. He also wore his hair down, revealing a mane of dreadlocks. Japan’s Minister of Education, Tatsuo Kawabata, was not a fan of the hip hop twist to the national uniform, to say the least. "It’s extremely regrettable that he dressed in a totally unacceptable manner as a representative of Japan’s national team," said Kawabata, on the floor of Japan’s parliament. "He lacks the awareness that he is participating in the Olympic Games as a representative of our country with everyone’s expectations on his shoulders. This should never happen again." The Japan Ski Association decided to punish Kokubo, along with his snowboard team manager Fumikazu Hagiwara and two coaches, keeping them from attending the Olympic opening ceremony as a show of regret. But the punishment didn’t stop there. Back at home in Japan, multiple viewing parties for Kokubo were cancelled across the city. Kokubo’s arrival in Vancouver was televised again and again on news broadcasts, analyzed by reporters and cultural experts. Kokubo’s father even felt compelled to publicly apologize to the nation on behalf of his son’s appearance. Read full article Poetic justice? Meanwhile at the Olympic games, Kokubo hit the half-pipe and failed to medal.

Think youve seen it all?

This could be the most tasteless thing Ive ever posted. Those of you who reject the regulative principle might want to reconsider after youve visited Whitetail Chapel (HT: Phil Johnson). Ive heard of nude church before, but now that Ive seen it, well . . . That the Whitetail Chapel worshippers could use a good theological and ecclesiastical spanking is obvious, but I doubt it would do any good. At the very least, though, considering the conditions of those represented in the video (rated PG, by the way)and I do realize that this is a completely superficial observationperhaps they would benefit from a visit from my favorite Norwegian, Stan Boreson.
I am not a big fan of new technology. Im not at all interested in the latest gadget. But when I saw a headline last week announcing an iShoe, I thought, Hey, cool! Now, that, I could use! As it turns out, though, it wasnt what I thought it was. On the low-tech side, Ive picked up a new hobby: the slide rule. Sound dull? Well its not. And as you laugh at me, consider this: when civilization collapses and all the calculators have worn out, Ill still be able to tell you, in just a few seconds, that the square root of 7 is 2.646. Im not actually old enough to have been taught to use a slide rule and, as Ive asked around, it seems there is not a single person I know who knows how to use one. I went on eBay to find the particular model that corresponds with an instruction book I had picked up previously, and Im teaching myself. So Im curious; have any of my readers ever used a slide rule, or known anyone who did?

Odd Thoughts . . .

Monday··2010·04·05 · 1 Comments
. . . on the Way to a Funeral: Crossing two states peopled largely by Norwegians and Swedes, why do all the signs point to places with Indian names?

Further Notes from the Road

Tuesday··2010·04·06 · 2 Comments
Q. What do convenience stores and Congress have in common? A. You can ride the short bus to either job. Said the lady at the convenience store in Wisconsin to my wife, upon learning that we were headed home to North Dakota, Do you have to go through Nebraska? A few miles down the road (hadnt yet reached Nebraska), we were treated to our favorite Twin Cities talk radio host Joe Soucheray carrying on about this Congressman from Georgia who thinks Guam might capsize if too many Marines climb aboard. Traveling this great land of ours always makes me prowd too be an Amerikun.

A Blessed Nuisance

Thursday··2010·05·06 · 3 Comments
The project to which I alluded yesterday continues. Ive run out of shelf space, so I am adding about fifty feet of shelving in the office. Due to limited space combined with poor planning when I installed the present system, Im having to take it all down and rearrange everything. Its an enormous inconvenience, and one I hope never to deal with again. Consequently, as I am sure you will understand, I am very thankful. Yes, I said thankful, so I thought Id piggy-back today on the Thankful Thursday posts Ive seen here and here. So here I am, being thankful: for so many books. for John MacArthur, whose book The Gospel According to Jesus got me started reading Christian books. for Iain Murray, who turned me on to church history. for numerous other authors, dead and alive. for great publishers. for online booksellers, who carry books local stores wont. for laborers who work mostly willingly for an often impatient boss (thanks, family). for red oak. for square-drive screws. I am sure this blessed nuisance points to many more reasons for gratitude, but I cant think of any right now. Im thankful that God wont hold that against me. Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, England

Rhymes with Kermit (sort of)

Friday··2010·06·11 · 4 Comments
I hate to travel. Nevertheless, here I am, about to hit the road again, headed for the third time this year to Wisconsin. Dont get me wrong: I like cheese, but this is ridiculous. Anyway, I havent much time this morning. I could just as well have skipped blogging today, but for a matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Summer is here. You will no doubt be indulging in summeryish refreshments, many of them frozen. Im an ice cream man, myself. Youre welcome to go with all those frozen substitutes that lend the illusion that youre watching your weight, but youre only fooling yourself, and missing out on frozen desserts as God created them in the Garden. Oh well, whatever; comme ci comme ça, I suppose. Anyway, on to the essential point. As you eat your ice cream substitute, be aware that there are people all around youwell, theres at least one of us them, anywaywho have for years been tolerating ignorance as well as they can, but have almost reached the breaking point. They are on the verge of one of those disgruntled-postal-worker rampages, and all it will take to set them off is the utterance of one word: sherbert Its sherbet. Not sherbert, and certainly notsaints and angels preserve us!sherbert ice cream. Sherbet. Not sherbert, not ice cream. Practice it: shr-bĕt shr-bĕt shr-bĕt. Like its a shr-bĕt that, Favre or no Favre, the Vikings are never going to the Superbowl. Like its a shr-bĕt that Obama will want more of your money tomorrow, and its a shr-bĕt that there will never be anything to show for it. Like its a shr-bĕt that someone will want to correct my conflation of sure and shr-, and its a shr-bĕt that I will bless them for it. Sherbet.

The Alleged Ligonier Conference

Thursday··2010·06·17 · 8 Comments
As linked earlier this week in the sidebar, Ligonier Ministries are live streaming video of their 2010 National Conference. Thats what I hope to be doing for at least part of today. For some reason, though, Im not getting it. The web page informs me that I am now watching Ed Stetzer: The Brave New World of New Media, but Im really not watching anything. So here is your reminder to check out the conference if you can, and if you can, maybe you can tell me why I cant. Mange takk. Update: Never mind. The site now says that I am now watching Tim Challies: Principles for Conduct in Communication, and indeed I am. His collar is messed up, and I can hardly understand him through that thick Canadian accent*. And thats the extent of my live-blogging. * Does anyone know how to properly write the pronunciation (dictionary style) of out and about as spoken by Canadians? I need to know if I am to properly mock my northern friends.

About the Giveaways

Saturday··2010·06·19 · 3 Comments
Last week I announced the final drawing for a free copy of The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul, and this morning I notified the winner of that drawing. I want to thank all who participated for reading and for the many encouraging words I received in the process. Now I want to share a little about how and why I did it. First, the how. Had I purchased a dozen copies from Amazon, they would have been $10.07 each, $120.84 total. Add $7.20 sales tax (free shipping), and my mailing costs, and the total cost comes to $165.44. Spread over twelve weeks, thats not really so much, but its more than I would have spent. However, through a program called Books by the Box, I was able to purchase a case of twelve for a pre-publication price of $20.00 (current price, $28.00). So the cost of the project added up thusly: The Holiness of God (case of 12 + shipping) ... 30.80 mailing envelopes ............................. 13.20 Postage ....................................... 25.20                                             $69.20 Thats $69.20 over twelve weeks, or only $5.77 per week. Many of you spend loads more than that on your putrid Starbucks sludge, the point being that you could brew your own coffee at home or in your office for a tiny fraction of what you now spend, and spread some good theology around without straining your budget at all. And you wouldnt have to spend a nickel on postage and handling if you just gave to your family, friends, neighbors, or your church and local libraries. Now, the why. This should be obvious: I just want people to read good books that will help them to grow in the knowledge of God and his gospel, to edify them and build them up in the faith. And what of those who, as yet, have no faith? Well, one book every Christian should have on hand to give away is the Bible. I ordered a box of 10 NASBs from CBD last year for about $2/copy. I dont see any deals like that right now, but I did find The ESV Outreach New Testament for $.99, or 10 or more for $.79 each. The ESV Bible, Outreach Edition is $5.49, $4.99 for 10 or more, or $4.12 for slightly imperfect copies. Id love any tips from you on sources of cheap books. It is truly a blessing to give, especially when giving that which is able to save souls.

Now I need a place to hide away . . .

Tuesday··2010·08·03 · 3 Comments
Yesterday Yesterday, All my troubles started yesterday, And it seemed theyd never go away, Oh, I was grieving, yesterday. Predictably, Tech support could not understand me; Wanted to drown myself in the sea; Oh, yesterday passed painfully. Why my modem died, I dont know, but anyway, Its replacement came, I installed it yesterday. Yesterday, My hair turned considrably more gray, And my ragged nerves began to fray, Oh, I aged ten years yesterday. Why my modem died, I dont know, but anyway, Its replacement came, I installed it yesterday. Yesterday, Longing for a long forgotten day, When typewriters were the normal way, Pens and pencils, yesterday. Less lyrically, yesterday: My modem had become increasingly unreliable, so I replaced both it and the old wireless router with a single unit router/modem. The first phase of the operation went like this: Hook up router Insert disc, run setup wizard Router not responding . . . all cables connected . . . disable firewall and anti-virus programs and run wizard again. Disable firewall and anti-virus, run wizard again Router not responding . . . Check connections again Router not responding . . . Check connections again Make sure firewall and anti-virus are really disabled Run setup wizard again Router not responding . . . Mentally bang head on desk until bloody Call ISP support What? You didnt buy your new router from us? You idiot! We cant help you! So I call support number on the new router box. Thank you for calling. Press 1 for help with something entirely unrelated to anything youve ever heard of. Press 2 for information on our nifty new line of interwebinators. Press 3 if youd like an autographed 8x10 glossy of our CEO. Press 4 if youd like fries with that. . . . . . . . . . Press 9 if youre convinced your only hope is a miracle from heaven. I press 9. Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us, which is while you will now be put on hold. Please wait while we play twenty minutes of music that no one could possibly enjoy. . . . . . . . . . Thank you for calling my name is Sgjyevlpojugfr my technician number is 7525 9912 3654 5635 8743 3952 1964 6321 4532 how may I help you? I explain my problem. What is your name? David Kjos. Thats K-J-O-S. A-J-O-F? No, K-J-O-S. K-K-O-N? K---J---O---S. A-A-O-X? S-M-I-T-H. K-J-O-S? Right. It is alright I call you by your first name? Sure. How may I help you? I explained my problem again. Did your router come with a setup disc? Yes. If please you would insert disc. Its already in. as I explained, Ive run it three times already, and the message says . . . Oh, the disc is already inserted? Very good, you will please now begin setup. [sigh] I run the setup again, withsurprise!the same result, which I report to my new friend. We will configure manually, then. Open an Internet Explorer window. Type in the address bar ---.--.-- OK, done. I am guided through four pages of settings, all of which are already correct (according to my support pal). Page five: You will need to set the multiplexing method, VPI, and VCI to the correct settings. OK. Have you completed the settings? What? Have you filled in the correct settings? What are they? You will have to get that information from your ISP. SoI have to hang up, call them, and then call back . . . That is correct. I imagine flinging myself from a very high cliff. I do as instructed, call my ISP, sit on hold, get the information, and call the support number again. Thank you for calling. Press 1 for . . . Minutes fly by like hours, and I am connected to another unpronounceable support person, with whom I go through the manual configuration steps from the beginning, fill in the final information, only to find that . . . Nothing works. Still no connection, I say. Then you will have to call your ISP and have them check your line. What? Youre saying its my phone line? That is correct. Great. Thanks. Have a pleasant day. I hang up the phonethe phone that runs on the same incoming line as my internet connectionand weep bitterly. Then, pulling myself together, I proceed to solve my problem in the time-honored tradition of many who have gone before me. I go through the configuration settings, none of which mean anything to me, randomly changing one here, another there. I click apply, cross my fingers, and open Firefox. I believe in miracles.

Explain Calvinism

Friday··2010·08·20 · 2 Comments
I received an email recently containing one simple request: “Explain Calvinism.” I typed about a paragraph and a half in reply before thinking to myself, “Self, this is stupid. This has been done many times already, and far better than you’re going to do in a late-night email.” So I sent the inquirer links to my own answer and to some other stuff that ought to be almost as good: TULIP by John Piper [free audio/video | DVD/study guide]. The Doctrines of Grace by John MacArthur. What Is Reformed Theology? By R. C. Sproul [free streaming video | DVD/CD/audio & video downloads/study guide | book]. As the title suggests, this teaching series is broader than the narrow area of doctrine that we call Calvinism. The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented by David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, and S. Lance Quinn is an excellent primer on Calvinism. Additional recommendations are welcome.

Must Have Been Predestined

Thursday··2011·02·03 · 7 Comments
2/2I had intended to read with the family last night (currently reading Tom Sawyer), but our comings and goings were unsynchronized, making it impossible. So I decided to make use of my free trial month of Netflix to watch The Importance of Being Earnest (the 1952 production, which I havent seen). One of those going, however, declared that I simply had to wait until she would be home to see it as well, so I went looking for alternate entertainment. I consider my final choice to be providential because, as I was unaware of the date and its significance, there was no design on my part to create the coincidence that occurred. If you can guess my choice, you win absolutely nothing (no purchase necessary, offer void where prohibited).

Winter is finally over, I think

Tuesday··2011·05·03 · 4 Comments
This is for my friends in southern Ontario who like to brag about their hard winters. We, by the way, are practically tropical compared Grand Forks and above. Hazen, North Dakota, April 30, 2011 Feel free to add your own I can beat that story.


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