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Showing posts from October, 2009

Sermon for the Feast of All Saints

Overflow Space
The Feast of All Saints
Revelation 7:9-17
November 1, 2009

Dear friends in Christ: Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Despite his theology, one of my more liberal seminary professors preached one of the best ordination sermons I have ever heard.

He spoke of the angelic hosts gathered to watch the evening’s events, and the saints and martyrs met to ratify what was done in the Wartburg Seminary Chapel. He spoke of the smoke and the incense surrounding the throne of God, and its wafting and swirling and reaching from the heights of heaven down to the little congregation in the chapel. He spoke of angels waiting on tiptoe to behold the wondrous event of a servant of the eternal Word being commissioned to carry the Gospel into the world, and the apostles and martyrs gathered together to give their blessing to their successor. He evoked Augustine and Ambrose, Polycarp and Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom and Justin Mart…

The wrong question, and the right question

Today is the Festival of the Reformation. On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, beginning the restoration of the apostolic Gospel to center stage in the life of the Church after a long exile to the periphery. On that day, the Church began to remember that the Faith is about Jesus, and not about us; that His activity, and not ours, is decisive.

Those who ask, "What Would Jesus Do?" miss the point of this day- and of that apostolic Gospel. The point is not what Jesus would do if He were in our shoes. The point is what He has already done for the ones who are already in our shoes- us.

Those who seek to make their lives "purpose driven" miss the point that it is God Who accomplishes His purposes in our lives, not by our own striving but by His almighty power in hearts which look, not to their own preparations or efforts, but to the One Who lives His life in and through those whose faith is not in their own…

Meet the Ricketts family

As Rick Morrissey points out, the Cubs are finally owned by Cub fans. Perhaps that will make a difference.

In any case, the Ricketts family seem not only to be nice people with whom Cub fans like me can identify, but fellow sufferers from the incurable illness of loyalty  to a team whose management has not always through the years always seemed to put nearly as high a priority on the club's success as we did. Whether P.K. Wrigley, a fine gentleman who unfortunately was clueless where baseball was concerned, or the Chicago Tribune, a corporate entity for whom the bottom line was measured in dollars and cents rather than wins and losses- the management of the team has seldom seemed to be on the same page as the most dedicated fandom in all of sports, for whom a world championship would be not merely a notch on a corporate gunhandle or a nice thing for the city, but an event right up there with birth, marriage and death as a life event.

One gets the feeling that Tom Ricketts would gr…


The sale of the Cubs is now complete. Tom Ricketts now owns the team, And like any new administration, his deserves our support until and unless he shows that he doesn't deserve it.

Maybe things will change now, and we'll finally get to grab the brass ring sometime soon.

So much for the Bears

The Bengals are a good team, but that doesn't matter. After yesterday's embarrassment, any illusion that my Bears are a playoff team- or even a particularly good one- are dashed, Cutler or not.

We need an O-line and a defense before anything like the hope that we Bear fans had going into this season will be justified. And that, I fear, will take a while to arrange, even if the front office resolutely sets about that task this very day in a focused and determined fashion.


RIP, Atvar

Atvar, aka "Big Guy," my ornate uromastyx (he's the hatchling on the left), has apparently crossed the Rainbow Bridge at the age of seven.

I'll miss him a lot.

Sermon for Reformation Sunday


Reformation Sunday
October 25, 2009
John 8:31-3

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Dear friends in Christ: Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Ever since the ELCA convention last month, it's been even more fashionable than usual for more Lutheran Lutherans than they to bash the ELCA for not abiding in the Word.

I have absolutely no doubt that sometimes we've been more vehement than we needed to be, and maybe eve…

A deficit in leadership?

Back in 1960, an inexperienced and frankly unqualified playboy senator was opposed by an extremely talkative former Minneapolis mayor, an old line wheeler and dealer of a Senate Majority Leader, and a twice-defeated political dilettante from Illinois for the Democratic presidential nomination. We might well have wondered where all the great American leaders had gone.

Except that from the viewpoint of 2009, a choice between John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, and Adlai E. Stevenson doesn't look all that bad.

David Gergen thinks we have a deficit in leadership these days- that Americans just aren't producing potential presidents like we have in the past. I think he's wrong. Granted, we have a deficit in leadership in the White House right now. But I suspect that every generation wonders why the leaders who will look like giants to future generations don't measure up to those of the past.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Nothing purple about Obama

Tom Bevan has an interesting article over at Real Clear Politics on the contrast between the president Barack Obama said he'd be, and the president he's actually turned out to be.

Even more interesting is the number of Obamaphiles who- against all the evidence- continue to crow that their man is somehow trying to "bring us together."

Happy birthday, universe

According to the calculations of 17th Century Irish Bishop James Ussher, the Six Days of Creation began on October 23, 4004 B.C.

Of course, the presuppositions which led him to that conclusion- which included a duration for the universe of exactly 6000 years- meant that the world should have ended in 2004. We're apparently living on borrowed time.

Actually, whether one accepts Bishop Ussher's thesis or not, as I look around me I can't escape the conclusion that he was at least right about that much.

Poor Jesse!

First Barack Obama gets elected president- and deprives him of any claim to be the leader of black America.

And now this:

As the author of the blog where I found this points out, however, of one thing we can be certain: he is somebody..

HT: Iowa's Newz Liter

Olbermann busted!

Meanwhile, Ann Coulter has busted Keith Olbermann for using a phonied-up version of Bush 41's "Willie Horton ad" to support his scurrilous claim that it was racist.

The actual ad never mentioned Horton's race, and never showed his picture. Moreover, all the "criminals" in the ad were white. But Olbermann used an altered version of the ad containing a picture of Horton to make his argument about how terribly racist conservatives are.

HT: Drudge

On the other hand.... sooner has POTUS given the word chutzpah a new definition by claiming that Republicans "do what they're told" and Democrats "think for themselves" than his press secretary threatens to go him one better.

Mr. Gibbs calls President Obama's indecisiveness about Afghanistan "his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform," while claiming that Dick Cheney failed our men and women in uniform by not being "focused" on Afghanistan during the previous administration!

I think it was Goebbels who said that the more outrageous the lie, the more people will believe it. Certainly that principle seems to be animating the administration these last couple of days!

Democrats do what!?

Hey. Listen for yourself. If I hadn't heard it with my own ears...

There is a marvelous Yiddish word- chutzpah- which is classically defined as that quality exhibited by a man who murders both of his parents and then pleads for mercy on the ground that he's an orphan. For any Democrat to make the claim for the members of his or her party that the president makes in this clip gives the word a whole new definition!

HT: Drudge

Just as good a question

Somebody at Facebook has a poll going asking whether Fox News is a news source or not, thus abetting the Administration line. I thought it only fair, therefore, to post one asking whether the media whose bias runs in the opposite direction- say, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and ABC- are news sources.

However people answer these questions, it will be interesting to see how many have both the perspective and the integrity to answer them the same way.

ADDENDUM: There's also a poll about whether Fox should fire Glenn Beck. I've responded with one of my own asking whether MSNBC should fire Olbermann. My answer in both cases is no; I'm not in favor of silencing people just because I disagree with them- even when I find them reprehensible, as I do Olbermann.

The Isle of Inisfree

Watching The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara used to be as much a part of our St. Patrick's Day ritual in the Waters household as the corned beef and cabbage dinner and the green we wore to school.

Orla Fallon of Celtic Woman sings a song featured prominently in the score of that movie, and one I've always loved.

My father's namesake

My father, Robert McKinley Waters, was named after the good Republican president who held office when he was born. His older brother, my Uncle Johnny, was John William Gladstone Waters, named after Queen Victoria's Liberal prime minister. Grandpa, an immigrant from Belfast, was a great one for naming his kids after political figures he admired. Dad's own heroes included both Robert Taft and Walter Reuther. We in our family have never allowed our own political philosophies to unduly affect our feelings about figures from history or politics we've found admirable for one reason or another.

President McKinley was shot by Leon Czolgoz at the World's Fair in Buffalo, N.Y. some four months after Dad was born. I found it interesting when visiting the Antietam battlefield a few years ago that there's a monument not far from Burnside Bridge on the spot where, as a young noncom, McKinley served coffee to the Union soldiers who were involved in the fighting.

Anyway, I came ac…

The great heart of a great man

The skillful animation of an actual photo of Lincoln, combined with an authentic Kentucky/Southern Illinois accent and actual quotations from the president who couldn't justify "shooting the whole man just because his legs (were) cowardly," give us a wonderful glimpse at the great heart of our greatest president.

The lies of Michael Moore

The pattern of dishonesty in Michael Moore's "documentaries" isn't nearly as well known as should be. It's amazing, for example, how few people realize that the wonderful health care system he attempted to pass off as available to everyday Cubans in Sicko is in fact available only to foreigners and members of the Cuban Communist party.

Dan Gifford provides an opportunity for you to educate yourself regarding Moore's habit of fictionalizing the truth.

Jews not allowed at Comen breast cancer conference in Egypt

The Susan G. Comen Breast Cancer organization is holding a conference in Alexandria, Egypt.

Jews are not allowed. Israeli participants- including Nobel prize winners- have had their registrations canceled at short notice.

Apparently the religious bigotry of local authorities is to blame. The Comen organization, which is headquartered in the United States, shouldn't put up with this.

HT: All in Faber

ADDENDUM: It appears that those responsible for the reported ban have changed their minds.

Jews banned from breast cancer conference

The Susan G. Comen Breast Cancer Conference is about to convene in Alexandria, Egypt.

No Jews are allowed.

Israeli doctors were told on short notice that their registrations had been canceled.

Cancer is a terrible disease. So is religious bigotry. The Comen Foundation- an American group- should insist that the restriction be removed, or else cancel the conference.

HT: Flo Johnson

Krauthammer strikes back

Charles Krauthammer answers the Administration's attacks on Fox News- and White House Communications Director Anita Dunn's statement that she was joking when she called Mao one of her favorite political philosophers.


The Bears should have won 35-21 last night.

You can't turn the ball over three times in the red zone and beat a team as good as the Falcons. And yes, the Falcons are a good team.

Last year, the Bears lost to Atlanta  because of an incomprehensible decision by Lovie to kick short after Robbie Gould knocked through what should have been the game-winning field goal. The decision gave Matt Ryan the field position to set up what really was the game winning field goal with a single completed pass.

This year, it was Jay Cutler throwing the ball to people wearing the wrong color jersey at the worst possible times, the usually sure handed Matt Forte being unable to hang on to said ball at the most critical possible moment, and Orlando Pace picking exactly the wrong point in the game- seconds to go, deep in Atlanta territory, and fourth and one- to jump early and make it fourth and six instead.

I'm not giving up yet. With all respect to Pastor Esget, I fully expect Brett Favre to self-d…

A tale ot two statements

One of them, Rush Limbaugh never actually made- not even close- but it's been shouted from the housetops that he did. It even cost him an ownership share in the St. Louis Rams.

The second, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn- the critic of Fox News- certainly did make. Nobody has heard about it, though.

They should.

The last thing the world wants

One wonders how long it will take before Bono and other Europeans, Leftists, Hollywood types, and other such individuals will realize how yesterday talk about the world "wanting to believe in America again" really is.

Barack Obama has been president for nearly a year, and has wimped out over and over again all over the globe. He has yielded, and conciliated, and generally played the patsy at nearly every opportunity. Other than getting him the Nobel Prize, it hasn't really accomplished much. The world may love him, but it respects the country he supposedly leads the less for his alleged leadership.

The world still hates us- and precisely because it wants to. We are a convenient scapegoat. Too much satisfaction is there to be derived from the tough times America is facing economically for the jealousy of decades to simply be forgotten. There is too much reveling to be done in the perceived decline of American power in the world.

No, Bono. The world doesn't want to believ…

St. Luke, Evangelist

Marching Orders
Luke 10:1-9
St. Luke, Evangelist
October 18, 2009

Today is the feast day of the only writer of any book of either Testament who was a Gentile.

Luke was a Greek doctor and sometime companion of Paul on his missionary journeys. He was the author both of the Gospel which bears his name, and of the Acts of the Apostles- the New Testament's record of the spread of Christianity through the ministry of Paul and Luke and Barnabas and Silas and John Mark and the others who were involved in the Church's first, explosive growth. That being the case, it's especially appropriate that the reading from his Gospel, which is appointed for his feast day, is about being sent by Jesus into the world to proclaim the Good News to those who haven't heard it.

The actual context is the sending of the Seventy-Two, a group of those beyond the Twelve Apostles who followed Jesus. They were, in effect, to act as His "advance team," visiting the places where Jesus Himself w…

This is a truly bad idea

This post is about a product that would be inappropriate if it commemorated any president. That it commemorates our first African-American president adds an element of apparent racism to what otherwise would be mere disrespect and bad taste.

I saw the commercial below the other night. At first, I was certain that I'd dozed off, and was dreaming. But it's apparently real. And it is so incredibly disrespectful not only of the president but of the office he occupies that I can hardly find the words.

Walgreen's has pulled this product from their shelves. Good. Perhaps its originator, Joseph Pedott, had only good intentions. But he should have known better- and given the fact that I saw the ad only the other night, apparently this thing is still being sold.

Obama, Carter, and Chauncey Gardiner

David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy magazine says that Barack Obama's foreign policy is rapidly turning him into the second coming of Jimmy Carter.

Charles Krauthammer is even more brutal, comparing the rhetoric of Obama's wide-eyed admirers in Stockholm and elsewhere to that of Chauncey Gardiner, the blithering innocent in the 1979 film Being There whose banal and inane ramblings are mistaken by the Washington intelligentsia for profundity.

Obama's naive and ineffectual foreign policy views may impress the Nobel Committee, but thus far they has made him the most ineffectual president in the international arena since- well, Jimmy Carter.

HT: Real Clear Poltics

Rasmussen: Huck leads 2012 GOP pack

A Rasmussen Poll reports that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is favored by the most Republicans to be their 2012 candidate for president.

Huckabee gets 29%, compared with 24% for the man usually seen as the front runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who probably would lead the pack if she wasn't signaling her disinterest so strongly, gets 18%, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 14%, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with four percent.

Six percent of those polled prefer another candidate, while seven percent are undecided. Pawlenty's relatively poor showing may be a reflection of low name recognition.

Meanwhile, according to the same poll, 81% think it at least somewhat likely that the Republican candidate will defeat President Obama in 2012. Half- 50%- think it very likely.

HT: Drudge

Ready to be patronized?

Noam Chomsky is an extremist, I grant. But listen to his rhetoric here- not about Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage (although what he says about them is offensive enough), but what he says about the average American.

Chomsky does what liberals do best: patronize and marginalize. And he does an absolutely superb job of illustrating the truth of what he finds it so regrettable that the yokels are being told by Limbaugh and Savage and others about people like himself
You know. The yokels who are bitter and cling to their guns and religion, as somebody or other said a while back.

HT: Drudge

If this is a joke, it's a bad one

I saw the commercial below on television the other night. I thought I must have stumbled across a re-run of Saturday Night Live or Mad TV.
But apparently not.
This is in such amazingly bad taste that I don't know quite how to react. It also strikes me as vaguely racist. It's certainly disrespectful of the highest office in the land, as well as of the man who occupies it.

The geysers of Enceladus: a clue to possible life on Saturn's moon?

Controversy rages as to whether the saltwater geysers on the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus mean that it might have a potentially life-bearing ocean under all that ice, as astronomers suspect Jupiter's moon Europa- and perhaps also Ganymede and Callisto- may have.

We're talking about a really, really huge distance from old Sol here. The theory is that the metallic cores of moons orbiting gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn experience huge tidal pulls by both the planets they orbit and other passing moons. This, astronomers theorize, could generate heat much the same way rapidly bending a paper clip warms the medal- perhaps enough to make it possible for life to gain a foothold.

So is the geyser portrayed in the picture evidence of potential life, or just "Cold Faithful?" The jury is out.

That could have been me one afternoon in 1967...

I have always loved football, and wanted in the worst way to play it. But alas, when I got to high school, I discovered that I just wasn't the type.

I went out for the Frosh-Soph team my freshmen year, and lasted one practice. I simply wasn't in good enough shape to even give it a decent try that first year. But between my sophomore and junior years, I did a lot of running and calisthenics. I went out for the varsity my junior year.

I tried so hard that Coach Stedman didn't have the heart to cut me. Or rather, I had come out after all the cuts had already been made, and he decided to humor me rather than give me the bad news all by myself. He carried me, as he put it, as "Luther South's one-man taxi squad." What that actually meant was that I got to practice and to stand on the sidelines with the team during games. I got a "Certificate of Participation," and was technically a member of the team; some of my friends who really were members of the team…

Breathtaking cluelessness

Sometimes somebody in government says something so utterly and mind-bogglingly clueless that one stops and wonders how our the mail gets delivered. Never was this more the case than with an interview given by White House Communications Director Anita Dunn on CNN as part of the Administration's ongoing war with Fox News.

Savor the utter failure to grasp the essentials of the topic manifest in the following quotation: "What I think is fair to say about Fox -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party. They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

Two things. First, whatever criticism one might be disposed to offer concerning the objectivity of Fox News, a compelling case can be made that CNN- and ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, and the mainstream media generally- are at…

Science vs."Scientism"

Andrew Sullivan- a doctrinaire Homosexualist- would doubtless disapprove of the notion that his views on how his own sexual orientation should be treated by society constitute an ideology. This does not stop him, of course, from speaking of the attitudes of certain Christians toward the relationship between their beliefs and public policy (attitudes which Sullivan understands far less well than he thinks) as "Christianism." Sullivan claims to be a Christian himself. Doubtless the rejection of his sexual values by the historic Christian tradition constitutes, for Sullivan, an example of "Christianism."

In this interesting article, William McGurn argues in the Wall Street Journal that a kind of doctrinaire ideology of materialism has developed in our culture which he terms "Scientism." McGurn defines Scientism as the belief that "science alone can speak truth about man and his world."

Not all scientists- or materialists, or atheists- are adherent…

The Blackhawks set a record- and remind their fans why they hope

Anyone who wonders why we long-suffering fans of the Chicago Blackhawks are so hopeful about this team need not go back to last year's impressive regular season or amazing playoff run. All such a person needs to do is to look at tonight's game.

Calgary opened the game by scoring five unanswered goals. Cristobel Huet was pulled after allowing three goals in the Flames' first five shots . Backup Antti Niemi didn't look much better. Things didn't look good after the first period.

The Hawks then proceeded to tie an NHL record and set a team record for the biggest comeback in history by scoring five unanswered goals of their own- before winning it on a goal by Brent Seabrook 26 seconds into overtime.

The UC must have rocked tonight. Oh, how I wish I'd been there!

CBS's Schieffer: The prize is the loser

Bob Schieffer of CBS's Face the Nation says that the lasting impact of the odd decision to award President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for having good intentions is that the prize is devalued in the eyes of people to whom it once meant a great deal.

Interestingly, Schieffer admits in the process to his own bias in favor of Obama's foreign policy.

Meanwhile, Robert Tracinski of The Intellectual Activist frankly labels Obama's award "the Nobel Prize for Moral Posturing."

HT: Real Clear Politics

Superintendent defends Obama praise song

The superintendent of that Burlington, N.J. school where the students were videotaped singing a song glorifying President Obama in terms reminiscent of North Korean kids singing the praises of Kim Sung Il or Soviet children singing about Stalin has pointed out that the song was part of a celebration of African-American history in general, and says that there was no intention on anyone's part of advancing a political agenda. Uh-huh.

The teacher who taught the kids the song has since retired.

HT: Drudge

Mayans say the world will NOT end in 2012

According to Mayan Indian elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun, all the hype about the Mayan calendar "running out" in 2012 and the world ending is just that- hype.

It seems that while 2012 will mark the end of an era in Mayan belief, plenty of Mayan calendars do, in fact, refer to dates after that year- in fact, as many as two thousand years later.

Sorry, Harmonic Convergence fans.

HT: Drudge

Hopefully, this time the story of the Visitors from Canis Major won't be such a dog

In 1983, NBC produced a miniseries about reptilian aliens from a planet orbiting the Dog Star arriving on Earth, dressing up as humans, and posing as benefactors in order to conceal their intent to eat us and steal our resources. They told us that they had a desperate need for our garbage, or some such thing, and in exchange for our giving it to them they supplied us with cures for various diseases and various technological breakthroughs. But then, they "exposed" a "plot" by Earth's scientists and political leaders to conceal the fact that we'd had cures for cancer and other horrible diseases all along. Public opinion turned against the very people who could have saved us, and the "Visitors" began their takeover of Cattle Pen Earth.

All in all, a Sirius situation.

A small group of humans, however, learned the truth, and organized a resistance movement, borrowing Winston Churchill's "V" for victory as its symbol- and providing the m…

Re-visiting The Visitors

In 1983, NBC produced a miniseries about aliens arriving on Earth and concealing their intent to eat us and steal our resources by posing as benefactors. A small group of humans, however, learned the truth, and organized a resistance movement, borrowing Winston Churchill's "V" for victory as its symbol- and providing the miniseries with its title in the process.

The miniseries eventually spawned another miniseries, a full blown series (that nlasted all of one season), and finally a novelization by sci-fi author A.C. Crispin. All in all, it struck me as a first-rate plot undermined by mostly bland, one-dimensional characters; the villainess, the evil E.T. Diana, and a friendly alien turncoat played by Robert Englund of Freddie Kruger fame were really the only interesting characters in the show. And then, it was hard to buy the notion of the world being saved by quite that many young, blond Southern Californians with perfect teeth and no personality. Despite the interesting…

On the folly of a best-of-five playoff series in baseball

While I was rooting for the Dodgers in the NLDS (given the obnoxiousness of so many Cardinal fans, how could I not?), I really don't take all that much pleasure in the Cardinals suffering the same fate that my Cubs suffered the previous two years.

Really, the parallels are scary. Not only has the Central Division champion been swept in the first round three years running, but each year they have managed to score exactly six runs in those three games.

666. The Number of the Beast. This is the sort of thing I would have expected to work for the Cardinals, not against them.

Seriously, though, if it's any consolation to Cardinal fans who read this blog, this is just one more example of the utter absurdity of a best-of-five series deciding anything in baseball. Even best-of-seven is pushing it. One best-of-seven World Series you might be able to justify. This business of having to win two short series before you even get to the World Series is absurd. It's all about who happens…

BBC notices that global warming isn't warming the globe

The BBC has admitted that 1998 was the warmest year on record- and that global warming hasn't been warming the globe for the past eleven years.

In a rare fit of objectivity for a mainstream news source, it has actually acknowledged that natural causes, rather than human activity, may be responsible for most of the warming that has happened.

Meanwhile, Al Gore- who rarely debates his vocal assertion that the planet is headed for climatic disaster due to human abuse of the environment- actually took questions on the subject at a meeting in Wisconsin. When an Irish filmmaker challenged Gore about what he said were a series of inaccuracies in his film An Inconvenient Truth, Gore pointed out that a British court had upheld its showing to English schoolchildren. When the filmmaker attempted to challenge Gore further, his microphone was cut off:

Approximately two hundred protesters showed up to register dissent from Gore's position.

HT: Drudge

I guess it's all a matter of perspective

The vapid silliness of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an American president whom nobody pretends has done anything to deserve it is underscored by the demoralization it has caused among human rights activists in China. The possibility that one of their number might have received the prize had been much discussed, and the gesture might have achieved some positive good in a nation governed by the most murderous regime in recorded human history.

It made Fidel Castro happy, though.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan- with her usual blend of eloquence and insight- calls the award "wicked and ignorant," while British columnist Minette Martin says that Obama should have declined it.

HT: Drudge and Real Clear Politics

Sermon for Trinity 18

Matthew 22:34-46
Trinity 18
October 11, 2009

Why did the Pharisees ask their question? The text says that it was to "test" Jesus. What would the "right" answer have been? Was his response a matter of academic interest? Did they want Jesus to settle an argument? Were they curious about how to go about winning the maximum number of brownie points from God with the minimum amount of effort?

All of the above, probably. Though they would have been surprised to hear it, the Pharisees were sinners, just like the rest of us. The Old Adam in each of us misses the point of the Law. It wants to rank the Commandments, as if the violation of the even least of them, being an affront to God, were not of ultimate seriousness. The Old Eve in each one of us wants to excuse our own sins by telling itself that, after all, they're not as bad as somebody else's. The fallen nature in every ever human being- Christians included- wants, first of all, to be accepted by God because we…