Early polls on next year's presidential race reveal: 1. That President Obama is ahead, despite the economy;2. That a generic Republican candidate is within striking distance- and runs better than any of the actual Republican candidates in the survey; and3. That Mitt Romney is, at the moment, the only actual human being who makes it a horse race.It should be noted, of course that Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachman are at this point basically unknown,. Pawlenty, at least, can be expected to do better as voters become more familiar with him.
Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, on the other hand, are going nowhere. Their problem is that voters already know who they are- and given who they are, that's an insurmountable problem.
Interestingly, Mollie reports, Catholics and non-believers were not mentioned in media reports on this study, which focused on the brain shrinkage evident in "Evangelicals." What is especially interesting about that is that the greatest cerebral atrophy was found, not among "born again" Protestants, but among unbelievers.
No surprise in this omission, of course. Lots of unbelievers among those who write those news stories. On the other hand it's always open season on conservative Christians.
The brain region in question is the hippocampus, which stores and re…
Constellation needs to be revived. The economy needs the kind of boost Mercury and Gemini and Apollo gave it. Our national divisions and faltering self-image need the healing and strengthening the moon landing provided. And our place in the world will not be enhanced by abandoning the moon, Mars, and everything other than low orbit to the Chinese and the Japanese and the Indians- and the American private sector, which simply lacks the resources governments have.
I'm an admirer of both countries in many ways. Scotland and Ulster are the home of my ancestors, and I treasure both the time I've spent in Canada and my experiences with its polite, civilized and thoroughly admirable people. But when it comes to free speech, neither the UK nor Canada have a clue.
"Hate speech" is a concept very familiar in this country, too. There are many- especially on the Left- whose values with regard to freedom of speech differ as greatly from those of the Founders as they do on other matters. But at least so far, we in the States have managed to resist this incursion on our liberties. It is regrettable that …
King says that Giuliani- determined to win this time- will make the New Hampshire Primary his bid to strike a decisive blow against the man widely perceived to be the front-runner, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Rudy is wise to bypass Iowa, where his socially liberal positions would not be well received. But even if he wins in New Hampshire, putting all of his eggs in one basket wouldn't be a smart strategy. He still has to muster the delegates necessary to get a majority at Tampa.
It will be a long time before Chicago has a female police commissioner, and an even longer time before an African-American alderman is more powerful than the mayor. Alderman Gibbons to the contrary, Harold Washington was not Chicago's only black mayor (his successor, Eugene Sawyer, was also African-American). And The Outfit is definitely not Irish. But The Chicago Code tried hard to capture the essense of my home town, and I respect the effort. At least there was no mention of Lake Forest as "Forest Lake," as happened recently on the other Chicago-based network drama, The Good Wife, when hubby's Republican opponent in the race for Cook County State's Attorney moved there in order to establish residence in the county.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a soft-spoken man with strong economic credentials whom many had seen as one of the more formidable opponents President Obama could have had next year, has become the latest Republican to opt out of the race.
Daniels may well have wanted to spare his wife, who divorced him and married another man before divorcing her second husband after four years and re-marrying Daniels, the embarrassment over the episode which no doubt would have been the inevitable consequence of a presidential race.
In fairness, it's not really supposed to have been the end of the world. The advance work for the event was kind of sloppy in its wording. It was actually supposed to be an entirely ficticious and non-biblical event called the "rapture." But that didn't happen, either.
Most ficticious events don't.
Any way you look at it, it's not a good day for Harold Camping. And I'll bet nobody is signed up to bring the donuts at Family Radio's office Monday morning, either.
Is it just me, or does the church whose logo is at the right need to rethink its name?
Speaking of churches that worship the world, articles like this pose an important question: when outfits like the ELCA and the PCUSA abandon the Great Tradition and the consistent teachings of both Testaments by equating sodomy with holy matrimony, can they still, properly speaking, be called churches?
Our real hope, of course, is the knowledge that on a date and at a time known only to the Father, Jesus will return to right all wrongs and make all things new. But even as the world cries out for deliverance, Christ's Body is already in its midst, doing Christ's work.
Common sense is anything but a common virtue among those so fascinated by the End Times that they fail to realize that Jesus had a reason for discouraging curiosity on the subject. But every once in a while, it turns up in especially gratifying places.
Now that Mike Huckabee is out of the race (and my fingers remain crossed that Sarah Palin won't get into it), social conservatives have a tough choice among the remaining candidates. Two Mormons (one with a history of supporting civil unions, and the other having authored the prototype for the Obamacare mandate), a serial adulterer, and a former cap-and-trader with all the charisma of a wet noodle do not constitute a field setting anybody's heart on fire on the social Right.
It's worth reflecting once more on the words of Wolfhart Pannenberg:
If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
I guess sometimes giving in to the culture is just easier.
Possibly the best argument that Harold Camping's goofy predictions of the "rapture" (an imaginary event based on a misreading of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ) next Saturday and the Final Judgment on September 21 might have something to it is an event which, if it isn't a sign of the end foretold in Scripture, might as well be.
No, it's not. At least not if one believes Christ and the Apostle Paul. The biblical "definition of a Christian," as Rev. Graham puts it, is whether- by God's grace, rather than by our own decision- we put our trust in Jesus having given His life for us. "Evangelicals" generally seem to have trouble with that distinction. Not only do they tend to make conversion our action rather than the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit through the Word, but they have a strong tendency to preach justification by faith and works even while giving lip service to justification by faith alone.
I would refer them for clarification on both points to the Pauline Epistles.
I am not going to get into the question of whether or not President Obama is an authentic Christian. While Reverend Graham questions the genuin…
Anybody tempted to doubt the damage Family Radio's Harold Camping and those who believe this failed prophet's apparently defective Secret Bible Decoder Ring (Camping predicted the end of the world in 1994, and was obviously wrong- thereby disqualifying himself from further credence according to the test of Deuteronomy 18:21-22) need only read this.
On May 22, when Camping and his followers are confronted by the fact that they remain unraptured, they won't be the only ones held up to public humiliation. So will all Christians. And so will Jesus.
I wonder what part of "no one knows the day or the hour" he doesn't understand. For that matter, given his Christian Reformed background, I wonder how Camping misses the point that the "rapture" and the related concept of an earthly millenial reign of Christ prior to the Final Judgement are utterly unbiblical in the first place. The "millenium" of Revelation 20 is the Age of the Church; 1 Thessalon…
Somewhere in the boxes in my spare bedroom is a VHS of the first part of the film the Swedes have made of Bo Giertz's wonderful novel The Hammer of God. If I had to pick a book other than the Bible that has meant the most to me in my life, it would be this one.
It's about three young pastors in the same Swedish parish over the course of a century who manage to screw up big time (boy, can I ever identify!). Each time, God's grace comes to the rescue, and teaches them to look to "Jesus Only-" and to point their parishioners to the same place.
They've finished the movie now. I have to get it. And in the doubtful event that I ever serve another parish, it will be the subject of many an adult class there.
"Mr. Newt" is smart; he has better credentials as an "idea man" than any other candidate in either party. But based on his behavior when he was Speaker of the House, I'd say his political instincts are questionable. "Movement" conservatives may well get behind Gingrich as one of the more substantial and cerebral of the Republican candidates. But I have a hard time seeing him as viable. His marital history will be an albatross around his neck, for one thing. So will the ethics charges against him when he was Speaker. And I just have a very, very hard time seeing someone as pedantic as "Mr. Newt" as an effective opponent for Barack Obama.
None of the Republican candidates have exactly captured my imagination at this point. I continue to think that the nominee will probably be Mitt Romney; the Republicans, after all, almost always nominate "the next in line." And he just mig…
The other day I passed two kids- each somewhere on the young side of ten- playing in their front yard.
One had a huge toy broadsword; the other had two sticks. They were engaged in mortal combat.
As I passed by, they stopped fighting and started arguing about whether or not the one with the sticks had been killed. "I used my shield," he asserted. "No," the other replied. "You don't get a shield until Level 5."
And then it hit me. These kids were outside, enjoying the fresh air and getting their exercise by pretending to be inside, playing a video game.
ADDENDUM: Actually, Daniel Hinton of CTS, Fort Wayne tells me that it's a new fad: a kind of live-action Dungeons and Dragons. Interesting- and perhaps a trifle less discouraging.
Meanwhile, a new Wall Street Journal/Washington Post poll quantifies Mr. Obama's bounce in the polls after the killing of Osama bin Laden. He's up by three percent.
That does put him above 50% for the first time in a while. But don't count on it to last.
Personally, I'm not quite as optimistic about the GOP's chances of beating Mr. Obama. I don't see a Ronald Reagan in the field of potential challengers right now, though I'm looking hard at Mitch Daniels.
Of course, I didn't see a Ronald Reagan in the field when Ronald Reagan was running, either. He was a pleasant surprise.
Pakistan/s government, military and intelligence community are either unbelievably incompetent for allowing Osama bin Laden to live as a neighbor to the country's military academy, or at least as complicit in sheltering that mass murderer as the Taliban was in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.
I understand that a certain amount of kow-towing to domestic Islamofascisism is necessary for the Pakistani government's self-preservation. I also understand the strategic importance of our relationship with the Pakistanis. But this is going much too far. Barring an apology, an adequate explanation, and an appropriate amount of professed mortification on the part of our Pakistani "friends" for the residence of the author of 9/11 not only on its soil but right under the government's…
While the odds still (barely) favor his re-election next year, Barack Obama remains eminently beatable- provided the Republicans avoid an ideological orgy and stop making it so easy for the Democrats (of all people!) to portray the GOP as a party of extremists.
To achieve this, Republicans will have to come up with solutions, not merely criticisms. One of those solutions will have to be how to replace the increasingly rare and decreasingly adequate employer-provided health insurance which has generally provided adequate access to health care for most Americans, especially in catastrophic emergencies, with an adequate and…
Somehow I negelected to mention that yesteday was the 50th anniversary of the flight of astronaut Alan B. Shepard- the first American in space, who missed being the first human being in space by only 23 days.
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagaran beat Shepard to that title, and somehow John H. Glenn's orbital flight less that a year later completely overshadowed the mission of Friendship 7. But Shepherd- who retired as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, and served as head of NASA's astronaut corps from November of 1963 through August of 1974. Unlike either Gagarin or Glenn, Shepherd- as commander of the Apollo 14 mission- walked on the moon, the fifth human being to do so. Earlier, after being diagnosed with Ménière's disease, Shepherd had been disqualified from his assignment as commander of the first Gemini mission, being replaced by the second American in space, Gus Grissom.
After undergoing a newly-developed corrective surgery for his disability, Shepherd was restored to flight…
POTUS said today that deciding to take out bin Laden was "the hardest decision I've had to make as Commander-in-Chief."
The flies promptly started to buzz.
First, if a president had the intelligence break Obama had and had failed to act on it, and that fact had become public knowledge, he would have had as much chance of being re-elected as Richard Nixon would have if he had made his "I am not a crook" speech during his first term, and in drag, with Ed Muskie instead of George McGovern as his opponent.
Secondly, if the slam-dunk attempt had been made, and had somehow failed, he still would have suffered minimal damage, if any. I find it hard to believee that this was the first attempt to get bin Laden made by the current administration. Bush suffered little political damage from the near-miss at Tora Bora. Admittedly it was before 9/11, but Clinton suffered no damage from his half-hearted, lob-a-cruise-missile-at-where-he-used-to-be attempt to take OBL out.
We all need to repent of any tendency to rejoice at what we assume to be bin Laden's damnation. On the other hand, we have no business whatsoever doing anything but rejoice that justice has been done.
Pr. Cwirla magnificently refutes both the un-Christian tendency on the Right to give in to our fallen desire for vengence on one hand, and the sappy and equally un-Christian tendency among those on the Left to confuse the Two Kingdoms by suggesting that there is anything less merciful and proper than for those whom God has given the office of the sword to refrain from wielding it out of a desure to be "nice."
One of the differences between Christianity and Islam on one hand, and Christianity and brain death on the other.
The Washington Postreports that a resident of my former suburb of the nation's capital- Springfield, Virginia- has the perfect headline for the paper on May 22:
WORLD ENDS; TRAFFIC BACKED UP FOR HOURSOh, wait. No, it's merely is it merely he "rapture-" a entirely unbiblical concept common among "Evangelcals," and based on a misinterpretation of 1 Thessalonians 14:13-18- which actually describes the resurrection of the dead Christ's coming at the Final Judgment rather than a removal of believers from a world which will go its merry way to hell in a handbasket
The confusion is understandable, since much of the publicity for the coming non-event refers to it as "Judgment Day-" a term which does not describe the mistaken notion of the "rapture."In any event, a more biblical understanding of the whole subject of the "End Times" than one finds among the millenialists can be found here, by the way.
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. -- Matthew 24:36
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. --Mark 13:32
It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. --Acts 1:7
And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. --Deuteronomy 18:21-22
Family Radio used to be a fairly benign, garden variety Christian radio station of the "evangelical" persuasion. In the early '90's, Family Radio personality Howard Camping decided- on the basis of the same kind of absurd, arcane eisegesis characteristic of those "evangelicals" who…
Former Blackhawks Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert also were found at autopsy to have suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The disorder- linked to repeated concussions- is a form of dementia which results in personality changes, memory loss, and depression.
Martin Luther taught that suicides- whom he said were often victims of a "mugging" by the devil through depression rather than rebels against God's providence- might not necessarily be damned. Surely if there was ever a noble suicide, it was Duerson's, who gave his life in order to help his fellow athletes.
May God have mercy on him, and on all who suffer from CTE.
The most recent book by the guy who wrote about a terrorist using an airplane as a weapon (crashing it into the Capitol, admittedly, rather than the World Trade Center or the Pentagon) well before 9-11 features the capture by JSOC troops of the Emir- the guy responsible for 9-11 in the Clancy universe, and an obvious stand-in for Osama bin Laden.
Yesterday the JSOC boys, apparently acting on a tip from Pakistani sources, located and killed bin Laden. They even secured his body so that there can be no doubt as to his identity. Justice has been served at last.
It is tempting to point out the symmetry of bin Ladin being killed under the administration of a president of the same party whose trashing of our intelligence capabilities made 9-l1 possible in the first place. Or to point out the irony of the fact that it's that president's party (though notably not Mr. Obama himself) who has been urging for so long that we cut and run in Afghanista…