"Patzer sees check, Patzer makes check."

- Bobby Fischer
Maybe It's Because My Mom Was An English Teacher

I've posted on this before, I know, but the language used by the Emerging movement just doesn't work for me. Of course, this is largely because I'm way outside their age-range. But there are other reasons.

Regarding "Emerging", Alan Hirsh recently said:

We find the phase actually now singularly unhelpful. We are tending to drop it ourselves, or when we use it, [its] with [the word] missional attached to it. That is what we are more on about, like the church becoming a missionary agency and thinking like missionaries in our own context.
I agree with him. But, besides his beef with it, I'm bugged by the fact that "Emerging" is a present participle, not a noun. It grew, or should I say emerged, out of its proper use in the term "Emerging church". But the word "church" was long ago dropped, and we're left with this weird, hanging participle that people still confuse with that other strange emerge mutation: "Emergent". But I don't get confused anymore. Emerging are the good guys, and Emergent are the heretics. Unless I've got that backwards . . .

But aversion to non-nouns that are turned into nouns is a pet peeve of mine. Another is when nouns are converted into verbs, as in "Operationalize" (side note: the business world has gone bark-at-the-moon crazy with this consultant-speak phenomenon.)

But I digress. Hirsh prefers "Missional" to "Emerging". But I'm not too keen on "Missional" either. Don't get me wrong; I'm keen on the concept (and woefully bad at living it out), but I'm checked by the fact that "Missional" is a nice, round noun ("Mission") that has been pounded with a blunt hammer into a square adjective. Boo!

[Hat tip for the Hirsh quote: The Blind Beggar]

Lost: Tricia Tanaka Is Dead

This is the show that will probably decide whether I keep liveblogging Lost. I sure hope this one's good (I didn't waste time watching the promotional previews. In the words of George Bush, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, um . . .)

Anyways, spoilers follow . . .
Read the rest of this entry . . .

You Know Who

Okay, so I'm eating lunch and watching you-know-who "preach" on TBN. The message is on not dwelling on the negative, thinking positively, etc.
One illustration: Because his dad once doubted he could get two cows to feed some visitors to the church, God withheld the cows from him. God wanted to give the cows, but He couldn't because daddy stopped believing. On the other hand, because they didn't give up believing, his mom survived cancer.

I don't know if some people understand how destructive this sort of thinking can be to believers. "Your family member died because you didn't believe strongly enough"? Wow.

He couches this stuff within the idea that your faith will be rewarded, etc., about how it's trusting that God will come through.
But what it really does is make the truster the one responsible for "giving and taking away." If your family member survives, it is not God who was gracious, but you who deserve the honor for allowing God to give you what you want.
It's like God is some game on the old school NES and you just have to beat the red buttons on the controller hard and fast enough to "win."

On a related note, I was perusing a MySpace where all the top friends are New Age teachers and gurus and motivational speakers. The Dalai Lama is on there. And guess who else? That's right. You Know Who's on there too. :-)

Oh, man. He just said "You can prophesy your future!" Ugh.

When Are You Having Another One?

From a friend's MySpace blog:

This is one of my least favorite questions regarding children, right up there with "Where'd he get that red hair from?" (Clark has gorgeous red hair.) I think it's a very rude question, and I'm sick of people asking me about it so casually. The reason it hits a hot spot with me is because frankly, I don't want another one right now, and I'm tired of people suggesting that it'll be bad for Clark, and that a family needs to be a certain size. But it can hit much hotter spots for other people. At church today, someone asked me, and then she asked another woman in the group. The woman said, "Well, we just lost one in April..." See? See my point? She brought up the woman's MISCARRIAGE, whereas if she had just kept her rude mouth shut, or chatted about the weather, she wouldn't have hurt anybody.

This is a question you just shouldn't ask! For all you know the woman doesn't want another one, or she and her husband fight about it every week, or maybe there are fertility problems, or maybe she had a miscarriage--and any way it spins, it's most likely not your business.

De's Law

I have observed, and am proposing, a new law, very similar to Godwin's Law.

Ahem . . .

De's Law (also known as De's Rule of Stoning Analogies) is a mainstay of Internet culture, an adage formulated by De in 2007. The law states: "As an online discussion regarding the Old Testament's relation to the New Testament grows longer, the probability of someone stridently suggesting that the other party condones stoning adulteresses and false prophets approaches one."

Addendum: Roy's corollary to De's Law: "Anyone mentioning in a positive light any text suggesting serious consideration of the current nature of the 4th Commandment will be asked if they keep the sabbath."

24: If It was More Like This . . .

. . . I'd probably watch it.

24, a Question

A mild spoiler follows . . .

Read the rest of this entry . . .

A Quote That Deserves a Post of its Own

"So, pray. Fast. Laugh. The world was never supposed to love you, after all. You signed on to be despised."

- The Anchoress

(This quote appeared in my previous post, but it was just too good to leave it buried there.)

Thoughts on the "Jesus Tomb" from Around the Blogosphere

Ben Witherington has a few things to say. An excerpt:

First of all, I have worked with Simcha. He is a practicing Jew, indeed he is an orthodox Jew so far as I can tell. He was the producer of the Discovery Channel special on the James ossuary which I was involved with. He is a good film maker, and he knows a good sensational story when he sees one. This is such a story. Unfortunately it is a story full of holes, conjectures, and problems. It will make good TV and involves a bad critical reading of history. Basically this is old news with a new interpretation. We have known about this tomb since it was discovered in 1980. There are all sorts of reasons to see this as much ado about nothing much:

1) The statistical analysis is of course only as good as the numbers that were provided to the statistician. He couldn’t run numbers he did not have. And when you try to run numbers on a combination name such as ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease the statistical sample dramatically. In fact, in the case of ‘Jesus son of Joseph’ you decrease it to a statistically insignificant number! Furthermore, so far as we can tell, the earliest followers of Jesus never called Jesus ‘son of Joseph’. It was outsiders who mistakenly called him that! Would the family members such as James who remained in Jerusalem really put that name on Jesus’ tomb when they knew otherwise? This is highly improbable.
James White weighs in with a thorough treatment, excerpted below:
Read the rest of this entry . . .

They Found Jesus' Tomb ... Yeah, Right

The pagans claim they've found the tomb that held Jesus' remains.

As a Christian, do claims like this bother you? Do they disturb you? Do they make you nervous?

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:17).

Making Shack-ups Into Ball-and-Chains?

Here's a question for you ministers out there:

Will you perform marriage ceremonies for couples who are living together or sleeping together?
Why or why not?

Non-ministers' two cents are welcome too!

Tithing: What's your view?

Question: Should New Testament Christians tithe or even use the term?

Discuss in comments.

I'm preaching an upcoming sermon on Malachi 3:6-12. I've heard people express strong opinions on both sides. What's your view? And if you have time, why do you think that way?

6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.
"But you ask, 'How are we to return?'
8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
"But you ask, 'How do we rob you?'
"In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. 12 "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

Information About the Upcoming James Cameron "I Found Jesus' Body" Reveal

The Internet Monk has been doing some great work gathering information about the upcoming Cameron press conference where he will state that he has found the remains of Jesus of Nazareth. See his essay "A Rejected Messiah Buried With Honor? Responses to the “Tomb of Jesus and His Family” Story". An excerpt below:

Here’s a quick outline of how I am going to respond to the claim that “They found Jesus’ tomb.” I’m still cooking this one, and may edit the post as I go along. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments.

a. Claiming to have found the tomb of any historical person takes a pretty clear shot at a very small target. It’s easy to get close and miss. Archeology is full of stories of claims to have found the tombs of famous persons that later proved wrong. The more tantalizing the target, the more the temptation to rush to judgment. The possibilities of fraud, mistakes and distortion are endless. More than caution is needed. Think Shroud of Turin.

b. The primary way of seeming to hit the bullseye (when, in fact, you’ve missed) is to shoot, then adjust the target so it appears you’ve hit the center. So in this case we have a collection of common names in the very general proximity of where Jesus lived and died. You might compare this to the chances of finding colonial era gravestones with the names George and Martha in the area of Mt. Vernon, Virginia. It is evidence that initially impresses, but the longer the entire picture is examined, the more problems appear, some of them impossible to resolve. (How many Marys and Jesuses are already in the New Testament?)

c. One of the first concerns needs to be dating. The press releases so far say “a two thousand year old” tomb. Unfortunately, if we are going to say this is the grave of Jesus of Nazareth, we’re going to need the kind of dating precision that rarely occurs in archeology. Approximations and generalizations won’t do.

Most of us recall what we recntly went through with the “Ossuary of James,” a “relic” that supposedly proved the existence of Jesus. It’s in court this week, still a matter of contention. (Interestingly, the film-makers are attempting to say the James box is from this tomb as well.)

The comparison of Cameron to the showman in “King Kong” is appropriate. When you are selling a movie starring your experts only, you are on a downhill grade for scholarly acceptance.
It's a great essay, with frequent updates as new information comes in, and it's good preparation for dealing with what is just the latest in a string of recent attacks on the truth that undergirds our faith.

Well done, iMonk.

My Picks for the Little Awards Show . . .

I displayed my favorite films of 2006 earlier in the week via this post and now it's time for the big show. The 79th Oscars, tonight, have a mix of categories that have automatic locks for its winner and categories that are anyone's guess, including Best Picture. I did a pretty good job of picking the awards last year, so I thought I'd try again. So, without further ado, here are Quaid's picks to see who will go home with top honors. Feel free to disagree and/or put in your own two cents in the Comments Section.

As with last year, here's the key to understanding my predictions:
Nominees I've seen are in Bold
Nominees I think WILL win are Underlined
Nominees I think SHOULD win are Italicized
(BTW, I only make picks in categories in which I've seen a majority of the nominees)

Best Picture: Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen

Wow - this could go almost anywhere - except to The Queen or Iwo Jima. These two seem, to me, longshots to take home the statue. While many are predicting Babel to win because it's "this year's Crash," I think that the movie is lacking. It doesn't seem to have any buzz, either. While LMS could take it home (BTW, I think it would be worthy and I'd be excited), I think most voters will feel that it got its reward just by being nominated. I think Scorcese's long-overdue recognition will roll into The Departed picking up the greatest award of them all.

Read the rest of this entry . . .

Street Magic: Take Two

My street magic endeavors took me to Hillsboro, TX today. You see, Brandi and I were there for a conference for parents of disabled children.

One of the guys at an exhibit looked like a perfect victim.

Me: Hey, man, do you like magic tricks? Smoothly taking my deck of cards out of my pocket.

Dude: Absolutely.

Me: Displaying a red queen between two black kings. Ok, here's your three cards. Flipping the three cards over so they're face down. Remember where the queen was? Just take it out and place it down on the table; make sure you don't look at it just yet.

Dude: Ok. Takes the queen out and places it down on the table.

Me: Flips the two cards that I have left in my hand, showing the dude the two black kings. Here's what I want you to do, slowly turn over your queen.

Dude: Turns over the queen to reveal that it's not a queen! It's a joker!

Me: Grinning.

Dude: What the poop?


Number 23

Beck and I went to see The Number 23 last night. (We've been Jim Carrey fans since seeing the first Ace Ventura on one of our first dates.)
It was pretty good for what it was -- Carrey's foray into popcorn paranoid thrillerdom (like DeNiro in Hide and Seek or Jodie Foster in Flightplan).

But the premise reminded me of an old Letter to the Movie Answer Man, in which a reader of Roger Ebert's sent a long list of recurrences of the number 3 in Pulp Fiction. This guy was seeing 3's everywhere in the movie. There were three such-and-suches, three so-and-so's, a character did such-and-such three times. Et cetera.

Ebert's reply was classic: "When you start figuring in the 2's and 4's it gets really weird." :-)


So sad. LaDainian Tomlinson's father is dead and his brother in critical condition after an accident.

Is It Just Me . . .

Or is anyone else out there disgusted by the commercials for Black Snake Moan?

One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mortor . . .

I realize this has been around awhile, but I find it extremely amusing on a Friday afternoon:

[Hat tip: Michael Williams]

A Message to Raindream

My email's been down. If you see this, please check your email (I sent you some from another address).

Or just do this:





in your descriptor file and you should be fixed.

Man . . . that was completely my mistake. Sorry!

[Everyone else . . . move along, nothing to see here . . .]

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