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August 2009

Bob Burg »“Forgive, Forget, And Way to Go, Joe!”

"All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust."-Bob Burg"A no-nonsense approach to building your business through relationships."-Jane Applegate, syndicated Los Angeles Times columnist to READ BLOG

Bob points out why forgiveness not only makes sense, but how it is the only approach that makes sense.

There are some great comments on this post. Mine is the least of them:

Forgiveness is a choice and it is a far easier choice than choosing to hold the grudge if a person will assess the costs in each column. If we step back from the emotions of the situation and apply the least bit of self-interest, we will arrive at the same conclusion as those who are predisposed by love and grace to act with compassion. That conclusion will be to forgive and move on. In the process of doing so, it will start to come more naturally and mold us into more loving, gracious, compassionate, and even joyful people.

Link to: Atheist Spirituality « A Great Work

No doubt there have been many ways to use the term â€"spirituality"€ and not use it in the religious sense.  I am hearing a tone of consternation and concern that if the statement is true, Christianity loses something that has been held as unique by many in the faith community.  Yet, having read Dr. Sweet'€™s writing I can certainly say that he is not naive enough to think that spirituality is solely a Christian construct, nor is it necessarily religious in its nature or its practice. to READ MORE and discuss

Aaron Gardner introduces a discussion of a recent article by Leonard Sweet, both of which are worth reading and interacting with.

Post your comments on Aaron's blog. I have.

Tomorrow's Sermon Notes: John 6:41-51 - What It Takes to Know

John 6:41-51 (King James Version)

 41-The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

 42-And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

 43-Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

 44-No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 45-It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

 46-Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

 47-Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

 48-I am that bread of life.

 49-Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

 50-This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

 51-I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.


Jesus is the bread of life.

He says it and the people dispute it. Here is their logic:

"He can't be special because he is from our home town and we know his folks. He's just an ordinary son of a Joe. If he came from Nazareth, how can he have come from Heaven."

Jesus answers that these folks will never arrive at truth the way they are approaching it.

The things He is teaching about life, eternity, and Himself cannot be known through mere human deduction. They must be God-taught.

"Stop murmuring among yourselves."

They had built a cluster of support and fenced it in to keep any contrary views out. They gathered in that circle and reinforced each others prejudices with skill and precision.

You need outside information. You need divine input. You need an expanded perspective and that can only come from the Father.

He shows the Father drawing a person to Himself and He declares that such a person will rise over death and shall be taught by God.

He makes another drastic declaration that everyone God teaches, who is willing to learn, will eventually come to Him. That person will eat the living bread and live. That person will believe and have everlasting life.

"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. "

This is the problem and the opportunity. All humanity is limited in perspective and ability to deduce truth with what we can observe and manipulate. We need what theologians and the Bible call, "revelation." It is not that it contains no logic. It is not that it requires an abandonment of reason. It simply requires acknowledgment that no matter how sophisticated our knowledge, we cannot figure God out. We can't know everything. We can't even know everything about the things we think we know very well.

God has to meet us before we can know Him.

God chooses to meet us in the person of Jesus Christ who lays down His life for us.

Here are some lessons for us to consider:

1. Don't overlook the common place or despise the familiar. We may have spent our entire lives overlooking a treasure because we are simply viewing the surface of our surroundings. God is present in the mundane and unadorned "stuff of life."

2. Come to God to be taught. Whatever your level of faith ranging from no-faith to great faith, come to the Father. It may be as tenuous as "God, I doubt that you even exist, but I am open to being wrong if you can and will show me." There is no way to lose with that. You don't even have to tell people you "prayed" such a prayer.

3. Stop looking for all your feedback among people who already agree with you. I don't do that as a Christian. Why should you? I am in regular dialogue with non-believers. It does not shake my faith, but it challenges my thinking. Why should those who do not believe limit their opportunities to discover that there might be more than they have considered to this "God thing."

4. Follow truth, even revealed truth, wherever it leads. If you find yourself learning from God and that search leads to Jesus, do not hesitate to come to Him and partake of the bread of life ... and live.

5. If you are already a believer, struggling with your witness, discouraged because you feel ineffective, or frustrated because people do not see things your way, remember that God cannot and will not be left out of the equation. He is the one that draws people and teaches them to believe. You can relax as you bear witness and trust the same God that you are asking your friends to trust.

I am convinced that seekers find as Jesus promised. Let us be seekers, actively open to truth that may not be obvious to the naked eye and standing on tiptoe, looking at the window and down the street for what might be coming.

Connection Magazine, The Premier Good News Publication

From TV Land to The Promised Land

Former television stars like Efram Zimbalist, Jr. are preparing for eternal and unfading glory.

Donna Douglas of The Beverly Hillbillies

Donna Douglas

Donna Douglas, internationally known for her portrayal of "Elly May" in The Beverly Hillbillies, was born near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a young girl she spent much of her time on her grandfather's farm developing into a real tomboy - climbing trees, swinging on vines and playing football and softball.

The turning point of her budding career came when she was chosen over 500 other aspirants to play the role of Elly May Clampitt on The Beverly Hillbillies, a show that became number one in the nation and remains one of the most popular shows on worldwide syndication today. From the mid-70's in to the '80s Donna sold real estate and has spent recent years performing, not in front of a camera, but in front of a microphone as a gospel singer. She's also listed on the current board of the Country Legends Association. Her albums are called Donna Douglas Sings Gospel, and Donna Douglas Sings Country and Gospel: Back on the Mountain. She's also written a children's book, Donna's Critters & Kids: Children's Stories with a Bible Touch.


I just posted this because I had wondered what happened to Ellie May.

Now I know. She is a gospel singer,

Insider incidents are becoming more frequent and often overshadow the need for protection - SC Magazine UK

Related ArticlesThe Pirate Bay ordered offline in Sweden but downtime only lasts for three hoursRadisson Hotel chain hit by data breach as systems were accessed for six months with customer details possibly compromisedTwitter still feeling after effects of DoS attack as URL-shortening site blames it for closureNine out of ten people are vulnerable to phishing scams as more need for online security education demonstrated


Things happen.

Everyone needs to be prepared.

We prepare by anticipating the worse and having a plan in place in case it happens.

It never hurts to have back up. Sometimes it can save you a fortune.

data men.png

Social networking users fail to change their passwords or adjust their privacy settings, as they are more vulnerable than ever - SC Magazine UK

Related ArticlesSocial networking-style attacks are being used to phish details from World of Warcraft message board usersWorld of Warcraft users warned of malicious keylogger posts on message boards ahead of BlizzConEmployers block more social networking sites than shopping or pornography Social networking remains the most targeted area for attacks as SQL injections preferred


The take-away here is to change your password. No one will take the initiative but you to learn how.

The check your backup systems.

data men.png

10 things you can do to protect your data

When you think about it, the most valuable thing on your computer or network is the data you create. After all, that data is the reason for having the computer and network in the first place--and it's the bits and bytes that make up that data that are your first priority when putting protective strategies in place. Operating systems and applications can always be reinstalled, but user-created data is unique and if lost, may be irreplaceable.

Some data is also confidential; not only do you not want to lose it, you don't want others to even view it without authorization. Exposure of your social security number, credit card, and bank account information could subject you to identity theft. Company documents may contain trade secrets, personal information about employees or clients, or the organization's financial records.

Let's look at some ways to protect your all-important user data from loss and/or unauthorized access.


data men.png

18 Churches Aim to Share One Building in Hamburg on

By: Anli Serfontein Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:05 am Section: Religion News Service

TRIER, Germany (RNS/ENI) Eighteen Christian denominations in Hamburg have launched an effort to share a single church building in a new seaside “Harbor City” residential development.

“It’s intended to serve the inhabitants of the Harbor City development, as well as tourists and people who work here, offering a place of silence and giving them the possibility to get in touch with God,” the Rev. Antje Heider-Rottwilm told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.

The 18 churches in “The Bridge” project decided to pool their resources in one ecumenical center. Participants include Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Old Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Reformed, and Roman Catholic churches. to READ MORE

From Germany, we get a lesson in stewardship, kingdom-centered thinking, and unity in Christ's Body.

We can do it! (In fact, our church does on a lesser scale).

If we would commit to not spending all of our resources on duplication in buildings and expenses for infrastructure, we can have more for mission and service to others.

There is no requirement that in working together in areas of agreement that any congregation must surrender its uniqueness and character. This model can be structured to preserve the individual gifts of specific congregations and denominations to the larger community of faith.

In the meantime, Harbor City has provided us a model worth studying.

Prosecutor warns Okla. clergy after pastor killing - Yahoo! News

ANADARKO, Okla. – Authorities warned pastors in a town where a preacher was brutally killed inside her own church that they should take precautions at their buildings, even as police refused to say exactly what happened.


We really don't know what happened or why, but our hearts go out to the family and the church.

All reports are that this was a dear and dedicated pastor who loved her people. It is a real tragedy.

Was she singled out because of who she was? The police seem to believe other local pastors need to take precautions. Perhaps that is always a good idea within reason.

Can we be smart without being timid? Can we be bold without being stupid?

We cannot and should not avoid danger. Danger can never rob us of that which is of ultimate value. Romans 8:35 says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"

We would not be like those the psalmist described in Psalm 107:26, " their peril their courage melted away."

This was a horrible thing that happened.

It is OK to lock our doors, but we must never shut down and we must not, ever, abandon our urban settings.

Columbine victim's brother makes her message his own - On the 10th Anniversary

Craig Scott, 16, was in the Columbine High School library in April 1999, when a teacher ran in, frantic about two students shooting classmates. Scott took cover under a table with his friends Isaiah and Matt.

Soon enough, the shooters were in the library. From under his table, Scott watched the pair go from table to table, mocking the hiding students, then shooting them. When one of the shooters got to Scott's table, he stopped and called over to the other.

"Hey, there is a nigger over here," he said, referring to Isaiah. They shot Isaiah first. Then Matt.

"I thought I was next," Scott recalled yesterday, "but then they walked away." Scott escaped only to learn that his 17-year-old sister, Rachel Scott, was the first of the 13 people killed that day.

Scott, now 24, will never know why he was spared, but he's found reason to live. He tours the country for "Rachel's Challenge," a nonprofit started by his father that promotes school safety - not by advocating for metal detectors and locked schools, but by challenging students and teachers to live more compassionate lives. to READ MORE

I am thinking tonight about what it means to live lives of forgiveness and compassion.

Rachel Scott's legacy in her few years propelled her family to challenge the rest of us. This interview with Craig Scott who was there and saw his friends gunned down, only to discover that his sister had been killed as well, is powerful and thought provoking. Darrell Scott's speech puts it all in perspective.

These folks are not milk toast believers who spout Christian slogans.

The circumstances of their lives have compelled them to think deeply and struggle earnestly with the issues of life, death, and redemption.

It has been some time, but Rachel's witness lives on:

Contact Rachel's Challenge

August 28, 2009 ~ Gaither Gospel Singers | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

It is not cutting edge, but I love gospel music. These guys have made it accessible to many.

Gaither Gospel Singers


PHIL JONES, correspondent: In the 1950s, Bill Gaither used to turn on his radio and listen to all the gospel music stars. He was a farm boy with a field of dreams.

BILL GAITHER: I kept dreaming of the day that maybe, just maybe, I could write a song that would catch the attention of somebody or sing a song that would catch the attention of somebody. Am I blessed guy? I mean, I’m blessed. What can I say? Read the Rest of the INTERVIEW

via to READ MORE

How about those Gaithers?

The world was not worthy of them

What makes a hero?


Martyrs for their faith.

The Greek word for martyr is simply, "witness." There is no greater witness to the power and integrity of one's convictions than to lay down one's life for others. Jesus said that there was no greater love.

Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives us what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Here is what one old preacher called, "The roll call of the faithful."

We risk being called misguided and deceived if we give all to one thing, but that will not deter us. We are guided by a voice that to us, is unmistakeably clear. It is not a bargain or a wager. It is a conviction and a joy to lose our lives for Jesus' sake.

Most of us will never to called to this level of commitment, but we pray that if called upon ...

 ... we will be ready.

Shuttle Mission to Include Missionary History on

WASHINGTON (RNS) When the space shuttle Discovery next takes flight, perhaps later this week, it will carry a piece of missionary history with it into outer space.

On board Discovery will be a piece of the plane used by members of Missionary Aviation Fellowship, who were killed more than half a century ago in Ecuador by Waodani tribesman, the ministry announced. to READ MORE

I wonder if Jim Eliot, Nate Saint, and their friends could have every conceived of their plane entering space when they flew into the jungle for the last time decades ago.

Certainly, they had no idea how high they would soar that very day.

It is a nice gesture of remembrance from fellow believer, Patrick Forrester.

It is a long tradition that allows astronauts to choose items to carry with them on space flights. It is good to see this story simply to be reminded of the devotion of these men.


"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -- Jim Elliott from Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliott Twila Paris singing "He is No Fool" at a concert in 1988."

"This is a clip End of the Spear. This is the death scene. Its very powerful. Chad Allen plays in this clip as the main character. The Waodani tribesman end up spearing five young missionaries that risk their lives to help them. "

Then there is the rest of the story: Family members returned to the village. Nate's aunt lived there for the rest of her days. Nate's son is speaking with "Grandfather Mincaye, one of the tribesmen who killed the missionaries. This is one of the great love stories of history.

And now it is off to space ...

Religion News from Pew Forum through August 27

Latest 10 Religion News Headlines from Pew Forum.Org

Pew does a great job of creating these links and short summaries of each of the stories.

August 27, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal
Taliban Punish Voters in Wake of Afghan Election
The Taliban are attempting to exact revenge on Afghan voters ...

August 27, 2009 - The Washington Post
Lab Produces Monkeys With 2 Mothers
Scientists have produced monkeys with genetic material from two mothers ...

August 27, 2009 - The Wall Street Journal
Abortion Is New Front in Health Battle
Anti-abortion groups are gearing up for a battle in the fall over health-care legislation ...

August 26, 2009 - The Korea Times
Seoul Seeks to Ban Missionary Work in Middle East
The government is seeking to ban people from entering countries in the Middle East for missionary work because of safety concerns, officials said Wednesday.

August 26, 2009 - The New York Times
Islamic Radicalism Slows Moroccan Reforms
Morocco has long been viewed as a rare liberalizing, modernizing Islamic state ...

August 26, 2009 - The Miami Herald
Florida's gay adoption ban now in hands of appeals court
A Miami appeals court heard arguments Wednesday morning in a case that could overturn Florida's 32-year-old law banning adoption by gay men and lesbians.

August 26, 2009 - Religion News Service
Poll: Six in 10 U.S. Catholics ambivalent about Latin Mass
(RNS) ...  more than six in 10 American Catholics have no opinion on the return of the traditional liturgy, according to a new survey.

August 26, 2009 - The Independent
Sarkozy's (anti-immigrant, anti-European, anti-gay) crony
France's anything-but-red baron, Philippe de Villiers, has described President Nicolas Sarkozy as an "imposter", "a liar" and a "Duracell bunny".

August 26, 2009 - The Times of India
A common cold can scuttle Haj plans
Pilgrims suffering from even a common cold or symptoms of seasonal flu will not be allowed to embark on this year's

August 26, 2009 - Los Angeles Times
Abortion foes turn on each other over the Operation Rescue name
Years ago, Randall Terry and Troy Newman were brothers in arms in the struggle against legal abortion.


Thanks to Pew Forum for this compendium that we pass on to you.

Each of these links take you back to one of their summary pages with a link to the original and full story.

"Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world ..."

"Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world; whereas nothing rises quicker than dust, straw, and feathers."  - attributed to Augustus Hare and to Lord Byron

There is a slow rise and a rapid rise. To these we must add, there may be no rise.

Fluff floats and then gloats in its meteoric success, but may not sustain under stress and testing.

Fame can make its name through crisis, accident, or blame when opportunities are seized.

But it is the long haul, the consistent call, the persistent hope and labor languishing in the heat of many days that produces steady growth in character and success.

Those who stay and stabilize their work for others to continue, stand and climb.

Those who rise quickly, must quickly act to build a foundation in the empty space beneath their feet, lest their decent be as rapid as their rise.

With far less fanfare and flair, others build their foundations step by step and step on the next step as they move toward their objectives.

As their circumstances change, they may not be aware that the greatest changes are within them. As they grow, their work grows.


So many times it is that one extra degree of effort in business and in life that separates the good from the great. Enjoy reading "212 the Extra Degree" below. 

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water comes steam.
And steam can power a locomotive.

The beauty of 212° is not only the simplicity but also the many applications. You can apply the concept to 212° service, 212° attitude, 212° leadership, 212° kindness, 212° commitment, 212° focus, 212° perseverance and the list goes on. Whatever your profession, how true it is!

Hillsdale High suspect had REVENGE on his mind. We can reject revenge and grow up - San Jose Mercury News

By Joshua Melvin, Neil Gonzales and Sandra Gonzales

For months, police say, the 17-year-old former Hillsdale High student planned the chilling attack that erupted Monday at the school with two explosions. His motive? Revenge. His target? School staff.


We can be so grateful for the heroism of teacher, Kennet Santana, counselor Ed Canda and Principal Jeff Gilbert.

We can be grateful for law enforcement that stepped in when they arrived.

We can be grateful that there were no injuries to targeted victims or to this troubled young man.

We can be grateful that he will have a second chance to consider his life and become more than a statistic or a bad memory. We can pray for that.

We can pray for all the students, faculty, and community who have been traumatized.

We can be angry or we can be grateful. We can help break a pretty negative cycle if we choose gratitude.

This could have been a much worse story.

Revenge is never a good thing. Hopefully we all live long enough to discover what it stands for:

R - Right indignation gone wrong -  Perhaps we have been legitimately wronged, but the moment we decide on revenge as a course of action, we cross to the wrong side. Find the right of your indignation and anger and channel your energies toward something that will make the world better for others.

E - Expense - Revenge never adds anything to our lives. It always expends our energies, joy, and peace of mind. Revenge is a thief. It steals our time and well being. Forgive people who wrong you and you will find that the chief beneficiary is yourself. It takes far less energy to forgive than it does to harbor anger.

V - Vitriolic - Vitriol is a corrosive acid in chemistry and a corrosive emotion inside of us. When we choose to nurture bitterness, it eats away at our souls. Just stop it. End it within yourself. Replace hatred with love and bitterness with joy. It is your choice.

E - Erosive - Revenge erodes our relationships, influence, and possibilities. It consumes things in our lives that are not easily replaced. Revenge adds nothing positive to other people's lives or to society. Become a builder and a problem solver.

N - Negative - It is always negative. It is never positive. It effects other people negatively. A person bent on revenge destroys other people than the objects of his or her wrath. Everyone is negatively impacted by one person's quest for revenge. Reject the negative urges and focus on something positive you can say or do for others.

G - Grandiose - Revenge is a big show and no one is buying a ticket. When you make a major production over some issue, you isolate yourself and draw attention to something of minor importance to the rest of the world. It would be far better to devote your attention to bringing justice to others in constructive ways.

E - Egotistical - Revenge is selfish. The person intent upon it assumes that the world revolves around his or her narcissistic desire to rectify some slight against his or her character or comfort. How childish! Take your eyes off yourself and focus on others. You will experience greater contentment than you ever imagined.

The boy in this story really was a child and really was disturbed. Unfortunately, the consequences of his actions could have been extremely grave and have certainly altered the course of his life for years. Intelligent people will have compassion on him but will also recognize he will have to answer for his choices and face their consequences. That is not revenge. It is just life.

You are not a child. You can choose a better way than revenge. Perhaps that is one good thing that come come from this disturbing story.

Senator Edward Kennedy, 77, dies - the end of an era

Kennedy from Senate Site WASHINGTON (Reuters) €“ U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, a major figure in the Democratic Party who took the helm of one of America's most fabled political families after two older brothers were assassinated, died late on Tuesday, CNN said. He was 77.


I suspect that whether folks lean to the right or the left, all join in sadness at the passing of this legendary and tireless Senator.

He was loved and admired by his political allies and opponents who knew him and only real strangers vilified only from afar. Those who knew him called him "friend" whatever their political views.

He was perhaps one of the most effective legislators the Senate has seen in years. He invented the concept of "reaching across the isle" before anyone coined the phrase. While vigorously fighting for the issues he loved the most, he was the master of compromise and, as a result, had deep friendships with leading Republicans.

Ted Kennedy's passing marks the end of an era of Kennedy men of his generation. His family stands as an example of the adage that with great privilege comes great responsibility.

Perhaps two families in American life have exemplified that philosophy so as to stand out in the crowd: the Rockefellers and the Kennedys. That legacy continues in the Kennedy family.

Ted Kennedy survived scandals, tragedies, and physical pain to devote his life to public service. Though blessed with material wealth, he was always an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised.

While there are issues with which I disagreed with the Senator, I have also admired him and his family. It impresses me that in his last days, he was urging the Massachusetts legislature to think about his succession.

America will miss Senator Edward Kennedy.

"The dream shall never die."

1980, Democratic National Convention

Reviewing - TEXAS FAITH: Why should science talk to religion? - The Dallas Morning News

Rod Dreher/Columnist

I spent two months this summer as a Templeton Foundation journalism fellow in science and religion, attending Cambridge University seminars on various aspects of the dialogue, historical and contemporary, between science and religion. It was surprising for me to discover that the perception that the two are oil and water is fairly recent. Indeed, I met this summer on the program robust atheist scientists and academics, but also believers from Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism.

All thinking religious believers of whatever tradition understand that religion has to engage science in a serious way. There's no serious debate over that. But there is a serious discussion among scientists as to what, if anything, science ought to be saying to religion. Some, like the famed biologist Richard Dawkins, argue more or less that the only meaningful thing science has to say to religion is, "Sit down and shut up." But there are many others who are more open, but wary.

So, here's this week's question of the week for our panelists:

How would you make a case for mutual engagement between science and religion?strong> to READ MORE

Once again "Texas Faith" asks a distinguished panel of scholars to tackle a difficult question and then, lets them talk.

Templeton Foundation has fostered the kind of dialogue being discussed for many years.

I am once again blogging this article to create a bookmark for my own continued study of this topic.

Complementing that would be the excerpted article below:

Science and religion need a truce

Atheists are attacking the idea that science and faith can be compatible, but confrontation won't spread the truth of evolution

Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, Monday 24 August 2009 13.00 BST

This fall, evolutionary biologist and bestselling author Richard Dawkins – most recently famous for his public exhortation to atheism, The God Delusion – returns to writing about science. Dawkins's new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, will inform and regale us with the stunning "evidence for evolution", as the subtitle says. It will surely be an impressive display, as Dawkins excels at making the case for evolution. But it's also fair to ask: Who in the United States will read Dawkins's new book (or ones like it) and have any sort of epiphany, or change his or her mind?  READ MORE

More and more, skeptics are becoming "evangelists" of rationalism, no longer content to be tolerated and tolerate, but internally mandates to convince and convert. The more radical fringes seem endowed with a mission to eradicate what they see as a societal evil and the source of countless social ills including war, racism, and poverty.

One must raise one's hand as if the foul whistle has sounded to confess one's complicity with a past filled with confrontation and misunderstanding from our end of the pulpit.

To suggest dialogue, I am advocating nether for acquiescence nor dominance. As a believer, I am satisfied in the conviction that God can show Himself and do all the convincing of people's hearts that needs to be done.

The strategical approach of debate to score points are not what is called for here. The loud thumping pulsations of accusatory preaching are not the media of choice. It is about two parties who have something to discuss honestly and openly.

However, I am called to bear witness through word and action to what I believe is a life-fulfilling, hope-enhancing, eternally significant message. I trust I can do that without being obnoxious.

If you would not be forgotten ...

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

I would not mind doing both.

However, it is always for someone else to evaluate - especially the actions, but also the words.

We either overestimate or underestimate either the significance of our deeds or the profundity of our words. Seldom are we on target.

So we strive. We invest ourselves in what is true and right and noble.

And we leave it to others to decide whether or not to remember confident that the One who counts will.

Jesus’ head taken from church’s statue | Ethiopian News

In recent months, Wauwatosa has seen cemetery headstones, city stop signs and the Hoyt Park pool house damaged. But this time, vandals have struck a new target: The statue at the entrance to St. Joseph Congregation now features a headless baby Jesus.

via to READ MORE

OK. Christ is the head of the church according to the New Testament and the congregation itself is the body.

So what does it mean when a thief in Ethiopia steals the head from a church building?

Is he saying that Christ has been deposed as the head of that church?

Or is he just stealing something he thinks he can sell for a good price.

I suspect the latter.

That being said, it would behoove us to make sure we are still connected to the head because it is not usually Him who gets out of proper alignment.

Religion News - Yahoo! News - From the Weekend of August 22-23

  • Pope freed from cast, says wrist still 'lazy'

    AP – Sun Aug 23, 1:25 pm ET  
    In his first public appearance since having the cast removed... AP

    CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance since having the cast removed from his broken right wrist, joking Sunday that his hand was "freed," but still a bit sluggish. Full Story »

  • US Evangelical Lutherans accept 'committed' gay clergy

    AFP – Sat Aug 22, 2:35 pm ET  
    Lesbian couple hold hands during a gay rights protest rally in... AFP/File

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US Evangelical Lutheran church has opted to allow gays and lesbians in "committed" relationships to serve in its clergy, in a controversial decision that could divide its 4.6 million US members. Full Story »

  • Conservatives react after Lutherans lift gay ban

    AP – Sat Aug 22, 10:02 am ET  
    Voting member Janet Metcalfe, of Inver Grove Heights, MInn.,... AP

    MINNEAPOLIS - Even though the Rev. Mark Chavez believes the leaders of his church made a decision in direct contradiction of the Bible by lifting a ban on sexually active, monogamous gays and lesbians as clergy, he said he's staying with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

  • via

    '7 Dirty Words' - Faith & Reason

    OK, not George Carlin's famed "Seven Dirty Words You Can't Say on Television," but this'll still be fun.

    In the F&R Forum, minusRusty links to publisher Gary Schwitzer's Seven Words You Shouldn't Use in Medical Journalism (i.e. "miracle"). Rusty asks, what words do you see abused by the media and in the forum?

    via to READ MORE

    Follow the links and join the discussion.

    This time, the target is religious language.

    Here are some of mine:

    Christian music - Just what is that supposed to be? What key is it in? Is it a style? Does it have a particular meter? Does it include Bach?

    Good brother - What makes someone a good brother as oppossed to just an ordinary brother?

    Family values - Whose family? Are poor family values different than middle class family values? Is economic opportunity a family value or are such values restricted to a limited number of moral issues?

    Fellowship - I don't want to lose the word. I just want to use it more accurately. Fellowship does not mean "Christian party."

    Jesus junk - Actually, I want to introduce that one. It "stuff" with absolutely no value, use, or function except to serve as a flat surface for imprinting Christian slogans. I am not against the marketing of such items, only against using guilt or loyalty as a marketing ploy to sell them.

    "I love you in the Lord." - You either love me or you don't. If you are in the Lord, I would assume that you love me that way. I also assume that it takes God's strength in you to love me. But that is between you and God. Let's not qualify our love for one another by adding an addendum to its declaration.

    Almost every slogan - Christian or political that is used for (a) X # of times or (2) or for X consecutive weeks. I am especially ready to rid myself of the critical ones.

    Let's see what you can come up with.

    Responding to John Shook, Center for Inquiry on the God-Morals Connection/Disconnection

    It’s no mystery how Nonbelievers stay moral without God -May 24, 2009 - by John Shook

    It’s really no mystery how nonreligious people are moral too. Sill, religious people just can’t help but make a big mystery out of this obvious fact. Even if the religious admit that atheists can know what morality is, they stay bewildered by atheists’ ability to willingly follow morality. We hear the faithful endlessly worry over moral atheists. "How do they obey morality, when they have no motivation to be so good?" Is it like watching a disaster movie for them? The faithful seem perched on the edges of their seats, anticipating a catastrophic climax when a billion people who don’t believe in any supernatural God suddenly erupt into anarchy and chaos. to READ MORE

    There are almost too many points on which to comment adequately when reading John Shook's post.

    First, I would complement him on a well written and reasonable discussion of the subject. I would agree with him that "Nonbelievers" (I will capitalize it since he did) can be as moral as believers. I would also add a theist's perspective with which I would not expect him to agree.

    Take this statement:

    "The world is getting along just fine with a sixth of the world’s population living without your God. No disaster is coming, and it’s no mystery why not. Unbelievers don’t need God to stay moral. It’s all about motivation. "

    • Actually, I don't think the world is doing all that well, but there are plenty of people who believe in God who are a part of the problem.
    • I would suggest that in reality, more than 1/6 are living "without God." By that I mean that while most people have a nominal belief in God, it is not so pervasive that it drives their moral decisions on a daily basis.
    • On the other hand, we don't think that just because you don't believe in God that God is not involved in your life. So, in the strictest sense, we would not say that you are living entirely without God,
    • I would agree that it is all about motivation.

    Shook creates an argument for the God-Morality connection and attributes it to believers. There are many who would use that argument, but I am not certain that it would be the best of all possible reasoning processes.

    A missing motivation would be the basic law that what you reap you sow.

    The Hindus have a version of it and call it Karma. Deists would have called it natural law.

    To find examples of these universally applicable principles and motivations that exist in the universe whether or not its people believe in God, one need only ready the Hebrew wisdom literature - especially Proverbs. These sayings arise as much out of observation and inspiration. Yet, the writer says that they all come from God. Therefore, reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom.

    The motivations, however, flow from the natural consequences of behavior that rewards itself. So, if I want to be trusted, I will be trustworthy. That will bring a reward. The reward will condition me and teach me. That training will inform my moral sensibilities. As a believer, I would say that God set that in motion. Nonbelievers would not make that claim. The results are the same in this dimension.

    Shook raises a good question: Do we need to have eternal rewards assured or punishment avoided in order to behave morally? Hebrews 11 suggests that people in ancient times who did not have a strong sense of eternal rewards were willing to exercise extraordinary faith for the benefit for those who would come after them. Of course, they believed in an eternal God and that gave them significance.

    Again, the wisdom literature attempts an answer. From Ecclesiastes we read:

    • For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.
    • God has made everything beautiful in its own time.
    • God has set eternity in the hearts of men.

    As offensive as it may seem to my atheist friends, Christians believe that you have a sense of eternity in your heart whether or not you believe and that it drives many of your responses to life. We also believe that the goodness that exists in you is not entirely voided because you do not know from whence it came. We further believe that the human capacity for empathy is a "God-connection," as is love and the longing for grace.

    For every naturalistic explanation for anything that a Nonbeliever cites, we see a First-Mover behind it. For that reason, I could find no reason to quarrel with these points that Shook relates:

    "(1) possessing moral knowledge alone provides a reasonable motivation to be moral; (2) moral conduct can be intrinsically satisfying for one’s self and hence is reasonable; (3) moral conduct towards another person is valuable to that person and hence reasonably creates value; (4) moral conduct can be a practical means of maintaining beneficial social relations and hence is reasonable; (5) moral conduct can be useful for survival and hence would be reasonable."

    We do believe in ultimate rectification. It gives us great comfort and encouragement. We believe that there is power in the Spirit living within us to overcome temptations and make tough choices. We believe that the message of life-change-possibility (repentance) flowing from mercy, grace, and forgiveness liberates people to become more than they otherwise could become. We believe that we are loved unconditionally, forgiven freely, and awakened eternally through faith in Jesus Christ.

    But I don't think our theism hinges on a moral theory of God. In fact, the Christian message is not primarily a moral one. Ethics is but one component of Christian doctrine. We believe that it originates with God, but that it is the one component that is virtually universal in its revelation with or without the specifics of scripture to explain it. That is why all people share accountability for their actions in this world.

    The Christian ethic is that our moral choices should exceed the minimum requirements of basic human morality for no other motivation than love. Love is the standard for behavior according to Jesus. It is the only standard. To the extent to which Nonbelievers agree with this, we have something in common.

    "Don’t worry, faithful—you can count on steady morality from nonbelievers."

    I am happy to know that. I already suspected it.

    Tweet Week - first edition

    This covers about the middle of 8-13 till this morning, 8-22.

    It is a record of my tweets in Twitter if anyone is interested.

    If no one is interested, that is OK. I need to keep track!

    How many of you use blogging as a way of keeping up with yourself? It can be a very useful tool for that. After all, it is short for Web Log.

    With a mid-level account on TypePad, you can have unlimited quantities of blogs and integrate them easily.

    To index your tweets, simply cut and paste.

    To read the rest of The Dream Factory, CLICK!

    What We May Be

    image from

    "We know what we are, but we know not what we may be
    ."  - Shakespeare.

    "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." - 1 John 3:2

    What are we?

    Those attempting to appear humble may say, "I'm nothing," "I'm a nobody," or even, "I am a miserable, unlovable sinner."

    Maybe we were some of those things.

    Maybe if we were to extract some of those qualities and assume that they define us, we would be partially accurate.

    John makes a startling statement for those who have embraced grace through Jesus. He says that we are, now, in this present moment, children of God.

    That is the reality, even if it is an invisible reality. It is a statement about the character of God who welcomes us in love, and about who we come through repentance and transformation as we are redeemed from alienation, received into our adopted family, and reconciled with the Father.

    It is who we are and how God sees us now.

    What we shall be, we cannot even imagine - in this life as we gaze upon Jesus, and in the life to come as we see Him face to face.

    This goes far beyond positive self-esteem and does not even resemble narcissism. It is liberating enough that we are able to take a back seat. It is confident enough that we never have to toot our horns. It is settled enough that we may relax in grace and drink deeply from the wells of God's love.



    The Associated Press: Court: Religious items OK in Conn. postal facility

    MANCHESTER, Conn. — An appeals court has reversed a federal judge's order that religious displays be removed from a Connecticut store that offers postal services.

    In a decision released Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says Sincerely Yours Inc. in Manchester is not a classified post office and doesn't need to be regulated like one.


    We shall see where this goes.

    At the moment, it seems that there is an independent business with a U.S. Post Office contract and whatever they advertise carries no implication that the government endorses it.

    No one assumes that UPS stores which sells and advertises its own products has government or USPS endorsement implied for those products.

    Dialogue or Witness: US Jews protest Catholic document on salvation - Yahoo! News

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK – Major Jewish groups and rabbis from the three largest branches of American Judaism said Thursday that their relationship with Roman Catholic leaders is at risk because of a recent U.S. bishops' statement on salvation.

    Jewish groups said they interpret the new document to mean that the bishops view interfaith dialogue as a chance to invite Jews to become Catholic. The Jewish leaders said they "pose no objection" to Christians sharing their faith, but said dialogue with Jews becomes "untenable" if the goal is to persuade Jews to accept Christ as their savior. to READ MORE

    Is this truly a debate or a call for clarification? The ADL and the AJC say that they have no objection to the Christians 'Sharing their faith." The Catholic Church says that is what it is doing.

    Perhaps the question is over, what is meant by the word, "Dialogue?"

    Dialogue presupposes that both parties have something to learn from the other. It suggests active listening, questioning, and open sharing from both parties.

    Dialogue assumes that both sides have a point of view and believe they are right.

    However, everyone knows when the person on the other end of a phone, or in a showroom, or at the door, or across the table is "pitching them" in sales. There is an agenda and, apart from that agenda, there is no other reason to meet.

    What do Christians need to learn about witnessing and sharing from this discussion? Can't one witness and engage in authentic dialogue at the same time? Can't one witness while actually listening to someone without an agenda? Is there no witness when we meet because part of who we are is people who meet God and other people?

    Perhaps there is a clash here between legitimate, historic sensitivity toward anything that is perceived as coercion, manipulation, or "pitching" and a strong sense of Jesus' mandate to make disciples of all nations

    Perhaps what we have done with that mandate in the past, even at our most sensitive and best, is to feel that we have to bring closure to every conversation, achieve a result from every meeting, and essentially, perform not only our task of faithful, honest, loving witness, but God's role of conviction, drawing men and women to Himself.

    If we, as Christians, were more natural, authentic, honest, and free in our open sharing of who we are and why, we could be less tense, manipulative, judgmental, rehearsed, and aggressive in sharing our faith. If it were just a natural expression of who we are, no one would need to feel that they were being sold anything.

    The real question, is, I think, whether we really believe what we are saying, If we do, we know that we are not performing a task alone. We are not responsible for securing commitments from people. We are not responsible for convincing people of the validity of our faith beyond all doubt. Mostly, we are not responsible for "drawing" people to Jesus.

    If we believe that He is involved in the process and can show Himself to folks through us, all we really need to do is relax, be prepared to share our faith, answer questions to the best of our ability, and be present for those who are drawn by the Holy Spirit to Jesus.

    It really doesn't matter who folks are or what their faith backgrounds. As followers of Jesus,we are not their judges. We must respect them and realize that God is already working in their lives and surroundings and that they may, in fact, have something to teach us as well.

    Then we can enter into dialogue and we will be free, with permission, to share our faith.

    More forgo clergy-led funerals for those by secular 'celebrants' - - But We're Not Dead Yet!

    When Kenneth Kistner, 85, died in February, his wife, Carmen, didn't call any clergy.

    At the Detroit memorial service for the Marine veteran and retired educator, Kistner's family read a eulogy — one that Kistner himself approved years earlier, when it was drafted by a secular "celebrant" near their retirement home in Largo, Fla.

    A growing number of people want to celebrate a loved one's life at a funeral or memorial service without clergy — sometimes even without God.

    And that's giving rise to the new specialty of pastoral-style secular celebrants who deliver unique personalized eulogies without the rituals of institutional religion. to READ MORE

    Funerals are a major part of my ministry. They are opportunities for me to touch people at their point of hurt and bring the grace and love of God to them without being judgmental, "preachy," or even overly religious,

    Solomon said that God has made everything beautiful in its time and set eternity in the hearts of men.'

    I have not seen much decline in the desire of people to have someone lead them in a guided period of thinking about ultimate issues at the occasion of someone's death. Even the non-religious, who constitute most of the people I meet this way, appreciate the insights that scripture brings to such issues as:

    • Life really does have meaning and purpose.
    • Love is essential to our lives.
    • Grief is real and is hard work. Lean into it. There is healing in your future.
    • Friends - seen and unseen - can help us through the process.
    • Make use of every day you have.
    • Life is a gift.
    • Add value to other people's lives.

    I seldom have resistance to prayer and scripture when used to apply these truths AND when they are integrated into an attempt to reflect on the lessons of the life of the deceased.

    Perhaps one of the problems with some people's conception of what it means to have clergy present is our fault:

    • When we use a canned approach.
    • When we fail to spend time listening to the family prior to the service.
    • When we don't ask questions that give us insight into that person's life.
    • When we separate the remembrance of the person from the spiritual truths we are communicating.
    • When we ignore the deceased or the family.
    • When we do not allow laughter and tears to flow together.
    • When we tell people how they should feel or not feel.
    • When we fail to present good news.

    I have no intention of abandoning this ministry. I have performed well over 1000 funerals - most for people who did not attend church regularly. I have seldom had a service where people did not express that they felt lifted and encouraged.

    Am I great at it?

    Not really.

    There is, however, one thing I do that not everyone does. I listen actively, assimilate deeply, and give what I hear back to the people wrapped in truth, grace, and love.

    Pew Forum: President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

    On Feb. 5, 2009, two weeks after taking office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The new office retains the basic administrative structure of President George W. Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The central White House office and satellite offices in 12 government agencies work together to encourage partnerships between the government and religious and community groups for the delivery of social services.

    The White House office, led by executive director Joshua DuBois, has identified four primary goals:

    • Connecting faith-based and community groups to economic recovery;
    • Promoting interfaith dialogue and cooperation;
    • Encouraging responsible fatherhood and healthy families;
    • Reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortions, strengthening maternal and child health, and encouraging adoptions


    This is a full page of articles and very good information on the state of faith based initiatives.

    There is far more potential for these initiatives than have been realized.

    Some of the positive things that exist after safe-guards are in place to insure that government is not controlling or funding religious teachings.

    One is that the leadership and decision making structures are close to and responsible to the community. Board members come from the community. Additional funding comes from the community. It is the community that makes referrals and it is from the community that clients come.

    Faith based organizations have a ready pool of volunteers and that increases the effectiveness of a dollar. Most of what happens does not cost the government because funds are being raised from additional sources and volunteers supplement the effectiveness of all efforts.

    People of faith are predisposed to care about the poor and the welfare of the city. It is built into the DNA. It is taught as a core value.

    It is good to see the line-up of the advisory committee.

    Bookmark Synchronization Added To Chrome 4.0 by NewsFactor: Yahoo! Tech

    Google said it has compiled a new software library to synchronize browser data in the cloud. It also said it has developed the server infrastructure for synchronizing the data to the Google accounts of Chrome browser users.

    The twin developments enabled Google to add bookmark sync to the developer-channel build of its Chrome 4.0 browser on Monday. The technology promises to eventually give Web surfers easy access to their personalized resources across multiple computers.

    via to READ MORE

    This may be the one missing piece that Google needed to add to Chrome which is a very good platform.

    In the course of a day, I supplement my Firefox use with up to four or five other browsers. This will make Chrome more useful for me.

    "If you wish another to keep your secret, first keep it to yourself." - Seneca

    These are the days of going public with knowledge.

    Some, like me, enjoy people knowing what we are thinking and doing, who we know, how to contact us, and other details of our lives.

    It is a good thing because, like it or not, once we have posted it to one, it has the potential to go viral and spread to any who might care.

    Of course, the great tragedy in our lives might be that not enough care.

    It has been over 2000 years since Seneca spoke these words. They were true then too.

    It is not that people want to disrespect your confidence; it is just very hard to keep it. They tell one person who they are sure will keep the secret and that person thinks the same about the person they tell.

    The moral of the story is simply to be circumspect. Assume that what you tell will be told. Live transparently, authentically, and openly, but keep some things to yourself.

    You can always (and should) tell God.

    Sleep apnea raises death risk 46 percent: study - Yahoo! News

    This is why I am having my follow up sleep study tonight, as much of a drudgery as it is. This is why I sleep with a C-Pap every night. This is why I am paying now - to avoid paying later.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent, U.S. researchers reported Monday, but said people with milder sleep-breathing problems do not share that risk.

    They said people with severe breathing disorders during sleep were more likely to die from a variety of causes than similar people without such sleep disorders. The risks are most obvious in men aged 40 to 70, Naresh Punjabi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues found.

    Sleep apnea is caused by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Strong snoring can be a symptom but what makes apnea different are numerous brief interruptions in breathing.

    Sleep apnea is closely linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke, but researchers have not been able to clearly quantify how much more likely it makes a person to die.


    If you snore, wake up tired, or hear from your loved ones that you stop breathing in the night, get a sleep study done. If you have severe apnea, you are taking big risks and ... and this is the big one ... killing brain cells.

    Sleep is a very good thing. Psalm 122:7 says, "...he grants sleep to those he loves."

    Take the gift. Get some real sleep.

    Religion News: Rising global tide of religion touches S'pore shores

    'Singapore is carried along by this global tide,' he observed in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday night. He presented the global picture before addressing the need for Singapore to stay harmonious, even as fervour strengthens ...

    ...The United States is experiencing a wave of revival, and mega-churches are rising, he said. That America is a strongly religious country is clear from the figures: Over 90 per cent believe in God. About 80 per cent are Christians. 'US politics is strongly influenced by religion,' he noted. The Christian right powerfully influences the Republican Party. Democrats, too, vie for Christian support. - from Straits Times (Singapore)

    Read the Complete Story

    The tendency to view things from a western or even American perspective.

    The opportunity to step back and take a view from abroad is instructive.

    Peer-to-Peer Lending Doing Well by Doing Good Finances

    Joseph Slife -Sound Mind Investing

    Would you lend money to a friend? To your brother-in-law? Or to a perfect stranger?

    An increasing number of people are answering those questions with a resounding, "Yes!" Over the past three years, lending directly to friends, family members and even total strangers has become a popular way of earning a decent return, while helping out specific people strapped for cash.

    Such direct loans are being arranged, executed and serviced through an innovative Web-based model known as peer-to-peer lending. to READ MORE<

    I love this idea. It brings together the best of many interests:

    It equips people to help each other through encouragement and tangible assistance.

    I encourages entrepreneurship and creative ideas.

    It adds value to a staggering economy.

    It creates win:win scenarios.

    Mutual Funds: Who's in Your Wallet?

    Jay Peroni, CFP(r) Author, The Faith-Based Millionaire 

    Solomon once wrote, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14 NASB) In the world of investing, there is no shortage of people willing to give you advice.  From mutual fund offerings to investment advisors to insurance salesman, everyone wants to get in the game of advice.  But could this advice be detrimental to your faith and wallet? to READ MORE

    Some great advice.

    It is biblical, timely, and practical.

    Christians & Politics: A Plea for Grace in the Debate

    A Plea for Grace in the Debate  -  David Burchett

    via to READ

    Burchett offers a balanced contribution to the discussion of the role of Christians in current political debates. In this article, he reviews "Will Democrats Go to Heaven" by Dr. Gregory Boyd.

    To that, I would add the affirmation that is central to our faith, that the way up is down, that the pathway to greatness is service, and that 'a gentle answer turneth away wrath."

    To employ graceless conversation, strategies, and methodologies to simply win at political debates is a foreign concept to the Christian ethic.To malign ones opponents in pursuit of gaining advantage is sinful.

    The quote by Gregory Boyd is right on target:

    “Christians are not to seek “power over” others – by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should seek to have “power under” others – winning others hearts by sacrificing for those in need.” – Dr.Gregory Boyd, Pastor of Woodland Hills Church in Minnesota

    Science is ...

    I am no scientist. One might argue whether or not I am a philosopher.  I am more of a philosopher than a scientist at any rate, sometimes one who enjoys philosophical inquiry about the nature of science.

    I have studies the scientific method. It facilitates its own kind of inquiry into questions of "how," "when," and especially, "what."

    Yet, the question, "Is it scientific?" is no more ultimate than ...

        Is it legal?

        Is it feasible?

        Is it popular?

    A better question at any crossroads would be, "Is it true?" Scientific inquiry can point us to one dimension of truth, but it alone cannot tell us the whole truth about anything. Science itself has deep appreciation for the notions of "unknowns" in the universe. Truth encompasses the universe and goes beyond.

    Nevertheless, in collecting some definitions of science, I found this interesting. Without evaluating them, I simply post them. Others can be found at: Science Quotes and at Quote Garden.

    "In essence, science is a perpetual search for an intelligent and integrated comprehension of the world we live in." Cornelius Bernardus Van Neil (1897- ) U. S. microbiologist.

    "Science is organized knowledge." - Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher. Education.

    "Science is simply common sense at its best that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic." Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) English biologist.

    "Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated." George Santayana (1863-1952) U. S. philosopher and writer. The Life of Reason.

    "Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science." Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) French mathematician.

    "Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club." Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) English biologist. "The Method of Zadig" in Collected Essays IV.

    "Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition." Adam Smith (1723-90) Scottish economist. The Wealth of Nations, 1776.

    "Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English philosopher, mathematician.

    "Science is the systematic classification of experience." George Henry Lewes (1817-78) English writer and critic.

    "Science is a cometary of dead ideas." - Miguel de Unamuno

    "They say so is half a lie."

    It was Thomas Fuller who penned, ""They say so is half a lie."

    Fuller was a year younger than I am now when he died in 1661, but he lived long enough to grasp this reality.

    I have as well. I have sensed it for some time.

    Those who say, "they say," are really saying, "I think, but I don't want to say that I say.'

    In the first place, "they say" is deceptive because it implies that there is a large body of agreement among the masses. If that were true, THEY would have spoken with a louder voice.

    In the second place, "they say" is deceptive because it insinuates that "they" have appointed "you" as "their" spokesperson. That is seldom the case.

    In the third place, it is deceptive because the speaker is masking his or her own opinion as that of others and taking no responsibility for it or ownership of it. There is a suggestion of neutrality that does not exist.

    "They say" is essentially dishonest, divisive, disruptive, and intentionally discouraging to the person being addressed. It is manipulative and passive aggressive in its content and delivery.

    So, how does one respond to the "theysayers" and "naysayers?"

    One response would be, and courtesy is recommended, "Thank you alerting me to this, but I would like them to tell me what they think. What I am interested in now is what do you think?"

    Another would be, "Before you tell me more, can you tell me who they are? It is only fair that I speak with them personally about this since this is their opinion and I cannot ask you to convey my answer to them. I am sure you would agree that would not be an honest way for me to deal with them."

    What we must never do is give prolonged audience to this form of gossip and thinly disguised criticism. 

    Fuller lived with controversy and was, himself, controversial. Controversy is not a bad thing. It can be very beneficial. Neither is conflict negative. But dishonest communication, murmuring, negative whispers, and third party communication are never productive and never solve problems.

    Just as authentic theology is about meeting face to face, so is all human communication.

    "They say," is, in fact, a very big lie.

    "You have seen me, but do not believe."

    In John 6, Jesus has been asked for big signs, bigger than the mass feedings, bigger than walking on water, bigger than calming the sea, more like daily food for the rest of everyone's life. "Lord, always give us this bread," they say after asking "What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe?"

    Without exasperation, but with some penetrating insight, Jesus declares in verse 36, "But I said to you that you also have seen me and do not believe"

    The indictment here is not on those who have not seen. It is not on those who are seeking truth with all their hearts. It is not on those who are struggling. Folks who struggle with faith issues get a lot of slack from Jesus. Remember the guys who said, "Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief?" He had no problem with that man.

    Jesus is slamming the guys with an agenda who have to work hard not to believe.

    Norman Ralph has posted some interesting observations about the demographics and characteristics of atheists. Several of us who spend time building communication bridges between ourselves as people of faith and those who are at other places on the faith continuum would be interested in some response.

    You won't catch me maligning, ridiculing, or stereotyping you as evil if you are an honest atheist or agnostic. That is not what Jesus is doing either.

    Imagine someone being presented with all the evidence anyone would ever need to receive a truth as truth. Imagine that the truth was clearly embodied in a person and that person was standing before you. Imagine that you know that he is true, but you refuse to believe. That is what Jesus is criticizing.

    When the psalmist says that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God, he is referring the the decision making capacity of a person. The heart is the control room of ones life in ancient usage of the word. It is where we decide and commit. We know things with our minds and then, experientially. We can even start the process of believing with our minds. However, if it does not reach our hearts where we commit to it and begin to internalize it, it is the kind of faith without works that James says is dead.

    There are many who profess belief in God, even in Jesus, who are "fools" by this definition. They are not honest intellectual atheists. They are practical atheists. The men who were grilling Jesus for more proof already believed more than they were willing to commit to in faith. They were just resisting.

    When not believing starts to take more effort than believing, then it becomes stubbornness. That, then, is what Jesus means when He says, "You have seen and do not believe."

    Recent Technology News from NPR

    NPR keeps us up to date, not only on technology, but upon the social implications of technological advances.

    The interpretive value of these reports sets them apart from many other news services in the field, many of which are excellent.

    New Web Site Lets Patients Rate Their Doctors

    Stock photo of doctors operating

    August 14, 2009 One problem with health care is that it can be hard to gauge what works. The nonprofit Web site Patient Central surveys people about their experiences with doctors. Physicians at the bottom of the list say a single disgruntled patient can skew the result.

    Being Smart About Protecting Your Mobile Devices

    Smart phone

    Smart phones and their expanding array of functions are becoming more indispensable all the time. The devices are more immune to viruses than traditional computers, but users still need to be careful to protect the wealth of data the phones contain.

    To Avoid Bird Strikes, Just Tell The Birds To Move

    A flock of birds take off with a plane. Vasiliy Baziuk/The Daily Messenger

    August 16, 2009 When US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January after hitting geese, it turned the spotlight on so-called bird strikes — a longstanding problem of aircraft colliding with birds in flight. Airports try a lot of tricks to keep birds away, but now some researchers are shining light on a possible solution.

    Taking The Great American Road Trip, Google-Style

    Screenshot of Horowitz and Baldes' travels.

    August 16, 2009 Two buddies wanted to embark on the timeless American tradition of a cross-country road trip, but these days even the cheapest ways of traveling have become a bit of a luxury. That's not stopping them from seeing the country — though they're not leaving home to do it.

    Teach Naked: Dean Urges Tech-Free Classes

    Dean Jose Bowen at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts.

    August 16, 2009 Jose Bowen of SMU urges profs to strip the technology from their lecture halls and engage in discussions. But he wants teachers to use podcasts and online games to help students learn outside class.

    A major bottom line for this blogger is that these are exciting times when everything is changing at a rate so  fast that I am easily left behind. I depend on my friends on Twitter, Facebook, in the blogsphere, and at news organizations such as NPR to digest the latest developments and (a) alert me to them for further reading or (b) distill them for me so that I can at least have a working knowledge.

    It might not be the end of the world to be left behind, but I am not really willing to let that happen to me as yet.

    Sharing Culture, One Tweet At A Time : NPR

    "I like to see what I can do with language and just how irreducible I can make a message while still having it be clear to other people," she says. "Yeah, recipes and poetry, food and poetry are things that are more than the sum of their parts; they're subjects that inspire people in ways beyond the practical."


    One seriously doubts that even most users of Twitter have fully grasped its potential for communication, marketing, and sharing great ideas.

    As these technologies develop and are utilized by fast paced businesses and cutting edge marketers, they also provide an opportunity for exposure to the classics. That which is very new and emerging can set a new stage for what is very old, yet also emerging.

    High Tech - High Touch continues to be the requirement and the result of the progress of post modernity toward whatever ends are in site.

    These are exciting times.

    for instance:

    Five Mystical Songs   and ...


    There is much more where that came from!

    Young High-Tech Entrepreneurs Get Noticed by NPR and the Dream Factory!

    August 17, 2009

    Companies large and small are discovering that they can't ignore Internet product reviews and social networking sites — and some of the new voices that must be heeded are very young.

    via - READ MORE

    Some impressive kids are doing some impressive work on the internet with their own company, OMNITECHNEWS. Robert Clark, age 12, spearheads the organization. Hear his story at .

    Their website describes their contribution to cyberspace:

    "We are a few kids that thought it would be fun to make a webshow/blog. The original founders are Robert, Carson, and Lucas."

    "The show started off as ClarkeHQTech but soon changed to OmniTechNews or OTN for short. Since then, we have had some amazing accomplishments. Our show is getting quite popular as well as our blog.  We hope you enjoy OmniTechNews."

    Also, from their site is a description of their broadcasts:

    "OmniTechNews shows are designed to entertain and inform you. They are videos that contain tips, unboxings, reviews, and much more."

    Their topics are indeed current, entertaining, and informative. Recent postings include:

    • iPhone 3.0 bug restores all of your deleted emails
    • TomTom Navigation for the iPhone Arrives
    • Gmail Becomes the 3rd most Popular Email Provider in the US
    • Zune HD Pre-Orders Begin Today

    Entrepreneurship is alive and well in America and residing in Washington State - among the very young.

    Some keys to their success from their own observations are:

    • They are some kids. There is no pretension here, no requirement of status. They see themselves as ordinary kids. Great ideas are implemented by extraordinary people regardless of their credentials. Entrepreneurs don't need anyone's endorsement.
    • They thought it would be fun. Entrepreneurs focus their energies on what is fun for them. It is not frivolous fun, but the kind of activity that intrigues and energizes them.
    • They thought it would be fun to make a webshow/blog. Entrepreneurs make something. It can be something tangible or intangible, but they make it. They create it. That is creativity.
    • They started one way, but soon changed. Real entrepreneurs are willing to change things in order to accomplish what they really want to do.
    • They have had some amazing accomplishments. They celebrate their milestones. They enjoy their own progress. entrepreneurs learn to mark accomplishments with joy.
    • Finally, they hope you enjoy it. They do not lose site of the consumer and the value they can add to others' enjoyment and life. That is also what entrepreneurs do.

    Perhaps in the new economy, the leaders will be those who don't understand that you have to be grown up to accomplish the impossible.

    Great work, Robert, Lucas, Carson, Harry, and Braden!

    White House Appears Ready To Drop 'Public Option' : NPR

    August 16, 2009

    Bowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

    Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.


    Will the compromise be enough to bring the some of the critics over?

    Would it really enrage the left?

    Would it accomplish what both sides want?

    Would it be an example of actually meeting to solve a problem together?

    Would it give everyone the opportunity to take some of the credit for a solution?

    Do the extremes on the left and the right actually want to share credit and solve problems or win points?

    Will both sides negotiate in good faith?

    Do Americans really care which side wins as long as problems are solved?

    President Obama's Op-Ed piece on his heath care reforms. Here's an excerpt: There are four main ways the reform we're proposing will provide more stability and security to every American... READ MORE

    I am wake-walking through a garden of dreams, eyes open, heart pounding, life-affirming.

    I am wake-walking through a garden of dreams, eyes open, heart pounding, life-affirming.

    I am dreaming within a dream of dreams yet to be.

    My heart is full of emptiness being filled and refilled.

    My life is an adventure where impossibilities unfold into realities.

    I am wake-walking. Nothing is asleep within me.

    Wake-walking and wondering what the next unfolding will bring.

    Wake walking and willing to awaken anew to a deeper dream.


    Bread of Life Preaching

    Tomorrow will be the occasion for delivering the second sermon in my series on "The Bread of Life" from John 6.

     30So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.""

     32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

     34"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."

     35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

     41At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."

    Last week, we looked at verses 25-29. Jesus challenged his hearers to the hard work of believing and the ease of receiving real satisfaction as a gift.

    In these verses, He takes us further and deeper. He does this in answer to their very shallow questions. They ask for signs. Jesus points to Himself.

    He is the source of satisfaction.

    He is the source of purpose.

    He is the source of soul nurture.

    He gives eternal life.

    Looking at both of these passages, and slightly ahead, the observation can be made as an acronym for BREAD.

    B - Behavior flows from being and believing. It is Jesus' being and our believe in who He is that transforms who we are and how we behave/work.

    R - Receiving the gift indicates that He has received us. Jesus is the Father's gift to us and we are the Father's gift to Jesus. When we receive Him, He receives us and never loses us. They asked for Him to give them the bread, but after He explained it, they were not so sure about receiving it.

    E - Eating is what we do with bread. There will be more on this next week. However, today, the message is that we  taste eternity and are nourished by our relationship with Jesus to the extent to which we eat, which is to say, internalize His presence in our lives.

    A - Agree with Him as to who He is. Attend to His words. Anticipate His promises. Announce them. In so doing, we will be involved with Him in His work. If we are what we eat, in this case, it means total alignment with Jesus Christ.

    D - Decide that Jesus is the bread of life and that He is all the food you need for living life in the Spirit in the midst of time.

    Those are some glimpses and thoughts to propel your own insights into Jesus, the Bread of Life.

    Let us close this posting with worship


    Characteristics of a Missional Church

    Tim Keller discusses how missional churches differ from churches that are not engaged with the culture and seeking its transformation.

    First listen.


    Then consider.

    Keller makes me wonder:

    1. What does our language say about what concerns us most?

    2. What really does concern us most?

    3. Do we get uncomfortable around non-believers?

    4. Do we immediately alienate non-believers with our very presence and language?

    5. Does our humor alienate people? Do our snide remarks?

    6. Do we conduct ourselves in church with an assumption that no non-believer has walked in the door who might need to understand our message better?

    7. Are we communicating the love of Jesus or love of ourselves?