Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Columnist Mona Charen, in her latest column, gives her attention to supporting a little publicized, and I would guess, little considered type of adoption. Looks to me like a promising, not to mention less expensive, option for some couples, provided that selective abortion would not be performed on "extra" embryos, where multiple embryos successfully implant.

Dr. Brian Fikkert the Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development and professor of Economics at Covenant College proposes a revision of verse three of Joy to the World...instead of:

No more let sins and sorrows grow;
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He proposes:

Ignore the soil, it's full of thorns;
There is nothing we can do;
Someday He'll finally reign, but
only o'er our souls
For the rest is really evil,
For the rest is really evil,
For the rest, the rest is really evil.

We don't believe the original verse three anyway, so we might as well revise the Christmas carol so that it lines up with our beliefs and actions. OR, we could revise our lives to bring them into conformity with the scope of Christ's reign, captured so beautifully by the third verse of Isaac Watts' carol. See Church Rejects Christmas Carol for the rest of Fikkert's thoughts. You'll find the article on page 2 of the Mandate newsletter, Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to open the file.

Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Speaking of hamburgers, here's one of my favorites:

A very special taste treat! 1/4 lb. of 100% ground sirloin served on a toasted sesame bun with melted cheese on top with lettuce, tomato, pickle, spanish onion and french fries. Add thick creamy peanut butter on the lower deck and you're in for the touchdown!

That's the description of the Duane Purvis All-American straight off of the menu at the Triple XXX (no, it's not a strip club) in West Lafayette, Indiana. All that for a mere $2.50!!

Hungry? Like burgers? Here you go.

Went to my first NHL game last night, we won 7-2, go Blues! Thanks for the ticket Jack.

Monday, February 26, 2001

Yet another study has found that George W. Bush would still have come out on top. Even with the most lenient standards in place for recounting undervotes in Miami-Dade, Gore would only have picked up 49 votes, and with more stringent standards in place Bush would have actually picked up some votes.

Sunday, February 25, 2001

More on the Packers' newly acquired QB from the CFL, Henry Burris.

The Packers are shuffling their QB's around right now. They've picked up an apparently talented CFLer. And it looks as if the Packers are going to trade Matt Hasselbeck. Too bad, I thought he had some promise.

The Schenck book is finally available. Jon Barlow along with the help of Wipf & Stock (can't get their link to work) helped to bring this valuable book back into print. The book is available here. Looks sharp, don't you think?

More from Buechner:


Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The sekleton at the feast is you.

Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, 2.

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Another fascinating insight while preparing for my sermon on Luke 19:1-10. I discovered a chiasm that none of the commentaries mentioned:

(a)Zacchaeus was
(b) a wee little man, and
(b') a wee little man
(a')was he (Zacchaeus)


I'd like to introduce Purdue Men's Basketball fans everywhere to a letter from the alphabet that they might not know....the letter W! That's right, the Boilers (14-12, 6-9) finally won a game, ending a six game losing streak, the longest in 20 years. It was nothing spectacular, as they beat fellow cellar-dweller Michigan (10-15, 4-10). Notable however, is that the Boilermakers shot 100% from the free throw line, when was the last time you saw that happen?!

Drew Brees is the real deal. NFL scouts should take note, not only of his skills, his stats, and his smarts, but also of his attitude as compared to Vick's. Brees will do anything they ask of him at the combine, not because he's desperate, but because that's the kind of person he is...and the kind of player he is.

I'm preaching on Luke 19:1-10 tomorrow at Cornerstone Reformed Church in Carbondale, Illinois. While preparing I came across this delightful passage in Frederick Buechner's Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC. I don't know much about Buechner, except that he's written a number of books, he's something of a mentor to John Irving, and that he is probably not as theologically conservative as I am. Nevertheless, he knows how to use that pen, and I have often turned to his Wishful Thinking for a good juicy quote or a thought provoking perspective.

We’re also told that Zacchaeus was a crook—a Jewish legman for the Romans IRS who, following the practice of the day, raked in as much more than the going tax as he could get and pocketed the difference. When people saw Zacchaeus oiling down the street, they crossed to the other side.

The story goes like this. The sawed-off shyster is perched in the sycamore tree. Jesus opens his mouth to speak. All Jericho hugs itself in anticipation of hearing him give the man Holy Hell. Woe unto you! Repent! Wise up! is the least of what they expect. What Jesus says is, "Come down on the double. I’m staying at your house." The mob points out that the man he’s talking to is a public disaster. Jesus’ silence is deafening.

It is not reported how Zacchaeus got out of the sycamore, but the chances are good that he fell out in pure astonishment. He said, "I’m giving everything back. In spades." Maybe he even meant it. Jesus said, "Three cheers for the Irish!"

The unflagging lunacy of God. The unending seaminess of man. The meeting between them that is always a matter of life or death and usually both. The story of Zacchaeus is the Gospel in sycamore. It is the best and oldest joke in the world.

From Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner, page 100.

Two new iMac "flavors" from Apple were introduced at the Macworld show in Tokyo. I wish Apple would release their SuperDrive as a USB or FireWire peripheral, I'd love to have one for my 333 blueberry iMac.

Friday, February 23, 2001

Congratulations to one of my favorite artists, B. B. King for winning a grammy.

Thursday, February 22, 2001

I heard a great piece on Marketplace a couple of days ago about Kenny Gamble, writer and record producer for such artists as the O'Jays, the Jacksons, Teddy Pendergrass, and, surely the jewel in his crown, the theme song from Soul Train. When Kenny first hit it big, he built a big house and moved out to the suburbs. However, on his way home each day he had to drive through his old neighborhood in South Philly. Eventually he realized that he was abandoning his old neighborhood and that without successful, motivated and well-resourced residents like himself, the neighborhood would continue to deteriorate and eventually collapse. So what did he do? He started buying up properties...75 of them. He'd pick up old dilapidated and crumbling homes, renovate them with a construction company that he started and then sell or rent them. You can read more about his ongoing efforts at the home page for his organization Universal Community Homes. He also founded a charter school in the neighborhood and is now going forward with plans to renovate and reopen a local landmark, the Royal Theater, which has deteriorated along with the surrounding neighborhood.

I don't know if Kenny Gamble is a Christian, but he's doing the type of work that I think Christians ought to be doing more than they are. Christians often live in communities where they're not "needed"--well-groomed suburban communities with beautiful parks, rolling hills, quaint shops, well-equipped community centers, decent schools, etc. In contrast Mr. Gamble aptly describes many of our urban communities:

In our urban regions, we are developing separate and unequal societies. The disparity between the wealthy and the poor has become disastrous. We see centers of affluence and centers of poverty, centers of excellence and centers of despair. Urban America has become a "vacant community" inhabited by America's poorest citizens who are mostly African American. It is my belief that these inequalities must be addressed by the individuals who make up these communities with help from society at large.

Aren't these "vacant communities" places where Christians ought to take up residence--places where they are "needed"? Surely these blighted, depressed communities "need" us more than the beautifully intact, infrastructurally sound suburban communities do. I'm not saying that urban relocation is for everyone, but I also don't think it ever shows up on the radar of most Christians, and I do think there's a problem with that. Well, I could say more, but I better stop there. By the way, the Kenny Gamble piece is around 16 minutes and 45 seconds into the Marketplace broadcast and it runs about four minutes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

I did see a great college basketball game tonight. Division III Webster University hosted Greenville College here in St. Louis. I took a half-dozen urban teenagers to the game as we had been invited to sit behind the bench and even join the team in the locker room before and after the game. Coach George Barber and his Greenville Panthers were down as many as 15 early in the second half, but battled back with a disruptive pressing defense, and an aggressive offensive attack. Greenville took their first lead of the game with around a minute left to play and hung on to beat Webster. Hats off to Coach Barber and the Greenville Panthers for their hard fought victory and for being so hospitable to our kids.

Did I say the longest losing streak in 10 years....after tonight's game you can make that the longest losing streak in 20 years. The NCAA tournament was already out of the question, now the NIT is probably gone too, and I'm guessin' we'll go down in the first round of the Big 10 tournament...that means that the only way to escape the regular season with a shred of self-respect is to kick some Hoosier butt on 3/3 in Mackey Arena.

If you think coach Keady looks mad now...
Promo picture
Wait to see what he looks like after tonight's game if the Boilers get beat by the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Purdue men's program is in the midst of its longest losing streak in 10 years, while the women have just clinched the Big 10 championship and are ranked among the top 10 in the nation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Saw Hoosiers today for about the 10th time. Love that movie. What think ye of Hoosiers?

With the readership of hotdogblog swelling to somewhere between three and five readers, I feel the responsibility to make a concerted effort to post at least once a day, which I have not always done (shame on me). All 3-5 of you be on the look out for greater output, valuable information, quality linkage, and, of course, my unique perspective on everything under the sun ;-)

Monday, February 19, 2001

If you're bored go visit and its affiliates. On the site the Random Law Machine spits out beauties like this one:

In Fairbanks, Alaska, it is illegal to feed alhocolic beverages to a moose.

Sharing your hallucinogenic drugs with Mr. Moose, however is perfectly legal.

Sunday, February 18, 2001

Another great one from Luther, here paying tribute to Augustine, as did Isidore of Seville:

The scholars who used just their heads couldn't explain the scriptures to us. Augustine was an exception, but others suffered blindness. Read scripture first; afterward study Augustine; He was a sharp analyst.

From Luther's Tabletalk:

I read the Bible through two times a year. The Bible is like a grand and immense tree. Every word is a small branch. I shake every branch, wanting to know it's meaning.

May God grant me the grace to "shake the branches" with all of my might, as did Luther.

On this day 455 years ago, Martin Luther died in Eisleben. In his pocket was a scrap of paper on which he had written, "This is true. We are all beggars."

After Luther died sculptors prepared the traditional death mask, and then they went further and made a cast of his hands too. Since rigor mortis had already set in by this time, Luther's hands were fixed in their normal positions. His fingers on his left hand were splayed out, flat, as if holding a book or a piece of paper down on his desk. On his right hand, the thumb and forefinger were curled as if holding a pen. His hands paid him a fitting tribute to a life of fruitful study that changed the world.

I'm not familiar with Gregory Kane, but he hits the nail on the head in this column as he pleads for sanity among his fellow African-Americans, aksing them to stop supporting Bill Clinton, especially in light of his most recent antics. He says:

When the stench of his corruption started to rise around him and with the press and politicians screaming foul, Clinton thought of a ploy: I'll seek refuge among my Negro friends. Harlem, here I come!

It worked - at least among blacks. Within days, newspaper readers across the country could see Clinton in Harlem, surrounded by a bunch of cheesing colored guys. It smacked of a scene straight out of those Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s, in which grinning, obsequious Negroes play comic relief to whites...It behooves the people of Harlem to prove him wrong and boot this moral pariah back to Arkansas, where he belongs.

Thursday, February 15, 2001

The Boilers can't get a win...

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Isisdore of Seville is apparently up for consideration as the patron saint of the internet. Isidore, who lived in the seventh century, compiled the first encyclopedia, The Etymologies. I came across this great quote from Isidore when researching for a paper on Saint Augustine:

Qui totum te legisse fatetur mentitur.....if you don't know Latin (I don't) the translation is .....the man who says he's read all of you, Augustine, he's a liar.

For those who are interested this comes from a poem that Isidore wrote and can be found in Patrologia Latina, vol. 83, col. 1107.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

I just became aware of Vigen Guroian's book Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination. He sets out to demonstrate how many classic fairy tales and children's stories impart virture to young children. I've appreciated some of Guroian's writings elsewhere, in a similar vein, on worship as a virture forming exercise. Chuck Colson lauds Tending in a Breakpoint Commentary.

Sharing Guroian's belief that good literature imparts virtue, I have read to my three young children Wise Words by Peter Leithart. My children have been captivated by most of the stories, and they're short enough that most can be read in 10-15 minutes. I have also used Wise Words with the inner city kids that I work with. They too have enjoyed the stories, and it's my hope that in both cases, God has used these stories to smuggle virtue into the hearts of my children and the kids I work with.

Boy are my Boilermakers ever in trouble (mainly due to injuries)!! Coach Keady is calling people on the phone trying to recruit walk-ons who could scrimmage against the team....and he's coming up empty.

It's FANtastic, and it may be coming to St. Louis in the form of the Grizzlies. This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch makes me think that Anaheim or New Orleans might be the strongest candidates, but St. Louis would be in a pretty good position since the prospective owner, Mr. Laurie, already owns the Savvis Center, where the team would play. Perhaps the more pertinent question is whether or not a relatively small market like St. Louis can support an NFL team, NHL team, Major League Baseball team, and an NBA team. I attended a traveling NBA exhibition game here in St. Louis between the Timberwolves and the Bucks earlier this year at the Savvis Center and the place was EMPTY!! Well, if my vote counts--I know it doesn't--I say bring the Grizzlies to St. Louie, I'll support 'em.

If you're reading my blog would you be kind enough to simply indicate that by clicking on "Discuss" and letting me know. At times I suspect that what I write here is only read by Jon.

Monday, February 12, 2001

Take a gander at Jon's blog to see the cover of this highly anticipated (at least by me) reprint that will be available soon.

Thursday, February 08, 2001

This review is hilarious and, from what I understand, right on target. Thanks to Jim for pointing me to it.

Yesterday at Crown Candy I saw an EIGHT POUND heart-shaped box of chocolates for the a mere....$195!! Crown Candy is a great little restaurant that is in the same location it started in 88 years ago. The seating capacity and available parking are dated and less than adequate, and the neighborhood is not exactly a thriving business district, but Crown Candy has hung in there and managed to pack the place out day after day. By the way, you can join the 5 Cup Malt club if you can finish five 24 ounce malts in 30 minutes...remarkably there are a few people who've done this. The cashier told me they have recently changed the rules --they don't let people go to the bathroom during the 30 minutes.

Though I'm a little worried about the possible effects of President Bush's Faith Based Charity initiative, Chuck Colson's piece from the L. A. Times (though I'm not crazy about the title) is a mind-blowing example (5% recidivism) that gives me hope.

Wow, it's been a week since I last posted...shame on me. Last night around the table we were reviewing the story about the calling of Matthew from Matthew 9:9-13, which we had read the night before. I asked our girls what Matthew's occupation was and our four year old, Abigail, said, "He was a cash register." You know that's not a literal translation from the Greek, but I'd say she hit the bull's eye on that one.

Thursday, February 01, 2001

Probably a fake, but wouldn't this just be the coolest?!?!

OK, put your hand up if you used to own a pair of these. Yes, my hand is up.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?