Friday, March 30, 2001

Speaking as one who swam competitively for 10 years, let me tell you that this is flat out incredible. I know that all world records are incredible, but a 15 year I said -- incredible.

Thursday, March 29, 2001

A friend of mine, who has never owned a Mac, just bought an iMac and this is what he said to me in an e-mail after opening it and setting it up:

Opening up a PC is like buying a really good hammer. Opening up the Mac was like watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001

The Ezzos, controversial child-rearing "experts" are losing their book contract with Multnomah Books. GFI and the Ezzos in general have been criticized from day one on several fronts from multiple parties. They've been criticized not only for teaching unorthodox child-rearing methods with no apparent medical evidence to support those methods, but also for personal integrity regarding submission to church authority, teaching things that tend to stir up dissension in churches, and teaching certain child-rearing practices as biblical imperatives (with dubious biblical and theological grounding for those teachings) rather than personal advice. If you'd like to investigate for yourself, there are a number of links at the bottom of the article I've linked to above. I'm guessing the Ezzos will be going into the publishing business on their own.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

This is unbelievable...well, not really, I guess it fits. Bobby Knight claims in this article that he was never "out of control" in his 29 years at Indiana. He says in regard to the infamous chair-throwing incident at Indiana (at a Purdue player, I might add!):

"I didn't hit anybody with that chair,'' he said. ``If I didn't know where that chair was going, it would have hit somebody.''

So if I get angry and frustrated while waiting to get my license plates renewed at the DMV, I can whip out a gun and shoot up the place -- as long as I don't hit anybody, I'm not out of control. Countless other coaches have been able to get phenomenal results out of their players and have done so while keeping their integrity and dignity (not to mention the chairs behind the bench) intact. Knight is blind and callous towards his previous behavior, and is unable and unwilling to admit that he was wrong, and that he has a problem. In short he has a seared conscience.

Monday, March 26, 2001

Here is an article about a church that seems to be active in making a difference in the city. This church, St. Pius V, offers something they call catholic homesteading, in order to:

..."re-populate" the village, to encourage smart growth and halt community deterioration. We want to grow our parish leadership core as well."

I really don't know much else about the church, but this, at least, is an innovative and provocative idea.

Friday, March 23, 2001

One more day until X!

If you like basketball and you like artistry, make sure you catch this ESPN Classic special tonight on Pete Maravich.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Well you knew it was bound to happend sometime...a church in Texas has officially added ".com" to its name. What was once Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX is now The church has 13,000 regular attenders (I guess that's kind of like season ticket holders) and has a Technology Pastor on staff who maintains all online operations. Remember that the com in .com stands for commercial.

Way to be a good sport, Linda! The NCAA tournament is a great avocation for 19 days...especially when teams like Gonzaga keep it interesting!! Then there's the NIT...the tournament that features, among other things, a group of Boilermakers steadily advancing toward the championship.

Monday, March 19, 2001

David Oyelowo is an English-born Nigerian actor who is currently touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company and was cast as the king in Henry VI. His casting caused quite a stir in England because he was the first black actor to ever be cast as a British king. His casting as Henry was even opposed by an Oxford professor who argued that only white actors should play British kings. Oyelowo has had to overcome not only opposition to his casting as Henry from whites who can't quite see a dark British monarch, but also from fellow blacks in England who called him a "coconut", derogatorily suggesting that he was black on the outside and white on the inside, simply because he "came prepared to do my work." Oyelowo has received quite good reviews, however, and says that he identifies with Henry VI particularly because Henry's faith is his biggest strength, and some would say, his biggest weakness. Oyelowo knows all about this as he is a self-desribed "born-again Christian" who nonetheless continues to pursue the theater despite the theatrical community which he describes as "godless...and hedonistic."

Jim, less than 48 hours until my Boilers give your Tigers a whoopin'....even if no one shows up to see the game. By the way, providing even less incentive to make the trip to Mackey Arena, ESPN will televise the game.

I'm gonna pick Duke v. Stanford and MSU v. Kansas -- with Duke beating MSU for the title. What would be really fun to see, however, would be Gonzaga v. Ole Miss and USC v. Georgetown with the 'Zags beating G'town for all the marbles.

Friday, March 16, 2001

I guess I'm not the only one who's less than enthused about Purdue's post-season play, for their first round NIT game they drew a record low 3,823 fans, a drop in the bucket for 14,123 seat Mackey Arena. The Boilers will still wup up on Auburn next week, I'm sure, but I just can't seem to get excited about the NIT.

Maybe this discovery will "lay to rest" the annually recurring urban legend that Ms. Murray O'Hair is leading a drive to eradicate the airwaves of Christmas carols.....on second thought, it probably won't.

I've only visited the Wilberforce Forum website a couple of times, but as far as I can tell, it looks like a pretty good place to find a collection of thought-provoking articles that bear on developing and refining a healthy Christian worldview. I just finished reading a very good interview with Dr. Christina Hoff Smmers on maleness...insightful stuff.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

If you haven't seen this yet, you need to check it out!!

The Washington Wizards of the NBA may be going "old school" by adding some "senior citizens" to their team, namely Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Fairy tales seem to be getting more and more attention these days. Apparently they haven't been well-liked and enduring simply because they're cute or easily adaptable into Disney movies. I'm currently reading through Vigen Guroian's Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classics Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination, which explores a number of fairy tales and how they inculcate a virtuous framework for children at an important time in their development.

Then yesterday I read a fairly positive review of Ronald Murphy's The Owl, the Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms’ Magic Fairy Tales in First Things. He shows that the brothers Grimm wrote from a specifically Christian commitment. The title of Murphy's book refers to the imagery both pagan (owl and raven) and Christian (dove), that stand side by side in the Grimms' tales. Murphy believes that the Grimms sought to bring out the Christian meaning in these tales, even when pagan imagery was used. When pagan origin was behind or pagan imagery was woven throughout a tale, the Grimms sought to enlist the pagan elements to bring out Christian truth.

In one interesting turn, Murphy, while researching for the book, was able to peruse the Grimms' personal library and he discovered that one of Wilhelm Grimm's most prized books was his copy of the Greek New Testament, in which Wilhelm had underlined 71 passages.

Having not read the book I'm not sure how to evaluate Murphy's work, but the reviewer admits that, though not all of his conclusions are convincing, he has definitely uncovered layers of meaning not previously recognized in these great tales.

For those of you who might be interested, the Buswell Library at Covenant Seminary now has it's entire catalog online.

Monday, March 12, 2001

I'm no mind reader, but Gene Keady seems to be leaving the door open more than just a crack that he might be headed to UNLV.

I would have mixed feelings about Keady departing. He gets more out of his players than any coach in the country. He's taken some teams deep into the tournament that had no business being there, but didn't know any better.

On the other hand, I sometimes think the game has moved beyond him. Why can't Purdue advance past the Elite Eight? Why can't a Purdue team ever run the break? Why do I always get nervous when other teams press Purdue guards?

Well, as I said, I'm conflicted on Keady, though, for the most part I'm a huge fan of his. He's not going to too much trouble to deny or put down those UNLV rumors, though ...who knows?

Well, as I predicted (aren't I amazing) the Boilers went down in flames against Illinois. They've drawn a spot in the NIT and will play Illinois State in the first round, we'll see if they get any farther than that.

Friday, March 09, 2001

Here's a hunk of basketball news. Purdue got their two top scorer/rebounders back from injuries and beat Minnesota in the first round of the Big 10 tournament...I'm hopelessly optimistic that they'll beat Illinois - the No. 4 team in the nation, go on to win the Big 10 Tournament and still make the Big Dance - they won't, but it's fun to dream.

Here's the understatement of the year - there's something amiss in Durham, NC. For a tarnished tale of money, talent, and insanity in "high school" basketball with a pinch of religion thrown in for good measure, see this shocking article.

Better bolt down the chairs, Bobby Knight may soon be working again. He will apparently receive an offer to coach at Texas Tech.

At last, one of my favorite restaurants has come to St. Louis. My wife just told me that she saw a Max & Erma's downtown near the arch! Max and Erma's, where you can get their 10 oz. Garbage Burger covered with "everything but the kitchen sink." Then you can top that off with a visit to their Build Your Own Sundae bar, which is a bathtub full of ice cream and various toppings, and which you can visit as many times as you like. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I've been to Max & Erma's restaurants in Indy (about a million times), Columbus, & Pittsburgh. I'm looking forward to adding the St. Louis location to my list and I think I'm going to give their Brick Beer burger a taste.

Thursday, March 08, 2001

On March 7th in AD 203 a 22 year old Christian girl named Perpetua was martyred. When she was arrested, during the rule of Serptimius Severus, she was still nursing her infant son, and, in fact, received permission to have him in prison with her, so that she could continue to nurse him. Perpetua's father begged her to renounce her Christian faith this was the exchange that followed:

"Father," I said, "do you see this vase here, for example, or water pot or whatever?"
"Yes, I do," said he.
And I told him, "Could it be called by any other name than what it is?"
And he said, "No."
"Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian."

At this Perpetua's father, so angered and exasperated by her resolve, lunged at her as if to pluck out her eyes, but he relented and went away grieving.

Later when Perpetua and her companions finally stood before Hilarianus the governor and were condemned to the beasts, they "returned to prison in high spirits."

When the day of "their victory" arrived Perpetua entered the arena singing a Psalm, and rejoicing that she had "obtained a share of the Lord's sufferings." Perpetua was attacked by a mad heifer which tossed her on her back. She then sat up and asked "for a pin to fasten her untidy hair; for it was not right that a martyr should die with her hair in disorder, lest she might seem to be in mourning in her hour of triumph." The heifer did not finish Perpetua, however and she was brought to a gladiator who struck her on the bone causing her to scream, finally "she took the trembling hand of the young gladiator and guided it to her throat. It was as though so great a woman could not be dispatched unless she herself were willing."

Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Speaking of Manny Ortiz, here's a nice article on him from the Westminster Seminary website.

Those who study population demographics knew that Hispanics would soon be the largest minority group in the United States, but they didn't expect it to happen this quickly. The latest census figures show that the number of Hispanics in the United States now equals the number of African-Americans.

Two brief examples that put some flesh on the census figures. I grew up in a small farming community in central Indiana. In 1986, when I graduated from high school, I probably had, at the most, two dozen Hispanic (mainly Mexican) classmates out of a graduating class of about 200. The Hispanic presence was significant, but relatively small. Today when I return home I find a huge percentage of signs in both Spanish and English, at least two Mexican grocery stores, at least one Spanish-speaking church, and, I believe, a Mexican school board member. Additionally, my cousin has been hired by the school system to work with English as second language students. My sense is that the Hispanic population in this town of 15,000 is not simply growing numerically, but is also growing in it's influence politically, culturally, economically, and ecclesiastically. And this is not Southern California of New York City or Chicago or a border town in Texas, this in Hoosierland. I think the influx of Hispanics has enriched and will enrich that community for years to come.

Second church here in St. Louis had a Hispanic church meeting in our building for several months. The Hispanic members would worship with us in our English-only service, then during the Sunday school hour, their pastor would recap the sermon for them in Spanish and teach a short Sunday school lesson. Then following Sunday school they would conduct a Spanish-speaking service in our sanctuary. Having had a few years of Spanish I sat in on their Sunday school class a few times. There I quickly learned that what we North Americans tend to view as a uniform cultural group of "Hispanics" is really a group of people from distinct Central and South American countries that in that small Sunday school class of 5-10 included Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, and Peru. Though they've moved from meeting at our church now, there is still a continuing Hispanic ministry through another PCA church here in St. Louis.

I guess it's time for the church to give some careful thought as to how to respond and adapt our ministries right here in our own communities to adequately serve the already significant and steadily growing Hispanic population. Fortunately, some good folks have been thinking about this for awhile. A few years ago, I read the Hispanic Challenge: Opportunities Confronting the Church by Manny Ortiz for a seminary class. Besides being a whale of a nice guy (Ortiz gave me a copy of the book when my wife and I visited Westminster Seminary back in 1995), Ortiz provides some good statistical analysis and valuable input on how to most effectively minister to Hispanics. Ortiz writes not only as a Hispanic himself, but also as a pastor who ministered among Hispanics in Chicago for fourteen years founding four churches, two elementary schools, and an extension school for theological education.

Well, I'm a couple days late, but here goes anyway...On March 5th the following things happened:

Boston Massacre occurred (1770)
Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech...right here in Missouri (1946)
Stalin died (1953)
Belushi died (1982)

I'll never forget my profound disappointment when I visited Boston with my family as a teenager and arrived at the site where the Boston Massacre took place. I felt so betrayed when I reached this historic location and all that commemorated the death of Crispus Attucks and others was a small star embedded in the street. No statue, no historical marker, no mini-museum, just a little star.

OK, no sense in trying to appear neutral, I'm definitely an Apple/Mac fan, nevertheless, I think this article is a relatively level-headed consideration of the claim that a Salomon Smith Barney research analyst made--namely that Apple products are up to 35% more expensive than comparable PC products. The author of this article concludes that, on the average, it's more like 10%. In fact, in some cases, he finds that there is no price difference, whatsoever, and that's without considering the coolness factor which is definitely in Apple's favor by at least 35% ;-)

I think I'd be willing to cross the state line to test this new product.

Monday, March 05, 2001

Somehow or other, and with the best intentions, we have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and ill-natured bore--and this in the Name of One who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty-three years during which He passed through this world like a flame.

From Dorothy Sayers' Creed or Chaos, 24.

Sunday, March 04, 2001

As my dad has always been fond of saying, "Today is the only day of the year that is a command....march forth!"

Saturday, March 03, 2001

The Boilers (14-13, 6-10) were swept in the IU/PU series for the first time since 1993. They still have the Big 10 tournament left, but don't expect a whole lot there. As far as I'm concerned...put 'em out of their misery. I don't want to see the Boilers playing in the NIT, let's just call it a day and head home. Go get 'em next year.

Friday, March 02, 2001

Well the Packers have been busy. Not only are they signing and re-signing people left and right -- Ryan Longwell, Darren Sharper, Henry Burris, Dorsey Levens, and Frank Winters -- but they just secured Brett Favre with a lifetime contract. As if that wasn't enough, they are also hard at work reconstructing Lambeau Field for the next generation of Packer fans.

I saw an interesting comment in an article about listening, that, I think, bears on the practice of kneeling for prayer. Here's the comment:

In fact, just by making an effort to look like a good listener goes a long way toward being one. "It's a physiological thing," says Barker. "These behaviors kick in the good listening habits automatically."

If the same thing holds true of kneeling as it bears on humility, prayer, & reverence then this buttresses and argument for kneeling in prayer, whether privately or in corporate worship. Our bodies do matter because we're whole persons. I don't think it would be too much to say that making an effort to look like a real worshipper (in this case, kneeling) goes a long way toward making us a real worshipper.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

It's not as if Mark McGwire is going to have to go on food stamps, but his low key approach to renegotiating his contract is refreshing. He'll be making $30 million over the next two years, but he arguably could be making a lot more. McGwire negotiated the contract himself, yes, you read that right...he didn't use an agent. Big Mac wasn't interested in making sure his ego was massaged by becoming the highest paid player in the league, nor was he interested in making the Cardinals spend every available dollar to keep him. I know $30 million is not exactly pocket change, but relative to what McGwire probably could make, this is a reasonable and fairly modest salary. I'm also glad that he'll be staying in St. Louis for at least 2 more years ;-)

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