April 30, 2005

And now . . . this - Apr. 30/05

Have you got anything a little less froggy?

Peruvian officials saved some 4,000 endangered frogs from being whizzed into popular drinks after they were found hidden in an abattoir.

[Full Story]

This is just wrong on so many levels. First of all, that's not what frogs are for.

Truly painful

The convoluted rhetoric that open theists will use to deny the omniscience of God is staggering.

Head over to the Fightin' Fundamentalist Forum and check out the ravings of poster "oh_once," particularly his interactions with this thread and this one.

His particular flavour of Socinianism seems poorly thought out, contradictory, and confusing in its use of terminology. And tell me it isn't excruciating to watch him turn into a human pretzel saying things like:

No one who can anticipate everything could possibly be 'caught off guard'. Obviously, it is possible that the outcome would be different than EXPECTED or DESIRED if free agents make free choices. God says several times that things did not turn out the way He expected.


Again, no one is challenging the fact that God knows everything. The question is whether events that have not yet happened are part of that everything.

Oh_once is an open theist for one reason: He is a knee-jerk contrarian against those who love God's total sovereignty. People who are presuppositionally committed to an unbiblical view of human autonomy are often the first to spew incomprehensible, pseudo-philosophical bibble-babble in the hopes of dealing the truth the death of a thousand qualifications. Unfortunately such persons are a dime a dozen on the FFF and elsewhere.

April 29, 2005

Friday in the wild - Apr. 29, 2005

This week, Rebecca writes about, of all things, classic gas station design:

Even if you think you know no architects, you've still probably heard of this one. If you are up on architectural things, you may look at the photo of Bena's station and think it looks a bit like something designed by a certain famous 20th century architect, but you've read in all the books that the only gas station he ever designed is the one pictured on the right. Ignore the experts and go with your gut.

[Read Who Designed It?]

After a hiatus, Joe Carter has started posting in his "Know Your Evangelicals" series again. Number 30 covers the late Stanley Grenz, probably the theologian with the most influence on the "Emergent Church" movement. I have his Primer on Postmodernism and found it most helpful in trying to make sense of this philosophical phenomenon.

His blog is only a week out of drydock, but The Howling Coyote gets off a good one with this post on the immutability of God:

I think this is an important aspect of God which would be easy to miss if all we considered were his immutability and eternalness. God is a personal God. He interacts with his creation.

When men sin, God reacts in anger.

When men sin, God responds in judgment.

When men repent, God gives mercy.

When men pray God hears and answers prayer.

More than just that, God invites men to come, invites them to pray, makes conditional promises to them. If they meet a condition, he will respond to that.

But none of God's interaction with his creatures in time contradicts the fact that God knows all and has purposed and permitted all according to his eternal decrees.

[Read Does God Repent?]

Thanks to my little April Fool's gag (see here and here), as of this week I'm actually the #1 Google hit for Google Search: "creed of the alexandrian cult". Oh, the irony. No other really interesting searches brought people to the Crusty Curmudgeon this week, except that it looks like all the students have finished their papers on John Cheever's "The Swimmer" and moved on to Life of Pi.

Till next week: Enjoy.

UN Blue Conspiracy Update

Roughly paraphrasing a comment made by Joyce Riley on The Power Hour this morning:

I'm not saying all blue is UN blue, but when Dr. Bill Frist wears an orange tie with a blue shirt to a conference, you have to wonder what's going on.

Yeah. Who's laying out his clothes for him, Stevie Wonder?

Booga booga!

April 26, 2005

Serenity trailer is out

A couple years ago, when Fox cancelled the Joss Whedon SF series Firefly, Whedon promised a feature film. As of today, the trailer is out for Serenity.

If the trailer is any indication - though everyone knows how much the marketers like to "sex up" the advertising to make movies appear more exciting than they really are - then Serenity is a fair bit more action-oriented than the laconic Firefly. Predictably, the plot focuses on River Tam (Summer Glau), the gifted-but-disturbed teenage girl that was the McGuffin for so much of the series' plot arc, although her story was never resolved before Firefly got the axe. All the regulars are present - I spotted every major character on screen except for Shepherd Book (Ron Glass, Barney Miller). But the IMDb lists him in the cast. I guess a contemplative missionary isn't trailer material.

Serenity opens September 30, wisely avoiding the summer blockbuster season. Wouldn't want to have to compete with Spielberg and Lucas in the same summer . . .

April 25, 2005

And now . . . this - Apr. 25/05

Tastes like chicken

City officials are perplexed over the discovery of mysterious chunks of flesh that have been clogging up city water lines. A month ago, city officials sent a hunk of meaty-fatty tissue to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for identification.

As they wait for those results, three similar chunks of fleshy material were found on Thursday in another water main during routine flushing, Public Works Director Randy Krauel said. . . .

Krauel said drinking water was not affected by the blockages and is safe to drink.

Chlorine levels have been temporarily increased as a precaution, he said.

[Full Story]

Call me picky, but whether your eau de javex avec des gros morceaux de rat mort is "safe to drink" seems to be beside the point, n'est-ce pas?

Soon rice will be cooking you

Scientists have begun mixing human genes with rice in an attempt to take genetically modified crops to the next level.

Researchers have inserted into rice a gene from the human liver that produces an enzyme which is good at breaking down harmful chemicals in the human body.

[Full Story]

Uncle Ben's RiceIngredients: Uncle Ben, rice.

April 24, 2005

Has the Schumacher/Ferrari machine met its match at last?

Vrroom! Looks like Ferrari has finally gotten their crap together this year. For the last ten laps around Imola at today's San Marino Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher's red car was all over leader Fernando Alonso's Renault, blasting his way through the pack from his 13th-place start to give the Spanish driver a run for his money.

Michael Schumacher fills Fernando Alonso's mirrors with red.Nonetheless, despite his best race so far this year (and his only podium finish in the 2005 season to date) Schumacher couldn't keep Alonso from grabbing a hat trick as he took the checkered flag for the third consecutive Grand Prix on Ferrari's home turf.

Meanwhile, a few corners behind, Jacques Villeneuve finished a respectable 6th; hopefully, finally justifying (somewhat) Sauber's faith in his skills.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Diana Ponce talks on a phone in the yard of her San Pablo home Wednesday, the fifth day of a hunger strike to protest the gathering of armed volunteers, the Minuteman Project, at the Arizona-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

[Full Story]

You can tell it's taking its toll on her.

(H/T: Ramblings' Journal.)

Thank you, mushy-headed evangelicals

Today's blog post by James White is a must-read in any case, but as a bibliophile this in particular stuck out in my mind:

I am currently reading a pre-release copy of Robert Millet's new book for Eerdman's (Millet is a BYU professor, a Mormon scholar), defending their "Christianity." Yes, Eerdman's is publishing a pro-LDS apologetics work that will be distributed to the non-discerning pseudo-evangelical public via "Christian" bookstores---you may thank Richard Mouw of Fuller Seminary (yes, the same Mouw who has provided the LDS apologetics community with the greatest possible aid and comfort by attacking, falsely, and without distinction, those who have sought to evangelize the Mormon people--see here starting 11/22) for this project.

[Read Senator Salazar's (D, CO) Letter to James Dobson]

Just because it says "Church of Jesus Christ" on the label doesn't mean much these days. Sadly, just because it says "Eerdmans" or "Baker" or "Kregel" on the spine doesn't mean much either now, apparently.

And now . . . this - Apr. 24/05

Oooh . . . pretty!

A giant rare flower is emitting a stench of rotting flesh after blooming overnight.

The titan arum at Kew Gardens, in west London, will keep its smelly bloom for only one or two days. . . .

The plant, Latin name Amorphophallus titanum, is believed to be the largest flower in the world.

It is renowned for its hideous smell which is said to be a cross between burnt sugar and rotting flesh.

[Full Text]

See the big rancid flower! Fun for the whole family! Why not stop off for some fresh fruit on the way home?

April 23, 2005

Happy birthday Bill

This date in 1564 is said to be the birth date of William Shakespeare, the greatest author in the history of English literature. In fact, the earliest record of the fact is his baptismal record on April 26. However, since infants were baptized soon after birth, tradition has settled on this day as the Bard's birthday.

Ironically, April 23 is also the date of Shakespeare's death. His will has caused scholars some consternation and controversy, principally because it mentions his wife, Anne Hathaway, only once, and that to leave her the "second best bed." Read anachronistically this seems petty, but it's important to remember that at the time she was entitled by law to a considerable portion of the estate and residence for life in their house, New Place. Also, the second-best bed was probably the one they slept in (the best bed was reserved for guests), so it was a sentimental gesture. Some scholars disagree - especially, one may presume, the ones who think he was gay.

Shakespeare is buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. On his grave are the words (the spelling of which which I have updated here):

Good friend for Jesus' sake forbear,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

And now . . . this - Apr. 23/05

Unclear on the concept

Only a quarter of condoms made in India are used for sex, most of the others are used to make saris, toys and bathroom slippers, a newspaper reported Saturday.

The condoms are valuable to manufacturers because of the lubricant on them. Sari weavers place the condoms on their thread spools and the lubricant on the prophylactics is rubbed off on the thread, making it move faster through their sewing machines, The Economic Times newspaper quoted an Indian industry official as saying.

[Full Story]

Safest saris on the planet, though.

Wake me up when it does 5.1, though

Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter - an aluminum square - was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.

"There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.

And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.

Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors - the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head.

[Full Story]

Actually, this one is kind of cool. But how much you want to bet prolonged use has some sort of weird side effect, like microwaving your brain?

April 22, 2005


I am gratified to see that the Crusty Curmudgeon is newly featured in the redoubtable Phil Johnson's Bookmarks. Phil is the executive director of Grace To You, the ministry of John MacArthur, and Webmaster of The Spurgeon Archive, one of the finest Christian sites on the Internet. I'm glad to count him a friend, or at least a "longtime online acquaintance" in a few venues. (He's also #1 on my list of people who should be forced to blog at gunpoint, although I'm sure his other online pursuits take up enough of his spare time as it is.)

Phil writes:

This fittingly-named blog is where you'll find the ruminations of Scott McClare, who is pithier than I am, more blunt than I am, more persistent than I am, and more cantankerous than I am. Fortunately, he is nearly always on the right side of every issue - and he's searingly funny. Oh, yes. He's Canadian, too.

The Crusty Curmudgeon is one of many blogs Phil reads.

Friday in the wild - Apr. 22, 2005

Light pickings this week, but at least I've started paying attention to the rest of the blogosphere again.

Fellow #prosapologian denizen, and gadfly to various postmodernist, contrarian, or "reformed" whatevers, centuri0n has been blogging a polemic series on Paul's anathema on purveyors of false gospels (Gal. 1:8-9). Since I'm working through Galatians myself, naturally I enjoy reading the insights of others. So far he's blogged two instalments on who Paul anathematizes, here and here. I'm looking forward to more.

Exercising my personal prerogative, I've added The Howling Coyote to my blogroll. James "Coyote" Spurgeon is an independent Baptist pastor in Texas whose preaching of Scripture closely resembles that of the Prince of Preachers, whose namesake he is. This is still a new blog, but in the past few days he's been posting some good stuff about God's sovereignty. Go give the Coyote some hits.

I'm jealous. Why? Because Tim Challies says he has read 34 books so far this year. I'm only at 11, going on 12.

Searches of note:

  • The most prominent searchthis week: People interested in St. Malachy, the "prophecy of the popes", and similar variations on that theme, both mystical and skeptical. Obviously people are on the prowl for background on this week's top news story.
  • Similarly, the second most popular search was variations on Houston, we’ve had a problem, undoubtedly in honour of the anniversary of Apollo 13's liftoff and touchdown.
  • What I didn't understand, though, was why there was a run of people looking for info on John Cheever's "The Swimmer." There must be a paper due, or something.
  • Get this: I'm the top Google hit for this week's Strong Bad email: the quill the page lyric rampage. More so than any actual Homestar Runner-related page, even.
  • cardinal Ratzinger led zeppelin. Yeah, didn't he sit in for the late John Bonham at Live Aid back in '85?

Till next time . . . Share and Enjoy.

Augustine for (not quite) dummies

I recently wrote a short review of Augustine's Confessions for a Church history course I was taking. As pretty much anyone knows who has read this work, the first nine "books" (or sections) are pretty easy going, being autobiographical. However, the last four books are more speculative and philosophical, and sometimes quite difficult to follow. This has led some scholars to think Augustine originally ended the Confessions after Book IX and that X-XIII were a later addition; for this reason, sometimes students assigned the work in class are assigned only the first nine books as well.

In writing my paper, I found myself getting completely lost in Augustine's philosophical meanderings. Salvation came in the form of a delightful little book titled Augustine for Armchair Theologians by Stephen A. Cooper (Westminster John Knox, 2002, 222 pages).

Cooper is a professor of religious studies at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, and an expert on Augustine. This book is an engaging and very accessible commentary on the Confessions. (Apparently this is one book of a series, and unusual in that it covers one specific work rather than give an overview of its subject's life and theology.) Cooper begins with an introduction that gives some background about Augustine the man, and some of the motives for writing this book.

The very title Augustine gave his greatest work - the Confessions - has itself become an exemplar and created a literary genre. The Confessions of X is a well-comprehended commodity: Something about X will be revealed in these pages. And what could be more tantalizing than a revelation of someone else's personal life? (5)

Augustine had recently been appointed the bishop of the church in Hippo. His reputation as a superstar was rising. Thus the Confessions serve as a check and balance against the sort of unbridled adulation people accord to superstars. "I'm not the saint you think I am," Augustine says. "In fact, I wasn't always a very nice person, and it's only by God's grace that I am who I am now." Though a story of personal salvation, the Confessions are more importantly a story of the grace of God working in Augustine's life.

The first nine chapters of Augustine for Armchair Theologians correspond to the first nine books of the Confessions. Cooper does a wonderful job of showing how all the various episodes of Augustine's early life providentially came together in his conversion from youthful rebel to Manichaean to Christian catechumen to baptized Christian. The tenth chapter is a summary of Books X-XIII. It would have been nice to see Augustine's philosophical arguments explained in greater detail, but this chapter nonetheless is very helpful in explaining their purpose and place in the greater work:

The Confessions exemplifies Augustine's thirst for the Infinite, his search for that which we see now only darkly in a mirror, but later face to face. He confesses the evils of his past, his unworthiness, so that his life would serve as a model for the work of grace. He hopes to encourage all who think that God comes only to the worthy to think again. The speculations into metaphysical questions of time and creation are also models for the Christian, models of the riches of knowledge out there for those that ask their questions in faith. The inquiry is carried on precisely as an open prayer to God, because otherwise such speculation would be pure audacity for a still-sinful soul with a recovering mind. (189).

The final chapter of the book gives a thumbnail sketch of the career of Augustine the Bishop. It covers, briefly, the three major controversies that defined his theology: the Donatist controversy, which formed his ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church); the pagans who blamed Christians for the fall of Rome, to which he responded with his great book The City of God, which is not only an apologetic against the pagan slander but also outlines a broadly Christian philosophy of history; and the Pelagian controversy, which developed his thinking on salvation, particularly election and predestination. This last, of course, was the very thing upon which the Reformation turned, when men such as Luther and Calvin appealed to the Bible and the writings of Augustine to defend salvation by faith alone. Cooper closes the book with a conclusion and a short list of additional reading.

The real strength of this little book is the simplicity of Cooper's writing. It is completely accessible, though by no means unscholarly. I especially appreciated his ability to place Augustine's life in the proper social and historical context. Why, for example, did Augustine's mother make haste to have him baptized as a youth when be fell seriously ill, but put it off once he had recovered? Many people in the early centuries of the Church believed, however erroneously, that baptism remitted all sins committed up to that point, but if any serious sins were committed afterward, there could be no remission. Hence baptism was customarily postponed until late in life, when the believer was either practically on his deathbed (as Monica may have assumed about Augustine) or thought to be sufficiently committed to Christ that he would not commit such a sin. This practice is, so far as I know, non-existent in today's Church (where one is typically baptized either in infancy or soon after conversion), but it was common practice in the fourth century.

Augustine for Armchair Theologians is no substitute for reading the real thing, any more than reading the Coles Notes for Hamlet can replace reading Shakespeare's own work. Nonetheless, anyone who has the patience to read through the Confessions first, then follow it up with this excellent companion volume, will find himself enriched by it. I have been personally inspired to re-read the Confessions in a more contemporary translation, and, God willing, I intend to blog my way through it chapter by chapter later in the year.

Chili finger woman in a Biggie Size heap o' trouble

The woman who claimed she found a finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili last month has been arrested, the latest twist in a bizarre case about how the 1½-inch finger tip ended up in a bowl of fast food.

Anna Ayala was taken into custody late Thursday at her Las Vegas home, police said. . . .

As it turns out, Ayala has a litigious history. She has filed claims against several corporations, including a former employer and General Motors, though it is unclear from court records whether she received any money.

She said she got $30,000 from El Pollo Loco (search) after her 13-year-old daughter got sick at one of the chain's Las Vegas-area restaurants. El Pollo Loco officials say she did not get a dime.

[Full Story]

At this point, it looks like Wendy's was just one more big corporation she tried to give the finger to, but when their own internal investigation failed to find a credible source for the offending digit, the evidence pointed back at Ayala . . .

I think I'm going to go have a chili tonight.

Update:Ayala has been charged with attempted grand larceny, "including a penalty enhancement for inflicting more than $2.5 million in losses on Wendy's." Turns out the infamous fingertip wasn't cooked in the chili, either, although its origins still haven't been accounted for. And yes, coincidentally, I had just sat down in Wendy's and opened a large cup of chili, spiked it with five packets of hot sauce just as the story came across the 6 o'clock news. Never has Wendy's chili tasted so good.

April 21, 2005

William Shakespeare, international man of mystery


One of the best-known portraits of William Shakespeare is a fraud, painted 200 years after the playwright's death, experts at Britain's National Portrait Gallery said Thursday.

Many art authorities had long suspected the work, known as the Flower portrait, was painted much more recently than the 1609 date on the image. . . .

Tarnya Cooper, 16th Century curator at the National Portrait Gallery, said an analysis had uncovered chrome yellow paint from around 1814 embedded deeply in the work.

[Full Story]

Here's the great fake itself:

NOT William Shakespeare.

Scholars would also like to assure us that, despite the obvious similarities, this, too, is not an authentic portrait of William Shakespeare:

NOT William Shakespeare.


Here we go again . . .

Three MIT graduate students set out to show what kind of gobbledygook can pass muster at an academic conference these days, writing a computer program that generates fake, nonsensical papers. And sure enough, a Florida conference took the bait.

The program, developed by students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo, generated a paper with the dumbfounding title: "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy." Its introduction begins: "Many scholars would agree that, had it not been for active networks, the simulation of Lamport clocks might never have occurred." . . .

The offer accepting a paper and inviting the students to present it in person in Orlando was rescinded after word of the hoax got out, and the students were refunded the $390 fee to attend the conference and have the paper published in its proceedings.

[Full Story]

Another bunch of pomo pseudo-intellects get their comeuppance. You might also remember the most infamous example of this prank, Alan Sokal's con of the "cultural studies" journal Social Text. More recent, and much funnier, is the Atlanta Nights sting carried out by a cadre of professional authors against PublishAmerica, a "vanity press" claiming to be a traditional publisher. I have located and read the sting manuscript. Never was writing this bad so hysterically funny.

The saga of the Jesus cookie continues

A few days ago I recounted how online Catholics were all in a tizzy over someone auctioning an allegedly consecrated wafer on eBay. It turns out in the end that the man who won the auction intended to surrender the host to a priest, who would then dispose of it in the approved manner; as it happens, the seller was persuaded to surrender it to his local diocese at no cost.

Predictably, this whole tempest in a teapot has raised the controversy of the nature of the eucharist. The crisis came about because Roman Catholics believe that when the priest speaks the magic words over the wafer, it literally becomes the body and blood of Christ, though it does not give up the physical attributes of bread. Hence for someone to acquire a consecrated host and attempt to auction it off is, literally, to hold Jesus for ransom.

"What part of 'this is my body' don't you understand?" many Catholics will ask. "None at all," I answer, "provided it is understood properly." X is Y is standard metphorical language, and "this is my body" is a metaphor. Obviously Jesus was not saying that the bread he broke was literally his flesh, which remained on his bones, or that the wine was literally his blood, which remained in his veins. Jesus also identified himself not only as bread, but as a door (John 10:9), and elsewhere as a grapevine (John 15:1). Why should we understand these as metaphors, but not the other? If we took all metaphors literally, our understanding of Jesus would be very unusual, to say the least. He also said once that he wanted to gather the children of Israel together like a hen gathers her chicks (Matt. 23:37). Do we conclude from this that Jesus was a chicken?

Ironically, it was the medieval Roman church that developed a fourfold method of interpreting Scripture: the literal sense (what the text says), allegorical (what it says about Christ), tropological (what it says about the moral life), and anagogical (what it says about the end of the world or the afterlife). The literal sense was thought to be inferior to the other senses, particularly the allegorical. That's why it's amusing to see so many Roman faithful adhering to such a crude, literal interpretation of Jesus' words in Luke 22:19.

Russell Crowe the ScientologistTM?

No, thankfully not. But in an interview, Crowe says that he did dabble with it:

"I read Dianetics by [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard , I got a couple of videos, and I took it all in," Crowe said.

"It just seems like a religion that is perfect for people who feel like they need a grounding, who feel that the world has run off on them.

"With any of these religions, as long as the heart and soul is positive, then to me it's all good."

[Full Story]

Makes sense. It's not a religion for those who already have a solid grounding, because they're the ones most likely to recognize ScientologyTM for the laughable space opera garbage it is.

(H/T: Grace and the News.)

April 20, 2005

Our Lady of the Salt Stain

Oh, sheesh, here we go again with another gem from the Catholic-faithful-who-cried-wolf department:

A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.

"We believe it's a miracle," said Elbia Tello, 42, of Chicago. "We have faith, and we can see her face."

Police have patrolled the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy Expressway since Monday as hundreds of people have walked down to see the image and the growing memorial of flowers and candles that surround it. Beside the image is an artist's rendering of the Virgin Mary embracing Pope John Paul II in a pose some see echoed in the stain.

[Full Story]

Here's the "miracle":

Our Lady of the Salt Stain

Immediately to its right is an apparition that says "GO CUBS." Now that would be a miracle.

April 19, 2005

And the winner IS . . .

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the frontrunner in the "Name the Pope" contest, is now Pope Benedict XVI.

No real surprise, except that it only took a day.

Pope Benedict XVI

Notes of interest: Cardinal Ratzinger is the second consecutive non-Italian pope after over four centuries of Italians. He is 78 years old (incidentally his birthday was only three days ago), so there will be no 26-year marathon pontificate like that of his predecessor.

Finally, like both the John Pauls who preceded him, Benedict XVI apparently preferring dignity over tradition, eschewed wearing a pineapple on his head when he greeted the crowd for the first time.

Postscript: My friend Warren just pointed out to me that Joseph Ratzinger's chosen name of "Benedict" is an obvious fulfillment (no doubt a self-fulfilling one) of the Prophecy of the Popes of St. Malachy, which I also mentioned in a post ten days ago.

Post-postscript: As can be expected, the usual idiots are throwing the requisite hissy fit.

April 18, 2005

No pope today

Thanks for playing, try again tomorrow.

And now . . . this - Apr. 18/05

I don't know art, but . . .

An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars as part of a project said yesterday the owners should be happy they were involved in his "creative process".

Mark McGowan, 37, will display pictures of himself scratching the vehicles in Glasgow and London in an exhibition this week.

[Full Story]

And when 50 irate car owners locate McGowan and do a little "performance art" on his kneecaps with tire irons, he should shut up and appreciate the exclusive privilege of being so intimately involved with the artistic endeavour.

(Reverse H/T: The Common Room. Yo!)

April 16, 2005

Does this actually surprise anyone?

First he was elected the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire despite having left his wife and children to "marry" his gay lover.

Then he insinuated that Jesus was gay. Of course, he denies this; he was really only pointing out that Jesus was unmarried, kept the company of men, and had a disciple whom he "loved." (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So does it come as any surprise that Bishop V. Gene Robinson comes out in support of Planned Parenthood, stating in an interview that he "absolutely stand[s] behind a woman's right to choose" and speaks at their annual (ahem) prayer breakfast? (Who exactly do the Planned Parenthood butchers pray to, anyway? Molech?)

This "bishop," really a schismatic and a heretic, is in every way a "wolf in sheep's clothing." He has done nothing to build up even his own denomination, let alone the Church of Christ; rather, he is unmistakeably out to divide and destroy it.

(Reverse H/T: but that's just my opinion.) And Blind Mind's Eye takes to task Robinson's it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-sad statement that "those [i.e. Exodus] stories are our [i.e. gays' and lesbians'] stories," amongst other things. Thanks for dropping by!

Indigenous-language Bibles banned in Malaysia?

Apparently, a government minister in Malaysia recently made remarks in Parliament to the effect that all Bibles in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia languages are banned. This, understandably, has caused some consternation with the country's evangelical Christian community. Rev. Wong Kim Kong, secretary-general of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, issued a statement which said, in part:

The remarks [of minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz] are also inconsistent with the Prime Minister's policy of promoting religious harmony in our nation.

Besides, such a policy is unfair to all non-English speaking Christian Bumiputras in East Malaysia who use these Bible translations.

[Full Story]

Another government minister has also requested clarification of these remarks.

It's hard to believe, sometimes, that this kind of retrograde thinking is still current in some parts of the world, particularly in a constitutional monarchy patterned after the British system. It seems doubly strange that Bibles in Malaysia's official language would be so proscribed. But, then, Great Britain itself has in the past banned translations of the Bible in the vernacular as well. Also, Malaysia is predominantly Muslim; in fact, the dominant Malays are constitutionally defined as such.

(H/T: SmartChristian Blog.)

Firefox 1.0.3 is out

I downloaded it and started using it last night. So far, so good.

The changes from the previous release are primarily for security reasons, but it does seem to fix one major annoyance: in Windows' Add or Remove Programs utility, only the current version of Firefox is now listed, whereas previously each cumulative upgrade remained. But since they pointed to the same code, uninstalling an alleged Firefox 1.0.1 actually blew away the whole thing. (By contrast, I still ostensibly have versions 0.7, 0.7.3, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, and 1.0.2 of Thunderbird installed, though really it's only the last.)

Now, if only they'd tackle a real issue: memory leakage. Leave Firefox running long enough and it will devour all your free RAM like the Blob on a rampage. Sometimes, my nice 2-gig Athlon runs like a 386 on a congested network.

Have the judges in Florida been replaced with pod people?

This just in:

A judge cleared the way for federal officials to have a feeding tube inserted in a Cuban exile who is on a weekslong hunger strike to protest his detention as a suspected spy.

Juan Emilio Aboy was at Jackson Memorial Hospital's inmate ward, hospital spokeswoman Lorraine Nelson said Friday.

A day earlier, U.S. District Judge Paul Huck agreed with another judge's order to "involuntarily administer nutrients" to Aboy through a stomach or intravenous tube, and to restrain him if he attempts to remove it.

"The decision to not eat was his choice. A court order was issued allowing the U.S. Public Health Service to take any necessary precautions in the interest of his health," said Nina Pruneda, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.

[Full Story]

In other words, in Florida, if your intention to starve is clearly known, the government can and will intervene to feed you through a tube against your will.

But heaven forbid that you be a 41-year-old disabled woman with no living will whose alleged wishes are known only via hearsay. No food for you.

George Felos will be taking this guy's case in a flash. Right?

(Reverse H/T: Monday Evening and View from the Nest. Hi guys!)

And now . . . this - Apr. 16/05


The infant son of King Mohammed VI was circumcised Thursday, and thousands of Moroccans also went through the procedure in a massive show of solidarity for the prince, a news agency reported.

The circumcision of Moulay Hassan, the king’s only son, marked the start of three days of nationwide celebrations across the north African kingdom to honor the event. The boy turns 2 next month.

[Full Story]

Yeah, nothing quite says "Party!" like a knife to the genitalia. On behalf of thousands of Moroccans, my legs are crossed involuntarily in sympathy.

And you can have her license when you pry it out of her cold, dead hands

"Understatement of the day" goes to this poor sales manager:

An 81-year-old woman preparing to take a test drive at a car dealership hit her husband, a salesman, a car and a tree before running into a wall.

"She must have panicked," said Joe Sica, sales manager at Honda of Fort Myers.

[Full Story]

And, yeah, it's from Floriduh. Figures, don't it?

April 15, 2005

May the force be with you . . . nerds!

Wil Wheaton recounts the epic struggle of some LA-area Star Wars nerds against reality. Read. Laugh.

Don't send them over here!

Apparently the Chicken Littles over at The Power Hour are conducting a UN Blue Watch: encouraging listeners to submit sightings of the use of Blue and orange in such places as government Web sites, corporate logos, and so forth. This, supposedly, is proof that the UN wants to take over the world, or has really poor colour sense, or something. Even when it's on a hockey rink.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not [wink, wink]), UN blue and orange look suspiciously like this blue and this orange, which are the official livery of this blog. Please don't tell them; you'll jeopardize our plans!

Recent searches

I haven't really been reading the blogosphere heavily enough over the last week or two to do my regular "Friday in the Wild" thing, but I have at least been keeping track of what has been bringing other people over to the Crusty Curmudgeon. Here are the more amusing searches:

  • I have been lashed with dozens of searches for reasons why "arizona doesn't care how I stand on public issues". I think people are trying to find out who said this. In fact, I'm the only source of this quotation, for one reason only: people keep looking for it. I DON'T KNOW. GO AWAY. That is all.
  • Believe it or not, out of almost a million hits, I'm actually the third most relevant site for the word hahahahaha.
  • Only slightly weirder than Camilla's cleavage, it's . . . emma watson's thong. Get lost, pedophiles.
  • Finally, a search on nostradamus wojtyla just goes to show that with a major event like the death of the pope, the woo-woos start searching for "confirmation" of something or other, in the bad poetry of Nostradamus.

Mushy-headed Christianity all over the place

Various mutterings from the regnant follies (to borrow a clever turn of phrase from Douglas Wilson:

  1. Certain general managers of certain "Christian" radio stations are moral cowards.
  2. Shutting down your own blog because someone reads it, says something you don't like, and hurts your tender feelings, does not make you into a martyr. It's the online equivalent of a hunger strike.
  3. Some people really, really, really need to get a life and move on.

That is all.

April 14, 2005

Notorious Aryan bonehead goes to be with Hitler

A white supremacist who once led the neo-Nazi Heritage Front has reportedly been shot dead in a suburban Toronto apartment.

Reports say Wolfgang Droege was found dead after police responded to complaints of gunshots at a Scarborough apartment building Wednesday afternoon. . . .

He joined the Ku Klux Klan in 1976 and tried to start a branch of the group in Toronto.

In 1981, he helped organize a failed attempt to invade the Caribbean country of Dominica and overthrow its government. He was given a three-year prison sentence.

Droege was arrested in Alabama in 1985 and charged with cocaine possession and a weapons offence. The U.S. deported him to Canada in April 1989 after he served a U.S. prison sentence for those charges.

[Full Story]

I shouldn't show any pleasure at the death of the wicked, but at the same time it's hard to feel any pity when Providence dispenses justice to human debris who made himself famous by demonizing the image of God (through his "white power" hatemongering) and destroying it (through cocaine trafficking).

Wolfgang Droege has joined the race to putrefaction and, having departed the white race, leaves it purer. I hope he appreciates the irony, if he isn't too busy enduring the flames.

The quill . . . the page . . . lyric . . . rampage! Word up?

It's a beautiful day when even Strong Bad [Flash] cites the MLA Handbook.

April 13, 2005

And so it begins . . .

Maverick MP David Kilgour has quit the Liberal Party and will sit in the House of Commons as an independent.

One of only two Liberal MPs from Alberta, he had long been at odds with the government's plans to legalize same-sex marriages.

"There are a whole lot of issues where I am increasingly out of sync with the government," Kilgour told the Ottawa Citizen.

He also expressed disappointment in his party after revelations from the sponsorship testimony came to light, which he said made Canada look like a "northern banana republic."

[Full Story]

For my American friends, who may be unaware of the details of the sponsorship scandal, or "AdScam": This is an ongoing scandal for the current Liberal government. It is alleged that over $100 million dollars went to various advertising and communication firms in Québec, ostensibly to promote the cause of Canadian unity; however, the Auditor General of Canada reported in February 2004 that Canadians had received virtually no work in return for the money. It is alleged that AdScam was really an elaborate scheme to reward loyal Liberals with cash. It's arguably the most significant political scandal in Canadian history since the Pacific scandal, which brought down the Conservative government of John A. Macdonald in 1874 when it was discovered they were taking bribes from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in return for contracts to build the national railway.

At present, Kilgour's departure reduces the Liberal minority government's tenuous grip on power to a scant 132 seats. Meanwhile, another Liberal MP, Pat O'Brien, continues to waffle on whether to cross the floor or not, and another four or five Liberals have also threatened to quit.

Is there anything you can't buy on eBay?

The auction is over now, but just think: for a mere $2,000, it could have been you buying a consecrated host from a papal mass held in 1998.

Naturally, Catholics all over the Net are livid and blaming everyone from eBay to ignorant Protestants to Satanists looking for hosts to use in black Mass to the practice of taking the Eucharist in the hand. Some are even complaining that it violates eBay's policy forbidding the sale of body parts. It only underscores the sheer superstition of the Catholic system that someone might actually think owning an overpriced cracker that some priest has mumbled Latin over, might be holding Jesus hostage.

April 11, 2005

The pope's funeral, a worm's-eye view

A good friend of mine, who was married at Christmas and has since been living and travelling in Europe, is currently in Rome, having arrived in Italy just in time to find out that the pope had died. He and his wife were two out of the millions who invaded the Vatican to see the pope's funeral. In an email, he wrote:

We arrived last night and attempted to get into the viewing at the Vatican, but we couldn't get in. Instead we got up this morning at 5am and made our way to the square . . . the funeral started at 10am and were one of the first thousands to get in . . . the crowds were unbelievable!!! The only thing you can hope to do is stay on your feet. The funeral ended at 2pm so we were standing in a crowd for over 9 hours by the time we got back to our hotel . . . It was a neat experience seeing a part of history unfold firsthand. (edited slightly for spelling)

Meanwhile, from a little higher off the ground, this was the view on Friday morning, captured from CITY-TV's live coverage:

[St. Peter's Square, seen from atop the basilica]

Is St. Peter's Square shaped like a keyhole on purpose, or is it just a weird coincidence? (Cf. Matt. 16:16-20, esp. v. 19.)

ScientologyTM homophobic? No!

Uh-oh. Looks like the Cult of Self is forced into damage-management mode again (H/T: Religion News Blog):

John Travolta and Tom Cruise have forcefully denied allegations that they turned to Scientology to "cure" them of their supposedly gay urges. But critics continue to claim the religion is rife with homophobia.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote in his 1950 best seller, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health," that gays were "sexual perverts" and "very ill physically." . . .

Scientology spokeswoman Gaetane Asselin scoffed at the suggestion that celebrities such as twice-married Cruise, Lisa Marie Presley, Kirstie Alley and Isaac Hayes embrace a theology that sees gays as weak or demented.

"Mr. Hubbard abhorred discrimination in all its forms," Asselin told us. "In today's liberal society," she argued, the church encourages any relationship that is "ethical."

[Full Story]

I never believed the claims that Travolta or Cruise were gay or that the ScientologistsTM held their supposed homosexuality over their heads as blackmail material in case they blew the cult. But when cult spokesmen tell you that Hubbard "abhorred discrimination" or that ScientologyTM does not disdain homosexuality as aberrant, they are simply whitewashing the truth.

For example, the article quotes Hubbard's book Dianetics, the foundation of ScientologyTM "therapy," as saying:

The sexual pervert (and by this term Dianetics, to be brief, includes all forms of deviation in dynamic two such as homosexuality, lesbianism, sexual sadism, etc. . . .) is actually quite ill physically. . . . (Dianetics 140)

On the very next page, Hubbard writes of perverts:

Hence the pervert, containing hundreds and hundreds of vicious engrams, has had little choice between being dead and being a pervert. But with an effective science to handle the problem, a society which would continue to endure perversion and all its sad and sordid effects doesn't deserve to survive. (141)

In other words, Hubbard's argument can be summed up like this:

  1. Homosexuality is a perversion.
  2. Perversion is caused by engrams.
  3. Therefore, homosexuality is caused by engrams.

Of course, the very purpose of Dianetics "auditing" is to create a "Clear" by removing all the engrams from the person's mind, giving the "Clear" perfect memory and vision, immunity from disease, even bigger breasts. Hubbard's argument is unmistakeable: Since Dianetics removes engrams, Dianetics cures homosexuality.

Now, I'm no big fan of homosexuality to begin with, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing junk science and phony "therapy" when I see it. What is really alarming, however, is that these people, through one of their front groups, is currently attempting to influence Florida's mental health policy. While we're at it, let's appoint the moon-hoax conspiracy theorists to head up NASA.

"Houston, we've had a problem"

Being born in the last days of 1970, I missed all the good stuff.

Today is the 35th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 13. What was supposed to be the third moon mission turned into a gripping drama when bad wiring caused an oxygen tank in the service module to explode, crippling the spacecraft's ability to generate electricity. Without power, the command module became uninhabitable, and astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise were forced to use the lunar module as a "lifeboat" - hoping that a craft intended to keep two men alive for two days would keep three alive for four. Thanks to the leadership of flight director Gene Kranz and the support of astronaut Ken Mattingly (who was replaced by Swigert on the flight crew) in the simulator, Apollo 13 returned to earth safely, except for an infection that Haise contracted because of lack of potable water.

Modifications were made to subsequent spacecraft to prevent the same accident from happening again, and NASA made four more successful landings on the moon. As of now, however, it has been 32 years and four months since man stood on the surface of another world.

April 10, 2005

There oughta be a law against this

By the time you read this, I'll be listening to "Brother Stair" on the shortwave and reading H. P. Lovecraft until I pass out on top of the book.

A dangerous combination, especially for a guy who once got seriously creeped out by falling asleep listening to Dark Side of the Moon, a few moments before all the bells went off . . .

April 09, 2005

Mr. Kettle? Mr. Pot on line 3

Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, whose “Left Behind” series made end-times theology a nationwide topic of discussion, have expressed wariness of NBC's apocalyptic mini-series "Revelations," which premieres April 13.

One of the series’ main characters, “Dr. Richard Massey,” a skeptic Harvard professor played by Bill Pullman, looks as though he is headed toward becoming “a firm believer,” as Jenkins put it, during the course of the six-hour series.

A Bible epic on network television? Mishandled? Say it ain't so!

But, said Jenkins, who has viewed the first Revelations episode, “[W]hat he promises to come to believe is a mishmash of myth, silliness, and misrepresentations of Scripture.

"Myth, silliness, and misrepresentations of Scripture"? Careful, Jerry, you know what they say about your other fingers when you point one.

"Acknowledging that not everyone agrees with my particular take on end-time prophecies, at least they are based on some commonly accepted study,” Jenkins said. “Revelations seems to draw from everywhere and nowhere."

[Full Story

Being "based on some commonly accepted study" didn't stop Jenkins' co-author from lashing out when Hank Hanegraaff's preterism-inspired The Last Disciple came off the press. One wonders whether this outburst of sour grapes is inspired by some more basic motive. Oh, say . . . jealousy.

(H/T: Quadrivium.)

And so the freakshow begins

This morning as I woke up I was listening to "Brother" R. G. Stair, the wingnut "Last Day Prophet of God" from Walterboro, South Carolina who will believe anything as long as someone claims it is a divine revelation.

Today the King of Credulity has picked up on the supposed "prophecies" of one St. Malachy, a 12th-century Irish bishop and mystic. He is best known for "The Prophecy of the Popes," a list of 112 Latin aphorisms purported to be descriptive of the future popes of Rome. In this respect St. Malachy is sort of a Catholic Nostradamus, in that every time a pope dies, people bend themselves over backwards trying to fit the Latin phrase in some way to its supposed respective pontificate. At least one pope has manipulated events so that his own "prophecy" would be fulfilled, and the connection between the "prophecy" and corresponding events are often so tenuous as to be highly questionable. (Like Nostradamus.)

The "prophecy" for pope #110, John Paul II, reads: De labore Solis, and can be translated "Of the eclipse of the sun." Stair notes that a solar eclipse occurred on May 18, 1920, the day Karol Wojtyla was born, and also on April 8, 2005, the day of his funeral. (No unusual solar activity occurred on April 2, the day of his death; hence Stair and others are guilty of specious, selective reasoning.)

Of course, there are only two more popes on the list, and the last is the supposed "Peter the Roman," during whose pontificate the city of Rome is to be destroyed and the Final Judgment begin. Since "Profit" Stair has been predicting the end of the world Real Soon Now for years, it's easy to see why this is so interesting to him. What is more interesting to me is why he affords some Catholic mystic so much credence when he has no love for the Church of Rome.

But who expects consistency from the lunatic fringe? My "prophecy" is that Stair will drop St. Malachy when his accuracy turns out to be approximately equal to Stair's ravings about "Planet X" a couple of years ago. Stair doesn't talk about Planet X that much anymore . . .

On the nuptials of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles


I saw him married the first time.

Update: I captured a few images from CNN immediately after the wedding, just for fun (didn't watch the whole thing). Frankly, the new Duchess of Cornwall, at least when dressed formally, isn't half the frump the press makes her out to be:

[HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall]

Car envy update: This is the Queen's 2002 Bentley limousine, literally one of a kind. Nice car:

[Royal Bentley State Limousine]

And this is the 1975 Phantom VI, also part of the royal motor pool, used by the wedding couple. Also a nice set of wheels, but if I had the money to throw around, I think I prefer Bentleys. The colour of each, incidentally, is "Royal claret":

[Royal Rolls Royce Phantom VI State Limousine]

April 07, 2005

Am I your enemy for telling the truth?

Apropos to my Sacra Eloquia post today on Galatians 4:8-20, La Shawn Barber shares some of the "dislike" mail she received (keeping the hate mail to herself) after blogging an unpopular opinion about the pope.

I hope she doesn't get the kind of thing Michelle Malkin has to put up with on a regular basis.

April 06, 2005

Mushy-headed evangelicals and the passing of the Pope

I must give credit where credit is due. Karol Wojtyla, aka Pope John Paul II, was a great man.

The late pope has stood against the two greatest threats to human freedom in the last 100 years - Nazism and Communism - and prevailed. His pontificate was marked by his activities as a bridge-builder: reaching out to Jews, to Muslims, even to Protestants, getting people to talk to each other instead of throwing things. He stared down dictators and democrats, leftists and rightists. He was more deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize than half the people who received one during his pontificate. John Paul was a statesman. I do not grudge him that.

John Paul II embodied the moral life of the Gospel: visiting his would-be assassin in prison, acknowledging for the first time that the Crusades were a Bad Idea, that the Roman church could have done more to help the Jews while they were being slaughtered by Hitler's cronies. He forgave and he sought forgiveness. The most travelled pope in history, his public image was one of a shepherd of the church rather than a bureaucrat. He opposed the excesses of capitalism and totalitarianism both. The encyclical Evangelium Vitae brought a wonderful phrase, "culture of life," into the popular culture. The pope was a moral anchor in a world gone morally adrift. Where he would stand with the Bible, I would stand with the pope. I do not grudge him that.

The pope mastered 16 languages. He was an actor, an author, a playwright, and a poet. He was a true intellectual. As an athlete he took up mountaineering, football, and skiing. For four years in Nazi-occupied Poland he was a worker in the quarries. John Paul II was a man for all seasons. I do not grudge him that.

To listen to some of the Vatican officials immediately following the pope's death on Saturday, Jesus, Mary, and the holy angels were practically falling all over each other to fling open the Pearly Gates and usher Karol Wojtyla directly into the presence of the throne of God. It wasn't long before evangelical "leaders" such as Pat Robertson (Pentecostal), Billy Graham (Baptist), James Dobson (Nazarene), and, yes, President Bush (Methodist) were doing the same thing.

This is mushy-headed evangelicalism at its finest: effectively, such "leaders" are claiming that the pope got a "free pass" into heaven because of his good deeds, while they simultaneously forget (or ignore) why it is that Pentecostals, Baptists, Nazarenes, and Methodists are not subject to the pope to begin with.

(To be fair, there is indeed a fair amount of mushy-headedness on the other side as well: people who reflexively declare the pope the Antichrist and consign him to the flames of hell for no better reason than that he was a Catholic pope, and they're agin' it.)

The Roman church has a false view of authority. According to Roman dogma, authority comes from three sources: Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Church. However, since the Magisterium of the Roman church (comprising all its bishops) claims for itself the authority to define both the extents and meaning of Scripture and Tradition, in reality Rome arrogates to itself the highest authority.

The Roman church has a false view of salvation. Departing from the simple gospel of divine grace through faith in Christ's completed work on the cross, the Church of Rome has established a complicated sacramental system in which believers continually earn justifying grace through meritorious works and partaking in the sacraments. The church claims to have the authority to dispense from the "Treasury of Merit" the superfluous merit of Christ, Mary, and the saints to those in need of it. Thus the Church of Rome presents a weak Christ who is unable to "save to the uttermost" (Heb. 7:25); his atonement must be supplemented by the righteousness of others. While historically Protestant and Catholic stand in agreement against the classical heresies concerning the person of Christ, surely it is no less dangerous to promote heresies that deny or weaken the work of Christ, is it?

The evangelical rejection of the papacy and the Romanism it represents is no trivial matter. It is based on first principles.

Is the pope in heaven now? While I can't make a definite pronouncement one way or the other, I think it's doubtful. Being the leader of a really big church doesn't merit special grace from God, who is no respecter of persons. I am not a mind reader. I can't get into the head of John Paul II and know what he believed in secret. But as the visible head of the Church of Rome, which preached these untruths, did he repudiate them? No, he defended them, and supported and promoted superstitions that are antithetical to the true Gospel, most notably in his devotion to Mary (it has not escaped the attention of the pundits that his death came on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day he himself instituted in honour of the alleged Marian apparitions of Fatima).

This is essentially nothing different than what people like James White or Al Mohler or La Shawn Barber have been saying in the wake of this weekend's events. Ironically, this position is more consistent with proper Catholic orthodoxy than the more frenzied pronouncements that immediately followed John Paul II's death: since no one can know what thoughts went through his head as his demise approached, no one can be certain that he finally escaped purgatory.

And as a result, they too are being vilified, primarily by Catholics. (White has been specially singled out for vitriol.) Mushy-headedness isn't just an evangelical phenomenon.


I just read this over on James White's blog:

And so now what do I find but a listing of my books and their Amazon sales ranks compared to who else, but DA [Dave Armstrong]! Honestly, how utterly pathetic can someone become?

[Read The Most Pathetic Post I've Ever Seen...]

And yes, it is indeed pathetic . . .

Just for fun, I did up the following scientific tally:

  • Number of James White's books I own: 9
  • Number I bought at Amazon: None of them

On the other hand . . .

  • Number of Dave Armstrong books I own: 0
  • Number I bought at Amazon: All of them

There you have it (for whatever it's worth).

April 01, 2005

It was fun while it lasted

But, yeah, for those of you who thought I went off the deep end, no, I haven't converted to KJV-onlyism. (Yet.)

I was originally going for parody, not practical joke. There's a certain tackiness about a good number of fundamentalist Web pages which, fortunately, is easy to whip up in about 15 minutes. (It took me twice as long to figure out the exact shade of orange I currently use for horizontal rules.) Don't let anyone ever tell you that those HTML skills you learned back in 1995 aren't good for anything.

Little was I to know that I was going to actually sucker a couple of my good friends. Sorry Rand and Brandt, nothing personal. And nice try at deconstructing the Creed of the Alexandrian Cult. I can't do it without someone piling on the clichés in retort, either. Rebecca got it right off, and it looks like a bunch of my #pros friends are having a ball. (Hi guys!)

On the downside, Blogger appears to be misbehavin', so it might be a while before those of you reading the archive pages aren't assailed by that hideous MIDI of "In the Garden" . . .

Update (Apr. 2):I got a few messages from people who were a little disappointed they missed the fun. You can now simulate the effect by staring at the following screenshot while listening to this MIDI file.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Creed of the Alexandrian Cult

Disclaimer: Check the date. (I only wish the Creed of the Alexandrian Cult were a joke, but it's not.)

There is no final authority but God.

Since God is a Spirit, there is no final authority that can be seen, heard, read, felt, or handled.

Since all books are material, there is no book on this earth that is the final and absolute authority on what is right and what is wrong: what constitutes truth and what constitutes error.

There WAS a series of writings one time which, IF they had all been put into a BOOK as soon as they were written the first time, WOULD HAVE constituted an infallible and final authority by which to judge truth and error.

However, this series of writings was lost, and the God who inspired them was unable to preserve their content through Bible-believing Christians at Antioch (Syria), where the first Bible teachers were (Acts 13:1), and where the first missionary trip originated (Acts 13:1-52), and where the word 'Christian originated (Acts 11:26).

So, God chose to ALMOST preserve them through Gnostics and philosophers from Alexandria, Egypt, even though God called His Son OUT of Egypt (Matthew 2), Jacob OUT of Egypt (Genesis 49), Israel OUT of Egypt (Exodus 15), and Joseph's bones OUT of Egypt (Exodus 13).

So, there are two streams of Bibles: the most accurate (though, of course, there is no final, absolute authority for determining truth and error: it is a matter of "preference") are the Egyptian translations from Alexandria, Egypt, which are "almost the originals," although not quite.

The most inaccurate translations were those that brought about the German Reformation (Luther, Zwingli, Boehier, Zinzendorf, Spener, etc.) and the worldwide missionary movement of the English-speaking people: the Bible that Sunday, Torrey, Moody, Finney, Spurgeon, Whitefleld, Wesley, and Chapman used.

But we can "tolerate these if those who believe in them will tolerate US. After all. Since there is NO ABSOLUTE AND FINAL AUTHORITY that anyone can read, teach, preach. or handle, the whole thing is a matter of "PREFERENCE." You may prefer what you prefer, and we will prefer what we prefer; let us live in peace, and if we cannot agree on anything or everything, let us all agree on one thing: THERE IS NO FINAL, ABSOLUTE, WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF GOD ANYWHERE ON THIS EARTH.