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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Word For The Week

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.


Revelation 3:14-21
Whatever.

Within American culture the ultimate expression of indifference is the utterance of the exclamation, "Whatever." Whenever something is brought to our attention that essentially means nothing to us we often exclaim, "Whatever." It is an expression of indifference but it is also laced with a tinge of contempt for the one who brings the supposedly irrelevant information to our attention. George Bush is giving a speech on his plan for Iraq? Whatever. Dennis Kucinich is running for president? Whatever. The Detroit Lions are playing a football game? Whatever. It is an expression of our utter indifference about the information that is presented to us and it demonstrates our contempt for the one who brings us the information, and it probably got a lot of use among the Christians in Laodicea.

The Church in Laodicea was an active church in Asia Minor, busy with rituals and weekly routines but they were not engaged in the advancement of the Kingdom. The Laodiceans would go through the motions of religiosity, showing up most Sundays, but while their body was in church their heart and mind was elsewhere, anywhere but in church. Their name was on the membership role but they had no personal commitment to Jesus Christ. They would send their children to Sunday School but they had no passion for the Word of God themselves. Whenever anyone would mention "tithes and offerings" they'd have but one word to say: "Whatever."

As I've traveled across this country I've seen Laodicean churches everywhere: Laodicean Missionary Baptist Church, 1st Baptist of Laodicea, Laodicean African Methodist Episcopal Church, Laodicean Church Of God In Christ, Laodicean Christian Fellowship. The name on the marquee might have said Palestine Presbyterian but if you'd have walked inside the edifice you would have found it filled with lots of lackluster Laodiceans. The biggest problem facing churches today is the fact that they are overrun with lukewarm Laodiceans - the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Pastor calls for the people to fast? Whatever. Youth ministry needs workers to help minister to the children and youth? Whatever. Music ministry needs people to sing the praises of our God and our Christ? Whatever. The Bible says that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, but in too many instances we act just like those low-living Laodiceans. We go through the motions, showing up when we're supposed to be there, but we are not actively engaged in ministry, we are not committed to our Christ and we are not loyal to our Lord.

It is, after all, the American way.

In the United States of America the worst thing that you can be called is an extremist - America's motto is, "In all things moderation." Americans naturally gravitate to the middle of the road, choosing the Medium option. Political Moderates are exalted and praised while true liberals and true conservatives are disparaged as being fringe elements. In America everyone gets in where they fit in, never making waves but finding their rightful place within the mainstream, but we who are called by the name of Christ are not to go with the flow of the mainstream - we, as Christ's Ambassadors, are called to transform the mainstream into the straight and narrow way, but the lethargic Laodicean says, "Whatever."

This is why we have so many people who used to come to church, people who used to be Christians, people who used to believe in God - they don't see God in the Church, they don't see God in the pews and all too often they don't even see God in the pulpit. All that they see is judgmental hypocrisy 24/7 - folks say one thing but live something completely different. They see a sister having a hallelujah time in worship service that they just saw at the club the night before grinding every Tom, Dick, and Harry that she could find. They see a brother in leadership who they know to be beating and cheating on his wife. They get greeted with "I'm blessed and highly favored of the Lord!" by church-folks who are truly wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. They see people in church who claim to be Christians but who live just as raggedy as the average American, people who then want to tell them that they have to get themselves right before God.

Whatever.

This Laodicean living loses people for the cause of Christ. How many times have you heard folks talk about "those hypocrites in the church"? Those hypocrites in the church are these lackadaisical Laodiceans, Christians in name only, and Jesus says that He is about tired of these lecherous Laodiceans, that He is about to spit them out of His mouth. America believes in hedging its bets, taking a little of this and a little of that in case one or the other turns out to be wrong. It is a mentality that is predicated upon uncertainty, tying to make sure that all of their bases are covered, but the cause of Christ requires Christians to take a firm stand on faith - either you're with Jesus Christ or you're not. I love lemonade and I also love hot chocolate, but if you try to put them both in the same glass I would spit it out of my mouth. You can't have it both ways, you have to choose between hot chocolate and lemonade, between Jesus Christ and this world.

We have too many people in the church who want to have it both ways.
We have too many people in the church who want to be saved and shake a tail feather.
We have too many people in the church who want to be declared righteous but contribute nothing to the advancement of God's Kingdom.

We have too many lackluster, lazy, lackadaisical, lethargic, lecherous, low-living Laodiceans in the Church, and it's time to make a change. In 2007 I resolve that I will not be found living in Laodicea. I will not be found lacking in my love for the Lord. I will not be found in the counsel of the wicked or in the way of sinners or in the seat of mockers. Jesus knows our deeds - we might be able to hide the things that we do in secret from folks in the church but Jesus knows our deeds, and those whom He loves He rebukes and disciplines. So be honest and repent with me - I know that I have fallen short in 2006, and if you're honest with yourself and with God then you can admit that you have fallen short as well, but we have a God who is so good that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Look, He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door then He will come in and eat with us, and we with Him.

Covenant with me that in 2007 we will no longer live in Laodicea, that we will no longer be lukewarm in our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom. Covenant with me that whatever it takes, whatever the cost, whatever the cause of Christ requires we will be absolutely committed to Jesus Christ, no matter what. People will call us extremists. They'll call us Jesus Freaks, Holy Rollers and Bible Thumpers acting all holier-than-thou, but whatever people say we need to make a life-long commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and covenant one with another that we shall love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, and we must covenant one with another that we shall love our neighbor as ourself. Folk will talk about us, but if we persevere and overcome the insults and accusations of the world - whatever they may be - then we will be given the right to sit with Jesus on His throne, just as Jesus overcame and sat down with the Father on His throne.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to leave your Laodicean living behind you,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saturday Comics

Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean
Reverent
Water Hazard
Godfather Of Soul
Fore
Then And Now
Goode God
sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY
Boom Baby
Deceitful Above All Things
Danger, Will Robinson
FDR-->GWB
High Crimes
Whatever
Return Engagement
Left Behind
McBean's Machine
Poles Apart
Dante's Year
SSDD
Four-Score, Seven-Year War
Asinine Assumptions
Buyers' Remorse
Sole-Searching
Total Failure
Baby Steps
Unmitigated Disaster
Little Big Horn
Postmodern Truth

And my favorite for today: Absolute Truth

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:30 AM :: (0) minds freed

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Picture-Picture

I really hate to put my hometown paper on front-street like this because I really love The Detroit Free Press - I read it daily - but their graphic tribute to Gerald Ford was eerily similar to some graphic tributes of the past...





I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:26 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Consumption Day

On this day that drives the retail industry may you and yours recieve all of the things that make your existence meaningful...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Word For The Week

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Merry Christmas!

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to honor the Reason for the season,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (6) minds freed

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Comics

Season's Greetings
Freedom Of Choice
Troop Surge
No Mas
Bah! Humbug!
Shocking Conclusion
Babbling Babs
Barak, Boma Ye!
Class Warriors
Sacrificial Offering
Gay Interpretation
Rush Is Right
Lap Dance
Surge Protector
Pig Face
Biggest Loser
Bengals News
Lasting Legacy
Shoveling Manure
No New Texans
Lipstick Surge
Kuku For President

And my favorite for today: America The Beautiful

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 3:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Raging Boll

Just when you think you've heard it all...

Apparently there is a German man by the name of Uwe Boll who takes old video games and turns them into feature films, and it would seem that his work is exceedingly poor. His reviews online rival George W. Bush's reviews on Daily Kos, Wired calling him "quite possibly the worst filmmaker in the world," noting that "[h]is movies are haphazardly scripted, sloppily edited, badly acted and, most crucially, brutally received," while the webmaster of Something Awful penned: "Boll is destroying the childhoods and fond gaming memories of internet nerds across the country with each and every cinematic bastardization he produces."

Well, apparently this Boll fellow had his fill of being skewered by his critics so he challenged them to fight him in a Vancouver casino. Some of his critics obliged, and he summarily beat them into submission:



One after the other:



After the other:



Keyboard courage can get one's 5¢ behind into some million-dollar problems. Unless folk actually know how to fight - and enjoy taking and delivering punches - it might be a good idea to keep it a little less real in this blogging universe. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear lest the ringside bell toll for thee.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:37 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Prince

I know that I am in a bad place when I am intrigued by "thoughts" emanating from the 9th ring of Hell, also known as the Office of the Vice President, lair of the über-evil Dick Cheney. Apparently, Cheney is proposing a Final Solution for Iraq - let Iraq's Shiites slaughter the Sunnis with Iran's backing, then sit back and watch the rest of the Islamic world annihilate the Shiites in Iran and Iraq in retaliation for the ethnic cleansing of their brothers. On its face this reeks of Social Darwinism, however it is also the inevitable series of events that would follow a precipitous US withdrawal from Iraq.

What to do?

Clearly, the US cannot remain in Iraq indefinitely, serving as little more than target practice for insurgents while trying to play whack-a-mole with the Iraqi resistance. Equally clear are the implications of pulling out of Iraq right now. Here's my suggestion - partition the country into Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish semi-autonomous commonwealths under a central confederate government, move three divisions into Kurdistan to keep the Kurds from inciting a Turkish invasion and to maintain a presence in the region, and invite the Arab League to create a multinational force to enforce the Sunni/Shiite border, lest their Sunni brothers be overrun by marauding Shiites and the Final Solution comes into play.

The obvious wild-card here is Turkey, who absolutely refuses to see an independent Kurdistan on its southern border - there are a lot of Kurds in Turkey who want their independence from Istanbul. Three divisions of US troops should keep Kurdistan from making trouble for Turkey and keep Turkey out of Kurdistan, but if not then there would be nine kinds of hell to pay...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:30 PM :: (1) minds freed

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Word For The Week

I am considering discontinuing this blogging exercise in order to refocus my attention on real world issues in real life. Leave me a comment if you would miss this.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to get real,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 10:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Truth And Consequences

It's all about self. Too often people simply don't think about the consequences of their choices, how their choices directly and indirectly affects others - they're only worried about maximizing their own happiness. If that means that many Iraqis die then it just sucks to be an Iraqi. If that means that millions of babies die then those babies shouldn't have "chosen" to invade a woman's womb. Choices have consequences, and it turns out that the offspring of sperm donors have something to say about their conception, retroactively exercising their own freedom to choose.

IIRC, a few years ago lots of folks were Pro Choice when it came to property rights - it's not about the right to choose, it's about that which is chosen...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Comics

Apocalypto Now
The Decider
Worst.President.Ever
Cute And Cuddly
K Street Brothel
Beaver Creek
Barak, Boma Ye!

And my favorite for today: Mission Accomplished

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:15 AM :: (0) minds freed

Friday, December 15, 2006

Worst Sports Owners

I have had enough of these (push) polls which ask who the most overrated player is or who the most overpaid player is or who the most obnoxious player is, mostly because there is more than just a little racism involved. Rarely do you hear such polls issued when a good old American boy is in the spotlight for something unsavory (Lance Armstrong doping?), although the Bode Miller fiasco was a notable exception. When the American basketball team - arguably the best talent on the planet - failed to win the gold in the Olympics it was because they were a bunch of spoiled, overpaid pinheads, yet when America's representatives to the Ryder Cup - arguably the best talent on the planet, including the two highest ranked players in the world - desperately needed the Heimlich Maneuver it was just par for the course, of course, since they had The Hook Up.

Therefore, I think it would be a great idea to take a good look at those who make the real money in the multi-billion dollar industry that is professional sports - the owners - and see who is the worst owner from the consumer's perspective. Owners whose teams perpetually flounder, who consistently jerk their fans and their host city around, who treat their players, fans, and employees as nothing more than disposable assets, who only spend money when they are guaranteed a rate of return that prescription drug dealer equities couldn't match, or who are simply too stupid to be trusted with the public's rooting interests. Here's my top 10 list of the worst owners in all of professional sports:

10. Bob McNair, Houston Texans - passed on Reggie Bush and hometown hero (and future Canton resident) Vince Young
9. Al Davis, Oakland/LA/Oakland Raiders - jerked two cities around and his team's health seems intimately tied to his own; micro-manager extraordinaire
8. Chris Cohan, Golden State Warriors - only 5 winning seasons over the last 20 years
7. Art Modell, Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens - no Steeler fan can say anything kind about Cleveland, but moving the Browns out of Cleveland was foul by any standard
6. Robert Irsay, Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts - reinvented the quarterback sneak back in '83
5. Bill Bidwill, St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals - relocated and the team got worse, much worse
4. Wayne Huizenga, (formerly) Florida Marlins - won a World Series and then dismantled the team in order to maximize profits
3. Bud Selig, Milwaukee Brewers - the very image of postmodern mediocrity, never good, never bad; Selig ought to relocate them to Laodecea
2. William W. Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks - legend has it that the Blackhawks were once a professional hockey team
1. William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions - no such legend exists about the Cowardly Lions; Worst. Owner. Ever.

Those are my picks, what are your thoughts?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Realignment

It is taught by some martial arts that the way that one gains a tactical advantage over one's opponent is to use his energy against him, by taking his attack and using it to put him at a tactical disadvantage. We see this often in boxing when a pugilist leaves his jab hanging too long and exposes his chin for a nice left hook, an error for which many Muhammad Ali opponents paid a dear price. Today's political environment bears a striking resemblance to such a set of circumstances, such that the strength of the Republican Party over the last generation could become its undoing.

Lyndon Johnson conceded that the South would be lost to the Democratic Party for a generation because of his efforts to ensure Jim Crow's death, wielding executive, legislative and judicial powers to see it through. When many conservatives lambaste "activist judges" they really hearken back to the judges in the 1960s who put teeth into the various civil rights initiatives - many civil rights laws had been on the books since Reconstruction a hundred years earlier, they simply lacked executive enforcement. Once Lyndon Johnson took a stand and wielded the full power of the federal government against the remnants of the South's "peculiar institution" the South immediately realigned itself with the Republican Party, and Richard Nixon reinforced that realignment with his execution of the Southern Strategy in 1968. Ronald Reagan would also employ it successfully in 1980, solidifying the realignment. The realignment was completed in 1994 when the Republicans overtook Congress - many Democrats In Name Only from the South switched parties once the Republicans were in control and the South became pretty close to pure crimson.

Twelve years later, that's a problem for the Republicans.

While my favorite right-winger, Charles Krauthammer, would like to minimize the significance of the 2006 midterm elections by asserting that the number of seats which swapped parties is about average for midterms in the second term of an incumbent president since 1930, he misses the point that the number of seats in play in 2006 is about an order of magnitude less than was the case in 1930. Today, gerrymandering is the norm such that less than 10% of House seats are in danger of switching parties in any given election, and most of those are due to retirements. What makes the 2006 election different is twofold: Democrats won virtually every Congressional race that was in play and the Republicans were routed outside of the South.

The extent of the Democratic victory is significant, winning at least two out of every three House races that were in play, but even more significant was the fact that the moderate wing of the Republican party was all but eliminated from Congress. With a few notable exceptions (Chris Shays et al.) the only remaining Republicans in Congress are those with an Old South heritage or mindset. The Republican leadership in the Senate consists of a senator from Kentucky, one from Mississippi, two from Texas, and one each from Nevada and Arizona. The GOP's House leadership is a bit more geographically diverse, but it still looks pretty concentrated compared to the scatter-shot of the Democratic party - spanning the breadth and width of the nation. It is indicative of one central truth that is emerging from this election:

Republicans can no longer win outside of the South.

Sure, there will be a Republican here or there outside of the South winning an election, just like there have always been Democratic pockets in Mississippi and Texas, but by-and-large the Republicans are losing the votes of suburban and increasingly secular Whites outside of the South, and that trend looks to continue and not abate.

Here's the point:

Democrats, if they're smart (insert your own joke here), will capitalize upon this by emphasizing their secular credentials, much the same way that Republicans have won elections in the past by emphasizing their religious credentials. The new divide will become those who are overtly religious against those who are not, in large part pitting those who are epistemologically conservative against those who are epistemologically liberal. While this would seem to be a slam-dunk for the Democrats there is one caveat that they will likely ignore and that will cause them to lose a series of elections that should have been theirs for the taking - most Blacks, especially church-going Blacks (who also tend to be the ones that vote), are epistemologically conservative and overtly religious. If the Democrats push their secular credentials too hard, as many are wont to do already, they will alienate many Blacks and drive us into the Republican Party, the Chocolate Migration. The Republican Party, if it is smart, will be ready for the Democrats to over-reach and will open its tent in earnest to church-going Blacks, but it will take a great deal of political skill and finesse to merge Blacks and Southern Baptists into the same camp, a total eschewing of White Supremacy that is in no ways limited to rednecks in sheets. It may be that no such political skill or good will exists and that Blacks will simply have to suck it up and deal with functionally atheistic Democrats if we still find Old South Republicans to be too strange a bedfellow, but it will be an interesting journey over the next four to six years to see how this realignment actually plays out - libertarians migrating to the Democratic Party and Blacks returning to the Republican Party. However, if Barak Obama becomes the Democratic nominee for president then all bets are off...

Barak, boma ye!

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, December 11, 2006

Brokeback Crap

Well, it turns out that yet another Evangelical pastor has been fed to the wolves - and deservedly so - due to his clandestine gay affairs. I believe that there will be more of this in 2007, much more, because the truth of the matter is that people often jump up and down about stuff that hits close to home with them personally, and many of these White men who make homosexuality out to be the biggest afront to the Kingdom of God protest too much, methinks. (Black men have a problem with "laying hands" on church secretaries, organists, soloists, et al., but that's a topic for another day, along with the stereotypically fay ministers of music) I've said it before and it bears repeating: homosexuality is indeed a sin, and so is coveting (aka Keeping Up With The Jonses). That 42" plasma screen that you're licking your chops over? Your lust for it is just as sinful as a gay guy's lust for some other dude. Their Brokeback crap is just as sinful as your Hooters crap and my Super-sized Double-Whopper meal crap - equally crap, equally sinful.

Here's the difference, though: most of us will freely admit that our sin is indeed sin, although some of us will need a little more instruction about the sin of gluttony (yes, I'm talking about myself). The biggest problem that I have with the issue of homosexuality is that those who struggle with that particular sin insist that it is not a sin and that they should not have to struggle against that which seems natural to them. They truly don't want to know some of the things that I have to struggle with as a Black man in America - many of the things that seem natural to me could get me imprisoned for life, executed, or sent to GitMo - they would really want me to continue in the struggle against the desires of my heart. Ultimately, our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

But some people prefer capitulation to struggle.

There are some significant political ramifications to this gay crap that will be felt over the next four to six years, and I'll get into that at some point this week.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:45 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Word For The Week

Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Matthew 10:11-16
A brief word today about blessings and curses - is it for the Christian to curse a home that will not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ? No, the Christian is not commanded (or allowed) to curse those who will not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, those who do not receive the Gospel are already cursed - the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus commanded His disciples to kick the dirt from their feet as a symbolic act, demonstrating that the disciples would have no part in the coming judgment against those people and removing any association with those who consciously reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We are, however, commanded to leave people with a blessing (our peace) if we find them to be deserving, and that requires a degree of discernment and judgement. Ultimately we are free to choose who we will pray for and who we will not, and this is the intent of Jesus' instruction in this passage, but Jesus also taught that we should love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us.

At the end of the day there will be times where we have to leave a place and kick the dirt off of our feet, bidding them adieu as we understand judgement to be coming their way. We should still, nonetheless, pray that at some point between now and judgment they will come to know Jesus for themselves, freely confessing Him as Lord instead of meeting Him as Judge.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to give an answer to anyone who asks,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saturday Comics

Order Of Magnitude
Iraqi Monitor
First Things First
Back Story
Nikita Bolton
One Of These Days
Barak Boma-Ye!
Virgin Mary
Back To The Future
Grapefruit's Next
Root Canal
Butcher Of Bagdad
Diplomacy For Dummies
Heckuva Job
El Presidente Quixote
Hail Caesar
Nut Cracker

And my favorite for today: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 7:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, December 04, 2006

Time Capsule

George W. Bush is being unfavoribly compared to Herbert Hoover and he still has two years left in office (impeachment notwithstanding), but Bush still has one play left to try to salvage his legacy from being the single-worst president in American history. Although I've been saying it since last year I want to put this out there as an "I told you so" that I can reference in 2008 when it comes to fruition: we will see Osama's head on a pike at some point in 2008, probably in July or August (definitely before the conventions) but possibly earlier. Personally, I believe capturing Osama won't do much in real terms - everything that Bush touches turns into a heaping pile of fecal material, so it will be a bit like a kid showing off the D that he got in one class and ignoring the long string of F's in every other class, but I'm willing to bet Dubya did that too back in the day.

What's more is that the obvious question will (should) be why it took seven years to capture the one that was supposedly his top priority? My hunch is that they will say that they captured him in 2002 but kept him under wraps for security purposes, complete with time-stamped video that we could trust because this administration would never doctor evidence for public consumption...

Anyway, I just wanted to put this out there as a marker in time for when the inevitible comes to pass.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 12:01 AM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Word For The Week

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown."

When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
'though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.'

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Luke 8:4-15
It has been shown that 75% of all Christians accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior before the age of 21, 90% before the age of 30, so why is it that the overwhelming majority of Christian evangelism targets people over the age of 30? The answer is simple, really - people reach out to their perceived peers, but in most of our cases our peers are quite comfortable on their rocky ground. We are certainly required to share the good news of Jesus Christ with whosoever will hear the word of reconciliation, but we need to focus our attention on the good ground, ground that is ready, willing, and able to receive the word of truth. Scattering seed on concrete is good for feeding the birds, but it would be foolish to expect a harvest from such seeds. Besides, we are called to resist such birds, erecting scarecrows to keep the birds at bay instead off feeding those who seek to steal, kill, and destroy the fruit of our labor.

All too often we stand along the sidewalk spreading seed and wonder why nothing's growing. All too often we walk along the pavement pointlessly searching for some simple sign of life. All too often we think that God is not blessing our labor when in fact we are being irresponsible with the seed that has been entrusted to us. We shouldn't expect a harvest when we haven't sown seed into ground that can actually support new life. We shouldn't expect to see people coming to Christ when we are spreading seed among those who are firm in their convictions that any road they choose will get them to eternity. Jesus made us fishers of men but we shouldn't expect to catch anything by dropping a net into a cup of water.

Although with God all things are possible.

What Jesus teaches in our text today is that different people will receive the word of life differently, some gladly for the moment, some happily but with no substance, some fully, and some not at all. We who have been entrusted with the message of reconciliation - "we" being all Christians - must be wise regarding how and where we sow our seed. In all things and in all places we must let our light shine so that men can see our good works and glorify God in heaven, but we shouldn't waste so much time on bad ground and pavement that we end up having nothing left for the good ground that would receive the word of truth and produce a great harvest.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to reap a great harvest,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (1) minds freed

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday Comics

GTFOHWTBS
Birth Of A Nation
Bottom-Feeder
PxP+
Bush's Soulmate
Totalitarian Twins
Redman...
...and OJ
General Election
Run Barak Run
Rebranding
Extended and Revised Remarks
AFLAC!
A River In Egypt
Entropy
Warner Brothers Strategy
Duck Blind
Big Brother
Merlot Mouse
Time Out
Alternative Fuels
Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin
An Appetizer
Exit Plan

And my favorite for today: No New Texans

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:30 AM :: (0) minds freed

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