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2.03.2006
[*] In other cartoon news ...
[*] In other cartoon news ...
... it seems that the "religion of peace" has apparently decided that enough is enough. God is angry over the lampooning of Mohammed (you can see the pictures there) in the EU press, so Islam is staging an international day of prayer and fasting so that they can better understand the concerns of their brothers who worship the same monotheistic God.

Oh wait: that's not right. Islam has "called for an 'international day of anger' today over publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, and a Danish activist predicted that deadly violence could break out in Europe 'at any minute'."

From the religion of peace.

What you ought to compare that to is the cartoon contest I linked to yesterday. See: in an actual civilization, when someone does something offensive or disagreeable in the arena of ideas, you don't break out the suicide bombers and the scimitars -- you fight back with the same kinds of weapons employed, which are literary, ideological, and cultural. When Tom Toles offends and depricates the military which is keeping the scary Islamic international hate force away from his neighborhood, the military doesn't do a black op to shut him up with a mouth full of dirt.

The question is not "can we be outraged by editorial cartoons?" The question is "what do we do with our outrage over cartoons?" If the answer is, "we are justified in threatening physical violence and death when someone plants a shiner on us via lampoon," then Western Civilization is over. However, is the answer is, "We answer in-kind, and make it clear that offensive ideas will not win out over the common cause and frankly the Christian society we are strivig to build," we still have a chance to win the real fight.

ht: Malkin, instapundit, others

UPDATED: I'd like to personally thank the U.S. State Department for proving that the feelings of Muslims are a more valuable commodity than the right to free political speech in Europe. I'm sure next week we're going to take the Bible out of print for the sake of quelling global unrest.

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2.02.2006
[$] Contests are fun
[$] Contests are fun
I found one here. This is my entry:



What do you think?

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[*] ecosystem dirty laundry
[*] ecosystem dirty laundry
I'm worn out over the revised TTLB ranking system for at least 3 reasons:

(1) Somehow the group blog at PyroManiacs hasn't registered yet even though it is getting twice as many unique visits a day as this blog is -- and that's pretty good.

(2) Somehow Technorati thinks I have 175 inbound links and TTLB think I have 145. Call the accountants, blast you! I don't care if it's tax time -- someone must get the stats right!

(3) The inscrutable Discoshaman at Le Sabot Post-Moderne is somehow ranked in the top 50 blogs in the TTLB -- and it's an empty blog! You can't even find the archives! ow can it be that an EMPTY BLOG is rated higher than aomin.org or triablogue or ... or ... or ... ME?!

Where is justice?! Where is the level playing field?! Where's Ken Starr or Janet Reno when you really need them?!?

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[#] um, we won?
[#] um, we won?
While Michelle Malkin is right about Ted Kennedy's somewhat-bizarre antics on Monday prior to the appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, I'm not sure that I understand her point in this post.

Way back here, I pointed out that Alito may be the "right kind of judge" that would not necessarily vote the way we would always find exciting. Yesterday we had an example of that, and the Malkin piece fleshes that out. But to use that as a method of somehow abashing Kennedy or the left?

I'm trying to follow the argument here: Because an apparent conservative was appointed to SCOTUS and on his first ruling he brole with the conservative majority, we have a reason to celebrate that we were right and the left was wrong? Somehow it doesn't make me all warm and fuzzy to think that Justice Alito will not be much different than Justice O'Connor was ...

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2.01.2006
[#] A stone's throw away
[#] A stone's throw away
Eventually, Mark Driscoll is going to do something which is going to make me rethink my concerns about him. This comes pretty close. When you click the link, make sure you scroll down to his comments to McLaren.

I wish I had the link to his original criticism. I'd love to read it.

UPDATED: Thanks to alert readers Carla and Richard, we have Pastor Driscoll's rant, about which I have a few things to say:

(1) Apparently, Pastor Driscoll is new to the field of polemics. I personally welcome him to the field.

(2) Being new to the field, he is somewhat exuberant in his exercise of the tools of the trade. Most new polemicists are.

(3) I agree with everything he said, and would only offer that I might not have said it that way. For example, his closing sentence -- and remember who's saying this -- is way over the top. However, if this is what Pastor Driscoll thinks about God's law -- that is, that we cannot rightly preach the Gospel unless we rightly discern God's law -- then I stand by him and with him in asking his particularly pointed question to Brian McLaren, and I'm dying to read what McLaren's going to say.

Lastly, if Pastor Driscoll is reading this, or has read my critique of his book Radical Reformission, and would like to interact on the way his position here might impact some of the things he said there, I'm game.

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[#] The Local Church
[#] The Local Church
Over at the TeamPyro blog, Phil Johnson covertly posted this article from Mark Dever regarding how he has come to think about the local church. It's all good stuff, but I found the last paragraph particularly interesting:
Now I’ve got more questions tumbling around in my mind, questions about seminaries and "Christian leaders" who are someplace different every weekend, and pastors who don’t understand the importance of the congregation, and the poor sheep who wander like so many frustrated consumers from one congregation to another. Lord willing, the decade to come should be as interesting as the one just passed.
See: that is something worth talking about.

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[#] a brief treatise
[#] a brief treatise
Here's a list of words:

pericope
desiderata
pluriform

It's a short list, yes? Apart from this post, if you ever see me use these words on this blog, please hit me on the head with a hammer.

Hard.

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1.31.2006
[%] Jason Janz
[%] Jason Janz
For those of you who read about the End of the Spear controversy from me, Jason Janz has posted some corrections to his original article.

Fair is fair, right? I don't think it materially changes the issue, but Jason wants to clear the air, and I admire him for it.

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1.30.2006
[*] I want a blind doctor?
[*] I want a blind doctor?
I was reading the complete transcript of the interview Jason Janz did with Steve Saint and Mart Green, and I came up on this quote from Steve Saint:
    In hindsight it seems like poetic justice. After all, I am the one that keeps challenging Christians to let their scars show. Wounded people want to be ministered to by people who have scars in the same places their patients have wounds.
I understand the point, I think: he's saying that if Christians come across as people with no sin, never have sinned, don't give sin the time of day like ivory statues, then there's no way for Christians to reach out to the world of sinners.

If that is his point, I think there is a kernel of truth in it. See: I think it is completely valid that we should not pretend to be something we are not. For example, we should not pretend to be people who do not see the appeal of sin. The question is this: do we see sin as more appealing than we see Christ? That is, we are certainly tempted every day, but what are we doing about temptation and what are we doing about renewing our minds?

We should not pretend that we are people who have no temptations and have no sin. But what we also cannot pretend to be is a people who are only tormented by sin. If we are redeemed by Christ's blood, we have victory over sin -- not just in justification, but also in sanctification. Christ's death secures our sanctification. In that, we are not a people standing around filthy and dressed in rags: we are not dead men in tombs anymore. We are facing Christ, and are clothed in Christ's righteousness, and becoming more like Him every day.

If we are not, we have to ask ourselves if we really belong to Him, amen?

But the problem I see in Steve Saint's statement here is that he thinks that I am only relevant to the unsaved sinner if I am willing to demonstrate that I am a sinner. I think that is exactly wrong: if I am just another sinner, I have nothing to offer another sinner. What is relevant to the sinner is the solution to a sinful life.

If I was going blind, I wouldn't go to a doctor who had the same problem I have but couldn't heal himself. I'd want a doctor who, in the best case, had a track record of healing people like me, or in the worst case, was able to cure his own blindness to show he could heal mine. I would have no interest in a blind doctor who might be able to sympathize with where I am right now.

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[#] The lingering question
[#] The lingering question
Because the discussion keeps getting derailed at Phil's blog, and I have said almost all I have to say on the subject there, I have not talked about the cessation vs. continuation debate that seems to almost break out in the blogosphere every other week.

It was a quiet week last week, so this must be the "on" week.

Listen: I'm not going to engage anyone on the topic of the cessation vs. continuation of spiritual gifts unless they can define the terms they are going to be defending or criticizing. If you're curious, I'm a cessationist (because I'm really a Baptist), and I'd define my position thus:

    "Cessationism" is the doctrine that the Apostles and their messengers where given signs and wonders to perform in order to validate the Gospel proclamation, that there is no promise or necessity to any future generation for those gifts, and that there is no "lesser" form of the Apostolic gifts.
If you're a continualist and you want to discuss this matter, the only way I'll engage you with more than a flourish of graphics and smart quips is if you begin by defining your position is an equally-concise and equally-specific way. If you cannot manifest the spiritual gifts of brevity or order, I have no interest in a flame war on this topic. I am interested, however, in discussing the idea that God is actively manifesting outwardly-miraculous signs and wonders in the world today for the same reason He has always done such a thing.

There ya go. Happy New Week.

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1.27.2006
[#] Another CBA post
[#] Another CBA post
So I was checking Stats for the blog this morning, and I noticed that I was getting some traffic from Colorado Springs, CO. Now, since I haven't mentioned Focus on the Family in quite some time, my intuition is that someone from CBA has just gotten word from the Advance show in Nashvegas that I have had some saucy words for them.

I have some more today, so if you're reading from CBA HQ, please take notes.

I saw this on the CBA website this morning:
Signature Website Sales Surge
01/23/2006

CBA service provider Innovative Inc.’s Signature Websites reported 4 million-plus visits to its sites and 1.6 million retailer opt-in e-mail promotions during the 2005 Christmas season. Signature Websites online sales in the fourth quarter 2005 rose 74% over the previous year, due in part to the added gift certificates and increased music sampling. Jay Langston, Innovative’s online sales & marketing director, said e-mail in-store coupon redemption rate increased 70% over 2004.
Let me say this plainly: Innovative offers a very nice product. I'm not refering anybody there via link because that would be advertising. But the question, really, is this: How productive is an Innovative web site for the individual retailer?

You know: 4 million visitors is nothing to sneeze at. I'd take 1% of that as traffic to a e-commerce web site for my store any day. The problem is that my store -- if I had an Innovative web site -- would never get 1% of 4 million visits.

I think Innovative runs about 200-300 sites -- it might be more than that. But in that case, the average Innovative site got between 295 and 445 visits a day, and that's peak season traffic. Not for nothin', Innovative, but that's how much traffic my blog gets in unique visits every day -- and if I'm being particularly randy, we get gusts up to 1000 unique visits, or more than 1500 page views per day.

As I remember, the average Innovative web site gets about 800 hits per quarter as they would report at their CBA booth at Advance this week.

My point here is this: why is it that about 300 CBA web sites as an aggregate cannot draw more interest and traffic than one lone blogger with a somewhat-curmudgeonly attitude?

Think about that. I;d be interested in opinions other than my own on that subject.

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[?] Updated Reader Snapshot
[?] Updated Reader Snapshot

That's as of 8:00 AM CST 01/27/2006. Nice to see Helsinki Finland is still on the map, and welcome to Singapore and our second reader from Japan.

There are also suspicious visits from Colorado Springs, CO, which is the HQ for the Christian Booksellers Association. It caused me to visit their website today. It's always interesting to see what they are talking about.

More on that in the next blog entry.

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