Sunday, April 24, 2005

Whoa Nellie!!!

I just love my day of rest! Maybe I'm just the odd man out, but I'm thanking God for the Christian Sabbath. After a very busy week, with work, class, children, cooking, cleaning, writing, and researching, come Sunday I truly enjoy my day of rest.
When Christ said the Sabbath was made for man, all I can say is "Praise the Lord for that!" What better day than the Lord's Day to rest and rejoice with family and friends. Oh yeah, I do think that a good dose of fellowship with fellow believers is great on the Lord's Day.
Sometimes I get the sense that we don't want to slow down. It's so easy to schedule something on a Sunday and so hard not to. But we make the choice to run ourselves raggedy and all for what?
Now I'm not a strict Sabbath guy, if I feel like going to say to a resturant on Sunday - I'll go. But what I started doing was examining my own heart and motives. Do I need to go to that resturant, or to a movie? Couldn't I spend the time with my children or reading a good devotional, or taking a nice nap? Mind you this is all after I come home from church. I believe that the Christian Sabbath is a holy day for the Lord. You can glorify God by spending time with your children and not the TV. Or fellowshiping with other believers.
I think the focus for this one day should be off the outside world, and on our relationship with God, family and friends. The Westminster Confession of Faith states

This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employements and recreations, but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. (WCF, XXI.8)

Basically let's put this in horsie terms, "Whoa Nellie! - slow down!" We need to take advantage of what God has given us, a day of rest. I think he knows what we need, don't you?
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, April 22, 2005

What's Happening, Mr. Carta'...

Man, haven't blogged in awhile. I've been doin' ALOT of writing offline for my classes. Tough, tough, tough! But this is it (at least for now!).

I'm still swinging through the blog-o-sphere and I've seen some good stuff. Such as

Keith Plummer's blog at The Christian Mind. The only question I have is how is KP able to write such looong post (yet well thought out)?
Doug's blog at Coffeeswirls. I swung to Doug's blog by way of Colin's Blogma: Dogma for the Idle Brain. Doug has an interesting post on writer's block.
The tagteam of Mr. & Mrs. Peperium at Patum Peperium. Even though they're Roman Catholic, they have some good stuff to say.
Dawn Eden's distinctly NYC Christian blog The Dawn Patrol. Dawn is a Jewish Christian Music Maven living in the city that never sleeps!

Sometimes I'm really surprised at the level of writing and insight in the blog-o-sphere. Considering that 99% of sphere is g-a-r-b-a-g-e to find something that makes you stop and think is good.

Hopefully, one day I can obtain that level and be able to make people think about the world God has placed us in. 'Nuff Said!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Drinking From a Fire Hydrant

Wow! I just came from a inro lecture on epistemology (the study of how do we know what we know?) given by J.P. Moreland. Some of the highlights include:

4 important questions in Epistemology-

1) What is knowledge and justified belief? (Okay, I'm tracking; It sounds easy)
2) Do we have knowledge and justified belief? (Alright, I'm still with you.)
3) What is the structure of ones noetic structure that best accounts for knowledge? (Okay, I'm lost!)
4) How do we know what we know and what is the extent of knowledge? (Huh, what is the extent?)

Dr. Moreland knows his 'stuff' because we covered a huge amount of information in three hours of class lecture, from learning that epistemology is a normative endeavor to dealing with skeptics from a particularist point of view.

Epistemology is one of the key philosophical categories in today's apologetic endeavor. Most people I've talked to tend to be relativist. (That's okay for you to believe, and I can believe something totally different. It's all good! - sort of attitude.) So your approach is automatically epistemological. (I've also ran into just, plain ignorant people - but that's a whole other story.)

It all comes down to "how do you know?" The essential question of epistemology. As a Christian apologist, we have to be at the top of our game, and J.P. Moreland is Micheal Jordan of the game.

Update: This happened yesterday, but due to technical difficulty I wasn't able to publish it. For some stinging reason (not my own) Blogger kept messin' up. I couldn't publish anything. But now it's cool.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Living Will (for Terri)

This is what my friend emailed me concerning Terri Shiavo. My Response is below.

Subject: Living Will

I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and
body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means.

Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood
ethically challenged politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if
their lives depended on it.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a
cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a
determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and
attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature
(State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support
machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business,
and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the
millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case.

I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for
their run for the presidency, it is my wish that they play politics with
someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to
legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these
people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my
behalf. They should mind their own business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a
political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his
or her existence a living hell.


My Response:
I guess we're on the opposite sides of the fence on the Terri Shiavo issue. The Living Will piece was comical, but full of misinformation and ad hominem attacks. For example, a feeding tube is not considered "artificial means." Terri slowly starved to death over 13 days. If she wasn't in any pain, then why did they give her morphine?

"If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a
cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a
determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and
attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day."

Her husband never allowed Terri to have any type of therapy, so she would have never sat up by herself, and to pull the plug would imply she was on life support; she wasn't. This is definitely an equivocation. Is the issue quality of life (i.e. how much can she regain her former life) or is artificial life support? Clarity is key, but obviously that is not the point of this Living Will.

"Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature
(State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support
machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business,
and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the
millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma."

Congress did not enact a special law to keep her on life support. They enacted a law for judicial review of the facts of her case, which they did not do. Its basically similar to judicial review of a death penalty case. The fact that the judges did follow the law worries me a whole lot more than Congress. The fact that judges can overrule Congress by fiat is amazing to say the least. Furthermore, Terry was not in a permanent coma.

The Terri Shiavo case is by no means an easy issue. There are a lot of question on both sides of the fence like the motives of her husband (living with his girlfriend and their two children), further brain scans to determine her mental state, and the possibility of therapy. This really would not have been an issue if she was on a respirator and brain dead, but she wasn't. What would have been wrong with looking at all the options and erring on the side of life? I definitely don't know all the answers, but it's far more serious then the Living Will lets on.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Revelation over Research...

I guess I shouldn’t be amazed at the op-ed section of the NYtimes. Paul Krugman’s article in today’s online edition is one of those jaw dropping openly biased articles.

Krugman posits a reason why liberals outnumber conservatives at the university level even in science and engineering. His reason: Conservatives value revelation over research & generally don’t respect science or research. Therefore, “It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party.”

His major example, of course, is evolution. According to Krugman, conservatives aren’t interested in the “mountain’s of evidence” that supports evolution. This view is driving conservatives to place politics above course content at universities.

Does anybody else, besides me see some serious problems with Krugman’s argument? First, it’s overly simplistic. Furthermore, he misses the point in the debate over evolutionary theories in science. Conservatives are not disregarding the “mountains of evidence.” We just admit that scientist have to interpret that mountain of evidence in light of a given worldview. It’s called “philosophy of science.”

It’s not the science or research conservatives don’t respect it’s the interpretation of the research we don’t respect. That is a huge difference. But Krugman doesn’t see that difference because in his mind it’s a done deal. Wow! And this guy gets a column in the New York Times.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Christian Community

I haven't blogged in awhile, but I had to blog about my experience at Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Artesia pastored by 21st Century Reformation blogger, Pastor Brad Hightower. I actually found out about Trinity Christian Reformed Church through Brad's blog. Like Brad, I believe that community is very important within the Christian faith. But I've also noticed, at least within the reformed circles, community means this or that particular "clique."

So when I noticed Brad discuss on his blog how important community is I took notice. I was intrigued with the church. I knew Brad can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk? A visit to his church would tell the truth. I was apprehensive at first as I walked through the front doors, but I slowly relaxed as settled into my pew seat.

The sense of community that Brad speaks about in his blog is definitely there in his church. There was friendliness and warmth from the people that seemed genuine and sincere. After the worship service members approached me with friendly smiles and handshakes that didn’t seem false or ostentatious.

A sense of community was there in the instant connections made with some of the members. Being a Biola student probably helped because I found out that there were more than a few Biola alumni in the congregation. Being an African American Christian who has attended several predominately white churches, I can sort of sense when people are truly comfortable around me and when it’s a forced act. I have to say that I truly felt a comfort from the members that didn’t seem fake at all.

This showed itself in the fact that I received two separate lunch invitations after church that caused me some confusion. (I want to apologize to the nice couple with the pregnant wife who invited me for lunch and I wasn’t able to accept.) I honestly have to say that has never happened to me before. To actually receive two separate and sincere lunch invitations felt really good. Inside I truly felt a sense of Christian community. These people didn’t know me and I didn’t know them, but I experienced first hand the Scriptures exhortation for hospitality among believers.

So what started out to be an uncomfortable morning turned out to be a wonderful time of community and true fellowship among Christian’s working out their “salvation with fear and trembling.”