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General News

August 12, 2005

PyroMarketing is coming next month.

PyroMarketing by Greg Stielstra is going to be in stores on September 27 of this year. There is no word on why Harper Collins decided to reverse their earlier decision to suppress the book.

August 09, 2005

I wanted to make you aware of a great sale over at Monergism Books. They are offering Amazing Grace: History and Theology of Calvinism DVD for the lowest price you’ve ever seen - a mere $19.95, which is $10 off the regular price (and, I believe, $10 lower than you’ll find it anywhere else). It is an excellent presentation and certainly well worth the cost. If you are interested in Christian theology, this video is definitely going to challenge you and open your eyes to some profound biblical truths.

Click here to read more.

August 04, 2005

Technorati’s report on the blogosphere.

Technorati, the site that tracks blogs, released a report entitled State of the Blogosphere, August 2005. The first part deals with the incredible growth of the blogosphere.

By the way, while you were reading that little paragraph, seven or eight new blogs were created.

Technorati is now tracking about 80,000 new weblogs every day, which means a new weblog is created about every second. That’s right, 80,000 new blogs per day. That means the blogosphere doubles in size every 5.5 months. Crazy.

Another ten or twenty blogs were created while you were reading about blogs being created.

55% of blogs are active. 13% are updated at least once per week. I’m proud to be one of the 13%.

There are between 10 and 11 articles posted every second of every day. That’s just about a million articles per day. That has doubled from the number recorded in January of this month.

Suffice it to say that the growth of the blogosphere is crazy and surely unparalleled in human history. It’s hard to believe that there are enough readers to go around. Perhaps Joe Carter is right and sooner or later blogs are going to have to begin consolidating lest the readership be spread too thin.

August 03, 2005

“I feel bad for them for having to hit somebody.”

Last night the Bluejays played in Chicago against the White Sox. In the eighth inning the Bluejay pitchers hit two Chicago batters. It was clearly unintentional. Josh Towers, one of the pitchers, said “I wasn’t trying to hit A.J. [Pierzynski] by any means — you guys know that. And Justin [Speier] wasn’t either. It just worked out that way, unfortunately for those guys.”

But according to the unwritten rules of baseball, two hit batters requires retaliation. So the next inning, when Russ Adams came to the plate, having already hit two home runs in the game, he was deliberately hit by a pitch. Since it is accepted that there will be retaliation, the Bluejays did not object - they knew it had to happen. “I feel bad for them for having to hit somebody and Russ for getting hit,” said Towers. Note the word “having.” This was something that had to be done, plain and simple.

I guess baseball is a game of law, not grace.

July 31, 2005

Iwo JimaThe most enduring memories I have of my grandfather involve sitting with him at the Legion Hall while he and I at a big plate of brown beans and he recounted some of his memories of the war. He was always so proud to take me along and show me off to the other Veterans who seemed to spend so much time at that Hall. At one point I even interviewed him for a high school project in which we were asked to find some primary sources from the Second World War.

I have often heard it said that World War 2 is the most written-about subject in history. No other event or conflict has garnered as much attention and analysis. It has been 60 years since the war ended and it seems there is as much being written about the war today as there ever was in the past. There may even be more. I believe a lot of the interest is grounded in the realization that the number of men who fought in the war is quickly diminishing. Veteran’s Day parades feature fewer and fewer men involved in that great conflict. It is no surprise, then, that a series like Band of Brothers (an excellent book and movie series that is well-worth the committment in time) has gained such popularity.

My attention was drawn recently to a project entitled Faith of Our Fathers which is being produced by Vision Forum Ministries. Douglas Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries explains, “God is giving us a special opportunity to honor our fathers. He is giving us a special moment to remember, to thank, and to learn from them. He is giving us one last moment to collectively place our children in the laps of heroes from a bygone era and to hear of the great deeds of God, His wonderful works, and His praises (Psalm 78). I have purposed to make the most of it. Toward that end, I am creating events designed to honor these fathers and connect them with the next generation. So that their stories will never be forgotten, I am producing Faith of Our Fathers, a film that addresses the role of Christian fatherhood in preparing the greatest heroes of the Twentieth Century.”

He goes on to say, “The film centers around three men, now in their eighties, each a veteran of Iwo Jima, each a bold and outspoken Christian, and each profoundly impacted by their parents. In preparation for this film, we will be joining hundreds of other vets for special events in Fredericksburg, Texas on February 18. Soon after, we will travel to several former battle islands in the Pacific, ultimately stopping on Iwo Jima with our team of about twenty-five, including the veterans who will be accompanied by their sons and grandsons. Our cameras will be rolling as these men visit the black sand beaches for the first time in sixty years, as they walk and talk about an event which I am told is as fresh in their mind today as if it happened yesterday. This event will be the culmination of two years of work and research in preparation for an opportunity which we know will never happen again. There will be no seventieth anniversary for the survivors of Iwo Jima. The few men who fought on Iwo who are alive today will be gone or too old to participate in such a memorial celebration. This is it. This is our opportunity.”

This is a presentation that I am anticipating with great excitement. It seems that it will be a wonderful opportunity to learn of the Faith of our Fathers - to learn from men who endured the unimaginable to secure for us the peace we so enjoy today.

I will be sure to let you know when the video becomes available. In the meantime, why not watch the four-minute trailer.

July 29, 2005

A reminder about the League of Reformed Bloggers.

Just a reminder that I am one of the moderators for the League of Reformed Bloggers. If you are Reformed and own a blog, you may want to consider joining. You can read about the requirements right here.

July 26, 2005

Last week I bookmarked an article I found on FoxNews. The article, entitled “”Til Death Do Us Part’ Is Dying Out” says that “ ‘Til death do us part” is going the way of “to honor and obey.” That is to say, of course, that it is going the way of the dinosaur. It’s dying out. It’s disappearing. Buh-bye.

“Vows like ‘For as long as we continue to love each other,’ ‘For as long as our love shall last’ and ‘Until our time together is over’ are increasingly replacing the traditional to-the-grave vow — a switch that some call realistic and others call a recipe for failure.” In other words, husbands are now pledging themselves to their wives she gets fat or until she puts her foot down about that new car. Women are promising to love their husbands until he loses his job or until, well, until something better comes along.

Years ago I bought an album by that phenomenally talented singer and songwriter, Weird Al Yankovic. My favorite, which my parents also loved, was called “Good Enough For Now.” It seems that satire has become reality.

Oh, I couldn’t live a single day without you
Actually, on second thought, well, I suppose I could
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, honey, you’re the greatest
Well, at any rate, I guess you’re…pretty good

Now, it seems to me I’m relatively lucky
I know I probably couldn’t ask for too much more
I honestly can say you’re an above-average lady
You’re almost just what I’ve been looking for

You’re sort of everything I’ve ever wanted
You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow
You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of
Well, not really…but you’re good enough for now

You’re pretty close to what I’ve always hoped for
That’s why my love for you is fairly strong
And I swear I’m never gonna leave you, darlin’
At least ‘til something better comes along

‘Cause you’re sort of everything I’ve ever wanted
You’re not perfect, but I love you anyhow
You’re the woman that I’ve always dreamed of
Well, not really…but you’re good enough for now
No, not really…but you’re good enough for now.

I know some people who see their marriage in those terms. They are married because, well, because it’s the thing to do. People fall in love and get married. It’s the Canadian way. But just as it is an accepted fact that people fall in love and get married, so too people fall out of love and get divorced. Again, it’s the Canadian way. You just stay married until something better comes along, whether that better thing is being single or finding love in the arms of another.

“”We’re hearing that a lot — ‘as long as our love shall last.’ I personally think it’s quite a statement on today’s times — people know the odds of divorce,” said New Jersey wedding expert Sharon Naylor, author of “Your Special Wedding Vows,” who adds that the rephrasing is also part of a more general trend toward personalizing vows.

“Naylor said killing the “death vow” doesn’t mean that people don’t take their marriage promises seriously. Quite the contrary.

“People understand that anything can happen in life, and you don’t make a promise you can’t keep. When people get divorced, they mourn the fact that they said ”til death do us part’ — you didn’t keep your word in church (if they had a church wedding). Some people are in therapy because they promised ‘til death do us part’ — it is the sticking point in the healing of a broken marriage. The wording can give you a stigma of personal failure.”“

This raises an interesting point. Is it better that these people do not make a vow they really do not feel they need to keep? Is it better that they do not bother standing before family and friends and pledging to love each other until death parts them, when in reality they know that it would take far less?

But this is missing the point. It’s nothing but a red herring.

It seems to me that marriage is not up for negotiation. Marriage is not a human institution, but a Divine one. It is not an institution that was created by humans, for humans. Marriage was created by God and only He has the right to define and, if He desires, to redefine it. When God says we can do less than pledge ourselves to each other for a lifetime, we can go ahead and do it. But something tells me that isn’t going to happen. God created marriage as a means of bringing together one woman and one man forever. ‘Til death do them part. Only the gravest of sins can seperate this bond, and weight gain is not one of them. Neither is the appearance of something better.

Aileen and I pledged before our family, before our friends, before our church and before God that we would remain together until we are separated by death. Even in our toughest times we have given no thought to forsaking that vow, for it is a vow we both intend to keep. And with God’s help, we will. And how has this benefited us? Quite simply, it has forced us to work through our difficulties, for we know that we are going to wake up next to each other every morning for the rest of our lives. We have no choice but to make this marriage work. Had we only pledged that we would love each other only until something better comes along, who knows if we would even be together anymore.

The damage done to individuals, families and society by those who feel marriage is a negotiable, malleable institution, is unestimable. Surely there is no greater evidence of the absence of Christian values in our society than the marriage meltdown. Viewing marriage as a temporary refuge, one that exists only until something better comes along, will cause greater and deeper damage. Healthy families are the building-block of a healthy society. How can we hold out any hope for our society when our families are in disarray?

July 26, 2005

I wanted to make you aware of a new blog that you may just want to make part of your regular reading. Reformation21, the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, has recently added a blog to their site. It will feature writing by such notables as Ligon Duncan (Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church), Derek Thomas (John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary), Philip Ryken (Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadephia), Rick Phillips (Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church in Coral Springs/Margate, Florida)and Carl Trueman (Associate Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary). And Justin Taylor. Don’t feel bad, I haven’t heard of him either, though I’m sure he’s a nice guy. He must also be a brave guy to take on the role of being the sole Baptist among a group of Presbyterians!

You can find the blog here. And yes, they have an RSS feed. Here is something of their mission:

Joe Carter at the blog Evangelical Outpost recent wrote:

I think that theologians need to take advantage of the Internet and especially the blogosphere to fulfill their role of “informing the laity.” Journals are an excellent way for them to stay up on current thought but it needs to trickle down into the pews.

We agree—which is one of the reasons the Alliance is launching the Reformation 21 Blog. Alliance Council members Ligon Duncan (Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church), Derek Thomas (John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary), Philip Ryken (Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadephia), Rick Phillips (Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church in Coral Springs/Margate, Florida)and Carl Trueman (Associate Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary) will be among the contributors. Bookmark and return often. We hope you enjoy the blog.