Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Mark Dever writes a post on complimentarianism, defined at as "a view of the relationship between the genders that differs from gender equalism, in that it believes that both men and women are equal in status, but can have different and complementary roles." Dever describes it this way: "there are gender roles in home & church that are culturally expressed, but some gender roles are actually rooted in and mandated by Scripture." The following excerpt really stuck out to me:
... "why don't you leave this issue of complementarianism at the level of baptism or church polity? Surely you cooperate with those who disagree with you on such matters." Because, though I could be wrong, it is my best and most sober judgment that this position is effectively an undermining of--a breach in--the authority of Scripture. As Lig the paedo-baptist has often said "If there were a verse in I Timothy saying 'I do not permit an infant to be baptized . . .' we wouldn't be having this conversation about baptism! There is such a verse about women serving as teacher/elders!"
Read his whole post here.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Blazing Fire

I just finished reading a book by C.J. Mahaney called Living the Cross Centered Life. Mahaney combined two of his previous books, The Cross Centered Life and Christ Our Mediator, adding some new material.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul spoke with passion about the cross: "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." And "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..."

Mahaney urges us to not "move on" from the cross, but to, as Charles Spurgeon said, "Abide hard by the cross and search the mystery of His wounds." He seeks to carry on the legacy of, among others, Martin Luther, who said, "The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough. ... Moreover, our greatest task is to keep you faithful to this article and to bequeath this treasure to you when we die."

Mahaney states three common tendencies that keep us from putting the cross of Christ at the center of our lives:
1. Subjectivism - "basing our view of God on our changing feelings and emotions."
2. Legalism - "basing our relationship with God on our own performance."
3. Condemnation - "being more focused on our sin than on God's grace."
The book is a short read - a small book, roughly 7x5 inches, and only 176 pages - but not necessarily a quick read because of all that Mahaney packs in to his writing. I highly recommend taking some time to read this book.

Freedom Isn't Free

Here's my turn to sound unpatriotic: ran a couple of stories in the past couple of days that got my attention. The first was a story on flag-burning. There is talk in Congress of a Constitutional Amendment that would ban flag burning. Sounds like a good idea, right? I'm not so sure. Don't get me wrong - I think you have to be a complete idiot to burn the flag. But I don't think we need to legislate it. I think burning the flag is something that we have (and should have) the right to do, as well as the responsibility not to do. I think we pay too much attention to our rights while we neglect our responsibilities. But I do not think we need to legislate them. People need to realize that there are consequences for actions, and they need to start thinking about those consequences before they act. The first of this month was a "day without an immigrant." Immigrants across the county, legal and otherwise, took the day off with the intent of showing us all how much immigrants contribute to our society. Some businesses also closed their doors altogether that day. However, I was one of the many who felt like these people were not showing us what immigrants contribute, but supporting law-breaking. I have no problem with the businesses closing for the day, but I've chosen to not support those businesses. Maybe that's a small consequence for those businesses, but it's still a consequence. So go ahead and burn a flag in protest if you want - just don't expect to have too many friends afterwards.

The other article follows a similar vein concerning protesting at military funerals. Again, an unbelievingly insensitive and tasteless act. If people were protesting at the funeral of one of my friends or family members who had served in the military, I don't know if I could stop myself from doing or at least saying something I would regret. But does that mean it should be illegal? If people want to take advantage of public places to protest, isn't that their Constitutional right? I don't think there have been too many protests that haven't angered anybody. Protests by their very nature go against the grain.

I don't think it serves the best interest of the citizens of this country to start restricting the very freedoms that our soldiers have fought for and continue to fight for. As maddening as these protests are, the soldiers who died did so for the rights of the protesters, as well as the rest of us.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's Just A Game

For when you're tired of sportswriters (& announcers) taking themselves too seriously, here is a funny article written by DJ Gallo on One of my favorite parts:
Outside the facility where Barbaro had surgery yesterday, well-wishers posted signs with sentiments such as: "Thank you, Barbaro," "We Love You Barbaro," "Good Luck, Barbaro" and "Believe in Barbaro." And if Barbaro hadn't been heavily sedated, I'm sure he would have posted a note of his own after surgery: "Thanks so much for the kind words. But I'm a [bleeping] horse, so I can't read, you stupid, stupid morons."
Gallo also writes for Here are some thoughts to ponder. A couple of my favorite:
Interleague baseball is 10 years old and the media still wastes time every year debating its merits. Yes, yes – no one wants to watch an interleague series with the Royals, Marlins or Devil Rays in it. We get it. The thing is, no one wants to watch the Royals, Marlins or Devil Rays play anyone in their own league, so that’s not a really a valid argument. So shut up about it.

I’ve made light of Pat Summitt’s accomplishments in the past, but I do think she is very deserving of the new contract she signed on Monday which makes her the first women’s basketball coach to ever earn more than $1 million a season. I know I couldn’t watch women’s basketball non-stop for six months out of every year for a million bucks. Seriously. It kills your soul. And willingly putting up with that is worth seven figures in my book. She is an amazing woman.

And finally, a quote from SportsPickle:
“I think all we really need for next year is another good all-around player. You know, a go-to shooter-slasher type. Someone like my son, Mike Dunleavy, Jr. Oh, man … I almost got that out with a straight face. I was close, I was close. No, it’s okay. He knows he sucks. We joke about it all the time.”
Mike Dunleavy, Los Angeles Clippers head coach,
after his team was eliminated in Game 7 by the Suns

The Truth Shall Set You Free

My friend Noah recently spent quite some time blogging his way through a movement known as the Emerging Church, or the "Emergent Conversation." He attempted to put his finger on a definition of a movement that does not want to be defined. Not an easy task by any means, and I applaud his effort at seeking to understand it all and figure out what it means in the light of Scripture.

Yesterday Justin Taylor posted a link on his blog to "More than a Fad: Understanding the Emerging Church", an article written by Walter Henegar in the Presbyterian Church in America's web magazine. It it, Henegar attempts to sort out some of the Emerging Church's distinctives, for better or worse.

He provides a couple of good distinctions:
  • Modernism - a centuries-old philosophical climate that presumes certain knowledge can be gained through human reason and accurately expressed with words.
  • Postmodernism - the transitional era that unmasks the false hope of modernism, creating deep skepticism about all claims of knowledge.
Henegar than explains, "Though they don’t endorse it entirely, Emergent leaders believe postmodernism offers the church a fresh opportunity to rediscover a humbler, more robust expression of Christianity."

Near the end of the article, Henegar presents a challege to evangelical churches:
There’s an old story attributed to Dwight L. Moody, who was once criticized for his methods of evangelism. He responded, "I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." Reformed Christians may be right about how to reach new generations, but are we doing it? Are we seeking to rescue other professing Christians from the jaws of error? Are we willing to submit our own thinking to the scrutiny, correction, and ridicule that inevitably come from publicly joining the conversation?

Most important, are we building friendships with postmodern non-Christians, the type who bristle at the sight of steeple and pew? Do we even know such people? Are we bringing the gospel to them in dialogue, listening for their responses so we at least know they understand? And if they place their faith in Christ, are our churches prepared to embrace them without requiring a second conversion into a church culture that may have less to do with the gospel than we’re willing to admit?
Postmodern thought presents an interesting challenge to evangelicals who believe in the Truth of Jesus Christ. There are a couple of conferences that I'm aware of that are responding to the challenge. This weekend is the New Attitude Conference, which has a blog to allow non-attenders to follow along. And Desiring God is preparing to hold their annual conference, scheduled for September 29 - October 1. This year's theme is Above All Earthly Powers: The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World. Find out more here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I Thought Justice Was Supposed To Be Blind

You've got to love our legal system. Or not. You've got to love how every high profile case is tried in the media before it reaches a courtroom. Or not. You've got to love how our innocent-until-proven-guilty system has become, at least often in the court of public opinion, guilty-until-proven-innocent. Or not.

Case #1 - A 50-year-old Nebraska man was convicted on two accounts of sexually assaulting a minor, a 12-year-old girl. His sentence? 10-years of probation and 4 months electronically monitored. The judge's reasoning - while the man deserved a long prison sentence for his crimes, at 5'1" he is too short to survive prison. Hmm, maybe he should have thought about that himself before he molested a 12-year-old girl!

Case #2 - Former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of their roles in the company's collapse, charges including wire fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy and making false statements. Their actions helped lead to 25,000 Enron employees losing their jobs. Lay now faces up to 45 years in prison, Skilling up to 185. Okay, no problem here.

Case #3 - Martha Stewart serves 5 months in prison and 5 months of house arrest, and is placed on 2 years' probation for lying to prosecutors about her sale of some stock.

Case #4 -
Exhibit A: Former Florida teacher Debra Lafave admits to having sex with a 14-year-old boy in a school classroom, her home, and the back of a car while the boy's cousin was driving. Her lawyer claims she is "too pretty for prison" and she is initially sentenced to 3 years' house arrest, to be followed by 7 years' probation. Later the charges are completely dropped.
Exhibit B: Another former teacher, this time in West Virginia. Thirty-seven-year-old Toni Lyn Woods is evidently "not too pretty for prison," and is sentenced to 20 years for sexually assaulting four minors - all under age 16.

Evidently you can avoid prison if you're attractive enough, or short enough. I wonder what other qualifications apply. Seems like occassionally you may be able to avoid prison if you're rich and/or famous enough. But the other thing that came to my mind considering these and other similar cases was a question of how our society views these crimes. Do we think white-collar, corporate criminals who lie, cheat, and basically steal money are worse than those who steal the innocence of our youth? For any parents out there - would you rather have your pension or 401(k) taken away, or even lose your job, than to have a child sexually assaulted? Hopefully these cases are exceptions to the rule and will ultimately serve as wake-up calls to make sure these kinds of crimes do not go unpunished, or at least with more than the proverbial slap on the wrist.

National Security

If you've ever been watching an episode of 24 and have thought to yourself "Man, I wonder how many people Jack has killed today" then here's the site for you:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Death By Ministry"

Some interesting statistics about and suggestions for pastors in this blog post by Mark Driscoll.

Some of the stats:
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

A couple of the suggestions:
  • Exercise - Sadly, most pastors and Christian leaders I know are woefully out of shape. Many of them pound their pulpits against rock music and alcohol while their huge gut jiggles in mockery of their own gluttony. ... I find that when I work out, I drop weight, feel better, sleep better, and am better able to lead out of health with energy. The experts say the best time to exercise is in the morning and those who work out early in the day are most likely to remain on an exercise regimen.
  • Work from conviction, not guilt — Conviction comes from God and guilt comes from people. The key to being both fruitful and healthy is to do what God wants and not always say yes to or let yourself be pushed around by people who are demanding and have perfected the art of making you feel guilty if you do not do what they demand.

I've been a regular attender of four different churches in my life, and I have been frustrated by the often apparent distance between the pastor and the congregation. But it usually seems to me to be mostly the fault of the congregation - putting their pastor on a pedestal, seeing them as "Pastor" rather than a brother whom God has chosen to help lead/teach His people. I think we could all do a better job of encouraging and praying for our pastors, and seeking to develop real relationships with them as brothers.

Going, Going, Gone

This should be my last post about Barry Bonds. Unlike the previous article I linked to, here's an example of good journalism by's Brian Murphy.

A quote:
And here's the complicated part, the part where rationalization meets logic and puts it in a pretzel hold: Hundreds cheated. Pitchers he hit homers off cheated. If you judge a player by his era, if you judge Ruth by the pre-integration era, you can judge Bonds by the Juiced Era, right? He's still the best of them all, right? Caminiti, Canseco, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Giambi -- they're all suspect, aren't they? So are so many others. Besides, don't you remember 1993? That first at-bat? How natural he was? How natural his talent has always been? How pure it has always been? Don't you?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You Call That a Knife?

Anybody looking for a new utility tool? Here's a couple of options:

[HT: Glenn Beck's Picture of the Day]

Food For Thought

A recent story out of Indonesia has spread concerns about the possible mutation of the bird flu virus, causing it to be spread among humans.

Inspired by a Nigerian public service announcement, Glenn Beck has these words of wisdom to help you avoid the bird flu:

If you want to stay healthy so much,

there's just one thing you don't want to touch.
It's bird feces.

Try your very best,
don't touch or ingest bird feces.

Too Little, Too Laden

Evidently Zacarias Moussaoui wasn't supposed to be involved in 9-11. In a recent tape posted on the internet (read story here), Osama bin Laden testifies that Moussaoui was not one of the "brothers" he assigned for the 9-11 mission. If only bin Laden had been able to make it to the trial, maybe Moussaoui would not be living off U.S. taxpayers for the rest of his life.

Ice Age

30 years is a long time - or at least it can be. It's longer than I've been alive. It's as long as my older brother has been alive. But how long is it when thinking about history - and different ages/eras on the earth. Is it long enough to produce drastic changes in climate? Evidently so. shares this story from a 1975 edition of Newsweek detailing research indicating Global Cooling. But we've all heard the rhetoric concerning Global Warming in recent years - with Al Gore believing it is a bigger threat than terrorism.

Maybe global warming is happening - but you wouldn't know it from the fall-like weather we've been having the past several weeks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Baseball Been Barry Barry Good To Me

I know I may be in the minority on this one, but I'll ask it anyway. Does anybody else wish that ESPN (& other sports "news" services) would get off Barry Bonds' back? I just skimmed through this article from's Patrick Hruby.

Where do I start? I guess with some questions: Why all the attention on Barry Bonds? Okay, that one's pretty easy - because he's hit 714 home runs and has never been friendly to the media. I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd come across as very friendly if I had strangers shoving microphones in my face after I got out of the shower everyday. Okay, okay, that goes with the territory of being a professional athlete, in particular a "superstar." But I really am surprised that more athletes don't come across as cold with the media as Bonds typically does.

Why aren't there camera crews following around other suspected steroid users daily? How come we don't hear anything about Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, or Rafael Palmeiro? Are they just "out of sight, out of mind?" McGwire admitted to taking a performance-enhancing substance (Androstenedione) that baseball subsequently placed on its banned substance list. Sosa was outspoken about wanting to be first in line to test for steroids, then berated Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly for suggesting that he take a test on his own. Palmeiro chided Congress, wagging his finger and declaring, "I have never used steroids, period." Four and a half months later, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days under Major League Baseball's steroid policy.

My point is not to counter Mr. Hruby's attempt at journalism by turning it around on others. I just get tired of how hard the media jumps on stories that really aren't stories. If Bonds is indeed found to have used steroids while they were banned by baseball, then he should absolutely be punished by MLB. But does anybody really think putting an asterisk next his homerun total would accomplish anything? Maybe it could be "vacated" like the NCAA does with athletic programs who violate their rules. Anybody out there remember the 1993 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game? According to the NCAA, Michigan's Fab Five never happened, so supposedly North Carolina was unopposed in that game, right? But I'm pretty sure I've still got a tape that shows Chris Webber's time-out/technical and Donald Williams's 5-7 shooting from 3-point range.

I guess in the end my point is that this stuff all happened, whether or not it "should" have. Barry Bonds is indeed tied with Babe Ruth. The Fab Five went to two Final Fours, as freshmen and sophomores. Pete Rose is the all-time hits leader. When all is said and done, if Bonds is truly found to have cheated, let's put him & Rose in the Hall of Fame together, their plaques side-by-side. Bonds's can say "The best steroid-using home run hitter of all-time" and Rose's can say, "The best hitter to ever break the cardinal rule of baseball by gambling on it."

But until that day, I'm willing to give Bonds the benefit of the doubt.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Change Your Mind

For the past 4 or 5 years I've been kicking around the desire to write a book about repentance. A couple of times I've actually started doing some research and legwork for such a pursuit. It looks like some of the ideas I've been chasing down will be appearing in an upcoming book from John Piper. Here are a couple of quotes from him:

"...repentance is an internal change of mind and heart rather than mere sorrow for sin or mere improvement of behavior."

"...repenting is what happens inside of us that leads to the fruits of new behavior. Repentance is not the new deeds, but the inward change that bears the fruit of new deeds."

Read more here.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Super Size Me or ...

A recent study done by a group at Yale University involved over 4000 people and showed some stunning trends in how people view obesity:

Nearly half said they would swap one year of life rather than be fat, while 15 percent said they'd give up 10 years or more. About a third of respondents said they'd rather get divorced than be obese. One in five said they'd prefer to be childless; 15 percent said that they'd pick severe depression over obesity and 14 percent chose alcoholism over girth.

Ten percent of participants reported that they would rather have a child who suffered from anorexia than obesity; 8 percent said they'd prefer to have a child with a learning disability.

People in the study did draw the line on some sacrifices: Only 5 percent were willing to lose a limb, and just 4 percent would trade blindness for obesity.

To read more about the study, click here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Grace Like Rain

Last week my wife & I went to a Todd Agnew concert at our church. What a great time of worship it turned out to be. The music was tremendous, but I even enjoyed what Todd had to say in between songs. I haven't been to very many concerts where a singer's speaking in between songs actually added as much to the concert as I thought Todd did. Two of his illustrations really stuck with me:

He spoke of not having a desire to be famous, and how God seemed to tell him, "You're not a star." "Well, good, because I don't want to be famous anyway," Todd thought. But then it came to him again, "No, I mean you're not a star like the stars in the sky." "Okay, whatever - didn't have much thought of being one of them, either." Then Todd went on to explain that he was learning that being a Christian is like being the moon. Like the moon, we do not shine our own light, but reflect the light from the Son.

At another point Todd spoke of how he had been re-evaluating what he learned about Jesus growing up in Sunday school. He spoke of some of the false ideas we have about Jesus (which he sings about in his song "My Jesus") and told about how he had gone back to the Bible to see what Jesus was really like. He spoke of how Jesus said that He is "the door" by which we may be saved, and "the shepherd" who lays down His life for us. Then Todd referred to Jesus calling Himself "the bread of life" and explained that he had always thought of Jesus as the "bread-giver" of life - that Jesus gave us what we needed for life. He was right, in a way, but he came to understand that Jesus is not only the bread-giver, but the bread Himself - that He is what we need for life.

Baltimore's Finest

This is why men don't usually ask for directions: click here

[HT: Glenn Beck]


First off, the reason for the name - "Vapor in the Wind." You may have heard of the group "Casting Crowns." Their first CD featured a song entitled "Who Am I?" which contains the following chorus:
I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling,
Lord You catch me when I'm falling,
And You told me who I am.
I am Yours.
So I've entered the world of bloggers. I don't intend to be a hyper-blogger like some of the blogs I visit regularly. (Lack of internet access at work will help me avoid that.) So stop by when you get a chance, pitch in your two cents if you so desire, and enjoy a mix of light and not-so-light reading.