Monday, June 26, 2006


A few days ago I received the latest SCP Journal It has a very interesting article by Alan Morrison with extensive quotes from a variety of "popular" TV preachers. He also connects much of the prosperity preaching to the New thought movement in late 19th century America. Some quotes (get the article to read them in their entirety):

Creflo A. Dollar: God is limited by man's faith to be able to act on Earth. If God is God, He can do anything He wants at any time.

Kenneth Hagin: First. . .decide what you want from God and find Scriptures which cover your case. . . How about first deciding what God wants.

Steve Munsy: You can speak anything you want into existence. Why don't they speak into existence a world where everyone is healthy or wealthy?

"And they tested God in their heart
By asking for the food of their fancy.
Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious. . ."
Psalm 78:18, 21 (NKJV)


Bumper sticker on I 20: "Cats are people, too."

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Jubak has written a sobering article at MSN Money The political ramifications of a slowing of global economic growth in China and India are serious. Slow economic growth will create pressures on their economies and societies which will have world wide consequences. Most of us go through life thinking that tomorrow will be like today, but the global system is much more fragile than many of us realize.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


President Bush is going to Vienna. My Vienna correspondent writes: On Tuesday Mr. President is coming to Vienna and the city will be totally closed off for that reason - until he leaves on Wed. evening. When I read of the number of people accompanying him, the aircraft coming in (a bit more than Austrian Air Force, I think), he is bringing his own helicopter, dozen of cars, etc. - this puts the 30 trucks that Rolling Stones roll through the world in to shame for sure.. I wonder why the "founding fathers" were against aristocracy, kings, etc. - this is similar - at least the costs to the taxpayer are..

Also the EU is discussing illegal immigration. People expect the response of European governments to illegal immigration to be about as effective as Washington's.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Things are really getting tough for the Americans at the World Cup message board its hard to root for the amerikans because its kinda like rooting for the germans at the berlin olympics.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The debate goes on! Since I know this is an ongoing controversy, I sat quietly while two history Ph.D.s discussed homeschooling. One was a "conservative Protestant" who had even taught what he called a "home schooling co-op" for home schoolers. It was made even more interesting because the other discussant was a very conscientious Roman Catholic. While each made separate points, I could see commonalities in their perspectives.

One issue that came up was home schooling parents. Both of them recognized that there are "nutty" people in the home schooling movement who are basically anti-intellectual or anti-educational. It seems to happen with both religiously conservative Catholics and Protestants. There is the propensity of home school parents to believe in historical conspiracies and reject commonly accepted factual knowledge when it goes against what some spiritual authority says. If a home schooling authority figure states that slaves loved being on the plantation or that the Holocaust did not happen, they are more likely to believe the authority figure than the factual historical data that exists. This is troubling because people like this are susceptible to cultic leadership.

There is also a deep distrust of recent historical analysis, which some would label "revisionist." Truth becomes less important than maintaining myths, especially about the founding of America. My personal view is that Christians, above all people, should be committed to the truth. God doesn't need to be defended by lies and myths.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I have not read the book or seen the movie and I am not sure I intend to do either. I was visiting over a snack with a friend of mine who teaches at the University of Washington. He is interested in this kind of thing from an academic perspective and was interviewed by the student newspaper at UW. Here are some of his statements:

The problem with the book and movie is not that it is a piece of fiction that takes liberties with how it presents the past, but rather that it is intentionally deceptive.

Re the movie's claim "that Jesus' followers regarded him as a mortal prophet until the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D." No one at Nicaea thought Jesus was a mere mortal -- rather, the debate surrounded whether he was essentially God a super-powerful Son created by God before the beginning of time.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the book and film mislead their audience not only about Christianity but about history and art as well.

Just about everything in it is inaccurate, as far as I can tell. I graded Advanced Placement History exams a few years ago and observed that quite a number of students failed their exam question on Renaissance art because they had gotten their knowledge from The Da Vinci Code.

The problem is not just that the author injects his own agenda into the story, but that he doesn't present it clearly as fiction. The author Dan Brown believes that religions, including Christianity, are made up, so he wants to make up an alternative version--one that is in step with his own biases and prejudices. But instead of saying, 'I'm making up an alternative version of Christianity that you may like better than the ones we already have," which would be the honest approach, he pretends that he is sharing actual truths about the past with the reader.

As one young scholar of Renaissance history told me recently, there are people who think they're learning about history from The Da Vinci Code, when in fact they know even less about history for having read it.

Christians and non-Christians alike could benefit from a deeper understanding of the story of early Christianity.

The question of how the Bible was put together is fascinating and enlightening, but The Da Vinci Code tells that story in a manner that can only be regarded as ludicrous. Tom Hanks, the lead actor in the film, probably put it best when he recently said that the story was loaded with 'hooey' and 'nonsense.'

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I arrived at the University of Nebraska today and since I had a bit of time I strolled over to the official university bookstore to browse. I like university bookstores because in most cases they have a selection you do not always see at a chain. You find more academic monographs.

While looking in the history section, at the end of the aisle, I spied a box with a "Marie Antoinette Action Figure." Inside the box was a plastic figurine in a long red dress and a very tall grey wig. The box said you could take the dress and wig off--I am not sure why you needed to be able to undress Marie Antoinette. But what was most interesting is that there was a button at the back of the neck--when you press it, her head pops off! Very interesting.

Now I am curious what other historical action figures in this series do. I can only imagine what an Adolf Hitler or Margaret Sanger or John F. Kennedy action figure might do.