Friday, June 29, 2007

The Ten Commandments for Drivers

The Vatican recently (late June '07) its Ten Commandments for Drivers. The list bore two resemblances to the original Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17, Deuteronomy 5:6-21):

The seventh commandment, You shall not kill, re-appeared, although it had been promoted to first commandment.

The list had ten points.

Although the list contained some great rules, there was little parallelism between the Vatican's ten and the Bible's ten. It had even less cleverness, let alone humor. As my daughter says of my belches, it was truly pitiful. The one command that I enjoyed was the eighth: Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness. This compared most closely to You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Naturally, it screamed in challenge to me. Here's my attempt, and I think it's considerably better on several dimensions, even though I wrote it hurriedly and didn't have hundreds of other wise-acres to help me brainstorm.

My Ten Commandments for Drivers
1. The Lord your God hath brought you safely to adulthood and to obtain your driver's license;
you shall have no other priorities above safety.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol of your priorities, whether in the form of any task for your job, or that is for your passengers, or that is for yourself.
You shall not put the pedal to the floor for them or obsess with them; for the Lord your God is a zealous Father, chastising the children for the bad habits learned from their parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject God,
but showing safe arrival to the thousandth generation of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
3. You shall not bring shame on the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not put into the officer's heart to acquit you with a warning when he sees your "I love Jesus" bumper sticker.
4. Observe the Lord's Day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.
For six days you shall drive for labor and do all your shopping and recreation;
But the Lord's Day, when you wear church clothes, you shall not work, nor shop, nor amuse yourself -- you, or your son or your daughter, or your spouse or your employee, or your ride, so that your family and associates may attend the Lord's house on Sunday Morning.
Remember that you were a heathen in the land of sin, and the Lord your God bought you with the Blood of His Son; therefore the Lord your God commanded you not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together.
But before or after church, have fun!
5. Honor your driving instructors and your backseat drivers, as the Lord your God commands you, so that your days may be long and that your drive may go well in the lane that the Lord your God has given you.
6. You shall not cause others to kiss the pavement.
7. Neither shall you pick up honeys while cruising.
8. Neither shall you steal the right of way.
9. Neither shall you bear false witness to the officer, nor blame your neighbor for your transgression.
10. Neither shall you covet a neighboring driver; neither shall you be distracted by your neighbor's building, or landscape, or anatomy, or car, or motorcycle, nor things towed; nor your radio, or your cell phone, or anything else, when your eyes should be on the road.

Israel Versus the Church

Israel Versus the Church

Whether America, as, arguably, a Christian nation, owes its support to the nation of Israel depends on which of God’s promises to Israel still apply to the nation of Israel and which apply to the body of all believers now known as the church.

Eschatology is the biblical study of end times, but what one's conclusions depend on a larger picture of history. Before proceeding, I'd like to define the two main branches of this big picture. The definitions don't come from theological sources, but they suit my purposes for this discussion.

Dispensationalism labels a set of beliefs about God’s historical time line for revealing Himself to and redeeming man that states that God dispenses the awareness of His grace through different seven different periods called dispensations. As examples, the majority of the Old Testament times included the dispensation of The Law through the Jewish priesthoods, distinct from the New Testament age of grace with its priesthood of all believers, the Tribulation’s period of judgment, and the Millennial reign of Christ on earth.

Amillennialism labels a set of beliefs that sees a consistent continuum between the Old Testament believers and the church. It sees no need for a coming rapture, Tribulation, or Millennium since it treats related passages as symbolic. Some argue that this view has greater credibility because it has by far the longer history. On the other hand, others argue that the historical view has a lower credibility because its lineage traces back through an apostate Roman Catholic Church that whose greatest interest lay in maintaining and exercising power through continuing the Jewish tradition of a separate, theocratic priesthood.

Dispensationalism holds that several types of covenants existed between God and Israel.

Physical promises concerning territory and rule over the land;
Spiritual promises concerning how Israel, as a priesthood, could represent God to the world, culminating in birth of Messiah Jesus;
Spiritual promises concerning two ways of salvation: perfection and grace.
Extreme Dispensationalists believe that, when Christ restores faith to Israel, He will restore the priesthood, as well. A moderate and dominant view, however, sees the restoration of the priesthood, the Temple, and sacrifices as resulting from Jewish efforts apart from God's command or blessing. The moderate view recognizes that Christ’s death and resurrection obviated the Old Testament Law and priesthood. Dispensationalists believe that the promise of salvation by grace applies to both Israel and to the Church and that the symbolism of the ceremonial law instructs us concerning salvation. They do not believe, however, that God will apply all promises to Israel in the Millennium because God applied some of them to the Church. Only God’s promises concerning territory, rule, and giving saving faith to Israelites will apply at that time. Old Testament believers and the Church unite as one, distinct from physical Israel; and God will fulfill His promises to both.

Amillennialism teaches that the promises to Israel actually apply to all believers. The promises to the Jews concerning territory and rule, therefore, have allegorical or spiritual meaning, rather than geopolitical, that apply to the Church rather than to physical Israel.

As relates to this article, then, I reason as follows: Two views relate America, a nation with a Christian heritage, to Israel: The historical view holds that the promises to Israel actually apply the Church. Those promises that appear to apply to Israel the nation allegorize spiritual truths fulfilled in Christ’s relationship with His church. Israel’s rejection of the Christ resulted in God’s rejection of Israel and its judgment by Roman military campaigns in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second. National Israel, being outside the body of believers, is therefore irrelevant to current affairs between God and His church.

On the other hand, the contrasting view, dominant among evangelicals, holds that promises to Israel concerning faith and salvation belong to the Church, whereas promises to Israel concerning earthly rule and prosperity will apply to Israel when God restores it to orthodox faith in the Millennium. They also apply commandments to the gentiles to America: specifically, Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” This they see as a command to America to support modern Israel. If one realizes, however, that modern Israel continues in apostasy and, therefore, continues under God’s judgment, they should also realize that active support for Israel weakens the chastisement that God has placed upon it. Even a dispensationalist, then, can feel comfortable with forgoing loyalty to and support of national Israel.

Moreover, since Israel has repeatedly demonstrated (especially in 1967) its ability to fend for itself – or as an alternate explanation, God has fended for Israel – as well as demonstrated its ability to prosper without massive subsidies from American taxpayers, America’s aid to Israel seems superfluous.

Neither camp, therefore, owes allegiance or support to Israel. Christians need not feel guilty if America reduces its extravagant aid to Israel.

Currently Listening
Bizet: Carmen and L' Arl├ęsienne Suites

Why Darwinists Must Prove Darwin Right

If God created us, then God is God. We -- and our desires -- can't be our own gods any more. We'd have to submit to God instead of following our selfish desires. Submission is very difficult for people.

Admitting you've been wrong is even harder, because that destroys pride. The things that give people worldly self-esteem are pride in possessions, pleasure, and pride in accomplishment. If there's a God, then all those things look like sewage next to His glory and the gifts of His fellowship. If life exists only in this world, then destroying those things destroys the purpose of life.

It's very frightening to know that everything you have, everything you have experienced, and everything you've done are worthless because that means you yourself are worthless. It's like being killed. That's one reason Paul said we must die to ourselves. We must let go of those things that hinder us from seeing and pursuing the infinite riches that God promises to us along with salvation.

The worldly mind can't see or value the riches of God, so admitting to and submitting to God is all loss and no gain. Their conscience is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, for the Son of God draws all people to Himself. Since they won't yield, then they must resist, defending themselves in the only way possible: by proving that no God exists to whom to submit. It's the only way, they think, that they can avoid death. And that very thing leads them straight into the thing they fear.

Don't hate them. Pity them.

Christianity Today's Partisan Movie Review

Stefan Ulstein's irritating review of Good Night and Good Luck promotes the dominant media's leftist view of the McCarthy era.

Having just finished reading the chapters on the McCarthy era in Ann Coulter's book Treason, I challenge reviews that see George Clooney's movie as anything other than another piece of leftist, Hollywood agitprop. Even without the overwhelming evidence that Coulter documents, Ulstein's review clearly lacks care for historical fact. Ulstein's careless association of Senator Joseph McCarthy with the House Committee on Unamerican Activities forms a salient example, hypocritical in light of his statement that "McCarthy's twisting of facts created guilt by association." Whereas the review mentions Murrow's painful, obligatory production of puff pieces instead of covering "real" issues, Coulter documents how Edward Murrow conducting a dishonest, libelous attack against McCarthy that contributed to McCarthy's professional and personal destruction.

As proved by the Venona project, which monitored communications between the Soviet Union and its spies in America, McCarthy's and others' concern about Communist infiltration of the U.S. government, even to the highest level levels, had solid justification. The hysteria, it seems, came not from anti-communists, but from a Democrat-dominated establishment whose loyalty the emerging facts challenged.

I hate to see Christianity Today play into George Clooney's partisan rewrite of history and the demonizing of a flawed public servant who, it turns out, was right.

Choosing the Right Human for a Dog

Second Entry

Entry Number 2

Choosing the Right Human for a Dog

I'm so honored that a coworker asked my opinion about something, I need to fetch the emergency sewing kit in my desk to re-attach two of the buttons on my shirt! I'm not sure I know that much about dawgs, but I don't want to disappoint anybody, so I'll do my best.

Since it's best to try to match the disposition of the breed of a dawg to the right kind of human, you need to define the human's personality.

What kind of relationship will the human provide for the dawg, relative to self and others (e.g., spouse, children) in the pack?
How much attenttion (quantity time, walks, quality time, walks, and training) will the dawg get?
Can the human be trained to establish alpha-ness, or will the doggie be a spoiled puppy-wuppy-poo?
How much maintenance can the human provide (grooming, feeding, walks, medical expenses, vacuuming and shampooing carpets, walks, and providing outdoors hygiene)?
How much physical security can the human provide (e.g., protecting the dog from escape and from getting into the garbage)?
What environment will the human offer (indoor vs. outdoor vs. indoor/outdoor, walks, other pets)?
How much tolerance does the dog need to have for neighbor problems (e.g., who selfishly demand peace and quiet)?

That may look like I know a lot, but it's really just a delay tactic while I look for a web site that will help me match the human to the dawg. Now, if I just can find those buttons....


Entry Number 2.1
Regarding Entry Number 1.1

The comment about candidates not needing a third face implied that candidates (politicians) already have two.


Currently Reading: Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism

Introduction to this Blog

This blog is for all my comments on current events and such, but mostly it is a place to post all the forward emails I get and my responses.

First Entry: ridiculous stories

Drumroll, please....

My First Entry.
Entry Number 1.
The First Entry.
One shall be the number of this entry, and the number of this entry shall be One, for this entry is the first entry. Of all the entries, this entry is the first. For all generations shall this entry be known as the first. To your children, and to your childrens' children, you shall instruct them that this entry was the first entry of all entries in this blog; and your children shall you teach to teach their children, and to teach their children's children, and their children to teach their children and their children's children through all generations, that this entry is the first entry of all entries in this blog.


Entry 1.1
Associated Press has a story today titled,

Candidates Screened for First Face Transplant

CLEVELAND (Sept. 17) - In the next few weeks, five men and seven women will secretly visit the Cleveland Clinic to interview for the chance to have a radical operation that's never been tried anywhere in the world.

Now, isn't that ridiculous -- as if the candidates needed a third?


Entry 1.2
Associated Press has another ridiculous story:

Prison Locked Down After Warden Loses Keys

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. (Sept. 16) - Prisoners at the Jacksonville Correctional Center spent four days on lockdown after an assistant warden lost a set of keys. The set of about ten keys, which was still missing Friday, included a master key that opens doors to cell houses and two prison wings.
I'd like to know, why wasn't the prison already locked? Do they just let the prisoners come and go whenever they want? And if the warden lost his keys, how could they lock the prison? OK, the answer to that one is obvious. But if the warden lost his keys, what good does it do to lock the doors? The idiots need to post extra gaurds and call a locksmith to change the locks!