Thursday, 29 March 2007

Quote of the Day

Not an exact quote, but I got the idea from Pyromaniacs: The Amazing Dr. von Cipher's "Conversation" with "God"

"The gift of prophecy no longer exists. God told me so Himself."

And, with sincerest apologies to, and prayers for forgiveness from my dear Pastor Terry here is a timely paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 14:27:

"If anyone quotes G.K. Chesterton, he should speak two, or at the most, three sentences at a time, and someone must interpret."

Far be it from me to proceed to verse 28. :)

Take Care

Sunday, 25 March 2007

In The Beginning God Created The Heavens And The Earth.

So, here is what I was thinking: this first verse of the Bible says number of things about God and creation.

When?
In the beginning. I don’t know when the beginning was. It doesn’t particularly worry me. It could have been a few thousand years ago or it could have been billions of years. I don’t know how much time passed between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis chapter 1. All we know for sure is that it was in the beginning.

Who?
God. The only God. I was visited the other night by a couple of Mormon missionaries. We spoke about many issues concerning Mormonism and Orthodox Christianity. One of the things that occurs to me now is their view of “many gods” and the progression of manhood to godhood for all believers. Frankly, I don’t understand it and I find it difficult to figure how anyone could possibly believe it. But the question arises, “Who created the heavens and the earth?” Which god? And if that god was once a man, who created him?… and so on and so on, back to infinity.

Did what?
Created. A scientist was talking to God. He was boasting that modern science had been able to create life in the laboratory from inorganic materials. “Basically,” he said, “We don’t need you anymore God, we will soon be able to do it all without you. You say that you made the first man out of the dust of the ground, well we can do that too.” The scientist bent down to get a handful of dirt, but God stopped him. "Hold on a minute," God said, "Make your own dirt."

Created what?
The heavens and the earth. Notice the definite article, ‘the’. This is the only universe there is, folks. I understand that one of the arguments atheists use in response to the “fine tuning” evidence for the existence of God (that is, that there are so many parameters in the universe that are so precisely aligned so as to permit its continued existence and to support life here on earth, and if even one of them were just slightly different, the universe as we know it could not exist. More here) is to claim that there must be an infinite number of universes, and ours in only one of them. What a ridiculous stretch! It really is pitiful just how far atheists must go to deny the existence of God. But go there they must, because they cannot admit that He is.

All these thoughts sprang from my reading last night of Psalm 33, especially the highlighted verses. Here it is in its entirety:

Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

The LORD foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he chose for his inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down
and sees all mankind;
From his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth-
He who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
To deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in You. (Psalm 33 NIV, emphasis mine)

Take Care

Saturday, 24 March 2007

1957 Plymouth Fury


This is the first car I ever bought. It is a 1957 Plymouth fury (This is not my actual car. My brother saw this one at a show & shine and remem- bered I had owned one). But there was only one trim and colour combination for the Fury in 1957, so this looks exactly like mine.

I bought mine in the fall of 1963 when I had just got my first job, working at the local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada in Winona Ontario for $150.00 a month. (Yes, a month!). It had a 318 engine with two four barrels on a cross-ram manifold.

It was not really a very good car. Only six years old, the body looked good on the outside, but the rear fender wells inside the trunk were completely rusted away, so driving on dusty roads, the car would completely fill with dust. I had hay fever at the time, so I can remember bombing along on the country roads above the escarpment sneezing away like crazy as I drove. A fellow I worked with later in the car business, who had been a Plymouth dealer in the ‘50’s told me that the ‘57’s were the worst cars Chrysler ever made.

The 318 motor also leaked oil. I lent this car to my brother once and it ran out of oil and blew the motor. It sat in a friend’s field for a while until his dad told him to get rid of it, so I sold it to Bamford and Lampman’s wrecking yard for $18.00. They're still there; I wonder if the car is too.

If only we could see fifty years into the future. I can just picture it now at Barrett-Jackson’s.

Take Care

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Choose This Day...

Everything in our lives is affected by choices we make; even everyday things. Do we turn right or left; take the stairs or the elevator, white bread or brown? Some choices may have no measurable consequences at all. Some may have serious but unforeseeable consequences.

Suppose we are in the lobby of an office building wanting to go the top floor. Suppose two elevator doors open in front of us. We must make a choice which one to take. Normally not a big choice, but suppose we get to the top floor and find that the other one has crashed, killing all aboard. Suddenly our choice was important, as was the one made by whoever chose to get on the other elevator. The consequences of these choices may not seem fair, they were certainly unforeseeable, but nevertheless they were very real. The fact remains that in every life decision, big or small, we choose one course of action over another. If we had chosen otherwise, we will never know how different our lives would be.

Sometimes we should be fully aware of the consequences of our choices, but we still make the wrong ones. In my jail ministry I saw people involved in substance and alcohol abuse make decisions; some to change their lives for the better, some to return to their old ways. What makes the difference? I don’t know. Why is one person able to make the decision never to touch another drink, or shoot another needle, while others, for whatever reason, choose to take that step backward. I have seen people who know what they need to do, who know they must leave their old friends, their old haunts and their old lifestyles, who know what will be the consequences of their decisions, be drawn back, like a moth to a flame, into that downward spiral toward death and destruction.

Regarding God, we are also called upon to make choices. Here again, the consequences of our decisions should be clear to us. We can choose on the one hand to seek Him. Jesus has promised that all who seek will find, and that God will give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks Him (Luke 11:9-13). The writer of Hebrews tells us that God rewards those who seek Him (Heb 11:6). I believe He will reveal Himself to a genuine seeker and bring that person into a relationship with Himself to spend eternity with Him. And Jesus, and Jesus alone, has made it possible. Such a relationship is possible only because of his atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1 Thes 5:9,10)

The key is to seek Him in sincerity and humility. A broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) is what He requires. Many skeptics and atheists demand He prove Himself to their own satisfaction. It can hardly be surprising if the Creator and King of the universe scoffs at such haughty ultimatums.

On the other hand, we can reject Him, walk away and spend eternity separated from Him. The choice may not seem reasonable to some, we may not like the choice, but that’s it. It may seem arbitrary, but it’s the only choice there is. There is no ‘Option C’, and it’s a choice we are all, each one, called upon to make.

Joshua 24:15 says, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Ammonites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Take Care

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Bishop's Response

Bishop Victoria Matthews of the Diocese of Edmonton responded in a letter to the editor of the Edmonton Journal to yesterday's editorial, which was the subject of my previous post. In typical Anglican fashion, her response was much more courteous than mine. Here is the text of her letter:

Anglican Church is 'a hospital for sinners'
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Re: "Church must do what is right for homosexuals," by Bradley J. Willis, Looking Ahead, March 19.
The Opinion piece by Bradley Willis addresses the ongoing conversation in the Anglican Church of Canada about the blessing of same-sex unions.
As Willis suggests, it is a conversation of strong opinions and diverse theological positions.
Willis accuses his church of hypocrisy. Does that mean that we preach a Gospel ethic that we often fail to follow?
If that is what he means, let me be absolutely clear. Every Anglican, in the Diocese of Edmonton and beyond, believes the teaching of Christ and fails to live up to that high standard.
Loving God with heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbour as yourself is a wonderfully high standard that surpasses even our very best effort. But is this hypocrisy or simple old fashioned sinfulness?
I am of the opinion that the church is a hospital for sinners and not a showcase for saints.
As to Willis's suggestion that there are clergy in this Diocese engaged in sexually active same-sex relationships, I am not aware of any such situation. I truly believe Willis is misinformed.

The Rt. Reverend Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Edmonton, Anglican Church of Canada


I admire Bishop Victoria. Regardless what one believes about women in leadership in the church, I will tell you this: If not for her I am certain the Diocese of Edmonton would be blessing same-sex unions right now, as is New Westminster under Michael Ingham. When she was elected Bishop, the man who came in second was a theological liberal. Her arrival in Edmonton reminds me of Deborah in the book of Judges, a prophetess who led Israel, taking the reins and rising to the occasion when there were no men who would. Bishop Victoria is a solid voice for orthodox and Biblical Anglicanism.

Take Care

Thursday, 15 March 2007

The Question of Evil

Between Two Worlds posted today on the subject, "If God Is Sovereign, and God Hates Sin, Why Does He Permit Sin?" It brought to mind a few thoughts of my own. This is not meant to answer anything on that site but just to express a few thoughts of my own.

According to R C Sproul in “Reason to Believe”, evil can be defined in terms of negation and privation, negation being the opposite of good. We speak of unrighteous, unethical, disobedience. Each of these words involves the negation of the positive root of the word. Privation is the lack, or the rejection, of good. The point is that evil does not exist in and of itself. It depends on the corruption of that which is good for its existence and power. Evil would not exist if there were no yardstick, no standard of good.

Things are not evil in and of themselves. A knife, for example, is not evil itself, even though it can be used for evil. Gun powder can be used to propel fireworks into the sky on the fourth of July, or to send a bullet into a person’s heart. Heroin was developed as an anaesthetic to relieve pain, yet much evil has resulted. Many people see AIDS as evil, but is it really? AIDS is caused by a virus, just as the common cold is caused by a virus. Is the cold itself evil? No! The evil in AIDS is in the human negligence and/or immoral behaviour involved in its transmission. A virus is no more evil than a lion or a wolf hunting its prey in the wilderness. The virus is just being a virus, just as the lion and wolf are just being themselves, doing what instinct commands.

Boston college professor and Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft proposes that evil lies in “...the will, the choice, the intent, the movement of the soul, which puts a wrong order into the physical world of things and acts.” Evil requires conscious choices, which only humans, not things or animals, can make.

Evil is not a ‘thing’ in and of itself. It is the ‘falling short’ of a standard, in this case, the standard of good. In the physical sciences, ‘cold’ is not an entity, or a property in and of itself, but merely a lack of heat. Darkness is an absence of light. Evil, like cold or darkness, is not a positive, but a negative quantity. It exists, to be sure, but it exists only as a quality relative to a standard of good. God did not create evil. Evil is not a created thing, but the lack of good.

How, then, do we solve the apparent contradiction in the following statements:
- God is all powerful
- God is all good
- There is evil in the world

I believe the answer may be seen in the fact that God has given mankind free will, and mankind chooses to do evil. Without free will we would not be human. It is this freedom of choice that separates us from the animals. Since we have been given this freedom to choose, we must be allowed to choose either good or evil. If one of the choices is eliminated it is no longer a free choice. Evil’s source is not God’s power but man’s freedom. A world without hate would also be a world without love, because love, too, proceeds only from free will. Evil exists, then, not because God is not powerful enough to prevent it, nor because He is not good enough to be intolerant of it, but only because He allows us to take our own way if we insist on it.

Why do bad things sometimes just seem to happen? Why are there hurricanes, or earthquakes? I don’t know. We live in a fallen world. This was man's doing, not God's. I think of the bumper sticker which, paraphrased, says, “Stuff Happens”, or as Jesus said, the sun rises and the rain falls on the evil and the good.

In any case, as Christians we believe that in God’s time He will make everything new and set everything right. All things will be reconciled through Christ.

Take Care

Monday, 12 March 2007

You Will Be Like God…

Well, surprise, surprise.
From an article in the Edmonton Journal:

“Experts are beginning to rethink the emphasis on self-esteem.”
"According to a study (of)… more than 16,000 American college students, almost two-thirds showed levels of ‘elevated narcissism’…”


We should hardly be surprised at these results when children are taught from the beginning that each one of them is the centre of his own universe; the most important thing in all creation. When competitive sports are discouraged because those who aren’t as gifted will feel bad. When everyone gets a trophy jsut for showing up. When our schools eliminate comparative test marks so that less talented students won’t feel unhappy in comparison, and children are moved on to the next grade whether the are ready or not, so their self-esteem won't be damaged.

I see it as the “god” of “modern scholarship.” It would be almost laughable if it weren’t so pitiful. Almost every generation, “experts” come along and redefine things. And gullible people somehow think that the new philosophy is better than the old.

We see it of course in the church as well. Modern (read liberal) scholars seem constantly over the years to be trying to debunk orthodox theology in favour of some new and improved way of thinking. And of course some “forward thinkers” always see the new as some kind of advancement from the old. But without fail, the new passes and the “old” proves to be valid.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mt 24:35, NIV)

I, myself, left the United Church of Canada in the mid-sixties because of the “enlightened” idea, taken seriously at the time, that “God is dead.” The concept was developed by Nietzsche, who I presume was alive at the time he came up with it, but who is since deceased and whose obituary might have read, “He is survived by, among others, God…” We can be confident that now he knows that God is indeed very much alive, and that he will be reminded of the fact for eternity.

Read the entire article

Take Care

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Go Figure

So I was thinking.

I called the atheist society today. It’s Sunday. I figured they should be open.
They weren’t. Go figure.

Their voicemail directed me to their atheist dial-a-prayer. I tried it. Nobody answered.

They were offering a special on bumper stickers.
“I don’t have a co-pilot”
“In case of the rapture, we’ll have the road to ourselves”

Oh well,
Take Care

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought...

I don’t know whether this actually took place, or if it falls into the category of “urban legend,” but for what it’s worth…

“This is an ACTUAL radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. Radio conversation released by the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations 10-10-95:
Americans: ‘Please divert your course 15 degrees the North to avoid a collision.’
Canadians: ‘Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the south.’
Americans: ‘This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert your course.’
Canadians: ‘No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.’
Americans: ’THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN. THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT'S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.’
Canadians: ‘This is a lighthouse. Your call’”

Relevant Scripture:
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Cor 1:27-29, NIV)

or

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2, KJV)


I wondered for a while why both these Scriptures came to mind. How could I explain what I thought was the connection. Then I supposed that they both speak to the arrogance of those who may think of themselves, “more highly than they ought.” (Rom 12:3)

Take Care

Friday, 9 March 2007

Myths and the Christian Faith (Edited)

It has often been pointed out by skeptics and atheists that there are similarities between Christianity and other, more ancient, myths. I have no problem with this at all.

You have heard, in one variation or another, “There is a God-shaped hole (or vacuum) in every human heart.” I believe this to be true... and Biblical. God has planted within every person an awareness of His existence. It is because of this awareness that we all need to have some spiritual dimension to our lives, some sense of a search for ultimate meaning in life. This hole will be filled with something, either by the truth or by error. I believe every religious activity is a manifestation of the quest to fill this vacuum, either with a legitimate search for God, or an attempt to avoid Him by trying to fill it with something else, something non-threatening, without the accountability of God. Something that leaves room for whatever part of the seeker’s lifestyle he does not wish to leave behind, be it pride, lust, greed, self-sufficiency or the desire to avoid accountability.

I suggest the greatest motivation to avoid God is pride. We do not like to admit that we are not self-sufficient. We do not like to see ourselves as servants. Our natural desire is to be a law unto ourselves. There is that part of us that wishes to remain independent of authority. We realize that we are all under authority, at work, in politics, etc., but somehow, bowing to God is the ultimate submission; one that many are not willing to make. Pride convinces us of our own strength; it sees humility as weakness. We see humility in others as desirable but in ourselves it is vulnerability.

Another powerful motivator in a rejection of God is our sexual lifestyle. Sexual impropriety has become so normal these days that we consider it an intrusion to be told that anything at all we desire is wrong. If we accepted God’s sovereignty over our lives there are too many things we feel we would have to give up.

But I have digressed; back to my original point; that is, the “similarity” between Christianity and other religions or myths. First of all, these supposed "similarities" are very much less than the skeptics suppose. And in some cases (Mithraism, for example) the evidence suggests that the "copying" occurred the other way around.

But if God has revealed glimpses of Himself to people throughout history and even prehistory in various parts of the world (and He has: Psalm 19, Romans 1, Acts 17), you would expect that there might be a few common themes. For instance, other religions have had some equivalent to the "Golden Rule." But these myths, as originally conceived, and to the extent they were “similar” to what became seen as truth in Christianity, were mere foreshadows of the ultimate Truth as revealed in Jesus Christ. They indicated mankind’s desire to know God in spite of the futility of doing so on mankind’s own terms and by mankind’s own effort. They were destined to remain merely a glimpse, a pale picture of the truth until God Himself, in His own time, chose to reveal Himself fully in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is the ultimate fulfilment of every search for God. He is the only way to God. Every search for God fell short until He stepped into the world Himself. Every search since, if it is without Christ, is in error. Prior to his coming into the world, every legitimate search for truth was by necessity incomplete until the actuality of his incarnation. After it, every new religious philosophy has been an attempt to avoid accepting it.

Yes, there are similarities between Christianity and other religions. But the Christian faith did not “borrow” from these others. Christianity revealed the whole truth, so long sought yet so long unattainable, which is at best only partly visible outside it.

Take Care

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

God’s Plan For Your Life

I’ve been thinking again (at least the second time this month!). This time about the first of the four spiritual laws. As I recall, it goes something like, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” What does this mean, exactly? I have had skeptics ask cynically if this means that every detail of our lives is planned and we have no real free will to make choices of our own; in other words, determinism? I would say, “No,” and I would give what may perhaps appear to be a frivolous analogy involving, of all things, a couple of card games. Let me emphasize that these are only my own idiosyncratic thoughts. If you find something here helpful, fine; if you don’t, just let them go; brush them off. An analogy is only an example to illustrate a real thing and therefore, is not the real thing. So any analogy, especially attempting to illustrate something of God, necessarily must fall short.

I believe that God’s “plan” for our lives involves, not a set series of actions that we are forced to follow robotically, and in which He controls us like puppets, but rather what, if we were to follow it perfectly, would be our “ideal’ life. His "plan" is really what He desires our lives to be, and obviously, because He is who He is, what He desires for us is best.

Now, as an example, consider duplicate bridge. In a duplicate bridge tournament, every table is given the same hands, then must bid and play their cards. Not all competitors bid or play their cards the same. But there is an “ideal” contract where those who bid and make it are awarded the maximum number of points. Some players might bid and make a lesser contract, but they will not be awarded as many points as those who accomplish the maximum. Players bid and play their cards according to decisions they make as play progresses. They are free to make their own bidding and playing decisions but may not always reach the best result. In a sense perhaps, the “ideal” contract represents God’s plan for one’s life. God has in mind a plan, which if followed perfectly, would result in the best possible outcome. Some will play the cards differently, but even though they may succeed to a certain extent, they may not reach the epitome of all God desires.

For another example, consider the computer solitaire game, “Freecell.” I’m sure many are familiar with it. There are thousands of possible games and I have read that there are solutions for every hand but one. In other words, in almost every deal, there is an ideal way to play the cards to win the game. This winning line of play would represent God’s plan for one’s life. But no one ever wins all the games they play. That is because they make mistakes along the way. They never make every move exactly correctly. Yet even in the games one wins, there are probably numerous sequences in which to play the cards to end up winning. In other words, to follow the analogy, even though we may not follow the perfect route to a win, if we make mistakes, we can often get back on the right track and end up with the right result.

I believe we must constantly, through prayer and reading God’s word, endeavour to discern His will for our lives. Does He have a predestined series of events planned down to the last detail for our lives? I don’t think so. Are there certain decisions and actions that He desires we would follow? I believe so. Will we always be successful in following them? No. Even the apostle Paul did not succeed perfectly.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. (Rom 7:18b-19, NIV)

Surely it is not part of God’s ideal “plan” that any of us do evil, even though He knows we will. I think there is a difference between His foreknowledge and fore-ordainment. But He can use us in spite of our mistakes; in spite of our imperfections. And He can rescue us from them when we go wrong. He can bring us back to the right way.

God does have a wonderful plan for our lives. None of us may ever follow it perfectly, but the closer we come the better. And the more we seek His counsel through prayer and the reading of His word, the closer we will come.

Take care

Sunday, 4 March 2007

1984 Grand National


It occurred to me that on my profile I indicated that one of my interests is collector cars, but I have never talked about them on this site. Unfortunately it is more of an interest than an actual pursuit because I generally have neither the budget nor the patience to take part actively in the hobby.

However, here is my current toy. It is a 1984 Buick Grand National. The picture was taken in my driveway and you can ignore the Caravan in the background.

The 1984 - 1987 Grand Nationals represent the hallmark of the '70's and '80's Buick Turbo Cars. Each year they were made they were the fastest North American production automobiles. It is claimed that GM stopped production after 1987 because they didn't want another vehicle in their stable that out-performed the Corvette. Many people still consider them to be the only true muscle car of the ‘80’s. The all-black exterior paint and the bulging hood remind us of the muscle cars of the sixties and early seventies. The Turbo V6 engine, with all of its sophisticated components, proved that technology, when applied in the right manner, could effectively substitute for cubic inches.

Beginning in 1984, the Grand National package (Option WE2) came with standard black paint, black bumpers, rub strips and guards, black front air dam, deck lid spoiler, aluminum wheels with black paint, and Grand National identification on the exterior and instrument panel. Standard was a turbocharged, fuel injected V6 (Engine Code LM9), rated at a strong 200 bhp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The new SFI (Sequential Fuel Injection) system handled fuel management and the engine also included an electronic wastegate control for engine boost adjustment. Maximum boost was set at 15 psi. To put all that power to the road, the GN came with an automatic transmission and a 3.42:1 Posi-Trac rear end. I shouldn't admit this, (being a Christian and all), but it does get rubber shifting into 2nd gear.

Grand National Production in 1984 was 2000 vehicles. Estimated remaining are about 600.

Take Care

Friday, 2 March 2007

Hinduism: a Peaceful Religion?

I always thought Hindus were supposed to be such gentle people. Here is a story that shows differently. Oh well, another illusion shattered.

Take Care

Update to "Are We Overreacting"

Here is a quote from a comment by "Tim" on Ben Witherington's blog. It's about the fifth comment down.

Quote: "With regards Daniels comment asking what's left, there is just the DNA 'evidence' really, and taking this quote of Mr Jacobovici's from the NYT it's going to be very easy to deal with that as well:

In an interview, Mr. Jacobovici was asked why the filmmakers did not conduct DNA testing on the other ossuaries to determine whether the one inscribed “Judah, son of Jesus” was genetically related to either the Jesus or Mary Magdalene boxes; or whether the Jesus remains were actually the offspring of Mary. “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA,” he said. “We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist. ” End of quote.

If that's the case, disingenuous is probably too mild a word.

Also, here is a cartoon by editorial cartoonist Rob Tornoe that sums things up nicely.

Take Care

Thursday, 1 March 2007

The Jesus Tomb (Are we Christians Overreacting?)

I can see how some people might think we are. A commenter on my previous post, regarding Ben Witherington’s post on the subject said this: “the gentleman protests too much.”

I also had the sense watching Al Mohler and especially William Donohue on Larry King the other night that they were overreacting a bit; a little too quick to pounce; a little too strident in their rebuttal. And I think a non-Christian especially might see it as such. So, in a sense, Anonymous, yes, I think we may show the appearance of protesting too much.

But as far as cutting Simcha Jacobovici and James Cameron some slack based on comparison with the “James” ossuary, there is a world of difference between the two cases. The James ossuary, if it legitimately relates to James the brother of Jesus, can be consistent with, and even affirm, our Christian faith. But if these “Jesus family” ossuaries did indeed contain the actual bones of Jesus, it would completely destroy what we know as the orthodox Christian faith. Because we Christians believe that what we believe is true, we must therefore believe that it is impossible for these ossuaries to have contained the bones of Jesus.

As an example, if someone were to say to you that they had seen a pig with wings flying over their head, your own first reaction would probably be to discount it. You might say, or think, something like, “That’s impossible! Pigs can’t fly.” You would not seriously think it necessary to wait to examine all the evidence to see if is true that pigs may actually be able to fly. It is the same with Christians. We know it is impossible that the bones of Jesus Christ could ever be discovered here on earth. We are confident that this story can never be proven true. It’s just that some of us, in non-Christian eyes, may be just a little too quick and strident in our reactions.

Having said all that, I’m waiting to see, especially, what other DNA "evidence" they have. All we’ve heard so far is that “Jesus” and “Mary (supposedly Magdalene)” were not blood related. Nothing yet has been said about, for instance, whether “Jude, son of Jesus” was related either to the “Jesus” of the tomb or either of the “Mary’s”. Were either, “Matthew” or “Joseph” related to each other or to “Jesus.” If none of this type of evidence is forthcoming, I would certainly wonder why not. Surely they would have tested all the DNA they had. Surely they would reveal it, even if it were inconclusive. So if nothing is revealed I think we might suspect that the evidence hurts their case. Could they be that disingenuous?

Take Care