Monday, June 30, 2003

Here, for what it's worth, is a letter I sent to President Bush today. While I harbor no illusions about my letter even being read by anyone, much less acted upon, at least I've got it off my chest now:

Dear Mr. President,

As a resident of Broward County, Florida and an ardent supporter of yours, one could fairly say that I am one of the 500 or so votes that swung the 2000 election. The reason I mention this is because I believe it is important for you to know that the number one issue I voted on was the federal judiciary.

In my opinion, the judiciary is careening out of control, as activist judges rewrite the Constitution on a whim, as demonstrated by our Supreme Court again last week. I believe that the courts are now a president's primary legacy, and no president can be considered successful if he leaves behind a hazy imprint on the courts.

While I cannot stress enough my respect and affection for you, Mr. President, I have been more than a little disappointed that you have thus far failed to use your wide popularity to push your judicial nominees through the current Senate filibuster, despite holding both houses of Congress. Instead of using the bully pulpit of the presidency to show the Senate Democrats for what they are--obstructionists--you have inexplicably remained largely silent on the matter, as though there are more important things on which to expend political capital. There are not, sir. In an era where the federal judiciary wields the legislative power (in addition to its proscribed judicial power), there is no issue more important than the courts, which are fabricating new "rights" to abhorrent behavior each day, and silencing the voice of the electorate. If conservatives cannot put judges on the court despite the Republican Party controlling the presidency and both houses of Congress, what good has it done us?

It grieves me to tell you, Mr. President, that if significant gains are not made in the federal judiciary by conservative judges who are committed to interpreting the Constitution as it was written and intended, I will not be able to vote for you again in good conscience in 2004. I am an evangelical Christian conservative who works in ministry, and I have enormous regard for your personal character and conduct. However, if the battle over the judiciary continues to be fought half-heartedly, or if anyone other than a strong conservative voice is appointed to the Supreme Court (should there be an opening), I will cast my 2004 vote for a third party, and I will encourage all my evangelical friends and acquaintances to do the same.

I am sure that your reported first choice for a Supreme Court opening, Alberto Gonzalez, is a fine, upstanding man. I'm sure that he is a loyal friend. However, those of us who worked for you and voted for you in 2000 deserve to have a nominee who clearly shares our conservative vision of constitutional interpretation. Mr. Gonzalez has given little evidence that he shares this viewpoint. The fact is that Republican nominees to the Supreme Court are in the process of destroying this country, and we conservatives can no longer settle for a wink and a "trust me" on Supreme Court nominees. Not after Sandra Day O' Conner, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy, among others.

Mr. President, I implore you to hear my concerns. As a conservative Christian, I represent the base of your party. If you lose people like me, you cannot win the election in 2004. I do not want to see a Democrat elected. But I am willing to vote for a third-party candidate, even in a close election, to send the Republican Party the message that they cannot take true conservatives for granted. The thought of a Democrat winning the 2004 election is sickening to me, but I am willing to allow it to happen to show the G.O.P. how important this issue is.

Please, Mr. President, stop the destruction of our Constitution in the federal courts. Restore some sanity to the judicial process. Stand up for nominees who believe the Constitution means something absolute, rather than subjectively in each eye of the beholder. Stand up for Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, Charles Pickering, and others. I believe you are a great man, sir, and I pray that you will do the right thing.

With warmest regards,
John Rabe
Nabbed another t-shirt from the Letterman people and their weekly "Top 10 Contest." Another highly constructive use of my time.

Here's this week's list:

Top Ten Signs You're Married To The Hulk

10. He constantly asks you if you think the Green Giant is attractive
Joe M., Pasadena, CA

9. Your husband starts buying clothes at Big & Tall and Green
Dan P., San Francisco, CA

8. Uses "Hulk Strength" Tylenol for his headaches
Jay D., Tillsonburg, Ontario

7. Frequently anger him just to get the pickle jar open
Tim H., Rio Medina, TX

6. Sobs uncontrollably when he hears "It's Not Easy Being Green"
Jen M., San Diego, CA

5. Everyone else is so impressed when he tosses tanks around. You think he looks like a damn fool
Brian D., Millville, MA

4. Flies into a jealous rage whenever you say Shrek is "cute"
Jeremy B., Cincinnati, OH

3. Grew to enormous size and turned green when Clay lost to Ruben
Frank S., Lenox, MA

2. Blames recent failures in the bedroom on "CGI problems"
John R., Cooper City, FL

1. Complains that you never call him "incredible" any more
Bob D., Huntington Beach, CA

Saturday, June 28, 2003

"In law, the moment of tempatation is the moment of choice, when a judge realizes in the case before him his strongly held view of justice, his political and moral imperative, is not embodied in a statute or in any provision of the Constitution. He must then choose between his version of justice and abiding by the American form of government. Yet the desire to do justice, whose nature seems to him obvious, is compelling, while the concept of constitutional process is abstract, rather arid, and the abstinence it counsels unsatisfying. To give in to temptation, this one time, solves an urgent human problem, and a faint crack appears in the American foundation. A jusge has begun to rule where a legislator should."

--Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America, p. 1

Friday, June 27, 2003

Here is a beautiful little article from R. Heath McClure at that I think every Calvinist ought to read: Why I Left Calvinism

Sadly, though, I suspect that those of us who stand to benefit from it the most will actually be the most likely to criticize it.
I know that I'm obsessing on the Supreme Court ruling in the Michigan case, but it's just such a breathtakingly awful ruling. Still, I'll try to let this be the last thing on it--at least for a couple of days:

Peter Wood has written perhaps the best analysis of the case I've seen yet, over at National Review Online. Most Americans simply have no idea of the Pandora's Box that has been opened in this case. These Supreme Court rulings open doors years down the road that one cannot even forsee at the time (something to remember in connection with the Texas sodomy law case as well). Among the highlights in Wood's piece:
Diversity is a compelling state interest. In these mild words the Supreme Court has effectively amended the U.S. Constitution. We now live in a nation where the highest court has endorsed the principle of group rights. The "diversity" in question is the idea that Americans are properly seen in relation to each other as members of racial and ethnic groups, and not as individuals who have equal rights before the law. The word "diversity" continues to ring in ears of many Americans as though it were a simple description of the way we are: people of diverse ancestry and a variety of cultural traditions. But that is not what "diversity" means to the administrators at the University of Michigan, or to diversity's academic advocates around the country, and it is clearly not the "diversity" that Sandra Day O'Connor just wrote into the Constitution.
All of this has supposedly done in pursuit of the absolute value of "diversity." And yet, you'll ironically find more self-imposed segregation inside these "diversified" institutions than outside of them. The effort to "diversify" campuses, as anyone who's been on a one in the last 25 years can attest, has only resulted in universities that are divided into individual little balkanized islands, with almost no interaction between them. Wood is worth quoting at length here:
25 years ago, when Justice Louis Powell speculated in his opinion in the Bakke case about how universities might justify a limited use of racial preferences, no one foresaw the generation-long elaboration of his ideas about "diversity" into a doctrine that would justify racial-theme dormitories, separate minority graduation ceremonies, revamping of whole curricula to make college for diversity-friendly; the attack on the SATs and other standardized tests as an impediment to diversity; and the pro-diversity litmus tests in the hiring of college administrators. In the world of universities, diversity became an encompassing and almost totalitarian doctrine, and then it began to spread — to business, the arts, the churches, and virtually everywhere. The popular-culture version of diversity spread everywhere — and all this despite the fact that the idea had no legal authority behind it.

O'Connor now has supplied that lack. Diversity is the legitimate law of the land. I can't help but think that the transformation of America into a regime of group rights has only just begun. The danger of hereditary groups pursuing their interests as organized factions — the danger that so worried Madison and that deeply informs our Constitution — has been waved away by the Court. Don't worry, the Court says, we can have the benefits of racial categorization to correct our inequities, and then we will retire those categorizations in 25 years or so when they are no longer needed. But factions are interest groups, which are not known for fading away when you supply them with government incentives. No, the social divisions of diversity are here to stay, along with their inherent nastiness.
If diversity is now a compelling state interest, it means that if you are in one of the groups that does not contribute to "diversity" in the eyes of the rulers (which on college campuses, as Michelle Malkin points out, even includes Asian-Americans--a smaller minority than African-Americans!), you will be the one being "compelled"--compelled to leave, compelled to quit, compelled to move. Instead of being regarded as worthy of equal protection under the law, we are now instead regarded as part of a group, and your standing is determined by which group you're classified in by which institution, no matter how disparate your individual condition might be from the average within "your group."
Memo to Trent Lott: let somebody else give the eulogy.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

In a discussion with Tim B. in the "comments" box for my Dowd diatribe, I happened to mention that I can at least respect a liberal like, say, Michael Kinsley who attempts to use some reason and logic as justification for his (incorrect) beliefs, as opposed to the sheer ovarian emotionalism of Dowd.

I coincidentally discovered that Kinsley, on the very same day, has written an excellent piece on Sandra Day O'Conner's confused "reasoning" in the Michigan affirmative action case.

Kinsley writes:
The majority opinion says that its preferred flexible-flier style of affirmative action [as opposed to the "point system" it struck down] does "not unduly harm members of any racial group." Well, this depends on what you mean by "unduly," doesn't it? As noted, we're dealing with an all-or-nothing-at-all decision here. Every time affirmative action changes the result, a minority beneficiary benefits by 100 percent and a white person is burdened 100 percent, in the only currency at issue, which is admission to the University of Michigan. This burden may be reasonable or unreasonable, but it is precisely the same size as the burden imposed by the mathematical-formula-style affirmative action that the court finds objectionable.
O'Conner is obviously uncomfortable with assigning a point value to minority status. But she is perfectly content to allow the school to reject or accept an individual student based on skin color. In other words, she takes a position against rigid discrimination, but not against arbitrary, floating discrimination. The school can't make an overall rule saying "Y number of admission decisions must be made based on race," but it can individually still make Y number of decisions based on race. The result can be exactly the same, with precisely the same amount of race discrimination taking place, as long as it's not officially enshrined as a quota.

Which just goes to show that you don't need to have any logical ability to be a Supreme Court justice.

Dear Lord, please let her step down. Today.
More on Dowd (not to be confused with "moron Dowd," which is also true enough...) :

Andrew Sullivan has some even sharper remarks for her than I did, if you can wade through all the homosexual propaganda on his site to get to them.

Sullivan says:
It would be hard to find a more appalling example of racial animus than in Maureen Dowd's column this morning. For some reason I guess I do understand, Clarence Thomas isn't just opposed by many on the Left; he is hated. He is hated because he is, in Dowd's extraordinary formulation, guilty of "a great historical ingratitude." The good negroes, in Dowd's liberal-racist world, are those grateful to their massas in the liberal hierarchy: they are grateful to Howell and Gerald and Arthur; and they know their place. For them to express the psychological torment of being advanced for racist reasons, to explain in graphic, brave and bold terms the complexity of emotions many African-Americans feel as 'beneficiaries' of racial preferences, is unacceptable. To describe such a person who has been courageous enough to put these feelings into a powerful dissent as "barking mad" is nothing short of disgusting.
Leave it to bitter, barren spinster Maureen Dowd at the New York Times to unwittingly provide the perfect illustration of the harm that racial preferences do to African-Americans. And all this while trying to demonstrate the opposite.

In (yet another) bilious screed, the notorious booze-hound Ms. Dowd comes absolutely unglued at Clarence Thomas’ dissent in the University of Michigan case. And in doing so, she perfectly demonstrates why all African-Americans should, with Thomas, be vehemently opposed to such programs.

In yesterday’s ranting, the bourbon-breathed harpy says of Thomas’ dissenting opinion: “It's poignant, really. It makes him crazy that people think he is where he is because of his race, but he is where he is because of his race...”

Read that quote again. In plain black and white (no pun intended), Maureen Dowd says that Clarence Thomas is on the Supreme Court because of his race.

I’ll leave it to James Taranto at Opinion Journal’s always-excellent “Best of the Web Today” to explain the incredible irony of Old Maid Dowd’s idiotic piece, which, remember, was written in support of so-called affirmative action programs:
Dowd pretends as if there's no substance to Thomas's argument--she labels his dissent a "therapeutic outburst"--yet she unwittingly illustrates the truth of one of his arguments, namely that racial preferences stigmatize blacks, whether or not they relied on them for advancement. As Thomas puts it:
When blacks take positions in the highest places of government, industry, or academia, it is an open question today whether their skin color played a part in their advancement. The question itself is the stigma--because either racial discrimination did play a role, in which case the person may be deemed "otherwise unqualified," or it did not, in which case asking the question itself unfairly marks those blacks who would succeed without discrimination.
Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law School in 1974. Twenty-nine years later, after a distinguished career as a public servant, he is ridiculed in the pages of one of America's more influential newspapers by a colleague who presumes that he was unqualified to gain admission on the merits.
You couldn't have paid the bleary-eyed Ms. Dowd to more perfectly illustrate the harm that racial preferences do to African-Americans. No matter what an African-American achieves in life, under racial preferences those achievements will be clouded in doubt.

Ms. Dowd and those like her will always see such achievements as merely the result of their own benevolent, loosened standards rather than the result of actual merit. She and her patronizing ilk will be waiting in the wings to remind any black who gets a little too uppity that his achievements are really only the result of their own magnanimous charity. She desperately wants to say to them "You got where you are because I lowered the bar, not because of anything you earned on your own. My condescension put you here. And don't you ever forget it."

So will there be any demonstrations outside the New York Times to protest the blatant bigotry of Maureen Dowd?
Blogger was down nearly all day and evening yesterday for "improvements." Maybe if they improve things some more, none of us will be able to post at all. Someone stop them before they improve again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

TIME magazine has a cover story this week called "Should Christians Convert Muslims?" (Incidentally, the truthful answer to that question is, of course, "yes." Any sane American, Christian or not, ought to support such an effort. Aside from the issue of eternal destinies, the indisputable fact is that evangelical Christians do not fly passenger airliners into skyscrapers, while some Muslims do. Just for safety's sake, you're a lot better off in a room full of evangelical Christians than you are a room full of Saudi Muslims, and everybody in the world knows it.)

TIME apparently sees this packet of stories as a necessary warning to the world about the ominous specter of Christians sharing their faith in the newly liberated Iraq and other Muslim countries. As Ann Coulter so aptly pointed out a month or two ago:
Liberals learned to live with Iraqi citizens being fed into plastic shredders, summary executions, maimings and unanesthetized ear-loppings. Only now have they found something truly fiendish going on in Iraq: Christian missionaries are proselytizing!
The author of the main story, TIME's "religion" writer David Van Biema, signals where the magazine might be coming from in one of the early paragraphs:
For 21 months now, Americans have been engaged in a crash course on Islam, its geography and its followers. It is not a subject we were previously interested in, but 9/11 left no choice, and the U.S. military in two countries continues its on-the-job training in sheiks and ayatullahs, Sunni customs and Shi'ite factionalism. Yet there is one group that has been thinking—passionately—about Muslims for more than a decade. Its army is weaponless, its soldiers often unpaid, its boot camps places like the Queens classroom. It has no actual connection with the U.S. government (except possibly to unintentionally muddy America's image).
I'm curious--which part of the missionary enterprise seems to be sullying America's sterling reputation? Is it the food relief brought into areas plagued by famine and government misanthropy? Or perhaps it's those insidious deliveries of medical supplies to poor and dying people? Of course, we're well aware of the high esteem and admiration with which the United States government and people are normally viewed by repressive Islamic theocracies, and you'd have to be nuts to want to jeapordize that.

The story also includes the obligatory quotes from liberal Christian groups who believe that the missionaries should simply dole out food and shut up about Christ. A sidebar story glowingly cites a Mennonite missionary who says, "You have to realize that Christianity has been part of the Middle East for 2,000 years. People here know all about my religion and don't need me to explain it. I don't feel I have anything more to teach the Muslims than they have to teach me."

Van Biema goes on to paint the evangelicals as radical, possibly violent maniacs (though again it's worth pointing out that an evangelical Christian has never detonated himself on a bus full of people):
In 1989 Argentine-born evangelist Luis Bush pointed out that 97% of the unevangelized lived in a "window" between the 10th and 40th latitudes. This immense global slice, he explained, was disproportionately poor; the majority of its inhabitants "enslaved" by Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism and, ultimately, by Satan.

In a later paper, Bush urged Christians, "Put on the full armor of God and fight with the weapons of spiritual warfare." (He has emphasized to TIME that he did not mean military action.)
One might think that the "religion" writer for the nation's largest news magazine might have at least a passing familiarity with the Bible, the Scriptures of the largest religion in a country founded almost exclusively by adherents of that religion. One would be wrong.

Instead, Van Biema finds something potentially threatening in Luis Bush's quote, when even a superficial familiarity with the Bible would rule out anything but a non-military interpretation of that statement. Van Biema includes Bush's explanation in parentheses, indicating that while this evangelist claims that he didn't mean military action, we ought to be skeptical about his assertion. Again, the religion writer for TIME magazine apparently has such a deep understanding of evangelical Christendom that he's never heard the phrase "full armor of God," a passage from the Bible that one will hear after no more than about two minutes of exposure to any evangelical church.

TIME also helpfully points out that evangelical missionaries are also liars, since they often travel undercover to avoid being killed by opressive Islamic theocracies:
...a classroom scene at Columbia International University in South Carolina reported last year by Mother Jones magazine demonstrates an unnerving ethical elasticity. "Did Jesus ever lie?" asks a lecturer. His class replies, "No." "But did Jesus raise his hand and say, 'I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?'" Again, 20 voices call out, "No!" (The instructor confirms the quote but says that it was taken out of context.)
While it's nice to see TIME suddenly taking a stand for truth-telling, I can't recall them ever being "unnerved" at the "ethical elasticity" of, say, the Clinton family. In fact, the same magazine printed lengthy excerpts from Senator Hillary Clinton's recent memoir only two weeks ago, never once referring to her long history of prevaricating (or the failure of her written account to accord with the documented history of the events she describes) as "unnerving." Nor is there apparently anything "unnerving" about a religion that encourages its adherents to drive trucks filled with explosives into heavily-populated buildings and kills its own people who convert to other faiths.

No, TIME is "unnerved" by Christians who fail to tell Islamic customs agents "I'm here to illegally share the good news of Christ with people who are not allowed to hear it." Perhaps if it were framed as a diversity issue (since in many of these countries, one will be killed if he doesn't adhere to the one state religion, Islam), TIME would be more amenable.

Of course, the magazine grudgingly tosses a few compliments to the evangelicals. It admits that they seem to genuinely care about Muslims in the Middle East and that they are far more well-informed about Islam and its people then most Americans. But the portrait it paints of the missionary effort is mixed at best, and sinister at worst. It's interesting that in a time when most people no longer believe in absolute truth, they still believe it's absolutely true that those who do believe in absolute truth are wrong and dangerous.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Race is an exceedingly difficult thing to talk about in America. The issue is highly charged, and there are certain charlatans out there who have a very vested interest in making sure it remains highly charged.

Recently, I did a program on a local Christian radio station where the question being asked was "why do so many African-American Christians vote for candidates from the Democrat Party, even though that party supports so many things they abhor?" But to even discuss the question is to invite charges of racism. Even this discussion among Christians was noticeably tense.

The bottom line is that African-Americans see the Democrat Party as "for" them, and conservatives (Republican or otherwise) as "against" them. The aforementioned charlatans have played a notable part in ensuring that this perception reigns unchallenged.

What is unfortunate in all this is that many blacks apparently cannot see the harm that is being done to them in the name of "diversity." Thomas Sowell and others have made this point repeatedly, but are denounced by the charlatans as "Uncle Toms" when they do.

So I'll say what most people--certainly most white people--are afraid to say: When an African-American comes into a work situation, he or she is now looked at with suspicion and doubt. Why? Because people think that blacks are inherently inferior? No. Because they're terrified of people who are different? No.

The suspicion exists because everyone is now familiar with racial preferences in hiring practices. And because every office has to have "a black guy," he's looked at as filling the diversity quota--even if he actually is the most qualified person for the job. The fact that he's black makes him suspect--not because people doubt the abilities of African-Americans, but rather because they know that the office must have an African-American. He's now seen as the "equal opportunity guy," even if that's not actually the case. It is assumed that he got the job on some basis other than qualifications.

This is why racial preferences in hiring now hurt African-Americans. Frankly, I can't imagine anything more devastating than to be viewed this way by one's peers. The most effective thing this system does is to cast doubt on the very real accomplishments of many African-Americans.

Whatever you happen to think of George W. Bush, he (by virtue of a speechwriter) articulated one of the greatest truths I've ever heard uttered by a politician when he spoke of "the soft bigotry of low expectations." It is simply one of the most apt phrases I've ever heard, and sums up this phenomenon perfectly.

Peter Kirsanow has a solid column at National Review Online regarding the confused and semi-contradictory Supreme Court affirmative action rulings yesterday. Though not as elegant, he makes the same point Bush did:
[W]hile the immediate practical effect may be negligible, the long-term social cost will be pronounced. Aside from the violence the decision does to the rule of law, it has consigned at least one more generation of minorities to hard labor under the stigma of perceived incompetency.
Kirsanow points out that :
[T]he Michigan opinions...impress for the sheer banality of the tortuous reasoning used to convert the plain, unambiguous language of the Fourteenth Amendment into a license to discriminate...provided it is done artfully.
There is no other way to summarize the confusing opinions handed down yesterday. As he notes, the court has decided that "diversity" is now a "compelling state interest."

If I were an African-American leader, I'd be absolutely furious with the patronizing, soft bigotry now called a "compelling state interest" by the nation's highest court. So how come none of them actually are? Indeed, they evidently view it as a victory.

Some victory.
Don't miss the 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference, November 7-9: ""Write better emails. Make more moneys."

Among the topics addressed in the sessions:
Debate: Attend a lively debate between Lady Mariam Abacha and Mr. Godwin Oyathelem. Topic: "The effectiveness of using all UPPERCASE characters."

Workshop: Grammatical errors: What's the optimal number?

Economics: A round table discussion: Is email now Nigeria's top export?
You can register by sending your bank's name, account number, your name, address, telephone number, and fax numbers...

Monday, June 23, 2003

While I'm sure that blogging can be constructive, I've been doing an experiment lately where I randomly click on some of the "10 Most Recently Published Blogs" at This list changes every minute or so. A couple of observations:

1). While I'm sure there are substantive blogs that are making a Great Impact on the universe, according to my random sampling, seven out of ten of them are published by high school girls, who are mostly upset because "that two-faced b____ Krissy told Sarah in the lunchroom that Justin and me are broken up when we're NOT! I luv Justin 4ever." If you don't believe me, check for yourself.

2). Two out of ten of them are done by working women who "hate my S.O.B. boss and won't put up with his/her s___ anymore! Why can't I fall in love? I think I'm coming down with the flu again. Life sucks."

3). The other one out of ten of them are published by would-be political and religious pundits such as myself, or really bad poets and lyricists.

One thing the vast majority of them seem to share is a great deal of pain and rage. It's horrifying to see so many people who have made (or are in the process of making) shipwreck of their lives through stupid decisions and blind devotion to the current fads of libertine culture, no matter how unhappy these practices are making them. I don't know how representative those who blog are of the general populace at large, but if you want to survey the panorama of painful, hopeless nihilism and angst that might exist around you, check out a few random blogs. See how fulfilled the many "choices" offered to us by our culture have made us.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Here's a whopper from Sen. John Kerry, uttered a little earlier today:
"The test is basic -- any person who thinks it's his or her job to push an extreme political agenda rather than to interpret the law should not be a Supreme Court justice."
Is it actually possible that the irony of this statement is completely lost on him? Frankly, I couldn't agree more with his statement, but I wonder if he really believes it. If I understand him correctly, Kerry delusionally believes that President Bush's potential nominees would be the ones "push(ing) an extreme political agenda."

Right. As opposed to, say, the leftist Supreme Court justices who manufactured a supposed "right to privacy" found nowhere in the Constitution or in American jurisprudence for nearly 200 years? As opposed to justices who manufactured a right to kill babies in pursuit of a feminist and libertine political agenda? As opposed to justices who decided that they would ignore the Constitution and no longer allow states to pass their own laws on issues of morality?

Kerry's words are indicative of someone who supports strict constructionism--but we all know he doesn't. What he's actually saying is "Now that the liberal, activist judges have imposed, by law, a worldview which most Americans (and the Constitution) find repugnant, I will not tolerate anyone who tries to return us to the moorings of the Constitution."

Kerry also noted that whatever else one of Bush's potential nominees believes, if he or she doesn't strongly support baby-killin', Kerry will see to it that the nomination is snuffed (not unlike those aborted babies).

When Kerry returned from Vietnam, he famously joined with the protesters, many of whom were the same people calling returning soldiers "baby-killers." Ironically, it turns out that Kerry himself is actually the baby-killer. Kerry, as a pro-abortion U.S. Senator, has many times more dead-baby blood on his hands than anyone who served in Vietnam. And yet the same folks who were so concerned about dead babies in Vietnam love him.
Rich Lowry has a terrific column today about the scary new prescription drug entitlement that's about to roll through Congress with hardly a whimper of protest from either side. He says:
It's the iron rule of American politics: What Granny wants, Granny gets. Right now what she wants is someone else to pay for her prescription drugs, not because she can't afford them, but because paying their cost is irritating --and Granny doesn't want to be irritated.
The only shortcoming of Lowry's column is that he completely ignores the legions of Republican panderers who are all in favor of this new federal sinkhole as well. After all, both branches of Congress are controlled by Republicans.

To use P.J. O'Rourke's phrase, we can't afford to keep "Guilding the Gramps" for much longer at this rate.
Sometimes I despair at how little agreement there is on nearly anything within Christianity. I know that we were never promised that things would be nice and neat, but still it seems like if Christ's church is a supernatural entity, there'd be some unity. Yet, even among five-point Calvinists, there are people running around anathemetizing one another as holding "different gospels" because of, say, views on sacraments. And we wonder why the church in this day and age is so individualized.

There was a time when I believed I was being called to pastoral ministry. But I'm sensing more and more that I'm not temperamentally cut out for that. I've found it generally true that it's easier to get two pagans to agree on everything than to get two Christians to agree on anything.

There's an old joke regarding this that those of you who are Christians have probably seen many times:
I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man about to jump off. I immediately ran over and said:

"Stop! Don't do it!"
"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.
I said: "Well, there's so much to live for!"
"Like what?"
"Well... are you religious or atheist?"
"Me too! Are you Christian or Jewish?"
"Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
"Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"
"Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
"Baptist Church of God."
"Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
"Reformed Baptist Church of God."
"Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"
"Reformation of 1915!"
To which I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.
I don't find the joke all that funny anymore. But I do find it all-too-true.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Drudge has some quotes from Ann Coulter's forthcoming book just up on his website. Regular readers of this blog know that I am quite a fan of Ms. Coulter's.

My favorite quote from the Drudge compilation:
If you were setting a half-bright trap to collect a half-bright menagerie, you couldn’t do better than saying “Reagan won the Cold War” and waiting to see who argues with you. It’s the intellectual equivalent of a box, a stick and a piece of cheese.
Here's a painting a friend of mine did. It's called "Last Supper (at Denny's)":

I've added a fascinating new blog to the blogroll. This one belongs to Discoshaman, an American church-planter living in the Ukraine who, in his own words, "is impossible to capture in only a few words. Debonair, athletic and devastatingly handsome do an even poorer job than most adjectives. Presbyterian, Republican, expat and cheeky strike nearer the mark."

Among Discoshaman's observations:
...the Episcopal Church has just elected its first openly gay Bishop. Undoubtedly mascara is running down stubbly-cheeks all over South Beach and the Castro District as they sob with joy for this historic first.
And also:
In one of those schadenfreude-laden ironies of life, Bishop John Spong, author of "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism" and "Christianity Must Change--Or Die" saw his congregation die at TWICE the national rate. Newark has lost 80% of its members in thirty years. He's DEFINITELY the man on a white horse that Christianity needs to save it. The Jack Kevorkian of church growth.
Good stuff.
Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League, died last night.

I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Doby on a radio program about six years ago, and he was a very classy guy. He broke into the American league only a couple of months after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, and faced some extremely trying circumstances. But he came through it without bitterness and with his class intact.

There is a great generation of icons that is leaving us, with Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Enos Slaughter, Harry Caray, and Juck Buck passing away over the past few years. We need to appreciate the Stan Musials, the Bob Fellers and the Buck O'Neils while we still have the chance.

And last night was the one-year anniversary of Jack Buck's death, which as a Cardinals fan, I still haven't fully processed. My old friend Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a nice column yesterday marking the occasion.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting is underway in Phoenix. Thus far, there has not yet been a "big story," though nearly every year one of the speakers says something that sends the national media into a frenzy. Last year, it was Jerry Vines' remarks on Islam; the year or two before that, the controversy on women in ministry.

Part of the regular backdrop of the regular meeting now is the annual protest staged by Soulforce, the homosexual advocacy group headed by Mel White, a former evangelical who once ghostwrote books for Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham, among others.

Last year in St. Louis, they staged a peaceful demonstration outside the stadium claiming that Southern Baptists are engaging in "spiritual violence" by upholding the biblical teaching against homosexual behavior. I covered the event for the Christian television program I work for, which is well-known for being quite conservative. The mere mention of my affiliation drew more than a few raised eyebrows, though everyone from Soulforce treated me with nothing less than politeness, including their media director, who did an interview with us even while well knowing our viewpoint on the issue, which I again made clear to her before the interview so that there would be no misunderstanding.

Inside the meeting itself, they planted a number of people who popped up at various times during ougoing SBC president James Merritt's address to march up to the podium (or actually about 50 yards from it, which is about is close as they could get before being hauled off by security) and begin shouting at the speaker to "stop the spiritual terrorism," etc. In an arena filled with 20,000 people, it didn't appear that anybody really even noticed it except the folks in the front row.

The Arizona Republic printed a story a few days ago in anticipation of this year's Soulforce demonstration, which included this snippet:
Studebaker chuckled when asked how Jesus would handle the arrival of Soulforce at the convention. "I think he would have said there is no problem between us. I love you," he said. "I think he probably would have met us for coffee."

Studebaker attended the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis last year and remembers how some convention participants treated Soulforce members. The majority, he said, were very nice. "But some shook their heads very condescendingly. Some parents said to their children, 'They're gays and bad people and sinners.' The (hate) starts right there."
Two things here (lousy theology aside). First, I spent several hours outside with their protest, and didn't hear anyone saying anything unkind. Granted, I was not on the lookout for disapproving headshakes, but the protesters were actually separated from the building by a closed street, with them being on one side and the vast majority of the convention "messengers" being on the other. Both sides were actually exceedingly polite (as the story accurately states). I have my doubts that anyone did what this fellow describes, but if they did, it couldn't have been more than one or two people out of 20,000. He's find more people in the secular world who would say much worse if he were to simply hold hands with another guy while walking down the street.

But secondly, I am just dying to know what was actually said in the spot where the Arizona Republic reporter wrote "hate" in parenthesis? Was it an obscenity? Was it a less strong word? Did the reporter supply her own editorial comment in the brackets? Or did Studebaker say something like "The stuff starts right there," to which the reporter asked him "what stuff?", to which he replied "the hate." In my opinion, this would be the only legitimate reason for inserting the word "hate" within that quote. But I suppose we'll never really know what he said. I looked for an email address in the news story, but there's none there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Jay Nordlinger pointed out something interesting in his Impromtus today. Actually, he's somebody quoting somebody else quoting somebody else, but it's an interesting point whoever made it:
I learned something fascinating from Jonah Goldberg's column about Hillary ("Enough with the Hillary Hoopla"). He writes, "I have no doubt she doesn't like it when Bill cheats on her. But it's clear, to me at least, that she considers the various costs of being married to Bill the price of doing business with him. Heck, when Barbara Walters asked her what would happen if Bill cheated on her again, Hillary responded, 'You know, that will be between us.'"

Will? Not would? Boy, that was an amazing tense.
Actually, it's not all that suprising when you think about it.
One of my favorite old-earth creationists, Tim Berglund, now has his own blog (thanks in no small part to Jane D...) And yes, it's all about him.
According to the left, you are now suspicious if you decide that "Gay Days" is not the time that you really want to take your small children to Disney World. At Bill Pryor's judicial confirmation hearings the other day, Sen. Russ Feingold decided that this was an issue of concern. Addressing reports that Pryor had once rescheduled a family vacation so as not to expose his six and four-year old daughters to "Gay Days," Feingold asked Pryor "...are you saying that you actually made that decision on purpose to be away at the time of that?"

To Pryor's great credit (as was the case in all his testimony), he didn't back away a bit. "We made a value judgement and changed our plan and went on another weekend," he responded. To which Feingold said "I appreciate your candor on that."

I'm telling you, I love this guy.

Incidentally, you can view some photos from the 2003 Gay Day at Disney, to give you an idea of what the kiddies would see and to warm your heart. A couple to see are this one, and this one. Incidentally, the "tossed salad" line on the shirts in the second photo is a slang reference to a homosexual sex practice. Nice, huh?

Monday, June 16, 2003

As you may know, a few weeks ago in the thick of the fallout from the Jayson Blair, New York Times columnist/reputed booze-hound Maureen Dowd famously altered a George W. Bush statement which ended up changing the meaning of what he actually said.

In her column, reacting to a new Al Qaeda bombing, Dowd wrote:
Busy chasing off Saddam, the president and vice president had told us that Al Qaeda was spent. "Al Qaeda is on the run," President Bush said last week. "That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated…They're not a problem anymore."
Dowd made it sound like Bush arrogantly claimed that Al Qaeda is no longer any threat because of his tough dealing with them. Supposedly, he now had egg on his face because of the bombing they had since perpetrated, proving he had stupidly underestimated them. The key, of course, was what she had deleted by using the elipses.

What Bush actually said (with Dowd's deletion in bold type) was:
Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly, but surely being decimated. Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore. (Applause.) And we'll stay on the hunt. To make sure America is a secure country, the Al Qaeda terrorists have got to understand it doesn't matter how long it's going to take, they will be brought to justice.”

Anyway, this is all old news, but I bring it up because I love what James Taranto is doing with it daily in Opinion Journal's "Best of the Web." He prints several selections, submitted by readers, of "Dowdified" statements from Dowd's own column. Among the "quotes" taken from Dowd's most recent column:
"I . . . have . . . ratcheted up . . . the . . . Prozac, Zoloft, Xanax and Paxil."

"Usually, I avoid . . . issues and . . . act like . . . an amateur. . . . I'm . . . a purveyor of . . . fantasy."
"I'll just die if don't get . . . Botox."
I love it.
Am I the only one who's ever noticed that there is (what sounds like) a huge edit right in the middle of "Jailhouse Rock"? Even as a little kid, I always thought "Wow, it sounds as though they stopped the tape recorder there and then started it up again," just before the guitar solo. But I've never heard a soul mention it.

Uh oh. We're getting into Larry King-column territory here again.
Okay, I know I'm on sports a bit today, but while I'm at it...

Roger Clemens is simply the greatest pitcher of my generation. This guy was winning playoff games when I was in high school (class of '87), and he's still one of the best.

Greg Maddux has done more with less than anyone I've ever watched. He's never had particularly great stuff, but pinpoint control has put him within striking distance of the magic 300-victory mark. Randy Johnson is more imposing on the mound than anybody since perhaps Bob Gibson. Pedro Martinez is a dominator.

But none of them is The Rocket. To rack up 300 wins and 4000 strikeouts in an era when the strikezone is the size of a pea, the ballparks have all shrunk, and an average power hitter knocks 30-40 dingers out of the park is simply stunning. By comparison, Bob Gibson, who was perhaps the best big-game pitcher of his era, retired with an excellent 2.91 ERA over 17 seasons. But in Gibson's best season (1968, the "Year of the Pitcher"), only six guys hit over .300 in the National League, while in (arguably) Clemens best season (1986), 20 guys did it. And in 1990, Clemens had a 1.93 ERA while 19 guys hit over .300. The man has a career ERA of just over three, and he's in his 20th season.

Martinez is the only guy on the horizon who I think even has a chance of reaching Clemens' career numbers, but even with Pedro's incredible career, he's still only just over halfway there at the age of 31! Same with Mike Mussina. Mussina has impressive numbers, but already being 34 years old he will have to perform at a similar level into his 40's in order to reach Clemens. He has a much better shot at the 300 victories than he does the 4000 strikeouts.

A Roger Clemens only comes along once in a generation or so, at best. Enjoy him while you still can.

By the way, Barry Bonds is the best overall player I've ever seen, and probably one of the three or four best ever. But that's a discussion for another day.
The joys of theological liberalism: Parishoners Demand Return of Atheist Pastor

(Spotted by the guys at the Boar's Head Tavern)
No one has ever deserved to go out on a championship more than David Robinson. His career has been nothing but class from beginning to end.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Oddest Yahoo referral since the beginning of the week: "Gerald Ford knees"

Friday, June 13, 2003

There's a good chance that, unless you purposely seek out information like this, you didn't hear about William Pryor's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Byron York has a good column on it at National Review Online. All I can say is, I love Bill Pryor. May his tribe increase.
Pryor has said some very blunt things in the past. For example, he's a vigorous opponent of abortion and has called the Roe v. Wade decision "the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law."

The quote appears in every anti-Pryor tract produced by the liberal interest groups that oppose his nomination. Before the hearing, Pryor no doubt knew that more than one senator would read his words to him and ask for an explanation. And indeed, right off the bat, New York Democrat Charles Schumer recited the "abomination" line and asked, "Do you believe that now?"

It was the perfect moment for Pryor to begin a backpedaling, thank-you-for-your-question-and-please-confirm-me explanation. Instead, Pryor said, simply, "I do."

Schumer looked slightly amazed. "I appreciate your candor," he said. "I really do."

Later, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter went over the same ground. Did Pryor really say such a thing? Specter asked. Was the quote accurate?

Yes, Pryor said, the quote was accurate.

Did Pryor stand by his words?

"I stand by that comment," Pryor said. "I believe that not only is [Roe] unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it has led to a morally wrong result. It has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children."

Specter seemed more than a little chagrined. "Well," he said, pausing for a moment and looking down, "let's move on."
I'm disturbed that I hear so little, even among my conservative, Christian friends, about these judicial nominations. As I've said many times before (and as only the radical left has seemed to recognize consistently), the judiciary is the whole ball of wax in today's climate. If we neglect the courts in favor of other "initiatives," it all goes to waste. Every bit of it.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Your tax dollars at work: check out this website from the U.S. State Department.

It's a page called "Muslim Life in America," and features photographs of happy Muslim families playing on swingsets, etc. So will the ACLU be suing over this government, taxpayer-funded advertisement for the "religion of peace"?
David Brinkley was a true pro. Someone with his non-flashy, dry, sometimes acerbic style could probably never make it in television journalism in today's world. He didn't look like a male model, and he didn't resort to showmanship to attract viewers. Instead, he just presented, solid, well-written news, with the occasional glint and ever-so-subtle smirk. Would that there were a David Brinkley anchoring every television newscast.

"Goodnight, David."
"I find it simply baffling that a senator would vote against even voting on a judicial nomination."
-- Sen. Tom Daschle, October 5, 1999

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Here's the Neil Postman quote from Amusing Ourselves to Death that I felt was an apt discription of blogging, even though it was written 15-plus years before blogging was even invented:
...we have here a great loop of impotence: The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing.
Actually, the context of the quote is so excellent, that I'll include the whole thing in here (from pp. 68-69 of my copy--whatever version it is. I think it's a Penguin edition). This snippet says more in one paragraph than most entire books do:
For the first time in human history, people were faced with the problem of information glut, which means that simultaneously they were faced with the problem of a diminished social and political potency.

You may get a sense of what this means by asking yourself another series of questions: what steps do you plan to take to reduce the conflict in the Middle East? Or the rates of inflation, crime, and unemployment? What are your plans for preserving the environment or reducing the risk of nuclear war? What do you plan to do about NATO, OPEC, the CIA, affirmative action, and the monstrous treatment of the Baha'is in Iran? I shall take the liberty of answering for you. You plan to do nothing about them. You may, of course, cast a ballot for someone who claims to have some plans, as well as the power to act. But this you can do only once every two or four years by giving one hour of your time, hardly a satisfying means of expressing the broad range of opinions you hold. Voting, we might even say, is the next to last refuge of the politically impotent. The last refuge is, of course, giving your opinion to a pollster, who will get a version of it through a desiccated question, and then will submerge it in a Niagara of similar opinions, and convert them into--what else?--another piece of news. Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence: The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing.
There's a good column by Thomas Sowell today touching on Major League Baseball's new policy of monitoring umpires' ball and strike calls. Apparently, the umpires are braying against MLB's attempt to impose some accountability.
Whatever the merits of each side in this issue, it all sounds much like judges complaining about restrictive sentencing guidelines and the "three strikes and you are out" laws which lock up repeat felons for life. From neither the umpires nor the judges is there the slightest acknowledgement that their own willful and arbitrary behavior is what brought on this reaction...

...Some umpires called "high strikes," some called "low strikes" and some were said to retaliate against pitchers or batters who complain by adjusting the size of the strike zone to their disadvantage.
The arbitrary, capricious strike zones imposed by individual umpires has been a longstanding blight on Major League Baseball. It's gotten a bit better recently, but I've watched way too many umpires who really believed in their heart of hearts that fans were coming out to the ballpark to watch them work (anybody remember Eric Gregg?)

And believe it or not, the officiating in the NHL is even worse.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

On the advice of some of my friends at A Better Country, I just finished reading Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Though it's a relatively short read (around 160 pages), I'm still trying to get my mind around it. Some of it I perhaps disagree with a little, some of it I probably didn't understand, but most of it just strikes me as about the most profound analysis of American society that I've ever read.

For those who haven't read it, Postman's main idea is that a society's primary form of communication (in other words, the medium through which a society's discourse mainly takes place) has a profound effect on the content of what is communicated. When American discourse was primarily mediated through the printed word, we had a society in which it was not unusual for people to attend debates (like the Lincoln-Douglas Debates) which sometimes lasted upwards of seven hours. In our modern society, American discourse is mediated through television, and as a result, because American television is an entertainment medium, we now demand to be entertained in all areas of life, including, news, education, religion, etc.

He makes one point that nailed it home for me: if this is not true, ask yourself: why there is a music theme at the beginning and end of the television news? What does music have to do with news? Music is something you find in movies and on the stage. Music is entertainment. Why is it in the news? Because American news is entertainment. It's not just that the news is presented in an entertaining fashion. It's that the news itself is entertainment. The music is there to set the theatrical mood and convey an image. The program itself is a collection of stories that have almost no bearing on your life whatsoever, chosen on the basis of how they play on television. People thinking does not play well on television. A seven hour discussion does not play well on television. Fires and explosions and sex play well on television. And so, when you watch the news, you see fires and explosions and sex. You see Lacy Peterson. You never met her. You never heard of her before she disappeared. You've never met anyone who met her. Whether her husband gets the death penalty or walks free will not make a real iota of difference in your daily life or anyone else's outside her immediate circle. So why is it on? Because it plays well.

Before the telegraph, most "news" was presented as commentary in print, and there was direct relationship (because it had to travel personally) between what was considered news and it's applicability in one's life. Information had always been inextricably linked with transportation. But with the advent of the telegraph, space was no longer a barrier for information, and so decontextualized, unrelated, unimportant pieces of information could be easily transmitted and spread. The television era has multiplied this phenemenon exponentially. It has been so successful that we don't even know what the news should be anymore. We don't know what church should be. We never question the premise that entertainment is our primary means of gathering information and of knowing.

Amazingly, this book was written in the mid '80's, and it is only more true today. I probably have a lot more to say about it, but I'm still ruminating on his points. I'm also trying to figure out how the Internet plays into it, since it was popularized long after the book was written.

He said something in the book that perfectly described blogging, I thought, even though blogging was still more than 15 years off when he wrote it. I'll try to dig up the quote tonight.
Okay, you sickos. I just got my first-ever hit from the following Yahoo search: rabe sex.

Although I guess in a way I ought to be flattered....
I see that "2 Fast 2 Furious" ran away with the box office this weekend. I haven't seen it yet, though. I was just afraid that without Vin Diesel, it might lack the subtle nuance of the first film...

Monday, June 09, 2003

I did a lot of book shopping on vacation from which my bank account will not soon recover. I'm particularly looking forward to reading the newly published Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden. I didn't even know this book existed until I grabbed it off the shelf at a Borders.

It looks like it could possibly be the definitive biography on Edwards, and I think Marsden has the spiritual sensibility to do him justice in a full, critical biography.
We took the kids to see "Finding Nemo" last night.

As an aside, I never fail to be stunned with how crowded a summer movie theater is, even with ticket prices in the $8-$8.50 ballpark. The nearest theater to us is a 24 screen monstroplex which takes up enough space for a golf course. Even with "Nemo" showing on three or four screens, we still found the shows to be all sold out until the 8:55pm viewing.

I'm not a huge Disney fan by any stretch. Most of Disney's stuff, in my opinion, glorifies rebellion, encourages silly, sentimental naturalism, and teaches romance to five year olds (who don't need to be learning about romance). However, I've truly enjoyed all of the offerings from Disney's Pixar arm, and this one was no exception. Their films are just so funny and well-done that I find them irresistable. And Monsters Inc. was the last movie I can recall where I didn't see anything that I had to have a talk with my kids about either during or after the movie.

There were a couple of things I objected to in "Nemo" (such as Nemo telling his overprotective father "I hate you" near the beginning of the film), but I was pleasantly suprised to see rebellion tied together with actual negative consequences in the movie.

Our kids get to go to the movie theater maybe three times a year (if it's an unusually family-friendly year) at the absolute most, so it's a real treat for them. There were a couple of things we needed to "talk about" afterwords (some very mild potty humor and the aformentioned "I hate you" incident, though I was encouraged to see my kids' negative reaction when it happened on the screen), but overall it was a fun night out for all.
Back from St. Louis and returning to normal, daily life again. It's been a very busy few days.

I had the opportunity to have lunch yesterday with R.T. Kendall, who retired last year as the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London (the church that Dr. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones pastored for 30 years) after serving there for 25 years. He's a fascinating man with one foot in the Reformed community and the other foot in the charismatic world. Though his opinions are largely anathema to the "truly Reformed," they cannot be easily shrugged off--there is enough theological heft behind them that they must at least be dealt with.

He recently appeared on "Focus on the Family" for three days with Dr. Dobson, an appearance which occasioned a bit of disdain amongst my pals at A Better Country. I know that there are a number of things on which I disagree (currently) with Dr. Kendall. But I also know this: this is no inbred TBN goofball with a pompadour hairdo, as we so often caricature all the charismatics. His viewpoint comes with some real scholarship behind it, and deserves to be addressed as such.

He and his family are also incidentally very lovely people who were great company at the Indian (as in India, as opposed to Native American) restaurant they were dying to go to. Apparently after 30-something years of bland English food, a little curry really hits the spot.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Entertaining baseball game last night. The Cardinals won 8-5, and there was plenty of excitement, including back-to-back triples by Tino Martinez and Mike Matheny. I covered baseball for several years and have been to a lot of games, but I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back triples.

Here's why St. Louis fans are the best in baseball (which even players on most other teams acknowledge): Tino Martinez came to St. Louis as Mark McGwire's replacement last season from the American League, where he had been on several championship teams with the New York Yankees. Since coming here, he's struggled mightily. Last season, he hit around .250, and he's hitting about the same this year. And yet, he got a big round of applause from the Cardinal fans last night, because they know he's trying. Contrast that with Sammy Sosa (pre-cork) in Chicago, who has put together a Hall of Fame career with the Cubs, and yet gets booed after a few bad weeks.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

On Sunday, we worshipped at Covenant Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood of Covenant Seminary. Among the church's former pastors was Francis Shaeffer, back in the 1940's, I believe.

The pastor is now George Robertson, who did an outstanding exposition of 2 Corithians 11:16-33. It was everything a great sermon should be: accessible, faithful to the text, absent both emotionalistic manipulation and dry scholasticism, and yet extraordinarily convicting and uplifting. He's a gifted preacher. They also happened to be serving the Lord's Supper the day we were there, which made our visit even more memorable.

Yesterday we went to the seminary bookstoore and dumped a breathtaking amount of money. It's not an enormous bookstore, but every single volume there is worth having.

It's odd to find so much great Reformed stuff here in St. Louis. When we left in 1995, I was not particularly interested in spiritual matters, so I wouldn't have even known what "Reformed" meant, let alone seek it out. But as I return, I find that Reformedom is alive and well in the Midwest. If you ever check out the Real Audio messages at Atlantic Coast Communications, you'll see that a substantial number of the ministries represented there are in St. Louis. Who knew?

Tommorrow night, we head down to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals take on the Toronto Blue Jays. They're saying there should finally be some sun tommorrow (it's been cold and rainy so far), just in time for a nice evening at the ballpark.