Presbyterians and Episcopalians Invent New Bible Study Technique

06/30/2006: In seminaries, students are taught exegesis: getting the meaning out of a passage. This is in contradistinction to eisegesis (reading meaning into a passage), which, sadly, the best scholars and teachers do at times. (It is very easy and subtle to do, and one can reach valid conclusions through errant approaches to Scripture. Unfortunately, it is a poor methodology because it can lead to grievous errors that can serve as the basis for grave heresy.)

However, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Episcopalian Church (USA) have developed a whole new framework for Biblical study and exposition: assegesis.

The new method involves a complicated process of rectal extraction that results in profoundly regressive innovative interpretations of Scripture.

HS 311: PASS

06/30/2006: Today, I took the exam for HS 311: Fundamentals of Insurance Planning, the second of the six courses for the CFP curriculum at the American College, and–according to one person I know–one of the hardest courses.

I passed, but that was a humdinger of an exam.

Insurance is a very encompassing subject, and–in all honesty–everyone should have some exposure to the material in their high school years. The concept of risk management–especially in financial matters–is a life skill that, sadly, gets overlooked.

Anyone buying a home needs to understand the different homeowner policies; how to evaluate auto insurance coverage (many people don’t purchase enough coverage); how to estimate life insurance needs; the tradeoffs between term and whole life insurance; disability and long-term care needs; the particulars of Medicare and Social Security.

Overall, the insurance course was fascinating; I never thought I’d say that about an insurance course, but it was interesting.

Next course for me: HS 321: Income Taxation. Woo-hoo!!!

Al Mohler Weighs in on Assisted Suicide

06/28/2006: I have some conflicting views on this matter. While I oppose assisted suicide, I do support the premise that voters should be able to decide if they wish to legalize it. That means I have no qualms with the Oregon voters, who voted it in.

That is not to say, however, that assisted suicide is a good thing; in fact, I see only one instance in Scripture in which a suicide gets semi-favorable treatment: Samson’s vengeance. (Even that is a stretch.) The rest receive very unfavorable treatment.

Unfortunately, Ann Lamott not only supports assisted suicide; not only did she assist a suicide; she has the audacity to call herself a Christian and brag about having done so.

The way she is going, she’s on the fast-track to become an Episcopalian Bishop.

Women’s Tennis Players Gripe a Non Sequitur

06/28/2006: How can you tell it’s Wimbledon season? The women players are whining that their prize money is less than that of the men. Venus Williams, taking a cue from Prime Minister Tony Blair, is chiming in on that issue.

I have no problem paying the women players equally, as long as they play the same number of sets as the men.

The men play up to five sets, whereas the women play up to three sets. With that workload, they should earn only 60% of what the men earn.

To get parity, they need to play up to five sets, just like the men. That means no fifth-set tiebreaker.

When that happens, then we’ll talk about equal job/equal pay.

Burt Prelutzky gives the Quote of the Day

06/28/2006: From Burt Prelutzky’s column, we get this masterpiece:

My problem is that when my new book comes out in September, I’ll want to go on Oprah’s show to plug it. But, for the life of me, I don’t know what we’d talk about. I’m not on drugs, I’m not gay, I’m not a member of a cult, I’m not a plagiarizer, I’m not going with Angelina Jolie, and, rumors to the contrary, I’m not having Tom Cruise’s baby!

Fill ‘er Up!

06/27/2006: Three guys — a Canadian farmer, Osama bin Laden, and an American engineer are working together one day. They come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it.

“I will give each of you one wish, which is three wishes total,” says the Genie.

The Canadian says, “I am a farmer, my dad was a farmer, and my son will also be a farmer. I want the land to be forever fertile in Canada.”

Pooooof! With the blink of the Genie’s eye, the land in Canada was forever made fertile for farming.

Osama bin Ladin was amazed, so he said; “I want a wall around Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran so that no infidels, Jews or Americans can come into our precious state.”

Pooooof! Again, With the blink of the Genie’s eye, there was a huge wall around those countries.

The American engineer says, “I am very curious. Please tell me more about this wall.”

The Genie explains, “Well, it’s about 5000 feet high, 500 feet thick and completely surrounds the country. Nothing can get in or out, it’s virtually impenetrable.”

The American engineer says, “Fill it with water.”

Vox Day: The Brothel or the Burqah

06/27/2006: Yesterday, Vox Day wrote an insightful and provocative column. As much as I wish he was wrong, he is in fact making some of the same points I have made on this blog, especially with respect to slavery. He provides a glimpse of what is possible as we continue to embrace European-style liberalism and feminism, as well as the specter of the expansion of Islam. This also leaves a huge challenge to the Church.

He begins the essay by laying out a sobering picture:

One of the surprises of the 21st century is the revival of slavery around the world. From the Chinese laogai to the brothels of Berlin, from Darfur to Darby, humans are being bought and sold as property. In fact, it is estimated that 27 million individuals are currently enslaved, nearly double the number that were owned as slaves throughout the entire history of American slavery.

This revival of slavery is more than a little ironic, especially in the West, considering it comes at a time when the equalitarian dogma of sexual sameness is taken for granted and millionaire descendants of African slaves demand reparations for acts committed over 14 decades ago, while ignoring Africans enslaved today.

For all the emotional masturbation in America over our past sins of 150 years ago, so-called civil rights leaders–poverty pimps–conveniently ignore the reality of slavery in post-colonial Africa, as well as the sexual slavery industry that is booming in Europe and Asia.

As for the Chinese laogais–and their widespread abuses of home churches–we turn and look the other way because our corporate leaders are blinded by dollar signs.

In his next three paragraphs, Vox nails it on the history of slavery:

In examining this issue, it is important to understand that slavery has been, throughout most of human history, an accepted institution. Every culture and every religion has embraced it, from the civilized Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to the barbarian Celts, Mongols and Zulus. Slaves have been owned by Christians, by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists alike.

There are only two cultures of which I am aware that have banned slavery without external pressure. One is Japan during the Momoyama Period of the 1580s, the other is early nineteenth-century Britain. But while the Japanese ban was inspired by one man’s dictate and did not long survive his successor, the British ban was inspired by Protestant Christianity and was spread by the daunting influence of Imperial British arms, everywhere from Europe to Asia, Africa and America.

But much has changed in the 199 years since William Wilberforce and his alliance of Quakers and Evangelicals led parliament to pass the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill of 1807. Great Britain is no longer a devoutedly Christian empire, it is now a post-Christian province of the avowedly secular European Union where only 1.2 percent of the population bothers to attend Anglican services on a weekly basis. And the rest of Western Europe has seen a similar decline in religious belief, from Iceland to Italy.

Thank you, Vox. That is exactly the point I have been making for months here. I’ve always asked the question: how many slaves did the Pagans free? In the Islammunist and Asian world, there was little objection to slavery, and in fact it is still largely practiced under the radar.

Fact is, liberty is a very recent concept, while slavery has been a hallmark of every culture throughout human history.

The abolition of slavery was in fact a purely Christian movement, driven by people who took the Bible quite seriously.

As society becomes increasingly dismissive of Christianity, the passive acceptance of slavery is hardly surprising. In fact, slavery could likely make a huge comeback, although it will be sold in more creative terms.

Vox then lays out a sobering picture regarding the women who are embracing Islam:

At the same time, women are turning to Islam at a surprising rate. While many have heard Islam is the fastest-growing religion around the world, fewer are aware that eighty percent of converts to Islam are women. Islam For Today even maintains a website with testimonies from Irish, Slovak, German and American women who have reverted, to use the Islamic parlance.

The reason for these seemingly senseless trends is that the godless faith of secular humanism, of which feminism is but one aspect, is a barren one. It offers neither the moral guidance and aspiration that is required by men nor the sense of security and affirmation that is sought after by women. Rejecting outdated notions of good and evil in its determined relativism, modern neopagans find it impossible to explain to the slaver why it is wrong for him to seek the profits to be gained by enslaving another individual, much less offer him a worthier goal.

And in an increasingly amoral and brutal environment, it is not difficult to understand why women deprived of the protections offered by traditional Judeo-Christian society – indeed, the very notion that they might need such protection is now perceived as an insult – should turn to a religious structure that guarantees them a place, however inferior, where at least they will be valued for themselves and not as inexpensive property.

As a Christian who has Islamic lineage, I have long wondered why any woman would want to be a Muslim, given that Islam is a profoundly misogynistic religion. (The Koran permits husbands to beat their wives.)

On the other hand, I think Vox is onto something here. Given that secularism abandons all semblance of morality, and given that the prevailing feminized Christianity effectively throws God under the bus while all but emasculating the men, at least Islam promotes a tangible, objective societal structure with moral absolutes and family values.

In his final two paragraphs, Vox provides a serious challenge:

The usual liberal canards about changing society and education are hopelessly irrelevant in the face of amoral greed, lust and fear revealed by these twin trends. This is not to say that there is no answer for them, but a fallen world that has already rejected the transformational power of Jesus Christ in favor of godless philosophy and unprincipled moral pablum is unlikely to consider it, let alone embrace it as the logical solution.

The human spirit, like nature, abhors a vacuum. It is looking increasingly likely that the spiritual vacuum of the 21st century will offer women a choice between the brothel and the burqah as their equalitarian dream shatters around them.

It is my hope that the Church will wake up from its feminized sleep and offer a third alternative, as both the brothel and the burqah are representative of spiritual black holes of the first order.