Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Red Envelope Project

In Current Events, General Interest on March 31, 2009 at 9:59 pm


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What comes to your mind when you think of a demonstration against abortion? We’ve all seen the images of protestors holding signs with pictures or slogans, or people kneeling outside an abortion clinic praying for those inside; but this report looks at a recent pro-life initiative that doesn’t do any of these things, rather it uses the power of numbers and a simple red envelope.

Guests include Red Envelope Project founder Christ Otto, Denise Burke of American’s United for Life, Laurie Bluedorn (a participant) and Joe Scheilder of the ProLife Action League.

Texas Board of Education

In Current Events, History, Science on March 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Charles Darwin, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress 

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Last Friday, the Texas Board of Education voted on science curriculum standards that now requires “the examination of all sides of scientific evidence” but rejects language which would have required teachers “to present both the strengths and weaknesses of current scientific theories.”

This feature with Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute and Dr. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis takes a look at this legal case and its implications for science curriculum standards for the rest of the country.

The Life and Legacy of Jonathan Edwards

In Culture, History, Testimonies, Uncategorized on March 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm


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Click here for Part II:

251 years ago this month, Jonathan Edwards, a colonial American preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans, died. He is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important theologian, and identified by some as the last great Puritan.

This feature with Dr. Steven Lawson, Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, AL, explores Edwards’ life and legacy.

Dr. Lawson wrote a wonderful profile on Edwards’ life, that I have greatly enjoyed reading through with my daughter.  The first chapter of the book includes a short biography of Edwards but spends most of its time exploring his 70 resolutions.  If you’d like to order a copy of: The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards, it is available from Reformation Trust Publishing.

Late Term Abortion Case in Kansas

In Culture, Current Events on March 25, 2009 at 5:09 pm

The ProLife Community Condemns the Shooting of George Tiller

Dr. Tiller (1941 – 2009), photo courtesy of Blognetnews.com

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Opening arguments got underway Monday, March 23, 2009, in the criminal case against Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas physician who provides late-term abortions. Tiller faces 19 misdemeanor counts of breaking a Kansas Law that stipulates how late-term abortions must be handled so that abuses of the procedure are minimized.

This report with Mary Spaulding Balch, Director of the Department of State Legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, focuses on the significance of the case.

History of Geology

In Church, Culture, General Interest, History on March 24, 2009 at 9:24 pm

The Grand Canyon, courtesy of the Library of Congress 

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The “geological record” is the story that the earth’s rocks tell us about our planet’s history. Strata, sediment, and erosion are just a few of the hundreds of terms that have entered our daily vocabulary thanks to the study of geology. Today, many scientists point to the geological record as proof of evolution and millions of years, but geologists haven’t always interpreted the data in this way.

This feature is taken from a conversation with Dr. Terry Mortenson, editor of Coming to Grips with Genesis (Master Books, 2008), on the history of geology and the theological ramifications of the age of the universe.

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death

In Church, Culture, Current Events, General Interest, History, Scripture on March 23, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Patrick Henry as played by Joshua Erber, Liberty Day

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On this day in 1775 perhaps the most well known speech of the American Revolution was delivered before the House of Burgesses meeting at St. John’s Church in Richmond, VA. Most of us are familiar with the concluding words of this now famous speech as Patrick Henry made his case for the founding of a Virginia militia.

This feature is a brief look at his speech as well as an introduction to one family who has hosted an annual celebration in honor of the speech, reminding us that God is the author of Liberty.

Guests include Dr. Paul Jehle, Executive Director of the Plymouth Foundation and Roger Erber, Pastor of Christ’s Church and Organizer of Liberty Day.

Recordings are available of the 4 excellent educational sessions from this year’s Liberty Day celebration with Dr. Paul Jehle from Resounding Voice and can be ordered by clicking here.

If you were at Liberty Day, a resource Dr. Jehle mentioned in one of his lectures was Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos or “A Defense of Liberty Against Tyrants” which was published in 1579.  President John Adams identified it as the most significant book in the American colonies during the years leading up to the American Revolution.  I have a limited number of paperback (self-published) reprints of that book available for $15.  If you’d like to order a copy, drop me an email at: paul.butler@moody.edu.

To hear an extended version of the Patrick Henry reenactment by Joshua Erber, click here:

Here is the full text of speech (courtesy of earlyamerica.com):

No man, Mr. President, thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.

And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Food Safety Legislation

In Current Events, General Interest on March 16, 2009 at 10:11 pm

photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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During the past year there have been a number of food safety related problems; most recently, the salmonella scare in peanut products. This and other food safety stories have once again led some in Congress to take action.

Last week there were bills introduced in both House and Senate committees (S. 425 and HR. 875) regarding food safety legislation.  This report focuses on the proposed legislative action as well as reaction from both the Organic Consumers Association and the Organic Farming Research Foundation

If you’d like more information of where you can find local farmers and food producers in your area, visit Local Harvest.

The Gardner Heist

In Culture, Current Events, General Interest, History on March 13, 2009 at 8:50 pm

The Concert by Vermeer
One of the masterpieces stolen in 1990
Photo courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA 

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In the early hours of March 18th, 1990, 2 men talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and in less than 90 minutes escaped with 13 pieces of art valued today at over 500 million dollars. It is the largest unsolved art theft in US history, but with a 5 million dollar reward and a new book published about the crime, there are a few who are still trying to close this very cold case.

Ulrich Boser is the author of: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft published by Smithsonian Books/Collins in Feb. 2009.

For more infmormation about Art Crime in the US, visit the FBI Art Crime Unit website.

For more infomration about the Gardner Heist case and other open cases, visit Boser’s new website.

Finally, for an interesting account of the story, visit this site from the Boston Globe.

Silence and Solitude

In Church, Religion and Worldviews, Scripture, Testimonies on March 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

The Promenade, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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In the Gospels we see Jesus regularly getting alone to pray and comune with His Father.  Often times, it occured in the midst of very busy times of ministry.   In our age of Twitter updates, iPod ear buds and Bluetooth cell phone headsets perhaps we need to be reminded to do the same–not in some mystical or monastic way, but rather to intentionally set aside the distractions of this life to actually pray and listen to what God is saying through His word.

This conversation with Dr. Don Whitney, Professor of Biblical Spirituality at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, focuses on the importance of solitude and silence in the life of the modern-day believer.  It is based on a chapter from Dr. Whitney’s book: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, published 1991 by NavPress.

If you’d like to order a copy of the book from CDB, click here.

If you like to read the chapter on: “The Discipline of Silence and Solitude,” click here.

Disarming Hostility

In Church, Missions on March 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

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How do you overcome the negative experiences some of our neighbors have had with other Christians? How can we introduce the Gospel to those who are hostile to it?  This helpful conversation with Matt Mikalatos, Regional Director for Campus Crusade’s International Campus Ministry, introduces one approach to disarming hostility.

Matt wrote an article about this topic entitled: Disarming Questions, published in the Jan/Feb 2009 Discipleship Journal.  To read the article online, click here.  

For a subscription to Discipleship Journal, click here.