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When I was a math major, way back in college, I learned that an inductive proof was a good way to prove that something that was true for all positive numbers. An inductive proof requires only two things.

1. Prove it is true for 1 (the first instance).
2. Prove that if it is true for N it is true for N+1. (N -> N+1)

Simple, right?

I note that in trying to prove that Macro Evolution has happened (or that it is the way that life one earth came to be the way it is), Biologists have neither done step number one (Shown how evolution could have resulted in the first life on earth) or step number two (Shown that evolution has caused one species to evolve into another).

It could be said, I guess, that it has shown something like: If it is true for N, it is true for n+0.0001.

But I guess it’s fortunate for the Theory of Evolution that Biological proofs don’t require as much rigor as Mathematical proofs.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Jesus After The Cross

(John 20,21, Luke 24 and Acts 1, Matthew 28)

Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? *** I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. *** Peace be with you. *** As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you *** Receive the Holy Spirit. *** Do not disbelieve, but believe. *** Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. *** Feed my lambs *** Tend my sheep *** If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me! *** O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? *** These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. *** Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. *** You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you  *** It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. *** You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. *** All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you *** Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

I give thanks to God for the Upper Midwest Yearly Cycle-

April-May: Who doesn’t love spring? The kids get to run around – First picnics, things are newly green.

June-August: And everyone loves summer, too. Vacations, More Picnics, camping.

Sept-November: Every September I feel like I’ve dodged a bullet. There are those who dread the ending of summer, but not me or my family – Apple picking, Raking, Fall day trips (Can I recommend the St. Croix valley down through Red Wing?) – But don’t mark me down as someone who says that fall is his favorite time of the year – I never fully trust someone who says that – it sounds a bit elitist. What I think they mean is that Fall is underrated. True enough, but that doesn’t make it better than summer.

December: Full Christmas Preparations, expectations and celebrations. Again some people eschew all of the extra stuff that happens at Yule time – not me!

January-February: Now that we are past Christmas and New Year’s we can enjoy winter with a more full appreciation – Sledding, Winter Hikes and just sitting and watching it snow.

But March. Ugh. If you still have snow you’re sick of it. If you don’t, it’s muddy. And Brown. And wet. And all of the litter is made extremely apparent on the highways and side walks. And sand on the roads. And it’s still cold. And – I just want to go on a picnic!

But Cheer up! April is almost here! And then you can start all of the joys of the rest of the months all over again! It’s just a few days away. Pray for patience.

Maybe March is a gift from God to help us enjoy the rest of the year more fully.

In which I reproduce an email I sent to my Brother-in-law (They live far south of us – Christy is his wife, Debbie is mine) on March 26, 2001. It describes a typical snow situation for Minnesota this time of year and relates a couple interesting anecdotes. Happily we have less snow this year at this time then we did described herein – but that’s only because it has thawed much in the last two days. And we’re supposed to get another snow storm tomorrow


So I heard that Christy, when Debbie mentioned snow, asked “You still have snow?” Let me clarify.

Yes, we have snow. The only bit of grass that I can see in our yard is about an inch around the big tree in back. The snow piles on the side of our driveway are close to being taller than Debbie and the icicles are sizable. Often Daniel will be standing at the top of the stairs, pointing outside and saying “Snow, Daddy!”, but since he can’t yet pronounce the ‘s’ in snow, it comes out “No, Daddy!”  I have had to catch myself before I reprimand him for telling me no.

Our driveway is mostly clear of snow and ice (at one point it had an 18 inch base on it (here, let me pull an Apostle Paulism, and turn a parethetical remark into a whole new train of thought about snow on the driveway: One Sunday morning there was a snow storm. Getting to church is normally no problem because it is only three minutes away. We generally need to be at church at 8:15 (for choir) and we were in the van driving out of the garage (that most blessed of buildings) before 8:10. At 8:35 we still had not made it out of our driveway because our van was stuck in the four foot pile of snow that the snow plow had left. We had to get a friend to come help me and let Debbie borrow his car. We got out eventually.)

So, to repeat, our driveway is mostly clear of snow and ice but our back deck (having never been shoveled) still has a couple feet on it. But this is just as well because all of the old cabinets, old counter parts, new counter parts, carpetting, the old sink, the roof shovel, a broken chair, eight bags of leaves from last fall, and anything else I can’t fit into the garage until spring are all back there. Debbie fears our junk yard is bringing down the home value of our neighborhood.

Speaking of home value, one night after doing a fair amount of work on our kitchen, and getting the boys to bed we decided to watch the rest of a movie we had rented (we are busy enough that we can’t finish a video in one night) We had our snack and our water and as I was putting the video in we noticed that there was water on the coffee table that the TV sits on. The boys must have spilled some water when they were playing. No problem I thought, I’ll just clean it up with a paper towel, which should take only a minute. We then noticed that the TV was acting very strangely. We saw that water was dripping from above from a pipe. I was figuring that it would only take me about 10 minutes to seal of a leak from a drain pipe, when we noted that it was come from above the pipe. “Its coming from the walls,” I thought, “I’ll have to spend 20 minutes shoveling snow away from our house”

But then I noticed that it was coming from higher than the basement walls. Maybe it was coming from a leak in the toilet upstairs. We went up stairs and no, it wasn’t. It was coming from higher than that. Okay, I’ll just spend an hour shoveling the roof.

I wanted to see where the leak was coming from in the attic, so I climbed back there. I knew there was an opening behind the insulation where two parts of the roof meet that would be the most logical place for great amounts of ice to be. I was on my stomach several feet back into the low part of the attic, when I pulled back the insulation to see in the flashlit darkness . . .a basketball sized wasp nest, three feet from my face! I was, for a moment, extremely horrified and creeped out. But I calmed down as I noticed no wasps. Yikes. I looked past the nest to see quite a bit of ice on the inside of the roof there. Not good.

Debbie was standing in the open behind me, and I chose to slowly leave what I was looking at. It wasn’t until later and we were sitting on the couch with the snacks that we were supposed to have been eating an hour before, that I told Debbie about the nest.

The next day, I took out the nest with my bare hands. Thankfully I didn’t see any wasps.

So, how’s it going with you guys? Any snow down there?


There comes a time for each family with kids when it is easier to go Grocery shopping with the kids than without. My wife reports that this has lately happened to us (we now have a ten year old). The 6 kids help get the groceries, bag them and bring them into the house. She does not want to go grocery shopping alone.  This is good.

Just added a link to Abraham Piper’s new blog – 22Words, a good name since it describes every post that he makes (not counting the post’s title).  Quite clever (Somewhat Haikuish) , on several subjects – Check it out.

Hmmm. . .  Piper. . . Now why does that sound familiar?

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Jesus In John 16 – 19 

A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.  *** You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. *** Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. *** Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. *** I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. *** Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. *** For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice *** My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world. *** I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. *** I am He. *** If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me? *** It is finished.

The Adventures of Ogden: Man of the Suburb
Episode 6 – March – A First For Emily

Nathan pulled into the parking spot and turned off the car. He took a deep breath. He looked out across the parking lot. Well-dressed families were walking into the front door of the church. He looked at his watch: 9:52. Eight minutes until the service started.

He looked into the backseat of the car and smiled nervously toward the only other passenger – his five-year-old daughter, Emily. She had just been jabbering as they drove in – indeed, she had hardly stopped talking during the seven minute ride from their home. But now she was silently watching her dad – wondering what he would do. She had never been in a church.

But she wasn’t what made him hesitate. He knew that if they went in, she would jump in with both feet, just like she attacked everything new.

No, she would be fine. So what was it? As Nathan thought about it, he wasn’t sure at all why he suddenly had lost all interest in entering the building. He had left their home boldly enough, with his wife watching him from the dining room table. She had no interest in religion of any kind. This was perhaps reasonable given what another church had done to her family. But that was decades ago. In another state. She couldn’t forgive.

Nathan knew his brother, Ogden, would be happy to see that he had gotten this far. He knew Ogden was praying, perhaps everyday, that Nathan would try church again. But now Nathan’s heart was beating fast and he was sweating and he did not want to face the odd glances he felt they were sure to get as they walked through the double doors.

No. Maybe next week, he thought. I’ll just tell Emily that we’re going to go do a little shopping and then we’ll head home.

He put the key back into the ignition and was just starting to turn it-


Nathan turned to see a young girl, about Emily’s age, looking through the back window at Emily. She yelled through the glass again, “Aren’t you coming in?”

Nathan saw the torso of a man walk past the car and beckon the other girl. “C’mon Emily.” The other girl smiled again at Nathan’s daughter and followed her dad.

Nathan’s daughter giggled, “Hey, she has my name, too!”

Nathan took the keys out of the ignition and opened the door. He hadn’t asked for a sign, but if he had, he couldn’t have expected anything better than that.

He watched with thankfulness as his daughter excitedly unbuckled her seatbelt and they went inside. And for the first time in seven and a half years, Nathan worshiped. God met him.

1. Pray for your kids every day.
2. Speak well of your child every time they do something right.
3. Bring your kids to church.
4. Thank God in front of your kids.
5. Teach Sunday School for your kids class.
6. Sing loudly at church.
7. Sing Songs Of Praise at suppertime.
8. Read the Bible aloud.
9. Teach your kids to pray.
10. Teach your children to find the gifts that God has given them.
11. Teach your children how to use their gifts to Glorify God.
12. Do Family Service projects
13. . . . .Like cleaning up a park.
14. . . . . . . explaining that God’s creation says good things about him.
15. . . . .Or giving money to the poor.
16. . . . .Or going Christmas Caroling at a Retirement Center
17. . . . .Or supporting a missionary as a family
18. Teach your kids that praying shouldn’t be just asking God for stuff.
19. Discipline your kids and explain to them why you are doing it.
20. Adopt.
21. . . . Or do foster care.
22. Show your kids grace.
23. Show Kindness to your Spouse
24. Ask them to pray for you.
25. Ask your kids forgiveness for a wrong you have done to them.
26. Talk about what is in a child’s heart, not just what he is doing outwardly.
27. Encourage your kids when they learn about God.
28. Give money to your church and work out ways that your child can, as well.
29. Never think you’re a good enough Parent.

I showed this to my wife and she suggested that I put “Pray for your kids” as number 1. I have done so.

Any suggestions?

Our Adult Sunday School Teacher thinks that the Key Verse for the book of First Samuel is 1 Samuel 2:30B – “The Lord declares: ‘Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'”

As you may know, I am a fairly Pro-Government and Anti-Libertarian guy. Here’s one way that I am not.
A little more than two years ago, my wife and I began an attempt to get licensed as foster care providers for our county. We had five biological children and another child adopted from Russia and my wife still wanted to increase the size of our family. We both felt that it would serve to glorify God if we were to provide a home for a child in need. So we began to take the necessary steps (and there were many) to get licensed for foster care in our county (which I will not name, but it is named after Alexander Ramsey, the first governor of the Minnesota Territory (I just read that in Wikipedia)).
We discussed this with friends of ours and though none advised us against this path, at least one friend stated that he and his wife had considered it, but found the level of intrusion and inspection from the county to be too much a danger for their family (They teach the bible to their kids and do other things of that sort). I respected that decision (in fact, we shared their fears) but I felt that it was worth taking this risk if we could provide a home for a baby that didn’t have one.
One thing that was made clear in the initial training was that the spanking of a foster care child was not allowed. Not only would the child be taken from you, should it be discovered that you had administered corporal punishment, but you would be guilty of a crime that could land you in prison. Indeed, at one of the training sessions that my wife attended, the trainer added “You’ll be put in jail so fast and I’ll be LAUGHING at you from the other side of the bars!”
It would be a point of amusement if this happened, you see.
But still, perhaps foolishly, we pressed on. We had already decided that we were going to ask for very young babies (my wife really likes the very early stages), and since we hadn’t spanked our children when they were infants, we didn’t think this would be a problem. When we met with the social worker and told her that we spanked she remarked that no other prospective family had ever admitted to doing it. Huh.
In any case she wasn’t sure what to make of it and said she would talk with other social workers and determine how we should proceed.
And when we met with her next she explained that despite the fact that we had agreed to never spank the foster child, the fact that we were planning to continue spanking our own children was quite troubling to them. She told us that if we decided to proceed with the process they wouldn’t give us anyone younger than a five year old (or so) because they wanted the child to be old enough to report to the social worker whether or not we had been spanking them.
We didn’t proceed.
We stopped the process. And this was after numerous hours of training, and writing up pages and pages of documentation, and home safety inspections (which had resulted in non-trivial home updating projects), multiple social worker meetings and so forth. For more than a year. We were frustrated. The no-spanking rule it is a foolish rule. It should be changed. But to treat us with such distrust because we spank has shades of religious discrimination.
Here’s one other bit of trivia. You can be licensed to be a foster care provider in this county if you have used illegal drugs, but only IF you have been clean for the last two years.
So to recap – Parent who currently uses corporal punishment with their children – not tolerated by the county. Foster care applicant who has recently used cocaine, but not since early 2006, and who doesn’t currently spank – happily accepted.
Clarification: There were other reasons that the county was hesitant to give a foster care child to us. Specifically – They thought our family was too big to provide quality care for another child.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From 1 Peter 2 and 3

Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. ***  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation,  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. *** Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” *** You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. *** Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. ***  This is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. *** Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. *** Wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives *** Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. *** Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way  *** Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. *** Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. *** Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit *** For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer *** But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. *** If you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed ***  In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you  *** For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.


9 Ways People Punctuate Their Spoken Word (To Add Extra Emphasis To What They Just Said):

1. A knock on the table one is sitting at

2. The False Leave (pretending to leave directly after a statement but then coming back)

3. The quick drink of water.

4. Saying “Um” (not as preparation for the next sentence, but as an ‘I’m pausing to let that last nugget sink into your mind – that’s how important it is’)

5. Clicking ones heels together (done while standing)

6. A laugh at one’s own joke

7. The words “Y’know?”

8. Saying the name of one’s listener.

9. (As noted before) The word “Period!”

Except for Clicking the Heels, which seems more sincere for some reason, these are generally pet peeves of mine.

Am I missing any?

. . . of Search Texts By Which People Found The Responsible Puppet

Subheading 1 – Evidently, if anyone on the internet googles anything with “Puppet” – it comes to me:
* What does the bible say about puppets
* Armor of god puppets
* hippopotamus puppet bath dollar store
* conclusion of puppet
* brickhouse betty stolen by the puppet
* mate, darn and make puppets
This last one was searched (sought?) for today – and in all of Google, my blog is at the top of the list for it.

Subheading 2 – Also “Poems”
* poems about been thankful for employees
* poems about Woodticks
And the best poem search . ..
* Revenge poems that rythme with Debbie
Any luck with that one, I wonder?

Subheading 3 – Um . . . what?
* we can see speckles in a piece of granit
* what did Friday’s moon look like?
* Inverse Cinematics – Pet Legs mix 1
* monumental teepee
* policing for God
* what happens to a person in a submarine

Subheading 4 – My Favorite
* deer god my kids are disrespectful

A few questions arise from this one, to wit:
Is it a cry for help or just a rhetorical exclamation?
What did his/her kids do to provoke such an outburst?
Is that a misspelling or did the searcher really hope to invoke the help of a lesser-known pagan deer god?

Be careful with your affirming words – an ill-advised compliment, thought well-meaning, may encourage the complimentee to head down an unwise path.

I often see (in the comments of this blog and elsewhere) people describe their difficulty with Compatibilism (or Calvinism or Determinism) as being contradictory and requiring belief in paradoxes. How can we be responsible puppets? It’s not possible.

In response, I will do to things: (1) Show you this from wikipedia

The Nature Of Determinism
The exact meaning of the term determinism has historically been subject to several interpretations. Some, called Incompatibilists view determinism and free will as mutually exclusive. The belief that free will is an illusion is known as Hard Determinism. Others, labeled Compatibilists, (or Soft Determinists) believe that the two ideas can be coherently reconciled. Incompatibilists who accept free will but reject determinism are called Libertarians — not to be confused with the political sense.

(2) I post a large section of a document that I found this weekend which I thought might add to the argument. And just to prevent you from being angry at the end, I will warn you – I am being tricksy (As Gollum would put it) in this post.

Here is the document, which is completely contrary to how I view God. Apparently the author is describing a Determinism that is very compatibilist in its leaning. I have included only the parts pertinent to my argument. My comments are below.

DO YOU believe in Determinism? Most people in Christendom do. In view of this, you would think that there could be no question about it. But there is, and lately even some of its supporters have added fuel to the controversy.

Why should a subject like this be of any more than passing interest? Because Jesus himself said: “Eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” So our entire future hinges on our knowing the true nature of God, and that means getting to the root of the Determinism controversy. Therefore, why not examine it for yourself?

. . .  <Brief description of the traditional view> Is such reasoning hard to follow? Many sincere believers have found it to be confusing, contrary to normal reason, unlike anything in their experience. ThIS confusion is widespread. The Encyclopedia Americana notes that the doctrine of Determinism is considered to be “beyond the grasp of human reason.”

Many who accept Determinism view it that same way. Monsignor Eugene Clark says: “. . . Since there is nothing like this in creation, we cannot understand it, but only accept it.” Cardinal John O’Connor states: “We know that it is a very profound mystery, which we don’t begin to understand.”

Thus, A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge says: “Precisely what that doctrine is, or rather precisely how it is to be explained, Determinists are not agreed among themselves.”

In this regard, Jesuit Joseph Bracken observes in his book What Are They Saying About Determinism?: “Priests who with considerable effort learned . . . Determinism during their seminary years naturally hesitated to present it to their people from the pulpit, . . . . Why should one bore people with something that in the end they wouldn’t properly understand anyway?” He also says: “Determinism is a matter of formal belief, but it has little or no [effect] in day-to-day Christian life and worship.”

Catholic theologian Hans Küng observes in his book Christianity and the World Religions that Determinism is one reason why the churches have been unable to make any significant headway with non-Christian peoples.

. . .
However, contending that since Determinism is such a confusing mystery, it must have come from divine revelation creates another major problem. Why? Because divine revelation itself does not allow for such a view of God: “God is not a God of confusion.”—1 Corinthians 14:33, Revised Standard Version (RS).

. . .
If Determinism were true, it should be clearly and consistently presented in the Bible. Why? Because, as the apostles affirmed, the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to mankind. And since we need to know God to worship him acceptably, the Bible should be clear in telling us just who he is.

First-century believers accepted the Scriptures as the authentic revelation of God. It was the basis for their beliefs, the final authority. For example, when the apostle Paul preached to people in the city of Beroea, “they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”—Acts 17:10, 11.

Since the Bible can ‘set things straight,’ it should clearly reveal information about a matter as fundamental as Determinism is claimed to be. But do theologians and historians themselves say that it is clearly a Bible teaching?

. . .
The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of Determinism.” Jesuit Fortman states: “The New Testament writers . . . give us no formal or formulated doctrine of Determinism. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology similarly states: “The N[ew] T[estament] does not contain the developed doctrine of Determinism.

What About Determinism “Proof Texts”? 

IT IS said that some Bible texts offer proof in support of Determinism. However, when reading such texts, we should keep

in mind that the Biblical and historical evidence does not support Determinism.

Any Bible reference offered as proof must be understood in the context of the consistent teaching of the entire Bible.

Very often the true meaning of such a text is clarified by the context of surrounding verses. . .


Here the author provides many verses which seem to support what he is saying and handles many verses that support typically used to counter his views. This is the bulk of the document

So here is the tricksy part – I got this document from the Watch Tower and then replaced all instances of the words “The Trinity” with Determinism.

I just wanted to point out that if you are an anti-determinist, your style and manner of argumentation may be similar to those who don’t believe that Jesus is God. How did it go?

Have I mentioned that I don’t agree with everything in my Everythings?


Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End 

Let us not, dear friends, forget our dear friends the cuttlefish. Pin them up together and they will devour each other without a second thought… Human nature, in’it? Or… fish nature. *** Res ipsa loquitur, tabula in naufragio. *** Rum is good. *** Ten years is a long time. *** The code is the law! *** Better were the days when mastery of seas came not from bargains struck with eldritch creatures… but from the sweat of a man’s brow and the strength of his back alone. You all know this to be true! . *** If you make your choices alone… how can I trust you? . *** For sure, you have to be lost to find a place that can’t be found, elseways everyone would know where it was. *** We must fight, to run away *** Ah, love: a dreadful bond, and yet so easily severed. *** Cruel is a matter of perspective. ***  There has not been a king since the first brethren court, and that is not likely to change! *** Think you can outrun the world? You know the problem with being the last of anything, by and by there be none left at all. *** Sometimes things come back mate. *** There’s never a guarantee of comin’ back. But passin’ on, that’s dead certain. *** The world used to be a bigger place. *** World’s still the same. There’s just less in it. *** I wash my hand of this weirdness. *** Mate, if you choose to lock your heart away you’ll lose it for certain. *** You know, for all that pirates are clever-called, we are an unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things. *** It’s not for naught it’s called Shipwreck Island where lie Shipwreck Cove in the town of Shipwreck. *** Heady tonic, holding the power of life and death in one’s hand. *** It’s not about living forever. It’s about living with yourself forever. *** Keep a weather eye on the horizon. *** The immaterial has become… immaterial. *** I’m sure there must be a good reason for our suffering. *** The worst fate a person can bring upon himself –  stretching on forever. *** No course is lost if but one fool is left to fight. *** Dying is the day worth living for. *** All men are drawn to the sea, perilous though it may be. *** Some men offer desire as justification for their crimes. *** Close your eyes and pretend it’s all a bad dream. *** Pretty speech from a captor, but words whispered through prison bars lose their charm. *** The only way for a pirate to make a living these days is by betraying other pirates. *** The wind’s on our side boys! That’s all we need! *** There’s an Evil on these Seas that even the most staunch and bloodthirsty pirates have come to fear.  

Jamscos1 2 doing3 an experiment4 here5.6

1 If blogging in third person bothers you, please feel free to replace this word with ‘I’m’ in your mind as you read it.

2 I know that the word “Jamscos” doesn’t look right, but I know enough of punctuation to know that Jamsco’s would be wronger7.

3 Yes, I know. I’ve already done the experiment by the time you’ve read this. But I like the sound of present tense in this case.

4 The Experiment: Attempting to answer the question – How many footnotes can a person reasonably derive8 from a five word sentence? 9

5 By ‘here’, of course I mean ‘in this sentence’.

6 Yes, the footnote should probably be after the period. I know. I choose to break the rule.

7 I once had a high school English teacher tell us that if the word is one syllable you should put an ‘er’ after it, not a ‘more’ before it.

8 This would depend on how loosely you define the word ‘reasonably’, obviously.

9 The Answer To The Experiment: Nine10.

10 Another Highschool English teacher taught me the rule about when to type out a number (fifty-three), and when to just type the numerals (53), but I can’t remember this rule, so I’m going with the one that looks correct to me.

11Okay, after getting all of this typed up and formatted, I realized that Jamscos is not a pluralization but a contraction (for ‘Jamsco is’) so I should have had an apostrophe there the whole time. But I didn’t feel like going back and changing things, so I am just noting here. My apologies 12

12 So I guess the correct answer to the experiment is twelve, actually.

So I think it’s time that I get on the Calvinist’s case for once – don’t you?

There is a phrase that I hear some of them say that bothers me ever-so-slightly, regarding something good that they did: “It wasn’t me, it was God.”  (Okay, I’m assuming that the people who say this are Calvinists. Free-willies wouldn’t say this, would they?)

In any case, it’s a statement generally made in response to a congratulation or a compliment at some job done well done – often in a ministry setting.

Okay, you might be thinking – people who say this are just displaying false modesty. If this is the case – they are trying get people to like them by acting humble – then this is an issue (perhaps sinful) that they need to deal with.*

But let us assume that some who say this are sincere – they really are trying to point people away from themselves and towards God – which, we must admit, it is an admirable goal. But I still have a problem (albeit, like I said, slight) with this.

As a hyper-compatibleist, when I hear a Calvinist say this, I want to say – Yes, God did it, but No you did not not do it. You get some credit. God worked through you. Just like you are responsible for the sins you do, you are also responsible for the good that you do.

Give thanks to God that you were effective in your ministry, or did well at your job, or was a decent parent.

Now you might be thinking – Isn’t there biblical warrant for saying this (“Not me, it was God”)?

And I would respond: Ah! You’re thinking about Joseph telling Pharaoh that it wasn’t he but God who could interpret his dream. I would say that in this case, yes, since he was performing what could be called a miracle – predicting the next 14 years of the future – that this was indeed God and not him – so he is justified in saying this. But most of the time the good that was done didn’t require a miracle.

But now you might be thinking – No, I wasn’t refering to Joseph, but the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, where he said – “But it was not I, but the grace of God that is in me.”

Here I think you have a better case, but I think we should keep in mind that just before this he said “I worked harder than any of them.” I think he left that in there for a purpose. He really believes that some of the Good that happened should be accounted to him, at least on a secondary level.

So go ahead, I say. Give God the Glory and the Thanks. But take part of the credit.

* I’m sorry. Dangling Participle, there. It should have read “an issue with which they need to deal with”.

One of the least reliable sources you can come across is a Parent talking about why their child is going through some bad thing that on the face of it is partially their fault (i.e. divorce, a bad grade, a lost job.)  There is never more a positive spin put on a subject than the spin that a mom puts on top of the spin already placed on the subject by her child.

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March 2008