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One of the better creative minds of our time tackles this issue in song. Here are the lyrics of the first verse:
I was watching my TV one night when they broke in with a special report
About some devastating earthquake in Peru
There were thirty thousand crushed to death, even more were buried alive
On the Richter scale it measured 8.2
And I said, “God, please answer me one question”
So you’re probably wondering – what is the question and how will he answer it? Fair enough, here is the rest of the verse:
And I said, “God, please answer me one question?”
“Why’d they have to interrupt ‘The Simpsons’ just for this?”
What a drag, ’cause I was taping it and everything
And now I’ll have to wait for the rerun to see the part of the show I missed
Why does this always happen?
Why does this always happen to me?
Why does this always happen?
Why does this always happen to me? . . .
So the solution our lyricist comes up with to handle the problem of tragic large-scale pain in the world is to focus on the more trivial pain in our own lives. But it’s not like he’s the first human to come up with this method, so he loses originality points there.
But notable is the fact that Mr Yankovic, just like the author of the book of Job, never answers the big Why question, leaving it artistically open ended.
And it’s a pretty good song, don’t you think?
I actually thought about posting along these lines awhile ago but deemed it to be too hard to explain and not interesting enough.
Beware if you go to the link; some of the charts are somewhat offensive.
Memo to the guys driving one the fifteen service vehicles at the beginning of a parade: If the parade gets stopped for some reason for say, TWENTY MINUTES (as it did in the SHOREVIEW parade that our family just went to), the parade watchers eventually get sick of the sirens blaring and honking. Like in the first thirty seconds.
27 Witticisms from John Piper Sermons
· There aren’t normal people – just weird people.
· Or are you phlegmatic? I don’t know what that word means, I’ve just heard it a lot. I hope I’m using it right.
· Paul might say – ‘If Piper wants to take a one hour read and turn it into a ten year project, that’s his call’
· I would have a heart attack at the movies – just the trailers!
· For everything thing there is a season . . . turn, turn, turn. . .
· It just couldn’t be clearer: You’re gonna eat fish in the kingdom!
· I wish I could say to Christ ‘I precious you, I precious you’, but it sounds so stupid.
· They got a law about ferrets. I told that to my wife and she said ‘I don’t even know what a ferret is!’
· ‘For’ – and don’t miss that word. If that word isn’t in your bible, get another Bible!
· If you’ve borrowed a book from someone, . . . say, a pastor, . . . and you’ve had it for three or four years and you’ve forgotten about it – he’s forgotten about it.
· This is the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from Vegetables.
· You club people to death with the Log hanging out of your eye.
· My mother taught me to knit when I was a boy . . . I didn’t do it long.
· I’m so thankful that Paul has memory lapses . . very comforting, Paul.
· Constant selective neglect of good things is what my life seems to be.
· <When you give, we want> Happy checks! That’s all! Keep your burden checks!
· You ought to turn your phone off when you call your wife.
· The verse doesn’t mean the opposite of what it says.
· This is what preachers do at 5:30 on Friday afternoon – we pound our heads on the desk and say “What does this say?”
· We’re fondling our little roaches, our little scorpions, our little tarantulas. ‘They’re so fuzzy and warm’…and then the light goes on.
· If you don’t like being a sheep, get over it.
· “Golf to the glory of God” – I can see it. . . I would have to learn how to golf. . .
· And if my soul could talk back to me, he’d say “I know this already!”
· <I have always sat in the pews among you while we worship> except for the first ten years when I sat up here in my big throne like a king over his minions.
· . . . At Wheaton, where I discovered that not all Christians are Baptists.
· Language frustrates me pretty much every day.
· That was five – this is four. . . you can number them anyway you like.
Okay, internet . . . do your thing.
So we had a family over today for burgers and the adults were in the living room having ice cream when the kids rushed in yelling that there were bees. I went over to my youngest (Erik – age 5) and he went from agitated to screaming and I found two bees crawling on him.
I swatted them and pulled his shirt off quickly and his screaming got louder. We got out the lotion and I tried to help him. I said “where does it hurt” and he yelled “Everywhere!”
Then another son came in and was doing his own version of a permanent scream. The bees had been in his shirt and had stung him after he got inside.
We later counted 8 wasp stings on Erik. They had been back by the bonfire pit and had knocked over a log. A large paper wasp was under it and the log movement aggitated all of them. 7 of the kids were stung (12 stings on our kids).
It took a lot of lotion but they finally all got calmed down. And then they all got ice cream.
I have heard the perception that Pastor John is dry and humorless. Not true.
These are all taken from his sermons. Warning: Slightly less aphoristic.
Everything I Have Ever Needed to Know I Learned From The Wit of John Piper
There aren’t normal people – just weird people. *** . . . Or are you phlegmatic? I don’t know what that word means; I’ve just heard it a lot. I hope I’m using it right. *** Paul might say – ‘If Piper wants to take a one hour read and turn it into a ten year project, that’s his call’ *** I will not dare to guess how many times we will hear these verses in the coming months. *** I would have a heart attack at the movies – just the trailers! *** For everything thing there is a season . . . turn, turn, turn. . . *** It just couldn’t be clearer: You’re gonna eat fish in the kingdom! *** I wish I could say to Christ ‘I precious you, I precious you’, but it sounds so stupid. *** ‘For’ – and don’t miss that word. If that word isn’t in your bible, get another Bible! *** They got a law about ferrets. I told that to my wife and she said ‘I don’t even know what a ferret is!’ *** If you’ve borrowed a book from someone, . . . say, a pastor, . . . and you’ve had it for three or four years and you’ve forgotten about it – he’s forgotten about it. *** This is the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from Vegetables. *** You club people to death with the Log hanging out of your eye. *** My mother taught me to knit when I was a boy . . . I didn’t do it long. *** I’m so thankful that Paul has memory lapses . . very comforting, Paul. *** Constant selective neglect of good things is what my life seems to be. *** <When you give, we want> Happy checks! That’s all! Keep your burden checks! *** Language frustrates me pretty much every day. *** You ought to turn your phone off when you call your wife. *** The verse doesn’t mean the opposite of what it says. *** This is what preachers do at 5:30 on Friday afternoon – we pound our heads on the desk and say “What does this say?” *** We’re fondling our little roaches, our little scorpions, our little tarantulas. ‘They’re so fuzzy and warm’…and then the light goes on. *** If you don’t like being a sheep, get over it. *** Convictions are good, passions are better. *** “Golf to the glory of God” – I can see it. . . I would have to learn how to golf. . . *** And if my soul could talk back to me, he’d say “I know this already!” *** <I have always sat in the pews among you while we worship> except for the first ten years when I sat up here in my big throne like a king over his minions. *** . . . At Wheaton, where I discovered that not all Christians are Baptists. *** That was five – this is four. . . you can number them anyway you like.
This idea of starting a Meme intrigues me – so I’m trying it.
Favorite Song Meme
For various Artists or Artists groups*:
List 4 – List four artists/groups for whom you can name your favorite song (and the song, of course)
Extras (for those with more free time):
List 2 – List two artists/groups who have too many good songs to choose just one.
List 2 – List two artists/groups who’s music doesn’t include a single work that you like.
List 1 – List one artist/group who only have one song that you like (and the song).
List 1 – List one artist/group who you feel you don’t know well enough to choose.
Avoid One Hit Wonders
Make non-obvious and eclectic choices
4 Favorite Songs:**
Aerosmith – What it takes***
Huey Lewis – Naturally
Foreigner – Cold as Ice
Abba – Does Your Mother Know
Two groups with too many good songs to choose one:
Electric Light Orchestra
Two groups with no good songs:
Credence Clearwater Revival
Guns n’ Roses (as noted here).
One group with only one good song:
Rolling Stones: Shattered
One group I don’t know well enough to choose:
*Yes, I’m intentionally being vague. You could go classical or CCM, for example. I’m choosing secular pop.
** And yes, I know I am losing respect with at least half of you. For different reasons. I can handle it.
*** Please understand, I’m not choosing the most moral song of the artists’ repertoire
The back and forth is a little complex so here is the summary:
1. Vox Points to a comment made at an Atheist Blog – “I read about how atheists kill and torture Christians all the time.”
2. Vox shows the responses from other commenters saying that this is a rediculous statement.
3. Vox shows significant current event evidence (with links) proving that the statement is very true.
4. Vox ends with a poignant and God-glorifying summary statement.
Some people see a cool bartender who can throw an olive up in the air and catch it on a toothpick held by his teeth. I see a guy who, at some time in his life, spent too much time letting olives pelt him in the face.
Things You Shouldn’t Touch Edition
1. The exterior of any car (with anything besides a sponge).
2. Any dead animal that you didn’t kill.
3. Used gum
4. Power tools (without permission)
5. Mom’s sewing machine
6. Most things in other peoples’ homes.
7. Computer screens
8. Any toilet you are not cleaning*
9. Our piano with anything but your fingers.
10. The sides of our tent or camper.**
11. Anything in the garbage can.
12. Anything besides paper with any writing utensil.
13. The Trampoline with anything but your bodies. (i.e. no chairs, rakes or toys)
Am I missing anything?
* Previously mentioned.
** This one takes some explaining, I think. At first I didn’t want the kids playing in our large tent, for fear they would wreck it. I realized that they could wrestle or jump all they want and not damage anything if they refrain from banging into the sides of the tent. So that’s the rule.
Within biking distance of our house is Lake Vadnais, which is a source for St. Paul water, so there is no housing or boating on it. This lake has a park around it and a dirt road running through it. We parked our bikes on this and walked and found a little path from the dirt road towards the lake. We followed this perfect little trail and it brought us to a very thin, but surprisingly long peninsula (you can see it on the east side of the lake on the map. This proved to be a little adventure as I help our small kids get across gaps in the peninsula.
The excellent thing about it, is that from much of the lake (since it is lacking homes and other manmade structures) you can almost believe that you are in the North woods.
This is one of the reasons we moved to this area of the cities.
Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Han Solo
What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? *** Never tell me the odds *** Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops. *** There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life. *** Save your strength. There’ll be another time. *** Let’s keep a little optimism here. *** I hate long waits. *** Don’t get jittery *** It’s not wise to upset a Wookiee. *** Everyone gets delusions of grandeur. *** Short help is better than no help at all *** Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side. *** Don’t get cocky. *** Good against remotes is one thing. Good against the living, that’s something else. *** I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. ‘Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. *** Fly Casual.
The Adventures of Ogden: Man of the Suburb
Episode 8 – July – Reunion Run-on
Ogden picked up the phone.
“Hello, Ogden, this is Verna. . . . You know, Your Great Aunt”
“Well, Hi, How are you – “
“Well, not that great, frankly, but you probably don’t want to hear about my joint problems or my difficulties with my hair stylist, or the fact that I can’t find comfortable shoes to save my life, especially blue ones. But the real reason I’m calling, Ogden, is to ask you if you could play your flute for our family get-together next month.”
“My flute? But I don’t – “
“Yeah, we’re getting together a small orchestra who are going to be playing a medley of “Fiddler on the roof” songs, you know, like “Sunrise, Sunset”, “I wish I were a Rich Man.”, “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and other songs from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” . . . or did I already say that? Anyway, the piece is for eight instrumentalists and we have seven, but we need a flutist and I said to Cousin Thurman, ‘Let’s get Ogden, he plays the flute and I think he plays the piccolo, too’ and Thurman said “Get that boy up here!” and I said ‘I’ll call him on Tuesday’ because you know that we play Bocce on Mondays, and we were out this weekend on our trip to Branson, but of course I had to explain all of that to Thurman, because he doesn’t know our whole schedule, and why should he? He’s got his own life to live, what with his Polka group touring all over his part of the state. Did you know they had nearly 80 people at one of their . . . concerts or whatever you call them. I think it was a county fair or something, they do a lot of those and boy, are they a hoot! But he’s going to play he accordion since we don’t have a trumpet player and he says that he can make his accordion sound like a trumpet and I was thinking, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard an accordion sound like a trumpet, but ‘idle beggars can’t choose the color of the dice they throw on a rainy day’, I always say. But the other thing I was going to ask you is, what is going on with that database system you guys got going down there? My boy (you remember he works for JamsCorp too, and how proud I am about that) (I mean, Ned of course, our youngest. Freeman still works for the US Forestry Service) Anyway, My boy, Ned, was saying that he can’t seem to figure our what’s happening, what with that detail table being monthly, and then going to a kind of weekly form of monthly and then real weekly weekly and then . . . well, I don’t know. Maybe you could help him out? Maybe you could call him or something and tell him who he can call. I know, I know, you’re probably busy trying to woo that pretty lady you brought to the pot luck . . . what’s her name, Gretchen? No, Gretta! She’s a cutie! But anyway, can you bring your flute to the reunion?”
“Well, I’d love to, Aunt Verna, but I don’t play the flute.”
There was a pause for a few seconds.
“No, I play the clarinet, but I think “
“Yes, but I”
“Can you make it sound like a flute?”
“Well, . . . not . . . really but here’s the deal: I think Cousin Bonnie plays the flute.”
“. . . She does?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Well, I’ll give her a call. Thanks for your help. And say ‘Hi’ to your mom for us. And Gretyl!”
“. . .Uh, I will, Nice talking to you.”
“Bye, Ogden, see you at the reunion!”
Normally I think it unwise to point out problems with Hymns; doing this will too often serve to detract from worship the next time the reader sees the song. But my thought here is that perhaps a worship director will see my comments here and attempt to improve upon the original.
The hymn in questions is “Praise, My Soul, The King Of Heaven”
And here are the lyrics of the first verse:
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.
So, the faithful reader might ask, what is the problem? Good, biblical lyrics – praising God. A strong melody. But here, let me put up the lyrics with the syllables that are stressed by the notes of the melody (and this assumes, I’m afraid, that you know the melody):
Praise, my soul, the King OF heaven, to his feet thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, FORgiven, evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise THE eVERlasting King.
Do you see? Words that are less important are sung more strongly because of the way the melody was written. This also happens in a significant way in other verses.
And here is what I would like to point out – it’s all quite fixable. Just hold King for Another beat – The KING of HEAVen and this is no longer a problem. This works for other poorly stressed words as well.
Choir directors, music leaders, make the change the next time you use this hymn. If anything the children will be less confused.
Improving worship on a potentially global scale – just one more service provided here at the Responsible Puppet.
We traditional types need to remind ourselves: For a piece of art, or writing, or conveyor of ideas to be subversive is not necessarily bad. It all depends on what is being subverted.
<As promised last week>
Are you like me?
Are you at times troubled by the harsh words of the imprecatory psalms? Does it sometimes seem to you that the implied (and sometimes explicit) hatred from the Psalmists towards those who are trying to hurt him in these passages are in conflict with Christs command for us to love our enemies?
Well, be troubled no more!
Here is Pastor John’s recent sermon on this subject.
Pastor John points out that not only is it not in conflict with Jesus, but Jesus quotes from the Psalms more than once. Also Paul and Peter. There is no shame in the New Testament regarding these passages.
Here is a key quote:
“. . . In other words, the way Paul interprets the words of David is not as sinful personal vengeance but as a reliable expression of what happens to the adversaries of God’s anointed. David is God’s anointed king, and he is being rejected and reproached and reviled. David manifests a lot of patience in his life (Psalm 109:4). But there comes a point when David speaks as God’s inspired, anointed one and by his prayer consigns his adversaries to darkness and hardness. They will experience this judgment because David is speaking on God’s behalf. “
Some friends of ours gave us a 1980s pop up trailer, and we only used it once last summer, so this summer we pledged to use it more. This Tuesday, I discovered that the upcoming weekend was the last open weekend in awhile so: We’re going camping!
Debbie pointed out that (A) we had too little time to get ready, and (B) Friday was supposed to be in the 90’s and very humid. So we compromised and decided to head up early Saturday.
Friday night, while we were trying to get packed up (around 8:00) when a storm hit the Twin Cities. It was windy and we were seeing distant lightning. Suddenly we heard a very low hard rumbling noise that I thought was thunder, but my wife thought was a branch falling. My wife was correct. Out to the back yard and a very large branch* had fallen on our garage. We looked up and saw that the branch had punctured the garage roof in two places and we could see the branch from inside. We were very blessed that it didn’t hit other parts of the house.
So we spent some time clearing in the morning and (for that and other reasons) didn’t get to our destination (St. Croix State Park) until the afternoon (80 miles north – just east of Hinckley!). As we were driving in, we noted large branches down on near the road and we thought – what are the chances that they’d have storm damage here, as well.
When I went in to register for a site, the lady ranger looked a bit frazzled. She didn’t have computer and the center was on a generator. She told us it was a ‘free-for-all down there’ – who knew where people had taken campsites – and she suggested we go down and choose whatever open site we wanted.
It was a dramatic experience driving through the campground. Nearly every site had a large tree down, there were smashed picnic tables and barely passable roads. When we chose a site, we had to pull a large branch out of the drive way.
But once we got in, we had a very enjoyable stay. We continually thanked God for our safety and prayed for more. He granted this request. Also perfect weather, a nice campfire (with marsh mellows) and a beautiful time wading in the beatified waters of the St. Croix.
*Can I just suggest to all homeowners that if there are holes in your large trees, do not patch them with cement. The previous owner of our house did this, and it appears to be causing rotting. These are large silver maples, planted in the 1880s for a road (which used to go through our back yard 100 years ago). They have lasted a long time, but now, a few years after the cement patching, they are dieing from the inside. And it looks really goofy to see gray cement in your trees.
Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Book Of Haggai
Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord. *** Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? *** Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. *** Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified *** You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. *** I am with you, declares the Lord. *** Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? *** Yet now be strong *** Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord *** Work, for I am with you *** According to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. *** Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. *** And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. *** The silver is mine, and the gold is mine. *** The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace *** From this day on I will bless you.” *** I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. *** I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders.
Last night I wrote a post quoting Pastor John, but this morning I read something he wrote in his blog yesterday. It points out another “both ways” passage of scripture in a helpful way, so I’m postponing my other post and putting this up. Pastor John writes:
1. Why did Saul die?
- “Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.” (1 Chronicles 10:4)
- “So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium.” (1 Chronicles 10:13)
- “The Lord put him to death.” (1 Chronicles 10:14)
One reason Saul died is that he committed suicide. Another is that he broke faith with the Lord much earlier. Another is that God put him to death. None of these excludes the others. To say God is the decisive actor does not mean Saul did not act. To say there are physical causes for a death (suicide) does not mean there were not moral causes (infidelity).
To say that Saul brought his demise on himself (by infidelity and suicide) does not mean God did not bring it on him. We would be unfaithful to Scripture if all we said was that the reason Saul died was the natural consequence of his own behavior. We must also say, “The Lord put him to death.”
There was real punishment, not just impersonal, natural consequences. God is personal. God put him to death. There was punishment by a judge and executioner. There was wrath. The Bible is designed to make sure we do not turn death and hell into impersonal consequences. “The Lord put him to death.” . . .
Note: Suicide is a sin.
Note: The passage does not say “The Lord allowed him to die”, nor does it say “The Lord worked it so that he would die. No, it says “The Lord put him to death”.
– A great 80’s pop song
– Peanut’s Christmas Special
– Impressive Animation skill.