I am now blogging at a new blog: erdman31.com

If you post comments here at Theos Project, please know that I will respond and engage your thoughts in a timely manner.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How the Grinch went online and bought Xmas

I just heard this morning on the radio that recent online sales numbers are through the roof.

I predicted in college (while we were still in the 1900s) that the brick-and-mortar store would be nearly obsolete in the course of time. I think there will always be a place for touching and feeling our stuff before we buy, but it is interesting to contemplate the effects of virtual shopping: The personal merchant is a thing of the past. Relationship no longer has any place in the market. The market square is gone. Now commerce is increasingly becoming a capitalistic control mechanism: We only buy stuff that is priced the lowest. In other words, the human element has been replaced by a virtual market place where supply and demand is always in perfect balance.

This further separates human beings from one another....this is certainly has negative consequences.....on the other hand, maybe if we don't ever see each other we won't fight as much. After all, aren't all conflicts economical in nature???

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go!

Despite my best efforts, friends, I got carried away. I was swept along in the tidal waves of materialism. Bit I did try. I wasn't planning on buying anything, and I held out for the whole day on Black Friday. Saturday got me, though. Good sales. Stuff I needed. (But is there really anything I really need???) Sometimes you can hold down the fort for a few attacks, but then eventually they find the weak points in the wall and the enemy over runs the camp.

So, awaaaaaaaaaaaaay we go. It's the beginning of another commercial season. There is much that hangs in the balance. Retail stores typically do at least 50% of their sales during this time of year, which means Xmas can make or break the P&L for a corporation. Marketing and advertising plans are in place. They've been working all year on how to stimulate the consumer to buy. A failed holiday season means that heads will role. People will be fired. Retail workers will be laid off. All if you, the Almighty Consumer, fail to consume up to your true potential.

Oh, but that's not all. Our whole economy depends on how much we consume. You have probably already heard a news outlet talk about whether or not economic forecasts were met for the after-Thanksgiving gross sales. The government watches these numbers anxiously. Investors watch these numbers anxiously. Political candidates, rounding the bend for a run at the White House are anxiously watching these numbers. Hell, even the show salesman that talked me into those new Skechers is anxiously watching these numbers. "We blew the projections out of the water," he said, after I asked him how Macy's did on the day-after.

The weight of the world is on our shoulders! We must shop! We must consume! I'm serious! (Hence the overuse of exclamation points!!!) Jobs and careers are on the line, people! This Xmas thing is serious business! I mean it!

You are the consumer. And during this holiday season we need you more than ever. It is your patriotic, American duty. Preserve your country.

Repeat our national slogan after me. Are you ready??? Ok, all together now: Shop till you drop.

Shoes: $35

Shirt and sweater: $24.99

Feeling nauseated because you support the machine of Consumerism that now dominates our sense of purpose and meaning: Well, that's free of charge. Oh, and it's priceless.

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's Master Card.

Twain of the Day

We have the best government that money can buy
- Mark Twain

Monday, November 26, 2007

Like dog, like owner

A few, odd post-Thanksgiving observations:
Dogs take on the personality of their owners.
Married couples begin to look alike after several years of marriage. (Not to mention that they think and act alike.)
Dogs and their owners tend to look alike.
When co-workers have to read each other's handwriting on a regular basis, after several years their handwriting will begin to look the same.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit it and read it are old women over their tea.
- Henry David Thoreau

Monday, November 19, 2007

Imagine if you can

This from Harper's:

"For at least two decades, our political landscape has been dominated by consultants; but there is no presidential campaign this year whose success or failure so will depend on media managers, marketing strategists, and political gurus as that of Mitt Romney. Unlike his chief competitors for the Republican nomination, he started out with a fairly low national profile and hence has needed to be introduced and marketed to a national audience. And the task of reformulating and repackaging the Romney brand - from the moderate Republican governor of the most liberal state in the Union to a red-meat social conservative and heir to Reagan - has been entrusted to an army of consultants far larger than that of any of his challengers. Campaign disclosure records are convoluted and poorly categorized, so it's difficult to make a precise inventory. But based on filings with the Federal Election Commission, as of this summer, Romney's campaign has employed more than a hundred different consultants, making combined payments to them of at least $11 million - roughly three times the amount spent by John McCain or Rudy Giuliani. Much of that money paid for the creation and placement of TV ads through Romney's media consultant and chief strategist Alex Castellanos, but the campaign also spent heavily on polling, political strategy, and voter mobilization." (p. 34 Harper's magazine, November 2007 "Making Mitt Romney: How to Fabricate a Conservative" Ken Silverstein)

First, do any of us really believe that "there is no presidential campaign this year whose success or failure" will depend on media/marketing/political gurus as Mitt Romney? This suggestion strikes me as incredibly naive. Politics is media/marketing/political gurus. That's all there is. It's called "spin." Spin wins. The best spin wins the prize of power. Is there really any one of us that believes that any one candidate depends on spin more than any other? In American politics perception is reality; truth is what you can get away with. The politician creates their own world: It's called image. And image is everthing, as we all have known since the Canon Andre Agassi commercials in the 1980s.

The interesting thing about Mitt and other contemporary politicians is that they risk losing a clear identity in the mass of images. Image is everything, but too many images that go too many different directions will direct the collective minds of the American people in too many different directions. As such, the people will think that the politician is "not genuine." Of course, smart people on this blog know that there is no such thing as a genuine politician; there is only the politician who can imagine himself as genuine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PoMo and Metanarrative Class - 1

Part of my reason for posting on Biblical Metanarrative last Thursday was to get some feedback in preparation for leading a discussion on Postmodernism for a Christian apologetics class at Grace today and this Thursday.

In class today we started with the question, "What is Postmodernism?" My position was that there is no such thing. Rather than thinking of "postmodernism" as a "philosophy" or "worldview," it is better to examine the very diverse strands of postmodern thought. I suggested that putting together a particular "postmodern philosophy" was a little like going around to a bunch of different houses and taking one piece of furniture from each and putting them all in a different room. Instead, each room must be appreciated, examined, and understood in its own setting and on its own terms. Similarly, it can be counterproductive to cut-and-paste a conglomerate group of very diverse and eclectic beliefs and assume that this is what "postmodern" thinking is all about.

Someone raised the question about whether there is talk of "postmodernism" on secular University campuses. A transfer student said that he was at a secular institution, and that he had never heard "postmodernism" discussed until he transfered to Grace. This is an interesting point. Are Christians simply wasting time on a debate on the validity of a "postmodern perspective" that does not exist?

So, we next transitioned into discussing the idea of "metanarrative." We started with Lyotard (referred to as "that guy" due to my inability to pronounce the French!), and then narrowed "metanarrative" down to usable definition - something that reflected contemporary usage. The general idea we settled on was that a metanarrative was a theory that explains all experience. A metanarrative has explanatory scope: It is totalizing. It is a framework used as a reference for interpreting our reality and the world around us.

One aspect of metanarrative that seems to be important is that a metanarrative is a theory that is expressly known. That is, it is something that we are consciously aware of. A person can say, "I am a Marxist," or "I am a Christian" and in saying so they understand that there is a theoretical framework that explains all stories and all narratives.

One of the trends of thinking in this postmodern age is to be incredulous (skeptical, suspicious) toward metanarratives. I suggested that it may no longer be incredulity (which implies that there may be something of a negative reaction); rather, I wonder if it may be a simple disinterest in metanarrative. Who, anymore, is really all that concerned with a theoretical framework that explains all aspects of reality???

That a metanarrative is something that is consciously constructed seems to differentiate it from a worldview. The term "worldview" grows out of German thinking (Weltanschauung). As I understand it, a worldview includes both the ideas and theories and values that we consciously hold, but also a variety of values, fears, hopes, dreams, etc. that we hold on a subconscious level. A worldview includes both the things we are aware of and the things we are not aware of.

What is next on the agenda for Thursday are two things:
1) Does the Bible teach a metanarrative. (We discussed this at Biblical Metanarrative.)
2) If it is true that in the postmodern era many are disinterested in metanarratives, then what are the implications for Christian apologetics? Is it necessary to appeal to a biblical or Christian metanarrative when discussing issues of faith with a non-Christian?

Here is a link to the outline I handed out in class:

I scanned the notes I took in to class:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dating Hot Girl

I have recently realized that I'm kind of scared to use the new ipod Nano. Even though I have had it for a few weeks, I have only run with it once. But my new ipod and I are not off to a great start. For one thing, my old arm band (that set me back thirty bucks) is not shaped for the new, 3rd generation ipods. There is an arm band that I could buy, but I'm not excited to shell out another $30 and I'm not convinced that it is a very good arm band.

My experiences with my ipod Nano's over the last year have made me think. I believe that the emotions that I have experienced in my relationship with the ipod Nanos is analogous to dating the hot girl. The hot girl (like the ipod Nano and the Nike+ running system) is very sexy. She makes you think, "Dude, I want that." And when you date the hot girl everyone thinks you're cool and assumes you've got the goods. So, heck, you naturally think you are cool as well because, after all, 100% of the people can't be wrong! Hence a boost to the self-esteem.

But there are certain disadvantages to dating the hot girl, and these disadvantages also mirror my experience with the ipod Nano. The hot girl may be sexy but she usually isn't reliable. She can get what she wants and always monopolizes the attention of other guys. As such, you are never quite sure where you stand with her. Is she going to jump ship and date a better guy with a better car or more money or better looks? Similarly, the ipod is sexy, but it just hasn't been there for me: Is it going to work on this run? Reliability is a problem.

Another problem is high maintenance. Hot girls are usually very demanding, each in their own way. Because you know she can go out and get a better guy at any time she chooses, it is imperative to cater to her whims. Similarly, the ipod requires maintenance. It is important to keep it in prime condition or it may just conk out on you at anytime.

Such has been my experiences in dating the hot girl and in owning an ipod Nano.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cold ain't so bad

I have never been one to enjoy the cold. I have always liked to be warm and toasty. Turn up the heat, layer up with sweats, and enjoy hot cocoa. In fact, I have not only wanted to be warm, but I have despised the cold.

However, last winter I began to make some changes. I embarked upon a mission to convince myself that I enjoy the cold; to transform myself from a warm person into a cold person. I kept the house a bit cooler than normal (saving heating $$$), and I ran year-round last year, even running during a blizzard. (It's not so bad, as long as you layer.)

Gradually, I think that I am convincing myself to become a cold person - to enjoy the changing of seasons. Embrace the cold, love the cold, and the cold will love you. The only problem is now people are complaining about coming over to my house because it is too cold....hhhhmmmm....I may have to nix having guests over to the house until next spring!

Biblical Metanarrative

The question is: Does the Bible contain or advocate a specific metanarrative?

We begin by asking, What is a metanarrative?

Jean-Francois Lyotard in his classic postmodern text of 1979, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, said, "I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse of this kind making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth." (xxiii) Conversely, he defines postmodernism as follows: "Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodernism as incredulity toward metanarratives." (xxiv, emphasis added)

We might say that a metanarrative is a grand narrative that has explanatory power. It is a reference point into which one fits their own story. We see this at work in the contemporary situation as the United States and other western nations seek to spread freedom, democracy, and capitalism worldwide. We are working under the assumption that these things have a universal explanatory scope that can bring prosperity and meaning to other countries; that if these other countries would only use the American story as their own metanarrative then they, too, can find life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

One thing that Lyotard does in his text is to compare and contrast science with narrative, saying, "Science has always been in conflict with narratives." (xxiii) What is "Modern," then, is any science that legitimates itself in reference to a "metadiscourse," as we noted above: "I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse of this kind making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth." (xxiii)

A "metadiscourse" is that which legitimates the pursuit of science, while we might suggest that a "metanarrative" is some theory that explains and legitimates all the narratives/stories/lives of a society or culture. Perhaps we might say that as Americans we explain and legitimate our pursuit of the "American Dream" by virtue of referencing the metanarrative provided through capitalism and democracy. But metanarratives are also static, absolute, and universal. They have an explanatory power that extends across boundaries. They are totalizing.

We continue with Lyotard as he describes a "narrative" culture - a culture deriving its meaning from stories. Lyotard discusses “popular stories” where the “successes or failures” of the hero “either bestow legitimacy upon social institutions (the function of myths), or represent positive or negative models (the successful or unsuccessful hero) of integration into established institutions (legends and tales). Thus the narratives allow the society in which they are told, on the one hand, to define its criteria of competence and, on the other, to evaluate according to those criteria what is performed or can be performed within it." (20)

But Lyotard makes an interesting point here. In such a culture, narratives do not have their power in reference to the past, but in the very act of repeating the narrative and telling the story by the simple fact that they do what they do: "Narratives, as we have seen, determine criteria of competence and/or illustrate how they are to be applied. They thus define what has the right to be said and done in the culture in question, and since they are themselves a part of that culture, they are legitimated by the simple fact that they do what they do." (23) The reference is not to the past, as much as it is to the act of recitation, drawing the rather startling conclusion that a narrative culture has no need to remember its past: "By way of simplifying fiction, we can hypothesize that, against all expectations, a collectivity that takes narrative as its key form of competence has no need to remember its past. It finds the raw material for its social bond not only in the meaning of the narratives it recounts, but also in the act of reciting them. The narratives’ reference may seem to belong to the past, but in reality it is always contemporaneous with the act of recitation." (22, emphasis added)

Perhaps a good biblical example of a narrative culture might be the Israelites of the Old Testament who had been emancipated from the slavery of Egypt. They journeyed into the Promised Land with explicit reference to their story of God's deliverance through Moses. They were encouraged to "remember" this story. (Deut 5:15) Later, Joshua takes over and directs the Israelites according to their frame of reference. When he is old and ready to move on he passes along the same imperative to "remember." (Joshua 23) As we know from even a cursory reading of the Old Testament the people of Israel often "forgot" to reference the stories of their past. This happened, for example, soon after Joshua passes from the seen. (Judges 8:34) In Psalm 95:8 we find a reference to avoid the hardening of the heart that occurred by many in the past, "do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert."

So, what was the problem of the Israelites? Was it the fact that they did not cognitively recall the stories? Did they, in fact, "forget" the narrative or allow the story to slip from their collective minds? Or perhaps we might suggest that the stories were used to justify the institution and the actions of the community, while the moral of the story itself was lost. The failure of the Israelites, then, was not in failing to recall but in failing to recontextualize. They settled for a narrative community where the reciting of the story was sufficient, while the God of the story slipped away. As such, the critique is not necessarily that they did not "remember," but that they did not remember in such a way as to affect the current context. The past was the past. The past belonged to the work of God, but the present belonged to them.

From the above, it seems quite clear that the Bible contains stories and narrative, but this brings us back to the question of a biblical metanarrative.

First, we might ask, can we live life without a metanarrative? Some believers suggest that everyone has a metanarrative, even if they do not know it. Everyone, they suggest, lives their lives in reference to a totalizing explanation of reality that fits their life into that grand plan.

I am not going to spend a great deal time on this, although it certainly makes for a good discussion - but I will merely register my disagreement. It appears to me rather self-evident that the postmodern condition is, as Lyotard says, "an incredulity toward metanarratives." (xxiv) Lyotard even suggests (remember that this is back in 1979) that narrative has been lost as well: "The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language elements—narrative, but also denotative, prescriptive, descriptive, and so on." (xxiv) In the postmodern world that Lyotard sees, humanity has even lost the nostalgia for narrative, "Most people have lost the nostalgia for the lost narrative. It in no way follows that they are reduced to barbarity. What saves them from it is their knowledge that legitimation can only spring from their own linguistic practice and communicational interaction. Science 'smiling into its beard' at every other belief has taught them the hash austerity of realism." (41)

What replaced both narrative and metanarrative? Briefly, it is localized language games. Lyotard borrows Wittgenstein's idea of language games to speak of the diverse ways in which we communicate with each other. The implication, I believe, is that we gain meaning by connecting with others via language in its various forms. This occurs at a very localized level. Simply put, we develop little narratives: "little narrative remains the quintessential form of imaginative invention." (60)

We do not reference a grand, totalizing scheme, nor are we strictly a narrative culture. We live out our individual stories through a variety of intriguing language games. I think this is even more the case 30 years after Lyotard wrote The Postmodern Condition as it was back in 1979. The technological explosions have occurred, in large part, in the area of communication and networks of communication that engage us in countless language games on a daily basis.

More can be said on the way we communicate and find meaning via our language games, but we must return to the question of whether there is a "biblical" metanarrative. Does the Bible teach or hand us a metanarrative?

In our very brief examination of the Israelites we found that they likely fit more of a description of a "narrative" culture, rather than a culture that made reference to a grand narrative or metanarrative. I think this necessarily gives us a reason to be suspicious about the existence of any "biblical metanarrative." If Lyotard is even somewhat correct, then the idea of a "metanarrative" is something that is unique to Modern thought and as such it would have been a foreign concept to the mind of an ancient Israelite.

I have heard some believers defend the idea of a biblical metanarrative on grounds that the Bible presents us with the overarching theme of Fall and Redemption. This Fall-Redemption is a metanarrative that explains all of reality. Contained within it is the fact that humanity is in sin, that we cannot redeem ourselves, Christ came to redeem humanity, and we must place our trust in Christ for our redemption. There may be variations of the Fall-Redemption theme, but the argument for a biblical metanarrative generally comes back to these recurring key ideas.

I remain rather unimpressed by the attempt. The Bible may be used as a metanarrative - that I will not deny. In fact, I would even suggest that during the Modern era the Bible may have been put to good use as a metanarrative in competition with other metanarratives. I think that it was also misused as a metanarrative, but I allow God to use his Word in reaction to contemporary culture to accomplish whatever God wishes to accomplish. But ultimately I agree with Lyotard in the sense that metanarrative is a distinctly Modern development. I also agree that our culture is not currently either Modern or pre-Modern in the sense that we are not concerned with metanarrative nor are we nostalgic for narrative. We live in a rather strange time. Interesting, but strange.

Another concern I have with the idea of a biblical metanarrative is that we cannot escape the fact that what we call "the biblical metanarrative" is still a matter of interpretation. There is no one verse that states: This is the metanarrative that ye must use as a totalizing scheme and a vast explanatory theory. Instead, we must look at the various stories within Scripture and the various doctrines and even poetry and wisdom literature and somehow pull from that a metanarrative. But have we learned nothing from Modern Theology? Do we need to dust off the systematic theology texts once again? It is the interpreter who makes the decision as to what are the "grand themes" of the Bible. For Calvin it was the sovereignty of God. But not all agree. In fact, there are as many "grand themes" as there are theologians. This is because we are all interpreters. When we read the Bible we interpret.

Our interpretations are diverse. They are the product both of interacting with the text, but also of bringing our own presuppostions, questions and concerns to the text. But this is not a bad thing. This is a necessary aspect of interpretation. When we read the text the text impacts us, but we also impact the text. This is not a defense of absolute relativism. It is simply to suggest that as we interact with the biblical text it speaks not only of God's past work but also of the work of God in the present.

Nothing illustrates this better than a study of the hermeneutics of the book of Hebrews. In the book of Hebrews we find a dynamic interaction between the Old Testament text and the issues of the contemporary church. Christ had come. The paradigm had changed. As such, what was said to the Israelites was recontextualized based on what God was now doing through the Body of Christ.

Earlier I cited Psalm 95. In Hebrews 3 and 4 the warnings to Israel to pay attention to the past are recontextualized so that the believing community would not develop a hardened heart, but that they would encourage each other as long as it is called "Today." Additionally, believers are encouraged to "enter the Sabbath rest" by seizing the opportunities afforded by each "Today."

The recontextualizations are sometimes in close continuity with their original Old Testament context, while at other times they are very fluid and demonstrate a great deal of discontinuity with their original context. But what we see on display is that interpretation of the Word of God is never strictly a matter of reciting the past narrative but is simultaneously an appropriation and application of its meaning for the present. The Word of God is "Living and Active." (4:12)

There is s similar lesson here for the idea of a biblical metanarrative: We must always allow for dynamic interpretation. A metanarrative is a static idea. It is something that gains its Modern charm by totalizing and absolutizing our interpretation of reality. But this can be counter productive for faith, because faith must understand itself anew in each generation. Faith that grows static is complacency and has no place in the Bible. Hebrews 12 tells us that we are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses." This represents the work of God in the past. It is an example for reference, but I do not believe that this necessarily implies that it must be used as a metanarrative that can be extrapolated and locked down in a static system. There is more more to the passage: We are to run the race with perseverance. This means that there is more to the story; there is the story of dynamic faith that must be recontextualized for every person in every moment of their life.

I want to reiterate that a so-called "biblical metanarrative" might be useful for some people and for some generations. However, I want to suggest that it is not a necessary ingredient for the Christian faith, and it is certainly not sufficient to produce faith.

For a perspective that favors the idea of a biblical metanarrative, see The Biblical Metanarrative. Also see Andrew's post at Open Source Theology for what one might call an "emerging" perspective on the issue.

Monday, November 05, 2007


There are many ways in which McDonald's represents America in the 20th century. One might say that it has been a fundamental institution for our society. Growing out of the Industrial Age, it was birthed from our need for speed - a turbo-charged culture with no more time for substantive meals. If you don't have time to dedicate to food, eat McFood. After all, it tastes great, its cheap, and its always ready when you want it. Food is the ultimate consumptive item in our culture of Consumerism. We can hardly think of it in any other way - it is merely a product to be desired or a means to an end. McFood is stimulating, fun, and you can eat while you are doing any number of things.

One thing that Qohelet (the voice in the book of Ecclesiastes) is concerned with is eating and drinking and finding pleasure in living out these very organic facets of life. (i.e. 2:24) The life well-lived is one where a person attains contentment with the simple life and with the very basic and rudimentary tasks of getting along. This, of course, is not a concept that fit well in our society. Eating and drinking is too mundane: We must do it faster; we must do it with more stimulating tastes; we must see the lights of the golden arches and be stimulated by ads for the latest tasty product.

Church leaders in America (particularly of the conservative stripe) often lament the fact that American Christians do the "church hop," as it is called. Church hopping is America's Consumeristic approach to religion. We shop for a product we like, and once we find the satisfying product we are willing to give them our time and a bit of our money.

But who is at fault for the church hopping religious consumers?

When I go to McDonald's I do not approach the restaurant with anything but a consumeristic frame of mind. McDonald's has set themselves up as a place to get your food and go. They have no expectations that I will invest anything into the company. It is a business transaction: I pay them money and they give me the food, fast.

But isn't church set up much like a McDonald's? Do we not operate on the basis of giving people some spirituality (via the form of a sermon and/or a worship experience) in small bites and then sending them on their merry way? The more I examine the nature of the American church the more I see significant parallels between church and McDonald's. This is what makes me think of church as "McChurch." We have marketed our spirituality for mass consumption.

Think I'm joking about all of this???? Let me give you the raw stats, baby. After all, this is still the age of science!

How much time do you spend getting your food from McDonald's and consuming your meal? Well, you've got to pull up to a drive-through, wait a minute or two, place your order, wait another minute and BAMO, you've got your McFood. Then, of course, you eat and go about your business. So, how much time? Maybe, like, 20 minutes? That sounds about right for a start-to-finish time frame. If there are 1,440 minutes in a day, then this means that a 20 minute investment in a McMeal at McDonald's takes up 1.389% of your day. How significant is that 1.389%? Probably not very. McDonald's is marketed for a fast experience, not a meaningful one.

And none of us really expect that spending 1.389% of our day on a meal is going to have a profound experience on our day. If we did expect that, then our expectations would be unreasonable and poorly placed.

But not things get very interesting. How much time do we spend in "church" each week? Well, all things considered, probably 2 or 3: We drive to service, listen to the message, maybe catch a sunday school, and then drive back home. Let's be generous and say 3 hours. There are 168 hours in a week, which results in christians spending 1.786% of their week doing the church thing. We beat out our McDonald's run by .4%, but we are still under 2% of our time spent in church.

So, let's ask a question: Can we really expect something to impact our lives if we spend less than 2% of our time on it??? We don't expect much from a McFood meal from McDonald's, so why should we expect anything more from a McService at our local McChurch?

To be perfectly honest, I think I am at the point where I applaud the church hop. Let people keep hoping in and out of our McChurches. If we run them like a McDonald's, then why should the Consumer have his or her own choice? We don't criticize people for choosing Burger King or Taco Bell and hoping around to other fast food restaurants, so why do we expect that McChurching would be any different?

Most pastors minister like they were managers at a local McDonald's. They give spiritual fast food for the masses. Until they begin offering substance, and until they stop emphasizing a sunday morning service as the ultimate solution to all of our spiritual woes, then people will keep church hoping, and for good reason. Keep hoping. Maybe someday the leaders will understand: the church hop is your fault.

And this is not just a polemic against the "evil, non-biblical" churches. The same McChurch approach permeates even the "good Bible believin'" churches as well. The only difference is that we think that a good Bible sermon each week is the basis of spiritual growth. But it isn't. This is still spiritual fast food.

I close with an appropriate story. And, believe it or not, it is actually true:

A teacher was working with children in a school to help them pronounce the "ch" sound. She was looking for words that would help he children say, "ch." So, the teacher said, "Ok, where do you go on Sunday mornings to worship God?" The response? One little guy pipes up and enthusiastically shouts out, "McDonald's!!!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

English as our official language

I received the following forwarded email from a truly beloved family member:

33 Senators Voted Against English as America 's Official Language June 6, 2007

On Wed, 6 June 2007 23:35:23 -0500, "Colonel Harry Riley USA ret" wrote:


Your vote against an amendment to the Immigration Bill 1348, to make English America's official language is astounding. On D-Day no less when we honor those that sacrificed in order to secure the bedrock character and principles of America . I can only surmise your vote reflects a loyalty to illegal aliens.

I don't much care where you come from, what your religion is, whether you're black, white or some other color, male or female, democrat, republican or independent, but I do care when you're a United States Senator, representing citizens of America and vote against English as the official language of the United States

Your vote reflects betrayal, political surrender, violates your pledge of allegiance, dishonors historical principle, rejects patriotism, borders on traitorous action and, in my opinion, makes you unfit to serve as a United States Senator... impeachment, recall, or other appropriate action is warranted.

Worse, 4 of you voting against English as America 's official language are presidential candidates: Senator Biden, Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd, and Senator Obama.

Those 4 Senators vying to lead America but won't, or don't have the courage, to cast a vote in favor of English as America's official language when 91% of American citizens want English officially designated as our language.

This is the second time in the last several months this list of Senators have disgraced themselves as political hacks... unworthy as Senators and certainly unqualified to serve as President of the United States.

If America is as angry as I am, you will realize a back-lash so stunning it will literally rock you out of your panties... and preferably, totally out of the United States Senate.

The entire immigration bill is a farce... your action only confirms this really isn't about America ; it's about self-serving politics... despicable at best.

Never argue with an idiot; they'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ~ anonymous

The following senators voted against making English the official language of America: Akaka (D-HI) Bayh (D-IN) Biden (D-DE) Wants to be President? Bingaman (D-NM) Boxer (D-CA) Cantwell (D-WA) Clinton (D-NY) Wants to be President? Dayton (D-MN) Dodd (D-CT) Wants to be President? Domenici (R-NM) Coward, protecting his Senate seat...Durbin (D-IL) Feingold (D-WI) Not unusual for him Feinstein (D-CA) Harkin (D-IA) Inouye (D-HI) Jeffords (I-VT) Kennedy (D-MA) Kerry (D-MA) Wanted to be President Kohl (D-WI) Lautenberg (D-NJ) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) Lieberman (D-CT) Disappointment here.....Menendez (D-NJ) Mikulski (D-MD) Murray (D-WA) Obama (D-IL) Wants to be President? Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Senate Majority Leader Salazar (D-CO) Sarbanes (D-MD) Schumer (D-NY) Stabenow (D-M)

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale, and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."
- President Abraham Lincoln

First of all, I'm a bit confused. If there is 91% American support for this, then the politically expedient thing to do would be to vote for the bill. Right? So, how is it politically beneficial for any Senator to vote against it?

Next, For those who are pro-American, just keep this in mind: the English Language is from England. (Hence the name, "English" language.) There is no "American" language. We have "American English," perhaps, but even in that case you can't get away from those danged Brits!

I don't know that I am in favor of passing any language as an Official Language. America is a melting pot, so let everyone speak how he or she chooses to speak. Let freedom and diversity reign from sea to shining sea.

Why do people get so steamed about this issue????