Flotsam & Jetsam: Thanksgiving Day Edition

A Seminal Work – Some holiday humor from Truthinator.

Gratitude – Peter David Goss writes, “Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. It comes every year, good ones and bad. Repeating, repeating, repeating. Let’s not let it drain its richness. Instead, let’s treat it like the psalm, gather meaning up.”

Happy Thanksgiving! – From Ray Ortlund.

Open Letter to First-Time Turkey Cookers – “You do not have to be ‘truly reformed’ to use this recipe. You just have to like Turkey and stuffing.”

Joining the Thanksgiving Parade – A great post by Dr. Michael Horton. Here’s a snippet: “Human beings were created to live in gratitude and the goal of salvation is ultimately to restore this life of thanksgiving. The Heidelberg Catechism, in fact, is structured in terms of Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude, leading G. C. Berkouwer to conclude, ‘The essence of theology is grace; the essence of ethics is gratitude.’ Or, as we say around here, duties (imperatives) are always grounded in gospel promise (indicatives). The appropriate response to a gift is thankfulness.”

The Secret of True Thanksgiving – A wonderful quote from J.R. Miller, shared by Christina Langella.

“Thou Who hast given so much to me, give me one more
thing: a grateful heart!” ~ George Herbert

An Exercise in Manliness

Some of you may have caught this headline already, but for those who have not:
10-year-old Wash. Boy Defends Mom with BB Gun.

Apparently, the man accused of the assault rents a room in the woman’s home. He returned drunk Tuesday morning, kicked down a bedroom door, and began choking the woman. In response, the woman’s 10-year-old son struck the man with a board, and then proceeded to shoot him as many as four times in the face with a pump-action BB rifle.

The woman and her son were able to escape to a neighbor’s home and call for help; the 45-year-old attacker was treated at a hospital and subsequently arrested.

That’s what I call good old-fashioned red-blooded manliness. And in culture of limp-handed, pouty-faced, chicken-hearted girly guys, we need more of it.

Flotsam & Jetsam (11/22)

Reel Quick – Click here to read my review of the 2009 sci-fi thriller Pandorum.

On Slipp’ry Terms – Gabriel Hudelson writes, “That word, that d-word, ‘discrimination’, is so powerfully loaded in today’s culture. Any time discrimination is ended, we should be glad. Right? Wrong.”

5 Reasons Not to Live in Canada – One reason is Justin Bieber. Unfortunately, he hopped across the border and is now residing in the United States. Drat. I have no idea how border patrol missed that one.

7 Marriage Lessons Learned on the Dance Floor – A neat article from The Resurgence.

October Baby – This looks like a great film. Megan Basham over at WORLD offers her thoughts: “A quick glance at the biographies of writer/directors Jon and Andrew Erwin, however, reveals that the brothers have plenty of miles logged on their professional odometers… [and it] goes a long way toward making the worthy idea of October Baby a more-than-worthy viewing experience.”

“You forget what you want to remember and remember what
you want to forget.” ~ Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Coexist? Seriously?

Whenever I see a “COEXIST” sticker (like the one above) on the back bumper of a car, I can’t help but laugh. I realize that many people slap it on their vehicles under the naive assumption that they’re saying something profound in an incredibly clever way. Then again…

When you stop and think about it; when you consider the implications of that word in that context… is it really such a clever slogan after all? Is it even intelligent? I would say not. Granted, it looks cool and it sounds cooler; but if you throw away the rose-colored “let’s all just get along and have world-peace” glasses, it’s quite plain that the “COEXIST” sticker is nothing more than godless asininity dressed up in a fancy ball gown.

But wait, you say: wouldn’t it be good thing if everyone could just put aside their differences? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just be nice to one another? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could all just hug, hold hands, and be friends?

Sure, I reply. That’d be dandy! Smashing! Positively phenomenal!

Unfortunately, in a world desiccated and corrupted by sin, it’s impossible. Nice thought, yeah – but totally out of touch with reality. No can do, crackerjack. Sinners can’t just “be nice” and “coexist” together as one big happy family. Sinners lie. Sinners hate. Sinners kill. Sinners SIN. There can be no “peace” in sin.

But there’s another reason the sticker is false…

Behind it lies religious pluralism: the fundamentally-flawed belief that all religions are true and valid. That very idea alone worthy of head-scratching in a “what the heck?” sort of way.

Let’s see. What have we here?

  • C – the crescent moon and star of the religion of Islam
  • O – the peace symbol, or Pagan pentacle
  • E – the symbol for male and female, a Scientific equation
  • X – the star of David, standing in for Judaism
  • I – the wand and pentagram of Wiccan
  • S – the symbol for Chinese Yin-Yang
  • T – the cross of Christ, representing Christianity

Each of these religions claim something different as truth. That’s all good and well, but they cannot all be correct. If I say the sky is blue and you say it’s purple with pink polka dots, we’ve just made two contradicting statements. Either one of us is right and the other is wrong, or both of us are both wrong. Point is: we cannot both be right.

Just consider the Christian religion. It’s very foundation rests on the claim that Jesus Christ, the God-Man, is Lord and Savior; the one and only Lord and Savior. Christ says it Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

That’s a pretty strong statement. He doesn’t say, “I am one of many ways, one of many truths, one of many sources of life.” His claim is exclusive: you come to God by Me and by Me alone. In modern speak, that adds up to, “My way. No highway option.”

Obviously, Jesus is no pluralist. Either He’s right and all other religions are wrong; or else He’s wrong and some other view is right. In no case, however, can all religions be true and valid.

That’s about as black and white as you get.

Clearly, I believe Jesus is right. Of all the so-called “truths” – He’s the only one. And because I believe and rest my soul on that, I should live like I really do believe and rest my soul on that.

That means I’ll take my faith and it’s implications seriously. That means I’ll not be content to keep my religion to myself, to simply “be nice” and “avoid stepping on toes” while the world goes to hell in a hand-basket. That means I’ll act upon the biblical injunction to shine the light of the Gospel of Christ wherever I go. That means I’ll recognize the notion of “coexistence” for the fallacy that it is.

In the words of Charles Spurgeon,

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

On the Bookshelf

Knowing God by J.I. Packer
I can’t believe I’m only now discovering this book. What an amazing read, in every way deserving of the title “classic”. I’m about halfway through it at this point, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre
I started this one primarily because I was interested in seeing the movie (which hits theaters next month). I’ve learned to appreciate it for its own merits, however, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best espionage thrillers I’ve ever read. The plot is intricate and smart, the tension is gradually built but relentless, and George Smiley is now one of my all-time favorite literary characters.
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman
A scathing and profound indictment of a media-drunk society obsessed with being “entertained”. Neil Postman is a brilliant writer, both smart and darkly humorous, and his examination of the cultural effects of show-business and television are eye-opening and thought-provoking.
Knox’s Irregulars by J. Wesley Bush
A sci-fi military thriller set in the 25th century. The author served as an airborne infantryman, military intelligence cryptolinguist, NGO worker, and historian… and he’s also a Reformed Christian. To quote one of the reviewers on Amazon.com, “Take a Tom Clancy novel like The Teeth Of The Tiger… set it in a universe like the one depicted in Firefly… sprinkle in a respect for the sensibilities of the Protestant Reformation, and you’ve got J. Wesley Bush’s new novel Knox’s Irregulars.”
Empire by Niall Ferguson
A well-written account of the rise and fall of the British World Order, as well a fascinating account of its impact – both positive and negative – on the surrounding world. I’m not entirely certain I agree with all of the author’s conclusions (and I don’t believe he’s writing from a Christian perspective), but nevertheless, it’s a superb read so far.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
What can I say? It’s a classic and I should’ve read it years ago. I’m not the biggest fan of Dickens’ – it is my personal opinion that he waxeth a little too verbose sometimes – but I have to say I’m really enjoying this one.
Carry a Big Stick by George Grant
An inspiring little biography of the inimitable Theodore Roosevelt, one of my favorite historical figures. I had to laugh at the Amazon.com reviews denouncing it as a “right-wing Christian propaganda piece”. *gasp* Well imagine that! A book about a Christian man written from a Christian perspective? *double gasp* Preposterous! How dare they…
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Who knew economics could be so interesting and fun to study? Hazlitt does a superb job of making even the most complex economic theories easy to grasp, without dumbing them (or the reader) down. Concise, painlessly intructive, and a vigorous contender for free-market capitalism. Definitely recommended.
A Summary of Christian Doctrine by Louis Berkhof
A brief but instructive presentation of the Christian religion written in the 1960s. So far, very little of the subject matter is new to me (one of the advantages of growing up in a Christian home), but I always welcome a good “refresher”.

What’s on your bookshelf right now?