Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!

A mighty fortress is our God,

a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,

our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,

from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Haiku Revisited

In honor of the clueless parents who let their small child run free in the dog park.

Little boy runs in park
“It looks like prey”, thinks Rocky
A tasty dinner

Fortunately, Rocky veered away at the last moment, realizing it was not a hart to be taken down.

Waterloo: From the Orange County Register

This is my wargaming group with whom I hardly ever wargame! (Pastors are busy on weekends.)

Happy Birthday John Adams!

On this day in 1735, John Adams, the son of a farmer and a descendant of Plymouth Rock pilgrims, is born in Braintree, Massachusetts. He enrolled in Harvard University at16 and went on to teach school and study law before becoming America’s second president.

Adams did not fight in the Revolutionary War, but was instrumental in crafting the foundation of the American government. In 1776, he anonymously published Thoughts on Government, which proposed the three-tiered system upon which the United States government is modeled: a bicameral legislature, independent judiciary and strong executive. In 1783, Adams brokered the peace treaty with Britain that ended the American Revolution. Fellow founding father Thomas Jefferson once referred to Adams as "the colossus of independence." The two men developed a deep friendship during the Revolutionary era and both served in George Washington’s first cabinet--Adams as vice president and Jefferson as secretary of state.

Adams, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and James Madison articulated the basis of the Federalist policy— featuring above all a strong centralized government and favoring an economy based on manufacturing--that dominated the Washington and Adams presidencies. Jefferson, a Republican, favored stronger states’ rights and a primarily agricultural economy. Following Washington’s retirement in 1796, Jefferson and Adams ran against each other for the presidency. Adams won and, due to a procedure that gave the next highest vote-getter the vice-presidency, Jefferson became his adversary’s vice president. In personality as well as politics, the obstinate and hot-tempered Adams clashed with the genteel, diplomatic Thomas Jefferson and the two grew increasingly alienated during Adams’ presidency.

As president, Adams lobbied for and signed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, which many observers, including Jefferson, feared would give Adams despotic powers. In Jefferson’s opinion, the acts threatened to compromise the constitutional right to free speech and severely limited the definition of citizenship. In the election of 1800, Jefferson again ran against Adams and, under the guise of a pseudonym or using ghost writers, published vicious denouncements of Adams’ policies and character in the press. Jefferson won and though Adams retired to Quincy, Massachusetts, to write his memoirs, the bitterness between the two former friends endured.

Throughout his political career, Adams was steadfastly supported—and sometimes challenged--by his wife, Abigail. The couple’s correspondence, which has been preserved, thoroughly catalogued and published, provides insight into their private lives and early American culture. When Abigail learned that Jefferson was behind the newspaper attacks against her husband, she too felt betrayed. Nevertheless, it was she who initiated contact between the sworn political enemies when she wrote a letter of condolence to Jefferson upon the death of his daughter in 1812. After that, Adams and Jefferson resumed their long-halted correspondence and repaired their friendship.

Adams lived to see his son, John Quincy Adams, become president in 1825. A year later, he and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826, only hours apart.

History of Halloween

Blame the Irish!

History Channel Video

Greyhound Haiku

As the sun comes up
A sound breaks the morning peace
My dog is rooing!

I forget where I found this, but this is my morning (and all night) ritual. Becuase of some construction we have going on, the dog door is closed and the dog yard is not usable. Therefore, whenever one of our wonderful pets needs to use the bedroom at night, they whine on my side of the bed, or Rocky (the youngest, nutty one) barks at me. No matter how cold it might be, I stumble out into the dark, eager to crawl back into the warmth of my bed. (Please know that I do not usually do so with a cheerful disposition.)

The dogs used to wait until we woke up to feed them, but Rocky and Junior changed all that. Now, the sun comes up and they need to eat! Now!

"A sound breaks the morning peace...(no matter how many times I put my head under the covers)...My dog is rooing!"

Who needs an alarm clock?

And now for your daily dose of Haiku

masquerades embark
alligators fade roughly
singing fables howl

Courtesy of the Genuine Haiku Generator

A Couple of Those Famous Theses

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

Posted by Martin Luther (on a door somewhere) on October 31, 1517

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Great Site for Wargamers

Just discovered this site, where you can find what you need on E bay without looking through a bunch of goofy stuff first. The software engine weeds out the chaff.

Lead and Dice

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Worth Watching Again

Especially during this Reformation Week. This is a very well done film. You can download the film or purchase the DVD on the bottom right (Slideshow).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Is Halloween a Witches Brew?

Here is a thoughtful Christianity Today article from a few year's back, that helps Christians who have some ambiquity about Halloween. I was Confirmed on Halloween (which, for Lutherans, is Reformation Day), so I always enjoy it with a few thoughts about what I pledged to Christ so many years ago.

The Forgotten War

This looks intriquing. I hope it gets a wider broadcast than just New York PBS.

Cyber Church

Here, courtesy of Cyber Brethren, is a good discussion of social networking and the internet. Worth a look.

why social media and social networking?

Stewardship Thoughts: Fund Raising or Faith Raising?

It’s that time of year again! It’s Fall and the church has to talk about “Stewardship.” (“Not again! Why are they always talking about money? We are in a recession. I don’t have much to give!”)

I am indebted to The Rev. Dr. Harry Wendt, an Australian pastor, for much of my fuller understanding of Stewardship. He emphasizes that the stewardship issue is NOT about raising funds for the year to come, but is rather about raising faith for “every minute of every day of every week of every month of the year. It is to empower God’s people to see that God owns all things, and that we can own nothing. We cannot give – we can only manage.”

In fact, stewardship is NOT a church program, but the management of our everyday lives with Christ at the center. In the parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21), Jesus teaches that the very ground we walk on belongs to God. It is the land that produces God’s provision for us, and even our lives are on loan to us from God. In fact, God can demand the return of that loan at any second, and he is not regulated by the FDIC!

While we prayerfully consider the amount we give to the work of God through our congregation, we should also prayerfully consider the amount we keep for ourselves. How much do we need to feel “blessed?” According to Jesus, being blessed has nothing to do with what we possess.

The story of John Wesley is a wonderful one for all of us to ponder, and his wisdom continually challenges me.

John Wesley (1703-1791) was a Church of England clergyman, evangelist, and cofounder of Methodism. After graduating from Oxford University, he became a priest in 1728. In 1729, Wesley was part of a religious study group in Oxford organized by his brother Charles (1707-1788). The members of this study group were called “Methodists” for their emphasis on “methodical study and devotion.

During his 50 years as an itinerant minister, Wesley rode 250,000 miles on the roads of England, Scotland, and Ireland to preach 42,000 sermons. He worked tirelessly to reform the nation and the nature of its religion. His efforts included legal and prison reform, the abolition of slavery, civil rights, and popular education. His “desire to furnish poor people with cheaper, shorter and plainer books” caused Wesley to write over 233 books and education treatises.

While attending Oxford University in the early 1700s, Wesley shared his spiritual discipline with those at the local prison. When Wesley learned that people were imprisoned simply because they could not pay their debts, he was inspired to cap his living expenses and use the rest to purchase the release of debtors.

As his income increased over the years, Wesley continued to live frugally so he could use most of his money in ministry to others. When a tax collector asked Wesley why he had few material possessions, he replied that buying silver spoons, which he considered a luxury, was out of the question when the poor still had no bread, which is a necessity. Wesley gave away so much that at his death his monetary worth amounted to only a few coins.

How does our use (or abuse) of money reflect our faith?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Dodge is An Awesome Dodge! (Tim Hawkins is a funny guy)

Fighting Sioux?

As any college hockey fan can tell, you the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux are a perennial powerhouse on the ice. However, the mascot has been a source of some controversy recently. Follow this link for a thoughtful and interesting article about the use of Native American names for team mascots:

UND Fighting Sioux


Vote for the Goat!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This is for Monty

Christian connection? I have no idea, except you don't want to be part of the undead. Numbers 16:48

Zombie Time Waster

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Classic

I miss Gary Larson. This is one of Katy's favorites.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday US Navy

Establishment of the Navy, 13 October 1775

This resolution of the Continental Congress marked the establishment of what is now the United States Navy

"Resolved, That a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months, and that the commander be instructed to cruize eastward, for intercepting such transports as may be laden with warlike stores and other supplies for our enemies, and for such other purposes as the Congress shall direct.

That a Committee of three be appointed to prepare an estimate of the expence, and lay the same before the Congress, and to contract with proper persons to fit out the vessel.

Resolved, that another vessel be fitted out for the same purposes, and that the said committee report their opinion of a proper vessel, and also an estimate of the expence."

How Some Celebrate Columbus Day

From the AP:

In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year — charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

"In their own verbiage, he was a bad guy," teacher Laurie Crawford said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day

I know it's not pc to say, but Happy Columbus Day!

Here's a good perspective:  Columbus: Man and Myth

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Theirs Not To Reason Why, Theirs But To Do and Die

As mentioned above, I am a "gamer." The simple definition is someone who likes to play games. In my case, it usually boils down to historical and fantasy miniature wargamming (in 25mm). My favorite opponent is my son Dylan (14), as a mater of convenience, and I cannot recall the last time I beat him in a contest! I buy the figures, paint the figures, assemble the landscape, read the rules, then proceed to ride into defeat.

An example is this picture, where my Warq riders (from The Lord of the Rings) attempted to ride over the river, and met an inglorious end. I think I started with six, and as you can see, only two made it across the river. Even those two failed to make it to the front line of the dwarves. Dwarven arrows are deadly!

Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell...

Damn dwarves!