Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tea Spoon Blues

Every time I think I've seen all the amazing guitar players on Youtube, I find another one. Here's a guy using a tea spoon as a slide to play lead while fingerpicking his own backup chords. I just think this is cool. Not to mention, it's a catchy tune!

Monday, February 26, 2007

James Cameron Thinks He Knows Where Jesus Is Buried

There is a new documentary coming out that seeks to be "true" where the Da Vinci Code sought to be fiction that seemed true. James Cameron, who directed Titanic, has got a new movie that he thinks will prove that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. There's a tomb that was found several years ago, and they found names on it like Jesus, Joseph, and James. They are insisting this is Jesus' family. There are numerous reasons why this is all garbage. First, Jesus' family lived in Nazareth, and it's extremely unlikely that they would have been buried in Jerusalem, much less in a tomb of rich people.

They're saying they have "DNA evidence" that it's Jesus and his family. First, you need some of Jesus' actual DNA to prove it. Second, having 5 people with similar DNA buried to each other means absolutely nothing. It's just a family burial spot. Big whoop.

Ben Witherington made an excellent post on his blog about this, and if you want some more intelligent, eloquent rebuttals of the whole premise of this thing, I recommend reading it. You can see it here. One extremely interesting thing that he points out is how common names like Jesus, Joseph, and Mary were. Having a tomb with the name Jesus on it is equivalent to finding one today with the name "Jones".

It makes me sad that this is being released, as it is a very direct attack on Christianity, and I think many people with itching ears may be led further astray. Unfortunately, people who control most of the media and entertainment in our country are hostile to Christ and to Christian purposes. This film has no real credibility, but I'm sure it won't be the last of its type to show up.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cri-Cri - El Raton Vaquero (The Cowboy Mouse)

I always enjoy learning things about Mexican culture. Carolina has told me about a show that they had with really great kids' songs. Francisco Soler is a very well known writer of childrens' songs; many of which were featured on this show. The show itself was called "Cri-Cri", which is Spanish for "Cricket". I guess this was their answer to Jiminy Cricket, but who knows.

We were driving back, and this song came on the radio on a Spanish station. I thought it was really great. It's a song about a little gringo cowboy mouse who is trapped inside a house behind bars. The chorus of the song is in English where the mouse is begging to be set free, but the person singing remarks (in Spanish) that as long as the cowboy mouse has his dangerous looking pistols in the air, even if he speaks Chinese (listen for the word "Chino") he will never let him out. Watch the video, and see if this doesn't get stuck in your head. "What the heck is this house? For a manly cowboy mouse?"

Here is a youtube video of the song on Cri-Cri, and below are some of the lyrics.


(Francisco Gabilondo Soler)

En la ratonera ha caído un ratón,

con sus dos pistolas y su traje de cowboy;

ha de ser gringuito porque siempre habla inglés,

a más de ser güerito y tener grandes los pies.

El ratón vaquero saco sus pistolas

se inclinó el sombrero y me dijo a solas:

"What the heck is this house

for a manly cowboy mouse

hello you let me out

and don't cath me like a trout.

Con que si, ya se ve

que no estás a gusto ahí

y aunque hábles inglés no te dejaré salir.

Tras las fuertes rejas que resguardan la prisión,

mueve las orejas implorando compasión,

dice el muy ladino que se va a reformar

pues aunque hable en chino, pues ni así lo he de soltar.

El ratón vaquero tiró dos balazos,

se chupo las balas y cruzó los brazos.

"What the heck is this house

for a manly cowboy mouse

hello you let me out

and don't cath me like a trout.

Con que si, ya se ve

que no estás a gusto ahí

y aunque hables inglés no te dejaré salir.

Tennis Tournament in Memphis

Carolina and I went to Memphis on Friday to watch part of a tennis tournament that benefits St. Jude's children's hospital. It happens every year around this time, and there are always some good stars around. This was my third time to see Andy Roddick, but my first time to see Venus Williams. I'll break my thoughts down into a few tidbits:

1. When we first walked through the place on the way to the court, we were walking past a huge black man who looked strangely familiar, then I saw someone stop and tell him how much they love his daughters. It was Venus Williams' dad. I had to squeeze past him to go down the stairs, so we smiled and nodded at each other. That was cool.

2. Andy Roddick is a lot of fun to watch. He is very aggressive and passionate. He was playing against some guy named Y. Lu who gave him a real run for his money. Roddick won the first set but almost lost the second one. It came down to a tie breaker. Carolina had her camera out and we managed to get a video capture of Andy on the last point of an important game that he lost. He had been getting mad and fussing to himself, then hitting the ground some with his raquet. When he lost this game, he slammed it and broke it, then got out the next raquet and threw it on the ground, too. Check out the video below, we got it all! I think later, they got the raquet that he broke out of the trash and auctioned it off for charity.

After this game, he came back with a lot of desire. He served three aces in a row, then double faulted, then lost a point. As soon as he lost the point, I was expecting to hear some expletives, but instead he shouted, "AWESOME!!!" at the top of his lungs. He's good at entertaining the crowd. Especially when he gets mad and gives dirty looks to the line judges.

3. Venus Williams. Seeing her in person is so impressive. Carolina happened to be at the right place at the right time and managed to snap this close-up, really good picture of her. I've never seen someone be so huge yet so graceful. Her technique is beautiful. She has extremely long arms and legs, but consistently did great at returning the balls that would have seemed too close for her to get with her long stature. She's very classy and graceful. I'd like to see her play again some time.

If you have never gone to a tennis match and live around the AR-TN area, this is a great one to go to. The place is fairly small, and as you can see from the video, you are really close to the action, even in the cheap seats.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sound Leads To Light?

According to this guy's blog, a college student in Kentucky named Samuel J. Hunt is proposing a new theory, trying to prove the Biblical account of creation; that light was spoken into existence.

His theory is based on a fact known for about 100 years now, that sound produces light. I personally think the goal of Genesis is to teach us about God, and not so much to serve as a science textbook. At any rate, this is producing quite a stir, and is interesting to think about.

As usual, when someone suggests that the Bible might be remotely historically or scientifically accurate, there's always some pompous scientist to come along and say, "This guy needs to let a REAL scientist do the thinking...someone who really understands logic and reasoning." Because everyone knows that scientists are morally perfect people, incapable of bias or adjusting parameters on their data to favor what they want that data to show.

At least one scientist has come along already and said the whole idea is beyond ridiculous. This new theory might even be as ridiculous as the idea that two monkeys can give birth to a human, or two pieces of algae to a fish. Not to mention that there is no ultimate cause for these things; they just happen. You'd have to be an illogical idiot to believe all that (Psalm 14:1).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Coercing the Gods

An idea popped into my head today, and I wanted to blog about it to see if I can express it in a coherent fashion.

There is a sense in which the sins of the world continue to repeat themselves. "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man" -I Corinthians 10:13. We certainly have a different worldview, and an extremely different culture from what would have been prevalent in the ancient near east. But I think we could agree that many of the sins--the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life--all remain the same.

I spotted another one today that really took me off guard. A few weeks ago I was reading in Nahum Sarna's book Understanding Genesis, where he talked about the role of magic in pagan religion that was strikingly absent in Israel's worship of God.

For pagan religions, the gods are not uncreated beings. If you go back far enough, even the gods have birth stories, therefore there had to be some force beyond the gods that could bring them into existence. Here is Sarna's observation:
Since, according to pagan concepts, man's destiny is controlled by two separate forces, the gods and the powers beyond the gods, it was inevitable that magic became an integral part of pagan religion. Man had to be able to devise the means of activating those forces superior even to the gods. Religion, as a consequence, became increasingly concerned with the elaboration of ritual designed to propitiate the numerous unpredictable powers that be. (Page 11)

In contrast, Israel felt that God was the Creator. He was without a superior, and there were no higher forces to whom one could appeal.

What got me thinking was a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine who is working on his PhD at a prominent divinity school in the northern USA. I've found it a bit odd that the majority of divinity students at this point and time are female. It's not a vast majority; kind of a 55/45, but it seems to be an increasing majority. (I'm not saying it's good or bad; it's just interesting to me) But some of these students are not just females who want to know the Bible better and live as good Christians. My friend is in school with numerous agenda-pushing homosexuals, and several trans-gender people ("women" who used to be men and vice versa). It isn't totally uncommon for divinity schools to contain more atheists than any other branch of a university.

Without getting too much into that can of worms, I wonder if I can make a connection between our culture and the ANE culture when we consider how people currently understand God's origin. Why are people whose lives are so diametrically opposed to Biblical teaching so drawn to study theology? If the gods are born of higher powers, and you find a way to control the higher powers (magic), then you can coerce the gods to do as you please.

Many of these people today are pushing their own moral and political agendas. They study divinity under the assumption that after "the beginning", it was Man who made God by writing these holy books. Even if we can't get people to change the books, maybe we can change how these books are understood. If we can change the way people understand the holy books, then we can change the way they view God. The end result? We are trying to appeal to forces beyond God to make Him into what we desire, so that our own wishes are granted.

Is scholarship the new higher power to whom we appeal when we want to force God into our mold?

What do you think?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Do Any Ezell People Remember This?

I was cleaning out a stack of papers on my desk, and this fell out. This goes all the way back to my Ezell-Harding days when Elizabeth Carney played a joke on Mr. Spillers. She made about 500 of these and passed them around. Mr. Spillers got so upset, he offered extra credit points to kids who would give him these so that he could destroy them. For me, it would take an awful lot to convince me to part with this.

On a side note, Mr. Spillers was a great teacher, and has been a good friend to me. He has constantly encouraged me, and I appreciate all that he's done to help train up young people in the Lord. He's one of the few teachers I had in high school that has really made an effort to keep in touch with me. Hopefully, he won't be too mad at me for bringing this back up. :-) I thought the nose ring was a really nice touch, not to mention the Krystal Chili Cheese Pup background.