Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.


Friday, May 24, 2002  

Go here. You'll know what to do next.

Then tell your friends.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:47 PM
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Thursday, May 23, 2002  

I have to thank Zach for pointing me to The Ornery American. This looks like one to revisit regularly.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:32 PM
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A cyber-friend, Zach Frey, has started a blog: My Place In This World. Zach, I thought your place was outside of Ann Arbor.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 1:07 PM
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Dr. Science answers a question that has been on my mind lately: Is a periodic table more frequent than an occasional table?

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:45 AM
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I admit it. I'm jealous.HokiePundit is in London. And no, Guiness does not taste like wood!

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:46 AM
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Wednesday, May 22, 2002  

Now this is good news: Yahoo! News - Six arrested over 'Nigerian e-mail' fraud

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 2:14 PM
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Jeffrey Collins continues the stream on PNG, started by Martin Roth, over at joyfulchristian. (Jeffrey now has a link in the sidebar, BTW.)

I've had several friends who have gone on missionary trips to the Ukraine. One of the things they found was that a huge portion of the people they talked to identified themselves as Christian. They did so, not because they believed, or even knew, what Christianity taught. They called themselves Christians because they weren't communist anymore. One friend asked a man how he became a Christian. The answer was, "I tore up my Communist Party card." These people went so long being indoctrinated against Christianity by Communists, that when the Communist government fell, they assumed they must be Christians. Hence, a large number of people with no knowledge of the Incarnation, Sin, Redemption, Faith, Repentence, or Baptism calling themselves "Christian."

If I may add a note, this points out the importance of remembering ALL of the Great Commission:
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I think that, all too often, we stop before verse 20, "...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Dallas Willard has noted--and others likely have as well--that this has become "The Great Omission from the Great Commission.") We can't just go in to a city or village, show "The Jesus Film" (and I'm not knocking that film here), ask for a show of hands of how many people have "made a committment," and loudly proclaim how successful our evangelism is. Conversion is much more that leading someone through "the Sinner's Prayer."

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 10:36 AM
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Mark Butterworth has added a bit more to the rambling conversation on authority over at Sunny Days in Heaven. I plan on continuing, but am swamped at the moment. Please stand by.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:32 AM
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Tuesday, May 21, 2002  

My horoscope, directly from The Onion (self-described as "America's Finest News Source"):

Libra: (Sept. 23—Oct. 23)
The stars foresee profound changes ahead for Libra, but they insist on describing them in vague, non-specific terms.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 4:10 PM
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Louder Fenn has an announcement:

Listen, people! Not every word in a title should be capitalized.

I have a question:
Why not?

I've never understood this particular "rule." Can anyone help me out? (I have already looked at The Chicago Manual of Style, thank you. It tells how to capitalize titles, but it doesn't really offer any rationale for the prescription.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:34 AM
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Too Bad To Be False Department: In the wake of the success of the first installment of Peter Jackson's masterful rendition of The Lord of the Rings, Hollywood smells money to be made in fantasy. Thus, New Line Cinema is moving ahead on plans to produce Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

That worries me. I've heard these books described as being explicitly anti-Christian, that Pullman set out to write an "anti-Narnia." Mark Shea has a piece on this, but BlogSpot is acting flaky just now, so I can't find it. I'll try to link to it later.

Update: BlogSpot is behaving now. You can find Mark's take on Pullman (and Harry Potter) here. A taste:

Likewise, instead of peering between the lines to find the satanic message cleverly encoded into Harry Potter's pseudo-Latin, just read a really sinister and subversive series of books like Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Never heard of them? That's because while Christians, including a dismaying number of Catholics, were squinting at Harry Potter, Pullman has been deliberately authoring a very well-written, highly imaginative series of stories with the express goal of blaspheming God and making an atheist of your kid. The tale describes a struggle to overthrow the "Authority" ("God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty-those were all names he gave himself," an angel tells one of the heroes of the story). In Pullman's fantasy, what Christianity calls God is actually the first angel, who tried to deceive all creation into submitting to him. Some of the angels rebelled (think plucky Jedi vs. the Evil Empire) centuries ago, but lost, and now a faithful remnant of the Rebellion is stirring to assert "truth" to the Authority's power.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:03 AM
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Monday, May 20, 2002  

Because I Said So Department: Mark Byron, Mark Butterworth, Marc Velasquez and Jeffrey Collins have been discussing Biblical sufficiency. Mr. Velasquez points out that saying Scripture is the infallible word of God because Scripture says so is a bit of a circlular argument. Allow me to point out that any argument of Ultimate Authority (TM) is going to be a circular one. For example, "I rely on reason as my Ultimate Authority because it is reasonable to do so." Any time you point to something outside of your Ultimate Authority to validate it, you have just shifted to a different Ultimate Authority.

(And it is, of course, simply a coincidence [NOT!] that I happened to be reading about the authority and sufficiency of Scripture in the book
Systematic Theology; An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine
by Wayne Grudem. Just a coincidence.)

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 12:48 PM
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Things That Make You Go Hmmm Department: Last Thursday, Martin Roth noted that Papua New Guinea is allegedly "one of the most Christians countries on earth," with something like 97% of the population identified as Christian. At the same time, however, PNG is on the brink of an AIDS explosion. Martin asks "What's up with that?" (OK, I'm paraphrasing a bit.)

Yesterday, I learned something that might help shed some light on this. Tim and Kay Hughes are missionaries in PNG. They work for New Tribes Missions (and know Martin and Gracia Burnham, by the way): Tim is an aircraft mechanic, and Kay does admin stuff for the school NTM operates there. They were at our church yesterday, and one of the things they said about the tribes of PNG is that they're primarily Aministic: spirits--ancestors and nature spirits, mostly--are everywhere, and have influence on everything, and you have to do stuff to appease the spirits. Tim said that when a missionary comes in with a "blitzkrieg" (my word for it, not his) evangelism method, most often, people will accept Jesus as yet another spirit to be appeased. So, if you ask someone if they believe in Jesus, they'll say yes. On the surface, they seem to be Christian, when in reality, they're practicing syncretism, that is, the "attempted reconciliation of conflicting or opposite beliefs, e.g. in philosophy or religion, especially uncritically."

And that, my friends, is how you can have a country that is 97% "Christian" but also has a rampant AIDS problem.

[By the way, you'll have to scroll down a bit to find Martin's article.]

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 12:31 PM
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