Thursday, March 31, 2005

And some wonder why our college student's faith begins to fail...

The Washington Post

The following stats on the liberal mind-set in colleges were gleaned from a recent study by political science professors Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Neil Nevitte. They were based on a survey of 1,643 faculty at 183 four-year schools.

• By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at U.S. universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative.

• Regarding partisan terms, 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identified themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.

• Religious services take a back seat for many faculty members, with 51 percent saying they rarely or never attend church or synagogue and 31 percent calling themselves regular churchgoers.

The study appears in this month's issue of Forum, an online political science journal. issues and the News

Occasionally I find frustrating, and today is one of those days. I had a great post eaten by their system. When I hit send it came back at me with an error, and there was not moving back to the page where I had typed everything. Oh well, I’m getting more than I’ve “paid” for so I can’t really complain too loudly.

A couple of things in the news today (is the Trib really news or mostly a waste of ink and paper…ah I digress….)

The first is an article about the new smoking ban in Ramsey/Hennepin Counties and Bloomington and Golden Valley Communities. I am in general philosophy usually against adding to our government, but in this case I am all for the smoking ban. As I have referenced in previous posts, I pay bills by slinging fish guts and crustacean parts. Within that restaurant there is a smoking section, where I end up working on average at least one day a week, shifts ranging from 5-9 hours usually. After each shift, I spend the next day coughing up all kinds of phlegm as a result of the crud I was breathing in. When I get home at night, I can almost scrape the build up off my face from the particulate in the smoke I have been working in. My clothes would smell extraordinarily bad as well (well, worse than their normal fried fish/drawn butter/cocktail sauce combination stench after a long shift). I will not miss the smoking. I will not miss the stench, and I will certainly not miss a day of coughing crap up after each one of those shifts. It will be interesting to see what kind of economic impact it has on the restaurant. There is a segment of the smoking population that is not what most would consider “prime” customers, but there is a second segment that are really good to their servers. Smokers tend to spend more on a per-customer basis in my experience. This is in large part because they on average order more alcoholic beverages than do non-smokers. Even if it costs me a bit of money though, I’m glad to see the smoking gone from our area, and I hope the rest of the state follows suit. California paved the way for this, and as much as I hate to give positive pub to that state, on this I have to admit they have done good.

The second section of great news is that the House of Representatives of Minnesota passed a proposal to ban gay marriage with a vote of 77 to 56. While I’d like to see a lot more than 77 yes votes, I’ll take it for now (last year the vote was 88 yes to 42 no). Last year the State Senate did not bring it to vote, avoiding their responsibility. This year I don’t think they will be able to get away with that. The Senate is Democrat controlled, but I think many of the Dems realize they might start some fires in their districts if they oppose this measure. I don’t know if it will pass the Senate, but I do have hope. I have contacted my state legislators (as well as a number of others) encouraging them to support this. I say let the people vote on the issue. Senator Michele Bachmann should be commended for her efforts on this issue.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

All things change, all things remain the same...

Late last night after getting off of work, I found that I had a couple of urgent voice mail messages. The first was our youth pastor requesting I call him back ASAP, something important. The second was him again, explaining that he was resigning at the end of the week, and basically Wednesday night being the last time we'd be working together. This came as a surprize, and I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. In fact I still am not quite sure what to think of it. It puts me in a tough position, because by default everything reverts back onto me whether I want it or not. I haven't decided which way I feel on it. Something has to be done, and it'll be interesting to see how the church handles it. I've been previously burnt in some regards by this church, so I'm going to just wait and see. I think we have a great program going with our J-Hi and I think I can keep that momentum going. The C-Hi is another story, basically dead in the water because of a group of very apathetic students interested in a social club and not a ministry. There is a core of great students who are really suffering because the rest are so lukewarm.

Sometimes we are humbled

I had a rough night last night. My last table at work was a bunch of inconsiderate people, who made a mess, were disrespectful, tried to walk on $46 of $70 of the check, kept me at work an hour after close, and then left a $3 tip for the 5 customers who were served. It's too bad people like these give others of their "group" a bad image.

My night only got worse. I knew I was low on gas, so I took the route home that I knew would take me past a gas station open that late at night (it being 11:15pm at this point). I ran out of gas driving North on 35W. I was able to get it fired once while coasting down the shoulder of the highway, but it only ran for 10 more seconds. I costed the better part of a mile, finally having to bring my truck to a stop near the off ramp of 35W and Co. Rd. E2 in Arden Hills/Mounds View area. I ended up walking the last half mile to the gas station that was my desitination, buying a gas can and a gallon of gas, and walking back to the truck. I then drove back to the station and finished filling my truck with petrol. Thankfully, gas was at $2.049 (what's with the 9/10 of a cent? Just give me a rounded number...) so it wasn't a complete bummer. I remember just a few years ago finding gas at $.99 regularly.

Then to top my night off, I could not fall asleep. I drifted off for a bit, but a stomach issue woke me up around 3:30am. I then struggled to fall back to sleep until after 4:30am. I hate being short on sleep, especially with my current schedule on Tuesdays. Oh well, I guess I have survived.

Today I had another new class for the first time. Understanding Congregational Systems with Dr. John Cionca. I had Dr. Cionca this past fall and really enjoyed his course. This looks to be a very challenging and interesting course with enormous practical implications for ministry. I am looking forward to the next 9 weeks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Easter with Banana-in-laws and more!

I had a great day of celebration of the ressurection of my Lord, Jesus Christ. I spent the day with Miss Banana. Church at Spring Lake Park Baptist, and then over to Banana's house for Easter Lunch. We took a walk in Battle Creek Park, and then watched a fantastic NCAA basketball game (double overtime!). I spent the rest of the evening doing some tasks around her house, installing some weather stripping, fixing the Briel expresso maker I gave her two Christmas' ago. Still have some projects to complete, the tapeing, mudding, sanding and painting of a section of a wall above a new door in the basement bedroom is probably the most involved of the upcoming projects.

Following the handyman work, we had a good discussion about how things are going, and where we are in our relationship. She's a great woman.

Started a new semester of classes today. I have a Preaching Practicum every Monday morning (man I hate Monday mornings...) with Dan Rotach. I have been the Preaching department's Teaching Assistant the past two years, and have gotten to know Dan and the process of the Practicum pretty well. The course is basically preaching of 4 sermons, 2 from Ephesians and 2 from Genesis. Should be fun. Our class is all men, and a couple of them will probably have fantastic sermons I suspect. I only hope to be in the top 3-4 of the class. We'll see.

Great article on the Schiavo issue...

A perspective that most do not have. Worth your time to read, even if you don't agree with the final conclusions put forth.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Christian Media vs. Church Attendance

A nationwide survey conducted by the Barna Group indicates that while 56 percent of adults attend church services in a typical month, many more are exposed to religious information through various forms of media, with radio and television remaining the most popular Christian media.

Nearly half of all adults (46%) listen to a Christian radio broadcast in a typical month. The survey found that one out of every six U.S. adults (16%) listens to Christian radio on a daily basis, more than double the percentage of adults who use any other Christian medium that regularly. The total audience for Christian radio, however, has declined from 56 percent of the adult population in 1992 to its current 46 percent and has resulted in a loss of listeners — mostly among the non-Christian audience — dropping from 42 percent of the listening base in 1992 to just 28 percent today.

The percentage of adults who watch Christian television programming has remained unchanged since 1992, with relatively few adults (7%) watching Christian television on a daily basis. The percentage of adults who read Christian magazines and Christian books — other than the Bible — has remained stable since 1992. Faith-related websites are growing in popularity, with more evangelicals (41%) visiting such sites compared to all other born-again Christians (18%).

For the complete report, visit


I know I am not the norm, but there is not a day that goes by that I don't listen to Christian talk radio. Primarily it's KKMS 980AM, but at times it's KTIS 900AM. Most mornings I wake up the the God glorifying voice on John Piper. I have a radio set to turn on with the light switch in my bathroom. I listen to Todd Friel each afternoon when I prepair for work. There is so much great preaching on the local stations. I must admit I do miss listening to Bobby Coy. When I lived in South Dakota I listened to him 4-5 days a week. I listen to 80% Christian music when I choose to pop in a CD, and often listen to sermons and sermon series by other pastors. I just wish I had more time to watch and listen and learn.

Handyman for a day

Spent the day with the great Banana, working on her home. Got all sorts of projects off her list. Got to spend some time at Home Depot, which always makes for a good afternoon. We put in some weather stripping, worked on a sprayer in the kitchen sink, fixed a door on a closet, worked on the bathtub drain, hung some pictures and probably other stuff I am forgetting. Some more stuff to do on Sunday, hopefully we'll get it all done.

I completed a paper today for a course called Case Studies in Transformational Leadership. The paper covered the life and leadership of Hudson Taylor. Our target was to hit 15-20 pages, and I think I had 25 or 26 pages. It is really difficult to summarize the life of a person like Hudson Taylor (which is the segment I really went over on - the Bio). I suppose that is why professionals are paid for what they do, they know what to cut and what not to cut. Writing is surprizingly tiring, especially when you are thinking at this level.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


I was reading another blog - The Evangelical Outpost - and stumbled upon a very interesting link in one of his posts. He writes: "The Weird Universe -- Dark Matter. Not-so-constant constants. The Placebo Effect. New Scientist finds 13 things that do not make sense. (Assuming it isn’t a fluke, #4 is particularly intriguing.)"

I personally found #2 to be the most interesting:

2 The horizon problem

OUR universe appears to be unfathomably uniform. Look across space from one edge of the visible universe to the other, and you'll see that the microwave background radiation filling the cosmos is at the same temperature everywhere. That may not seem surprising until you consider that the two edges are nearly 28 billion light years apart and our universe is only 14 billion years old.

Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, so there is no way heat radiation could have travelled between the two horizons to even out the hot and cold spots created in the big bang and leave the thermal equilibrium we see now.

This "horizon problem" is a big headache for cosmologists, so big that they have come up with some pretty wild solutions. "Inflation", for example.

You can solve the horizon problem by having the universe expand ultra-fast for a time, just after the big bang, blowing up by a factor of 1050 in 10-33 seconds. But is that just wishful thinking? "Inflation would be an explanation if it occurred," says University of Cambridge astronomer Martin Rees. The trouble is that no one knows what could have made that happen.

So, in effect, inflation solves one mystery only to invoke another. A variation in the speed of light could also solve the horizon problem - but this too is impotent in the face of the question "why?" In scientific terms, the uniform temperature of the background radiation remains an anomaly.

TPT and Post Cards from Buster...

Just as I was browsing some blogs, a disclaimer by the director(?) of TPT came on warning that the next show would be the controversial episode of "Postcards from Buster" that highlights a lesbian couple raising three children. In the wake of the controversy assoicated with this episode the director of PBS decided to not seek a third term as head of PBS. PBS's statement has been that the two things are not related, but I'm not convinced. I believe the public outcry (from conservatives) against this episode was both proper and necessary and that taxpayer money should not be used to promote the homosexual agenda.

Speaking of taxes...I really need to get working on mine. I usually file in late January or early February, but obviously not this year. I've been too busy with school and wedding planning to get to it, but I need to get on it soon! I had an unpleasant relationship with the IRS a number of years back, where they were convinced I owed them money, when in fact they owed me money. The difference between the two numbers was significant, and they wouldn't understand why I wouldn't pay them. I began to get very severe and threatening letters after a few months, and I replied nicely to each one explaining their error. Finally it appeared they were going to take action, so I contacted my CPA and had him run the numbers and send them to the IRS a second time with the pertaining info and copies of my letters and my complaint of my treatment. 10 days later I received the money I had said all along they owed me. I don't mind paying taxes, as they provide many necessary things, but I do mind when the public servants forget they are servants.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Interesting: The Pub Gathering

Looks interesting, perhaps some time I'll have to check it out this summer (after my Wednesday night committment to our Jr. High Ministry is over).

Friday, March 18, 2005

Marriage Amendment hope for Minnesota?!?

Star Tribune:
GRAND RAPIDS, MINN. -- Before a packed auditorium of 650 button-wearing bipartisans with dozens of others outside holding varying signs of support and protest Friday, the House Civil Law and Elections Committee passed a call for a vote by Minnesotans on a constitutional amendment that marriage be defined solely as the union of one man and one woman.

The committee approved the measure on a 7-5 vote, along party lines. The measure would need to pass both the full House and full Senate to be put before the general public. The measure passed the full House in the last legislative session, but it must pass both houses in the same session to go on the ballot.

A nice step, we'll see where it goes. I think there is hope yet for this state. Minneapolis has an abnormally high percentage of gay population, so I suppose that makes this more difficult here. Add in that it was a Blue state last election, and it tends to be moderately liberal. I really hope it does come to vote, as I believe more than 66% would vote for a marriage amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage. LET THE PEOPLE VOTE!

1. The only way to protect marriage from activist state judges is a
state constitutional amendment. Minnesota's current marriage law can
be overturned by state judges.

2. Since Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down
Massachusetts' marriage law, state court judges in New York,
Washington, and California have ruled their state marriage laws

3. A February 2005 Mason Dixon poll found that 65% of Minnesota voters
oppose legalizing same sex marriage; only 21% support legalizing it.
63% support allowing the people of Minnesota to vote on a constitutional
amendment; only 30% oppose allowing the people to vote.

Protecting marriage is essential to insuring that children are
raised with a mother and a father. Same sex marriage would radically
redefine marriage and insure more children will be raised without the
benefit of a mother and a father.

Contact your legislators!

SD making moves against abortion

Trib Article:
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed legislation Thursday requiring doctors who perform abortions in the state to tell women scheduling the procedure that it ends the life of a human being and could leave them depressed or suicidal.

The step gives South Dakota one of the nation's most restrictive abortion consent laws.

Rounds approved the measure over the objection of abortion-rights advocates, who say physicians will be forced to tell patients medical lies.

Under the new law, women seeking an abortion in South Dakota must be told in person and in writing no later than two hours before a procedure that it will terminate the life of a "whole, separate, unique, living human being." Doctors also will have to outline risks women face from abortion and give them the addresses and phone numbers of adoption agencies.

I think this is a step in the right direction. Maybe some other states will join in.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Knee pain and NCAA basketball

Last Fall I hurt my knee on a trip I took with Banana to Grand Marias, MN. We were walking out to the lighthouse just before sunset, and I slipped on a large rock we were walking upon. When I fell (the rock was at a pretty steep angle) I felt a pop in my right knee and I haven't been the same since. It stil hurts to squat down, it hurts to climb stairs or when I ride my bike. It is fortunately not an intense pain, but rather a constant reminder pain that says hey buddy, something's not right here. I would get it fixed, but I'm basically on the crappiest quality student insurance - the kind that is only useful when you need an amputation not an operation. Hopefully after I get married and we sort out our health insurance situation I can get it addressed.

I really enjoy March Madness basketball. This time of year it is hard to get anything else done, because there is always another interesting game coming on in just a few minutes. Currently I'm watching a 5 vs. 12 game, and the 12 is up by 12 pts. I really should be writing a paper, but I have lunch in the nukebox and I can't think on an empty stomach.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sure wish I was smarter...

Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror, Os Guinness writes:

"We must never lose sight of the undeniable fact … [that] more people were killed by secularist regimes in the twentieth century than in all the religious persecutions in Western history, and perhaps in all history.... Whatever our personal views of religion, this statement [that religion is to blame] is simply and factually wrong, and its lazy repetition seriously distorts public debate and endangers democratic freedom. Its root is an unexamined Enlightenment prejudice that simultaneously reduces faith to its functions and recognizes only the worst contributions of faith, not the best—such as the rise of the universities, the development of modern science, the abolition of slavery, and the promotion of human rights."

Do you ever read something and wish you had said it first? Do you ever read something and wish you were smart enought to say that first? I think both are the case for me in this instance. I had the opportunity to see Os Guinness a few months ago give a presentation in association with's Faith Builder series. Man that guy is brilliant.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The beginnings of finals week...

So I am now in the midst of finals. Graduate level finals are so different than undergraduate. I expect in the next 7 days to write 40-50 pages. I think I would rather study for a test. All this writing keeps one from slacking, as you cannot fake your knowledge in a paper at this level.

I spent much of yesterday dealing with wedding plans and financial considerations with my beautiful Banana. The wedding plans are going well, as of today I think we will have our deposit in with our reception place - Plymouth Creek Community Center - and we have the church reserved as well. We spent some time talking about guest lists, and it seems that our potential is bigger than we may have previously thought. I need to do some studying to find out what the average percent of those who are invited actually attend. We have concluded what to do with the grooms dinner following the rehearsal, and it should be fun.

Finances are not going as smoothly as wedding plans. Banana rightly is concerned about the amount of debt I will have as a result of graduate school. Adding to that is that we are trying to work out what to do with her house, trying to find me a job, and at the same time we are hoping to begin to acquire income properties. We both have good credit scores, but I still have unsecured debt with credit cards and student loans, so we'll have to wait and see what we can make happen. A lot of what we will/can do will be predicated on the job application I have in with Bethel, and how things come together with Banana's house.

This morning I was reminded of the greatness of Theodore Roosevelt as a man and as a President. I sure wish we had some more political leaders like him today. I realize he might not mesh well with modern global politics, but I think he could have adapted and thrived even in this modern system.

I would like to thank Mt. Dew for the many mornings it has allowed me to keep my eyes open when I otherwise would not have been able. Today is one of those days. Every Monday of the past year seems to have been one of those days. I love my current Monday morning class, but I sure hate Monday mornings. Another great aid is Zingos caffinated breath mints. Two small mints give you fresh breath, as well as the equivolent caffine injection as a 12oz. cola. It's like tabs of rocket fuel for the sleepy mind.

I am really looking forward Spring. I love Spring and Fall, but especially Spring. The combination of the renewal of everything around me, with the reminder of the death and resurrection of Christ (Easter) really brings me joy.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Always behind on my blogging...

It seems there is never enough time. Between planning a wedding with the lovely Miss Banana, spending time with her, being a full time seminary student, working 20-25 hawking fish gruel, being on staff at a church, and finding time for laundry and personal bathing, it seem I never have enough time for everything. The end result is things I would like to blog are never written. Blogs i would like to read go unread. Thoughts I'd like to express, or at least commit to something beyond the firings (and mis-firings) of my squishy gray matter.

Last Friday I attended the opening of "The Monkey King" at the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis. It was a good distraction from my daily life, and poses some interesting questions about how our faith shapes our lives. I do reccommend the show, but one must enter it with the understanding that it is an overt presentation of many of the key tennants of the Buddhist faith. I think those who are well versed in Christianity will be able to easily and quickly see how this could lead to some great discussions about faith. I also saw some parallels to the mythical trickster found in some American Indian lore. The acting was quite good, the costuming fantastic. A good bit of humor and farce, mixed with Buddhism, and a splash of modern comedy and pop culture references for seasoning.

Wedding stuff and related poderings

Been working on wedding stuff some tonight.

Below is a list of what we (Groom and family) are "expected" to pay for in a traditional marriage from what I understand.
-Wedding Gift for Bride
-Bride's Wedding & Engagement Ring
-Marriage License
-Gifts for Best Man, Ushers
-Bridal Bouquet and Going-Away Corsage
-Boutonnieres for all men in Wedding party
-Mother's Corsages
-Fee for Clergy or Judge
-Rehearsal Dinner
-Groom's formalwear & Accessories

And cut a few other things off this list that didn't come into play. I don't want to come off as complaining, as this is the tip of the perverbial iceberg compared to what is expected of the Bride and her family. I'm quickly beginning to understand how people can spend $20K in a blink on a wedding if they want much more than the basics and have more than 200 people.

I'm quite excited to be getting married, I believe Banana and I will really be great together. I realize how much work is ahead of us for the duration of our lives (NOT the duration of our marriage, which will be our lives, as we will both commit to). We've been getting good feedback from our marriage counselor, and after having taken the Prepare test together, we are a "Vitalized Couple" according to their system, scoring 100% on two different areas, and not having a real "low" grouping, but certainly areas to work on.

The next 10 months are going to go waaaaay to fast I'm afraid.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Midweek update

As of Monday, we have come to the point of being 95% sure that December 30th will be our wedding. We had been reserved for the 29th (Thursday) but the people who had their name on the reservation sheet failed to bring their deposit in, so we were able to get our names in instead. This is a wonderful answer to prayer. We spent the majority of the day on Sunday working on things related to our wedding. We were in a counseling session at Wooddale Church, and we sat down with my future in-laws and did cost comparisons of different sights, and examined our options.

Banana had some problems with her car this week. She had a CV joint replaced and a ball joint replaced. All things considered, the $700+ ended up being a pretty good deal considering the concerns she had that some other things might need fixing. She also got a free tune up, and a oil change (which became a fiasco).

I'm beginning to feel the pressure of finals. I still have a week (well half a week) to go, but am not very excited about it. Two huge papers that need to be written. One for Christian Social Ethics, one for Case Studies on Transformational Leadership.