Monday, October 30, 2006

Culture: God Blog Conference 2006 - Friday Night Panel

I made it down to God Blog Conference 2006 at Biola University after a 2 hour drive.

The conference was attended by a mix of the speakers who were the high powered big name bloggers, interested smaller time bloggers like myself and the student volunteers of Biola's Torrey Honors Institute.

The evening program was a panel with the title, "The New Media Political Revolution."

Moderating was Hugh Hewitt. On the panel was Senate candidate Allen McCulloch, writer La Shawn Barber and philosophy professor John Mark Reynolds.

Below is my attempt to summarize the fast moving conversation.

Hugh made some introductory remarks to put the progress of the New Media in some context: 10 years ago in 1996 there were no blogs and no one had heard of Al-Qaeda. He asked the panel to discuss where they think the New Media will take us in terms of the political realm.

McCulloch whose campaign is utilizing New Media extensively felt that the immediacy of the New Media will make campaigns more open and transparent. He noted we have seen how quickly the blogosphere can point out media errors.

Reynolds believed that virtual communities would be built up around campaigns. However, he felt that eventually a small number gatekeepers will control the bulk of news content.

Hugh asked if the New Media is making people even more divided than before.

McCulloch said that poltics will always involve a certain amount of ugliness. But just as in the past, the candidate with integrity, faith and vision should stand out.

Barber (she is an American of African ancestry) mentioned that as an ethnic minority like Michelle Malkin she gets her share of really hateful mail. However, she senses a calling to be doing what she is doing and so the criticism is to be expected. She plans to keep on taking positions and letting people decide for themselves. There is no point in holding back.

Hewitt asked who they thought might be possible rising political stars?

Barber said no one really stands out to her. She think Tancredo has tapped into the public's concern about illegal immigration. She believes that Barack Obama is over-rated.

Reynolds though Mitt Romney has potential. He feels neither party can continue to write-off whole regions of the United States and expect to govern effectively. Romney could put the Northeast in play for the GOP. He sees that Romney is very articulate and that he seems to inspire genuine loyalty among his supporters. He gave three reasons why America might be ready for a Mormon for President.
(1) Mormons have been a political force in Utah, Idaho and Arizona. Even though he disagrees with Mormon theology vigorously, they are mainstream enough in regards to the "Civic Virtues" that are held by most Americans.
(2) It is generally believed that there is nothing about Mormonism that people believe would lead to bad public policy. That would not have been true of Mormonism in its past. For instance, its history of racism against blacks and polygamy would be disqualifying if those were more recent.
(3) Christians would be reluctant to call Mormons "weird" because that could be said of some aspects of Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant beliefs.

McCulloch agreed that Romney has possibilities. He also believes Condi Rice has a future.

Reynolds ventured that George Allen and Bill Frist are done as national candidates with their recent problems.

Hewitt turned the discussion toward the role of military service might play in future success of candidates. He believed it will prove to be if not essential, very important.

Reynolds agreed. The fact that a person at the height of their youth opts to serve in the military speaks well of them.

McCulloch believed that any future candidate must be seen as having made a choice in their lives that clearly demonstrates a commitment to service. Candidates seen as having skated through life will be at a big disadvantage.

Hugh asked if women will be held to that standard as well.

Barber said, women should not serve in combat. Thus, it would be hard for a woman to become president if there is any sense the country is in danger like it is now.

Reynolds remarked that he is worried that the difference between the military culture and the civilian culture is getting too large.

McCulloch felt that a woman who served in the military will have some advantages as a candidate but the absence of that experience would not be a detrimental as it would be to a male candidate.

Click here to see what others are saying about Godblogcon as identified by Technorati.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Culture: God Blog Conference 2006 - Kick Off - Baptizing the imagination for Jesus

After a 2 hour drive from work in Los Angeles to Biola University 30 miles away, I had the opportunity to hear John Mark Reynolds give what was essentially a "State of the Internet and New Media" address.

There were about 40 people in the Metzer Hall conference room of which a few seemed to be live blogging the event. I'm sure many summaries of last night's talk have been posted.

Reynolds began by citing the progress of revolutions from history. Stage 1 is denial, stage 2 is that it is the hottest new thing and stage 3 is the time of settling and shaking it out. The internet revolution, in his view, is at the end of stage 2 and entering stage 3. The technology is starting to be taken for granted.

In recent memory, Hollywood and the movie industry was a revolution which Christians failed to be a part of. Christians decried the potential for abuse of the new medium of movies but weren't at the table in Hollywood's growth in the 20th Century hence, that realm was almost exclusively secular.

Reynolds is concerned the same is happening in the internet and the new media.

At one point, blogging and web content was brand new and anyone can get in and get some audience. The barriers to entry remains low but the standard to gain audience has risen dramatically. He believes that eventually a handful of portals will control the bulk of content that will actually get read. He is very concerned that if Christians aren't creative and taking risks, we will not be at the table when that happens.

He summarized his talk with these four points:
(1) The days of the internet as the wild wild west are over. A finite number of entities will ultimately control content that actually gets read and they will be the ones who find a business model that generates revenue by doing so.
(2) He challenged the group to think about the world of virtual reality. Can we create a Christian world in cyberspace that is so compelling that people who visit it will be moved to want to live it in real life?
(3) The power of myth and fiction. People who grew up reading Tolkein and the Lord of the Rings tend to be more receptive to Christian ideas later in life. What is the fiction that people are consuming today? Does that fiction baptize people's imaginations in such a way that they become more or less responsive to the Gospel News of Jesus and the Cross? Christians must take risks and put material out onto the internet that is unexpected much as Jesus did when he taught people.
(4) In the rush for all this new technology and new media, let us not lose the best of the past. Christians should be sharing the best from the past because of the truths those "old things" conveyed.

A summary is also offered up at the Godblogcon 2006 website.

Running the search "godblogcon" in google yields this.

A run of the same search on the search utility in yields this.

The conference continues all day Friday and Saturday morning.

I'll be at the conference again Friday night after work and Saturday morning.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Religion: the complementarian and egalitarian discussion

I've been writing over at my other blog about the theology of the proper roles for women and men.

As a quirk of "google" searches, it would seem the one post I had here pertaining to IV Press' position on the subject is getting more hits than this post over there.

So I've cut and pasted with a few tweaks from the other site and pasted on this site and I'll be watching the site-tracker to see what happens!


Previously, I blogged briefly about the question of whether women should be allowed to be pastors.

Here is a longer follow-up post.

From my research to this date, there appears to be a spectrum of views:
(1) Women can teach men and exercise authority in the church and be pastors
(2) Women can teach men and exercise authority in the church and be pastors but must be under the supervision of a male senior pastor
(3) Women can teach men and exercise authority in the church but not be pastors and must be under the supervision of male leadership
(4) Women can teach children and other women but not adult men, exercise a limited amount of authority and, of course, not be pastors.

Position one is held by the egalitarians and position four is held by the complementarians. Positions #2 and #3 are in between and I'm not sure what they would call themselves.

Both sides claim that Scriptures support their position. The complementarians can add that they have history and tradition on their side in addition to Scriptures.

As I see it, there are four areas of contention within the Biblical texts. I'll start from the least informative and move to what I believe are the most dispositive texts.

Exceptional Women

Deborah was an OT Judge in Judges 4. Priscilla was one half of the power couple Priscilla and Aquila (see various passages in the NT). Junias was one half of the power couple of Junias and Andronicus (Romans 16:7). There are various other women in the NT who were involved in the life of the church.

Egalitarians will cite these women as examples of God planting the seeds and paving the way for women to take up more significant roles as the yoke of culturally imposed male-dominated societies fade away with time. Neither side disputes the radicalness, for their times, of how Jesus interacted with women and Paul's frequent commendations of women in his letters.

Complementarians will say Deborah was part of OT narrative so it was descriptive but not proscriptive. They will say the roles of Priscilla and Junias are not known. They were highly respected but it wasn't clear they were elders in the fledgling church. They may have been prayer warriors but not preachers. They may have served tea and cookies but not communion. We simply don't know what they did.

My view: We will have to ask Pricilla and Junias what they did when we meet them in the kingdom. We simply don't know what they did. Thus, to me, neither side scores any points on the evidence.

If Jesus had selected a woman to be among the 12 there would be no questions on this issue. If the NT recorded an incident where a woman preached there would be no doubt on which view is right. But the facts are that neither are part of our Scriptures. However, if we feel history and tradition are dispositive than the burden falls on the egalitarians to provide more justification to overturn precedent.

Prophesying and prophetesses

Peter in Acts 2 cited Joel 2 where the Spirit is poured out and "sons and daughters shall prophesy."

And indeed, it came to pass as we find out Philip's daughters were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9). Paul mentions the gift of prophecy and that women have that gift in I Corinthians and men and women should exercise them within proper order.

The complementarians will point out that the act of prophesying in the NT was more casual than the OT. It appeared to be episodic and limited in extent. Because that, they feel it does not rise to the same level as authoritative teaching presented by elders and pastors which would be regular and extensive instruction.

Egalitarians counter by saying, teaching is teaching whether the setting is small or big, public or private, long or short in length.

My view: Again we are faced with the dimness of detail. When a woman or man for that matter offered a prophecy in the church, what did she/he actually do? Did she offer an example from her own life experience how some spiritual teaching had affected her? Did she issue a challenge to obedience by citing a teaching from Jesus? Did she offer up a prediction about some future event?

We simply do not know exactly what prophecy entailed in the NT context. In the OT context, the prophets usually warned, shape up or we are going to get it!

We do not know if the "exceptional women" in the prior point engaged in prophecy (episodic and limited) teaching or authoritative (regular and extensive) teaching within the context of the "house churches" that were probably the model of the early church. Some will dispute those distinctions which is part of the problem in the dialog on these issues: we can't even agree what constitutes teaching and whether there are gradations of teaching which then brings in elements of authority.

Neither side really scored big points with me on this aspect; maybe a slight edge to the egalitarians. Clearly, in the OT, prophecy was almost exclusively male (Deborah and Miriam were the exceptions) but in the NT, the door is opened widely to women. Has God planted the seed with the Acts 2/Joel 2's promise of the Spirit which will flower into something greater with time? It is an inference the egalitarians ride like a wave on a surfboard while the complementarian has to diminish.

I Timothy 2

The most contentious debate is over the famous passage in 1 Timothy: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing - if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

The complementarian says a plain reading of this text bars women from teaching and authority in the church.

The egalitarian says, wait a minute, the Greek language is a bit more subtle than the English translation. Here is an analysis offered by Ben Witherington heavy on the Greek. Also, another take is given by Greg Koukl.

Witherington argues from the Greek that the ban might be temporary because of the word choice translated into "do not permit." He also argues that the word choice for "authority' here is unusual. And he also brings in some of the cultural-historical context to support the local nature of the problem which makes Paul's instruction temporary.

Koukl offers the idea that the context of the passage is about the marriage relationship.

My view: It is all GREEK to me! 8-)

Koukl's view is an interesting one. If the context of childbearing is controlling then he might be right to limit the preceding to marriage. However, if the controlling context is prior (instructions about dress codes) then it is likely to be a wider injunction to women which renders Koukl's view inoperative. The chapter 3 context is church leadership. The context of the beginning of chapter 2 appears to be prayer in the assembly. Thus, Koukl's view in my view falls short.

As for Witherington, what can I say?

If you ask John MacArthur and John Piper to exegete the exact same Greek text they will come up with the exact opposite conclusion. How is an average lay person like myself supposed to decide what is the correct interpretation?

Going back to the beginning

Both sides cite Adam and Eve at the beginning of the human experiment for support.

Which part of the creation of Adam and Eve is the controlling Scriptural paradigm?

The Egalitarians cite Genesis 1:28, God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." They point out that the couple were equally responsible to carry this out.

The Complementarians cite the Genesis 2 account where Adam was created first and Eve was created as the suitable helper. They argue that men and women are equal in the eyes of God but they have different roles.

My view: There is no question that human experience tells us that men and women are different. They are especially different in their response to authority and how they exercise it. So there is no doubt in my mind that in the realm of personal relationships, those differences will be pronounced.

C.S. Lewis argued in his book Mere Christianity that from a common sense point of view, in a marriage, you can have a 1-1 tie vote on an issue. Thus, someone needs to be the one who decides. Lewis believed from observing human behavior that in practice the husband usually makes the decision and husbands who are cowed by their wives are often pitied and viewed unfavorably by others.

Thus, in the realm of marriage, someone has to be in charge. The Complementarians then extend this to the church. Some more ardent Complementarians would also extend this to society at large while more moderate Complementarians believe women's role in society has more liberty.

Is there a final answer?

When we meet God we will find out.

It would appear that this part of the discussion is at the heart of the issue. The reality is that we live in a fallen world where men abuse women by exercising authority harshly and women fight back with the feminine wiles they have. Christian teaching and morality seeks to move away from the sinful pattern toward ... what?

The Egalitarians believe the goal is full equality as described in Genesis 1.

The Complementarins believe the goal is full equality but with distinctive roles for men and women as described in Genesis 2.

But in the meantime, what do we do?

By we, I mean those of us who don't know which side is right?

Does this come down to another example of the mind justifies what the heart choses?

One can choose a position and find and fit the data to support it.

I believe there is objective truth. But I also acknowledge sometimes it isn't always so easy to find or it maybe more complicated than we can comprehend.

The debate rages on. I suppose on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'm a complementarian. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I'm an egalitarian. On Sunday, I rest before God and don't think about this!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Religion: Does Theology Matter?

Yes and no.

Seems to me in some cases, a theological debate is really akin to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I think the "end times" theology arguements within Christianity are in that realm. I'm sure some would disagree with me on that. But as I see it, the mode and timing of when Jesus returns to usher in the Kingdom of God into fullness is so murky that to take a dogmatic position assumes much too much on our interpretive abilities. The Christian moral bottom line is unaffected by one's "system" of theology regarding the return of Christ.

Another classic intra-mural debate is between the Calvinist and Arminian view of God's Sovereignty and Human Free Will.

Theology debates on the identity of Jesus are important because that is the foundation of Christianity. If Jesus is fabricated a la the Da Vinci Code then Christianity is worthless.

Another area that is very heated these days is the question of the theology of men and women. Though the debate doesn't go to the heart of Christianity like the debate on Jesus, it does go to daily life in how men and women should live their lives.

I was web surfing and came across this item regarding the position of publishing arm of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, IV Press. Excerpt:
InterVarsity Press (IVP) is fairly up-front about its commitments on the gender issue: the organization is committed to publishing books that undergird its viewpoint that all ministerial offices are open to women.

Perhaps more than anything else, IVP’s publishing vision proves that there is no genuine middle ground on the gender debate: logically and practically, a ministry is either complementarian or egalitarian.

"There is no middle ground or mediating position with regard to the current gender debate within evangelicalism," said Randy Stinson, executive director of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

"Anymore, individuals, churches, and parachurch ministries must take a position on this issue since it determines so many practices within these various groups."

IVP’s practice, if not its profession, is clearly egalitarian and it has been so from the beginning.

The publishing company was founded in 1941 by C. Stacy Woods as a part of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). From the outset, the 20-member board of trustees that holds IVCF and IVP accountable resolved to support complete freedom for women in ministry.
While Stinson applauds IVP’s stance on homosexuality, he says the gender debate is not only about a slide toward homosexuality; it is mainly about obedience to the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the home and the church.

A wholesale commitment to feminism or egalitarianism by IVP or any other Christian ministry sets aside the authority of Scripture, he said.

Said Stinson, "The egalitarian view is harmful to the home and to the church, and it undermines the authority of God's Word, which, contrary to the assertions of many on the other side of this debate, is very clear regarding the roles of men and women.

"It harms boys and girls who are not being encouraged to exhibit biblical characteristics of their gender. It also, many times, leads to a perversion of one's view of God since there are many egalitarians who are arguing for feminine God-language and advocating calling God "Mother." In other words, this is not some kind of casual, intramural debate.
Stinson said the debate must necessarily continue because the two sides hold opposite views; both views cannot be in line with the objective truth of Scripture. Stinson urged Christians to employ biblical discernment in supporting parachurch organizations by making certain their views square with Scripture.

"It is no wonder, then, that Fryling would like for all of us to quit declaring the other position as unbiblical," Stinson said. "This would mean that no one would be called upon to take a clear stand.

"This will not do, and evangelicals are now going to have to decide how they will hold organizations like InterVarsity accountable for their various theological positions. Those who support organizations like this should rethink how their money is being used and realize that even organizations trying to focus on the gospel are also sending other theological messages that are antithetical to the teachings of the Bible."
I've recently been doing a lot more reading on the debate between the egalitarians and the complementarians. Although both sides try to be civil, it inevitably devolves into something less than civil and as passions run high as the stakes are so high for day-to-day life of how men and women should relate.

To check out the dualing web sites:
Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Christians for Biblical Equality


LA Scene: American Museum of Ceramic Arts

The other weekend had the chance to visit the American Museum of Ceramic Arts.

The current exhibit running until November 4, 2006 is "Color Counts - Gladding McBean - Commercial Pottery 1930-1950."

California had a "golden era" of pottery in the 20th Century and Gladding McBean was the biggest name To read more about the exhibit, check out this page. Excerpts:
With the acquisition of Glendale's Tropico Pottery in 1922, the American Encaustic Tiling Company in Vernon and Hermosa Beach in 1933, and Catalina Pottery in 1937, Gladding McBean grew to become the largest ceramic products manufacturer west of Chicago. Today, many historical buildings throughout California can still be found bearing decorative architectural elements cast in terra cotta produced by Gladding McBean. The company's distinctive dinnerware and fine china acquired an impressive following, earning a place in millions of California homes. Gladding McBean was also preferred by the privileged, with the company's Franciscan fine china as Jacqueline Kennedy's choice for use on Air Force One, and GMcB items as President Nixon's choice for the Presidential Yacht. Franciscan's Apple pattern was selected by Eleanor Roosevelt for her private cottage, and Franciscan's Ivy dinnerware was used by Joseph Kennedy in his Florida home.
I wish I had brought my real digital camera to take higher quality photos. These photos are from my cell phone. The collection of items was numerous and impressive.

Here is one of the more fanciful decorative items.

Just love the vibrant colors. The cell phone camera definitely doesn't do it justice!

Many items from that era were hand decorated.

American Museum of Ceramic Art
340 S. Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91766
(909) 865-3146

Wednesday through Saturday, 12:00 noon to 5 PM.
Open on the Second Saturday of each month until 10 PM.
Group tours available by appointment.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

LA Scene: Surf fishing

One of my hobbies is fishing. In an earlier blog post, I showed some trout I caught in Yosemite.

Closer to home, I like to do surf fishing. I use light to medium equipment as the fish are usually not that large. My typical rig is a size 8 hook at the end of a 2-3 foot leader of 4 lb. line attached to a swivel. Above the swivel, I thread through a pink bead and above that I slip the line through the eye of a bass casting sinker. I use 3/4 oz. or 1 oz. depending on how vigorous the waves are and which rod I have with me. My 7 foot rod can handle the 1 oz sinker easily. When I use the lighter 6 1/2 footer, I only go as high as 3/4 oz.

I use a 1 1/2 to 3 inch piece of Berkeley's Gulp! Sandworms as bait.

Here are some fish I caught in a recent trip to Venice beach.

My feet are size 7 so this Barred Surf Perch is on the small side.

Here is a mid-sized Barred Surf Perch. They can grow larger! BSPs are known to attack the bait pretty vigorously and put up a decent fight. I'm told they are pretty tasty fish too. However, I generally do catch and release fishing. I suppose if I caught a larger one, I might keep it for dinner!

This is a Walleye Surf Perch. These critters don't get very large and so this one is small even for this species.

For more information about surf fishing in Southern California, check out

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Religion: Theological exam continued, part II

Came across this item the other day.

Decided to use it as a jumping off point for a blog post. We shall see how long I ride this idea as a source of material to write about.

Let me begin with the disclaimer, I'm not a theologian, I'm a molecular biologist. I strive to live a life devoted to Jesus and his teachings and recognize that the journey of faith is not an easy one and is best traveled with fellow believers in a local church (I attend one in the troubled PC-USA denomination) and good friends from other Christian faith traditions.

I suppose in some ways, what I wrote above is part of my "statement of faith." There are many other aspects to my Christian commitment and maybe it might be good to actually write them out in future blog post. We shall see!

Onward to the exam with the aforementioned disclaimer and preamble.

What is meant by Scripturea Scripturae interpres?

I guess theologians just love Latin! Probably, a lot of the historic concepts in theology were formalized in that era. Anyway, this sounds a lot like the principle of interpretation of the Bible known as "interpret Scripture with Scripture." The idea behind that is that if God truly gave us a body of written material as knowledge for us to base our theology and morality, then the message would be consistent from one end to the other. Thus, if I have a passage A and my interpretation of it is unsure and I have a passage B that is similar where I have more certainty of its meaning then I can use passage B to help me understand passage A because we believe the message of Scripture should be consistent.

What is the major hermeneutical distinction between the pre-Reformation church and the church during the Reformation?

My understanding of the reason for the breech between the Protestant reformers and the Catholic church was two fold: (1) Protestants believe that salvation was by grace through faith. Catholics believe that salvation was by grace through faith and the state of grace is sustained by the partaking of the sacraments and (2) Protestants believe the final authority for matters of theology and morality was the Scriptures while the Catholics gave weight to Scripture, church tradition and the Pope.

These two entirely different premises would then drive interpretation of different Bible passages.

I suppose another way to put it is that pre-Reformation there was a body of beliefs that the Catholic church held and imposed onto Bible passages (rightly and wrongly) while the Reformers tried to look at the passages themselves and derive their meaning without applying the prior ideas onto them.

What is meant by verbal and plenary inspiration?

I think this means that Scriptures are inspired by God at the level of the specific word choices (verbal) and in totality (plenary).

What is meant by the grammatico-historical method of interpretation?

The Bible should be interpreted in a fashion consistent with the grammar of the text. By faith, we believe that God choose those words to convey a particular meaning and we should try our best to identify the plain meaning of those words. The Bible should be interpreted in a fashion consistent with the history of the context of the text. For instance, if the original readers of a given text were Christians living in the Gentile part of the world then those historical and cultural factors should be taken into account when we try to interpret the passage.

Explain from the Bible its own teaching on divine inspiration.

The passage I'm familiar with would be 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This establishes the purpose of inspiring text. It is for our benefit to grow in theology and morality.

Another pair of passages that I think shed some light on inspiration would be these two in the Gospel according to St. John.

John 21:25, Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

John 14:26, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Spirit guided Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to recall various details of the deeds and teachings of Jesus to include in their Gospel accounts. They could have included many more things but the Spirit inspired them to produce the record we have.

By faith, we believe that this process was in operation with the many other human writers of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Sports: Detriot Tigers are Roaring Throught the Playoffs!

Wow, they looked like they were left for dead as they stumbled to the end of the season.

But as it is now, they would have to be the favorites to win it all!

The New York Mets have clearly suffered in the pitching department. In the final analysis, they out hit the Dodgers to sweep them. Only in game 2 did they get a solid pitching performance.

The Cardinals have to be happy to get out of New York with a split which the Dodgers could have done if they even a marginally better pitching effort in game 1.

Meanwhile, since LA has no team of local interest in the MLB playoffs, all eyes turn to college football.

As a UCLA alum, I'll be curious to see how my beloved Bruins fare against the Ducks up in Oregon. The last Pac-10 road game for the Bruins was a dismal loss to Washington. The Ducks were thrashed last week by the Cal Bears. They will be looking to take it out on the Bruins. UCLA's backup QB is now the main man since Olson is expected to be out 4-6 weeks with an MCL problem.

Meanwhile, USC is looking to keep on the winning path. However, their fans are nervous because the last two games were much too close for comfort. Injuries have hit the team accounting for some of their troubles. Nonetheless, I think expectations were higher

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Religion: I'm a molecular biologist not a theologian ... theological exam, part I

Dr. McCoy of Star Trek, the Original Series was noted for his remark, "I'm a doctor, not a ... fill-in-the-blank."

I was web surfing recently and I came across this item that has an exam the blogger either had to take as part of his ordination exam or believes should be given to those who aspire to eldership in the church.

Certainly, in addition to understanding the content of faith, an elder should have the character traits that reflects the transformation of God. Alas, I suspect, more often than we are willing to admit, we select individuals who need more growth in both areas.

I do hope to grow in greater Christ-likeness in behavior and in knowledge even if I am "only" just a lay volunteer in our youth group.

So as material for this blog post and future ones, I'll take this exam.

I won't be looking things up as I take the exam though I may look up items after the fact. Also, my answers will be brief. If I don't know, I'll offer a guess and keep it short. If I think I know, I'll still keep it short! I welcome correction and instruction on these matters!

So here goes, five questions at a time ...

What gave rise to the method of allegorical interpretation?

Beats me! I suppose in the zeal to impose a certain interpretation on a text, one can create an allegory for the passage in question.

Why is the method of allegorical interpretation faulty?

An allegorical interpretation might make sense to the interpreter but would it have made sense to the person who heard the original text? A text should make sense to the people who first heard it. An allegory could bring into play facts and concepts not familar to the original hearers. A text might have a different application to us today but the ideas should be consistent to the original intent.

What is meant by the term regula fedei?

Sorry, didn't take Latin in high school. But since English words often come from Latin words, I wonder if "regula fedei" means something like regular faith? So maybe this has something to do with doctrines that are considered basic and essential?

What was the position of the church in the Middle Ages concerning tradition and authority?

I suppose this could be a reference to the divide between the Catholic and Orthodox faith traditions. The Catholics believe that the teaching authority (on matters of theology and morality) was vested in: Scripture, tradition (early church creeds) and the pope. The Orthodox church recognized Scripture and tradition but rejected papal authority. The Protestant view on authority is Scripture alone.

What was the relationship between dogmatics and exegesis during this period?

Don't know! Exegesis from my understanding is the process of explaining a text. I don't know what dogmatics is. My understanding of the word dogma is essential belief. So perhaps, the difference is that dogmatics is a "top-down" approach to understanding the Bible and exegesis starts from an specific text and builds upward?

To be continued ...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Culture: God Blog Conference 2006

If you lived in Southern California, would you go?

I'm thinking about it.

Life: The story of Jody Frankfurt

How would you feel if the love of your life were diagnosed with cancer?

Scott Frankfurt loved his wife Jody.

In March of 2006, they found out she had cancer. After many efforts, she left the bonds of this life to be received into the arms of the Heavenly Father.

To read their story, see their blog.

May God bless Scott and all those whose lives were touched by Jody.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sports: LA a busy place this Saturday

USC football at the Coliseum at 12:30.

UCLA football at 4pm at the Rose Bowl.

Dodgers baseball at Dodger's Stadium at 4:35 pm.

King's hockey at Staples Center at 7:30 pm.

Traffic in downtown LA will probably be gridlocked with traffic coming and going to these 4 events!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sports: Dodger Blues - Mets 4 Dodgers 1

What can you say?

Glavine the wily vet versus Kuo the rookie. It was asking a lot. But what could Grady Little and the brain trust do with their starter options?

Penny has been a wreck since the All-Star Break. Hendrickson was brought in to be a lefty starter but never took hold and is now in the bullpen. Billingsley is a rookie too and was going great until the late season injury that set back his growth. Sele who started strong was fading at the end as his old arms were burned out from the innings and so he was moved into the bullpen too. Maddux was slotted for game 3. So it was Kuo's ballgame tonight.

But even if he gave them more innings, it is pretty hard to win when you only get 1 run on 5 hits.

Saturday, 40-year old Maddux is all that stands between elimination. 1988 was the last time the Dodgers made any noise in the playoffs. Since then, 1-11.

Here's hoping the Dodgers can scratch out a win on Saturday to stay alive to play another day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Spors: ARGH! Mets 6 Dodgers 5

Dodgers defeated in game 1 by the Mets.

I feared that the Met offense would be too much for the Dodger pitching.

Lowe was struggling but the Dodger offense tied things up in the 7th.

But then the dismal bottom of the 7th happened.

It is hard to second guess Grady Little because he has found a way to mix and match this team through the season of injuries and hot and cold streaks all the way to this playoff game!

But I have to question the call to the bullpen in the 7th inning to bring in Brad Penny.

When I heard it on the radio, I thought, that is an odd choice.

Penny had only gone 1 inning his previous outing leaving due to injury. He is slated to be the game 4 starter if game 4 became necessary. I didn't think he had much experience doing relief work, certainly none recently.

The usual call would have gone to Brett Tomko or Joe Beimel.

I didn't know at the time that Beimel was not on the roster due to injury. I saw that in 6-4-2's story about reliever Beimel's accident with a glass cup. Beimel is the lefty specialist and sometime set-up guy so he will be missed given that the Mets are supposed to be vulnerable to lefties.

Jon Weisman predicted that Penny might be used in relief over Tomko.

For all we know Tomko would have been hit hard too so playing the what if game is frustrating. However, I still have to raise the question because at least Tomko has served in that role even if at times unsuccessfully. BK over at the LA Times Dodger blog Blue Notes raises the same question.

Game Two tomorrow 5 pm Pacific time.

It will be in the hands of rookie Hong-Chih Kuo of the rebuilt arm with 2 elbow surgeries. He did blank the Mets a few weeks back. Here's hoping history repeats itself!

Go Dodgers!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sports: My visit to Citizen's Bank Park

In September, I was in Philadelphia for business. To see more photos from that trip, go here.

Since I am a baseball fan, I took the subway to South Philadelphia to see a game at Citizen's Bank Park, the home of the Phillies.

Ryan Howard is their slugger and he was honored as the MLB player of the week on that night.

Here is the panoramic shot of the stadium. Click on the image to get a larger size.

The Cubs won that night 11-6.

The MLB ballparks I have visited thus far:
Dodger's Stadium
Angel's Stadium
Oakland Coliseum
Candlestick Park (Giants moved to ATT Park which I hope to visit someday)
Camden Yards
Citizen's Bank Park
Safeco Field
Metrodome (will be replaced in a few years)
Fenway Park
Kaufman Stadium

Culture: Cell Phone Photo Blogging - LA County Fair

Well, this city slicker decided it was time to go the LA County Fair! I have never been before and some friends wanted to go, so it was off to the fair!

Believe it or not, in Southern California now has real public transit options for getting around to at least some of the popular destinations. For the Fair, one can park in downtown LA and catch the Metrolink train to the Fair.

Anyway, here are a few photos ...

This is a Swiss Brown Cow!

Angora Goat!


Watching the animals was terrific as a total city person.

Also, watching humans ride the "ejector seat" was entertaining. The ride has 2 seats in a ball shaped vehicle attached to flexible cables. The ride shoots the passengers straight up and the ball shaped carrier can flip over multiple times and the whole thing oscillates up and down until the energy is expended. Additionally, a live microphone broadcasts the comments of the passengers. Suffice to say if it was broadcast over the radio spectrum, the FCC might come knocking!

Additionally, there is the food ... while at the Fair, had my share of fried foods: fried oreos, pickles, olives, asparagus, mushroom, avocado ...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sports: Dodgers vs. Mets in the NLDS

Grady Little decided to rest his veterans and put out a line-up we haven't seen before in this combination: Repko, Ethier and Kemp in the oufield, Loney, Martinez, Lugo and Betemit on the infield. Hall was behind the plate and Stults took the mound.

And guess what?

The Dodgers still won 4-3!

Currently, Lowe is slated to start game 1 and Maddux game 2. It isn't clear who will get the call in game 3.

Sports: UCLA 31 Stanford 0

You would think that after a lopsided score for the victory, Bruin fans would be happy.

They are not.

And I agree with them because I was there.

The final score doesn't reflect the facts on the ground: Stanford is simply that bad and UCLA really isn't that good.

Ben Olson has potential but it is pretty clear he is not ready for prime time. Like many QBs with a strong arm he is a gunslinger and has the horrible interceptions to prove it. He also overthrew a few times and overlooked wide open receivers.

And when Olson hit his receivers they drop the ball way too often.

And the offensive line isn't giving Olson the kind of protection you hope for which makes his decision making which isn't that great under the best of circumstances even worse.

After reading that you would have thought it was UCLA that lost 31-0.

But that goes to prove to you how bad Stanford is.

Sports: 1 game to go!

Padres 87-74
Dodgers 87-74

Dodgers are in the playoffs!!!!

Hats off to GM Colletti for the big moves he made for the stretch run. A number one move was bringing in Greg Maddux. Also other key acquisitions playing key roles have been Betemit and Anderson.

All eyes will be on Grady Little's line-up card tomorrow. Nomar is probably not going to play due to injury and we have to hope he will be ready to go in the playoffs. But other players worn down from the season who might get a break tomorrow are Kent, Drew and Lofton.

If the Dodgers can take the NL West they get the Cards at home. If they tie for the NL West, the Pods get the title because they won the head-to-head series or if they wind up the wild-card, they open up at the NY Mets.

So does Little send out his vets to try to win one more game or does he go with the younger guys and trust they will get the win and give the vets a rest?

We shall see!