Speechless

This doesn’t happen to me very much: I have nothing to say. I have not come across anything particularly interesting today that I wanted to blog about. So I’ll host an open thread and turn the blog over to you.

Have YOU come across anything particularly interesting today? Have YOU something to say?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    Here’s one that I ran across yesterday. It’s more on the Albert Human Rights Commission. Considering that global cooling is a lot more likely than warming in the future, I wasn’t planning on moving further north, but if I was this would definitely rule Alberta out as a possible destination.

    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=7a9bfaa3-2e76-4ddf-9835-d8691ed21098

    Standard “ban speech that isn’t politically correct” sort of tripe.

  • WebMonk

    Here’s one that I ran across yesterday. It’s more on the Albert Human Rights Commission. Considering that global cooling is a lot more likely than warming in the future, I wasn’t planning on moving further north, but if I was this would definitely rule Alberta out as a possible destination.

    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=7a9bfaa3-2e76-4ddf-9835-d8691ed21098

    Standard “ban speech that isn’t politically correct” sort of tripe.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry about the grammar up there. I was typing quickly.

  • WebMonk

    Sorry about the grammar up there. I was typing quickly.

  • http://simdan.com SimDan
  • http://simdan.com SimDan
  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Opps, forgot my closing a tag on my link. Could you fix that?

  • http://simdan.com SimDan

    Opps, forgot my closing a tag on my link. Could you fix that?

  • The Jones

    I’ve been watching the “When We Left Earth” documentary that the Discovery Channel is doing every Sunday , and it is awesome.

    You think that the space race was a very high tech, specialized, and by the book thing. It definitely was not. Those guys were riding cardboard boxes into space and steering it by looking out the window. The first rockets they used in the Mercury program were not any specialized space rockets, they were Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles with the nuclear warhead taken off and a space capsule put on. When the rockets they were testing in the Gemini program were failing catastrophically about 1 out of every 5 tests, they got two clean runs and then put people on top of it. After all, they had a schedule to keep.

    If you’ve ever seen Planet Earth (another amazing series in HD, pretty good on regular TV), the same people did this one. It’s file footage, but it’s cleaned up and put together so well with the interviews.

    Whereas the Russians used their space race as an excuse to say “we looked for God and he wasn’t there.” The Astronauts were stunned by the beauty, fragility, and grandeur of the created Earth when they went. I love how their science was a was to better appreciate God’s creation instead of sidelining the creator and sustainer with scientific details. When watching the sunrise from orbit, Astronauts broadcast back a reading of Genesis to a nationwide television audience. Apollo 15 Astronauts left a Bible on the moon with Apollo 15.

    In all great series. It opened my eyes to an amazing part of American History.

  • The Jones

    I’ve been watching the “When We Left Earth” documentary that the Discovery Channel is doing every Sunday , and it is awesome.

    You think that the space race was a very high tech, specialized, and by the book thing. It definitely was not. Those guys were riding cardboard boxes into space and steering it by looking out the window. The first rockets they used in the Mercury program were not any specialized space rockets, they were Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles with the nuclear warhead taken off and a space capsule put on. When the rockets they were testing in the Gemini program were failing catastrophically about 1 out of every 5 tests, they got two clean runs and then put people on top of it. After all, they had a schedule to keep.

    If you’ve ever seen Planet Earth (another amazing series in HD, pretty good on regular TV), the same people did this one. It’s file footage, but it’s cleaned up and put together so well with the interviews.

    Whereas the Russians used their space race as an excuse to say “we looked for God and he wasn’t there.” The Astronauts were stunned by the beauty, fragility, and grandeur of the created Earth when they went. I love how their science was a was to better appreciate God’s creation instead of sidelining the creator and sustainer with scientific details. When watching the sunrise from orbit, Astronauts broadcast back a reading of Genesis to a nationwide television audience. Apollo 15 Astronauts left a Bible on the moon with Apollo 15.

    In all great series. It opened my eyes to an amazing part of American History.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I read this article in the Washington Post yesterday about a Texas GOP man who wants to do away withall them nekkid statues in Washington.” I’d love to hear Dr. Veith comment on nudity in art.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I read this article in the Washington Post yesterday about a Texas GOP man who wants to do away withall them nekkid statues in Washington.” I’d love to hear Dr. Veith comment on nudity in art.

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    Is anyone following the mini-controversy over Christianity Today’s 3-star review of the Sex and the City film? Basically, a writer for CT Movies gave the film a qualified, moderately positive review. On the basis of that review, some outraged Christians questioned CT’s commitment to scripture, and CT published a response accordingly. Ted Slater of Focus on the Family then accused CT of “relishing sexual perversity” and endorsing pornography, and called for the magazine to “repent.” Many of the comments on his blog post echoed his sentiments. Others have responded critically to Slater.

    CT’s review:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/2008/sexandthecity.html
    CT’s editorial response:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/youreviewedwhat.html
    Ted Slater’s condemnation:
    http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/06/christianity-to.html
    A response to Slater which includes links to other responses:
    http://lookingcloser.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/for-the-record-camerin-courtney-did-her-job-and-she-did-it-well/

    There are interesting questions here. Does a positive review amount to a promotion, as Slater says? In Areopagitica, John Milton says that truth and falsehood grow up entwined together in this fallen world, and we Christians must work to discern the true and the false. When engaging works of culture, is it possible to praise what is good without reveling in what is bad, or must Christians throw out discernment altogether? Furthermore, when another Christian praises what we regard with spiritual or moral dubiety, what should our attitude be?

  • http://viz.tumblr.com Tickletext

    Is anyone following the mini-controversy over Christianity Today’s 3-star review of the Sex and the City film? Basically, a writer for CT Movies gave the film a qualified, moderately positive review. On the basis of that review, some outraged Christians questioned CT’s commitment to scripture, and CT published a response accordingly. Ted Slater of Focus on the Family then accused CT of “relishing sexual perversity” and endorsing pornography, and called for the magazine to “repent.” Many of the comments on his blog post echoed his sentiments. Others have responded critically to Slater.

    CT’s review:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/2008/sexandthecity.html
    CT’s editorial response:
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/youreviewedwhat.html
    Ted Slater’s condemnation:
    http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/06/christianity-to.html
    A response to Slater which includes links to other responses:
    http://lookingcloser.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/for-the-record-camerin-courtney-did-her-job-and-she-did-it-well/

    There are interesting questions here. Does a positive review amount to a promotion, as Slater says? In Areopagitica, John Milton says that truth and falsehood grow up entwined together in this fallen world, and we Christians must work to discern the true and the false. When engaging works of culture, is it possible to praise what is good without reveling in what is bad, or must Christians throw out discernment altogether? Furthermore, when another Christian praises what we regard with spiritual or moral dubiety, what should our attitude be?

  • Jonathan

    Sarah, thanks for the article. Good grief! Why do rubes this like always seem to be Republicans?

  • Jonathan

    Sarah, thanks for the article. Good grief! Why do rubes this like always seem to be Republicans?

  • Joe

    Here is a link to a Wall Street Journal article/opinion piece on Obama’s radical pro-death legislative record. It includes information regarding his two votes against a bill to recognize children born during a failed late-term abortion as persons with rights. Here is a sample:

    “As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother’s wombs are “persons,” and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121261107480446197.html?mod=opinion_journal_federation

    Anyone who wants to believe that Obama has some new third way with regard to abortion really ought to read this.

  • Joe

    Here is a link to a Wall Street Journal article/opinion piece on Obama’s radical pro-death legislative record. It includes information regarding his two votes against a bill to recognize children born during a failed late-term abortion as persons with rights. Here is a sample:

    “As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama twice opposed legislation to define as “persons” babies who survive late-term abortions. Babies like Gianna. Mr. Obama said in a speech on the Illinois Senate floor that he could not accept that babies wholly emerged from their mother’s wombs are “persons,” and thus deserving of equal protection under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121261107480446197.html?mod=opinion_journal_federation

    Anyone who wants to believe that Obama has some new third way with regard to abortion really ought to read this.

  • Rob Olson

    This might do. This morning in an e-mail with a colleague, I mentioned you and John Dewey in the same sentence:

    “This situation reminds me of that closing verse of Judges that says in those days there was no king in Jerusalem and everyone, consequently, did what was right in his own eyes. It also reminds me of King Lear who failed in his vocation by shirking his duty as king, and consequently, failed to restrain the evil of his day. He wanted to retire and let others do what only he was called to do. “And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Lear is also like teachers who want to be ‘facilitators’ instead of teaching. School administrators who do not lead, teachers who do not teach, students who do not want to learn. Hmm, I wonder if what Gene Veith’s work with Christian vocation would be a good antidote to the diabolical ideas of John Dewey?”

  • Rob Olson

    This might do. This morning in an e-mail with a colleague, I mentioned you and John Dewey in the same sentence:

    “This situation reminds me of that closing verse of Judges that says in those days there was no king in Jerusalem and everyone, consequently, did what was right in his own eyes. It also reminds me of King Lear who failed in his vocation by shirking his duty as king, and consequently, failed to restrain the evil of his day. He wanted to retire and let others do what only he was called to do. “And everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

    Lear is also like teachers who want to be ‘facilitators’ instead of teaching. School administrators who do not lead, teachers who do not teach, students who do not want to learn. Hmm, I wonder if what Gene Veith’s work with Christian vocation would be a good antidote to the diabolical ideas of John Dewey?”

  • Jonathan

    My comment above was a bit harsh, and I’d like to retract it.

  • Jonathan

    My comment above was a bit harsh, and I’d like to retract it.

  • CRB

    Just finished watching the HBO movie, “John Adams,” which has just been released on dvd. Excellent!
    I don’t know how accurate the “family” details were, but I think they did just fine on showing how tough it was in those days to get a Republic going.
    Also, flawless performances by Giamatti and Linney!

  • CRB

    Just finished watching the HBO movie, “John Adams,” which has just been released on dvd. Excellent!
    I don’t know how accurate the “family” details were, but I think they did just fine on showing how tough it was in those days to get a Republic going.
    Also, flawless performances by Giamatti and Linney!

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/algebra-meets-astrophysics/ Robert Talbert

    I don’t know if this is “interesting”, but it’s certainly praiseworthy: I spent the morning with my kids in the park and the library, enjoying the lovely day (after two weeks of torrential rains and flooding here in central IN) and having the kids bug me to read just one more book over and over again. Not a bad way to spend a day.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/algebra-meets-astrophysics/ Robert Talbert

    I don’t know if this is “interesting”, but it’s certainly praiseworthy: I spent the morning with my kids in the park and the library, enjoying the lovely day (after two weeks of torrential rains and flooding here in central IN) and having the kids bug me to read just one more book over and over again. Not a bad way to spend a day.

  • http://www.timbaron.com Tim Baron

    The “Ironman” movie rocked.

  • http://www.timbaron.com Tim Baron

    The “Ironman” movie rocked.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    In regard to the “Speechless” headline, there’s a saying attributed to my hero and role model, Calvin Coolidge. It goes something like: “I try never to say anything that won’t improve on silence.”

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    In regard to the “Speechless” headline, there’s a saying attributed to my hero and role model, Calvin Coolidge. It goes something like: “I try never to say anything that won’t improve on silence.”

  • fw

    #8 Joe

    The article you referenced had a link to “american spectator”. The fact that the article was printed as part of some WSJ related editor´s opinion digest is the only thing that seemed to give the piece seriousness. There is a link to”American Spectator”” in the article . I consider that publication to be the conservative equivalent of “daily Kos” (ie. shrill and largely undocumented in it´s assertions). It is not clear if the link is an ad or is intended to indicate the source of the op-ed piece. A Google of the organization the author is a member of doesn’t seem to be helpful in lending gravitas.

    The article was poorly written:

    There was not one single link or specific enough reference I could refer to to see Senator Obama´s comments in context (example his “speech on the floor of the illinois senate”.) or indeed confirm that he even made those radical comments.

    These are extremely (!) serious accusations. as such, were I to write such an article, I would personally take some EXTREME pain to carefully reference where the reader could go to see Senator Obama´s complete statements in context on some official site , like the Ill.gov site. I am sure, knowing you, that you would feel compelled, in fairness to be exactly as detailed.

    Nowadays, it is so easy to imbed a hyperlink so the reader can read for himself (better than footnotes!).

    The only real references were to his book “Audacity of Hope” and those references seemed to me much milder and not very radical at all.

  • fw

    #8 Joe

    The article you referenced had a link to “american spectator”. The fact that the article was printed as part of some WSJ related editor´s opinion digest is the only thing that seemed to give the piece seriousness. There is a link to”American Spectator”” in the article . I consider that publication to be the conservative equivalent of “daily Kos” (ie. shrill and largely undocumented in it´s assertions). It is not clear if the link is an ad or is intended to indicate the source of the op-ed piece. A Google of the organization the author is a member of doesn’t seem to be helpful in lending gravitas.

    The article was poorly written:

    There was not one single link or specific enough reference I could refer to to see Senator Obama´s comments in context (example his “speech on the floor of the illinois senate”.) or indeed confirm that he even made those radical comments.

    These are extremely (!) serious accusations. as such, were I to write such an article, I would personally take some EXTREME pain to carefully reference where the reader could go to see Senator Obama´s complete statements in context on some official site , like the Ill.gov site. I am sure, knowing you, that you would feel compelled, in fairness to be exactly as detailed.

    Nowadays, it is so easy to imbed a hyperlink so the reader can read for himself (better than footnotes!).

    The only real references were to his book “Audacity of Hope” and those references seemed to me much milder and not very radical at all.

  • Joe

    Frank – In less than five minutes on Google, I found the corroboration. Perhaps the easy availability of this information is why the author did not feel it necessary to link it. Also, is a fellow at a think tank who writes for many publications.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/02/links_to_barack.html

    The gist of Obama’s opposition (at least according to the April 4, 2002) transcript is that a doctor should make a viability determination for a live born child (the procedure at issue is where they induce labor in order to kill the child and sometimes the kid comes out before the abortionist gets there) and if that child was deemed “non-viable” then the doctor should be able to let it die. In other words, the doctor should not be required to take any steps to save the child. In a normal situation a doctor is required to meet the prevailing medical standards in an attempt to save a patient.

    It is also interesting to note that he voted against letting these bills out of committee and in one instance was so brave as to vote: “present.”

  • Joe

    Frank – In less than five minutes on Google, I found the corroboration. Perhaps the easy availability of this information is why the author did not feel it necessary to link it. Also, is a fellow at a think tank who writes for many publications.

    http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/02/links_to_barack.html

    The gist of Obama’s opposition (at least according to the April 4, 2002) transcript is that a doctor should make a viability determination for a live born child (the procedure at issue is where they induce labor in order to kill the child and sometimes the kid comes out before the abortionist gets there) and if that child was deemed “non-viable” then the doctor should be able to let it die. In other words, the doctor should not be required to take any steps to save the child. In a normal situation a doctor is required to meet the prevailing medical standards in an attempt to save a patient.

    It is also interesting to note that he voted against letting these bills out of committee and in one instance was so brave as to vote: “present.”

  • WebMonk

    I went and found the transcript of that speech (do a search for “Obama” in the document – it’s on page 85).

    http://www.ilga.gov/senate/transcripts/strans92/ST033001.pdf

    He bases part of his objection on the reason that he thinks the bill will be found unconstitutional. But there are also very clear lines where he states that considering a child that is born in spite of an attempted abortion to be a “person” (and thus protected by law) is wrong.

    He demonstrates a poor and faulty knowledge of the legal standards surrounding abortion, but he was just a state senator then, so I might give him a pass on that area. On the other hand, if he really did do research that led him to think the bill was unconstitutional, he should have shown at least a passing familiarity with the laws and rulings. He didn’t, so I doubt he actually knew anything about the laws/rulings and was just pulling arguments out of his . . . hat.

    Even if you were to cut out all his non-legal objections and he just opposed the bill on the grounds that he felt it would be found unconstitutional, I would still consider his opposition to the bill to be reprehensible. Not even trying to pass a bill that would save lives JUST because the bill MIGHT be shot down is still wrong.

    I think it’s pretty clear that he’s using the argument that the bill might be declared unconstitutional as an excuse to oppose a bill that he opposes anyway.

    If someone in the LCMS were to oppose a resolution supporting the doctrine of Real Presence for such a reason, I have no doubt he would be excoriated because everyone would see that the objections about “unconstitutionality” was merely a ploy.

  • WebMonk

    I went and found the transcript of that speech (do a search for “Obama” in the document – it’s on page 85).

    http://www.ilga.gov/senate/transcripts/strans92/ST033001.pdf

    He bases part of his objection on the reason that he thinks the bill will be found unconstitutional. But there are also very clear lines where he states that considering a child that is born in spite of an attempted abortion to be a “person” (and thus protected by law) is wrong.

    He demonstrates a poor and faulty knowledge of the legal standards surrounding abortion, but he was just a state senator then, so I might give him a pass on that area. On the other hand, if he really did do research that led him to think the bill was unconstitutional, he should have shown at least a passing familiarity with the laws and rulings. He didn’t, so I doubt he actually knew anything about the laws/rulings and was just pulling arguments out of his . . . hat.

    Even if you were to cut out all his non-legal objections and he just opposed the bill on the grounds that he felt it would be found unconstitutional, I would still consider his opposition to the bill to be reprehensible. Not even trying to pass a bill that would save lives JUST because the bill MIGHT be shot down is still wrong.

    I think it’s pretty clear that he’s using the argument that the bill might be declared unconstitutional as an excuse to oppose a bill that he opposes anyway.

    If someone in the LCMS were to oppose a resolution supporting the doctrine of Real Presence for such a reason, I have no doubt he would be excoriated because everyone would see that the objections about “unconstitutionality” was merely a ploy.

  • WebMonk

    Whoops, Joe beat me to it. What he said too!

  • WebMonk

    Whoops, Joe beat me to it. What he said too!

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    A story that caught my attention this morning is the Reuters report of a controversy in German regarding the prospect of a gay bishop. Apparently it would be the first, though gay pastors appear to already exist. The quote from the story that bothered me, though, is this one:
    “…(it) would damage the standing and weight of the Lutheran Church, founded by German Martin Luther in the 16th century and now one of the largest Protestant denominations.”

    While the Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther, it is not a Protestant denomination and never has been. I would think that religion writers would know that.

    Source: Prospect of gay Lutheran bishop divides Germans

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    A story that caught my attention this morning is the Reuters report of a controversy in German regarding the prospect of a gay bishop. Apparently it would be the first, though gay pastors appear to already exist. The quote from the story that bothered me, though, is this one:
    “…(it) would damage the standing and weight of the Lutheran Church, founded by German Martin Luther in the 16th century and now one of the largest Protestant denominations.”

    While the Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther, it is not a Protestant denomination and never has been. I would think that religion writers would know that.

    Source: Prospect of gay Lutheran bishop divides Germans

  • Trey

    Veith,

    You should discuss your view on the Supreme Court’s erroneous ruling last week conferring essentially citizen rights to terrorists being held at Gitmo.

  • Trey

    Veith,

    You should discuss your view on the Supreme Court’s erroneous ruling last week conferring essentially citizen rights to terrorists being held at Gitmo.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Theresa K. (@19), your claim re: Lutherans and Protestants is far from agreed upon. Even the LCMS Web site says arguments could be made either way. I wouldn’t be so hard on religion writers if the official word from one Lutheran synod is that ambivalent.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Theresa K. (@19), your claim re: Lutherans and Protestants is far from agreed upon. Even the LCMS Web site says arguments could be made either way. I wouldn’t be so hard on religion writers if the official word from one Lutheran synod is that ambivalent.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    tODD, I see what you mean. From WELS.net:

    “…As the term “Protestant” is used today it seems to include almost every Christian group that is neither Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Since the term is so vague and so inclusive, many confessional Lutherans choose not to refer to themselves as Protestant.”

    Still, the term, as used today, does not describe Lutherans, in my opinion.

    Ask the Pastor (a fellow Lutheran) writes:

    “By original definition, Lutherans are the only “Protestants.” At the time they received the name, they were also the only “Evangelicals” (Gospel proclaimers), a name they’d chosen for themselves. In 1529 at the Diet (Imperial Assembly) of Speyer, legal restrictions were placed upon the Evangelicals. This included Martin Luther and those following his teachings on salvation by grace through faith alone.” Read on…

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    tODD, I see what you mean. From WELS.net:

    “…As the term “Protestant” is used today it seems to include almost every Christian group that is neither Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Since the term is so vague and so inclusive, many confessional Lutherans choose not to refer to themselves as Protestant.”

    Still, the term, as used today, does not describe Lutherans, in my opinion.

    Ask the Pastor (a fellow Lutheran) writes:

    “By original definition, Lutherans are the only “Protestants.” At the time they received the name, they were also the only “Evangelicals” (Gospel proclaimers), a name they’d chosen for themselves. In 1529 at the Diet (Imperial Assembly) of Speyer, legal restrictions were placed upon the Evangelicals. This included Martin Luther and those following his teachings on salvation by grace through faith alone.” Read on…

  • johnlnk

    Perhaps the entire blogosphere should take the day off and go for a walk.

  • johnlnk

    Perhaps the entire blogosphere should take the day off and go for a walk.

  • http://jramos95.blogspot.com Jay Ramos

    The Lutheran Song is pretty enlightening. Lots of people out there are Lutheran!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=102kvQ1dWoY

  • http://jramos95.blogspot.com Jay Ramos

    The Lutheran Song is pretty enlightening. Lots of people out there are Lutheran!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=102kvQ1dWoY

  • CRB

    #25 And, judging from certain images on that presentation, I would say that some are in name only! If one is a Lutheran would not one, i.e. Keillor, Hanson subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions, (as in believe them to be true)?

  • CRB

    #25 And, judging from certain images on that presentation, I would say that some are in name only! If one is a Lutheran would not one, i.e. Keillor, Hanson subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions, (as in believe them to be true)?


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