Don’t call people in a coma “vegetables.”  That’s a dehumanizing figure of speech.  And, as researchers have recently discovered, it isn’t necessarily an accurate description: All the patients had the same terrible diagnosis: brain damage that marooned them in a “vegetative state” — alive but without any sense of awareness of themselves or the world around them. But then an international team of scientists tried an ambitious experiment: By measuring electrical activity in the patients’ brains with a relatively simple… Read more

Today, 11/11/11, is Veterans Day, a time to be thankful for the military vocations.  Use this space in a comment to honor a veteran you know. I’ll go first:  My father-in-law, one of those Marines who fought at Iwo Jima. Read more

In his All Saints Day sermon that is worth reading in itself, our pastor, Rev. Douthwaite, read a great quotation from Luther: “There is no greater bondage than that of sin; and there is no greater service than that displayed by the Son of God, who becomes the servant of all, no matter how poor, wretched, or despised [we] may be, and bears [our] sins. It would be spectacular and amazing, prompting all the world to open ears and eyes,… Read more

In the aftermath of the child sexual abuse perpetrated by football coach Jerry Sandusky, Penn State fired both legendary head coach Joe Paterno AND the college president Graham Spanier.  Whereupon students went on a riot: Happy Valley was in bedlam early today as angry, chanting students ran amok in a bizarre climax to an unforgettable day that ended with the unthinkable: the firing of football legend Joe Paterno. Chanting “Joe Pa-ter-no!” and “One More Game!” students raced to the stately… Read more

I didn’t watch the last Republican presidential candidate debate, but it sounds like Perry’s performance was out and out embarrassing: On Wednesday night in Michigan, Perry said he would cut three agencies from the federal government but could only name two of them. “Commerce, Education and the – what’s the third one there? Let’s see,” Perry said before his rivals volunteered the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pollution and is very unpopular with conservatives. Later in the debate, Perry said… Read more

New technology is unlocking vast amounts of natural gas in the United States, enough to have a huge economic impact.  Yes, it involves “fracking,” the controversial practice of pumping chemical-laced water into shale deposits, but improvements in that technique are starting to satisfy all but the most zealous environmentalists.  I’m glad to see companies from my native Oklahoma are leading the way.  Businessweek has a big story on the topic with the deck below the headline, “Unlocking vast reserves of… Read more

I’ve had some posts about Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson and the successor to D. James Kennedy at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  He is a significant evangelical pastor who credits Lutherans (e.g., Bo Giertz; Harold Senkbeil; Rod Rosenbladt) for helping him to understand the full magnitude of the Gospel.  He has written a book about all of this–including how it impacted him as he went through some difficult times in his ministry–entitled  Jesus + Nothing = Everything. I was asked… Read more

The people of Mississippi rejected a state constitutional amendment that would classify a human embryo as a “person” entitled to all legal protections.  According to the latest count, the margin was 59% to 41%.  This, even though both Republican and Democratic leaders in that conservative state supported the amendment.  See Mississippi anti-abortion ‘personhood’ amendment fails at ballot box – The Washington Post. Some pro-life activists opposed the tactic of trying to push through a personhood laws, something also being considered… Read more

November 6 was the commemoration day for one of my heroes, the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, the military genius and devout Lutheran who arguably was used by God to save Protestantism from extermination during the Thirty Years’ War.   Sometimes honored as the greatest Lutheran layman, King Gustav makes for an interesting and inspiring example of vocation. The blog of the LCMS leadership, Mercy, Witness, Life Together, has a great post about him, including an informative sermon by Rev. Eric Andrae: … Read more

Economics columnist Steven Pearlstein describes how high finance is distorting the commodities market and warns that speculation and “financialization” is blowing up a big bubble: Silly you. You actually thought companies existed to make products and profits. You thought houses were meant to provide a place for people to live and office buildings a place for people to work. You thought food was meant to be eaten, oil and gas to be turned into energy, and metals to be turned… Read more

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