Vocation Day weekend

This is normally a weekday blog, but to celebrate Vocation Day weekend–which some call Labor Day weekend–we are going to do something a little different.  On Saturday, I am going to put up a long post reflecting my latest study of this important but oft-neglected teaching.  Please read it and contemplate it on Sunday.  Then on Monday I’ll post a series of questions and discussion topics drawing on that article.  Of course, if you are actually fulfilling your vocations by spending time with your family this weekend, that’s even better.  Even then, you might look in from time to time.

God in the public square

In the course of our discussion of Glenn Beck, Mormonism, and civil religion, Another Kerner raised a question that is worth our consideration:

A sincere question or two may be called for here:

What groups and/or events, of a semi-political or political nature may Christians attend in order to bring about the return to a constitutional republic without demanding doctrinal purity or spiritual accord with all others in attendance?

May we recite the Pledge to the flag with others not of our own Confession?

I am well aware of the profound differences between some Christian denominations and others….. and certainly am conscious of the origins of Mormonism and know what must be rejected….and my family also has a considerable working acquaintanceship with the American “civil religion”, so called.

If the two kingdoms are confused, tyranny often results…no argument from me.

But folks, what political action committees, ad hoc committees, and/or organizations (aside from the two primary political parties), and what rally or event may Christians join or attend in order to gather together with others who are working to preserve freedom?

As mentioned elsewhere, it is going to take more than confessional Lutherans in the body politic to secure continuned religious freedom: and it is certainly going to take more than confessional Lutherans to hold back the onslaught of the Turks.

She alludes, quite learnedly, to the invasion of the Turks during the Reformation, something Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and the Reformed worked together–putting their own disputes on temporary hold–to turn back.

The doctrine of the Two Kingdoms teaches that God is the King of both realms.  Is there a way to acknowledge His reign in the earthly sphere without lapsing into a “civil religion” that usurps the revealed faith in His spiritual kingdom?

Conservatives for Gay Marriage

According to the Huffington Post, so many conservatives are embracing gay marriage that many Democrats are worried that their issue is being taken away from them:

The notion that the gay rights community would abandon the Obama White House over its unwillingness to fully embrace their legislative priorities may seem absurd to the casual political observer. But the recent embrace of same-sex marriage by prominent conservatives, most notably former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman, has some Democratic operatives concerned.

On Monday, former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt argued that there was a “strong conservative case to be made in favor of gay marriage” and that more and more Republicans are dropping their opposition to the cause. Shortly thereafter, a prominent Democratic consultant got in touch with the Huffington Post to make the case that the Obama administration risks losing the gay rights community (or at least depressing their votes) with its tepid embrace of their priorities.

“I think they have been put in a tough place by these conservatives and they should be,” the consultant said. “There are a whole group of people who are to the left of them on gay rights. And they are Republicans. It should make them feel uncomfortable.”

LBGT voters are not, of course, monolithic. And on a host of other fronts, they are repulsed by the GOP’s policies. Talk about abandoning Obama and the Democrats, in some respects, has been driven more by a desire to scare the party into action than sincere intent to vote Republican.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for an electoral shift to take place or that there aren’t those in the GOP who welcome siphoning off the LBGT vote. Though hardly a barometer for the Republican Party’s collective psyche, John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, made overtures along these lines on Tuesday night.

“We get the bad rap as Republicans being against gay marriage,” she told Fox News. “[Obama] isn’t doing anything for the gay community.”

Indeed, even in the Democratic tent there is some marvel, concern and even a twinge of envy at the changes taking place within the GOP.

“There has always been this libertarian segment of the Republican Party who thinks the government ought to get out of your life, and that group has, for various reasons, become more emboldened,” said Steve Emeldorf, an aide to former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, who is fundraising with Mehlman in support of same-sex marriage. “Maybe ten years ago they were scared of this issue, but as it becomes more acceptable the libertarians are like, yeah, this is our philosophy.”

“You had the most conservative vice president in the history of the world [Dick Cheney] with a lesbian daughter who over the last couple years has signaled he is for gay rights and marriage,” Elmendorf added. “And if you have this guy who is the icon of the right wing there… It sort of snowballs.”

via Obama Should Feel ‘Uncomfortable’ That Conservatives Are Co-opting Gay Rights Issues: Top Dem.

Let’s see. . . in addition to the ones mentioned, there is Ted Olsen and the new leader of religious revival Glenn Beck.  Who else?

As I understand it, there are three “conservative” arguments for gay marriage:  the libertarian view that the state should not restrict what consenting adults desire to do; the related view that the state should “get out of the marriage business” altogether; the social conservative view that letting homosexuals marry is a better alternative than gay promiscuity and that marriage is always a social good.

Can you answer–or defend–these?  (In regards to #2, Luther and the Reformation worked mightily to insist that marriage IS properly the state’s business, and tried to get the Church, with its stultifying canon laws, out of the marriage business!)

Deep-fried beer & chicken-fried bacon

Texas cuisine. . . .

The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic.

When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation.

Inventor Mark Zable said it had taken him three years to come up with the cooking method and a patent for the process is pending. He declined to say whether any special ingredients were involved.

His deep-fried beer will be officially unveiled in a fried food competition at the Texas state fair later this month.

Five ravioli-like pieces will sell for $5 (£3) and the Texas Alcoholic Commission has already ruled that people must be aged over 21 to try it.

Mr Zable has so far been deep frying Guinness but said he may switch to a pale ale in future.

He said: “Nobody has been able to fry a liquid before. It tastes like you took a bite of hot pretzel dough and then took a drink of beer.” Mr Zable previously invented dishes including chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls and jalapeño corndog shrimps.

Last year’s winner of the Texas state fair fried food competition was a recipe for deep-fried butter.

via Deep-fried beer invented in Texas – Telegraph.

HT: The Pearcey Report

Would you like some chicken-fried bacon with that?

Occasionally throughout history, a visionary comes along who should be honored for his Herculean efforts in swimming upstream against the tide of political correctness.

Such a man is Frank Sodolak, who is pretty darned sure he invented chicken-fried bacon.

“I ain’t never heard of it anywhere else,” Sodolak said. 

Sodolak, owner of Sodolak’s Original Country Inn in this small town (population 489) about 13 miles southwest of College Station — that’s about 100 miles northeast of Austin — serves the breaded and deep-fried bacon as one of his appetizers. For that totally brown meal, he says some people order it as an appetizer to go with their chicken-fried steak. . .

Sodolak makes his chicken-fried bacon by double-dipping uncooked bacon strips in milk and flour. Then he tosses the breaded strips in a Fryolator and nukes them in animal/vegetable oil for three or four minutes.

For that final touch, the chicken-fried bacon is served with a bowl of cream gravy. . . .

“I’ve never heard of anything worse,” said Jayne Hurley, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington D.C., the same bunch of food frumps who warned us about theater popcorn, guacamole and Chinese food.

“They’ve taken fat, they’ve doubled-coated it in fat, they’ve fried it in more fat, and then served it with a side order of fat.”

HT:  George Clay

A Mormon on the Glenn Beck rally

Here is a discussion of the Glenn Beck rally–what it means and what it achieves–from Mormon official Greg West:

I believe that Glenn Beck’s desire, in some measure, was to create a “King Benjamin moment.” The Book of Mormon relates a landmark gathering of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas to hear the words of one King Benjamin. Benjamin declared principles of piety, humility, service, and faith to his people. He preached to them repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, who would be born in centuries to come, relative to his time. The result was a turning back to God by his audience that brought the Holy Spirit upon them. It was a moment of national renewal and personal recommitment to do good in God’s name. This was Beck’s template for the event that took place today.

As a Mormon, I have to consider an unintended message throughout Beck’s work, which has culminated in this event. That message is: “Mormons are Christian believers.” Despite nearly two centuries of misrepresentation and religious envy by sectarian Christianity, Beck has achieved the visibility, prominence, and has had the time day after day, week after week, to speak openly and truly about his core beliefs. Those statements of faith have disoriented and confused those who had previously believed the lies about Mormons. Just a few weeks ago, Beck discussed the heresies evident in “Liberation Theology” and declared his belief of individual salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. One confused person commented on Free Republic, a frequent forum for open Mormon-bashing, that “this would mean that Beck is ‘born-again.”

Jim Garlow, a popular and influential pastor who partnered with the Mormon faithful in California to defend traditional marriage was quoted recently in CNN’s Belief Blog, saying, “I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation – persons extremely well known in Christianity – and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), ‘Glenn is saved…’ He understands receiving Christ as Savior.”

Hallelujah! The light bulb has been switched on after nearly two centuries! Every single member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that a person must be “born again” and receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and Redeemer. Our holy books teach that salvation comes only in and through the atonement of Christ and that there is no other way a person can be saved. Those beliefs obligate us to do our best to keep God’s commandments and to follow the example of Jesus in doing good. Glenn Beck’s beliefs are mainstream Mormon beliefs. Joseph Smith, the Church’s founder, was a Christian prophet. He was an apostolic witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As Rev. C.L. Jackson said in his speech today after accepting the medal for faith, “God sent his Son to this earth so that we could all gather, and I think that’s the dream and the vision of Glenn Beck.” I myself have reacted, defensively and perhaps provocatively, to the attacks of Christian pastors on Mormons in the past. If anything, Glenn Beck has brought mainstream Mormonism into the public eye and has reached out to our fellow Christians in a powerful way. Perhaps it signifies the crossing of a threshold where Mormons and our fellow Christians can work together for good, to revitalize our country, and enshrine the principles of faith, hope, and charity–restoring honor once again to our familes, our communities, and our nation.

Indeed, lots of evangelicals are saying that Glenn Beck is a Christian because he has “accepted Christ” and believes he is saved through Christ’s “atonement.” It turns out that Mormons in general believe that. So, if that’s all there is to it, Mormons must be Christians. Belief in the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and the other tenets of historic Christianity are being dismissed as just “theological differences” and thus not all that important. (See, for example, what David Barton is saying. [HT: Rich Shipe])

HT: Brannon Howse

And now the eco-jihadists

James Lee broke into the headquarters of the Discovery Channel just outside of Washington, D.C. yesterday, wearing bombs strapped to his body.  He took three hostages.  He was killed by police.  He was demanding that the nature channel change its programming.  Here are excerpts from his Manifesto:

2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it. . . .

4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! . . .

5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don’t build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding

as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!

7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!!

8. Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You’re the media, you can reach enough people. It’s your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!


We don’t just have to worry about Islamic terrorism.  There are other kinds of fanatics who are totally possessed with an idea and whose self-righteousness is so exalted that they are willing to kill what they consider “human filth.”   This is just another kind of jihad–call it eco-jihad–a holy war that finds salvation in slaughtering non-believers.

In this case, notice the alliance between radical environmentalism and hostility to even legal immigration.  Notice the revulsion against children, which is surely at the essence of the pro-abortion, anti-life mentality.  Also the revulsion against civilization, human beings, and, doubtless, himself.

In the current spiritual and cultural climate, expect more of this.

MORE THOUGHTS:  I know that this man and his ideas will be dismissed as deranged.  Of course he was insane, lacking a normal sensibility.  But his insanity consisted largely in taking certain current ideas and being consistent in acting on them. 

It is possible to believe as an intellectual conviction that the earth is heading for a global warming catastrophe and that the world is overpopulated, while still having three children, driving them around in your SUV, and living a normal life.  Insanity would be acting consistently on those beliefs, to the point of trying to wipe out the human population.   It is also possible to be a devout Muslim without being so consistent as to become a suicide bomber.  Or to be a nihilist without killing yourself. 

Christians too are not immune from fanatic madness.  It is possible to believe that America is under God’s judgment without the mad and evil reaction of picketing the funerals of slain servicemen.  Or to believe that the majority of people are reprobate sinners without hating and mistreating your neighbors. 

At the same time, those who formulate the foolish ideologies and the twisted theologies do bear responsibility for setting off their followers who take them too seriously.

I do think Christians who believe in the doctrine of vocation tend to be immune from this syndrome, since vocation grounds one solidly in normal life.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, be sure to tune in this weekend for this blog’s celebration of Labor Day with a VOCATION EXTRAVAGANZA.