Twelve on a match

• More evidence that giving by generous compassionate conservatives outstrips that of their liberal counterparts. At least in the Champagne Room.

• When you get that big promotion and you go out to celebrate with your friends, call a cab to take you home.

Especially if the big promotion involved being appointed the Archbishop of San Francisco.

• Is it just me, or does it seem like every time a church with the word “Grace” in its name appears in the news, the story has something to do with that church’s lack of that very thing?

• Paul Vander Klay discusses “Two shootings, two responses. Which seems more Christian?

I’m afraid the word he was reaching for there in the title was “Christ-like,” which, sadly, is more descriptively apt than that word “Christian,” thanks to the dismal track record of us Christians.

But Vander Klay’s point is well-put and well-taken: “When the blood of Sikhs produces a better word than the mere threat to Christian lives, we ought to examine ourselves and the witness we seek to present to the broader world. ”

• Josh Barkey doesn’t have anything against awe-inspiring cathedrals, but says, “Feed the hungry, then build the cathedral.”

Yes. Also acceptable: Feed the hungry by building a cathedral. Call it the WPM — the Works Progress Ministry.

Roger Olson dismantles John Piper’s contention that God “ordains and governs” every specific sin. It’s a Calvinist form of the just-world fallacy — a contemporary term for ancient Bildad-ism — that tries to make sense of the world by indicting God.

Or, to twist C.S. Lewis to express Piper’s view: “‘Good?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘Who said anything about good? Course he isn’t good. But he’s tame.”

• Former Baywatch star Donna D’Errico has abandoned her expedition to Mount Ararat and her quest to find the remains of Noah’s Ark.

I’m not optimistic about her chances of successfully locating the ark because: 1) She unwisely planned her quest without involving her former boss, ex-Navy SEAL-turned-lifeguard Mitch Buchannon; and 2) Looking for the remains of Noah’s Ark is like looking for the remains of the Good Samaritan’s Inn or of Dives’ house. It’s not that kind of story.

• You can make a fortune writing novels depicting the fulfillment of supposed prophecies about the End Times. And, if you live in Utah, you can use that publishing success to win yourself a seat in the U.S. Congress.

• Related: Libby Anne has some history and context on “The Mark of the Beast” and evangelical Christians’ fear of bar codes.

• Carol Howard Merritt has some advice for women pastors on “Dealing with inappropriate comments.” I think most of this advice applies much more broadly, though.

Merritt’s post is also the sort of thing male readers can learn from. Think of it as a list of some of the items in our invisible knapsacks of male privilege.

• If you need to hire an attorney, first, find out where they went to law school. If it was Liberty University School of Law, find a different attorney. They’ve been studying David Barton — and that isn’t going to help your case in a real-world court.

• Pennsylvania has 5,923 registered voters who have cast votes in 50 consecutive elections and thereby earned a place in the commonwealth’s “Voter Hall of Fame.” Of these hall-of-famers, 1,384 may be excluded from voting this year thanks to Gov. Corbett’s “voter ID” law.

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  • There is dead wood on Mt. Ararat, after all.  Most everyone who goes there looking for pieces of Ark generally comes back satisfied.  One can hardly make that sort of guarantee about any other recreational activity.  Not even sex. 

  • LoneWolf343

     Sex tends to leave my wood dead.

    …I’m sorry.

  • I made it nearly two paragraphs without wanting to strangle Paul Vander Klay.

    The first has included a declaration from some Christians that the
    figurative culture war has gone literal. The Sikhs, meanwhile, have
    exhibited a turning of the cheek.

    There is a subtle but clear thread in the Bible of nonbelievers showing up the righteousness of God’s people.

    Seriously.  Can that guy be more of a blinkered, self-absorbed dick?

  • Turcano

    Fifteen years or so ago my youth pastor was trying to sell me on the barcode thing and I asked him to prove it, and he produces some object with a barcode on it (I don’t remember what and it’s not important anyway), pointed to the spacers and told me they were sixes.  My response was “That’s not a six.   Do you want to know how I know that?”  I pointed to another part of the barcode and said “Because that’s a six.”

  •  My response was “That’s not a six.   Do you want to know how I know
    that?”  I pointed to another part of the barcode and said “Because that’s a six.”

    Ah, I see you’ve played Knifey-Spoony before.

  • Carstonio

    Do you mean, in part, his use of “nonbelievers” to denote members of another religion, as if that were equivalent to atheism?

  • Carstonio

     I might have made the mistake of asking the obvious question – why the spacers had to be sixes instead of, say, Qs or ampersands or little devil-face wingdings.

  • vsm

    I just read the Flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In light of recent discussions, I found it interesting that the Mesopotamian gods were horrified by the destruction caused by the flood and yelled at the one who did it. I think this might be one of those stories than don’t translate well into a monotheistic context.

  • Fusina

    Speaking of floods…to start off, I love myths. I’ve read a lot of variations from different cultures–Hawaiian, Northwest Indian, Australian, German, Irish/Celtic, Egyptian, along with the usual Greek and Roman, collected books of them, encouraged my kids to read them… There was a series on, I think, Discovery channel on the Egyptian creation myths. I think the Hebrews may have nicked them for their scriptures. The descriptions of how the gods created the earth are remarkably similar to Genesis 1. Anyway, That is my take on it. Weirdly, I am still a Christian, I just don’t take the Bible as seriously as some. Well, except for the verses on loving your neighbor and not judging people.

  • friendly reader

    Brief comment to get my nerd on…

    In the Greek, “666” is χξϛ (KH-X-S, for those without the font), because that’s how the Greeks wrote it. The alternate 616 would be χιϛ (KH-I-S).

    So really, they should be looking for secret Greek letters, not Arabic numerals.

  • Ross Thompson

     The spacers have to be what they are because they’re used for calibration. They’re a single-width space surrounded by single-width bars, so that the scanner knows how wide a bar is. If a six appears on the right side of the bar code, it’ll be represented as: single-width bar, single-width space, single-width bar, quadruple-width space, which looks much the same, but isn’t really.

  • Carstonio

     Thanks for the explanation. My question was really about your youth pastor acting like an expert on deciphering bar codes.

  •  Do you mean, in part, his use of “nonbelievers” to denote members of another religion, as if that were equivalent to atheism?

    Yes.  But that was only the third-most egregious problem.  The first was, “A whole bunch of people got shot to teach us a lesson about how to be a proper Christian.”  The second was the underlying assumption that conflates “good” with “Christian,” so if the Sikh’s are doing something good it must demonstrate Christian values in some way.

    What I’m saying here is that there was a whole lot of fail in two very short paragraphs.

  • To add to the fun, if a digit appears on one side of the center spacer, its representation is the inverse of the of its representation on the other side of the center spacer.  Thus a six on the left side of the center spacer is represented as 0101111 where 0 = space and 1=bar which doesn’t look at all like the spacers. Yeah, each numeral from zero to 9 is given two 7 bit representations. They’re not even the same width as the spacers. FTM, the center spacer isn’t the same width as the end spacers; it’s 01010 as opposed to 101.