Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gonna make God talk

I found this on the Web site of a prophetic ministry. Check out the wild assumptions and general nuttiness within this promotional note for an upcoming conference.

There seems to be a remarkable new spiritual energy being released in our conferences. Everyone on our staff, as well as many who have been attending our conferences for years, seem to all think that our recent Harvest and Worship & Warfare Conferences were the best we've ever had. Overall, I think so too, but there was also a great spiritual momentum that I have honestly not felt anything like in over a decade. Already you can feel the spiritual energy building for our New Year's Conference in which we seek the Lord for prophetic words for the coming year. In the past, we have received some that were remarkable. These are obviously crucial times, and we are going to need to have increasingly clear and accurate guidance for them. There is also a great spiritual momentum building, and if you are planning to join us for this conference, please register and reserve your rooms at Heritage as soon as possible, as space is limited and we are expecting this conference to fill up quickly.

Problems with the above promo:

1. How frequently did Biblical prophets hold conferences so they could hear from the God? And, conversely, how frequently did God decide to talk to prophets at times the prophets had not previously scheduled? The suggestion is that we, or at least the right sages, can make God talk.

2. How does God's work depend on "spiritual momentum?" Does God need a running start to accomplish certain things? God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. No build-up required. No straining involved.

3. "Already you can feel the spiritual energy building for our New Year's Conference in which we seek the Lord for prophetic words for the coming year." First, see No. 2 above. Second, since when does God operate on the calendar year?

4. "There is also a great spiritual momentum building, and if you are planning to join us for this conference, please register and reserve your rooms…as soon as possible." The word "and" sticks out here. Being a conjunction, the word "and" tends to connect related ideas. Perhaps, then, one could conclude that the "spiritual momentum" announced in the first part of this compound sentence is intended to encourage the registrations and reservations requested in the second part. Following the above italicized excerpt, a link to the confence Web site notes that registration for the conference is $50 each for adults and children. The price is a gamble on the possibility that "some" of the prophecy this year will be "remarkable."

Like too many ministries that claim special supernatural giftings, this ministry depends on its followers accepting the assumption that critical thinking will hinder the work of God. Thus, the followers open themselves to nebulous beliefs merely because those beliefs are presented with conviction, spiritual language, and a kickin' sound system. Yet the mind, like the heart, was created for humans to use.

-Colin Foote Burch

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Home-brewing underway

Commenced home-brewing with the help of Beach HomeBrew in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Read about it here.

Here's what I got:

Here's basically what it looks like:

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Making the leap into home brewing

Commencing home-brewing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the help of Beach HomeBrew, and with hopes of 53 bottles of beer at the cost of 57 cents each....

Click here to read about it.

What I got:

Basically what the pieces look like:

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The chocolate bunny as mule

The Associated Press, Nov. 25, 2007
ATLANTA — A 20-year-old man was arrested for allegedly selling hallucinogenic mushrooms hidden inside chocolate bunnies and ducks and other drugs, authorities said.
Rockdale County sheriff’s deputies recently arrested the man after a deputy spotted him allegedly selling a sheet of LSD and a chocolate duck containing psilocybin mushrooms for $650, Sgt. Jodi Shupe said.
“It appears they were using the chocolate to cover up they were selling drugs, and they had been doing it for a while,” Shupe said.
Drug officers found 74 chocolate ducks and bunnies containing mushrooms in a cooler bag in the man’s truck, along with $1,200 in cash in his pants pockets, Shupe said.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

World Market's Winter Brews 10-pack

The World Market chain carries assortments of American Micro Brews and Beers of the World in handsome, 10-pack boxes, suitable for gifting and re-gifting, for reasonable prices.

This year, the World Market in Myrtle Beach, S.C., at Seaboard Commons between 21st Ave. North and 10th Ave. North and U.S. 17 Bypass, has something I hadn't noticed before: a 10-pack of Winter Brews for $14.99.

Like the American Micro Brews and Beers of the World, which were both $12.99, each 10-pack of Winter Brews has a slightly different selection - and in some cases, they're technically autumnal brews.

My 10-pack has Spaten Oktoberfest, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Abita Pecan, Hoegaarden, Rogue Mocha Porter, Palmetto Charleston Lager, and Highland Oatmeal Porter.

My priest friend recently offered me a bottle of the Abita Pecan. It was decent beer, but not what I would have expected from Abita, a brewery of good repute. Although a flavored beer, the pecan presence wasn't strong.

Another box I looked at included a bottle of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale. World Market also has it in six-packs for $7.99.

(This came from my column in the Weekly Surge at .)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mixed drinks with Woodchuck Amber Cider

Target Daily Deals - Save Over 30% on Men's C9 Watch Assortment

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I miss the 1980s...

1981, Calvin Klein, metallic print dress, plunging neckline, large belt, knee-high leather boots.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chicago Tribune reports on neurofeedback

A few days ago, the Chicago Tribune published an outstanding article on neurofeedback, something that has helped my family.

Here's a link:


Here's a recent family photo:

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beer news from the Myrtle Beach, SC, area

Magic Hat #9 has arrived in the Myrtle Beach area, but it won't be the easiest beer to find. Read about it here:

Meanwhile, Dave Epstein at New South Brewing Co. in Myrtle Beach, S.C., says he's having a "banner year." Read about it here:

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Friday, November 9, 2007

On briefly meeting Tobias Wolff

Francis Marion University is holding the Pee Dee Fiction & Poetry Festival this weekend. FMU is about an hour and fifteen minutes' drive from here so I drove up to see Tobias Wolff, who was doing a reading, discussion and book signing on Thursday evening.

After reading from This Boy's Life (the section in which the stepdad sprays the Christmas tree white and also finds mold all over the beaver skin and chestnuts), he answered questions and discussed his work, etc.

Here's some of what Wolff said, from my notes, which of course are a mix of direct quotes and summations:

+ Wolff read Tolstoy in his 20s and became interested in how the Russian infused his life into his writing. Tolstoy kept a journal due to his "need to be absolutley clear to himself about himself."

+ Wolff began writing an autobiographical record of his own life to mine it for fiction, and eventually the autobiographical record took on "a life of its own." This Boy's Life was his turn from fiction to autobiographical writing.

+ Someone asked how people in This Boy's Life reacted to what he wrote. "I've never been challenged on factuality.. stepsister thought I had been unkind to her husband." The stepdad also thought Wolff had been unkind about him, but Wolff thought he had "dialed it back a bit."

+ Some people decide not to write memoir due to emotional attachments, but if he did that, he wouldn't have anything to write about, so he won't avoid it, but he went on to say something about himself in others' shoes when he is writing these things.

+ Regarding writing about himself in memoir, he said he is "very much part of this fallen creation" and tries to include himself in that context.

+ "Memoir to me is the subjective, individual" recollection of the past, and "you have to make allowances for that when you read a memoir."

+ The topic of how his mother is portrayed -- Wolff said his mother told him, "If you had prettied up the picture [that would mean] you wouldn't have accepted me as I am."

+ Someone asked which of his short stories he would like to be remembered for when he died. Wolff said, "All of them." Everyone laughed. "I can't do that." He said it would be like picking one of his three kids.

+ Someone asked what is it that Wolff still really had to write about. "Friendship. ..I've never quite figured out how to get that down." He's had some lifelong friends who are very valuable to him. He said Joyce showed The Dubliners to some of folks in Dublin and someone told Joyce something like, "But you didn't get the hospitality! Dubliners are very hospitable people." So Joyce went back into the manuscript and added a scene of a Christmas party. Wolff was making a parallel between Joyce omitting hospitality and his own omissions of friendship. He wants to "find a way to get friendship and those bonds in my writing."

I was standing in the doorway at the back the whole time, so I was one of the first in the lobby. Wolff walked out and they set up the book-signing table just behind me. I was second in line. I wanted to ask him what he thought about reconstructing quotes from the past. But I heard him tell one of the organizers to have all the books open to the title page because that would help the signing go a lot quicker. I thought, oh great, he just wants to scribble through the book signing as fast as he can. So I opened my copy of This Boy's Life to the title page and set it in front of him. But after introducing myself I asked something like, "What's your rule of thumb for recreating dialogue that happened so long ago?"

A little of my own reconstructing a few seconds after his answer: He said, "Well, I kind of hear it in my mind. Grown ups [adults?] tend to repeat themselves a lot, so they had a kind of shtick. So it wasn't hard."

The cool thing was that he was warm, looked me in the eye, and wasn't hurried. Brief, but considerate, and not hurried, despite the long line behind me.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Evangelicals don't know much about theology

Michael Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University, recently told the 2007 Religion Newswriters Assocition Annual Conference about his study of evangelicals. Lindsay has interviewed evangelicals across the United States and written a book, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite (Oxford, 2007).

While Lindsay's work has done a lot to bust media stereotypes of evangelicals, one thing he told the RNA conference is sadly not surprising: Evangelicals don't know much about theological teachings; they have very little formal theological education.

This recalls the famous statement by the evangelist Billy Sunday: "Theology? I didn't know I had any."

However, some of Lindsay's other findings are more flattering of evangelicals:

MYTH: Evangelicals derive their power mainly in the political field.
REALITY: Most identify themselves with culture and the arts (especially Hollywood), where they feel they can make a greater difference.

MYTH: Evangelicals are mainly in white suburban communities in between the U.S. coasts.
REALITY: One of the largest evangelical churches is a Hispanic congregation in Houston. Another, in New York, serves Ivy League professionals.

MYTH: Domestic issues like gay marriage and abortion are most important to evangelicals.
Evangelical groups are more involved on the global front, with issues like HIV/AIDS and hunger.

Read more of RNA's summary of Lindsay's presentation at

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Friday, November 2, 2007

Related Feature

The above article features related content.

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