Sunday, August 24, 2014

Calvin Knox Cummings on the Separation of Church and State

"The state is not to govern the church; Christ governs the church through the leaders he chooses. The church is not to rule the state; it is to instruct the state to encourage and protect righteousness (1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 14:34; Deuteronomy 18:28,19)." Calvin Knox Cummings, "Confessing Christ"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How I beat Amazon and bought nine books for $6.00 at the Library

Libraries can be a great resource for finding books at dirt cheap prices.

I went to the library this past Saturday with no intention on buying books. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind that I could buy books there. I haven't bought a book from a library since 2010 -- and that was in South Carolina, not a Maryland library (I did buy some used books from my university in Pennsylvania  that year and they did have to collect money via cashier. I discuss the drop box vs. cashier factor below.). All I wanted was a place to conduct quiet study, but then I noticed there was a book store within the library.

The books I picked up were written by some of the best authors of all time (of course, with time, all "all-time greatests" lists keep growing with the number of books that come out.)

My local library had a 3 paperbacks for $1.00 sale. And sold each paperback for $0.50. Each hardcover book was a dollar each.

Here is what I picked up:

$1.00 each

-Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

-Selected Poetry and Prose by Percy Bysshe Shelley

-Collected Poems: 1909-1935 by T.S. Eliot

-Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

3 Paperbacks for $1.00

-Eight Tales of Terror by Edgar Allen Poe

-The Last Battle (Book #7 of the Chronicles of Narnia Series) by C.S. Lewis

-Foundation (from the Foundation Series) by Isaac Asimov


-Perelandra (Book #2 in the Space Trilogy) by C.S. Lewis

-The Nature of Greek Myths by G.S. Kirk

The total amount spent was $6.00.

One of the benefits of spending an extra 10 minutes perusing through the used book shelves was that I found a book that I always wanted to read that was at a much higher price when it first came out or at was least closer to the original publication date. That book was Trillion Dollar War.

There are three ways this sale beat Amazon. 

First, there was no shipping and handling. Even though there is a copy of Trillion Dollar War for $0.01 in the used book section on right now, the $3.99 shipping and handling would have pushed up the total amount spent.

Second, I can preview the inside of a used book. If I didn't like it, if it had too many markings that would have distracted me from my personal study and note-taking process, then I could have put it down. You can not do this with Amazon purchases. Rather, you are left to put faith in the description of the product. For example, the penny book mentioned above, which would have no longer been a penny once shipping and handling kicked in, has the following description on Amazon: "Used may contain ex-library marking, notes or highlighting, may no longer have it a dust jacket." (I didn't correct the grammar.) In other words, you wouldn't know what condition it came in. I've never tried it, although I have thought about it, but perhaps you can ask an Amazon dealer what exactly is in the book. Again, I never tried that route. But that could potentially take forever.

But then comes the price factor: the library book would still be cheaper and you would have it immediately. Literally, at this library in Maryland and the library in South Carolina there were money drop boxes next to the used books shelves. You would virtually walk away from the book shelf with your book. And please, don't steal (Exodus 20:15). In both of my experiences there were no receipts, cash registers, or cashiers involved.

Third, there is no shipping and handling for all books combined. This is important because Amazon (or the dealer through Amazon) charges $3.99 per book, even if the books are coming from the same seller. I could be mistaken, but I have yet to see an exception to this. So nine books at $0.01 each would still be $35.91 in shipping alone through Amazon. When you add the nine pennies (the price of the books combined) that's $36.00.

In other words, I paid $6.00 in the library for what could have costed me $36.00 online.

Just a side note: I recently attempted to purchase a "New" or Used but "Like New" book on Amazon from a dealer and it never came after 20 days. I purchased it July 15. Amazon told me it would arrive on August 5. I waited and complained maybe a day or two later. I didn't even get a shipping notice there entire time. The dealer was new. I canceled and they never deposited my money anyway. Amazon was very fast investigating my claim.

Other benefits of buying from the library include being able to find books from famous authors that you never heard of before. Everyone has heard of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (I think), but I had never heard of Martin Chuzzlewit (perhaps I'm showing my -- lack of -- Dickens knowledge here). Granted, that seems to be the oldest book from above stack. It certainly smells old. But that's the price I paid. All of the other books were in great shape. All but one of the books had markings in them (and the mind chap had the courtesy to write in pencil). And all except one of them had that "old book" smell. But even after I opened it up a few times, the smell went away. 

I now have books from some of the greatest authors ever, for cheap.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why can't we all just get along?

Why can't we all just get along?

Because we all have worldviews that necessarily conflict.

And if a worldview is true, and something within that worldview requires its holders to spread and impose that worldview, then it must.

I have I no objection to that...

...because I have no objection to truth.

So if the violent Christian-beheading Muslims within the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) want to impose their view through the sword -- or the gun -- I have no objective objection to that outside of the objective truth of Christianity, for I would only have my subjective opinion.

But it's precisely and only because I am a Christian that I can condemn tyranny. It is on those grounds that I can say that ISIS is departing from "The Way," that they are sinning.

The person who believes that no one should believe in conquest himself believes in conquest; it's just conquest by another name: secularism.

If secularists were really consistent then they would have been the secular version of what I was for three years: a libertarian anarchist. They can't simultaneously oppose theocratic imposition of values through the government, but then turn around and want to impose their own. (Of course, on secular terms it's really impossible to be consistent about anything)

But look at the alternative view of Christianity. Jesus advocated conquest, too. But it was a conquest by discipleship, love, Kingship, and stewardship -- all of which starts with God regenerating the individual through the Holy Spirit.

But isn't Christianity a matter of subjective opinion to the Christian as much as Islam is a subjective opinion to the Muslim?

No. Because the God of the Bible is the true one. His and only his opinion is objective in any meaningful sense of the word. Only one God is the author for external reality.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Video: C-SPAN hosts Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth for 40 minutes

I never thought I would see this on C-Span. 

But C-SPAN gave 40 minutes to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder to explain why he (and many) thinks that it was highly unlikely that Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed because of an office fire -- the official explanation for the collapse of the only building that didn't get hit by an airplane on September 11, 2001 -- and floated the idea that it was destroyed by controlled demolition. He definitely wants an additional investigation and reports that people that have looked into it already believe that the 9/11 Commission report of the early 2000s was rigged to fail.

His group has 2,000+ architects and engineers across the world that dissent from the official story. (Reminds me of the Dissent from Darwin crowd)

The fact that a major respectable publication such as C-SPAN is giving them a voice is HUGE.

And let's not forget that -- as Gage himself points out -- we started the longest war in American history because of this event.

I think that's it's an important issue but it's down the priority list if I was POTUS in 2016. The economy and the debt is always first. But I think that it should be pursued.

There are several very smart people that don't believe the official story. In fact, it was Paul Craig Roberts, a former official of the Reagan Administration, that tipped me off to the video in an August 3, 2014 blog post.

Gary North also thinks that the whole thing is fishy.

I'm recently discovering this within the last 10 minutes but Roberts wrote a column reviewing David Ray Griffin's book "Debunking 9/11 Debunking." The column is well worth a read either before or after watching the above video. There is a least one website that sets out to "Debunk" 9/11 truthers, the people who don't believe the official story they were told about 9/11. Griffin's book indirectly addresses them, I assume.

Read Roberts' review first. Then watch the video. Then read North's column.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Notes about Geoffrey Chaucer from a Literary Conference in Alexandria, Va.

I recently attended a literary conference in Alexandria, Va.

Most of the people there knew much more about fiction and poetry than I did. That's not a very hard thing to accomplish. In fact, my whole purpose for attending the conference was to learn from them -- to be a sponge.

Let me wring out that sponge a little bit: According to the main speaker, Geoffrey Chaucer seems to be having a lot of fun when he is writing the Canterbury Tales. He was being very playful with his readers and it is fun reading him.

"No shame in making a farce in himself," my notes read. I think I meant "of himself" but you know how clumsy fast note-taking can be.

There's some illegible stuff in my notes, but the rest of the next sentence in question says "… yet charming, narrator based on himself."

I like the fact that this speaker pointed out that his "writing reflects his skill as a reader," according to my notes. He was very "intertexual"; that is, he "brings multiple stories together and sees them talking." He takes different authors -- perhaps before him and contemporary with him -- and makes them talk in his stories.

Then some time in history there was a "vowel shift" in the English language (I guess). My notes aren't very detailed on that point. However, apparently people were taught how to read Chaucer after this vowel shift. Maybe not. There's also a note about someone paying "lip service to Chaucer, more marginal," whatever that means.

Also, Chaucer influenced Shakespeare. The speaker also said that Edmund Spenser was an influence to Shakespeare; and I might add, this influence was contemporary, too, as Spenser is only 12 years older than Shakespeare.

In fact, Spenser was what Shakespeare wanted and tried to be, according to the speaker; and Spencer wanted to be Chaucer, who lived two centuries before both of them.

Picture: Relic from the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign

Definitely one of the most exciting campaigns in recent history -- a game-changer in terms of shifting public opinion towards a freedom-oriented philosophy. Two years passed and one thing is for sure: the Paulian influence on public policy is here to stay.

Click the picture to see one of the most brilliant economic plans in history for the United States of America from Dr. Ron Paul.

Senator Rand Paul has issued his own budget each year. Click here to see the latest one.

It is inferior to his father's plan on many levels (Ron's plan balances the budget in 3 years. Rand's plan balances the budget in 5 years. Ron eliminates and lowers taxes. Rand's introduces a new tax, the flat tax, a regressive tax that will raise taxes on the poor (bad) and lower taxes for the wealthier (good).

But since Ron's plan is politically irrelevant -- unless Rand will in the unlikely event ditches his own and embraces his father's -- there are many good things to say about the Rand Paul.

According to a FreedomWorks analysis of Rand's 2013 plan and a few others' plans, the public debt will be $12.0 trillion in ten years from the plans implementation, which almost takes us back to the Bush II years-size debt.

Picture: Answer Coalition Flier on Iran

I must have gotten this from some rally that I attended years ago. It's in the trash as of a few minutes ago, but I thought I'd take a picture for memory's sake. Click each pic to see the facts.

Check out the Answer Coalition here

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...