Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 24 Named, Part 2

One storyline is clear in this season of American Idol: happy thoughts. In the midst of a recession, the producers clearly believe people want to hear good news. So during two nights of choosing the Top 24, we heard a lot more "You're going through" than "This is the end of the road."

On Wednesday, Idol went half an hour and gave smiles to eight people before we finally saw someone sent home with a tearful "no" followed by a montage of goodbyes. Then a slew of more "yes's." The best tweak is they ended the godawful practice of bringing in the last two contestants together. Both were guaranteed to be miserable since the winner could hardly rejoice without looking like a complete jerk.

Finally, everyone has a Twitter/Facebook/MySpace account this season so it'll be interesting to see who makes the smartest use of social media to garner fans. Most of the Idols have maybe a couple dozen followers on Twitter as of early Thursday morning. One or two have a hundred or so. But Garcia has more than 2500, about ten times as the next closest Idol. On Facebook, John Park more than doubles his closest competitor with 700+ fans. Does this mean anything? It certainly can't hurt when they get to the voting stage.

Here's a rundown of the people going through Wednesday (plus two rejections) and whether I agreed.

JANELL WHEELER -- She messed up two out of three times during Hollywood Week so it's hard to see why she's going through.

TYLER GRADY -- The lanky dude with the Seventies vibe, Tyler is right up Idol's alley. An obvious distinctive choice because at least he fits a type. I don't actually have a good sense for his talent.

LACEY BROWN -- Really didn't hear her enough to form an opinion. But they used her rendition of "What A Wonderful World" to montage more winners and frankly, I thought it went off the track a bit at the end.

ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ/ALEX LAMBERT/JOE MUNOZ - Fittingly, montaged together when told yes since they didn't get enough airtime.

CRYSTAL BOWERSOX -- Duh. A ringer.

KATIE STEVENS -- Seems quite young so this appears an iffy choice.

ANGELA MARTIN -- Sent home. We were set up to believe in Martin even though they knew she was going home. Strong backstory and some good performances made this one of their sneaky surprises. But here's a question. Why do Kara and Randy and the other judges urge her to keep going? This is her third season. She may be improved but if she really had star potential, wouldn't they have put her in the Top 24 by now? If they won't even do that, obviously they wouldn't give her a record deal. Either she's got it or she doesn't so unless they think she has some style that just doesn't suit the show (which isn't the case), they are sending her some seriously mixed signals.

LILLY SCOTT -- Sang a pretty good "Rich Girl" and a nice jazzy number. Makes sense but if she's really determined to make it she better lose her lucky earrings.

PAIGE MILES/SIOBHAN MAGNUS/MICHELLE DELAMOR/JERMAINE SELLERS/JOHN PARK -- Most of them didn't have enough airtime to make an impression but seem reasonable choices from the brief snippets we heard.

HAELEY VAUGHN -- Sweet kid but frankly she seemed too inconsistent to go through.

THADDEUS JOHNSON -- Sent home. He was another one we were set up to believe in. Seems the obvious choice to replace Michael Lynche if Lynche is indeed eliminated because family members leaked his getting into the Top 24 to the media. Johnson has a nice combination of confidence and vulnerability that could work in his favor.

ANDREW GARCIA -- Still hoping to see that his cool rendition of "Straight Up" wasn't a fluke, but an obvious choice.

Now unquestionably there will be surprises since a fair number of people in the Top 24 haven't had a chance to score any airtime. But taking that into account, the likely front-runners among the people we've heard are: Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Andrew Garcia, Todrick Hall and Casey James.

So what did you think of the picks? Who didn't deserve to go through and who got shafted?

Original Post By: Michael Giltz


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bible of the Day

Read the Bible:

Exodus 39-40
Psalm 44
Luke 8

Original Post by Emery


Friday, February 12, 2010

Preventing the SBC from Becoming the One View Baptist Convention

In my library I have several books that cover various viewpoints regarding tertiary doctrines over which Christians have historically disagreed. For example, I have read and enjoyed The Meaning of the Millenium: Four Views, and taught the people at Emmanuel all four viewpoints during a Wednesday night study. I taught each of the four millenial positions as if I believed it, and only at the end of the entire series did I give the members of Emmanuel my personal views on the subject of the millenium. I also admitted I could be wrong in my personal view and told those in the Bible study they should search the Scriptures for themselves to arrive at their own conclusions.

Predestination and Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom is another book in my library. We have used it in various small group studies in our church. There has never been a demand that people at Emmanuel hold to one particular view on this subject. Interestingly, all four viewpoints on God's soverereignty are represented by different Sunday School teachers in our fellowship. But all of our members understand that we are never to make disagreement over this tertiery doctrine a test of fellowship. Another book, entitled Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Four Views , is an excellent summary of the different viewpoints Christians hold regarding spiritual gifts.

Again, all four views on the gifts of the Spirit are held by various people within our 4,500 church membership. I'm excited that an agreement has already been reached with Broadman and Holman for another four view book to be published in 2011 called Perspectives on Tithing. A Southern Baptist will serve as the main editor and there will be three other contributors, with Southern Baptist Ken Hemphill providing one view on the subject. There are a number of other books that take handle biblical doctrines by presenting four views on the subject in question. The ability and freedom to learn, discuss, and debate various views on tertiery doctrines is a sign of health and strength for any church or convention. Demands that everybody believe the same thing on tertiery matters is a sign of dysfunction.

Unfortunately, some within the Southern Baptist Convention would like to demand that all Southern Baptists conform to ONE VIEW on every tertiery doctrine. This week one Southern Baptist went so far as to write administrators at our cooperative seminaries and suggest that any professor who taught a different view on "storehouse tithing" than that held by "the majority of Southern Baptists" should be removed from faculty. The International Mission Board trustees removed from prospective missionary service any missionary who believed that "a private prayer language" was a legitimate spiritual gift.

Certain Southern Baptist ideologues who believe that a woman cannot teach men in a classroom setting, and wishing to push that singular view on all Southern Baptists who cooperate in the support of our agencies, removed Hebrew professor Dr. Sheri Klouda and Dr. Karen Bullock from their classroom responsibilities at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Southern Baptist pastors and leaders should feel the freedom to hold firm convictions on tertiery issues. They should believe, preach, and defend their views with conviction. But nobody within the SBC should even begin to think about threatening, ridiculing or seeking the removal from leadership or service any Southern Baptist who believes, teaches, or publishes a contrary view. Once we Southern Baptists allow ideologues with intentions of demanding doctrinal conformity to proceed unchecked and unchallenged, our Convention will lose all sense of true Baptist identity. We Baptists, out of all the Christian people in this world, should cherish and protect freedom for our people to hold to various views and interpretations of tertiery Biblical doctrines.

Each of us who care about the future of cooperative mission effort should take a collective stand to prevent the Southern Baptist Convention from becoming the One View Baptist Convention.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Original Post by Wade Burleson


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reactions to Pastor Rony’s Comments

A member of my small group recently wrote a short response to the Rory Tan debacle, currently the centerstage of Singaporean social affairs. Its a balanced, well-thought out response from the Christian’s perspective, and with her permission I have reproduced it here.

Rebecca Tan, a NUS undergraduate

Having sat through a number of Christian-organised talks about other faiths, I have two suggestions:

1) If the aim of the talk is to educate your congregation about the other faith, then teach them respectfully about the basic tenets of that faith. Speaking respectfully about differing faiths doesn’t mean that you are purporting them. In fact, there may be certain aspects of other faiths that we (not of that faith) can learn from, such as the Muslims’ discipline in prayer and respect for their God, the Buddhists’ desire to do what is right etc.

2) If the aim of the talk is to evangelise to non-Christians, then speak about your faith. If the person is satisfied with their current faith, then there is little that you can do which will turn him away from that to another faith, apart from presenting what you believe in. Tearing down what he believes in and practises does nothing but engender disgust and anger.


But what actually stood out to me from this entire issue are two, perhaps peripheral, issues:

1) How quick people were to call this “sedition” and be supportive of the hauling up of Pastor Rony Tan by the ISD. In many other circumstances (like the situation of the racist teenagers on FB), the ISD involvement would be decried as undemocratic and too harsh. I’m not saying that what Pastor Rony said was right, but all of a sudden, many Netizens suddenly supported the ISD (and by extension, the ISA) when they hadn’t previously.

2) The conflation of race and religion. In all the news stories, the main issue that was reported was the need to maintain “racial harmony”. Maybe it’s me nitpicking, but I do think that there needs to be some accuracy here, because not all Chinese are Buddhists or Indians Hindu etc. If anything, such conflation leads to stereotyping and generalisations. We should really be careful about equating religion with race.


Its interesting — the general response I’ve been garnering from netizens’ responses is not that the ISD’s intervention had been too heavy-handed or overly publicized, but that insufficient action was taken. Looks like Blair was right. We’re really headed towards an age where the conflict will no longer be defined by ideological lines (e.g. democracy vs. communism in the Cold War), but by religious ones. And while the secularists won’t be very happy about this, well, pure secularism is pretty much a form of religion by itself.

Original Post by Alastair Su


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 2010 Newsletter

From the Disk of the Pastor February 2010

Dear Friends in Christ,
Pontius Pilate asked Christ, what is truth? That is a question that is often not asked today. Pilate’s question suggests that he was a Roman skeptic. In Roman society, there were three basic philosophical positions. The stoics were focused upon duty. The epicureans were focused upon pleasure and self gratification. The skeptics viewed life an unknowable farce. Truth existed, but us fallible human beings could not know truth. Thus, since we could not know truth, our actions would always be flawed. We had no chance of getting it right.

In contrast, today people ask is there such a thing as truth. In fact many have gone beyond this and insisted that there is no truth. We call this “Post Modernism.” Post Modern thought is in fact not new at all. It has its current day roots is in the work of the nineteenth century philosopher Frederick Nitsche. It is also closely tied to Fascist thinking. Philosopher Martin Heidigger is one the heros of post modern scholars. He was a card carrying Nazi and an active supporter of Hitler. The father of post modern deconstructionism was Yale professor Paul de Mann. De Mann was born in Belgium and during World War II was busy writing pro Nazi propaganda. If there is no truth, there is only power. Might makes right. If you have the power to enforce your will, then your will becomes truth.

This the challenge facing the church today. Many of the people we encounter will not believe that there is such a thing as truth. Truth is whatever I think it is. Often times we will have to do some pre-evangelism. We will have to show people that truth is objective. One of the simplest arguments is in medicine. Do you want to go to a doctor who doesn’t think that there is such a thing as truth? Such a doctor might well say you don’t have cancer if you think you don’t. How catastrophic such medicine would be! People would die because they didn’t understand their true situation.

For us, God’s Word is truth. Here is where we turn to diagnose our condition. In the Word we see that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves. We are lost and damned. We need an objective cure. We need our sins to be taken from us. Christ Jesus does just that in His death on the cross. This is the objective reality that offers hope to the world.

In a couple weeks we will enter the season of Lent. Lent is a time of cold, hard, objective facts. It is a time when we confront our sinfulness. We do this because it is true. We are not like Pilate wondering what truth is. We are not like the post modernists who think that truth is whatever they say it is. We are Christians. As St. Paul says “Love rejoices in the truth.” (I Cor. 13:6) He is echoing the words of the Psalmist: “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Ps. 119:104) And so look at the truth of our sins. We do not flinch from it. It is painful, but it is a mark of our love, not only for our Lord and our selves, but also for our neighbor. For by looking at the truth of our sins, we look at how we can better serve our neighbor. But we also look at the truth of our Savior - Jesus Christ. The Law teaches us God’s will, but the Gospel teaches us that Christ has already fulfilled God’s will in our place. This gives us a new reason for seeking to fulfill the Law - love for Christ and love for our neighbor. This is the truth we seek for ourselves and the truth we seek to share with others.

Rev. Jody Walter
Psalm 119:104-105

Original Post by Walt's World of Religion and Politics


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is June 10-13, 2010 in Manchester, Tenn.

Bonnaroo 2010 lineup announcements were made on the Bonnaroo 2010 MySpace page today. The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup announcements are still ongoing as well, because they are revealing the artists a few at a time in order to draw out the suspense of who will be appearing this year. The Bonnaroo 2010 Music & Arts Festival will be taking place this summer from June 10th to June 13th in Manchester, Tenn., and tickets for this huge event are already on sale. The Bonnaroo concert festivals are typically considered some of the biggest and best of the year, and this summer looks to be no exception with some of the singers and bands already announced.

Some of the artists and groups that are scheduled to appear this year have been at past Bonnaroo Music Festivals, but some might consider this to be one of the best groups of artists that the Bonnaroo Festival has put together. Some of the artists already listed for the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup include Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Zac Brown Band, Dave Matthews Band, and Dave Rawlings Machine. The one solo artist that could draw the most attention is Jay-Z, who will be performing there as well. To put it into perspective how diverse the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup is they also have Weezer, The Flaming Lips, and Jimmy Cliff on the docket.

There are still more names to be released for the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup, and they will continuously announce on the Bonnaroo 2010 MySpace page which we have linked below if you want to watch as they are revealed. The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup is updated every six minutes on the page, so if you keep watching the page, they will reveal more and more names as the day continues. With all of the big names that have been revealed already, it is turning out to be an amazing lineup for Bonnaroo 2010, and it will only get better as the day progresses. This will definitely be one of those can't-miss concert events of the 2010 music season.

Bonnaroo 2010 will take place in Manchester, Tenn., on June 10th to June 13th this summer.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Kitchener 9/11 Truth Street Action Feb. 11, 2010.

For our February 11th street action we will be traveling to our neighbouring city of Stratford and will be out front of the Farmers Market or City Hall located on Downie Street at 2PM.

Anyone who wishes to come out and spread the truth to citizens in the Stratford community is more than welcome. Bring a sign, DVDs or just yourself, your video camera and your will to educate people on this subject.

We video tape all our street actions for our own purposes. Anyone who wants to come out just to cause problems be aware that we will post it on you-tube and other outlets as well as possible legal action.

Those who disagree with our view on 9/11 are more than welcome to come down and discuss 9/11 in a calm mature manner. We look forward to the discussion.

See you on the 11th.

For more info contact:

Source: Posted by Canadian Truther