Thursday, August 30, 2007


In remarks about the resignation of Attorney General Gonzalez, President Bush made the following statement:

After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position, and I accept his decision. It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.

It is very clear that partisanship is as bad in Washington as it has ever been.
Surely it has not gotten better since Bush took office.
He was the one who promised he could reach across political lines, having been so successful in Texas. He saw it as his moral duty.

Although you can't directly blame a leader for the failures of his followers, a measure of competence is how you get people to follow you and your ideals.

Again: a failing grade.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This interview of Jon Stewart with the biographer of Dick Cheney Stephen Hays is really good.
Worth taking the time to listen to. Jon is really good at getting to the real issues.
But first, watch this:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

God loves the world according to Pyromaniacs

If you want to experience first-hand what kind of exegetical summersaults Augustinians have to perform to explain how God can love the world while condemning some or many to hell, check this link to Pyromaniacs.
I read this blog because I want to be balanced in my reading, but I disagree pretty thoroughly with their theology.
And I find it interesting that there are almost no dissenting voices on their comments any more. People have given up trying to interact fruitfully with them.
But - check it out for yourself.

Talbott (2)

Talbott also makes this observation: God commands us to love Him above all else, and to love our neighbor as ourself.

According to the Augustinian view, there are people whom God does not love, people whom He sends to an everlasting hell. The book of Romans says, for examnple: " Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated."

Interesting that God commands Jakob to love Esau as himself, but God feels free to hate Esau.

Last Picture

The last picture before we left La Fayette, where we've been the last ten days. I think I have not mentioned here that we have been on vacation in Philadelphia and Georgia the last 2 weeks. We go back to Holland on Friday.
Hooray for the Dutch vacation practices!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thomas Talbott

While on vacation I have read a book by Thomas Talbott about universal reconciliation. The book is called “The Inescapable Love of God”. It is a fascinating book, because it approaches this subject from a philosophical and logical viewpoint, and less a theological one.
A few quotes from the book:

“A cardinal doctrine of Christian faith is that God, being a loving Creator, is at work in the world redeeming sinners…But Christians have often disagreed among themselves about the extent and the ultimate success of God’s redemptive activity, and those disagreements reflect surprisingly different conceptions of the divine nature. The conceptions are so different, indeed, that some might wonder whether all Christians in fact worship the same God.
Here is a relatively easy way to understand these issues and to organize our thinking about them. We begin with an inconsistent set of three propositions:

1. It is God’s redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to himself.
2. It is within God’s power to achieve his redemptive purpose for the world.
3. Some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign then to a place of punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence altogether.” (pg 43)

Talbott comments that there are Bible verses that seem to support each of these propositions.
Talbott comments further that each of the three main streams of theological thinking in the church reject one of these three propositions – and thus a proposition that seems to have Bibical support!

Augustinians (and Calvinist and the Reformed) reject the first proposition, believing that God has elected a select group of people for salvation. Propositions 2 and 3 stand, because Gods will to save some cannot be thwarted and hell is real.
Arminians (evangelicals) reject proposition 2. God does want to save everyone, but because people have a free will, they are free to reject God’s salvation. God is thus not able (or He limits himself because of man’s free will) to save everyone.
Universalists reject proposition 3. God does desire to save everyone, and He will accomplish His redemptive purpose. An eternal Hell with no hope of restoration cannot exist.

I quote again:

“So here, then, are three quite different pictures of God: According to the Augustinian picture, God’s redemptive purposes are not thwarted, but He is limited in in love; according to the Arminian picture, God’s love is unlimited, but His redemptive purposes are thwarted by factors over which he has no control; and according to the universalist picture, God’s love is unlimited and his redemptive purposes are unthwarted as well. Accordingly, a question that may now arise is: “Which of our three pictures best preserves the praiseworthy character and glory of the divine nature?” And, two additional questions: “Which picture, if true, would provide the firmest foundation for hope? – and which seems the most likely to cultivate our fears?” (pg 48)

Pretty interesting stuff. I'd be interested in what you think.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Incompetence again....

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates offers a blunt review of the (political) situation in Iraq after his visit there.
Reflecting on the difficulty of political reconciliation there, Gates said:

“We probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation, which, let’s face it, is not some kind of secondary issue.”

I don't have the training, expertise and experience of American diplomats, but my experience with living in other cultures makes me understand in a second how difficult it is to deal with mistrust among cultural and tribal groups. This is a job that will take decades.

It's too bad incompetence is not an impeachable offense.
In a parliamentary system of government, these guys would have been out on their ears long ago.