Sunday, April 29, 2007

Welcome to the Web

It's finally up! Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville - at the heart of Historic West End -- has entered the 21st century. After quite a long wait our website is up and running.

Check it out at

Coming soon I will link to various pages of this site - just to give my readers a taste of Southern Presbyterianism.

Right now, I have to hit the hay -- long day tomorrow!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Christianity Done Right

In an article touting the "virtues" of Government assistance, the New York Times buries the true answer on the third page! True help is not in MORE government programs but in dedicated Christian ministries doing what the Church is supposed to be doing!

From the article (p. 3):

In the past 10 years, the infant mortality rate for blacks in most of the Delta has averaged about 14 per thousand in some counties and more than 20 per thousand in others. But just to the south of Hollandale, Sharkey County, one of the poorest, has had a startlingly different record. From 1991 through 2005, the rate for blacks hovered at around 5 per thousand. State officials say the county’s population is too small — it registers only 100 births a year — to be statistically significant. But many experts feel it is no coincidence that a steep drop in infant deaths followed the start of an intensive home-visiting system run by the Cary Christian Center, using local mothers as counselors. “If this is a fluke it’s a 15-year fluke,” said Dr. Glick, the neonatologist.

The website for Cary Christian Center, serving for 35 years to the poorest counties in America, shows a full range of ministries available. [For some reason the banner heading frame does not load on Firefox. It is best viewed, therefore, with Internet Explorer.]

The complaints of the Progressive Secularist establishment is that Governor Barbour's policy of fiscal restraint and welfare reform are contributing to increased infant mortality. The article itself mentions the destructive lifestyles of the poor - notable obesity among poor women and permiscuity among teens - that undoubtably account for the mounting problems. Noteworthy, I suppose, is the reference to "unborn infants." I guess the child is an "infant" if one wishes to carry her to term and a "fetus" if otherwise!

The article has a chart that shows all of the deep south much the same condition as Mississippi, including South Carolina. I am not aware of programs as effective a Cary Christian Center here, but it certainly looks like there should be!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Evil strikes Virginia Tech

Words escape me. The evil that took 32 innocent lives in one morning - 3o of them within less than one agonizing hour - can hardly be imagined. Perhaps the hate of a twisted mind like Adolf Hitler might be capable of contemplating such an act. But even the evil German dictator had other people do his biddings under a reasoned plan.

The victims ranged from freshmen from small town America to a Holocost survivor whose family immigrated to Israel. The killer did not seem to have any particular victim in mind, but did return to classrooms to make sure his deed was done.

I encourage everyone to visit the New York Times and read the profiles and comments on the victims. I spent the better part of today doing just that. It is a sad excercise, but one that will lead you to appreciate life and the grace of God that keeps most of us safe from the greater evil in the world.

Our prayers are with the victims' families, friends, and colleagues. As the nation mourns, let us reflect on our purpose and calling -- whatever it may be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Of Greenhouse gases and healthy plants

Every once in a while the New York Times gets it. Even in the science section.

In an article entitled Green, Life-giving, and Forever Young Natalie Angier makes a lot of good points about the importance of plants. Unfortunately, she gets into evolutionary theory and messes it up. She finds plants so different from animals that "it's like plants evolved on Mars." And then, the very mechanisms that entice insects and humming birds to polinate many plants are somehow clever tricks of time and chance.

And then, there are a few things left out. Plants are said to make their own food through photosynthesis upon sunlight. And then the wonderful mechanisms of capillary action and evaporation get water as far as 400 feet from the roots. And, of course OXYGEN is produced.

But plants cannot make food out of water and sunlight alone. Sunlight is the energy, chlorophyl is the cataclyst, but the missing ingredient is none other than that -- shall we say it? -- is Carbon Dioxide! Yep, that dreaded "green house" gas that is threatening the planet! According to the article at wikipedia, the equation is:

6 CO2(gas) + 12 H2O(liquid) + photons → C6H12O6(aqueous) + 6 O2(gas) + 6 H2O(liquid)
carbon dioxide + water + light energy → glucose + oxygen + water
And so, the plants make SUGAR from atmospheric CO2 and give off oxygen and that OTHER -- gasp! -- greenhouse gas: WATER! Yes, the unmentioned greenhouse gas that NONE of us can live without, be we animal or plant, is good old H2O!

In fact, there is more water produced in the burning of fossile fuels than there is in carbon dioxide. If you reverse the equation above you can easily see this:

Heat + C6H12O6 6 CO2 + 12 H2O

It's clear -- twice as much water as carbon dioxide! And -- horror of horrors -- the main combustion of sugars (and other carbon molecules) is done by ANIMALS. Every breath expels both greenhouse gases: water and carbon dioxide. My how well the system was DESIGNED, huh?

Furthermore, studies have found that the photons are not lost in the process. The energy is "trapped" in the food the plant is making. When an animal -- like man -- eats the food, especially "raw," the energy of the photons is ingested to be released as energy in the many processes of the body, including our own building of "bio-mass." I read this aways back, but this article on "bio-photons" is what came up on my google search. Plants actually "give off light"!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Two saints go to glory

This week at Second Church we lost two long-time members. Our prayers are with their families as they adjust to the loss that we only feel faintly. I am not a biographer, so I cannot speak to these lives with authority. However I will provide the links to their obituaries.

Mrs. Opal Holbrook was our church librarian for 15 years prior to her sickness in 2006. Her illness defied easy diagnosis and it seems that certain proceedures to allow treatment turned out to be detrimental to her recovery. It was sad to see her decline so quickly. Go to her obituary here

Mr. George Woods, a respected elder emeritus (thrice retired: US Navy, Cryovac, 2nd Pres. session), had been suffering from multiple problems related to age. He passed away after heart surgery, though he had been showing some signs of improvement. In hindsight, it was probably a bad idea to attempt heart surgery when they did. However, he was an elder statesmen for the the WW 2 generation that we are losing daily to unrelenting time. The picture at his obit is of him as a sailor. Every Thanksgiving he used to let us know how thankful he was just to be alive, noting that his being alive was a gift from God! Our prayers will go with his family.

I Corinthians 15

20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Words mean things

A truism made famous by Rush Limbaugh states simply: "Words mean things."

Unfortunately, conservative bloggers and commentators seem to be as guilty as liberals in taking words out of context. Or even "in context" but attempting to read too much into them.

Recently I have encountered two conservative sources that "took to task" Dr. James Dobson who was quoted by a news source selectively. Even in the simple quote, though, Dr. Dobson was stating an obvious opinion:

Gilgoff quoted Dobson saying of Thompson, "Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for, [but] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression."

Of course, he goes on to explain why this matters, and what it would mean to a potential presidential bid to former lawyer-actor-senator Fred Thompson. Dobson didn't know much about Thompson's religion and was left with the impression that he was a Christian. He assumed, perhaps unwisely, that other Conservative Christians might have the same impression. If this was the case, the candiacy had little chance.

Fellow blogger "Hondo" of felt betrayed as a rising star seemed to be derailed by such inflamatory speech. But the words are simply a opinion and NOT a declaration concerning Mr. Thompson's spiritual state. I tried to find information linking Thompson to ANY religious activity, and found only a video of him in a church immediately after the 9/11 attacks. He said all the "right things" but came across only as a cultural Christian at most. Most Americans came across that way in those early days of September 2001. The wikipedia article doesn't mention his religion in the sidebar. The religion of other potential candidates IS listed in the same source. This leads me to wonder if he even WANTS us to know his religious connections.

But words mean things. What Dr. Dobson said stands on its own. He had doubts that a one-time senator (who "replaced" Al Gore!) could stand a chance against political guru Newt Gingrich (who worked hard to impeach Bill Clinton). Of course, of the non-candidates, Thompson is now polling ahead of Gingrich. Dobson's statements may have been unwise, but they certainly weren't malicious.

"I don't think he's a Christian; at least that is my impression." Subsequent "evidence" of is status as a "baptized member" of the Church of Christ not withstanding, I have to ask, "Is he or isn't he?"

Another Fellow Blogger puts it well:

WorldNetDaily gives the "rest of the story":

Of course "the rest of the story" is a trademark of Paul Harvey, for whom Thompson subs occasionally. I think I wrote "rest of the story" before I researched Fred Thompson, but the irony of the use is fitting. I am astounded that some conservatives were so easily offended by this statement. Again, what do these words MEAN?

"I don't think he's a Christian; at least that is my impression.