Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dr. Evil vs. Dr. Wright

Sorry, I couldn't find an actual clip of this on from the popular & hilarious Austin Powers film, but had some fun searching for it:

Dr. Evil: "Scott, I want you to meet Daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers."

Scott: "Why are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?"

Dr. Evil: "In due time."

Scott: "But what if he escapes? Why don't you just shoot him? What are you waiting for?"

Dr. Evil: "I have a better idea. I'm going to put him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate & exotic death."

Scott: "Why don't you just shoot him now? Here, I'll get a gun. We'll just shoot him. Bang! Dead. Done."

Dr. Evil: "One more peep out of you and you're grounded!"

Here's a 1:49 sample of their interactions (a montage of "Zip It" & "Scotty Don't" scenes):

"How about you don't ladies & gentlemen Scotty don't" kills me every time!

Ironic as it seems, the why-don't-you-just-shoot-him scene contains several very-real parallels from the world we live in, especially involving the US government & Christianity. Today Dr. Evil is played by liberal politicians, while his pragmatic son, Scott, is played by liberal journalists & scientists. Instead of simply killing us, our enemies just want to have fun belittling us & brainshackling us (usually by preaching an overly elaborate message about millions of years of imaginary time). Fortunately it's always relatively easy to escape from their exotic (spiritual) death traps.

Earlier this week at the Creation Museum, Dr. Frank Wright, the current president of the NRB, delivered a sobering speech on our government's encroachment upon our liberty. I'd encourage everyone to spend the 40 worthwhile minutes it lasts, watching it via Ken Ham's blog for full context. Here I'd like to comment on some highlights [video reference times in brackets].

[1:30] "I believe we're living in the greatest expansion of government power in the history of our republic."

He then cites a few earlier expansions:

1) after the Civil War (which was about whether the federal government has power over the states)

2) after the Great Depression (social/work programs to meet economic need via Roosevelt's "New Deal")

3) in the 1960s (involving Medicare & Medicaid via Johnson's "Great Society")

Bringing us to the present:

[3:30] "Through health-care reform, the federal government is trying to take over 1/5th of our national economy. ... They will then have forced national policy on questions like abortion, euthanasia, all kinds of allocation of scarce resources."

[4:55] "If unchecked, this growth of government power could well lead to tyranny."

To put the matter in a Biblical context, he visits Genesis 41, a story that had ironically been suggested to him by a chief counsel (a Democrat) from the Senate Finance Committee staff as a good justification for government expansion. Specifically, 41:33-36, where Joseph recommends collecting 20% of the harvest for the government during the 7 good years, then making it available for the people during the 7 bad years. (Great plan of "hope" & "change we can believe in", right?) Wright points out that the pharaoh was already taxing his Egyptian citizens. Verse 56 records Joseph selling the surplus back to the Egyptians!

[9:30] "It's a little bit like having someone steal your car, then offering to sell it back to you..."

He skips over the dramatic interlude of Joseph reuniting with his family, & focuses on 47:14, where Joseph essentially obtains all the Egyptians' money in exchange for food. But since that didn't solve the Egyptians' problem, verse 17 records Joseph obtaining all their livestock too. Subsequently verse 20 records him obtaining all their land, & finally the Egyptians themselves as slaves in verse 21. But in verse 22 he indicts the priests, drawing an obvious analogy to modern clergy:

[14:15] "Look how easily the religious leaders can be co-opted in a massive government takeover."

Having made that point, Dr. Wright zoomed in on verse 25, where the Egyptians are essentially content with this loss of liberty just to stay alive.

[17:20] "Our propensity, like them, is to live by sight, not by faith. They looked around & saw no way of getting food, no way of surviving apart from putting themselves into servitude, or into bondage. Is there no other way than that? Where in this text is the passage that speaks of them crying out to God, & asking Him to deliver them & bring rain to end the famine? Where is their looking to the true source of all things, the Lord of Heaven, instead of an earthly king?"

He then indicts Americans for their ready willingness to exchange freedom for security, particularly since 9-11-2001.

[18:40] "I believe we too, as a nation, are standing at the threshold of a benevolent bondage of a government that's growing unconstrained, asserting its authority into every area of human endeavor & existence; a government that does not see itself under God's authority. And as for the people of God, far more for us is lost in this transaction than just our personal freedom. For us as the people of God, if we enter into a benevolent bondage like the Egyptians did with our government, at a time of great financial & economic crisis, & maybe other crises that may be coming -- for us, we don't lose just our freedom, we lose the veracity of our witness before a watching world. Because if you say you trust in the Most High God, & sell yourself into a form of benevolent bondage, your witness to that proposition is damaged."

Then he compares this philosophy with quotations from 2 people who played key roles in America's foundation, Benjamin Franklin & Samuel Adams:

[21:10] "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

[21:35] "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down & lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, & may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

With this indictment upon most Americans in general today, he asked a deeper, personal question:

[22:45] "Who will you have as your king? The cry of the Revolutionary War was: 'We will have no king but King Jesus.' But the story of the bondage in Egypt asks the same question essentially, Who will be your king? ... And so this question of who will be your king is first & foremost, not a political question, not an economic question, not a question of civil government, it's a spiritual question, because the real question is, To whom are you in bondage?"

After discussing personal spiritual conflicts that we all experience, he moved the topic back to today's government.

[25:45] "We are moving to a day when we will be told, 'You can believe anything you want about your religion, & you can practice anything you want with your religion, but you can't tell anybody else what you believe, & you must practice it out of the sight of others.'"

He compared this scenario to Jews being herded into Warsaw ghettos, & also discussed Hate Crimes legislation. The problem with this is that the term "bodily injury" was not defined, & will likely be interpreted in a future court case as "mental anguish" by someone who hears the Gospel preached. But he ends on an optimistic note:

[34:55] "We have the greatest opportunity, probably in the history of our country, to have a clear witness contrasted with the opponents to the Gospel."

[38:45] "We still live in a constitutional republic where the people of God can exercise their freedoms for the good of the entire nation, & ultimately for the good of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Amen. (I hope I don't get grounded for saying that!)

G.M. Grena

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fresh Fish, Cajun Style

A few weeks ago I received an E-mail advertising the upcoming annual BAS conference, & was surprised to see that the list of speakers included her royal-jar highness, Jane Cahill. A week or so went by, & I was reminded of it when I went grocery shopping:

But I've been too busy to blog. Then yesterday another trip to the store:

And another E-mail from BAS, so I decided tonight I should do this because the price may eventually go down 1 cent or up 2 cents, & then I might never have a reason to blog again!

Here's a list of all the LMLK friends &/or VIPs I'd enjoy listening to if I were attending this year's conferences in New Orleans:

Anson Rainey, Tel Aviv University
Whence Came the Israelites and Their Language?

Aren Maeir, Bar Ilan University
Fleshing out the Bible at Philistine Gath: The Interface of Bible and Archaeology

Avraham Faust, Bar Ilan University
The Assyrian Peace: A Reexamination

Bruce Zuckerman, University of Southern California
Technology and Antiquity: The Latest on Recovering Ancient Texts and Artifacts

James Charlesworth, Princeton Theological Seminary
Should the Gospel of John be Used in Jesus Research?

Jane Cahill, Tell el-Hammah Archaeological Project
*Q&A Panelist*

Yosef Garfinkel, Hebrew University
*Plenary Session Speaker*
Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David

By the way, Prof. Garfinkel will have some interesting photos of jar handles with special impressions that in many ways parallel the LMLK phenomenon. For those of you planning to attend, your royal homework assignment is to visit this serendipitous entry at the Recipe Girl's blog. Prof. Garfinkel's excavation is so important that it now merits TWO (2) entire sessions at the upcoming ASOR conference:

A3 Khirbet Qeiyafa I: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David

Theme: Focuses on the fieldwork conducted at Khirbet Qeiyafa in 2009.

Yosef Garfinkel (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Presiding

* Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor (Israel Antiquities Authority), "The 2009 Excavation Season at Khirbet Qeiyafa" (25 min.)

* Paul D. Bauman (WorleyParsons), Yosef Garfinkel, Brad Hansen (WorleyParsons), Jennifer MacDonald (WorleyParsons), and Kimberly Hume (WorleyParsons), "Geophysical and Aerial Photographic Investigations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Israel" (25 min.)

* Michael G. Hasel (Southern Adventist University), "Area A: The Fortified Building at Khirbet Qeiyafa" (25 min.)

* Saar Ganor, "Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Two-Gate City from the Early 10th Century B.C." (25 min.)

A8 Khirbet Qeiyafa II: A Fortified City in Judah from the Time of King David

Theme:. Focuses on the general results of the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations.

Michael G. Hasel, Presiding

* David L. Adams (Concordia Seminary), "Between Socoh and Azekah: The Biblical Identity of Khirbet Qeiyafa" (20 min.)

* Hoo-Goo Kang (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Yosef Garfinkel, "The Pottery Assemblage of Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Early Iron Age IIA" (20 min.)

* David Ben-Shlomo (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), "Petrographic Analysis of Iron Age Pottery from Khirbet Qeiyafa" (20 min.)

* Haggai Misgav (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), "The Ostracon from Khirbet Qeiyafa: Paleographical and Historical Implications" (20 min.)

* Respondent: William G. Dever (The University of Arizona, Emeritus) (20 min.)

Other lectures of interest by LMLK friends &/or VIPs (listed in the order they appear in the program brochure):

Randall W. Younker (Andrews University) and Constance Gane (Andrews University), "2008-9 Excavations at Tall Jalul, Jordan (Madaba Plains Project)" (20 min.)

Oded Borowski (Emory University) and Glenda Friend (University of New Mexico at Gallup), "Lahav Research Project: Phase IV Excavation at Tell Halif (Israel)" (20 min.)

Lynn Swartz Dodd (University of Southern California), "Monuments of Resistance: Gurgum and the Assyrian Conquest" (20 min.)

Steven Collins (Trinity Southwest University), "Tall el-Hammam Season Four: Data, Interpretations, and Insights from the 2009 Excavations" (24 min.)

Avraham Faust (Bar-Ilan University), "The Tel Eton Excavations (2008-2009)" (24 min.)

Aren M. Maeir (Bar-Ilan University) "The 2009 Season of Excavations at Tell Es-Safi/Gath" (22 min.)

Shlomo Bunimovitz (Tel Aviv University) "Revisiting the Sea Peoples in Cyprus and Canaan" (22 min.)

Jeffrey R. Zorn (Cornell University), "Reconsidering Goliath: An Iron I Philistine Maryannu" (22 min.)

Jeff Chadwick (Brigham Young University, Jerusalem Center), "The Earthquake of Amos and the Establishment of Judean Gath in the Eighth Century B.C.E." (22 min.)

Anson F. Rainey (Tel Aviv University), "Looking for Ziklag" (20 min.)

Jeffrey P. Hudon (Andrews University), "The LMLK Storage Jars and the Reign of Uzziah: Towards a Mid-Eighth Century B.C.E. Terminus a Quo for the Royal Jars of the Kingdom of Judah" (20 min.)

Hayah Katz (The Open University of Israel), "The Royal Estates in the Kingdom of Judah in View of the Archaeological Finds" (20 min.)

John S. Holladay (University of Toronto), "Assyria’s Loss, Israel and Damascus’ Gain: Assyrians and the Early South Arabian Camel Caravan Trade" (25 min.)

Song of the week: "Queens" by Cirque du Soleil (click the song title to visit Amazon; YouTube video below may eventually become unavailable).

G.M. Grena

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fishy Photos

This photo won't mean anything to most of the people who happen to view it, but if you're into LMLKology, you'll get a kick out of it!

If you don't get the esoteric meaning, the royal context of this next photo is a bit easier to figure out! It shows what happens when a LMLKologist is free to express himself with a paintbrush:

I'm enjoying these freedoms in celebration of the upcoming July 4th weekend before our current US president hands them over to our enemies on a silver platter.

Song of the week: "Swim" by Madonna (click the song title to visit Amazon; YouTube video below may eventually become unavailable).

G.M. Grena

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Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again

Royal Banquine

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