Mormon Special



I see that NBC is planning to air an episode on Mormons and the LDS Church on its Rock Center show I am sure it will be a fair and balanced presentation on a sometimes controversial religious sect. Strangely, I must have missed all of the specials they did on the Trinity United Church of Christ back in 2008. I am sure that would have made quite an interesting show.

I do not agree with much of Mormonism’s doctrines and theology but I have a feeling that their preachers never say this in the pulpit.





Digital Bibles


I read this article in USA Today about the increasing use of digital Bibles in church services.

Not too long ago, the sight of someone using an electronic device during a worship service might lead an observer to assume that person was not fully engaged. But not anymore. Reading the Bible used to mean reading a book, but increasingly, people are getting the Word on smartphones, iPads and other electronic devices.

So then, what will happen to the printed Bible? The last word has not been written on that, but experts speculate that its unchallenged reign is over.

These days I am more apt to take my Kindle to church than an actual printed Bible. One of the first e-books I bought for my Kindle was a Bible and I have always had one on whatever PDA or smart phone I have been using. I find the electronic format very useful since you can have a great many translations, as well as commentaries, dictionaries, and other resources all in one easy to carry package. There do seem to be a few drawbacks.

The Rev. Michael Nabors, pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church in Detroit, has at least 20 hardcover Bibles in the office of his church. He recently began using an iPad during Bible study, but sticks to a hardcover version in the pulpit. He doesn’t think many of his older members would appreciate him using his iPad.

“What if he’s up there preaching and the battery dies or something like that? I hope he has a real Bible next to him, so he can look up what he needs to look up,” said Isabella Howard, 62, of Detroit, a longtime member.

She wouldn’t trade her hardbound Bible for any e-version.

“I feel closer to God with this,” she said referring to her Bible. “I don’t have to plug up anything. All I have to do is open it up and read it.”

For others, there are more liturgical reasons to shun e-Bibles during worship.

A representative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said it would be impractical for a priest to use an e-reader during mass because the Holy Book is held high, carried down the aisle and placed for display on the altar as part of the opening of the service.

“It would be really strange to process an iPad down the aisle and place it on the altar,” said Dan McAfee, director of Christian Worship for the archdiocese.

“E-Bibles are great for personal study, but they can’t be used for liturgical books,” he said. “The Bible is a sacred book — a one of a kind — not just a file among many files in an iPad.”

I guess having a priest holding up an iPad during a Catholic mass would be a little like replacing the candles with little electric lights. You could do it, but the effect wouldn’t be quite the same. I would imagine that some of the more enthusiastic preachers who handle a Bible during sermons might be wary of dropping an expensive e-reader.

In my opinion it is the words in Scripture that are important and the physical medium through which we read those words is not very important, so I do not feel the sentimental attachment to the printed Bible, nor do I feel that I am missing anything even though the Bible I read is one file among many on my kindle. The Bible was probably one of the first books produced in codex form, as opposed to the scrolls of ancient times, and was the first book printed in the West. It is only proper that it is prominent among e-books.



Landslide for Romney?


That is what two professors from the University of Colorado are saying. Here is the story in the Denver Post.

Two University of Colorado professors have devised a model to predict who will win the presidential election under current economic circumstances. The victor, they say, will be Republican Mitt Romney.

The model uses economic indicators from all 50 states to predict the race’s outcome. The forecast calls for Romney to win 320 electoral votes out of 538. It says Romney will also win virtually every state currently considered a swing state, including Colorado.

The professors who created the model, Ken Bickers from CU-Boulder and Michael Berry from CU-Denver, say it correctly forecast every winner of the electoral since 1980.

They warn the model does not account for sudden changes in the economy or unexpected developments in states split 50-50. Polls in many states, including Colorado, show a virtually deadlocked race.

Here is the map.

I think that they are being far too optimistic and that they should be tied up, gagged, and taken to an undisclosed location until after the election. the last thing the Republicans need right now is to start being overconfident. Romney and Ryan should fight as though they are ten points behind Obama because goodness knows he’ll be as vicious as he has to be to win this election.





The Amateur

When Barack Obama became President, I expected, as a Conservative, that he would promote a great many policies that I did not approve of. I did not expect, however, the sheer incompetence that he and his administration should demonstrate. And, even as the months and years went by, I never realized the scale of this incompetence until I read Edward Klein’s book, The Amateur.

Klein begins by examining Barack Obama’s rather slim record before he became President. Birthers or people who believe that Obama is some kind of sinister Manchurian Candidate will not find such to satisfy them here. Klein notes that Obama’s careers as president of the Harvard Law Review, Illinois State Senator, and United States Senator were all most notable for a singular lack of any actual accomplishments or any substantial trail left behind. Obama seems to have been far more interested in making grand speeches than in the daily details work of the legislator. He seldom attended committee meetings and seemed to be not very interested in his constituents.

Klein goes on to point out that these personality traits have persisted into Obama’s career in the White House.  The trouble with Barack Obama is that he has not had the sort of experiences in his life that would have prepared him for the Presidency. This, by itself, would not be a fatal flaw, as Obama could have surrounded himself with experts in foreign and domestic policy whose advice he could have sought. President Obama, however, does not seem to be aware that he is inexperienced and has a high enough opinion of himself that he believes himself to be more knowledgeable than the experts. The result is an administration that continually makes foolish mistakes and is incapable of learning from these mistakes. Barack Obama, then, is in the words of Bill Clinton, an amateur.

It would, perhaps, be easy to dismiss The Amateur as yet another partisan hit job on Obama. Liberal supporters of Obama will certainly see it that way, just as many Conservatives will delight in the anecdotes of the President’s incompetence. I think that honest observers will find that the arguments in The Amateur ring true as they scan the headlines and see ample evidence that few, if any, in the Obama administration really know what they are doing. Honest Liberals would do well to read this book and consider whether Barack Obama is really the best their side has to offer.

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