The “H” Word

The weather is nice, and I’m going outside to play. Due to travel, other writing projects, the need for a brief blogging sabbatical, and the general busyness of life, TruePravda will be on hiatus from regular posting until June 6th. I’ve never really taken a break longer than a week since I started this two years ago, and I think it will be good for both me and the blog.

I’ll still be updating “On the Side” as I come across things, but if you’re really bored, I’ve spruced up the archives a bit so that everything is categorized now. I’ve also fixed a few other kinks in the archives so that everything should be working correctly. So read the archives, take a break yourself, or visit the other fine blogs listed on the right-hand column. God bless, and I’ll see you back here on D-Day!

Jane and Moby: Two Reasons Not to Go it Alone

One of my favorite songs of the past couple of years is Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity,” a mockingly humorous jab at the talentless-yet-notable crowd that makes up 90% of our entertainment culture. The chorus says:

Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality

Sadly enough, this notion is especially true when it comes to celebrities and Christianity. Two recent celebrity expressions of Christianity—one by Jane Fonda, the other by Moby (who, in case you’re wondering, has nothing to do with the great white whale)—reveal such a detachment from reality.

Continue reading “Jane and Moby: Two Reasons Not to Go it Alone”

For Once, I Agree With the Democrats

According to the AP, it seems that the East Waynesville Baptist Church has dismissed nine members because they didn’t support President Bush in the 2005 election. This is, for lack of better words, stupid and wrong.

The head of the North Carolina Democratic Party sharply criticized the pastor Friday, saying Chandler jeopardized his church’s tax-free status by openly supporting a candidate for president.

“If these reports are true, this minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the law,” Chairman Jerry Meek said.

I could care less about the church’s tax-exempt status, but setting up support for a particular candidate as a condition for being a part of the body of Christ is unbiblical and condemnable. Membership in the covenant of grace (and consequently, the church) is by grace alone. Church discipline should indeed be practiced, but this is absurd.

Around the ‘Sphere

And around the blogosphere we go…

The blogosphere needs more savvy theologians blogging, and blogging they are. If the prolific Albert Mohler and the all-too-infrequent Russell Moore aren’t good enough for you, intelligent design expert William Dembski has joined the ranks of the pajamahadeen with his blog, Uncommon Descent. New Testament scholar Scot McKnight is also churning out pixels at the Jesus Creed blog, where he has lengthy, but interesting-looking (I haven’t read it all yet) post on reading habits.

The Spring issue of The New Pantagruel is out—there’s always interesting and provocative reading there.

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty’s new Power Blog, is quickly on its way to becoming one of my favorite daily stops—good stuff all around.

And finally, having nothing to do with the blogosphere, is my pick for the Kentucky Derby this weekend. Based on horse name alone, and on whom I will bet no money (he’s 30-1 odds), I pick Closing Argument to win the roses on Saturday.

The Russian Inquisition

A story that has been floating beneath the radar which deserves a little more attention is that of an incident in Izhevsk, Russia a couple of weeks ago. Apparently a Pentecostal church was harrased by the local police force:

Twenty masked special and plain clothes police raided an evening seminar on 14 April at the Word of Faith church in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia autonomous republic. Police forced the 70 people present outside, calling them “sectarians” and “prostitutes”, while they searched the church. Nearly 50 church members were held for five hours at the police station and fingerprinted.

While it may indeed be that this is an isolated event, Russia’s recent track record on religious freedom isn’t much better than that of its Soviet forbearers. A US State Department document from as far back as 2001 shows concern over religious freedom. Izhevsk is mentioned in particular, though then in relation to expulsion of Scientologists.

The former USSR has a long way to terms of freedom to worship. The practice of church registration still occurs—a device that was used in the communist era to keep tabs on religious activity. The incident in Izhevsk should remind us Americans to be vigilant in prayer for those lacking the freedoms we so often take for granted.

Sherlock’s House?

Although I don’t watch a great deal of television, I’ll have to admit I’ve recently become addicted to Fox’s House. If you haven’t seen it (perhaps you’re one of those Amazing Race watchers), it’s about an eccentric-genius physician who solves medical mysteries that would stump the average M.D. Dr. House generally isn’t too fond of his patients—or anybody else, for that matter. He’s bitingly sarcastic, and unblushingly un-PC, so it’s no big surprise that I like the show.

Another reason I like the show is House’s striking similarity to Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character, Sherlock Holmes. In addition to their shared powers of deduction, there are numerous other likenesses. For example, Holmes’ trusted friend was Dr. Watson; House’s best friend and confidant is Dr. Wilson. Holmes had an addiction to a “seven percent solution” of cocaine; House has an addiction to prescription painkillers. Holmes played violin to soothe himself; House plays piano. Holmes at times bent the law and allowed some criminals to go free; House at times bends the rules so patients can get better treatment.

More analogies can be drawn, but I found this post on the House message board (yes, I was reading the TV show’s message board, so what?) most interesting:

In general, however, I think Holmes is depicted pretty realistically through House. There are some obvious parallels-the artificial stimulants, the one friend, the all logic no emotion, inability to relate to humans, brilliance in his field, the ability to diagnose without seeing, and of course, the “House/Holmes” wordplay.
What i find most ironic:
Dr. House is supposed to be based on Sherlock Holmes. In one review, he was described as “Sherlock Holmes with a stethoscope.” However, Sherlock Holmes’s character was based on “author” Arthur Conan Doyle’s college professor-Dr. Joseph Bell, a brilliant doctor who was able to diagnose patients at a glance, without hearing about their symptoms. he was also described as rather distant, unemotional-a man of logic, not feeling…sound like anyone we know? (sic)

It’s good to see that the “game is afoot” somewhere in the landscape of television today. While House is thoroughly entertaining, I still long for the days of Jeremy Brett’s dead-on portrayal of Holmes that used to air on PBS.