Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goya in Miami



Last night Carol and I went to a reception for Davidson College alumni and parents of alumni and students. Dr. Shaw Smith, a professor in the art history department, spoke on Goya. The event was presented at the Freedom Tower, a few blocks from our office, where an exhibit of Goya's engravings is being presented. You can read about the exhibit here. We had time to see part of the exhibit after the reception, but Carol and I want to go back and see it all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Goodbye, Central Baptist, Hello . . .

At Government Center Station, I transfer from MetroRail to the MetroMover. The MetroMover is an elevated, Disney World-like automatic train that loops around the downtown area. Each weekday morning it takes me by my Alma Mater, Central Baptist Church.

Today the gold-leaf lettering on the side of the main building, the lettering that announces "Central Baptist Church", is down. The signs at street level have been taken down as well. In their places are temporary banners that announce "Downtown Christ Fellowship".

Baptist churches all over Miami have made these sorts of name changes. Post-modern, post-denominational Christendom is here. The old has passed away, the new has come. But part of the old was some serious theology, and I fear we are trading those inconvenient truths for something that simply feels better.

But I have to add this.

I got off of the MetroMover with a man who is a security guard in my building. He is a small man, but somehow impressive physically, "coal-black" (as my mother from Atlanta used to describe such people) with a face that is almost fierce. But that face, I have noticed, will break into a smile, and over the last several years we have learned to say hello to one another. I believe he is a Haitian.

So today I fell in beside him as we walked to our office building. I asked him how he was, and he said "I'm perfect". So I said, "Well, then, you must be a Christian, and so you are perfect in Jesus." And he said, "Yes, I am a Christian, I know Jesus", and he said that proudly and with his smile. "Well", I said, "I'm covered in Jesus blood, and I'm perfect too!" He smiled again, and we wished each other a happy day, and parted in the lobby.

UPDATE ON CENTRAL SITUATION:

A friend of mine (who to my surprise looks at the blog now and then) reports that "Christ Fellowship" is formerly First Baptist Church of Perrine. So old Central Baptist seems to have become part of that organization. As I recall, at one point a retired minister from FBC Perrine served as interim pastor for Central. FBC Perrine has a great history. I would hate to analogize the network of Baptist congregations under the Christ Fellowship umbrella to a sort of post-modern presbytery. But, then, why not?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Small Time Pirates on MetroRail

As I looked in on various football games over the weekend, I saw a number of commercials for American Gangster, a movie with Denzel Washington and Whatzisname from Gladiator, which is opening in Miami on Nov. 2.

This morning, on the way in on MetroRail, two young men sat nearby me and discussed seeing the movie and then buying a DVD of it over the weekend.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Portion Distortion"

Carol and I had supper at the Panera restaurant in Doral and then continued with our Friday night date by going next door to Publix for grocery shopping. (Carol hit a home run in the romance department, obviously.)

The Panera restaurant serves food that seems to be pretty healthy. Carol had a salad that had a 3 oz. piece of grilled salmon on it. I had a Mediterranean salad of some sort - it had Gorgonzola pieces as its protein: really tasty.

I noticed that there were some very overweight people there, however. It seemed like the older the people appeared, the more they were overweight. It seemed odd.

Maybe the answer is in this article that we read in Publix' Greenwise magazine, which you can pick up free each week. The thesis of that article is that portion sizes do us in, particularly when we go out to eat. This is a truth that the Weight Watchers program tries to pound in our heads.

Why would Publix be concerned, other than it wanting to be a good citizen that is involved in the food industry? I think it might be that we might be less likely to over-eat when we eat our meals at home. Publix wants to sell us the fixings for those home-cooked meals. Fair enough.

On the other hand, maybe the Social Security crisis will be avoided if we continue on our course of weight-gaining. For the article includes this statement:

Experts warn that being oversized may slash our life expectancy and harm our health in the meantime due to diabetes, heart disease, and other complications of excess weight. "The 20-year-old person with a Body Mass Index of 40 [a measure of the ratio of weight to height, in this case 265 pounds at 5'8"], will live 12 to 14 years less than his counterparts who are lean," says Philip R. Schauer, M.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute. (Note that the CDC defines obesity as a BMI at or above 30.)

The Lion of the Masai

Van finished up with John 6 today. In verse 65, concerning the matter of belief Jesus says " . . . no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." He says the same thing in verses 37, 39, and 44-45, my handy NIV Study Bible notes remind me.

Van closed his sermon with a great story, which I tracked down in the blog of the Christian Century Magazine and a post there by Duke Divinity School Professor Jo Bailey Wells:

Allow me [Wells writes] to indulge in a favorite story from a book that never seems to become dated: Christianity Rediscovered, by Vincent Donovan. Donovan was a Roman Catholic priest-missionary in Tanzania in the 1960s. Exasperated with conventional forms of Catholic education , he persuaded his bishop to let him simply wander among the Masai tribes, sharing their life and talking about God.

Initially he wrestled with his own doubts about how the particular story of Jesus’ cross and resurrection translated into the Masai culture all around him. But a Masai elder converted Donovan by contrasting the faith of a Western hunter with the faith of an African lion. The Masai elder showed Donovan that his notion of faith was a profoundly Western notion: it was merely intellectual assent. “To ‘believe’ like that was similar to a white hunter shooting an animal with his gun from a great distance. Only his eyes and his fingers took part in the act.” The Masai elder said, “‘For a [person] really to believe is like a male lion going after its prey. His nose and eyes and ears pick up on the prey. His legs give him the speed to catch it. All the power of his body is involved in the terrible death leap and single blow to the neck with the front paw, the blow that actually kills. And as the animal goes down the lion envelops it in his arms. . .pulls it to itself, and makes it part of himself. This is the way a lion kills. This is the way a [person] believes. This is what faith is.”

The Masai elder went on. “You told us of the High God, how we must search for him, even leave our land and our people to find him. But we have not done this. We have not left our land. We have not searched for him. He has searched for us. He has searched us out and found us. All the time we think we are the lion. In the end, the lion is God.”

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Gotta Serve Somebody"

You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage,
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage,
You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk,
You may be the head of some big TV network,
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame,
You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a construction worker working on a home,
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome,
You might own guns and you might even own tanks,
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride,
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side,
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair,
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk,
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk,
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread,
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy,
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy,
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray,
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody.
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

-Bob Dylan

But Not Huckabee.

John Fund in the WSJ.

UPDATE: Huckabee responds.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Awkwardly Sitting Watermelons

Another problem solved!

Frozen Embryo Adoption

Back in the early 1990s, a partner of mine brought me one of his clients to help with his estate plan. The client was a "fertility specialist", a physician the focus of whose practice was in vitro fertilization. As I had already learned, the practice was to "harvest" from the female several eggs, and then to fertilize them with the male's sperm. This process was calculated to produce more fertilized eggs than one could implant, but this over-fertilization, if you will, was seen to be efficient, because the harvesting and fertilization process was expensive. This, of course, produced embryos that were never used, a situation that has been repeated thousands of times by now, a situation that ranks with abortion as a stunning defect of the national character.

My partner was a Jew and attended a Reformed congregation. We often talked about morality, ethics, and the important things that his faith and mine have in common. He was troubled by this client's work, by the relegation of the unused embryos to a frozen status. I thought it a coincidence that the client was a German doctor, and wondered whether that fact was of any importance to my friend's point of view. Later, the ethicist Jerome LeJeune referred to the frozen embryo container as a "Concentration Can". Did my friend ever see that?

If one Googles "frozen embryo adoption" a host of pertinent links shows up. Couples are adopting these embryos and implanting them in the female's womb. Apparently there are agencies established for assisting couples who wish to adopt, applying standards similar to those who wish to adopt babies and children.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Some Great Church Music

Visiting Austin is a feast of pleasure, one of the courses is attending Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, and one of the treats is the hymn singing there with its great pipe organ. This last visit, the congregation sang a hymn I have heard very little over the years - I believe it is "Lutheran" if one is to apply a tradition to it - and that is Open Now the Gates of Beauty. I found an MP3 of the tune here.

The lyrics are here.

We get a steady diet of "Praise Music" at our church. It has attracted some people and driven away others. I enjoy that music, but it takes a visit to WHPC to remind me of how rich is the tradition from which the popular church has turned away. I drank in that hymn like a thirsty man, as I did the singing of Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! just prior to it. During the singing, I was off to the side, on the very front row (we were there for Aidan and Honor's baptisms), and beneath a rank of pipes, so that I could sing out without annoying anyone (at least I don't think I did.) Oh, that was fun! What a blessed background to seeing your grandchildren baptized!

Having said all that, there was a lovely song that Donna, Ginger, and Rick, the core of our praise team, sang for us today at our service, In Christ Alone. This contemporary work is hymn like, especially in the depth and extent of its lyrics, and the tune recalls "Oh Lamb of God" (lyrics here), a favorite of mine that I have solo'd a number of times.

So let's have both, why don't we?

Nightstand Report

I took to Austin with me last weekend and read Jack Goldsmith's misnamed book, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration. Goldstein is a former U of Chicago Law School professor, now at Harvard, who spent 10 months as head of the Attorney General's "Office of Legal Counsel". This is the office that gives legal opinions to the White House, opinions upon which, according to Goldsmith, one can rely and avoid war-crimes indictment, etc. It is in the genre of Beltway self-justification books, but it is worth reading and pretty well written. I got onto the book as a result of an interview of Goldsmith by Glenn Reynolds and Helen Smith that is available via podcast.

I am reading right now a great WW II book about Gen. E.R. Quesada, whom I had the privilege of knowing. The title is Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II. It's been a hard book to put down this weekend and I'm nearly finished.

While at Macon's house, I pulled from his well-stocked bookcases Donald G. Bloesch's A Theology of Word & Spirit: Authority and Mehod in Theology. This is the first volume in a seven volume work of systematic theology by Bloesch, a professor at Dubuque Theological Seminary. I read the introduction and the first chapter, and Bloesch's forthright and confident approach to his subject and his muscular (to say the least) writing style captured me.

I just finished reading maybe the best single investment advice book I've seen, Armstrong's The Informed Investor: A Hype-Free Guide to Constructing a Sound Financial Portfolio.

I am still reading Meredith's The Fate of Africa: Fifty Years of Independence, Oren's Power, Faith & Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present, and Dungy's Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life. I'm always reading Allen's Getting Things Done. Mary gave me Casona's La Barca sin Pescador, a short book that I read in college but a book whose thesis has stayed fresh in my mind since then, so I thought I would read it again, Spanish-English dictionary in hand.

I would love to get away with these books and others for about ten days in the deep woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Sunday Paper as Kettlebell

This morning's Sunday Herald had the 370 page Ikea 2008 catalog included as a supplement.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Manna Packs in Austin




Carol and I were riding with Walter and Morgan to Macon and Kellsey's house in Austin last weekend when we came to a busy intersection and stopped for the light. There was an apparently homeless person standing just off the street, with a dog and with a sign asking for food. To my surprise, Morgan asked Walter to grab a "survival pack", which Walter then slid out from somewhere under the seat, and handed it out the window to the fellow with the dog. Carol and I were in the back seat of the car, and I looked down and saw more such packs underneath the front seat. Morgan said that people at their church pack these things to give to people like the one we saw at the intersection.

Because we have so many "homeless" in the downtown Miami area, this very much interested me. I asked Morgan if I could have a pack, and she gave me one. I took two photos, as you can see. One is of the kit all ready to hand out, packed inside the gallon size Ziploc bag. The second is of the contents of the kit unpacked so you can see them.

The kit contains, as I think you can mostly see, a bottle of water, a granola bar, a can of Vienna sausage, a pair of white socks, a big garbage bag, the kind that stretches, a tract with "Selected Bible verses from the book of Romans that leads us to new life", and a paper with a list of agencies in Austin that address the needs of these sorts of people.

My idea, maybe, is to pack a couple of these in my brief-case and have them ready to hand out. Not that, on an emotional basis, I really like those people. Because I don't. I also see hand-outs as giving them an incentive to hang around. But this is sort of a bargain that I may be interested in: I give you this kit and you, maybe, will read the tract and go to one of the local agencies. (I had thought about including a one-way bus ticket to Austin, but discarded the idea.)

UPDATE: Make that "manna pack" rather than "survival pack". (Thanks, Walt.) As in John 6: 57 and 58:

57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Friday, October 19, 2007

But Giuliani?

"Since 1973, over 14 million black babies have been aborted, which is equal to the combined populations of eight midwestern states". Attributed to Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union by Nat Hentoff in "The Next President", published in the November 2007 issue of First Things. You have to wonder how the Civil Rights leaders who worship at the altar of the Democratic Party so utterly lost their way.

Meanwhile, over at the Republican Party the front runner is hardly a pro-life candidate. I've heard some very conservative friends of mine say they are ready to vote for Giuliani because he will be tough on the "terrorists". After all, the rationale goes, if we don't have a country, the rights of the unborn won't make much difference, will they?

Please.

Those of you who think that God might have something still to do with history and that he may in some respects resemble the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, may recall how He dealt with national sin in the case of his chosen people. My question would be whether a persistent pro-abortion policy will finally lead to something like Babylon wiping Judah nearly off the face of the earth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Cake!


Aidan's birthday cake was the traditional brown cake with the brown frosting, also known as a "Texas Sheet Cake". This is its particular story, illustrated.


















Photo 1 shows daughter-in-law and mother-in-law baking away in Kellsey's Austin kitchen on Saturday afternoon, getting ready for Aidan's birthday party on Sunday afternoon.

Photo 2 shows the work of art that emerged from the oven, actually one of two. This one, however, had the covering of sprinkles and the sugar baked ornaments from the Disney epic Cars, which decorations young Aidan picked when he went with Kellsey to a party store in Austin. The other was your straight Texas Sheet Cake, which was for the adults.

The stage is set. Photo 3 is Sunday afternoon at the park, just before Aidan's friends and their parents arrive. The table is nearly spread. The birthday cakes are under the tin foil, and Aidan hasn't seen them yet. Aidan is thinking about what is getting ready to happen. I'm wondering how I can sneak a finger under the tin foil hiding one of the cakes and get a scoop of icing.

The gangs all here! Photo 4 shows the crowd arrived and gathering around the great cake unveiling.

Photo 5 shows Birthday Boy in a Zen-like attitude, presiding above the Cake upon its unveiling.

But beneath that placid exterior an imp-like presence lurks, and the magic of a lightning quick shutter finger catches it, as Photo 6 indicates.

There was another sweet presence at that table, straight across from young Aidan. But give him another 12 years to figure out that sort of thing. So, Photo 7.

All of this gets to be too much for the young man, and he is seen in Photo 8 walking off with his piece of cake, to eat it quietly on the edge of all that noise and attention. I recognize that gene.

The last photo wasn't even taken at the birthday party, but she is the icing on her brother's birthday cake.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hello from Austin!





Carol and I are at Macon's house in Austin, getting ready to go to church. Aidan and Honor will be baptized there at the main worship service this morning, so I packed my lawyer's uniform (suit, white dress shirt, red power tie, shined shoes that lace up), and today's is Aidan's birthday, and last night was Morgan's high school reunion. We also talked to Mary on the phone yesterday from here. Wow, what a weekend!

The weather is FINE in Austin, a bit of fall, dry, temp in the high 70s - low 80s in the day, night in the high 60s. For a Miamiano, this is really different. And really swell.

The first photo is of Macon, Honor, and Aidan first thing this morning. We gave Aidan his birthday gifts. It was sort of like Christmas. He woke up Carol and me, and then we went in the living room to open the presents from his mom and dad and us. He also got his "gift bag", one of a number we packed last night. The "gift bags" will be given to the other little children at the birthday party this afternoon.

The second photo is of Aidan trying out his new bike. This is called a "Skuut", and Macon and I put it together last night. It is sort of an introduction to the concept of balance and forward motion. Aidan did well with it. Next year he will be ready for a "piki" (scroll down the link).

The third photo is of me getting ready to be overrun.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Jury Duty Scams

Mary Ann alerts us to this.

Thanks, M.A.

Up a Tree

Friends of ours have given us a Carrotwood tree. Its about 5 feet high, and makes a good shade tree, doesn't drop a lot of leaves, and we could use it on the west side of our house, to shade us from the afternoon sun.

But I looked it up, and I find it is an exotic and harmful to the Florida ecosystem. So now, what to do?

Our friends come over to our house a good bit, and they will see if we don't plant it. They know that it's an exotic, however.

I think we are going to give it back to them.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Following in my father's footsteps

though more technologically advanced, natch as one would expect from the post-modern, web2.0, tech-geek, hipster-wannabe that I am.

EDITED: to avoid the second use of a form of "naturally," in consecutive posts.

Blogroll Additions

Under "Commentary", naturally:
  • Undependent Blog

  • A new blog about, variously:
    -- creators who connect directly to their audiences via the internet
    -- the general dis-intermediation of content thanks to the webernet
    -- the new economics of the new media enabled by the intarwebs


  • Despair Blog

  • The most trenchant commentary on the universe you'll ever find within one link of this blog.

    This Hurts. This Really Hurts.

    Tom Wolfe to write a book on Miami?

    That would be fun.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    "Stand up for America! Bean American!"

    I saw this on a bumper sticker in the church parking lot. It was red, white, and blue, with the Stars & Stripes as a background.

    I stood there for a few moments looking at it, trying to figure it out. "Bean American!" What did that mean? Was it some sort of ad to buy American vegetables? Were we suppose to bean people who didn't stand up for America? I just stood there looking at it.

    Then I realized there was slightly wider space in the word "Bean" betwen the "e" and the "a" than the spaces between the other letters.

    Stupid bumper sticker.

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Emirates Airlines Coming to Miami, Maybe

    The Miami Herald reports that the Dubai-based airline may come to Miami, with a non-stop flight from here to there. That would make it one more hop to Nairobi.

    No date is set for Miami, but the article reports that the airline will have a flight from Houston in December. So the Austin based family may find it an easier trip than the one through Heathrow.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Not Quitting my Day Job

    Van is out of town this weekend, and he asked me to preach this morning. I worked hours on my sermon. Hours. This is not an easy thing to do, by any stretch, at least not for me.

    I did have a topic rattling around inside my head: how to deal with the Sabbath, the Fourth Commandment.

    You can read my notes here.

    Maybe not so bad for a first draft.

    The Little Church that Could

    Adrianna reports this in our church's most recent newsletter:

    This will be our ninth (9th) year receiving shoe boxes [for Operation Christmas Child] from other groups around Miami as a Relay Center (3 yrs) or Collection Center (6 yrs). Our first year we collected almost 1,000 boxes, last year over 17,000. This year we will collect in excess of 20,000 boxes from around Miami-Dade and The Keys. How much over 20,000? Jesus knows, I cannot even guess.

    Not the Best, Anymore

    We noticed this several years ago. What a shame. (Hat tip to Glenn for noting this.)

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    The Trinity International Foundation Replies

    This came in an email to our home in response to Carol's email to TIF that protests the sale:


    Dear partners in ministry,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us on the Spirit FM
    web site. We are encouraged to hear how God has greatly blessed so many lives
    through the ministry of Spirit FM. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that
    some reactions have been strong in response to the announcement to sell Spirit
    FM. We respect your comments and are addressing in this email the principal
    concerns expressed.

    In recent years, Trinity International University received several unsolicited
    offers to buy the radio station. As a result of these offers and in order to
    fulfill their fiduciary responsibility, the Board of Regents engaged a brokerage
    firm in 2006. The broker began a process of assessing the value of the station
    and determining the level of interest in the market. This process was a quiet
    one because the outcome was uncertain and we did not want to interrupt the radio
    ministry of Spirit FM. We saw no wisdom in making this professional inquiry
    public and thereby open the door to questions the station staff could not answer about a topic under
    exploration by the board.

    We are extremely grateful to the thousands of listeners who have supported
    Spirit FM financially and in prayer for so many years. We believe that God
    places people in leadership in specific situations at specific times. Those
    leaders are sometimes called upon to make tough decisions. Trinity’s board takes
    seriously its responsibility as stewards of the resources of Trinity
    International University and approached this decision with much deliberation and
    prayer. In the end the board believed, before God, that this was the best
    decision.

    Many of the matters involved in the board’s inquiry and ultimate decision are
    sensitive and confidential. However, we do want you to know that our desire was
    to sell to a Christian organization, and we attempted without success to do so
    with several different organizations.

    A significant portion of the proceeds will be
    placed in the TIU endowment. The endowment is like a long-term savings account that cannot be spent without action from the
    board. The annual interest from endowment will be used to further the mission of
    the university. Trinity College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity
    Graduate School, and Trinity Law School make a huge impact on our culture for
    Christ. The board’s vision is to do more through the educational programs these
    schools offer, including our programs in South Florida.

    We believe that we are blessed with some of the most talented radio staff in the
    nation. These faithful servants were informed of the process several weeks
    prior to the signing of the Purchase Agreement on September 24, 2007. In spite
    of this news, they continued to minister in a professional and effective manner.
    After September 24 all parties agreed that it would be impossible for the Spirit
    FM staff to continue their on-air duties as usual. Generous severance and
    placement assistance for
    the staff are being provided.

    We ask you to join us in prayer that:

    1. The sovereign Lord will pour out His Spirit on South Florida in order to
    fill any void that may be left by closing Spirit FM
    2. A strengthened unity in Christ will be demonstrated among churches and
    believers with a shared purpose of reaching the lost in South Florida
    3. The staff of Spirit FM will be sustained by God’s grace as they seek the
    Lord’s will for future ministry.

    One of the listeners responded as follows:

    "...I am encouraged in my heart to pray for your ministry as a Christian entity
    of education. I pray that the next Billy Graham will come from your school. I
    pray that the seed that is now being sowed with tears by our community grows and
    develops into a life-giving tree that will touch, not just the thousands the
    radio touched here in South Florida, but the millions that are hungry and in
    need of the love of God."

    We join in these sentiments with this listener and ask you to join us in this
    prayer.

    Seeking God in all things,

    Trinity International Foundation Board


    As even a first year law student would say, res ipsa loquitur.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    WMCU Update

    Two very fine litigators called me today, both Christian, one a solo personal injury lawyer and the other a partner in the largest firm in Florida, and both determined either to stop the WMCU acquisition or claim the proceeds of the sale for the South Florida Chrisitan Community.

    This is going to be interesting.

    Winning in Iraq

    OpinionJournal publishes an opinion piece that appears in today's WSJ, the thesis of which is that the Iraqis "on our side" and the Allies are now winning.

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    "Save WMCU"

    Fasten your seatbelts.

    The Post-WMCU World in S. FL is NOT one without Christian Radio

    I emailed Rob Robbins, the President of CallFM, and asked him his view of the world in South Florida after WMCU. Here is his response:

    The two priorities for The CALL right now are program development and expansion. Ultimately the goal is a full-time live staffed operation 24/7, reaching lost and unchurched teens and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25.

    1) We are currently expanding in Naples and Bonita Springs (as far north as Estero, FL) with new translator stations that are installed and waiting on some county permits. The translator coverage, by FCC rule, will rebroadcast the WMKL programming.

    2) WMKL is working to relocate to a tall tower out on US-41 as early as next month to increase the audience by another 70%. There is an FCC filing freeze in effect until October 19th which is delaying the grant of the construction permit until later this month. The current WMKL broadcast is at less than 50% power under special temporary authority because we decided not to replace the existing antenna that is designed for 91.7 instead of
    91.9 MHz.

    3) Later this year/early 2008 we will be building and operating a new full-power station in Palm Beach County.

    4) We are pursuing a potential opportunity to broadcast in Highlands County, FL within the next year as well.

    We have absolutely no plans to change or modify The CALL's programming in the future. It has been more than thirteen years of a journey to get to this point, and I am truley excited about the opportunities for growth that God has brought us over the past year and for what the coming months will bring for our ability to impact more young adults, and to develop the programming to make it most effective.

    In terms of the loss of WMCU, it is a real travesty. The only potential response that we might consider as we prepare for expansion is the potential to build the new WMKL facility and the WPSF facility as digital (HD) stations. HD Radio consists of the normal analog signal and first HD-1 digital channel required to contain the programming of the analog signal, and then an HD-2 and HD-3 channel each with unique CD-quality programming.

    This would allow us options to lease the 2 extra channels to other Christian broadcasters for addition program revenue or to program ourselves with adult contempory Christian music or preaching/teaching format (which really isn't our mission as an organization). You can see more information at www.hdradio.com, and a working example of WPOZ, Orlando (www.zradio.com).

    Just think, God used myself and several guys in their early 20's to put this radio station on the air, against everyone's advice that it was impossible.
    I can speak from first-hand experience what it is like to wait night after night for 5-6 years pursuing a calling on nothing more than faith and prayer, and to see God accomplish his purposes. I am confident that God is able to bring that type of Christian radio ministry back to Miami if He chooses. It will not be easy, and probably not overnight unless a Christian radio network finds the opportunity to move into Miami.

    Security Contractors in Iraq

    In today's WSJ, an opinion column, available on OpinionJournal, defends the use of private security contractors in Iraq, and, to my mind at least, does so persuasively.

    About a year ago, Carol and I ran into one of our children's contemporaries, who had just returned from Iraq after a year of working with one of those contractors. He worked in the office in Bagdhad and was not one of the professional, armed people. He did wear a flack jacket, he said, when he went outside, and I believe he said that he had been given some training of the self-defense sort and carried a side arm. He said that he had a great time, but did not intend to return.

    He said that the State Department, other government people, and civilians whom the private security forces protected, preferred their protection to that of the regular armed services. He said that the private security forces knew exactly what their mission was, protection, a mission that was not the primary mission for government forces. He said hat the protection that the government forces provided was simply inferior to that of the private security contractors.

    There is a sort of free market principal at work here, and that point is implicit in the WSJ article. The private security contractors depend on preformance in order to continue to be employed. They compete with one another. Their pricing is market driven, and turns out to be less expensive than that of a soldier. The article describes the controls that our government has in place to prevent "rogue" activity by these contractors, and they seem reasonable as described by the writer.