Sunday, February 1, 2009, was the 60th anniversary of the National Day of Liberty. Officials chose the particular date of February 1 because it was on that day that President Lincoln (besides his many flaws) signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing slavery. The commemorative day was conceived of and first informally celebrated by a former slave, Major Richard R. Wright, who wished for a yearly commemoration of the event. A year after his death, Truman signed a bill (July 1948) proclaiming the observation on Feb. 1.
On Wednesday January 21, I had the privilege of attending the debate between Dr. James White and Dr. Bart D. Ehrman in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The weather hardly seemed Floridian at fifty degrees with a breezy chill, so it was a good night to be inside anyway. The resolution on the floor: “Does the New Testament Misquote Jesus?” With two men with over fifty years of scholarship and about fifty books between them, the evening promised some mental stimulation at least, and did not disappoint.
This morning I found in my email a link to a startling talk given by Pastor Lindsey Williams. The talk concerned the "agenda" (as he appeals) of the oil industry in America. He claims that the oil companies, in league with big banks and big business, intend to monopolize world finance and power. They will cause economic disruption by manipulating prices in order to make people desperate and then accept, nay beg for, a New World Order. Through all of his stories and stats, Williams returns to one refrain: "These people know exactly what they’re doing…. Everything in the world happens by a designed plan, none of it happens by chance…. They know exactly what’s going to happen." He repeats this, every time he speaks, at least a half-dozen times: "a designed plan."
A central command of Christian scholarship is the Ninth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Ex. 20:14). Scholarship and writing is an ethical endeavor, not just merely intellectual. As writers, teachers, and students, we constantly witness in God’s Courtroom, deny His Providence when we falsify reality, and we erect an idol when we create falsehoods. Looking at much of the Christian scholarly world, not to mention the educational world in general, we have much to be ashamed of.
The island of misfit toys is about to become a landfill. Unless something drastic forces Congress to repeal its recent actions, a new law will virtually force every thrift store and many small businesses out of business on February 10, 2009; all existing inventory will officially incur the status of "Banned Hazardous Substance." The so-called Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 treats "any children’s product" as "a banned hazardous substance" unless it has been tested and complies with new limits of lead and