June 21, 2005

Out enjoying the weather, and look what happens...

Oops, all my content has been archived, leaving a huge white space on the screen.

Here's my theological worldview, based on an online quiz I've seen at several blogs, most recently at Susan B's Lilac Rose.

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

75%

Reformed Evangelical

68%

Neo orthodox

64%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

64%

Emergent/Postmodern

54%

Fundamentalist

50%

Roman Catholic

36%

Classical Liberal

32%

Modern Liberal

25%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Some comments on the results: I'm undecided on the issue of whether we're predestined regarding our faith. I definitely believe God calls those who will be saved, and recognize there are some He put on earth to "serve as a warning to others", such as Pharoah (OT) and Judas (NT). While I recognize God's sovereignty, I also believe in free will, and I just accept it as a paradox that God gets His way, but we have to believe in Jesus and repent in order to be saved. So I'm basically of the belief that we're called to believe in Him for our salvation, and if anyone doesn't do that, they won't have eternal life (John 3:36). If God's sovereignty is what dictates what we believe, I'm fine with that, but that's not what saving faith looks like to the believer, who sees himself making a decision to believe or to doubt.

I have some minor doctrinal disagreements with the Catholic Church, but I respect it as a defender of orthodoxy, and they are in my prayers when I pray for the Church. I've commented recently on the election of Pope Benedict XVI, and my opinions are similar to those expressed in a recent issue of Touchstone magazine. I respect the statements expressed by the Pope, a man of God, who has attained his position after a long period of devoted study, discipline, and faith.

And I also like lively worship, even though I attend a quieter, traditional church, though one that is well-known and active in our community. I have friends who attend a Methodist church where they sing loudly, raise their hands, dance, and when they pray, they pray for miracles and see them. I'm in a small home group with them, and if I lived on the other side of the Delaware River, I'd probably call that my church home (both my church in Hightstown, and the other church, in Washington's Crossing, are in my blogroll on the left). One belief my wife and I have is that church is not just for Sunday mornings, and for that reason, we looked for a church in the community where we live. Did we "settle"? Well, maybe, in the sense that I'd like to see more of what I described at the Washington Crossing Church. But I also believe we're called to be ministers where we are, so I'm active in my church, making myself available to God to bring those traits over here.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Adding color & a logo

I'm adding colors and a logo to the blog. Feedback on appearance is welcome, just place it in the comments.

UPDATE: ok, I like the blog again. I can stand to look at it. Now for a logo, and some content.

UPDATE (Monday 5/23): I've got a logo! But I'm looking for something different. The logo is a picture for Chinese New Year (Year of the Rooster - which is my Chinese zodiac sign. Not that I believe in it of course). Now all I need to do is find a similar picture of an ox (my wife's sign, and her birthday is today) and a horse (the Royal Daughter's sign). Those icons are proving to be very difficult to find.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:34 AM | Comments (3)

May 03, 2005

Thanks

Thank you to those who sent me encouraging words, and who told me that the last few posts were actually reasonable compared to other exchanges out there. Looking back at the source of my discouragement, I see that it originated from me responding to a comment thread. Comments probably aren't the best vehicle for discussing these issues. I much prefer a longer, well-thought-out, argument. For that I can't think of anyone I enjoy reading better than Robert P. George on sanctity of life issues, and the editors of Touchstone magazine on religious issues in general. For bloggers, Shane Raynor, WesleyBlog, is doing a fine job, and he has an excellent post up, an interview with Beth Stroud, the minister whose conviction for violating the Book of Discipline for having a lesbian relationship while serving as a Methodist pastor was just thrown out on appeal.

I'm going to keep the blog, I do discern a role for me in speaking out on issues of faith, and its role in culture. What I'll do differently in the future: whenever I quote someone like Pope Benedict XVI, or someone from the church renewal movements, I will let their statements stand on their own. They've already stated their positions much better than I could in a comment anyway.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:55 PM | Comments (5)

April 18, 2005

Long absence

I've been gone from the blog a long time. To readers of this site: I'm sorry for being gone so long with no news of why. To tell the truth, with the weather improving, a two-(and a 1/4)-year-old demanding time outside, and blog access from work being blocked so that I can't blog during lunch (actually I can, but I can't read other peoples' blogs, or at least most of them on my blogroll, so I can't link like I want to - and by the way, the company's policy is completely justified), it's become a bit more difficult. That and I've come down with a bit of writer's block. Every time I've had a moment to sit down and write, I just can't seem to come up with anything that's not either old, or practically a copy of something someone else has said. I'm not going to take the blog down, I plan on picking up the pace so there's always content visible. I hate having nothing up for so long. That and the colors. I've got to add more colors and pictures, I'm sick of this black and white. Not blogging everyday though. The weather is too nice, and Rebecca wants my attention.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:24 PM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2005

Checking in - I'm still here

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. I usually don't like to talk about blogging, but my long absence is probably causing someone to wonder about the reason for the blank, white page.

Two reasons basically. I decided to forego posting during Lent (but neglected to say so in advance - sorry), and I've got a bad case of New Jersey writer's block. Oh, and a third reason -- the twelve Microsoft security fixes kept me pretty busy earlier this month with a little bit of overtime involved, though that's not an excuse for not blogging on a Sunday as I'm doing now.

So, what's up? Besides the IT work, I've been reading a bit more, re-reading the Chronicles of Narnia, in their controversial time-chronological order, reading The Magician's Nephew first, where Narnia is created, and the Witch from the dead world Charn is brought into Narnia by accident. I'm not through re-reading it, but since I read it several months ago, I think I can venture some thoughts on it.

Since I'm spoiling some details of the book (but not its ending), the rest of this entry is in the extended entry...

C.S. Lewis has a chapter dedicated to the symbol of The Deplorable Word, a word which, when uttered with the proper intonation and ceremonies (i.e. magic), would cause every living thing to die, except for the being saying the word. The Witch from Charn has killed that world by uttering that word, and later is brought to Narnia by the unwise actions of a young boy from England who stumbled into her world by magic.

The Deplorable Word is an apt description of evil, for at its foundation, evil is about destroying relationships. The First and Great Commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37 NKJV) and the second, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:39 NKJV). What could be a better symbol of utter evil than to be willing to kill all that exists apart from one's own self, for the satisfaction of an irrational lust for power?

The Magician's Nephew was written in the mid-1950's, while the US and the USSR were in the midst of The Cold War, and I think Lewis uses The Deplorable Word as a symbol of nuclear annihilation, as there was some talk back then of possibly winning a nuclear war, if one side had survivors and the other didn't. Not a very pretty scenario.

While the nuclear threat is certainly not what it once was (though it would be a mistake to ignore it completely, as North Korea and Iran bear out), the model is also applicable to suicide bombers (use expendable people to kill your opponents - hopefully killing all your opponents while you still have a few people left), and as evil as war is of itself (though not as evil as tyranny), the type of warfare exemplified by suicide bombings is an evil much greater. The story in the Bible of Samson killing himself along with a huge number of Philistines is no justification either. Samson is not portrayed in the Bible as a righteous man. None of the things Samson did, even though they accomplished God's intentions, were actually done for God's glory, but rather for the satisfaction of Samson's own imperfect human lusts.

In another way, though the allegory is not perfect here, this mode of evil is also exemplified by those who would be willing to kill for the sake of convenience, as in the case of Michael Schiavo's desire to end his wife's life, so that he could use the assets from his spouse's inheritance to support his children born of an adulterous relationship with another woman. And though this thinking is not going through the brain of every woman who has an abortion, I believe this mode of evil is inherent to the worldview that abortion is necessary to protect the right of a woman "to her own body" -- the view that the right to her body gives the right to kill another.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

off to Lancaster

We're off to Lancaster PA tomorrow for an extended weekend in the country. Last week's anniversary celebration at a Broadway show was scrubbed due to complications at work, helped just a little bit by bad weather that blew through making for unpleasant traveling.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Lilac Rose is back!

I am very happy to be notified that Susan b., Lilac Rose, is back blogging again after surviving Ivan. You had us scared there Susan, welcome back!

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 08:43 PM | Comments (1)

August 07, 2004

Taking time off....

No blogging next week, unless Rick or Ann want to write. We'll be away from home the last half of the week, and for the first part of the week, we'll be busy with a lot of thngs.

Before signing off, I extend Happy Birthdays to my friend Lawrence, and sisters Glenda, Nedra, and Naomi. Happy Birthday!

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

Summer blogging ...

with a 1-year-old is rather difficult sometimes. Apologies to regular readers who may want more frequent updates, especially those who, like Jonathan, want to see me continue the The Case for a Creator review.

We've been enjoying being outdoors more. We took Rebecca to her first baseball game on Sunday evening. The Trenton Thunder vs. the Norwich Navigators. Talk about bad timing: we left the game at the end of the 8th inning, score tied 4-4, because Rebecca was getting real squirmy and restless. We figured the game would probably go into extra innings. Trenton won 7-4 with a 3-run homer in the 9th inning.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 11:10 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2004

Comment cleanup

I've decided to deal with comment spam by closing commenting on any post too old to show up on the main page, and by not allowing HTML in comments from now on.

I'm also starting a policy of deleting any comment that does not contain any discussion of the post it is attached to. Any posters who just say "Great site" will be deleted. I'm tired of people using flattery just to put up a link to their site.

And regarding the discussion: I don't mind people attacking my point of view, in fact, I love it. But the language has to be civil, without name-calling. Ad hominem arguments will be deleted.

My apologies to those of you who got trackback pings due to me resaving some old posts.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2004

Light blogging

Blogging is going to be a little lighter than usual this week, due to the Stanley Cup playoffs and Memorial Day coming up. There will be a Wednesday post up, then no more until after Memorial Day, when I expect the Stanley Cup to have been won.

Posted by Joel Fuhrmann at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2004

Lent discipline

I'm going to take a break from the blog (will anyone notice?) during Lent. Since Sundays are not fast days, I will post then in order to keep the page alive. New family duties have taken more time, and I haven't been posting as often. I hope people have enjoyed the writing of my new blog partner, my brother-in-law Rick Penner. I do have some questions to ask those who regularly read this blog however.

Is it distracting to read posts by two or more authors on what used to be a single-author blog?

Which do you prefer: longer posts consisting of original thoughts posted less frequently, or shorter posts consisting of links to news items or other bloggers posted more frequently?

Please feel free to reply in the comments. I am considering changing my blogging style; I'd like my writing to be more focused. During Lent, I'm likely going to write ideas down on paper during the week, then post them to the blog on Sundays.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:00 PM | Comments (1)

January 30, 2004

Introduction

Folks,


Iím going to be doing some occasional posting here -- along with some other people -- at the invitation of Joel. I thought Iíd introduce myself brieflyÖ.

Iím married to one of Joelís sisters -- Wanda -- and I live in Burbank, California. Iím an evangelical Christian, a moderate conservative, with an interest in politics, literature, religion, music (jazz and classical), and radio (Iím an amateur radio ham and an international shortwave listener).

Iíd be interested in any replies you may have to my words.

Posted by Rick Penner at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

Another new author

In order to help out with the blog, given my sudden lack of time available, I've added my brother-in-law, Rick Penner, as an author. Welcome aboard, Rick!

Rick is an evangelical Christian who has a different perspective from my own on some social and cultural issues. We agree on important issues of faith however, so I'm hoping that his voice will provide a new perspective to this site.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2004

Blogging disrupted

Blogging has been disrupted by a couple of things. First, there's this matter of priorities. A new one-year-old in the house will keep me off the computer for most of the time. Second, I was gone for so long, I am so out-of-touch! I only used a computer in China about three times, and that was to write one blog entry and send some email. I didn't read any news (except I noted the Cowboys loss - in a different situation that would have been more meaningful, now it's just a statistic).

I'm going to keep the blog up, even though I'm writing less often. Ann Cornelius has an open invitation to continue blogging if she wishes, and I am considering adding some other friends and relatives to the author list so I can devote more time to parenthood.

In the meantime, the house is quiet, must sleep now, before it's too late....

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2003

New Author

I have decided to keep this blog active during our trip to China, and in order to do so, I've doubled our production budget and am adding another author!

Ann Cornelius, my cousin from Royce City, Texas, has graciously accepted my invitation to blog in my absence. I'm sure that Ann will fill in very well in my absence. I'm even thinking that the writing of two people will improve this site, so I'm going to leave her invitation to blog open even after we return.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 01, 2003

Advent Blogging

I usually post about political and cultural issues on this blog, emphasizing a Christian, or Biblical, worldview in interpreting the news. I'm going to make a marked change in emphasis over the Advent season. This isn't a traditional way to treat Advent, but it's something I've been mulling over in my mind lately, and I've decided to blog each day on a series I'm going to call Praying The Psalms, inspired by a series I read a while back on Search God's Word.

The Psalms can be read in a month reading just five a day. Of course, five every day is kindof difficult when you get up to Psalm 119, which is the longest "chapter" in the Bible, so I've divided the Psalms into 24 readings of approximately 100 verses each, and I'm going to dedicate the twentyfour following days to twentyfour Psalms spread throughout this magnificent book of prayers, praises, and wisdom. I'll just be posting my thoughts and reflections, including commentary gleaned from others when appropriate.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2003

Pictures coming soon!

Amy and I went up to the Delaware Water Gap this last weekend, taking a side trip through Pennsylvania's Washington Crossing State Park and Bowman's Tower. Our friend Ren came along, so that we could use her services as a photographer (she owns a digital camera and we don't). Amy took some pictures on her 35mm, and I'm about to add some pictures to a picture gallery on my home page, just as soon as I can figure out how to get links to them to work.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

Pilgrim's Progress

I have just been complimented by a reader on my Pilgrim's Progress blogging. Thank you! And I have been reminded that I have not finished the book! I've been very casual about finishing it, and I should remedy that now. Look for some upcoming chapters, as soon as I can recover from a busy week, and do another review of the last chapters. It may be after The Purpose Driven Life sessions are over however. That would be after Thanksgiving.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Slow week

Sorry to regular readers - I've had writer's block this week. Starting off with some important work associated with Microsoft security patches, and I never felt like sitting down and writing after that, and when I did, found I couldn't come up with anything. Well, a few odds and ends which follow

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2003

Vacation

I'm going to take a vacation from the blog this week so I can dedicate time to other activities, the most important of which is our anniversary on Wednesday, followed by a weekend getaway in Long Island and a wedding on Sunday.

Going back a couple of posts, its relevant that I said we we told we might be going to China in January. We just got a packet in the mail from La Vida, telling us what to do to get ready, including what to pack for our trip. No commitment on a trip date, but testimony from others is telling us to get ready to go over there sooner than my original target of Mothers'-to-Fathers' Day 2004. We may have our daughter or son home by Valentine's Day. I'm going to have to put pictures on this website by then.

We also just found out this morning that our church is about to split its adult Sunday School class in two because it's getting too big for its classroom. The new class will be dedicated to parenting, and the teachers are another couple who adopted a daughter from China, five years ahead of us. This looks just like what we were asking prayer for, so let me close this post with this Word of praise:

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.

Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.

He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
Psalm 33:1-5 NKJV


Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

September 09, 2003

More on light blogging

Blogging continues to be light, due to increased activity away from the computer. The end of summer brings increased activity at my church in my church choir, demanding rehearsal time with the choir and on my trombone.

I also got into a phase of "blog burnout" I admit, and I wanted to step away from it for awhile. I want to regain a focus on what I want to address in this medium, and right now I just feel too scattered to do so. By the end of this month, I hope to be back in the habit of blogging three to four times a week again. That will be in time to celebrate this blog's birthday!

Our adoption process is now in the last stretch and friends who have already adopted from China tell us we may be going over there sooner than we originally thought, maybe as soon as January (I've been telling people we'd be there between Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day). The prospect of becoming parents for the first time is giving us a bit of stress, getting ready to be a dad (and Amy, a mom). Concerned readers are invited to pray for us. Even if you're not concerned, pray, it's good for you, and good for us too, if you mention us.

Some special anniversaries are coming up:
September 11: The attack on the World Trade Center. May God give peace to the families and friends of all who died on that day.

September 16: anniversary of Amy's decision to follow Christ two years ago.

September 17: Our wedding anniversary! 9 years!
It's also the anniversary of our Constitution, btw, so if you're in Philadelphia and you go to Independence Hall, they might give you a button that says "I signed the Constitution!" We did! (no guarantees on the button, we did it many years ago)

September 28: My first and second blog entries on Religious Left Watch.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

Thoughts on 9-11

One year ago, on September 11, I was walking during my lunch hour, choosing to fast that day. I was walking outside on a path that goes around our corporate campus. It was very windy, so windy in fact, that I was beginning to be afraid of a tree limb falling on my head. I went around the whole circle safely though. I heard later that the wind started during the ceremony in New York, when the reading of the names of the 9-11 victims was started, and that it promptly ended when the reading was finished. Many people were wondering if that was coincidence or if it could have been a sign of God. Most seemed to think it was a sentimental thought, but just a coincidence.

Several weeks later, thinking of this, while walking on the same path, this thought came through my head, almost as if it were spoken to me: "Why is it so incredible that I would choose to share my presence with you, to show you that I too, hurt on that day, and to show my presence with you by doing this?" I believe that God was there, that the wind was caused by Him (I didn't hear of any bad things happening from the wind by the way), and that somehow, in a way I cannot comprehend, He allowed 9-11 to happen so that a greater good would come about, yet grieved with us as we mourned that day. Maybe He will share His presence with us again as people observe moments of silence and words of remembrance on Thursday morning.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2003

Light blogging lately

Blogging has been light lately. Apologies to regular readers.

Amy and I took a long weekend down at the South Jersey shore. She had surgery earlier this summer, and has just recovered to the point where she can enjoy going to the shore and walking on the boardwalk.

I was away from the computer all this time as well, so no blog reading or writing.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2003

Summer slowdown

I've found it more and more difficult as we get into summer to keep up a pace of blogging several times a week. I've been doing more reading (Michael Chrichton's Timeline, and Ann Coulter's Treason, are the two books on my nightstand now, in addition to the two Bibles I use for Bible study.

After hearing so much about Treason this summer I decided I needed to read it for myself. Crichton's Timeline is an exciting science fiction/adventure story which falls victim to some inconsistencies common to stories in this style of science fiction. It was good though, it kept me up nights reading late.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:55 PM | Comments (2)

July 10, 2003

Distracting blogging

Here's something I note is happening in my life, and I wonder if it happens to others too. I sometimes get so worked up over an opinion that I find it hard to settle my mind down. I need a quiet-time before going to bed - I used to do my Bible study before blogging, thinking it was more important, now I do it after, preferring to have some peaceful reflection before retiring. However, I find that sometimes something hits me that I find hard to get out of my head. It is especially annoying when I'm trying to have a quiet time in the morning. I want to concentrate on talking to and listening to God, and I find my mind wandering, often onto the political discussion of yesterday's blogs.

So bottom line is, I love to talk, and to blog too (though I wish I could do it in less time), but I find it a distraction too. How do you other Christian bloggers deal with it, or is it just me?

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:04 PM | Comments (6)

July 02, 2003

Independence Day

I'm off to the Poconos immediately after work tomorrow, so this will be my last post until next week.

To all my American readers: Have a happy Indepence Day and be sure to spend some time giving thanks for the sacrifice that everyone who signed this history-changing document gave for their country.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2003

Back from the Poconos

Back from the Poconos, and yes it rained all weekend, but I did get some good reading time in. I'm going to catch up on some errands, and see about adding those category-based archives in, then sometime this week, I'm going to pick up The Pilgrims' Progress again.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2003

Import Complete

The import of all old content is complete!

Going back and re-reading my old posts was very interesting (a cause of delay, in fact), especially around 2002 election time and my first posts. It's enlightening to see the progression in one's thinking. Given that, I wish I had a track of what I was thinking back to say, around 1997. I'd like to know more about the decisions I made along the way, to remember what motivated them.

For anyone interested in the background of this blog, which was born on 9/28/2002; it was originally named Religious Left Watch, and my intent was to highlight examples of religious groups using religion as a stalking-horse for political activity. My favorite targets of criticism were the Unitarian Universalist Association and the National Council of Churches. A secondary intent was to highlight departures from orthodoxy by more liberal mainline churches. Oftentimes, the groups involved are the same, but not necessarily.

Here's a quick test of my archives: My favorite post from my first day of blogging. (I was always afraid to link to myself when using Blogger)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2003

Everything's almost here

I'm almost through importing all my old content from the other site. I was thinking of deleting the site, but then started thinking of all the links to posts on that site, they would be broken (all ten of them - heh, no really there's more than that). So, delete and free up the space on some server somewhere?

I'm taking the liberty to remove posts like "Arggh - Blogger isn't working tonight!" or "Sorry for late posting tonight", or "we're going on vacation next week", stuff that doesn't really contribute to the message. I'm also going back to some of the posts and giving titles to them, but I'm not going to get to all of them. Just note that any imported post may have a strange title assigned to it by MT, since it just takes the first five words of the post as a default title.

I'm also adding categories to my posts, and as soon as I read the MT manual and see how to display category archives on the main page I plan to do that. When I do that, all my posts for the The Pilgrims' Progress will be grouped together and I plan to finish the series, probably in a set of weekly posts done on weekends so I can write and read in an unhurried state. I'll take the book with me to the Poconos with me this weekend so I can sit in our RV and read while the rain pours.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)

June 13, 2003

A Fresh Start

I've got a new home page up now, though there is really no reason to go there. It just has a link to this blog, and several pages under construction. It looks a lot better than the old clunker I had there until about an hour ago.

I'm also very pleased with Movable Type. I feel a lot more comfortable having all the code under my domain. Its features provide a lot more control over the structure of the blog, and I think the blog just plain looks better (though a lot of that is just getting rid of the old orange/red/blue combination - I was getting tired of that). I'll get a new stylesheet up eventually, right now I'm just getting into blogging again, and importing most of my blogger posts over, usually in one-month chunks. For actual content, not counting appearance issues, I think I've got just about everything I want on the blog now, mostly the same as the previous site, with a lot of fluff removed. I've seen some new links I like, and I often ask myself why I don't have a link to some others I read regularly, they'll be there soon.

Evaluating what I've done with this blog, I've got to admit that during Lent, my Pilgrims' Progress blogging got to be kindof tedious, and I think I lost some focus during that time, especially with the illness, and passing away, of my mother, and the war against Saddam which dominated the news. Concerning the war, it was a bad time to quit active blogging on current events.

I'm about ready to resume the blogging on the Pilgrims' Progress, but I'm not going to make it a daily entry like I did (unsuccessfully) during Lent. Now that I can categorize my entries, they can be filtered and viewed consecutively by anyone who wishes, if I only had the appropriate links on the page (back to the templates!)

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2003

Lots to do

Well, this blog is now up and running, and no posting will be done at the old site. I could play with the setup a long time, but I think I'll save that for the weekend, however some things had to be done (like changing the default logon password).

I think I'd like to import only some of my posts from the last blog, and eliminate a lot of 'fluff'. I'd like to keep my serious political and religion - related posts. Can I do that?

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 09:31 PM | Comments (2)

Welcome

OK, this is cool, I'm using MovableType! Let's see if my first post shows up.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 05:37 AM | Comments (3)

January 11, 2003

I've been thinking of Jenn

I've been thinking of Jenn Gray, and her ending of her blog girl on the right, and what I said in my last post. Thinking of it in terms of how blogging affects me, and how it is contributing to our zeitgeist.

First of all, as to how it affects the zeitgeist: I'm under no illusions that I'm going to sway public opinion. People who read my blog are either reading it because they agree (and like to read opinions they agree with) or they disagree (and are looking for opinions to attack). I do the same thing. In fact, its why I link to both National Review and Mother Jones below. I believe it's important to read both sides of an issue, and be aware of opinions contrary to ones own. It makes one better able to defend their own beliefs, as well as changing ones mind when they're wrong, as I have done in my own life. The most I think my blog will do is let people know of a news story they may not have heard otherwise (rarely), or to hear a defense of Christianity that goes against the secular worldview, or to hear of some activity or teaching of liberal religion that deserves to be confronted. If I contribute anything of value to anyone, I'm glad to have done so, but I'm under no illustion that I do this better than others. Linking to others' words is a great feature of html and the Internet.

Now, how does it affect me? Since I've started blogging, I sometimes feel the need to walk away from it for a few days. Or, a better way to put it is -- the people in my life who I see personally, such as in my church (but others as well), are much more important, and blogging takes time away from them, at least if done in excess. So I'm active in my church, both in the choir and other activities, we worship God (prayer & Bible study) with people from another church on a day of the week other than Sunday, and we're active in a non-church, non-work hobby (target-shooting - which I consider a patriotic exercise of my Second Amendment rights as well as a lot of fun). And we go to hockey games! And we're adopting, and will someday (within the next 16 months) have a child in our family!

So basically, I've decided to keep on blogging, but to give priority to other activities involving face-to-face interaction with other people. Of course, the points I talked about on New Year's Day are also true: the ultimate priority is to God: Love Him first with all you've got, and let that love flow through you to all those you know, and who you meet. Life is rich and wonderful when God is at the helm.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2003

Mark Byron and girl on

Mark Byron and girl on the right discuss the end of a blog (Jenn Gray, aka girl on the right, is moving on). I can relate to what Mark and Jess are saying. Blogging takes time, and I don't want to invest the time required to become rich or famous in this medium (I'm no Glenn Reynolds). Much of the time, what I'd like to say has already been said much better than others (I'm no Mark Byron either!). I experienced a little bit of blog burnout last month, stopping for Christmas, and then coming back into it very slowly, eventually deciding it was time to slow down with it, but not stop completely.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2003

2003: Time to regroup, reevaluate,

2003: Time to regroup, reevaluate, and start anew

During a considerable length of time away from blogging, I've thought about what I want to accomplish with this website, even if I should be continuing it. My primary purpose (in life, not just this blog) is to do God's will. Does this blog support that goal? If it serves to satisfy my pride, I don't think so; but on the other hand, if it serves to convey useful or inspirational information to others, and done in a proper state of mind, maybe it does. I've been told by some readers that it does that, but on the other hand, I've also discovered that blogging takes time away from other things. Most importantly, I've found that sometimes in a rush to get a thought developed, and written, I've sometimes put off something that is more important: either important prayer time, Bible study, reading a good or important book. With that in mind, I have for the moment decided to keep up the blogging, but with less frequency. Last year I committed to a four-time-per-week posting frequency, this year I'm going to reduce it to two times a week. Some weeks I will blog more often, but when I need to do more important things, or when I have nothing to say, I am not going to force myself to write. You won't be missing anything -- the writing I put out when I'm in such a position isn't worth as much as when I can write more thoughtfully.

Now that that is out of the way, allow me to welcome everyone back, and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year!

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2002

When I first started this

When I first started this blog, I confessed that I didn't like the name all that much, even though it was going to be most of what I discussed. Since then I've gotten some feedback which is very positive, and I've decided to keep the name (I've grown to like it more too). Here's some feedback I got from someone a while back for this post.

Jesus once likened Himself to the brass serpent that Moses was ordered to put on a pole to save people from snakebite. Jesus says in John 3:14-15, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life" (American Standard Version).

Jesus is making reference to an incident recorded in Numbers 21. The whole chapter has a more detailed description, but verses 8 and 9 are sufficient to show what Jesus was talking about: "And Jehovah said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the standard: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived" (ASV).

So there are two very basic risks for us as Christians in the work we try to do:

1) Looking away from Jesus ourselves or failing to look at Jesus as our only salvation, for we will fall to snakebite that way, and....

2) Not holding up Jesus so that others can look unto Him and be saved.

It can't be said that Jesus does not support social activism and social justice, as He Himself was an advocate for the downtrodden in our world. However, for some reason, denominations feel it necessary to reject Jesus and His teachings in order to do social activism. They go it alone, trying to be "tolerant" and not hold up any particular moral standard, distancing themselves from Jesus. The problem is, without Jesus, they can do nothing (John 15:5). Furthermore, it shows that they are ashamed of Jesus, and He has specific words for that circumstance (see Mark 8:38).

It is always a problem when people look away from Jesus to "something else" to save them from the various snakebites we get in this world. When it isn't Jesus we are holding up, when it is just the "goodness of our hearts" that leads us to try to help, it's not enough, because the most bleeding heart can't bleed enough to actually provide lasting, eternal help. Only the heart that bled for all people once, the heart of Christ, can bring about real healing in both this world and the next.

So it is a very good service you are providing to remind people that without Jesus, we have nothing at all to offer the world. It is good that we are reminded not to look to ourselves, or look to a denomination, or a para-church organization, or the culmination of ecumenism, as any sort of answer to the problem of this world. The answer from God has already been given in Christ, and it is our duty to help others avail themselves of this solution as we have.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2002

Joshua Claybourn offers a post

Joshua Claybourn offers a post discussing this article by George Neumayr. This leads to discuss this with other bloggers. Is anyone concerned about how their writing will be perceived by people they personally know? One concern of mine, and this may be unique to me due to my blog's name, is that my site may be "confrontational" with people in my church. I'm a United Methodist, and they are more socially active, and liberal, than many other denominations. My pastor took offense at the remarks by Jerry Falwell, (he didn't say this in church, it was at MNF fellowship - yes we do that!) I didn't confront his statement, as he was talking to someone else, but I did think; Mohammed was a violent man, we all know that, so why not call a spade a spade, and admit the truth: he committed acts of terrorism, hence, he was a terrorist. I guess one should avoid judging a living person, pending repentance, but Mohammed's opportunity for repentance is long gone. I've read a lot about Islam since 9/11, and I've come to have doubts about its peaceful nature. I think Falwell was right. So what happens if my pastor reads this blog and disagrees? Will my blog be a source of contention between us?

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2002

New Blog on the Web

Hi, my name is Joel. I'm new here, kindof afraid to step out in the middle of the dance floor, although the music is loud and hardly anyone knows me.

Why am I here? I'm a Christian who came out of a liberal, postmodern religious organization which was dedicated to "social justice". I wanted to write about my journey, and to put it in a public forum where others would be free to join the discussion. ***arrgh!*** that word discussion again! that's all we did back at that UU church, discuss things! and the meetings! over and over again! They wouldn't even let me watch football on Sunday afternoons, the meetings went on after church! Hell is probably full of people doomed to ever-ending meetings.

Posted by joelfuhrmann at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)