Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Yet more snow again

This is apparently a very mild winter for northern Honshu. On monday this week we had a really warm day. Yesterday we had some very heavy rain in the morning. That was very unpleasent because John and I were standing outside a school giving leaflets to children.

However, we had some more snow yesterday evening and today. Enough for me to need to do some good old shovelling. Very fortunately, it is that lovely fine powdery snow that shovels easily. I got the job done quite quickly.

More photos featuring me on my hosts' blog

Blue Forest Soapbox: Walking Hirosaki

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I am probably allergic to eggs

When we went to Hirosaki the other day we ate a picnic (snow seems odd weather for a picnic, but never mind). The main component of this picnic was quiche.

I actually do not like quiche because of the large amount of eggs it contains. However, the unwritten rule of missionary work is that you eat what you are given. I was not going to get out of eating quiche.

I suspected I might have an allergy to eggs and cheese (I dislike them enough to avoid them normally). My suspicion increased its credibility when I developed an unexplained rash that day. It was painful, but had disappeared the next day.

I managed to eat a whole packet of fermented soy beans

I have heard that westerners in Japan are sometimes asked by Japanese whether they have eaten fermented soy beans, a very Japanese dish that is not suited to the western palate.

I ate some breakfast this morning. Mary, the Eliotts' daughter, made me promise to eat the whole packet. I am proud to say that I kept this promise. However, I thought they were quite revolting. They were gooey and quite unpleasent.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I gave the impression that I actually knew some Japanese

While at the Japanese diner, I managed to convey the impression that I actually knew some Japanese. An American lady living in Japan asked me how long I had been studying Japanese.

All I said to the waitress was 'Kore do kudasai', roughly meaning 'That one, please.'

Deep-Fried Tentacles

Yesterday I went to a Japanese diner-style restaurant with a group of English-speakers after an English language Bible study.

I ordered deep-fried squid with french fries. I need greasy food occasionally. Don't you all? I have had fried squid before, but the batter on this squid was really rich and crispy.

Believe it or not, this is only the second time I have eaten squid in Japan. I need to enjoy it; you do not get to eat tentacles much in the UK.

I am trying to imagine squid in batter as deep and rich as the batter you get on English fish and chips. That would be a most heavenly combination.

Hirosaki

I visited the city of Hirosaki with John and Laurie and their daughter, Mary yesterday. It is a much larger city than Ajigasawa.

It was very interesting. We visited three different churches, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant and high Anglican. We would have visited the Evangelical church too, but that was locked up. It was quite interesting to see the different denominational building and decorative styles here in Japan. We had to remove our shoes in all three churches; only the Protestant church provided slippers, however.

We also visited an old missionary house, which was also quite interesting.

Kneeling

I attended a Christian meeting on the Lord's Day that was held in a public building with tatami flooring.

A couple of ladies there were impressed that I was kneeling Japanese style. I actually made the effort to do that for the whole meeting, but it was very painful. I thought my legs would never move again.

Thankfully, I am in the habit of kneeling to pray, so I am used to being in that position.

Finally, they post a photograph featuring me

BLUE FOREST SOAPBOX: Does Truth Matter?

My hostess Laurie Eliott finally posts a photograph on her blog that features me.

Am I vain?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Snow

We are having an awful lot of snow today.

In England we get about 2cm on one day in January. Apparently it is quite a mild winter over here, with only a minimal amount. It seems a lot to me.

I have discovered that I have a rather suprising fascination with it. It just seems amazing.

I will have to shovel it at some point (seeing it is the Lord's Day tomorrow, probably this evening), but I have found I rather enjoy shovelling snow.

Hilarious T-Shirt

A lot of western young people like to wear shirts with Japanese script. They have no idea what it means, they like the style. Japanese do the same. They wear t-shirts with English on. They have no idea what it means and they do not care (they usually cannot read or speak English either), it is just a decorative motif.

The English slogans on t-shirts are inane and banal. A girl had a t-shirt that said 'cherish the love.'

But I saw an absolutely hilarious t-shirt in the supermarket yesterday. It had a photograph of a white girl smoking a cigarette and several English sentences:

Become one with nature.

Enjoy the beauty of learning and teaching
(I dare say the cigarette smoking girl would be an excellent teacher).

One day a new kind of being will be born.

Experiencing a regenerated life.

Music Everywhere

In Japan there is music everywhere. At particular times of the day, loudspeakers play tunes (a similar function of church bells in England).

There is a musical jingle before train doors close (better than a warning bleep!).

In supermarkets you hear lots of music as well. However, I cannot get over the fact that refuse collection lorries play a song. It is a really loud jolly song, with a wobbly-voiced female singer and lots of flute accompaniement. It sounds like the theme tune to some childrens' programme, excpet I think adults listen to that kind of music.

Teaching English in Kindergartens

One of my functions is helping John give English lessons at kindergartens. We teach the children the alphabet, numbers, colours and the names of animals.

The children are very young to be learning English, but given the ignorance of the vast majority of Japanese of even rudimentary English, it is a very good idea.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You guys are still allowed to post

Although I am posting fairly regularly, fellow cultists are still allowed to post.

You must have something to say. But I know you all have other blogs and other things to do.

I cannot stand the NIV (but I am reading it aloud without grimacing)

The Eliotts have a devotional Bible study every morning, before breakfast. A very worthy custom. We read the NIV aloud as part of those devotionals (cats, children, hard work, the NIV, what next?).

I am managing to read it without grimacing. I am even taking the Eliotts' spare copies of the NIV to prayer meetings (out of laziness?).

But I am as convinced as ever that this is an appalling translation. I find it impossible to treat it as the word of God. The casual writing style. It feels like I am reading some popular Christian book. I keep having to stop myself from thinking "Yeah, yeah, big deal," as I might well do if I was reading the latest Christian bestseller.

Please think twice before buying or recommending this Bible translation.

I am very thankful for my boots

I am very thankful for my boots. They have turned out to be extremely comfortable. They are not designed to be walking boots, or specialist snow boots, but they have still been extremely comfortable. They did not seem to fit perfectly when I bought them and I was sure they would cause me discomfort, but this was not the case.

They are a physical reminder of God's provisions for me.

They are back leather with zips and buckles. Rather like motorcycle boots. They brought back memories of when I used to wear combat boots as a teenager, a bit of individuality that I eventually grew out of.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Giving Leaflets to Schoolchildren

I had to go out early on a cold snowey morning to give out leaflets to children going to school. The leaflets advertise Bible classes for school age children.

John Eliott has been running these classes for some time. It is difficult to attract large numbers because of the numerous extra-curricular activities aimed at children, but he gets some pupils coming.

OMF International

If anybody is interested in the mission agency I am with or would like to support them, they have a website:

OMF International

You may be aware that they are a continuation of the work of James Hudson Taylor's China Inland Mission. Though they have concentrated on more open parts of east asia over the last fifty years, they are increasingly turning their attention back to China.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Girl who reminds me of Carey

The person who is the subject of the post is really ill with a cold. Please pray for her. Also, please pray for my hostess, Laurie as she is still suffering from her cold.

Joy, the other short-termer staying with the Eliotts really reminds me of Carey. It may seem strange to be reminded of a person one has never met, but she does. Joy shares the same enthusiasm, intelligence and energy of Carey, along with the same zeal for purity and holiness in the service of the Lord. She also has a Jewish-German ancestry.

Joy's defining characteristic is that she is an MK (missionary kid). Her parents are missionaries in Brazil. Her complicated background means that she posesses four different passports (Brazilian, American, Canadian and British). She seemed quite excited when I explained that her UK passport gave her the right to seek work in any member state of the European Union (European Union law was my favorite subject when I studied law a few years ago).

Joy has reached a pretty advanced level in the study of Japanese. Unusually, the main part of her short-term mission activity is attending a Japanese high school. I am deeply impressed at her courage in doing this.

Joy intends to study at Bible College and hopes to become a missionary.

I think Joy really lives up to her name.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Witnessing to a Foreigner

Yesterday, I visited the apartment of a foreigner living in Japan. I went with Joy and a German missionary. This man was not a Christian, but is certainly seeking God. John had been giving him Bible studies every Lord's Day evening. As John was away, I lead a Bible study at his apartment. I raised John 20; Thomas's doubts and the promise of eternal life to those who believe. It was a really blessed time.

It hapened to be this man's birthday and he had invited some American and Canadian friends. They had not expected to come to a Bibles study, so they left after we had sang an hymn. It was a shame they were not willing to stay, but it was good to make contact with them.

Please pray for this gentleman.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What have I been doing so far?

Shovelling snow, chopping firewood, pushing tracts through mailboxes and helping to teach English to children in kindergartens and at an afterschool English club.

Subculture Shock

I am getting culture shock, but not from Japan. I am getting it from the whole missionary transcultural subculture that is going on here. It is like a different world.

I am staying with not only John and Laurie Eliott, but also their daughter Mary, who was educated in Japan and an 18-year old short-termer, Joy, whose parents are missionaries in Brazil (Joy holds no less than four different passports!).

There is a huge thing about MKs (missionary kids) and also TCKs (third culture kids). While I was aware of some of the problems that face missionary children, I was quite oblivious to their whole subculture. I am really freaked out by Joy's adherence to the custom of referring to missionaries as aunts and uncles.

I was given an humorous book to read, entitled You Know your an MK when... It is a list of quirks of MKs such as:

You have a time zone next to your telephone.

National Geographic makes you homesick.

You hear the word 'Love Offering' and think how you'll spend the money.


I think I am glad my parents are not missionaries.

Wearing Slippers in Church is wonderful!

I attended my first Japanese service today.

The congregation remove their shoes before entering the church. Slippers are provided, but I wore my own. It was very comfortable, but I still dressed up smart. There are also toilet slippers in the church that you have to change into if you go into the lavatory.

The church is very traditional; the building is like an old chapel (though it is attached to the Eliotts' home), the service is a formal hymn sandwich and the hymns were all translations of old hymns.

Although I had English hymnal and a plan of the service, it was hard to follow a Japanese meeting and even harder to have conversations afterwards. There was a shared church dinner after the service, the normal custom there.

Where am I staying?

I am staying in the small city of Ajigasawa, where the Eliotts have planted a church.

The Eliotts' house is attached to the church. There is just a genkan (an area of floorspace on a lower level to the rest of the building, where shoes are removed) separating the house and the church. I sleep in the attic of the church, but I eat with the Eliotts.

The house has lovely tatami floors (straw mats) in all the rooms except the kitchen. I have a tatami floor in my attic-bedroom too.

At the moment there is snow everywhere outside. We have had a few snowfalls during the week and we shall no doubt have some more.

Bleak Landscape

The landscape across northern Honshu was awe inspiring.

As we travelled by van across the mountains, I saw so many snow-covered mountains and deep forests, full of pines.

It really evoked a dark mood. You would not want to be lost in the countryside of Japan in the winter.

I have listened to so much music in the past to try and evoke the kind of bleak winter mood that this landscape conveys.

Has anybody ever com e across Games Workshop role-playing games? In one of their games, there is a land called Naggaroth, a cold land of mountains and pine forests where the Dark Elves live. The wilds of Japan really reminded me of that fictional place.

If anybody else is a lover of paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, this is the place to come.

I do not mind Cats any more

The journey up to Ajigasawa took seven hours. A long journey.

However, this journey involved sharing a van with not only three other people, but four distressed cats.

Old readers know that I am not at all an animal lover. However, I think I have gotten used to cats. While in Takayama, I had to keep evicting them from my bedroom. I spent most of the journey to Ajigasawa with at least one cat sat in my lap.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Why my sister would love Japan

My sister, Heather is a waste management officer and very enthusiastic about recycling. She would love Japan. Recycling is very rigorous here. There are lots of different bins for different recyclable materials. In some cities, I hear they even have different bins for different kinds of plastic.

In the UK a lot of people seem to have trouble coping with a bag for paper and a bag for plastic and tins.

Prolonged Stay in Takayama

I had to go from Ichikawa to Takayama, instead of directly to Ajiagasawa. John Elioot my host acts as caretaker at a holiday retreat for missionaries there.

This meant staying in a log cabin built in the Forties. To prevent mould, it cannot be well insulated. Although there was snow in Takayama, I discovered a degree of cold I had never experienced before. Although there is a wood burning stove, if you sit on the other side of the table to the stove, you feel like you are about to get hypothermia.

It was also very dusty (even with people taking their shoes off at the door). Although my slippers were new, they soon started looking like I had been wearing them for years.

We were only meant to stay in Takayama a day or so, but an unfortunate in cident left us there for three more days. This is detailed here. Laurie, her daughter, another girl and I had a trip to a tourist spot called Matsushima. Strangley this town had a museum of Belgian musical boxes. While I was there I tried some weird Japanese sausages, one of which was made of fish (which had no texture). Laurie, however, was rather sick and unfortunately, on the way home, the van crashed into the kerb barrier. The van needed repairs and Laurie was not well at all (really bad cold). John went back to Ajiagasawa by train and we left when the van was ready. This was very relaxing and pleasent (I saw a low-flying hawk while I was hanging up laundry). However, it would have been nice to have been in a better-insulated house.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Orientation in OMF HQ in Ichekawa

After I arrived at Tokyo, I was met by an OMF worker, who took me to Ichekawa, where OMF is based. The guy was British and I got on with him rather well. There I was to go through orientation to working in Japan.

I stayed at the OMF guesthouse, which was comfortable.

I got the chance to eat a few different Japanese foods while I was there.

I went to a Japanese Italian restaurant (which also served steaks). Being adventurous, I tried the most incredible dish on the menu, a hybrid of Japanese and Italian cooking. It was spaghetti with squid ink. It was spaghetti with bits of squid in this dark green, inky stuff. While it did not have much taste, it was a very aesthetically pleasing dish,in my opinion.

Flight

I travelled from Birmingham to Zurich, then Zurich to Tokyo with Swiss Airlines.

At Birmingham airport they make everybody take their shoes off at the security checkpoint. It was interesting to watch how people were taking this. I was surprised how graceful people were about it. I was surpised to find I had tyo go through another security check at Zurich. They did not ask people to take their shoes off there, but quite a few people had to go back shoeless when the metal detector bleeped. As my boots have zips and buckles, I took them off anyway. The lady next to me did the same. I think the Birmingham policy was more sensible. The check was much quicker with people only going through once. Besides, can they detect explosives with a metal detector? I would have thought x-raying shoes for explosives would be more important than only checking them for razor blades.

The plane to Zurich looked old and cheap. However, I was surpised to find the second flight was business class. They provided slippers, bedding and in-flight entertainment. And two meals. However, I suspect the Sushi meal may have had as much to do with my vomiting in-flight as the turbulences. Being sick was very embarassing, but the cabin crew were really nice.

I really liked the way the safety information was conveyed by an animated video, rather than by a mime. It was cool and much more interesting.

I sat next to an interesting chap. He was a Greek American who had been living in Japan for four years. He had been visiting relatives in Greece (where he hoped to return to). The man was an aeronautical engineer. He liked planes, but he hated flying.

John and Laurie Eliott ( My supervisors and hosts)

My hosts have a blog that you can follow if you like.

BLUE FOREST SOAPBOX

John and Laurie are great people. They have been in Japan for 28 years. Apparently they are known and respected in the community here in Ajigasawa.

Laurie wears a headcovering always, which is quite wonderful in my opinion. I was pleased to find that they were not Charismatic and that they were people of theological depth. They use the NIV, but you cannot win all the time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Science <---> Consensus?

"If there is a consensus in science, then it is not science."

I heard one of my favorite personalities again talking about this yesterday. He was discussing how the "scientific" community "agree" about what are "facts." He pointed out that if these things have to be "agreed upon" then they are not facts. Science involves observable, provable truth. It is not about things that are subject to "consensus."

What do you think about his assertion? I have heard this from anti-evolutionists before, but not put quite this way. This man is coming at it from a different perspective. His beef would mainly be with the "pop science" that we see all around us regarding everyday life issues, not evolutionary theory so much.

I appreciate his statement.

10 points to you if you heard the broadcast and can name the personality.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Konnichiwa (I am still alive)

I hope things are well in the blogsphere.

I am at present in Ajigasawa, northern Japan.

A car crash and the sickness of my hostsess meant that we were stuck in a holida retreat in Takayama for a few days. That was relaxing, but it meant staying in a freezing cold log cabin (built in the forties).

Today I began work with brushing up snow (which I enjoyed) and pushing tracts through doors.

I have lots more to tell ye all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I spoke too soon

I commented to Jodie’s previous post that Montreal was having a mild winter and how much that didn’t bother me. Well, today, we had a snow storm and we currently have about 20 cm of snow. They are also forecasting cold weather for the week.

Guess I'll have dress up warmly and go with that “overly fuzzy” look.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Not so Windy CIty

This has been an odd Chicago winter. The usual bitter and blustery weather has been replaced with a gray, humid and mild winter. It means scarves, hats and gloves haven't really made much of an appearance. People do look better without all the extra material needed to keep warm, material which is often overly fuzzy for my taste.

I miss that Matthew

Blogging just isn't the same without Matthew. He is such a consistent force in blogging. There is just not anything that you can truly count on like the Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, when it comes to this forum. I selfishly miss him here, but I pray for my brother.

It seems clear that the Lord has prepared this trip!

Dear Lord, please bless our brother Matthew as he seeks to serve and glorify you. May he find encouragement and direction in his venture. May you give him blessing and peace in that which he is finding delightful about his trip. For the things that he may be finding troubling, may you give him comfort, Lord. Whether he is lonely or happy, exhilarated or apprehensive, clearly seeing your hand ... or confused, may you use all these things to develop him into the young man that would be pleasing in your sight and mightily used of you.

May he find friends ... and more importantly, may he find ears for your message. May the light of your gospel shine through this young brother while he is in Japan ... and when he returns safely home.

Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Advice for Wives from Husbands Pt I

Note: these all are numbered "1" on purpose:

1. Learn tp wprl the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down!

1. Sunday = Sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes or No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

1. If you don't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are -- don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

to be continued...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Flickering Light

There is a light in our kitchen that keeps flickering. It does not flicker completely off, but it flickers from dim to bright. We have had our electrician friend tighten everything at the breaker box, so we think it must be a loose connection somewhere outside. It can be quite annoying.

Monday, January 08, 2007

THE DAY THOU GAVEST, LORD, IS ENDED: You guys made this hymn real to me

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.


So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

Cyberhymnal page

I have posted this hymn twice before, because I think it is so beautiful. The bit about the kingdom sounds uncomfortably Postmillennial, but this really speaks of the beauty of God's worldwide church. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

My fellow bloggers have proven to me that indeed, the voice of prayer is never silent. It is just awe inspiring to know that when I sleep, my fellow bloggers around the world are praying for me. I am humble by my brothers and sisters who have shown me such encouragement and who are with me every step I take in prayer.

The Times:Minister angers organic farmers

The Times: Minister angers organic farmers

My pet hobby horse. David Miliband,the environment minister has stated that there is no proven health benefit to eating organic food. Go Miliband!

David Miliband is a very intelligent and credible politician. While Gordon Brown is certain to replace Blair, David Miliband, a far less Left-wing figure than Brown, is a very strong contender for future Labour party leader.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Kippered Snacks, Pork Rinds, and Fish and Chips

I think Mattie is going to starve.

We may need to airmail him over some of his high cholesterol, high fat, and fried-out snack foods. He seems skinny now (from pictures I have seen). Just think what all that sticky rice is going to do for his figure!

Matthew,

are your bags packed? You are going to need another check-in luggage just for your snack items!

Or are you going to switch to rice crackers and wasabi flavored fried peas?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A verse for Matthew (I can’t believe he’s leaving)

With Matthew getting ready for his first mission trip to Japan, I thought I would leave him with the following verse:

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deu 31:8

Matthew, the LORD of hosts is going out before you and He will sustain you throughout your trip. You have been a blessing to many people over the “blogworld”, and now the Lord has called you to be a beacon of light for Him in Japan. May Christ give you to taste of the fruit of your labour as you try to win souls for Him.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 2Co 9:6

A great reward awaits you at the judgment seat of Christ…but don’t forget to mention those who prayed for you!

Another book edited by Mal Couch

I got hold of another book edited by Mal Couch of Tyndale Seminary. It is a church manual for pastors. I thought it might be useful for my study of American Fundamentalism (part of my thesis on Darby's ecclesiology).

I also ordered a church manual by Jack Hyles. That should be interesing. I suspect the majority of my readership would have more time for Mal Couch than Jack Hyles.

Preaching Class

It was preaching class today, run by our pastor.

I had to present a sermon outline I had prepared on Psalm 22. I had been orginally asked to give it last month, so it was not particularly fresh in my mind.

The sermon was focused on verses 22-27 and dealth with the theme of worship.

Presenting sermon outlines is hard. It is not really a sermon, just a structure.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

More Republican losses on the horizon

Hello, you sage cultists,

Matthew was nice enough to encourage me to post on politics, which is a subject he handles very deftly on this blog. The truth is I have been boycotting the news cycle for a while now. It’s been sad to see the once seemless conservative coalition begin to crumble. Conservative Catholics have been chafing at George Bush’s cocky Evangelicalism, libertarians have never been crazy about the President and the year 2009 seems to me to be looming on the horizon.

As you may know 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of Origin of the Species. (Darwin was nice enough to publish his sea-change work in his 50th year.) Science Foundations and Museums in the US are dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into blow-out celebrations of Darwin. (For 16.98 in US dollars at the Field Museum Online Store, you can get the Charles Darwin Live & in Concert CD.)

Much more happily, Ken Ham’s museum and media empire is gearing up to pummel the significant weaknesses in the theory of evolution, at least at the grass roots level. (Just now I enjoyed watching free video samples from 3 of AIG’s latest DVDs: Millions of Years, Creation, and Creation, Evolution & Deception.) I tend to see evidence for the Flood and the Creation as God’s sensationalism. It’s what He may be using to draw attention to Christ and especially to the Word of God. So generally I’m looking forward to the 2009 festivities.

But it means a big fissure in the conservative movement. The fiscal conservatives, libertarians and social conservative Catholics are apparently not interested in even looking at the Intelligent Design and Creation arguments which evangelicals like me are so fired up about. Unfortunately, these arguments are being treated as anti-rational, anti-enlightenment and, my favorite, as indirectly pro-Islamic. They are seen as mindless religious dogmatism at a time when the world needs more religious flexibility and cultural patience. So I’m hoping we Christians carefully frame our opposition as anti-science evolutionary dogmatists.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Romanians and Bulgarians, Welcome to the European Union!

This very day, the start of a New Year, Romania and Bulgaria became members of the European Union.

I believe this to be a good thing. Both those countries and the rest of Europe will benefit from this expansion.