“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” -unknown

My first answer was to fly. Then I thought how shallow that was and have yet to come up with an answer.

A friend of mine sent a link to an Ethics Daily article on a new program at a Baptist seminary if Fort Worth. I honestly thought it was some kind of joke. What got me wasn’t so much the fact that they have this program, but Paige Patterson’s comments about it and why.

Completely unbelievable. More on BaptistBlog (he’s mentioned in the article).

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Gambling. I’ve been known to play the ponies, roll the bones and I know how to bet the flop, turn and river. I don’t go out of my way to gamble but if it is there, I’ll enjoy it. I am up quite a bit on the craps table and my wife just above even on roulette. Our last trip to Las Vegas (we went for a horse show – didn’t go there with gambling as the ultimate goal) we came home with $4 less cash than we took. Not gambling cash, all cash.

To me, those expenditures or winnings are entertainment and spent/won on entertainment dollars, not food, shelter, clothing, retirement or offering to church. I’m fortunate enough to have disposable entertainment income.

Lottery, a tax on people who are bad at math, is apparently a little different. I’ve purchased probably less than $20 on scratch-off or lottery in the past 20 years. A recent news release from the Texas Lottery shows the biggest downside – people who can’t afford it spend it. Could I use the money elsewhere? Sure. My entertainment budget is small. I have too many hobbies that take up my time and money to have a large entertainment fund.

The news release shows that the $50 scratch off ticket sells most in the state’s poorest neighborhoods. I’ve also been to casinos where it’s evident people just cashed their paychecks and went to the casino to strike it rich this time. The casinos in Vegas are huge, extravagant and get rebuilt every few years. How do you think they pay for those? They call it gambling but all odds are for the house. They exist to make money.

The article highlights the fact that the 10 poorest neighborhoods spent $2.4 million on the high-dollar scratch off as compared to only half that of the 10 riches neighborhoods in Texas. Per capita spending on the high-dollar tickets was $25 in the 10 poorest ZIP codes versus $18 in the 10 wealthiest.

Every time brining gaming to Texas comes to the state legislature, I fight against it. Yeah, it’s kinda hypocritical because I’d probably go to a casino if it were here but I do think it is bad for society and hurts those that cannot afford it.

Gambling on Gaming

Christian Life Commission on Gaming

Who Profits from Gambling?

The name Mohammed is set to become Britain’s most popular boy name by the end of 2008 according to news sources. Just so you know, through the limited research I did online, Mohammed doesn’t even appear in the top 20 for boy names in the USA.

Eleven of the top 20 names for baby boys born in the USA come from Biblical characters: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Daniel, Andrew, Joseph, David, Noah, James and John.

The rise in the Mohammed’s popularity is due to the continued growth of the Islam. Britain apparently has a large and growing Muslim population. With this growth, are evangelical Christians “losing the battle of witnessing” to the Islamic religion?

A major contributor to the rise of Islam is the way many Muslims live out their faith in the midst of and in spite of society.

Researchers have compared the new portrait of mosques with a similar study in 1994. Some key findings:

• The number of mosques has increased 25%, from 962 in 1994 to 1,209 in 2000.

• Average mosque attendance at Friday prayers has nearly doubled, up 94% from 150 to 292.

• Most have an ethnic diversity unmatched in Christian and Jewish congregations, with 90% of mosques reporting a mix of South Asian, African-American, Arab and other groups born in the USA and abroad worshiping together.

• There may be more than 6 million Muslims in America today, researchers calculate, based on 2 million people who are formally affiliated with mosques, up from 500,000. They attribute the growth primarily to immigration.

But the most newsworthy finding is the determination of Muslims to make mosques “the platform for full participation in American life,” says Ihsan Bagby, co-chairman of the research committee. “The Muslim community is maturing and coming into its own.”

“Mosques today are not only centers for spirituality, they are also bases for political and social mobilization, focal points for Muslim life in a way they may not have been in more traditional Islamic societies,” says Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, one of the study sponsors with Hartford, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim American Society.

“Muslims believe that by involvement with the larger society, they can do service to America,” Awad says, citing last year, when mosques conducted their biggest and most visible voter registration drive.

The above information came from an older survey posted on Islam for Today.


This is something Christians could learn from Muslims. God calls us to be in but not of the world. Many times Christians aren’t “in” the world enough setting an example in environmental stewardship, financial stewardship and flat out good examples. Are all Christians good examples, no. I’m not, yet I strive to be.

We’ve reached it: a self-debasing low for humanity. 

This new Dutch “reality” show is set up for a terminally ill patient with an inoperable brain tumor to choose the person who will receive one of her kidneys before she dies.  

Should it run? Sure. I’m not into censoring media or expression. Should it have been created? No. Is it in bad taste? Yes. I do think the show has accomplished one of its stated objectives – publicity for organ donation. There are thousands of blogs on this topic, news stations are covering it and news websites are certainly all over this. The people in the Netherlands are even talking with their government about it. 

A quote from a yahoo! news story, “Viewers will be able to vote for the candidate they feel is most deserving via SMS text message, but “Lisa will determine who the happy one is,” BNN said in a statement.”  How could one choose? How could one try to beat others in a game for a human organ? 

Imagine you were to vote, to choose; what criteria would you have for your candidate of choice? A good person? A bad person so they could change their ways? One with a great personality? One who offers you money? The youngest? The oldest? 

Lost hope. Once “Lisa” and the text voters decide, there still a good possibility the transplant will not take place with that individual. Tissue samples have to match up and the doctors have to make sure the cancer has not spread to her kidneys. Imagine that, having beaten out two dying people for an organ that one of them could possibly have used if their tissue matched and no cancer spread.  Notice I didn’t say “won.” If the losing, non-chosen contestants die without getting a needed kidney and the “winner” does this person could have one of the worst survivor complexes seen in quite a while.  

Would I want to lose? No.
Would I want to win? No.
Should this even be a game? No.

I just got home from surgery. The much anticipated nice, long Memorial Day Weekend isn’t going so swimmingly. Saturday morning I drove myself to the ER as my wife and baby went out shopping (thought I had gas). Later that night, I had an emergency appendectomy.

The interesting aspect I want to write about happened in the ER. As I sat there waiting to be called to check in and be examined (yes, I was in obvious pain) a family who brought their daughter in after a car wreck stopped and asked if they could pray with me and for me. Of course I said yes. You know what, the pain subsided for a while. Does prayer work? Yes. Some critics would say that them coming over just distracted me from the pain. Yes, prayer is a distraction, but a positive one and in either case, it helped alleviate pain.

I’ve now determined to not just continue praying for people, but to involve them if they are near and inform them if they aren’t.