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"Last" Friday Five

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:27 AM

1. What was the last TV show you watched? I Love Lucy on TV Land, about thirty minutes ago. Before that? I Love Lucy on TV Land, last night. Before that? Hmm… I think NewsNight with Aaron Brown during the same time slot as I Love Lucy, just on a different channel (needless to say).

2. What was the last thing you complained about? Linus Torvalds' use of non-Free (as in Freedom) software to develop the best Free Software operating system, GNU/Linux, even though he doesn't need to.

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say? Jeff, a sportscaster in training, who I listened to a speech from this morning. He did such a good job, I enjoyed his presentation even though I'm not much of a sports guy.

4. What was the last thing you threw away? My bottle of Dasani water from yesterday.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited? I was at Pressed's web site. Before that I was at the site of one of my clients, doing some updates to that site — Drew Stevens.

Perpetually Behind

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:00 AM

Well, I've been so far behind I haven't had the time to post anything meaningful here for a little while. I'll shape up… I promise!

Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, comes home from shopping with everything in a
cardboard box.

Saddam says: “Why have you brought the shopping home in a cardboard box,
Uday ?” To which his son replies: “Because there's no Baghdad.”

Okay, now, if you're looking for something to do, go visit Pressed's site and read his interesting piece on Pluralism. This is a really important topic and one that faces every Christian today. I can't even begin to remember how many times people have used the arguments that Pressed discusses to argue against absolute truth — and as Pressed explains, these arguments fall apart by themselves.


It's not that I have anything against you...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:31 PM

It's just that BlogShares is going to go live in seven days and at that time, only cash will be carried over, so I've sold off most of my non-cash assets (as many as I could sell in one day without paying anything to do so). Not to worry, I'll be buying up your blog shares again after the May 1 launch. :-)

The Mark of Easter

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:34 AM

Considering the details of the followers of Jesus' reaction throughout the Gospels shows something really interesting, I think. In Matthew, “the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples” (28:8 [NIV]). In Luke, “they [the women] remembered his words. When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others” (24:8-9 [NIV]). In John “Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her” (20:18 [NIV]).

All of these Gospels, in other words, emphasize when the women, and namely Mary Magdalene, realized what was going on and spread the word. They were excited and joyful. Not only that, but they met Jesus. That doesn't happen in Mark. Here is how Mark most likely ends, according to the most reliable manuscripts (Mark 16:1-8 [NIV]):

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don't be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' ”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

They said nothing because they were afraid. Assumedly, the various endings that have been added to Mark over the years are correct (based on what we know from the other Gospels) and the women did break their silence fairly quickly, but Mark sees fit to end with them saying nothing. They were afraid. What is this? Isn't Easter suppose to be joyous?

Someone suggested something to me that was interesting. Mark, while we assume had no problem with the accounts of the resurrection, was emphasizing that the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection weren't the thing that was important. What was, and is, important is that He is coming again soon and that we will see Him. It won't just be a few select people thousands of years ago, we will see Jesus.

With that in mind, it seems to me, perhaps Mark has the most joyous account of all. Mark's account of the resurrection reminds us about the blessed hope we have in the future, the hope provided through Jesus' death and resurrection.

Happy Easter, everyone!

What Christian Sites Do You Visit?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:35 PM

I'm stumped… or maybe I'm lazy, but I can't seem to find a good site for my monthly The Navigator Christian site review. Does anyone here have some good sites to recommend (blogs, political promos, etc., excluded)? If you take a look at that link, you should be able to get a feel for what's par for the course.

But wait, there's more! If you give me a link I decide to publish a review on, you will receive credit in the article which is distributed to 700+ church members and displayed on and You'll be famous! Christianity Today will be knocking on your door to get your opinion on things! Rush Limbaugh will have you fill in when he is on vacation! In a matter of weeks, you'll be able to retire comfortably to a tropical island and spend your days blogging in leisure. Okay, scratch that part about being famous…

Good Friday

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:37 AM

He was twenty-one in 1944
He was hope and he was courage on a lonely shore
Sent there by a mother with love beyond her tears
Just a young American who chose to rise above his fears
And as I watch him struggle up that hill
Without a thought of turning back
I cannot help but wonder

What did he die for?
When he died for you and me
Made the sacrifice
So that we could all be free
I believe we will answer each to heaven
For the way we spend a priceless liberty
Look inside and ask the question
What did he die for?
When he died for me

To the darkest day in A.D. 33
Came the mercy and compassion of eternity
Sent there by a Father with love beyond His tears
Blameless One, the only Son
to bear the guilt of all these years
And as I watch Him struggle up that hill
Without a thought of turning back
I cannot help but wonder

What did He die for?
When He died for you and me
Made the sacrifice
So that we could all be free
I believe we will answer each to heaven
For the way we spend a priceless liberty
Look inside and ask the question
What did he die for?

He died for freedom
He died for love
And all the things we do not pay Him back
Could never be enough

What did He die for?
When He died for you and me
Made the sacrifice
So that we could all be free
I believe we will answer each to heaven
For the way we spend a priceless liberty
Look inside and ask the question
What did he die for?
When He died for me

—Twila Paris, What Did He Die For

A Squad of American Soldiers

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 8:17 PM

A squad of American soldiers was patrolling along the Iraqi border. To their surprise, they found the badly mangled dead body of an Iraqi soldier in a ditch along side the road.

A short distance up the road, they found a badly mangled American soldier in a ditch on the other side of the road, who was still barely alive. They ran to him, cradled his blood-covered head and asked him what had happened.

“Well,” he whispered, “I was walking down this road, armed to the teeth. I came across this heavily armed Iraqi border guard. I looked him right in the eye and shouted, 'Saddam Hussein is an unprincipled, lying piece of trash!'”

“He looked me right in the eye and shouted back, 'Bill Clinton, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy and most of your Democrats are unprincipled, lying pieces of trash too!'”

“We were standing there shaking hands when the truck hit us.”

Syria and the Pax Americana

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:41 PM

Syria is a sponsor of terrorism. Syria probably has WMD's. Syria is run by the Ba'ath party and has probably taken in members of the Iraqi Ba'ath party. Syria should not be our next military target. What could I possibly mean by that?

It's simple. With Iraq, we had justification — we had been in a previous war, or a continuing war with an intermission, with them and had UN resolutions (if not the UN itself) behind us. We had a country that we had dealt with through diplomatic means for twelve years and had gotten no where with.

That isn't the case with Syria. Frankly, we do not have the right simply to attack any country that has WMD's and doing so to another state in the middle east will create such a great hatred toward us that we likely will suffer unimaginable consequences afterwards. Attacking Syria would provoke the Muslim world into such a panic that a Jihad on a scale never before considered could come out from it. Our European allies would further distance themselves, potentially drawing the battle lines for a war to end all wars.

It concerns me, if the administration is really considering this, that we will create a doctrine of Pax Americana, as it has been dubbed. On an apocalyptic note, could the very country that has seemingly been against the UN-style of globalization be on route to the creation of a one world government? I sincerely hope not.

As Christians, especially, I think there is good reason to oppose this war. Many Muslims equate America with Christianity. As we are in, and not of, this world, should we willingly do things that will negate our chances to reach out to those who need the Gospel? This is the price we may pay, this is the price we ought to concider.

Back in February, I wondered out loud about the same potential price concerning our present conflict. Even now, I worry that increasing anti-western sentiment in the middle east may close off millions of people from the Gospel (regardless of how good the overall benefits of the operation are). However, an attack on Syria would surely cause hatred many times over that which our present conflict has and will, taking a bad situation concerning evangelism and making it worse.

The United States government should understand, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a war that those who support the Iraqi conflict will support by default. As a conservative, I've always been uneasy about our international policy — I guess I'm somewhat of an isolationist by nature. I'm not saying we should avoid other countries, in this day and age, we can't. But, we shouldn't try to appoint ourselves to the position of judge, jury, and executioner for the world.

But in my gut, I fear we will.

The Sabbath in Light of the New Covenant

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:32 AM

Generally speaking, Christians try to follow the law, though not required, because we want to do God's will. That point is often used against the argument of sabbatarians, much like Paul's declaration not to judge any observance of Sabbaths, new moon festivals, etc. (Colossians 2:16). Still, assuming we want to do God's will (see argument 1), it would seem to me that we should set down our guard and consider the sabbatarian argument — not as a requirement or a judgment, but an earnest attempt to understand whether or not it has merit. Unless we have no interest in following God's laws willfully, then our freedom from the law is not an excuse to let this issue slide (I'm not saying one must get a particular conclusion, but that we should really consider this issue rather than just ignoring it like it so often is).

For the last few years, I've made an effort (that I have often failed) to make Sunday a day of rest. I have always followed the reasoning that Sunday is the new sabbath — the Lord's Day. However during this particular argument I started to wonder if all of this was really a fallicy. My Seventh-Day Adventist friend, who seems to enjoy a good debate as much as I do, made a really good point: there is nothing, that I know of, in the Bible that says the early Christians actually moved Sabbath observance to Sunday. They met on Sunday, yes, but there is no indication that they ended the observance of the Sabbath in doing so.

Another friend, who attends a non-sabbatarian church, solves the problem in a way that seems to closely mimic what we can infer from Acts. He observes the Sabbath, but worships on Sunday morning. The Sabbath is a day of rest, and it is the seventh day, but that isn't a prohibition on Sunday worship. The command we are considering isn't “Honor the Sabbath and worship only on this day.” In other words, this need not be an all or nothing position where if you accept the Sabbath, you must give up your existing Church and move to one that has Saturday services. All this question is, is a question concerning whether the day of rest must be on the seventh day.

One person chimed in suggesting that the ideal solution might be to observe both the Lord's Day and the Sabbath as days of rest. At first this sounded like a good idea, but wasn't this exactly what the Phari did? When unsure, they added more rules “just to be safe.” To me, this seems like a road destined for legalism, whether that is intended or not.

With that in mind, I am pondering the idea of switching to Sabbath observance. Not legalistic, mind you, but the same way I have treated Sunday for a while. I'm confused as to whether this is right or wrong, but it seems to me that only post-Biblical dogma provides rationale for having a “first day Sabbath.” If that's the case, and I want to take the fourth commandment as seriously as the rest, I guess I must confront this.

The status quo is unacceptable. It is comfortable, but if it isn't God's will, that is irrelevant. Now I must just pray that I can better understand this.

Of course, as always, I welcome the thoughts of my friends here in the blogosphere…


By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:52 PM

Well, what do you know…

which smilie are you?

Thanks to Kevin.

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