Posts Tagged With: podcast

The Problem with Snopes.com

By Adam Zens

There appears to be another dubious debunking from Snopes.com recently regarding the president’s speaking schedule. It sounds like “hair-splitting” when you call it “false” that the president’s cancellation of speeches on behalf of Hillary are necessarily related to her recent FBI probe. Snopes really has to do a better job than this when their own credibility as a debunker of popular mythology is at stake.

Here is the “snopes” story about the president canceling all speaking appearances for Hillary:

http://www.snopes.com/white-house-cancels-all-obama-appearances/

Yes, Snopes has done its homework with regard to the alarmist statement that was issued by Hal Leonard. However, they could not simply leave the clarification at a factual nature. No, they had to throw a “sucker punch” and try to discredit Leonard’s character through an ad hominem attack. This man is a crazed lunatic, they tell us, a deranged threatener of judges who feeds off conspiracy theories. How could we possibly given any credence to that source?

Problem is that this source which snopes is refuting is putting two and two together. Snopes isolates the FBI announcement that they are reinvestigating Clinton’s emails from the cancellation that Obama makes in his speaking schedule. Note: Obama did not cancel *all* of his speaking engagements on behalf of Hillary Clinton which technically falsifies Leonard’s claim. Yet snopes acknowledges that Obama is changing his speaking tour and that cancellations have been made. Thus, when the issue is dissected and the investigation of Hillary is understood in total isolation, of course, Obama’s cancellations are entirely without significance. But the fact that Obama’s speaking schedule quietly changes about the time that the Director of the FBI issues a memo that Hillary’s insecure emails are now being reopened in connection with another matter would certainly cause one to wonder if the two should be taken as entirely separate from each other.  Whether Obama believes that she would make a fit candidate for office or whether he is recommending her as a “lesser evil” than Trump remains to be seen. But why would he change his schedule about the time that Wikileaks exposed Comey’s new letter requesting a fresh investigation to sort through new emails sent in connection with the Clinton campaign.

The problem with Snopes.com is not confined to partisan or ideological boundaries, either. Recently, they attempted to expose the progressive cause of expanding ballot access for voters in Wisconsin by challenging the contention of magazine, The Nation. Reporter Ari Berman wrote a piece linking the limitation of ballot access to University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students during the April primary this year with the suggestion made by a city clerk that placing an early voting location on or near the campus might favor the Democratic vote. The less than helpful response from Snopes is to rate the claim “false” that there is proof that voter suppression was directed along partisan lines. In fact, the other concerns, such as the budgetary feasibility of installing a new early voting location, could have played a role as well as the state law requiring that one party not be favored over another. In this case, Snopes seems to avoid the relevant evidence reported by the Nation that an observed relationship existed in April when students at UW-GB were denied voter access due to long lines. Additionally, it is committing the “straw man” fallacy by acting as though there is “proof” of partisan voter suppression. That is not the claim being made. Scott Ross, of OneWisconsinNow, explains in an email that the real advocacy is about
[C]alling on Green Bay to do the right thing and take steps to make sure voters on campus aren’t left out in the cold 

– or standing in long lines on Election Day like they were this past April.

It’s truly difficult to debunk a claim that does not exist. Whether it is engaging in ad hominem attacks to make certain claims about the Clinton email scandal seem even more outrageous or exaggerated or whether it is mischaracterizing the claims being made by progressive organizations, Snopes needs to combine sound, logical reasoning with its fact-checking.

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Audiobook Nook

Speaking of voter suppression, whether real or merely presumed, have the new Voter ID laws really prevented voter fraud? Or have they merely placed one more barrier between the U.S. citizen and the voting booth? Without taking sides for or against Voter ID laws, Professor Eric Kasper explains what’s going on with the status of the Wisconsin law since it has been contested in the court system. Eric is a great guy and professor and has several published works including Don’t Stop Thinking about the Music which analyzes the impact of popular music used upon presidential campaigns.

Philosophical author, J.M. Kuczynski, has recently published another audio book and this one has to do with the Theory of Measurement. Along with presenting a defense of comparable unit lengths as standards of measurement, the author discusses conventionalism and alternative theories which have made their way into the literature. J.M.’s work on Quine’s assessment of the Analytic-Synthetic distinction raises several points of contention against the implications of hyper-empiricism which are self-defeating.

How does Yahweh define Himself in the Old Testament? Find out more in the Names of God written by Chris Adkins.

 

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Redeeming Weeds

My husband had a cold for the last two weeks. He is one of those people who does not like to take medicine or any kind of drugs. While I am a huge baby when I am sick and will try anything to feel better, he likes to tough it out. This cold was bad enough that even he was willing to try sleeping with an onion poultice on his chest, which cleared up his congestion pretty well. But even though he was much better, some sinusitis symptoms still lingered. He was still suffering from sinus pressure.

While I was looking something up on-line, I serendipitously found that Creeping Charlie is a traditional remedy for sinusitis. Who would have thought that that worthless, invasive weed was good for anything? So I made a Creeping Charlie tea that seemed to relieve his lingering symptoms.

This lead me to learn about other useful weeds. I found that dandelion greens have twice the calcium and vitamin A contained in spinach and they can be used in much the same way.[1] This was great news because my spinach is not doing as well as I’d like. God used these weeds to remind me of his amazing provision for us. I didn’t have to plan, plant or care for dandelions or Creeping Charlie. I didn’t have to work for them. They were free gifts to me. I did nothing to earn them. God knew I would need them and so He provided them.

This was ironic because this week, my husband had also been working on the book, Lost at Starvation Lake. It is a story of God’s provision and how God works out his perfect plan in our lives. Just one more reminder of God’s goodness.

[1] Matthew Alfs, Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants of the Midwest (2012), p. 13.

 

Audiobook Nook

Hot off the press is the new audio book, Lost at Starvation Lake (Audible link here). Yours truly and author, Gary P. Hansen tag-teamed on this production which is Book 2 in the Starvation Lake trilogy. Lost continues the marital journey of newlywed couple, Paul and Sally Sinhuna, as they reach out in various ways to help others and learn the meaning of the Christian faith.  Along the way, they minister to widow, Susan LeForest, a character introduced in the first book. Locust & Honey Productions is very pleased with the final product and we think that you’ll find it both entertaining and edifying in your own journey.

 

Finally, Locust & Honey Productions is offering a very special promotion this week and this week only. Get a free audio book in exchange for a review of Warden Watch (Audible link here) by A.R. Horvath. This is a fun, young-adult story about Casey who goes on an amazing adventure into a realm which is both inside and outside of his world! Written with lots of classic fantasy-genre inspiration, such as the Lord of the Rings, this tale will inspire generations to grow in their understanding of the natural and super-natural realms. If you’d like to participate in this promotion, please message our page and provide us with your email address for speedy shipping of the free audio book coupon! (Audible membership required to take advantage of this offer.)

 

Well, as promised last week, here is the first part of the interview with Christian apologist, Pradeep Tilak, as he talks with us about Worldview Apologetics.

 

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Father-Cornerstone of Homeschooling

Right after our first son was born, I had a big plan for his education. Chief on my list was the proper foreign language instruction which happened to be French in my view. There he was, barely born, and I had plugged in the Calvert School French language tape that would shape his linguistic future. My wife has remembered to tease me sufficiently about my enthusiasm for the first (and very young) member of our homeschool. You see, we had planned all along to home educate all of our children all the way through high school, but I was under the impression that by playing this set of French tapes that our son would learn by osmosis and have the language mastered before we even began officially “home educating” him. It took me a while, but I was gradually disabused of this idea, although I continued to speak French to him as he was growing up. His foreign language of choice today is Japanese. Oh, well! I tried.

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As a father in a homeschooling family, I’ve never understood the passion to educate one’s children at home solely for negative reasons. Without the joy of the prospect of rearing your children under God’s guidance, homeschooling (in this father’s mind) would be a  a very lifeless affair. That’s not to say that there are not some great negative reasons for pulling your kids out of public education, such as the new bathroom mandate.   Many schools are attempting to keep their federal dollars for education flowing in while not “ticking off” parents with new bathroom policies that may allow aggressive teen males into the same private area as young women/girls, violating their privacy and perhaps more.

One of the positive reasons for homeschooling your kids is sanctification, that big scary theological terms that makes our conduct square with our profession of faith.[1] Now, that doesn’t mean that kids who attend public education will remain unsanctified, of course. Rather it’s the joy of participating in the sanctifying process of your kids. Supernaturally, it is God’s work of grace in our lives and the lives of our children. God gets the credit. But he uses instruments, human instrumentality, to accomplish His purposes of sanctification.

 

It is also vital that the father supplies a vision for his family in their homeschooling journey. Too often, the desire to educate one’s own children is more of the mother’s vision and aspiration. But she needs that support from their father that this is, indeed, God’s calling on their lives. To provide an alternative to public (or even private) education, is a noble and spiritual endeavor. But it is more than merely passing down your core values to your children. It’s caring about them enough to recognize that the nurture of their souls is as at least as important (if not more so) than the level of academic training that is imparted to one’s children. There are families, however, where the majority of the enthusiasm for homeschooling comes from the mother and the father is rather indifferent about the whole enterprise. That is a serious situation for if both parents are not agreed in vision and purpose for homeschooling, it is only a matter of time before secular pressures will pull the children away from the parents and away from each other into different “grade levels.”

 

It is so difficult to resist the pull to have the mother, who could be actively involved in her children’s education, making a separate income from the father. Perhaps with mother working, the bills seem easier to pay (often forgetting about additional child-care and other automobile-related expenses). Harder and harder it has become to stay a complementarian father as well with society pulling fathers in the direction of asking their wives to pursue a career outside of their home. Generally, it is a different allure in that case. The husband might be thought of as restricting his wife who might remain unfulfilled without a career. Or possibly the extra money would become a form of security or insurance for the future. Whatever the form of reasoning, it needs to be addressed and tackled by the Father with the Word of God; otherwise, his wife will be left wondering if an outside career isn’t really better for the kids.

 

Sit down as a family and write up a vision plan or statement to define what your homeschooling mission is beyond the obvious academic and spiritual objectives. Or if you have not yet purposed to “go that route” of homeschooling ask yourselves if an extra income with all of the supposed “bells and whistles” that it brings is worth the cost of separation. Is it really worth having the kids go their direction, the wife go hers, and the father take off in yet another direction? What does this do for the group morale of your family? Does it build up your family mission or does it rather divide the family? How about the level of “busy-ness” where each child will be pulled in extra-curricular activities that make spending any time together as a family that much more difficult?

 

Whatever reason becomes the most compelling for your family, the positive joy of rearing children in the fear and admonition of the Lord should never be left too far back on the backburner. Hence, the need for a mission statement where fathers can express a fundamental direction for their family that is “counter-cultural” in the good sense of the word. At the end of the day, Fathers need to not only support homeschooling efforts in their family, but they ought to stand with Joshua and shout, “But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15; New Living Translation).

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Audiobook nook

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with author of Worldview Apologetics, Pradeep Tilak. I’ve been working on the editing this interview to fit a “podcast” sort of format which should be ready by next week. Dr. Tilak is a major equipper for Christians who are seeking to engage worldly belief systems at the level of both the heart and mind. Locust & Honey’s very first podcast episode featured Jon Zens, editor of Searching Together and author ofChrist Alone and Don’t Forget the Part about the Sheep and the Goats. We talked about Searching Together when it used to be Baptist Reformation Review, the Great Commission, and divorce in the Body of Christ.

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Deconstructing Mi Cuba

1240266_669150376436661_2081017554_nPresident Obama, in conjunction with his recent visit to Cuba, sent out an email testimony from a young man who loved baseball. He loved the game so much that he left his country to play baseball in a different venue. His name is Jose Abreu and he left a whole lot more than his country behind.

What I find interesting about Obama’s comments regarding this young man’s pursuit of the game is that he dodges the issue about whether it was right for this man to leave family and friends in Cuba to play baseball in America. In fact, in the interview, the president stammers a bit when spilling out that Abreu had to “be separated” from his homeland. That’s not quite accurate, though. He chose to leave family and friends behind, including a very young son who needed his father.

Abreu could have continued playing baseball in his native country, but he chose to leave Cuban baseball and embraced “high-buck” American baseball which has a much better compensation package, indeed! He makes 7 million a year playing for the White Sox. Naturally, Obama seizes the opportunity to use the historic American-Cuban baseball game as a talking point for how poor the relations have been between America and Cuba for so many years. But there is a reason for the strained relations and the president does not want to broach that topic, let alone dwell on it.

This rich, former Cuban baseball player left his two-year old son behind to make money in America. A father abandoned his family and his young son for the noble cause of making money. He abandoned his role as father. He left behind responsibility. He calls it a “special story.” Folks, it’s time to “call a spade, a spade.”

It is telling and somewhat ironic that the White House labeled Abreu’s testimony “Mi sueno, mi Cuba” (My Dream, My Cuba). It would actually seem quite the opposite. The “dream” sounds a lot like the “Sueno Americano” (American dream) and when Abreu leaves his native country, how can he possibly call it “Mi Cuba”?

Neither Obama nor Abreu seem to have the answer to the real “elephant-in-the-room” question which is “Was the pay-off worth it?” Was the compensation of 7 million dollars a year playing for the White Sox worth abandoning your family and your very young son. We are not supposed to ask that question. It’s too material, perhaps. We are supposed to bask in the glow of Abreu’s reuniting with his son temporarily in Cuba.

But what about the American POWs that may have been detained in Cuba? The president does not want to address their plight. Requests to obtain information about American detainees in Cuba since 1960 have fallen on deaf ears at the White House. But it’s so much easier to focus on a man who is reunited with the son he was “separated” from in Cuba than it is to imagine the horrific state of Americans who were/are tortured in Cuba.

As we contemplate the beauty and the truth of the Resurrection, let us remember the power of choice. Jesus was not simply a victim of separation from the Father. He chose to be the sacrifice, not for fame, fortune, or power, or the “sueno americano” (American Dream), but so that we can be victorious over sin and revel in the glory of the Resurrection one day ourselves. “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5; ESV).

 

Miscellaneous audio books

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with Catholic scholar Mike Freze and the whole thing went a bit long so I ended up having to break it into two portions. Thesecond portion is now available (you may have to download google music to hear the podcasts). Mike and Locust & Honey collaborated and continue to collaborate on audio projects including most recently the third volume of Voices, Visions, and Apparitions. Our next release, which will be featured in an upcoming blog, has to do with the historical Jesus and what is known about him, not only through the gospels, but through outside sources.

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That’s Not Very Attractive

I remember over a decade ago when a rash of books about the Law of Attraction came out. This idea was very popular for awhile and then like most trends, it went away. So I was surprised to see it in a different guise on the Internet.   I shouldn’t have been surprised.   The internet is home to thousands of crackpot theories. What troubled me is that it is still around.

The version of the Law of Attraction that I saw was promulgated by Carol Tuttle, founder of Dressing Your Truth.   Dressing Your Truth is a fashion program for women and I absolutely love it. I am fashion challenged and this program helped me find my own personal style.   Mrs. Tuttle promotes her other book, Remembering Wholeness, throughout her fashion program. This book is a Law of Attraction user guide.

The Law of Attraction is a belief that you create your own reality by your deeply held subconscious beliefs. There are so many problems with this, that I don’t know where to start. I will address what I see as the biggest evil.

Who does this belief blame for evils big and small? What does the Law of Attraction say about childhood victims of sexual abuse for instance? Carol Tuttle responds to that exact question on page 27 of her book. “As a parent, I can believe that the world is not a safe place for my children and pass this fear onto them. If I do this, I make their chances of being victimized even greater because they will attract those people interested in hurting others. I can empower them by making them aware of contrast, that good and evil exist in this mortal dimension, and teaching them the Law of Attraction—which is that they can choose whatever they want to experience.   If they want to be safe and feel good, then all they have to do is believe and they will attract only that into their lives.”[1] Now, it is not good to make your children fearful by passing on your own fears, but to suggest that victims of sexual abuse caused or desired that experience is nothing short of evil. Perhaps I have jumped the gun and that is not what she means. She quotes another book by Glen Allen called, A Course in Miracles, to further her point. “I am responsible for what I see (perception); I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. Everything that seems to happen to me I ask for and receive as I have asked.”[2] Yep, that is what she said.

A common feeling that surrounds victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, chronic illness and divorce is that they somehow deserved or caused these things. Counselors working with these groups constantly affirm the fact that what happened to them was not their fault. This is an important part of their healing. The Law of Attraction tells victims that they caused it and that they kind of deserved it.

Let’s contrast this with Scripture. “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea!” Matthew 18:6 (CJB).   Notice the blame is not put on the victim. Jesus himself refutes this blame-the-victim mentality when He heals a man born blind. ““Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him,” John 9:1-3.

Carol Tuttle says that the Law of Attraction is compatible with all religions and that it is not a religion itself. Jesus does not agree with her. It is not compatible with Christianity in any way.

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Locust & Honey has just started a podcast entitled Applied Apologetics. Our first episode featured Jon Zens, editor of Searching Together and author of Christ Alone and Don’t Forget the Part about the Sheep and the Goats. We talked about Searching Together when it used to be Baptist Reformation Review, the Great Commission, and divorce in the Body of Christ.**

** User may need Music Player for Google Drive installed to listen to MP3 files.

[1] Carol Tuttle, Remembering Wholeness (Seattle, WA: Sea Script Company, 2002).

[2] Ibid.

 

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