Friday, April 12, 2019

Hell Freezes Over at Longview Baptist Temple





Bob Gray II, the pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, recants dictatorial leadership and spiritual abuse of church members in a sermon where he discusses what he calls Spiritual PTSD. LBT has been known for this type of behavior in the past. It has been known for leadership that tells people what the will of God is for their lives, that deals with personal issues from the pulpit publicly, and that is hardcore in driving ministry involvement and numerical results. LBT is also known for a style of soulwinning that is often referred to as "1-2-3 pray after me". Bob Gray II recants every bit of this in this sermon. I could not believe what I was hearing - hell has frozen over! 18:32-22:30 is the core of his message and it is pretty great. Two things he said that stuck out for me...
"Whenever you do see the face of forgiveness you see the face of God."
"Serving the Lord is ... not a trip to Calvary to be crucified."
Now as for me, I'm already gone - from that church, from IFB, from evangelicalism, gone. Although LBT was a challenging environment they were not a primary cause of my exodus. I was a committed IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) when I arrived at LBT and I was a committed IFB when I left LBT. It took another church of the same stripe and specific actions by that pastor to cause me to want to break that commitment. This is not to say that LBT wasn't the kind of place one would get disillusioned with IFB, just that I wasn't in a place to be disillusioned, yet.
One could very easily pick apart this sermon from any number of viewpoints. I think it is important to accept it in the context and spirit in which it was given. He apologizes to those like me who have been "overdriven" and that is an apology I accept. Let us in turn not "overdrive" them past the next step they are able to take. If most IFB pastors would adopt the attitudes expressed in this sermon, some of the most serious damage happening in IFB churches could be stopped. It is about one victory at a time.
The rest of this post will be what I consider relatively constructive criticism and points for further reflection for men like him and others who want to see IFB leadership stop spiritually abusing people. You may ask why I would care if I am not "in the fold" any longer. I spent a lot of time in the past reckoning with the entirety of my experience and I think I can speak with some measure of authority as one who has been in the system.
Early on he mentions that for those who would "take issue" with his message, he "gives them that right" to do so. At first blush this is nonsensical. Who needs another person to give them the right to take issue? To even say such a thing is arrogance. Maybe there is a little bit of that here. But again, context - in a system where the pastor is dictator, the preacher expressing willingness to abide criticism is gracious. I wonder if he understood this or really thought his permission was intrinsically required? Or did he give it for the benefit of those who may have otherwise feared to criticize?
Those of us who broke with IFB pre-2008 voiced our criticisms IN SPITE OF IFB pastor-dictators. We weren't given permission, and we knew we weren't going to get it. We got online and spoke the truth; we even got our boards shut down at the insistence of IFB pastors (the original Fightin' Fundamentalist Forum) and carried our truths onwards in other areas. We fought IFB while IFB was still strong, long before the 20/20 IFB child abuse story came out. We spoke when our pastors smeared us as having critical and divisive spirits when it was they who were divisive.
Instead of giving permission, IFB pastors who are serious about not being dictators need to disclaim any requirement for permission to take issue with what the pastor is saying. Empower the flock, and be approachable and humble. Dignity is empowerment.
He says, "I am more interested in the flock around me than I am getting to the destination at the point of injury of the flock." If that is true, IFB churches need to end what I'll call "plugged-in" culture. This is the kind of mindset that fellowship is found within ministry. In too many IFB (and even other) churches, taking care of members and overall benevolence has fallen to the wayside. Everyone is supposed to be involved in ministry, and you get your fellowship and help there. But then when someone in ministry has a hard time, they still don't get help because everyone else is too busy in ministry to stop and help. This seems to be especially prevalent in IFB churches in California.
And it is here that the fundamentalist pulls out two verses - 1 John 2:19 - "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us." and Amos 3:3 - "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" And the fundamentalist uses these verses to marginalize those who drop out of church, even those who drop out because they were hurt or not cared for. (Despite the fact that it is a bad interpretation, but that's another discussion.)
What ends up happening is that the doctrine of separation results in mistreatment of those who dropped out of church because they got hurt. If IFBs are going to hold on to this doctrine, they need to do two things: 1) distinguish those who are committed to "error" from those who are apathetic, only nominally allied, or just given up, and 2) realize you can enforce separation in an "ecclesiastical" or church-cooperative way and still have a good relationship with the same people inter-personally. The only type of inter-personal separation insisted on in scripture is against a "brother" in moral sin under official church discipline- not a fellow Christian who listens to CCM or reads the NIV.
He says, "Spiritual PTSD can be defined as this: spiritual shock, spiritual distrust, and spiritual burnout, due to dictatorial, manipulative spiritual leadership that was about building church kingdoms at any cost, with no regard for the family structure, and/or personal dignity." Later, "[the sufferer's] commitment is so great to not pass this type of spiritual warfare to their children, that they would rather settle for a bad version of the bible, contemporary music, watered down standards, in order to be treated with dignity and respect from the pulpit, and a pastor. Heavy handed pastoral and spiritual leadership has done nothing but force conformity to man's traditions based on personal preferences and hidden agendas for one generation."
I think it would be better to call it spiritual abuse, not PTSD. We call it PTSD in cases of war because we don't consider "war" to be "abuse". But there is nothing circumstantial about "spiritual PTSD". You can call it that, but to ignore the clear fact that pastors have been abusing their flock for their own gain is to give a pass. It is saying we meant well, so we aren't really abusive, but we are sorry for what you went through, and we are going to lead better in the future. Gray needed to call out the fact of this "abuse" and he does not, and this is the worst part about his sermon. I don't really think Gray is trying to give anyone a pass because he later admits to "ill-treatment" of others but still, the language ought to be stronger and the word "abuse" should have been used.
The next thing to note is that he promotes one right bible, traditional music, and strong standards, and then in the very next sentence, denounces "conformity to man's traditions based on personal preferences". Later in the sermon he says "it was never about [the standards]".
Traditional music is, well, about tradition. The KJV, well, that's tradition too. Traditional dress codes are tradition too. You can't gloss it over by saying it is "Biblical" unless you want to condemn ancient Jewish men and women for all wearing the same thing - robes, for dancing to highly rhythmic music, and for reading the Septuagint.
The thing is, you can't make standards out of things that have no cultural meaning. But if things have cultural meaning, then the standards must follow that cultural meaning. At one time, women did not wear pants, therefore the standard was, women are not to wear pants. The cultural meaning precedes the standards: KJV, dress, and music. It took a few centuries for the KJV to fully supplant the Geneva, for instance, which was the bible used by the first American colonists. When the cultural meaning changes, the standard changes, because the standard speaks to culture, or else it has no function.
Now the cultural expectations have shifted again. It is not considered odd for a women to wear pants, although a man in a woman's pair of pants might draw some unwanted attention... the point is, the old standards are of necessity and by definition irrelevant; for example, the so-called "worship wars" ended YEARS ago, and nobody other than a strident fundamentalist would think twice about contemporary music in church, although traditional worship is still offered many places.
The upshot is that for the last 25-30 years, these irrelevant, outdated "standards" have been used as tools of control disguised as Christian holiness. The reason that Gray can say that those with Spiritual PTSD are leaving for contemporary churches is because there is no place in fundamentalism for them to go, because all of fundamentalism is about these outdated standards that have no use except to control. Implied in this and borne out by facts, is that fact that overwhelmingly, when IFB pastors over the last decade have come to understand what Gray is saying, they typically end up converting their churches into contemporary ones... not fundamentalist ones with a "nice" pastor. Laymen are pretty much making the same move where their IFB pastors are not.
Is it wrong to prefer the KJV and prefer traditional dress and music? Of course not. It is when these preferences get turned in rules or laws that the control aspect inevitably comes in. At this point in American culture these preferences are fading away where they are not already faded out and any attempt to maintain them will necessarily involve rules and control.
Also missing in Gray's analysis is what I'll call the "lieutenant problem". In the few IFB churches with pastors that do "lead softly," they typically end up having assistant staff or prominent laymen leaders within their church that do NOT "lead softly". There is still control, it is not coming from the very top, but it is getting rubber stamped at least in an implicit way from the top. The church is still characterized by dictatorial, abusive control and manipulation.
I am disheartened that Gray also puts the proper treatment of brothers and sisters in Christ below the propagation of the gospel. The first commandment is to love God, the second is to love each other, and they will know you are Christians by your love for another. So propagation of the gospel must be third.
I'll just leave it here and I want say that regardless of the above criticisms I am truly impressed with the message. Fundamentalism lost its first love(s): the love of God (preeminence of Christ) and love of each other (proper treatment of brothers and sisters) and Gray seems to be reaching to get those back. Maybe a remnant of fundamentalism will find their way to Christ putting their candlestick back in its place. Who knows.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Notes on Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 Location Inaccurate / GPS Problems

What I've learned about Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 location problems after a month of troubleshooting and research:

- Problems include jumping to a completely different location from a previously accurate fix, indicating movement when you are still, or general inaccuracy up to a mile from your actual location.
- Seems tied to Nougat, specifically 7.0. General reports indicate much improved location accuracy pre-Nougat with S7 (S8 shipped with Nougat). Other reports indicate increased accuracy with 7.1 on other devices (Samsung never released 7.1 for the S7 or S8). Hopefully the forthcoming Oreo update will help resolve issues. [EDIT 9/28/18: Upgrade to Oreo didn't make the GPS issue better at all.]
- Battery optimization for Location Services MUST be turned off to avoid complete unreliability. (Samsung turning on Battery optimization for Location Services by default makes no sense whatsoever; on Google's own phones you aren't even allowed to do this. The only item you aren't allowed to optimize is Play Services... which plays a big role in serving up ads in apps. Go figure that Google enforces that restriction but lets Samsung screw up Location Services.)
- In addition, I recommend disabling Battery optimization AND App Power Monitor for Google Maps and any other location-aware app that is important to you.
- Including Wi-Fi in location detection makes a huge positive difference, but only when Wi-Fi is on. Wi-Fi scanning when Wi-Fi is off is not nearly as effective. Avoid turning Wi-Fi off.
- Using an app like GPS Status Toolbox to reset A-GPS data and calibrate sensors and compass helps noticably, but the effect of these actions is lost when the phone is rebooted and must be repeated. Avoid rebooting the phone if location is working halfway decently. You may find it beneficial to repeat the reset/calibration actions every so often. [EDIT 9/28/18: I have had to do all these things weekly to get any chance of decent accuracy.]
- In general, the default location settings (High Accuracy with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning on in the Improve Accuracy options) are best. Changing them does not provide any benefit.
- Some reports suggest that certain cases, especially those made of metal, can affect the GPS antenna at the top of the phone. It is worth comparing location performance with and without your case. Consider a soft silicone case instead if your case proves to be an issue.
- If you have your phone carrier's app on your Galaxy S7 or S8, ensure that Network Diagnostics is turned off, or uninstall or disable the app entirely. Some reports indicate that this interferes with location operation.
- Replacing the SIM card is an oft-suggested potential fix, but I haven't been able to find an instance of where it solved anyone's problem.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Windows Kernel Data Inpage Error after Cloning Hard Drive or SSD

Problem: You've cloned your disk to a new hard drive or SSD and everytime you boot your computer from the off state you get a Kernel Data Inpage Error, the computer reboots, and everything is fine, until the next time you shut down completely and start up again.

Cause: Windows has gotten confused about the characteristics of the page file.

Resolution:

Step 1: Disable the page file entirely:
Windows 7 Instructions
Windows 10 Instructions

Make sure you have rebooted the computer after changing the settings.

Step 2: Re-enable the page file. Use the above instructions to get back to the window where you change the page file settings. This time the only thing you will do is check the box "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives". Click OK two or three times to go out and then reboot the computer.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rationality and Religion

Humans have a tendency to see agency, or at least rationality, in things.

I was reminded of it this morning. As I thought back on my professional career, I wondered why I got the positions I had, when I got them, and not some other positions, at other times. Of course, being the central figure in the story, I have a wealth of data to go on. I quickly constructed a hypothesis that supported the idea that everything proceeded rationally.
But is it so? Or have I just impressed my own mental framework on reality?

I know a church in my area, that has a special Thanksgiving service every year. The mic is passed around and people talk about what they are thankful for. Of course as you would imagine, every one of them ascribes the good thing to the good agency of god.
It becomes very easy for Christians to psych themselves into faith this way. A fundamentalist Baptist pastor I knew (who apparently is now a conservative reformed Evangelical) has something on his Facebook feed that said, “Play up the positives, play down the negatives, and call it faith,” in reference to church pastors who try to sugarcoat problems in their churches. However the rank-and-file believer in the pew follows the same script all the time.
The problem with this is while it turns the past into a nice tidy bundle of rational intentionality, it does poorly at predicting the future. Simply put, it only works in hindsight. Therefore the Christian approach to the future is to suspend judgement until such a time as rational intentionality can be interpreted from events now past. Then praise god for it.

Prayer only serves to intensify this process. You are repeating your desires constantly, of course you are going to see scraps of intentionality all over the place. If what you want happens, you are going to assume it was an answer from god, with no other evidence to suggest that. If what you want doesn’t happen, you either 1) assume god is saying no or 2) suspend judgement and assume god is going to do something else at another time. Then wait a sufficient amount of time to be able to turn around and claim intentionality on the part of agency (god) in the non-answer of your prayer.
I wrote the following 11 problems with prayer 5+ years ago:

*****

Problems with Prayer…

1. Incompatibility with God's sovereignty

For God to answer many of our prayers would involve going against what He already plans to do. Will He change His mind in every circumstance for us?

2. Incompatibility with God's inscrutability and man's finite understanding

Prayer as communication relies on a shared understanding of the situation at hand. God is thinking 10,000 moves ahead and has determined what He will do or allow, while we spin our wheels asking Him to change that because we have no way of comprehending what He is up to.

3. Incompatibility with Cessationism

Prayer as a conversation invites a reply. To pray always results in us believing that God speaks back to us, not just through His word, or through circumstance, but within our hearts. And yet there is no more open revelation. How do we know the voices in our hearts are God? What will we do when that which we are calling a "leading" turns out to be based on an undeniable falsehood?

4. Incompatibility with unanswerable prayer

Prayer assumes that God can do anything. To draw on a popular atheist retort, why doesn't God heal amputees? Why doesn't God physically move mountains? There are certain things that no amount of prayer will solve.

5. Incompatibility with unanswered prayer

Prayer assumes that God is willing to answer at least some of our prayers. Then why does God never seem to answer some prayers, like calming a crying baby in the middle of the night. Or keeping the rent check from coming in until after payday. Simple, small requests where "wait" is not an option.

6. Incompatibility with the suffering of the neediest

The North Korean government operates (yet denies) a prison camp by the name of Camp 22 in the northeastern corner of their country. Atrocities of the worst sort occur there. One of the things they do there is conduct human experiments, some in gas chambers. A story was related where a family of four, a husband, wife, and two children, were placed in a gas chamber and gassed to death. Even though the parents were vomiting and barely able to breath themselves, they tried to protect their children with mouth-to-mouth breathing. It didn't matter; the gassing continued until they were all dead. Another story is told of a guard who was asked to find 50 healthy women, then to feed them chemical-soaked cabbages. These women immediately began to vomit blood and all died. How about here in America, homeless families, sick people with no insurance, starving children? Why would God answer my prayers, a man who has a job, shelter, food, freedom, insurance, a loving family, etc. Why would I want God to spend His time on me instead of them.

7. General lack of falsifiability

When the answer to any prayer is defined as "yes" "no" or "wait," you have completely stripped prayer of any meaningfulness. You could pray to a milk jug and always get an answer.

8. Dangerous to man's sense of responsibility and creativity

When we pray, we choose to leave the matter in God's hands in faith. This results in us "waiting on Him," and not acting in our own power. To the extent that we believe that only God can respond is to the extent that we reduce our own efforts. The story is told of a man sitting on the roof of his house in a rising flood. He prayed for rescue: a log floated by, but he waited for God to save him; a boat came by, but He waited for God to save him; a rescue copter showed up, but he waited for God to save him; then he drowned. This is an extreme (and likely fictional) example. However, it illustrates the point. Prayer tends to make us passive and ignore the possibilities we could explore on our own.

9. Creates the tendency for judgmentalism in the church

If God is not answering prayers for personal or financial needs it may be because you don't have enough faith, there may be sin in your life, etc.

10. Creates an unhealthy cycle of expectation and disappointment

We strive to pray in faith according the James, then watch our faith get broken when the prayer isn't answered, resulting in less faith the next we pray. Psychologically it takes a toll and can cause us to question God and Christianity.

11. Is too easily confounded with circumstance

Is someone's death the answer to a prayer that God would bring a person back to righteousness? Is someone's healing the answer to the same prayer? In the first case we assume that God judged, in the second case we assume that God was merciful, when quite honestly we just don't know. Did your favorite sports team win the game because you prayed? Or was it because they were better? What is your explanation for the lack of answered prayer of those rooting for the other team?

*****

Every one of these problems is understood and very clearly makes sense when you understand the Christian perception of divine rational intentionality as a typical expression of the natural human tendency to see rationality in things, and not as a true perception in and of itself.

Of course, it is possible that our concept of agency is at fault, the rationality we perceive does exist, and some other concept of agency could explain it. Any religion that shares the prayer/providence nexus won’t do, for (one or more of) reasons we’ve discussed. Most religions do, with the exception of some Eastern religions such as Buddhism. But these religions don’t provide a god-based framework for understanding perceived rationality, in fact, they proclaim that form is emptiness (Buddhism) or are simply humanistic (Confucianism). So we aren’t left with a satisfactory understanding involving god, except possibly Deism.

The only rational intentionality we can confirm is from (semi-)intelligent beings existing on Earth. Even then, we must take care to actually confirm with evidence such rational intentionality, before using it to make claims about the order of things. Otherwise you’ve just got a conspiracy theory.

This offends many people’s sense of rationality and agency because it goes against human instinct. The reply here is that a creator god gave us that instinct. Well I have just discussed that the common religious impulse derived from this instinct is painfully inadequate, so I am not keen to accept that reply.
To better explain, the concept of rationality is based in the physical concept of cause and effect, giving rise to logic that is based in its principles on natural cause and effect. If this, then that. Because this, then that. If not this, then not that. & etc.
The physical concept of cause and effect is rooted in the (presently) unchanging laws of the universe that were frozen in place during the last big bang, and will change again only during next one.
Natural selection selected for humans who survived, and in doing so selected for humans that survived the most, and those that survived the most were those who were factually accurate the most, and those who were factually accurate the most were those who developed a rationality that most closely mirrored the true state of reality.
We therefore see the world in this manner, and perceive rationality all around us. We further tend to perceive intentional rationality because that’s what got us in trouble the most… a preying lion, or a warrior from another tribe.

It’s easy to make the jump from that to making the entire cosmos rationally intentional (caused by an agent).
No wonder once you make the cosmos the work of an agent, you begin to place revelation over rationality. Many, many advances we take for granted required overcoming a substantial amount of opposition based purely on revelation(religious conviction): vaccines, anesthesia during childbirth, birth control, to name a few. Global warming and evolution are the latest to offend those who place revelation over rationality. It is a wonder that people who place revelation over rationality like to criticize the rationality of those who don’t.
As a matter of fact, the prayer/providence nexus itself was and is commonly used as a defense against modern medicine, from the initial historical arguments against vaccination (look it up) all the way up to believers in faith-based healing who would rather let their children suffer and die under a regimen of prayer than take them to a doctor.
The common American evangelical would like to distance themselves from such things but they cannot, as they subscribe to the very same interpretation and outlook concerning revelation, prayer, and providence. The only difference is that the march of time has shifted the interpretation of that revelation to allow for many modern advances. But they fight the same type of battle today against global warming and evolution, employing their misguided sense of intentional rationality to cook up boogeymen who are trying to destroy our country and way of life with science.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Charter Schools and Ignoring Inequality

Are American public schools really failing? Are charter schools swooping in to save the day with innovative methods that engage students like never before? The history of allegations of "failing" public schools is a long one, and often motivated by something other than academic success.
I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist family. For grades 1-2 and 6-12, I attended fundamentalist Baptist church schools. (The only reason I didn't attend 3-5 was because that was a period of time my family could not afford the tuition.) I'd like to dispel the notion up front that fundamentalist and conservative evangelical church schools are private schools. Indeed they are private schools in their constitution, but absolutely cannot be compared to private schools in their rigor or academic offerings. In their effect on the academic growth of the student, such schools are no better than glorified collective homeschools. We are talking about schools with teachers with no credentialing, no regionally accredited college degrees, using religious based curriculum that makes no effort to adhere to the latest guidelines of any state. In my time in such schools, two religion-based curricula were used: A-Beka, a product of the regionally unaccredited Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL; and ACE/School of Tomorrow, based out of Hendersonville, TN.
It was in the ACE curriculum that I ran across a lesson that discussed political cartoons. The example given of a political cartoon was a ship, representing public education, sinking. Now keep in mind this was the early 1990s, and the material I was given was likely first published in the 1980s, long before the public charter movement really found its legs. The Christian school movement, put bluntly, was formed in the early 70s not because public schools were "failing" but because of the enforcement of racial integration in public schools through bussing. Many conservative white evangelicals and fundamentalists were having none of that and left the public school sphere entirely to found the Christian school movement. However, after the Civil Rights Movement, you could no longer participate in the public sphere in America being blatantly racist, and the trope of "failing public schools" was a convenient justification, along with Supreme Court decisions "taking God out of" schools.
Many criticisms of the charter school movement abound, but as I am wont to do, I took a data-focused approach in attempting to understand whether charters were filling in for public schools that are "failing" or not. In the San Diego area in which I live, as I pored over the data, several things stood out:

1. You don't find much charter school penetration in wealthier areas.
2. Free-and-reduced-lunch percentage (FRL%) was strongly correlated with academic performance.
3. Taken on the whole, charter schools have similar outcomes to public schools.
4. The test results that show American schools behind other countries? When adjusted for economic inequality, American kids actually come out ahead.

Number one really hit me. Basically, the well-to-do don't need charters, because the public schools in their neighborhood do just fine, year after year. This is in the same school district that has flailing schools in poorer neighborhoods. Of course, guess where the charters tend to be? The poorer neighborhoods. They chase after a potential market of parents that don't know what to do about their kids who are struggling in school.
Economic inequality has produced a sizable underclass of families with children who don't have enough support from home to make it in school. This support includes the basics like regular, decent meals, parental time for regular bonding and homework help, parental involvement at school, money for supplies and extra activities and supports outside of school, etc. and etc. Specifically, a FRL% over 69% usually indicates a poor performing school. In one case I knew of, the school couldn't get parent volunteers because most parents in the neighborhood had things on their record that prevented them from passing the basic background check required of volunteers. The school had begun to function as a black box, severely limiting parental involvement, as they had to, in the main, function independently of parental involvement.
In contrast, schools with a FRL% or 50% or less, performed well.
The data shows that public schools do fail with a lack of community and parental support, and no amount of money will fix that. Charters aren't a panacea for this; if they are specifically organized to provide extra assists to these at risk kids then there potentially could be improvements. Also the very act of a parent choosing a charter involves the parent in the education process where they might not have been involved before, thus potentially improving outcomes. It's just sad to see political ideologues blame public schools for failing when they don't have the community and parental support they need to succeed.
I happen to know of a quasi-charter school, a public school of choice. Parents can choose to send their kids here if the regular assigned school is not working out for them. What is happening is, yes, they are getting some gifted kids, but just a couple, and these kids, rather predictably, leave shortly. The reason is this: most of the kids who do not succeed in typical public schools are at least slightly below average. They are only marginally college bound. The school has tailored its instruction to this reality, and the truly gifted kids get frustrated and leave. I dare say this is the same with any charter. (School FRL% is over 50%)
The point is this: all alternative education, including public charter education, is remedial to some degree. Instead of America solving its inequality problem, we are exacerbating that problem by segregating kids whose education has been strangled by inequality. And yet even in this scenario we are not reliably correcting the educational deficiency.
The solution for the whole problem is to provide Americans with a decent living so they can have the time and money to invest in their local schools. You see this all the time in wealthier neighborhoods: active PTAs, lots of volunteers, fundraisers. The confirmation of this solution lies in the elementary school my children go to. FRL% is over 60% but they do well because it has all those things: active PTA and lots of parent volunteers and involvement. But you aren't going to get that in neighborhoods where the parents work multiple jobs just not to be able to cover bills at the end of the month and are too tired and stressed to pay attention to what's going on at school unless Junior gets in serious trouble-at which point you yell at Junior...who isn't making it anyway.
As with many societal problems in America, this one does not exist on its own. It's just tragic because it has filled America with people who are either stupid and/or apathetic. I suppose the 1% have multiple passports and can go somewhere else when America tanks.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Differences between Bomberg (Ben Chayyim) and Stuttgartensia (BHS) Masoretic Text

From David Price. Posted here for the record.

            Stuttgart                    Bomberg (KJV, NKJV)
Prov 8:16   righteousness                earth
Isa 10:16   the Lord, the LORD of hosts  the Lord, the Lord of hosts
Isa 27:2    a pleasant vineyard          a vineyard of red wine
Isa 38:14   the Lord                     the LORD
Jer 34:1    Nebuchadrezzar               Nebuchadnezzar
Ezek 30:18  be held back                 be darkened
Zeph 3:15   fear disaster                see disaster
Mal 1:12    Lord                         LORD


More information about KJV Old Testament issues from David Price.
Also see a partial list of places where the KJV follows the Septuagint. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Like Flies to Honey...

Churches with traditional worship tend to have a lot of legalistic, judgmental people.
The "worship wars," such as they were, were over a long time ago. American Christianity has moved on. Of course as with many issues, the more fundamentalist churches seem to play an eternal game of Dizzy Lizzy around anachronistic "controversies" like music, Bible versions, pants (if you've ever had to agree not to wear "pedal pushers", you were/are probably a fundamentalist), "neo-"evangelicals, etc.
Traditional worship is outside the mainstream, and now simply attracts fringe types with a strong bent towards fundamentalism. This isn't to say that everyone in these churches, or even the leadership, is necessarily that way, at least in the beginning, but it happens over time. Fundamentalism and its attitudes are their own slippery slope.
Every church has its negative types that it attracts. Any particular church builds up a gallery of neuroticism over time. The leadership is happy for the growth, the neurotics are happy to be in a place that seemingly "fits", etc. Then those people start to tear others up with their nonsense, members and staff alike. Sometimes the leadership participates in this neurosis, especially if the leadership was ushered in by said crowd after the previous leadership was run off.
There is no good way to prevent this. It's just the nature of church, and why I prefer to stay out of it.