A Sidekick's Blog

DNC Affiliates Increase Involvement In Seth Rich Case After Wheeler Claims 

May 27, 2017
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Source: DNC Affiliates Increase Involvement In Seth Rich Case After Wheeler Claims 

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Presbyterian Again

May 24, 2017
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I guess it was about 2 years ago that I left a Presbyterian Church in America – henceforth PCA church for a Reformed Baptist church that was truly Reformed, not a mixture of Eastern Orthodox liturgy with popular evangelicalism and secret flirtations among the staff with the writings of N.T. Wright. I explained in a blog post why I became a Baptist. Now, I find myself back in a PCA church – and with the blessing of the Elders at my former Baptist church! Not due to doctrinal differences (which do still matter), but because my bride and I need to be of the same mind and under the same spiritual headship. We had been getting some marriage counseling. Everyone should! It’s very helpful to avoid self-deception and making me aware of way I was hurting my family without even knowing it. At a certain point, because church is central and vital to making the best of a Christian marriage, and because my wife wouldn’t join my church (why is not relevant to this post), I asked the Elders about looking elsewhere, even though I had a vital role in worship there. It is with their blessing that my wife and I – together – are joining with a PCA church here in town. None of the fancy Orthodox-inspired liturgy, no flirtations with damnable heresies, and the Lord’s Supper every week (I have always wished for that)! A chance at real friendships is part of the reason God is moving us there too, I think. It just wasn’t possible without both of us being committed to the same church.

In the post linked above, I cited three differences between Reformed Baptists and their Presbyterian brethren. In my situation now I’m having to give them a second look, especially since we’re joining this new church and expect to be more than just “regular attenders.”

Hermeneutics:

“Baptists don’t deuce,” my former pastor told me in explaining the difference. But to reach some of the conclusions they have reached, they had to have deduced them “by necessary consequence” even though not contained, per se, in the Scriptures. Baptism, for example, which they define as immersion only, forbidding any other mode. In Scripture there are multiple baptisms, and not all of them by immersion. “The Greek word baptizo means ‘to immerse,'” they say, yet I can’t find independent proof of that claim from anyone but Baptist scholars who simply assert it as fact. Applying the sacrament only to believers is also deduced, since creating a type-and-shadow relationship between physical birth and spiritual birth (regeneration) also requires deduction beyond what is strictly contained in the Scriptures. The Scriptures themselves draw a parallel between Old Testament circumcision and New Testament covenant baptism. One of my favorite little Baptist deductions is drawn from 1 Peter 3:18-21, in which Baptists must deduce that “baptism now saves you” means “only believers should be baptized.” Two Old Testament events are compared to baptism (besides covenant baptism): Noah’s flood (in the 1 Peter 3 passage), and the flight from Egypt (1st Corinthians 10:1-4). In both of those events, I say with a wry but sincerely friendly smile, the people of God were sprinkled, and it was the enemies of God who were immersed! Oops…

Covenant:

The covenants of God with Adam, with Moses, with David – are eternal, even though ancient Israel as it was in Moses’ time and David’s time is long gone. Baptists separate them, reasonably so, into Old (type and shadow) and New (reality prefigured by type and shadow). But Christ fulfilled the Covenants rather than doing away with them. There remains one everlasting Covenant of Grace, which existed even before Creation itself, as the Three Persons of the Godhead covenanted together to redeem a people for God from the fallen race of Adam. Type and shadow are certainly demonstrable from the Scriptures, but they do not represent separate covenants, nor separate people.

The Regulative Principle of Worship

Since the baptism of the children of believers is not expressly and explicitly commanded in the New Testament, Baptists are wise to refer to the Regulative Principle as their main argument for not practicing covenant (“infant”) baptism. We are, however, expressly and explicitly commanded not to neglect the traditions of the Apostles (2 Thes 3:6, 25). The validity of custom is asserted “for those who wish to be contentious,” in 1st Cor. 11:16. So I’m not sure the RP truly applies when it comes to baptism.

A lot of Baptist ways of thinking and applying the Word will remain with me as long as I live, and I’m grateful for it!

But – omygosh, my friends – I’m a Presbyterian. Again.


Christianity Ill-Defined by a Cult Member

May 1, 2017
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https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FGlennBeck%2Fvideos%2F10155275081493188%2F&show_text=0&width=400

“If everything that is called Christianity in these days is Christianity, then there is no such thing as Christianity. A name applied indiscriminately to everything designates nothing.” B.B. Warfield His wife called with a report that set him off, enough for him to postpone his back-stage, dressing-room lunch in order to record a nearly…

via Glenn Beck’s Mormonized Rant Against Christianity — Pulpit & Pen


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An Apology to the Eastern Orthodox

April 23, 2017
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As the owner and president of Pulpit & Pen, I feel that I need to issue a public apology to the Eastern Orthodox community in regards to my managing editor’s recent words. In a series of posts, Pulpit & Pen editor, Jeff Maples, took it upon himself to essentially anathematize the Bible Answer Man, Hank…

via An Apology to the Eastern Orthodox Community — Pulpit & Pen


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One Speed: Deliberate.

March 2, 2017
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For most of the last couple of years I have worked as a delivery driver for FedEx Ground/Home Delivery. Unlike the FedEx Express drivers who work directly for FedEx, we Ground/Home Delivery guys are contracted to FedEx. Drivers work for a contractor who buys the right to service certain territories and routes. I wear a FedEx uniform but I work for the Contractor. I actually have worked for two Contractors.

The first hired me for a very busy city route and eventually replaced me because I am “too slow.” Even after months on that route, which I came to know very well, I couldn’t get up to 100+ stops a day, because I’m “too slow.”

The second contractor I worked for, over 8 months, couldn’t find a place for me after having trained me on a half-dozen routes but never leaving me on a route long enough to really become familiar with it. Then complained that I’m “too slow.” They waited, of course, until after peak season to let me go.

Too slow.

Yes, I’m slow. I have only one speed: DELIBERATE. I am concerned first and foremost with accuracy and customer service. If that takes a little longer, fine with me. Speed comes later, with familiarity of the route and finding the most efficient way to run it. But mis-delivered packages and disputed deliveries take more time to correct than just being careful to be accurate and deliver good service. Train me for a route and leave me there long enough to become familiar with it, and my speed will naturally get faster.

Now starting with a third Contractor, who supposedly understands my “weakness” and who supposedly agrees that it’s actually a good thing to deliver good customer service, accurately and carefully, even if it takes more time for the first 3 or four months while I learn the route.

God, I hope so.


The Apostasy Continues

February 19, 2017
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Where do you draw the charismatic line? 30 years ago nobody would’ve given this question much thought because it was easy to answer. People either liked Benny Hinn or thought he was crazy. People thought Kathryn Kuhlman was a great woman of God or a dramatic fraud. People were largely conservative, or charismatic. They either…

via Stop Calling Error “Anointed” — Pulpit & Pen


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No More Mozilla

February 15, 2017
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I have enjoyed a three-year love affair with Seamonkey and it was awesome. Mozilla took the old and wonderful Netscape Internet Suite (browser, email client, etc all in one) and resurrected it as Seamonkey. It seemed a low-priority project compared to Firefox and Thunderbird, but it was much lighter and faster for the first two of the three years I enjoyed it. Having far fewer lines of code than it’s siblings, it was small, sleek, and powerful.

Then one day someone at Mozilla dared to express a politically-incorrect personal opinion and Mozilla responded by firing him.

I’ve been loooking for a good FOSS alternative to Seamonkey ever since. Even if I disagreed with the opinion expressed, I would do no less than this, to protest in my little quiet way, the censorship Mozilla imposed on a good man, and the fear they’ve inflicted on others who work there, which stifles their freedom of expression as well.

It took some time to find anything as close to awesome as Seamonkey that wasn’t either buggy or patent-encumbered. The Xfce projects wonderful little Midori browser finally quit crashing on me at random, and the latest version of Geary seems to finally be behaving itself now. It too crashed at random, especially while composing e-mail. K-Mail is far more limited, and Claws Mail needs an external editor to send anything but plain text.

But it looks like the very latest versions of Geary (rumors of it’s demise are false by the way) and Midori have rid themselves of those annoying crashes.

At last I have my replacement for Mozilla’s Seamonkey. It’s sad to even have to look elsewhere, but just on principle, for whatever it’s worth, my little protest.

Goodbye, Mozilla.


A True Church is More

January 30, 2017
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According to Ligonier, the marks of the true church are:

Pure preaching of the gospel,
Pure administration of the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), and
Church discipline.

But of course, a true church ought to be more than just these. It is a place where disciples are made. It is a place where the people become a family and friendships are forged that make discipleship – and pure gospel preaching, pure sacraments, and church discipline possible.

Friendship is absolutely vital. One can belong to any church with these three marks and still never become a disciple if he or she is not open to the risk and joy of forging real friendships. We can call each other “brothers and sisters in Christ” without ever learning the real meaning of the common bond we share under our Father God and Elder Brother Jesus Christ.

That’s the hard part. In every church I have ever been a part of, with the exception of two in my childhood, I have forged no friendships at all. Lots of acquaintances, lots of people that I shared a lot in common with (music ministry, youth trips, mission trips, etc), but no friendships that fostered real discipleship to Christ. I’m lonely as can be, surrounded by people who call me “brother” but with whom I share nothing but handshakes and casual conversation once or twice a week.

I can’t say I ever really learned how to make friends, or even to be a friend.

At my age I wonder if it’s too late now.


A Tribute to My Father

January 22, 2017
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We were not on good terms when my (biological) father died last Thursday. He had attacked my bride, blaming her for “all my troubles” following my life-threatening battle with severe depression. He never showed any respect for the female members of my family. Neither my wife nor my daughter – both of whom I am immensely proud of – was worthy of any mention in his letters or phone calls for the last several years of his life. Informed of my brush with death, his response was heartless and cruel, especially toward my wife. That was our last contact, about a year ago.

“Joe,” as we always called him, was a brilliant composer of classical music that never got published as far as I know, but efforts to get one of the local colleges up in his hometown to publish it and play some selections were mostly successful. He wrote several hymns as well, which were heard, as far as I know, only at the little Lutheran church he attended. I hope they will find their way into publication so that that part of his legacy can live on and bless many others. Joe was a military veteran, an arch-conservative, a certified NRA firearms instructor, and a faithful husband.

When Joe and his wife Hilda visited us in Florida, he had nothing but good things to say about my stepfather, who was living with us by then. One of my favorite memories of Joe was one wonderful day of target shooting in which everyone including my kids and nephew participated.

Joe helps Danny perfect his technique.

That’s “Dad Hiley” seated on the scooter, Joe teaching, and Hilda poking her smiling face from behind Dad.

Shooting sports were a love we both shared. Here Joe and I went skeet shooting a few times, both at his home in Virginia and mine down here in Florida.
Great memories!

I renewed my acquaintance with my biological father when I was 14 and intensely curious about finding and getting to know my “real” father. He was very accommodating then, and we kept in touch by phone and correspondence for many years.

I met my half-brother Charles on that first trip to Virginia, and always enjoyed the pride that Joe had in him. Charles is a French-trained pastry chef who owns and operates the best bakery in Luray, Virginia. If you’re ever traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and plan a visit to Luray Caverns, be sure to stop in at the Main Street Bakery and Catering shop and tell them Robin sent you!

Joe hated technology. I tried several times to get him a computer in the hopes of teaching him to use it, if only so that our correspondence would be easier and faster, to include pictures, links, and other stuff to enrich it. But really, nothing beats pen and paper and “real” printed photographs, newspaper clippings, and the like. It seems technophobia was another trait we shared.

Joe never got my Star Trek references.

“Holy moley, it’s genetic!” was Suzie’s first response to meeting Joe and witnessing the idiosyncrasies we shared, from the frequent lack of a proper “filter” for our words and behavior in social situations. I was not raised by Joe at all. Yet I act like him in several ways and share his contempt for the new math and modern technology. In a conversation with him about Asperger’s syndrome (before it was re-named to “high functioning autism”) his reaction was, “Holy moley there’s a name for this?” I believe that is a trait we also shared.

Even though we parted on unfriendly terms – so much so that I was not supposed to be informed of his death – most of my memories of Joe are really good ones, and I’m proud to be his son.

Rest in peace, Papa Joe. I’ll see you again soon, in the next world, where our falling out won’t matter one little bit.


What’s Social About Social Media?

January 16, 2017
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Doing my FedEx Ground delivery route last week I came across something that just made my stomach do flips, and apparently it bothered me more than I thought, since I’m still pissed off about it three days later.

It was some kid’s birthday party or something. There was a bounce house, children’s music playing, and several kids gathered. Two were using the bounce house. The rest were all over the yard and some were playing in the street. Where were the parents? Who’s watching those kids?

Oh, there they are. Sitting around on lawn chairs, not even looking up from their cellphones and tablets. Not speaking to each other, not minding the kids. Every. Single. One of them. I slowed to avoid hitting any kids that might run into the street, and kept watching for some sign that at least one of the adults there was paying attention. Nope. Not even one.

“Wait, let me take a selfie.”

Eyes glued to their devices, fingers and thumbs racing across electronic keys, watching videos and taking selfies for posting to social-media. I wanted to stop, get out of the truck, and lecture the mind-numbed zombie-like idiots whose little kids were all over the place, unsupervised because their parents are glued to their stupid devices. They weren’t even aware of each other, much less their children. I didn’t stop and lecture them, though. I like my job and I need it too much.

But I also like kids, and I care about their safety even if their stupid parents don’t. So I beeped the horn in the hope that at least one of the adults would look up for a moment and see what was happening. Nope! No one did. Freakin’ dolts. So I called the cops and reported children in danger.


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