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June 4 - June 6, 2002


Thursday 6th June, 2002


Martin Roth posts:


What Are We Missing Right Now?

William Safire examines the controversy over who didn’t know what and didn’t tell whom:


In addition to asking, "What else did we know back then?" we should be asking, "What are we missing right now?" Hindsight is useful only when it improves our foresight.


For example, front pages now focus on a potential India-Pakistan conflict and on Yasir Arafat's war on Israel. But in a year's time, editors may be directing reporters to find out why investors had not been warned of an incipient bear market; or why parents had not been warned of the effect on teenagers of the F.B.I.'s sudden withdrawal from crackdowns on drug kingpins; or why nobody here knew of some country's secret research into cloning of humans.


Here’s my suggestion about what editors could be asking in a few years time: why didn’t we pay more attention to the Christian revival in China?


I reckon it’s going to be a huge story, though I’ve no idea what’s going to happen. But it fascinates me that at a time when China is rapidly becoming the major power of Asia, it is also experiencing a wildfire Christian revival, spread across all sectors of society.


Numerous of the Chinese dissident leaders have become Christians. I’ve written an article on this.


And I’ll post in the next day or so a short article on the rapid growth of Chinese congregations here in my city of Melbourne. At a time when the local media is rhapsodising over the recent visit of the Dalai Lama, and the growth of Buddhism in Australia, they are ignoring the other side of the story – the expansion in the local Chinese church and the fact that so many of the new Christians come from a Buddhist background.


I had dinner over the weekend with a multi-cultural official from the Baptist Church. He told me that Chinese church members had overtaken those from Romania as the most numerous of all ethnic groups within the local Baptist Union.


This is a revival that will have a big influence on the church worldwide. But it could also influence global politics, society and culture. Stay tuned.


-posted 9:15pm, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:


When Modesty Can Kill You

Disaster planning experts in the US are rethinking strip and hose procedures. Removal of clothing in the event of a biological attack is critical, however, most people are extremely reluctant to get naked in front of others. I find myself laughing at the incredulity of the officials in this story.


The Yuck Factor

A Canadian man got an unpleasant surprise when he opened a can of beans the other day. This story is so Canadian. There is no mention of lawsuits, and everyone is falling all over themselves to help.



Blog Watch

Has anyone else noticed how many blogs are getting spruced up these days? And, why is it that bloggers seem to be most productive on Wednesday and Thursdays? So many blogs, so little time, sigh.


The lively linking editors at Christianity Today’s Weblog have been very busy. There in an interesting story they have covered on their main page about a spat between an evangelical group and the Canadian Jewish Congress over the use of the Menorah as a symbol.


Townhall’s C log has come out of the gate with a bang.  Leon Podles has a thoughtful post on the catholic crisis at Touchstone. has about 180 blogs in the semi-definitive list. It’s growing weekly and that is terrific. I try to read every one once a week, and in doing so, notice the ebb and flow of what is on bloggers hearts and minds. Our Catholic bloggers are really wrestling with the problems in their church. Linking through, this post at Streams of Consciousness caught my attention.


P.S. Bloggers, don’t be afraid to email Martin if we are missing out on some good stuff here in Blog Watch. He doesn’t bite; indeed, it has been my experience these past few weeks that Australians are as nice as Canadians.


Mark Byron’s Check Out lane catches a lot of what we miss. And Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic is simply the best at linking well to the sublime and ridiculous.


Blithering Idiot had me holding my breath this week. A discussion about Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have degenerated into nastiness. Sulik is a lawyer, and verbally holds his own in any debate. He had the grace to acknowledge his need to communicate more clearly.


In the ecosystem of the blogosphere, those of us who claim Jesus Christ as Lord have a high standard to maintain in our blogging. The community of Christian bloggers is starting to be noticed by others.  Honest, it really is, JunkYardBlog!


Colossians 4:6 Keep up the good work everyone. I’m honored to be part of this community.


-posted 11:55am, by Bene Diction



Wednesday 5th June, 2002


Martin Roth posts:


Pell Update

Controversy continues over claims that Sydney Catholic Archbishop George Pell was offering hush money to victims of sex abuse by priests. But with no new allegations, it is becoming a matter of whom do you believe.


The ambush approach of 60 Minutes pit bull terrier Richard Carleton has upset some, including Crikey, which today posts a rambling account of media coverage of the affair.


The Australian in an editorial makes the following point:


The disagreement does show that simply speaking to a victim can be risky for church leaders. Should someone such as Dr Pell discuss abuse with a pastoral tone, the victim can construe it as an admission of error by the church. Should he discuss the issue using legal aplomb, he can be accused of callous disregard for suffering.


Padraic P. McGuinness, not normally a friend of the church, comments:


It seems these days that there is more energy devoted to attacks on people, especially church officials, for what they didn't do rather than on actual perpetrators of abuse.


And one has to wonder about the ulterior motives involved in the onslaughts on first the Governor-General, [former Anglican Archbishop] Peter Hollingworth, and now the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev George Pell, for things they are supposed to have not done many years ago….


In the newly liberated climate of the '70s and after it seemed that celibacy was more honoured in the breach than in the observance.


Perhaps if the churches had enforced their moral rules more strictly and with less forgiveness of sinners, they would now look a lot better.


So the strongest charge which can be made against the churches of those days is that they did not resist the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, but all too enthusiastically embraced it.


Maybe Hollingworth, Pell and others are as much scapegoats for the guilt which we, as a community, feel for our attitudes of those days as they are political targets.




Relieved thanks to Eric Olsen of Tres Producers who plans to ensure he misses Tim Blair and me when he nukes all Aussie whales. That reminds me of a mean trick I played on some green-leaning visiting Western friends when I lived in Tokyo. At a local restaurant I ordered a dish of grilled whale meat. It looked and tasted like prime beef. Utterly delicious, said my friends. I seem to recall one of them – a very idealistic New Zealand schoolgirl – actually screaming when I revealed what they had eaten.


-posted 10:50am, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:


Shacking Up

More older people are living together outside matrimony.



Canadian Politics 101

Canadians can learn something reading this Q & A in Pundit Magazine about the federal political earthquake this weekend.  Americans can learn something about their neighbors. Hey, whoever wants to can read this for an understanding of why Canadians were a bit self absorbed and cranky this weekend. Link via Daimnation.



Soccer or Worship?

Church attendance took a hit this weekend in Nairobi when worshippers stayed home to watch the World Cup. Martin has a post on Saturday, June 1st about English church going fans.



Special Interests

John Berlau at Insight on the News picks up the theme of the National Post article I linked to Monday.



Where Your Treasure Is

I’m pulling a journalistic no no. I’ve linked the last paragraph instead of the lead. That’s because I’m following a train of thought today, and I’m hoping you can pick up on it and relate it to your own life.


The damage is caused, however, not by the apostates, but by the failure of the church to throw them out. If all this is telling us anything, it's that we should clean up the shop--get rid of the pansy clerics who go after teenaged boys, and the apostate clergy who are being paid to propagate cynicism. Do that, and in time the golf course will lose its appeal and the church gain some.

What they said.



Three Legged Stools

And to end my thematic tangent I present Christianity Today’s Chuck Colson.



Blog Watch

The blogosphere ecosystem as a jpg. Wow. How did he do that?  The Truth Laid Bear is not only happy to tell the technically gifted, he links to another blogger’s picture and graph of the links that move through cyberspace in war blogs.


Tal G is a must read today as he ponders security from his computer in Jerusalem. He links to a disturbing article in Ha’aretz about cross border fighting being soon and inevitable.


C-log, the new blog, has lots of good posts today.


I’m certainly not anti Praying the Post. What a clear and intelligent response to my question about Mary worship in Catholism on May 31st. He also gets high praise for answering in a way young evangelical Protestants can identify with. Great thinking/linking!


As always Little Green Footballs leads the anti-idiotarian charge.


Max Power looks at collaborative blogging in a June 3 post. (Scroll down.) I couldn’t agree more. Blogging by yourself is like being on a high wire without a net.

Link via VodkaPundit.


Junk Yard Blog muses about his time spent in Japan and the lessons learned from WWII


Thinking Out Loud wonders if God can repent.


Barlow Farms has a beautiful picture of an awful spider. I like the post that goes with it though. is tossing out ideas on what his vision is for his site. Go read and help him out in his comments section. May I drop a gentle hint to our many cutting edge Gen-X bloggers? Tiny type on colored background blurs for the bi-focal generation.


-posted 9:05am, by Bene Diction



Tuesday 4th June, 2002


Bene Diction posts:


Blog Watch

Relapsed Catholic links to a Forbes article on religious scams that netted one billion dollars last year.


Andrew Sullivan takes down New York High School Regency exams that gut literary classics with the ‘new religion of sensitivity’.


In Between Naps has nothing good to say about her least favorite children’s author after he criticized C.S. Lewis.


Bill Quick aka Daily Pundit has a great new look. Comments are now part of his front page. He links to an article wondering how the Arab world would function if there was no Israel.


Brothers Judd look at world cup soccer and the conservative mind.


-posted 4:15pm, by Bene Diction



The Freedom Trail

Pressure from the US and various human rights groups has enabled 900 Vietnamese tribes people to end a long bid for freedom. They fled Vietnam last year after persecution from the Vietnamese government and have been in UN sponsored camps in Cambodia.


Vietnam's hill tribe people, collectively known as Montagnards, claim they were stripped of their farmland, persecuted for their Christian faith and faced systematic discrimination by Vietnamese authorities.

These 900 may be the last to get to freedom. Cambodian PM Hun Sen says he has


closed the refugee camps and announced that any more Montagnards found in Cambodia would be sent back to Vietnam as illegal border crossers.



More Unrealistic Optimism?

An Associated Press report says US and Filipino troops are ‘closer’ to finding and freeing kidnapped missionaries Marcia and Martin Burnham.



Internet Woes

Christianity Today has information on beleaguered Beliefnet’s ongoing woes and the sale of




Free fall for Canada’s federal liberal is just starting after yesterday’s firing of the Finance Minister.




Best of the Web today questions Reuter’s response to the arrest of one of their photographers in the Gaza strip recently.



Pop Quiz!

Here is a quick quiz for ethically challenged, politically correct airport security personnel. Could you pass? Link via NRO’s The Corner.



Multi Faith

An article by Daniel S. Brenner on Beliefnet has suggested a way to deal with religious needs at ground zero.




USAF Parts Turn Up on EBay




Kangaroos don’t pass methane gas. Ok. If you say so. I’m just glad I’m not one of the scientists investigating this particular anatomical aspect of a kangaroo. This, er, little-known fact may offer a solution to global warming. (Must…not…must…not..digress into to adolescent humor…must..not…)


-posted 9:05am, by Bene Diction