Martin Roth Christian Commentary

HOME About This Website Archives Read My Book Online Contact

Society & Culture
Christians and War
Southern Gospel Beat
Rowan Forster's Articles

Global Christianity
Around the World
Persecuted Church

Christian Living
Living Like Jesus
Church Life, Christian Life
Christian Parenting

Praying the Psalms
Australian Spirituality


Christian Blogging

Indian Religions

About Martin Roth
Favourite Links



Weblog Archive 


May 29 - May 31, 2002


Friday 31st May, 2002


Martin Roth posts:


New Kids on the Blog

Of course I’m going to give a plug to Joshua Claybourn. In his blog he has called this site “the New York Times of Christian bloggers”. Thank you. (Now if only the New York Times itself would say something.)


Thank you too for the mention from Hernan Gonzalez of Buenos Aires, although I can’t read it, because it’s in Spanish. Hernan’s extremely attractive blog, fotos del apocalipsis, is worth visiting for the beautiful pictures, even if, like me, you don’t know the language. It’s the first Spanish blog on the Christian bloglist, and Hernan asks if I know of others. “Surely I’m not the only one, am I?” he asks. I doubt it, though I don’t know any others. Can anyone help?


Welcome too, to Francis Mooney and his new blog Xavier+. An initial inspection indicates this to be another fine addition to the growing list of high-class Catholic blogs.


And, as noted already a couple of days ago by Bene Diction, Touchstone magazine has a new blog, called Mere Comments. It looks pretty high-class too. Indeed, Francis Mooney says, “Touchstone magazine editors are too classy to call it blogging”.


-posted 5:30pm, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:


Dissent, Discussion and Disagreement

This post by Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless has been in my thoughts. I’ve been thinking about this since I read Tim Blair’s post Thursday, about the fraud and hate mail generated by a man who doesn’t even know him.


You've all encountered it: the guy who thinks that his point of view is the only one that can possibly exist. He will patiently explain it to you, making sure you understand it, confident that once you understand it you will come to agree with him since his logic is overwhelming and irrefutable and his evidence comprehensive. He doesn't accept the possibility that you might well fully understand his point of view and still disagree with it; that isn't possible since his position is the only one which makes sense. So if, when he is done, you still refuse to grant his point of view, then he'll explain it again only he'll do it more loudly!!!


It's not possible to get across to such a person that you actually fully understand his point of view and still are not convinced. Since you haven't come to agree with him, it's clear that you don't understand it, because if you really, truly understood it you would agree with him. No flaws exist in his argument, thus the only flaw can be in your understanding of the argument.


Unless you're willing to lie to him and pretend to agree, about the only thing you can do with a guy like this is to walk away.


You would think that well-educated people, especially political leaders, would not fall in this trap and would understand that it's actually possible for people of good faith to operate from the same information and still have different opinions, if for no other reason than because they have different values.


(In Blair’s case, this reader who disagrees or just likes causing trouble, generated more hate toward an innocent person. His words and actions were very loud. Blair was sideswiped. There was no discussion, just hateful talk and actions).


As I look over at the Christian Blogging list at the left of this page, I wonder how many of these bloggers have run up against people like Den Beste has described.  I think it is a spiritual issue. Proverbs 17:12




Ted Esler of EslerFried wants to find cross-cultural bloggers. Hey Ted. Check out the links at the side. We have a couple. And if you find more, please let Martin know, eh?  Meantime, does this Australian-Canadian thing @ count?


Praying the Post has good perspective on his anti-Catholic definition. I have a question from an ignorant Protestant. (moi). Do Catholics worship Mary? Doesn’t ‘anti’ mean “opposed to” or “preventing”? Those are active verbs. That’s also two questions. Good post.


Psssssst, Bloggedy Blog. You know that question you posted May 29th? Check your comments section.


Cut on the Bias has a sensible look at how women handle fear, after going on her first flight since September.  Men can learn from this post.


In the micro climate of the evangelical blogsphere, two Ph D’s and a Master’s degree, David Heddle of He Lives, Mark Byron and Kevin Holtsberry enter into a, uh, forceful debate about September 2001 and God’s judgment. Joyful Christian juggles all the views.


Blithering Idiot had a busy day. He helped catch a thief.


Midwest Conservative Journal says FBI agents are now allowed to surf the web.



Suicide Bombers

Haaretzdaily reports a 23-year-old Palestinian woman decided not to carry out her suicide bombing.


Security forces arrested a woman in Bethlehem on Tuesday night who was allegedly planning to carry out a suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion, but then changed her mind.

Arin Ahmed, 23, from Beit Sahour, was planning to carry out the attack in Rishon Letzion's pedestrian mall last week.

World Net Daily has the gruesome details about what injured survivors go through when a suicide bomber decides to die. The security incident map is here.




The nation of Nepal is known to most Westerners for its tourist industry. Nepal made headlines around the world in June 2001 when most of the Royal Family was murdered by a suicidal crown prince. Debka has a history of this strategic and troubled country, and an overview of on-going Chinese intelligence infiltration in the Maoist insurgency.



Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat

Christianity Today reports on the five month rioting and slaughter in India.



Unconventional Weapons

US military scientists are hard at work inventing stink bombs, trance gas and little bugs that eat clothing. In the future, enemy troops could be grossed out, stoned and naked. But what if the wind shifts?  It appears the military is taking cues from the civilian population. Link via Strategy Page.


-posted 8:55am, by Bene Diction



Thursday 30th May, 2002


Bene Diction posts:


A Post-September Baby Boom

It appears that a baby boom this summer is related to the September 2001 attacks.


"This was kind of a wake-up call for people," said Dr. Paul Kastell, an obstetrician and professor at Long Island College Hospital in New York City. "They saw the towers burning. And when they got home they said, 'You know, it's never going to be the right time. We should start now.' "

New York, which took the biggest hit in the terrorist attacks, is expected to be the boom's epicentre.

Deliveries will be up from about 15 to 25 percent in different hospitals in New York. However it take demographers months to collect data, so for now information is anecdotal. However sales in baby gear are up.

When asked why they want to have a child in such turbulent times, many new parents cite a need for togetherness, healing and even patriotism.

"Maybe our child can help in some small way to make the world a better place," says Missy Acosta, who is due in July and lives in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., just outside Nashville.



Can Lawsuits Dismantle Church?

There is a thoughtful Op-Ed in US Today on lawsuits brought against the US Catholic church by abuse victims.



Wascsally Wabbit

31 Ugandan prisoners in jail for arms possession escaped after their guards chased a rabbit.


The prisoners were digging in a garden near their prison in northeastern Uganda when a rabbit shot out of a nearby bush. All five guards set off in pursuit.


No word on whether the prisoners or the rabbit were caught. Thanks to Best of the Web Today for the link.




Tim Blair takes on a Canadian who is apparently being an idiot. Nail the dude. If it would help, I’d send you a friendly email from Canada saying how much I like your work, but it sounds like you have enough email these days. So, I’m saying it here. Blog power! He also has an update on the Nancy Crick story today.


Heal Your Church has almost completed his move. The new link works.


Canadians can be nice. Holy Weblog has permission from Relapsed Catholic to call the new tip jar the ‘collection plate’. Good posts from both today.


Bloggedy Blog is confused about where the term blogosphere originated. Can someone help him out?


-posted 10:55am, by Bene Diction



Wednesday 29th May, 2002


Martin Roth posts:


The True Power of Chanting

Sunday night’s “Compass” documentary, on the Japanese Buddhist sect Soka Gakkai, titled “The Power of Chanting”, was bland. It only touched briefly on some of the controversies swirling around the sect, such as the manner in which its tentacles in Japan extend into politics, the media, schools, universities and the arts.


And the programme did not even ask what purpose such an exceedingly rich and powerful organisation has in building a multi-million dollar complex at Homebush Bay, when it has only 2,000 members in the whole of Australia.


Never mind. The sect’s local adherents all came across as exceedingly nice. All seemed to feel they benefited from the emphasis on chanting.


As one local member said:


When I don't chant I find that the wheels fall off the cart a little bit, I lose direction. When I'm chanting I find it easy to get up in the morning and spend lots of hours working on stuff. When I’m chanting I focus on what’s important in my life all the time, and when I’m not, I sometimes lose direction.


“Compass” might have considered interviewing my friend Michael Graham. He spent 28 years in Eastern religions – for a time he was one of the leading Western disciples of the famous Indian Siddha yoga guru Muktananda – before becoming a Christian.


In his book The Experience of Ultimate Truth Michael has some fascinating reflections on the true power of chanting:


Chanting was an interesting subject. I hated it when first introduced to it in India. I thought it silly and religious; a superstitious practice. Being required to conform to the ashram routine over the years I grew to enjoy it. But I found further benefits when I disciplined myself to practise it in measured doses each day….I noticed that 45 minutes of chanting each day created an invigoration that lasted for hours. It was a great tonic.


Years later I was fascinated to discover the research of Dr Alfred M. Tomatis. He was a French Ear-Nose-and-Throat specialist who had become the world authority on the beneficial effects of chanting and sound on the psycho-physical system. His discoveries began with measuring the vitalising effects of chanting among the monks in a Benedictine monastery. The more they chanted, the more vitality and buoyancy they displayed.


In the 1960s, the Church Council of Vatican II…watered down the monastic life and drastically reduced the number of hours chanting in the monasteries. Tomatis had been called in to find out why the monks were sitting around like limp rags, instead of displaying their characteristic energy levels typical of the monks for the last 1,100 years. Chanting, it turned out, was the vital ingredient.


From this base he discovered that there were certain tones, rhythms and inflections of music that stimulated the brain directly, independent of religious considerations or beliefs. It turned out that the ear was a channel for brain stimulation independent of its function for hearing alone, and thus further stimulated the entire nervous system. It was interesting to have corroborated these effects in my own experience.


-posted 10:20am, by Martin Roth



Bene Diction posts:



As promised, Christianity Today continues coverage on the kidnapping of Martin and Gracia Burnham in its weblog.


Blithering Idiot is back from his 21st wedding anniversary trip and is blogging again.


The Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web Today has, well, the best of the web. The story that caught my attention was a report that Palestinians refused blood for their wounded during the Jenin incursion. Why? It was ‘Jewish blood’. Israel responded by flying 2,000 units of ‘Arab blood’ in from Jordan.


Mark Byron takes on an Australian ‘fundi-basher’ blogger about whom Jesus really would be seen with. Is Spotty Herbert an Australian colloquialism for loser?


Sand in the Gears has a vigorous defence of Veggie Tales.


A Literary Genius Honored by Hometown

Theodor Geisel is being honoured by his hometown of Springfield Massachusetts in a very fitting way. The celebrations at the newest U.S. national memorial start Friday.


The opening of the $6.2 million sculpture garden will launch a weekend of Seussian celebrations for young and old, including a read-a-thon and a parade down Mulberry Street, whose whimsical Victorian homes were the setting for Geisel's first book, "And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," published in 1937.


Every child knows a staid, bronze bust just wouldn't do for the author of "Green Eggs and Ham.”


So, in keeping with his special magic, Geisel is being remembered with a sculpture garden of the fantastical creatures he brought to life in his colorful books.



Mutually Symbiotic Relationship

John Hiler does a fine job in his analysis of the ‘blogosphere’ in this article at Microcontent News.


Like any ecosystem, the Blogosphere demonstrates all the classic ecological patterns: predators and prey, evolution and emergence, natural selection and adaptation.  I've often thought that anthropologists were best equipped to deconstruct the emerging blogging sub-culture, but now I'm convinced I got it wrong: the greater mysteries of the Blogosphere will be unlocked instead by evolutionary biologists.


If you are struggling to understand what web logs are all about and how they relate to news and content delivery, community and collaboration, this is a great place to start.


Are and his Christian counterparts thematic? Hiler is right about why this form of communication matters.



Anti-Abortionists Go Digital

CNBC and the Wall Street Journal look at the legal implications of the latest tactics on the front lines at abortion clinics. Andrew Sullivan comments on the tactics of stigma and shame.



Or We Could Just Explode

Three Palestinian terrorists who participated in the Bethlehem Nativity church takeover are complaining about being too closely monitored in their new life in Italy.


"When we arrived in Italy I asked the head of the Italian security service responsible for us not to track us too closely. I told him, “at least give us some personal space and autonomy or we could just explode”, Khaled Abu Nejmeh told the daily.


Uh, does he mean that literally?


-posted 9:20am, by Bene Diction