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Welcome to the Antrim Church of Christ Web Site
Who Knows? PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 16 July 2011 10:18

"Whatever."

How many people have heard that word as a declaration of exasperation? Now, change the punctuation...

"Whatever!"

And the exasperation graduates to anger. Go one step further and put it in the mouth of a teenager...and a parent might best translate it as a two word obscene utterance (where the kid can get the same effect without the same punishment).

Often one or two words can communicate an amazing amount—and I'm not speaking of curse words. Ordinary words. Simple statements or questions.

One biblical case that especially intrigues me is "Who knows?"

The first time I remember noticing it was while preparing a sermon on what the questions in the book of Jonah tell us about God. In that case our reluctant (rebellious) prophet finally told the Ninevites what was in store for them. Then...

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Thank You King James PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 09 July 2011 12:00

Considering the news that came from Florida this week (and the horrendous incident and court case behind it) I was surprised to see a commentary titled "Casey Anthony: The System Worked." Alan Dershowitz makes some legitimate (albeit uncomfortable) points, but that's not what stood out in the piece. Instead, it was how Dershowitz explained why "for thousands of years, Western society has insisted that it is better for 10 guilty defendants to go free than for one innocent defendant to be wrongly convicted."1 He continues:

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Abracadabra, You’re a Fish! PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 02 July 2011 12:00

Does anyone else remember, as a child, role-playing as wizards or witches and turning each other into a frog or a cat or...? It was all fun and games until someone chose the wrong animal. "I am not a chicken!!!" "Yes you are!"

Remembering those humorous amusements (even when they went awry) brings a smile to my face. The reason this youthful activity came to mind is because I was perusing United Airline's Hemispheres magazine on the way to Nashville this week. It included an article titled "The Lizard King" about George Cera, who is paid by Boca Grande, Florida to rid them of as many spiny-tailed black iguanas as he can at $20 per head. If you are a PETA member, that might sound like an evil job, but those omnivorous lizards are an invasive species that (until Cera's intervention) were reeking havoc on native plants and animals.

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Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2011 10:04
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No, We Aren't the Center of the Universe... PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 25 June 2011 10:45

One of the advantages to working for Dartmouth College for a couple years was that I could attend one course free per quarter. I did not avail myself enough of that benefit, but I did take one class that reviewed motion picture portrayals of Native Americans. As you can probably imagine, much of the curriculum's focus was on negative depictions of America's indigenous population including "white savior" plot lines. If you are unfamiliar with the term "white savior," have you seen "Dances With Wolves"? Kevin Costner (as John Dunbar) is a white savior. How about "Avatar"? Sure, that movie isn't a western and the Na'vi aren't Native Americans, but Sam Worthington (as Jake Sully) is a white savior. Regardless of whether some of these films are positive in that they represent indigenous people as having more wisdom (or greater spirituality or better character) than the evil racist white man ("Dances With Wolves") or the nefarious greedy corporation ("Avatar"), a pale-skinned male of European descent ends up saving the day.

The reason this comes to mind is because today my son Mikey, his friend Chris, and I attended "The Green Lantern." If you aren't familiar with that comic book hero, one important tidbit is that the Lantern's ring chooses the wearer, not visa versa. After some initial "introduction to key characters" scenes, the three of us saw how the imminent death of another alien Green Lantern led to Ryan Reynolds (as ace pilot Hal Jordan) being selected for the honor...and responsibility...of bearing the ring. The soul-seeing piece of jewelry detected something in Jordan that even Jordan didn't know he had.

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Even Doofuses Need Jesus PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 18 June 2011 12:00

After an article has formed in my mind, I try to think of a catchy title—something that will make the average person at least wonder what the piece is about (while at the same not being a bait-and-switch). As this one continues you will probably be able to guess what I intended to have in the place of "Doofuses" in the title, but it just wasn't meant to be. Although as an elementary school child I used the now-personally-banished term as a form of "jerk" (and a mild one at that), a little research on the web confirmed my fears about its origin. It was actually a bit more worrisome to find that another replacement I might have chosen also originally referred to the same body part. I'm not sure what is worse, the fact that people don't hesitate anymore to use curse words or that (even in the more "innocent" decade of the 70's) a goody-two-shoes grade schooler was unwittingly a potty-mouth.

Either way, one would have to be pretty insulated from all forms of media to not have heard of the Twitter behavior of a soon-to-be-former U.S. Representative, Anthony Weiner. What I did not expect to see in the aftermath of his reprehensible actions (both in the tweets and in the lies that followed) was someone as respectable as Dr. Albert Mohler being dragged into the conversation. Strangely enough, it too was a tweet that got some people a bit cranky with him.

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Awake! PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Saturday, 11 June 2011 10:28

In a previous article I noted that as the years have weathered my body, in the physical realm I have had to learn to be satisfied with pass/fail instead of "winning" (as in, being happy I was able to get to the top of Mount Cardigan instead of worrying about whether I was passing or being passed on the way up). Exercise can remedy some of that, but ultimately our bodies' warrantees start running out as we reach middle age, and we begin to need more than just oil changes to keep our engines running smoothly.

This morning also reminded me how I am long past being able to pull an all-nighter. One of my faults (or strengths, depending on how you look at it) is that if I run into a problem programming, I can't stop until I have solved it. Not so bad if the fiendish issue raises it's head about noon—not so good if it does at 1:30AM. (Of course, one might ask about the wisdom within programming past midnight anyway. That's where my other flaw/strength—needing a good stopping point—kicks in.)

Either way, after an unrestful handful of hours of sleep (interrupted by various noises and an awesome "Happy Birthday!" from Augie...who also insisted on seeing my eyes open) I groggily climbed out of bed...and had a Scripture fuzzily pop into my head. I'm not 100% positive, but there is a chance it was this one:

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20 Days PDF Print Email
Written by Alan Fahrner   
Sunday, 05 June 2011 17:03

Perhaps one of the worst reports we can hear is that of a baby unexpectedly passing away overnight. As a parent of a three year-old, I don't want to even consider what it would mean to tuck my tike into bed one evening and then find he's no longer breathing in the morning. Can anyone argue with Theoden in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" when he says, "No parent should have to bury their child"?

Especially when that child is only 20 days old.

And the death of an infant leads to many questions. Perhaps the most common type can be summed up in a single word.

Why?

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