The Constitution: Three Fifths

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (Previous sentence amended by the 14th Amendment, Section 2)

Although a person didn’t have to be royalty (or rich) to be part of Congress, there were still barriers. Native Americans (Indians), for example weren’t taxed so they didn’t get to be counted as part of the census—they’re not going to be part of Congress. Originally, representatives and “direct taxes” (whatever that means—apparently it could cover just about any form of taxes) to the government among the States of the Union (that being the States which are United under this Constitution thus forming a New Government), were figured out by the addition (or a counting) of all free individuals—including those who are contractually not-Free for a set amount of years.

And it’s here where we come face to face with the original 3/5th Person rule Compromise.

People like to make up things and say that slave owners counted their slaves as sub-human…only 3/5th of a person (like this recent New York Times editorial implies Republicans might push for by reading the Constitution:

In any case, it is a presumptuous and self-righteous act, suggesting that they alone understand the true meaning of a text that the founders wisely left open to generations of reinterpretation. Certainly the Republican leadership is not trying to suggest that African-Americans still be counted as three-fifths of a person.)

Get this: slave owners wanted slaves counted as full persons; abolitionists wanted them rated as non-persons.


Well, note what’s going on in this section. If you have a State that has more persons counted in a census, you get more representative power in Congress. If you get more representative power in Congress, you have the ability to ensure that the votes are favorable in your direction.

Abolitionists didn’t want to give the slavery-states that Representative power but there was no conceivable way, without destroying the infant Union before it was full born, to deny them some sort of power. Plus, the South had more clout: they were richer, smarter, and fairly powerful. The 3/5th of a person Compromise allowed the South to have their voting power and gave the North some sort of comfort, albeit with some very unfortunate repercussions.

The charts I made earlier can’t be made to work everywhere, I think I can use them here by saying that the Compromise could have been seen as an expansion of State Power but it was really just a way of playing the system.


The North wound up getting more people and thus more Representatives. If a slave counts as 3/5th of a person, that means the South needed to increase the amount of slaves to ensure they maintain representative power. A slave owner with 100 slaves will need to up his holdings by 67 slaves to ensure he has a good number added to the census. With no language in the constitution addressing the issue (say a degrading scale or something which would make having more slaves eventually a very costly taxable commodity but the South wouldn’t have cared about because they would have been so ahead of the game they could’ve fixed it later or something), the slave business boomed.

That’s overly simplistic though since I’m not really dealing with the history of slavery in the United States but rather reading the Constitution. Anyway, the 14th Amendment adjusted some of that language from this section:

14th Amendment, Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.

This, of course, occurred because of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th amendment which reads:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

It was a point in American History where, if the Constitution were not ratified by the Southern States we would have been worrying about the wealthy Confederate States of America. But even with the ratified Constitution bearing the 13th Amendment we still had problems. Blacks were free, surely, but what rights did they have? Note:

But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Okay, so males over 21 have to be allowed to vote or the state takes a hit regarding their Representation and census counting. Hrmm, that doesn’t seem to get rid of the problem, does it? I mean, if you were a former slave-owner, what would scare you more: taking a Representative hit or having the people you used to own have the right to put new Representatives in place? Sure, no one wants to lose Representatives but Ex-Slaves With Power would have been frightening.

Enter the 15th, the last of the Reconstruction Amendments.

15th Amendment, Section 1 and 2.  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Now it’s made explicit: race, color, or previous state of servitude allows these persons, which are counted and added to the representative base, to vote. To be explicit, their right to vote cannot “be denied or shortened.” They have equal protection under the Constitution.

Of course, that didn’t end things in the South. The ex-slaves and blacks could still be counted as part of the census regarding the amount of Representatives, but they figured out all sorts of ways to stop them from voting. The burning cross on the lawn warned “You’re free to vote, but there will be consequences.”

Both of these Amendments were furthered by the 19th Amendment which states as follows:

19th Amendment The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

So now, we see that the right of citizens (which is the right to vote for representatives and to be taxed as a whole person) is extended to women. Congress is also granted power to implement laws to ensure that this right is not denied.

You would think that this is a power that infringes on the freedoms of the American public, but it technically isn’t. What the Government essentially said was “We are not a government that has Slavery” and “We are a government that doesn’t deny voting from its citizens” and the states ratified those things.

There’s a lot more that can be said but I want to keep trucking along.

84 Day Bible Reading Plan

Last year I did a fairly expedited reading plan that was planned for 90 days but wound up taking longer. This year, I’ve set up an 84 Day reading plan which will push harder for an earlier completion but if I miss a day or two, it shouldn’t result in missing the 90 day read. I figure this way, I can read the Bible each quarter and allow me to do some of the deeper studies I’m normally accustomed to.

But there are others out there who might want to read along so I’ve included the plan for you. Last year I focused more on order of writing but this year I just wanted to get some solid reading done so it will consist of an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, some Proverbs and some Psalms, every day.

[ ] January 01, 2011 Gen 1-11; Matt 1-4; Ps 1-3; Prov 1:1-7
[ ] January 02, 2011 Gen 12-21; Matt 5-6; Ps 4-6; Prov 1:8-19
[ ] January 03, 2011 Gen 22-29; Matt 7-9; Ps 7-8; Prov 1:20-33
[ ] January 04, 2011 Gen 30-37; Matt 10-12; Ps 9-10; Prov 2:1-11
[ ] January 05, 2011 Gen 38-45; Matt 13-14; Ps 11-13; Prov 2:12-22
[ ] January 06, 2011 Gen 46-50; Matt 15-16; Ps 14-16; Prov 3:1-10
[ ] January 07, 2011 Exo 1-14; Matt 17-19; Ps 17:1-18:21; Prov 3:11-21
[ ] January 08, 2011 Exo 15-24; Matt 20-22; Ps 18:22-50; Prov 3:22-35
[ ] January 09, 2011 Exo 25-33; Matt 23-24; Ps 19-20; Prov 4:1-8
[ ] January 10, 2011 Exo 34-40; Matt 25; Ps 21-22; Prov 4:9-19
[ ] January 11, 2011 Lev 1-11; Matt 26-28; Ps 23-24; Prov 4:20-27
[ ] January 12, 2011 Lev 12-19; Mark 1-2; Ps 25-26; Prov 5:1-14
[ ] January 13, 2011 Lev 20-27; Mark 3-4; Ps 27-28; Prov 5:15-23
[ ] January 14, 2011 Num 1-6; Mark 5-6; Ps 29-30; Prov 6:1-12
[ ] January 15, 2011 Num 7-14; Mark 7-9; Ps 31-32; Prov 6:13-23
[ ] January 16, 2011 Num 15-22; Mark 10-11; Ps 33-34; Prov 6:24-35
[ ] January 17, 2011 Num 23-31; Mark 12:1-14:11; Ps 35; Prov 7:1-10
[ ] January 18, 2011 Num 32-36; Mark 14:12-16:20; Ps 36; Prov 7:11-21
[ ] January 19, 2011 Deut 1-12; Luke 1; Ps 37; Prov 7:22-27
[ ] January 20, 2011 Deut 13-24; Luke 2; Ps 38; Prov 8:1-16
[ ] January 21, 2011 Deut 25-34; Luke 3-5; Ps 39-40; Prov 8:17-27
[ ] January 22, 2011 Josh 1-10; Luke 6-7; Ps 41-43; Prov 8:28-36
[ ] January 23, 2011 Josh 11-19; Luke 8; Ps 44; Prov 9
[ ] January 24, 2011 Josh 20-24; Luke 9-10; Ps 45-47; Prov 10:1-5
[ ] January 25, 2011 Judg 1-14; Luke 11-12; Ps 48-49; Prov 10:6-16
[ ] January 26, 2011 Judg 15-21; Ruth 1-4; Luke 13-15; Ps 50; Prov 10:17-32
[ ] January 27, 2011 1 Sam 1-12; Luke 16-17; Ps 51-52; Prov 11:1-6
[ ] January 28, 2011 1 Sam 13-19; Luke 18-19; Ps 53-55; Prov 11:7-17
[ ] January 29, 2011 1 Sam 20-31; Luke 20-21; Ps 56-57; Prov 11:18-31
[ ] January 30, 2011 2 Sam 1-12; Luke 22-23; Ps 58-59; Prov 12:1-8
[ ] January 31, 2011 2 Sam 13-24; Luke 24; Ps 60-62; Prov 12:9-19
[ ] February 01, 2011 1 Kings 1-3; John 1-3; Ps 63-64; Prov 12:20-28
[ ] February 02, 2011 1 Kings 4-11; John 4-5; Ps 65-66; Prov 13:1-12
[ ] February 03, 2011 1 Kings 12-22; John 6; Ps 67:1-68:19; Prov 13:13-25
[ ] February 04, 2011 2 Kings 1-6; John 7-8; Ps 68:20-35; Prov 14:1-9
[ ] February 05, 2011 2 Kings 7-15; John 9-10; Ps 69-70; Prov 14:10-20
[ ] February 06, 2011 2 Kings 16-25; John 11-12; Ps 71; Prov 14:21-35
[ ] February 07, 2011 1 Chron 1-6; John 13-16; Ps 72-73; Prov 15:1-7
[ ] February 08, 2011 1 Chron 7-14; John 17-18; Ps 74; Prov 15:8-18
[ ] February 09, 2011 1 Chron 15-29; John 19-21; Ps 75-76; Prov 15:19-33
[ ] February 10, 2011 2 Chron 1-7; Acts 1-3; Ps 77; Prov 16:1-7
[ ] February 11, 2011 2 Chron 8-20; Acts 4-6; Ps 78:1-42; Prov 16:8-18
[ ] February 12, 2011 2 Chron 21-36; Acts 7-8; Ps 78:43-72; Prov 16:19-33
[ ] February 13, 2011 Ezra 1-10; Acts 9-10; Ps 79-80; Prov 17:1-6
[ ] February 14, 2011 Neh 1-6; Acts 11-13; Ps 81-82; Prov 17:7-17
[ ] February 15, 2011 Neh 7-13; Acts 14-15; Ps 83-84; Prov 17:18-28
[ ] February 16, 2011 Esther 1-10; Job 1-6; Acts 16-19; Ps 85-86; Prov 18:1-11
[ ] February 17, 2011 Job 7-18; Acts 20-21; Ps 87-88; Prov 18:12-24
[ ] February 18, 2011 Job 19-29; Acts 22-24; Ps 89:1-33; Prov 19:1-9
[ ] February 19, 2011 Job 30-38; Acts 25-27; Ps 89:34-90:17; Prov 19:10-20
[ ] February 20, 2011 Job 39-42; Ps 1-16; Acts 28; Ps 91-92; Prov 19:21-29
[ ] February 21, 2011 Ps 17-32; Rom 1-5; Ps 93-94; Prov 20:1-12
[ ] February 22, 2011 Ps 33-47; Rom 6-8; Ps 95-96; Prov 20:13-23
[ ] February 23, 2011 Ps 48-66; Rom 9-12; Ps 97-99; Prov 20:24-30
[ ] February 24, 2011 Ps 67-78; Rom 13-16; Ps 100-102; Prov 21:1-15
[ ] February 25, 2011 Ps 79-92; 1 Cor 1-4; Ps 103; Prov 21:16-31
[ ] February 26, 2011 Ps 93-106; 1 Cor 5-8; Ps 104; Prov 22:1-6
[ ] February 27, 2011 Ps 107:1-119:72; 1 Cor 9-11; Ps 105:1-22; Prov 22:7-17
[ ] February 28, 2011 Ps 119:73-137:9; 1 Cor 12-14; Ps 105:23-45; Prov 22:18-29
[ ] March 01, 2011 Ps 138-150; 1 Cor 15-16; Ps 106; Prov 23:1-10
[ ] March 02, 2011 Prov 1-13; 2 Cor 1-6; Ps 107:1-21; Prov 23:11-20
[ ] March 03, 2011 Prov 14-22; 2 Cor 7-13; Ps 107:22-108:13; Prov 23:21-35
[ ] March 04, 2011 Prov 23-31; Gal 1-2; Ps 109; Prov 24:1-7
[ ] March 05, 2011 Ecc 1-12; Song 1-8; Gal 3-6; Ps 110-112; Prov 24:8-18
[ ] March 06, 2011 Isa 1-10; Eph 1-4; Ps 113-115; Prov 24:19-34
[ ] March 07, 2011 Isa 11-27; Eph 5-6; Ps 116-117; Prov 25:1-6
[ ] March 08, 2011 Isa 28-40; Phil 1-4; Ps 118; Prov 25:7-17
[ ] March 09, 2011 Isa 41-52; Col 1-4; Ps 119:1-32; Prov 25:18-28
[ ] March 10, 2011 Isa 53-66; 1 Thess 1-5; 2 Thess 1-3; Ps 119:33-64; Prov 26:1-11
[ ] March 11, 2011 Jer 1-12; 1 Tim 1-6; Ps 119:65-96; Prov 26:12-21
[ ] March 12, 2011 Jer 13-24; 2 Tim 1-4; Ps 119:97-128; Prov 26:22-28
[ ] March 13, 2011 Jer 25-34; Titus 1-3; Philemon; Ps 119:129-160; Prov 27:1-15
[ ] March 14, 2011 Jer 35-47; Heb 1-6; Ps 119:161-120:7; Prov 27:16-27
[ ] March 15, 2011 Jer 48-52; Heb 7-10; Ps 121-124; Prov 28:1-10
[ ] March 16, 2011 Lam 1-5; Eze 1-10; Heb 11-13; Ps 125-129; Prov 28:11-21
[ ] March 17, 2011 Eze 11-20; James 1-5; Ps 130-132; Prov 28:22-28
[ ] March 18, 2011 Eze 21-29; 1 Pet 1-5; Ps 133-135; Prov 29:1-15
[ ] March 19, 2011 Eze 30-40; 2 Pet 1-3; Ps 136; Prov 29:16-27
[ ] March 20, 2011 Eze 41-48; 1 John 1-5; Ps 137-139; Prov 30:1-10
[ ] March 21, 2011 Dan 1-12; 2 John 1; 3 John 1; Jude 1; Ps 140-141; Prov 30:11-20
[ ] March 22, 2011 Hos 1-14; Rev 1-6; Ps 142-143; Prov 30:21-33
[ ] March 23, 2011 Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah 1; Jonah 1-4; Rev 7-12; Ps 144-145; Prov 31:1-9
[ ] March 24, 2011 Micah 1-7; Nah 1-3; Hab 1-3; Zeph 1-3; Haggai 1-2; Rev 13-18; Ps 146-147; Prov 31:10-20
[ ] March 25, 2011 Zech 1-14; Mal 1-4; Rev 19-22; Ps 148-150; Prov 31:21-31

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Goodbye 2010: Decade in Review and Junk

In our lifetime we’ll only get a few moments to wax poetic and review things from our narcissist pinnacle, and with MCF now being gone from the blogging world, I am left picking up the slacker’s slack. In this post, I want to flashback over the last ten years and declare, as only a person who is overly self-assure can, what is the best-of-the-best-of-the-decade. Of course, this also being the end of 2010, I’ll have to also touch on the Best-of-the-Best of 2010. And maybe, I might just throw in the best of my blog posts, to put a cherry on top of my ego.

This was a crazy 10 years. I went from just getting married in 1999 to being a father of 3 and now owning a second dog. I moved from the capital of the World to the middle of No Where. I went from Art Director to Senior Art Director slash Web Designer. Life is crazy. And here’s the Decade in Review to prove it!

Music: Although somewhat hard, Pearl Jam and Nirvana‘s best stuff is firmly grounded in the 90s so I don’t have to care as much about my choices. And yet, the 2000’s gave us the return of Michael Jackson with Invincible, his first album in 6 years and the last album he’d produce before dying!

News:The news was CRAZY this decade so to try to pin it down only one story is ridiculous. Don’t mind me if I cheat by splitting the categories

Entertainment: I love me my entertainment and I would’ve had some serious problems but we’ve had some real stand outs this decade.


Tek: Yeah there’s been a whole mess of technological advances so I’m just going to list some tops.

Blog Posts: Narcissim at its best.

Christian Carnival 360: End of the Decade Edition

Welcome to the 360th Christian Carnival: The End of the Decade Edition. The posts have been randomly placed within categories, so don’t mind that, and I’ve included some extras from other bloggers. Enjoy and feel free to disagree with the Best Of lists! Make sure to look at the Carnival Archive for past carnivals: we’ve been doing this since 2004!

Best Music of 2010: Either Jimmy Hendrix’s Valley of Neptune or Johnny Cash’s haunting Ain’t No Grave (youtube)
Best Music of the Decade: We might not like it but Eminem and Britney Spears are probably at the top. But I’d say the White Stripes even if they came out of the 90s and at least one song from Outkast.

Best World News of 2010: Either the Haiti Earthquake or the Rescue of the Chilean Miners
Best Word News of the Decade: A Tsunami? A Hurricane? Deaths (A Victim, A Pope, A Terrorist, A Dictator, An Idol)? 9/11? Global Wars? Tough to call. Maybe we should just pick Y2K.

Best TV Show of 2010: You would think AMC’s The Walking Dead, but PBS’s Sherlock wins hands down.
Best TV Show of the Decade: Please don’t say American Idol. Just say Lost.

Best Movie of 2010: Loads of folk say Inception but I’d say either Toy Story 3 or Tangled
Best Movie of the Decade: Lord of the Rings (All Three as One).

Best Popular Christian Book of 2010: Either Craig’s On Guard or Copan’s Is God A Moral Monster
Best Popular Christian Book of the Decade: Ugh it’s probably gonna’ be something like Blue Like Jazz. If I could get away with it, I’d say the Harry Potter series. Does the Ressurrection of the Son of God by Wright count as a popular level book?

Best Political News of 2010: Scott Brown (R) wins long time Democrat seat.
Best Political News of the Decade: US elects their first Black President.

Ringers (I may or may not agree with them, they’re just good posts)

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Getting Tense With Hebrews 1

In the past, I argued against the liberal (or Kenotic Arian) view of Scripture by looking at what the writer to the Hebrews thought about Scripture. I could have argued from Paul, Peter, John and Christ but I was co-opting some of my studies on Hebrews to make the point. Anyway, there was a fundamental thread that should be seen throughout the entire post easily summarized as follows: the writer to the Hebrews sees God speaking the Gospel right now perfectly through others via the entirety of Scripture written in the past to affect change in the present to save from the future shaking. In fact, if I want a scripture summary, I’d probably just quote Isaiah 40 and what the voice of one crying out in the wilderness was to cry: Good News—God is here!

With that understanding I think it’s easier to see why the writer to the Hebrews uses the passages he does and the way he does even if it still generates a whole mess of questions. For instance, a reading of Hebrews 1:1-5 generates five questions in my mind. First a quick overview:

  • Heb 1:1 God spoke via Prophets
  • Heb 1:2 God spoke these days via his Son
  • Heb 1:3 God’s Son is the radiance of His glory; exact representation of his nature; upholds all things by the word of his power; made purification for sins; sat down at the right hand of the majesty on High
  • Heb 1:4 God’s Son became much better than the angels by receiving a more excellent name
  • Heb 1:5 Angels never called Son

Now mind, most of the far context has been dealt with in far more detail by David Gooding in his book(amazon) The Unshakeable Kingdom (read online) and DA Carson in a message both drawing heavily from FF Bruce’s commentary so you can look at all of those for some of the more technical questions but here are mine:

  • Question 1: What does this all (including the citations of 2 Sam 7 and Psalm 2) have to do with Gospel anyway?
  • Question 2: If the Son is the brightness of God’s glory, an exact representation of God’s nature and upholds all things by the word of His power—something only God does—then why does the author downgrade (as it were) his argument by appealing to the fact that He is called “Son”?
  • Question 3: what does that argument (being called Son) have to do with the prior point (Brightness of God’s glory, etc) anyway?
  • Question 4: Angels have been called Son (you know Genesis 6 and Job 1—which includes Satan); what gives?
  • Question 5: Why quote Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7 to prove this at all?

Gooding, Carson and Bruce pull out several points from the use of the passages but I particularly wanted to focus on one matter of tense.

In 2 Samuel 7, God makes David a covenant of a future descendant sitting on David’s throne and reigning in David’s Kingdom. God says that the future descendant would build God’s house but if this descendant sins, God will punish him. We know this winds up happening with Solomon (and not with Christ) but God states that David’s throne will endure forever which looks beyond Solomon who winds up being punished for his own iniquities and eventually dies.

What God says in 2 Samuel 7 is, essentially David’s Real Son (not some other human or even a non-human)  will do what God wants (build God’s house) when God wants and he will be called God’s Son as a title—but (in time) Solomon isn’t the perpetual continuation of David’s promise. Each Davidic King is called God’s Son (“I will be a father to him and he will be my Son”) and this pattern will either continue into eternity or there would eventually come a human son of David who retains the God given title of “Son” eternally.

Shorthand: the promise of God’s naming is made in the future tense, even when considering Solomon.

But that changes in Psalm 2. The Psalm is about the Lord’s Anointed already seated in the mountain of the Lord while the nations already rail against him and the Lord (David was given rest and the Lord promised a future rest to him and his people in 2 Samuel 7). The Lord currently laughs and then the Lord’s anointed speaks in the past tense saying “He said unto my ‘I am your father and you are my son’.” He then proceeds to tell the nations to fear the Son (a Kingly role) and to Worship God (a priestly role).

Anyway, the Anointed One is recalling when God said this to him but in 2 Samuel 7, the one who is called “My Son” isn’t even around yet to receive the title.

Now, I’m not saying that the Psalm is definitely Christ speaking in the past tense but, in light of what I previously wrote about how the writer to the Hebrews reads Scripture, when we hear the tense we should be hearing Christ speaking in that portion. At least the early Christians in Acts read the text that way when they cited the words of the Psalm as part of their prayer.

  • Question 5: The writer has to quote 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2 because it makes a bridge between God Doing and David’s Family Doing (something that the prophets expand on, especially when you read Ezekiel 34 – 37) that the promise of the bestowed title of Son is bestowed on a man, a son of David, who has both kingly (rule the people) and priestly (build God’s house and direct worship to God) roles.
  • Question 4: Although Angels have been called sons (Job 1) it is only in the sense where they are displaying part of God’s qualities. I wrote about functional sonship before but I think it can be easily summarized as God is both spirit and a consuming fire who ministers to others and angels are ministering spirits and flames. None of them reign or hold dominion. That was something that was explicitly given to the human race (Genesis 1).
  • Question 3: The point has much to do with the previous point because the writer displays Christ as doing everything God does—even down to his nature. God creates…so did Christ. God upholds with his power…so did Christ. John 5 makes this point pretty nicely.
  • Question 2: The writer makes the connection that the one who perfectly expresses God is the one who has come near as a man. It’s pretty much the whole basis of the argument in Chapter 2 through 5 so as to eventually show that he has suffered, he understands our weaknesses, he went on before us and he has conquered and has completed his work. That’s powerful stuff to have a person (Christ) who represents God perfectly also be the very one who can rule and represent men perfectly.
  • Question 1: Well, it pretty much is the Gospel, isn’t it?

As a side point, I think it’s interesting that in a book which is often used to prove the most inane things about what Christ’s humanity necessarily entailed (vomiting, believing error, almost dying from sickness, liking brunette little people) that this point that the one who perfectly represents God (created the world, upholds all things by his word of power, brightness of God’s glory, express image of God) is relegated to his postresurrection ministry when Isaiah looks forward to this Son being born and finally the Father Himself from Heaven declares, in the start of Christ’s ministry “This is my beloved Son—hear Him!”(Matt 3:17)  He suffered, surely, but he did so as perfectly representing the Father (John 14:9)

I’m not too sure on the thought-flow of this post since my brain is currently fuzzy; I may have made the points without tightening the connections as much as I would like.

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Kenotic Arianism




Winter Driving For Dummies (And You)

It has snowed maybe two times and I’ve already seen some of the most idiotic driving. Coming from New York City, I’m used to a fair amount of snow and stupid driving, but what I’ve been encountering has happened in maybe an inch of snow. So, this post is an open letter of do’s and don’ts during winter driving.

Now mind you, I’m not a great driver, so nothing in this post should be taken as that. In fact, I drive a Toyota Sienna, which puts me on the side of fairly conservative drivers. My history of car driving has consisted of a Camry, an Accord, a Jeep Cherokee, a converted Ford van (which I damaged), and a 1971 Mercedes Benz I lovingly called “Ugly”.  But I am a driver that is often scared by the stupidity of other drivers, so I take precautions that I’m pretty sure other folk don’t take.

So if you drive in the snow, read this as a refresher. Maybe you’re not one of the idiots I’m referring to, that’s okay. But you don’t have to admit it if you are:

Don’t drive if you don’t have to. Honestly, do you really need to go out? Is it something that can wait a day? Can you take public transportation?

Be prepared. Your trunk should house jumper cables, blankets, kitty litter or sand, a small shovel, a window scraper with a brush and a flashlight. Your pocket should sport some cash and a cell phone. Your coat (ladies) should be heavy enough that you’re not shivering. Layers are great. So are warm boots. Carry extra shoes if you have to. Don’t forsake gloves.

Know your car. What kind of car is it? How old are your tires? (For snow, newer is better) Four wheel drive or two-wheel drive? Have you used the Low Gear shift yet? (Do) When was your last oil change? What type of windshield wiper fluid are you using?

Use defrosters. Yes, both front and rear. Trying to view the road through a small 4×4 square that you scraped with your credit card is not going to help you when Trucker Dude flies at you from an angle. If it takes time for your car to warm up to defrost, then leave seven minutes earlier. Honestly, seven minutes to save a life.

Turn on the air conditioner. WHAT?!? Baby, it’s cold outside! What you don’t want is your hot breath turning to condensation on your cold windshield thus resulting in foggy glass. The solution is to (1) flip your heat all the way to the red zone and then (2) turn on your air conditioner to reduce the humidity in your car cabin.

Lower the volume. The noise of the heat is pretty loud. The engine is also working harder with the A/C. And you’re bundled up. Wouldn’t you rather hear the driver that has lost control of everything but his blaring horn?

Use your lights. I do not care if your car doesn’t have day lights: use your regular lights. This way you can warn pedestrians and other drivers when you are careening in their direction.

Slow freaking down. Listen, people, that sign that shows the speed limit is revealing the upper echelon of speed you should be traveling during normal driving conditions; it says nothing about bad traffic or inclement weather. If the speed limit is 45, drop to 30. Even 25. Stopping in snow will take longer and you might get to wherever you’re going late. But better late than dead.

Plan your stops. I’ve seen way to many people drive up to a stop sign or a traffic light as if there’s not a coating of semi-frozen water on the ground. Since it will take you longer to stop, tell yourself “I will start stopping earlier” as you approach the stop sign and then follow through.

Believe in Anti-Lock brakes (ABS). In my old Benz, I had to pump the brakes whenever I was on a low friction surface—it was necessary and it was taught. But with anti-lock brakes being put in most cars, people really haven’t let go of those old lessons. Here’s the fact: anti-locks pump your brakes. They do what you used to do but only one hundred times better than you ever could. It takes you longer to stop—but it’s a good thing. Your tires aren’t going to lock up and send you spinning. For those of you who have wondered: when you fully press the brake pedal, you will feel this strange rumbling rhythm under your foot—that is your anti-lock brakes working. Let them. Don’t take your foot off the brake. Let. Them. Work.

Don’t slam the brakes on ice. One year, while driving down a hill at night, I suddenly realized that the entire road was covered in a sheet of ice. I let go of my brakes and gas pedal, and switched to neutral. The dude coming toward me, and the guy right behind me, also realized they were on glass-like ice but they slammed on the brakes. I distinctly remember coasting by as those two vehicles slammed into each other in my rearview.

Taking a spin. You’ve probably had it start happening to you: you brake, or hit the gas, and your car starts to spin. The natural reaction is to get away from the spin and straighten the car, but that just forces physics to prove itself your master. The rule to remember when spinning out is this 1) Get out of the spin. To do that, with a front-wheel-drive vehicle, depending on the speed either a) let go of the gas and, turn against the spin and let your wheels regain traction (which works on a very low speed) or b) turn into the spin thus allowing your wheels to work with the ground and propel you through the slippery spot (which works on a slightly higher speed).

Plan your Go. Just because there’s snow in the ground, doesn’t mean you have to take the first available gap in the oncoming traffic. Doing that forces you to hit the gas to get across which will inevitably result in a skidding out, instead of jumping into the flow of traffic. Better to wait for a nice space, and gently press the gas to cross into traffic.

Leave space. The car in front of you shouldn’t be going any faster and the persons behind you shouldn’t either. So slow down, and give yourself some stopping distance.

Four-Wheel What? Just because you have four wheel drive doesn’t mean you are immune to the laws of physics. You have some benefits, surely, but a four-wheeler can spin out like the rest of them. I remember one year, during a surprise snow storm in North Carolina, driving past a four wheel drive jeep in an out-of-control slow spin with the driver behind the wheel with this comical frozen expression of horror.

Do you have any tips you’ve found handy and want to add to the list?

Jen and Jon’s Wedding

My brother recorded this video with his freakishly awesome Canon and compiled an excellent five minute music video of my cousin Jenny’s wedding. Enjoy.