24 Hour Breakfast!

I went to a restaurant that serves 
"breakfast at any time." So I ordered 

French Toast during the Renaissance...


Professor Howdy said...

Politically Correct and Deadly

It is often pointed out that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion
supplier in America. This is but one thing the organization doesn't wish to
promote. Planned Parenthood's website presents a greatly edited version of
their founder Margaret Sanger's life. This carefully crafted version seeks
to downplay any charges that she promoted racial ideas and insist that
others are simply quoting her out of context. The truth is far different, as
she and her colleagues' quotes showed a tremendous affinity for the ideals
espoused by Hitler's Germany:

"While striving to limit the propagation of mental defectives and others
grossly unfit, and guarding mothers from dangerous or excessive
childbearing, we physicians would be grievously remiss if we failed to
follow the recommendation of the most impressive of the birth control
conferences, the one held in New York in 1925, that 'persons whose progeny
gives promise of being of decided value to the community should be
encouraged to bear as large families as they feasibly can.'"--Robert L.
Dickinson. "On the Control of Conception." Birth Control Review, Volume XV,
Number 1 (January 1931), page 5.

In 1939 (October 19, 1939), Margaret Sanger wrote Clarence Gamble,
instructing him to hire "three or four colored ministers with engaging
personalities . . . we do not want word to get out that we want to
exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can
straighten out that idea if it occurs to any of their more rebellious
members". (Linda Gordon, Women's Body, Women's Right, A Social History of
Birth Control in America p. 333). [TBC: Reading this quote in its original
context does nothing to mitigate the force of her words]. And, as another
commentator notes:

"Sanger frequently featured racists and eugenicists in her magazine, the
'Birth Control Review.' Contributor Lothrop Stoddard, who also served on
Sanger's board of directors, wrote in 'The Rising Tide of Color Against
White World-Supremacy' that 'We must resolutely oppose both Asiatic
permeation of white race-areas and Asiatic inundation of those non-white,
but equally non-Asiatic regions inhabited by the really inferior races.'
Each issue of the Birth Control Review was packed with such ideas. But
Sanger was not content merely to publish racist propaganda; the magazine
also made concrete policy proposals, such as the creation of 'moron
communities,' the forced production of children by the 'fit,' and the
compulsory sterilization and even elimination of the 'unfit.'

"Sanger's own racist views were scarcely less opprobrious. In 1939 she and
Clarence Gamble made an infamous proposal called 'Birth Control and the
Negro,' which asserted that 'the poorer areas, particularly in the South . .
. are producing alarmingly more than their share of future generations.' Her
'religion of birth control' would, she wrote, 'ease the financial load of
caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to
themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation.' " ("The
Repackaging of Margaret Sanger," Steven W. Mosher, "The Wall Street
Journal," May 5, 1997)

Chuck Colson

Professor Howdy said...


Twenty Something -- The cost of a sitter for Saturday night.

Fancy Restaurant -- One that serves cold soup on purpose.

College -- The four-year period when parents are permitted access to the

Hors D'oeuvres -- A sandwich cut into 20 pieces.

Kissing -- A means of getting two people so close together that they
can't see anything wrong with each other.

Emergency Numbers -- Police station, Fire Department and Places that

Professor Howdy said...

Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables
you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months
in a nursing home at $5000 per month.

The advantage of exercising every day is that you die


You could run this over to your friends but why not
just e-mail it to them!

Anonymous said...

I thought for a second that you were going to say "You could run this over to your friends, but on second thought, why not just run over them"! (in light of the depressing news that my "healthy" walking habit may not be so healthy!) :)

Professor Howdy said...

The parables of Jesus are inescapably weighted with ethos and revelation.
With good reason, we seek to know and understand the depths of these
thoughtful stories. Theologians have expounded chapters on the
intricacies of even the simplest of parables--agreeing and disagreeing
along the way. Yet even so, and no doubt contributing to their appeal,
the parables of Jesus are also simple enough to compel a child to listen:

"What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is
like a mustard seed that a man cast in his garden; it grew and became a
tree and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."(1)

Though the theological and methodological approaches to this parable may
be varied, perhaps in varying degrees each contends a similar truth: The
kingdom of God holds much to be discovered, discussed, and held in

German theologian Joachim Jeremias argues that Jesus is not describing the
kingdom as the mustard seed itself, but as the vision of the seed brought
to fruition.(2) In other words, the kingdom of God is not the tiny seed,
but the giant shrub into which it grows, and in whose boughs the birds
make their nests. Jesus is looking for the audience to compare the
kingdom of God to the final stage of the process from seedling to
tree, and hence internalize the vision of a great and protective kingdom.
Writes Jeremias, "The tree which shelters the birds is a common metaphor
for a mighty kingdom which protects its vassals."(2) For this influential
scholar, the parable of the mustard seed depicts the sharp contrast between
the kingdom of God in its fledging beginnings and the mighty kingdom that
is breaking-in beyond all asking or perceiving. The kingdom of God is in
the process of realization, and this is both an essential component for
understanding the parable of the mustard seed, and every word Jesus ever

Others contend that the nature of metaphor itself is such that it leaves
Jesus's descriptions of the kingdom largely unarticulated, requiring
hearers to draw out the conclusions based on what they know of him, the
character of God, and the intricacies of life. The kingdom of God as it
is compared to a grain of mustard planted in a garden sets up a point of
contrast that is "creative of meaning," to use the words of Robert Funk,
and unending in dialogue: How is a kingdom like a tiny, planted seed?
Who is the man who planted it? How is the realm of God like a tree with
branches providing shelter? The conclusions are many--and transforming.
Like all of his parables, the comparison of "kingdom" and "seed" sets
hearers up for surprise. It is a metaphorical narrative that calls for
participation, and leads hearers to a point of decision: Will you
continue to see signs of the kingdom as futile and diminutive or will you
open your eyes to the possibility of a great and hidden reality? For many
scholars, this parable describes the advent of a radical world in its tiny
beginnings. It subverts our well-ordered vision of what is, and
leaves in its place a system of signs that point us to the person of Jesus
and the kingdom he proclaims. We are invited into a dialogue about the
kingdom of God and its surprising and transcendent presence in our
everyday situations.

Still other approaches to the kingdom and the mustard seed weigh in on the
social context and cultural conventions of the first century world of the
parables. As a Jewish rabbi speaking parabolically of the kingdom of God
within a Jewish and Hellenistic context, Jesus would have conceivably
elicited reactions quite different than ours today. William Herzog's
description of Mediterranean life as affected daily by insufficient and
limited resources might illumine reactions of the audience to the great
promise of the kingdom Jesus describes. If everything surrounding first
century peasant life seemed in short supply, the description of the
kingdom of heaven as a negligible grain of mustard growing into a great
tree would undoubtedly be received in earnest wonder. The kingdom of God
as the greatest of all shrubs reverses the imagery of status by turning
the smallest of all seeds into something of momentous proportions. The
promise of shelter in the shade of the branches of God's reach would also
have been a subversion of order to those who were slaves to the land
beneath those branches. Such a kingdom is indeed good news!

In each of these approaches to Jesus's unlikely comparison, we find truths
and wonders worth gleaning as if from a great and fruitful tree. The
parable of the mustard seed depicts the inconspicuous ministry of Jesus
and the sometimes hidden signs of his significance as holding a potential
far beyond metaphor or imagination, culture or history. The kingdom of
God is not in the future only, nor is it only at hand in a history we
cannot reach; it is here even now, reaching out with branches that bid us
to come and dwell. As with all of Jesus's stories, which "leap out of
their historical situation and confront us as if they had not yet spoken
their final word," I believe this parable will continue to surprise us if
we will continue to inquire.(3) The great reality of a great kingdom has
been planted within the life and words of Jesus, always ready to break
forth the fullness of meaning, gradually or suddenly, or sometimes both.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi
Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) This parable is told in Luke 13:18-19, Mark 4:30-32, and Matthew
(2) Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus (Upper Saddle River,
New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1972), 102.
(3) David Gowler quoting Richard Pevear in What Are They Saying about
the Parables? (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 2.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to the
World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).

Professor Howdy said...

When I was a little girl, my father would affectionately call me "kaduku"
which means "mustard seed." Since most of my friends were called the more
common food-inspired nicknames of honey and sugar, I never understood why I
was compared to such a strange item. Years later, I described my
bewilderment to a friend as we were preparing a curry dish--mustard seeds
in hand. She chuckled and knew immediately why the name was appropriate.
She said, "Look at these tiny seeds, so quiet and inconspicuous. Yet when
we throw them into the oil, they will show us how loud and explosive they
can really be."

I could not help but smile recently with that memory in mind while reading
the parable of the mustard seed, another comparison that bursts of
paradoxical imagery. Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard
seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest
of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants
and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its
branches" (Matthew 13:31).

The significance of this parable is illuminated when connecting it to Old
Testament passages that describe little birds nesting in the branches of
mighty trees. In a revelation to Ezekiel, the Lord described Assyria as
"a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and very
high; and its top was among the clouds... all the birds of the heavens
nested in its boughs, and under its branches all the beasts of the field
gave birth, and all great nations lived under its shade" (Ezekiel 31:6).
In Nebuchadnezzar's dream he too beheld "a tree in the midst of the earth,
and its height was great. The tree grew large and became strong, and its
height reached to the sky, and it was visible to the end of the whole
earth. Its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was
food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds
of the sky dwelt in its branches, and all living creatures fed themselves
from it" (Daniel 4:10-12).

Since Jesus and his disciples were familiar with those mighty images, the
deliberate irony in the parable of the mustard seed was clear. The
kingdom of heaven would grow from its tiny beginnings to a great tree that
would ultimately provide shelter, protection, and benefit to the entire
world. As Craig Keener notes, "The parable is intended to accent both the
qualities of growth and contrast. Like the mustard seed, the kingdom's
humble beginnings and unpretentious character offer no visible indication
of its future growth and glory, but just as there is continuity between
the tiny mustard seed and the resulting 'tree,' so there is continuity
from the seemingly inconsequential beginnings in Jesus' ministry and the
future glory of God's consummating reign. Thus even though the beginnings
of God's kingdom as manifested in Jesus may appear unimpressive, it is
casually dismissed at one's own peril."(1)

How marvelously the parable of the mustard seed highlights the past,
present, and future magnificence of the kingdom in which God reigns.
Though the presence of the King among us may at times feel threatened and
slight, his is a kingdom with an explosive promise: it is not the one who
plants or waters; it is God who makes things grow. Even now God is
working to that end of future glory, calling us to see the great tree in
the seedling, growing all things in his time--even those with the tiniest
of beginnings.

Alison Thomas is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Craig Keener as quoted in The College Press NIV Commentary:
Matthew (Joplin: College Press, 1997), Matthew 13:31.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to the
World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).

Professor Howdy said...

Generally speaking, I am an optimistic person. I find the bright side of
bad situations, I see the world with hopeful lenses, and I go the extra
mile to give others the benefit of the doubt in personal relationships.
Now, this is not the same kind of optimism like Pangloss in Voltaire's
biting satire Candide. When the ship is sinking, I don't believe
everything will be alright, nor do I believe, like Pangloss, that the
sinking ship is the best thing that could happen to me, just because I am
optimistic. I do all that I can to bail out the rising water, even as I
wrestle against the fear and anxiety that accompanies impending disaster!

Yet despite my generally optimistic attitude and outlook, there are times
when I am overwhelmed by sadness. It may be a growing storm of weary
longing or a tide of bitterness that sweeps over me, drowning me with a
dolor that submerges my hope. Sometimes it occurs when I think about the
ageing process and our hopeless fight against it. Sometimes it occurs
when I am in the grocery line, looking at the baggers and clerks who
wonder if this is all they will ever do for work. Oftentimes, it occurs
when I cannot see the good through all the violence and evil that
oppresses our world and its people. I grieve for those who are forgotten
by our society--the last, the least, and the lost among us--and wonder who
is there to help and to save them from drowning.

It is in these times that I recognize the role of lament in our lives.
And I am comforted to know that a great portion of the Scriptures are in
the form of lament, both individual and communal lament. Lament themes
found in ancient Hebrew literature such as the Book of Psalms represent
the deepest cries of agony, anger, confusion, disorientation, sorrow,
grief, and protest, expressed towards a God who would listen and
ultimately respond affirmatively to this emotional outpouring.(1) The
prophetic literature, as well, contains some of the most heart-wrenching
cries to God in times of deep sorrow and distress. One can hear the
anguish in Jeremiah's cry, "Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound
incurable, refusing to be healed? Will God indeed be to me like a
deceptive stream with water that is unreliable?" (Jeremiah 15:18) In
addition, Jeremiah cries out on behalf of the people of Judah: "Harvest is
past, summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the brokenness of the
daughter of my people I am broken; I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me.
Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has
not the health of the daughter of my people been restored? (Jeremiah

As I listen to Jeremiah's cries, I recognize that they arise out of a deep
love for the very people he was called upon by God to pronounce judgment.
As Abraham Joshua Heschel notes, "[Jeremiah] was a person overwhelmed by
sympathy for God and sympathy for man. Standing before the people he
pleaded for God. Standing before God he pleaded for his people."(2)
Oftentimes, my own overwhelming sadness arises when I look out upon a
world that seems to love evil more than good, darkness more than light.
And yet, like Jeremiah, I have sympathy for the very same people. I
grieve over their self-imposed predicaments, their bad choices, and their
selfish indulgences. As Jesus said amidst tears about the people in his
own day, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make
for peace" (Luke 19:42). It is more than appropriate for us to weep and
lament over the sin of the world--the sin that we, too, participate in and

But beyond this, there are simply some realities in life that at times are
overwhelming: the inevitability of ageing, death, and loss, poverty,
hunger, homelessness, relational disruption, and many others. I grieve
over those who find themselves on the losing end of things, who through no
fault of their own always find themselves in last place or left behind.
Lament arises from the despair of looking honestly at these realities for
what they are, and wishing for something else. It is the despair that
arises from not knowing what can be done or how to overcome.

Yet it has been said that "the cry of pain is our deepest acknowledgment
that we are not home." The author continues, "We are divided from our own
body; our own deepest desires; our dearest relationships. We are separated
and long for utter restoration. It is the cry of pain that initiates the
search to ask God, 'What are you doing?' It is this element of a lament
that has the potential to change the heart."(3) If this is true, then
sometimes my overwhelming sorrow, my feelings of bitterness over some of
the harsh or inevitable realities of life are, in fact, the crucible for
real change. The same waters of despair that seek to drown and overwhelm
are the waters of cleansing. So indeed, let the tears flow, "for if [the
LORD] causes grief, then He will have compassion according to his abundant
lovingkindness."(4) Let lament have its way of bittersweet

Margaret Manning is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi
Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Barish Golan, "A Look at Lament Songs in the Bible,"
(2) Abraham Heschel, The Prophets (New York: Harper Collins, 1962),
(3) Dan Allender, "The Hidden Hope in Lament" Mars Hill Review,
Premier Issue, 1994, 25-38.
(4) Lamentations 3:32

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to the
World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).

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