Ron Sider says,

For months, debate has raged in government circles about whether to extend the war against terrorism to Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, the Philippines, Yemen - using military power to rid these countries of terrorist elements.

We can do so if we choose. We are so overwhelmingly superior militarily that for the next couple of decades, we can do pretty much what we please. But behind the intense debate about whether to invade Iraq, etc., lies a crucial question: What kind of world does America want to use its power to promote?

There are two options. We can use our power unilaterally to promote the shorter-term economic and political self-interest of America (always, of course, with a veneer of moral appeal to freedom, justice and democracy for all). Or we can seek genuinely to implement the moral principles we claim to embrace and take the lead in creating a better world for all.
Every day lately, I come across something that totally freaks me out. Today, it was an article from CNN. Dershowitz: Torture could be justified It is a very one-sided "debate" about whether the US should allow the FBI, CIA or whoever to get "torture warrants" if they feel that torture is necessary in a given case.

Hello?? What country is this again? Did I somehow stumble through a vortex into a parallel universe, or what?

"If the weapons are not identified and found then I think people will start to ask very, very serious questions about what the war was really all about," Richard Butler, former head of UN weapons inspections in Iraq said.

Hans Blix, Butler's successor who pulled his team out of Iraq before the US-led invasion, said his inspectors could be back in Iraq within two weeks. The US has said it prefers to do the job itself.

Does anyone see a conflict of interest there??


Look up the names of all the great men
And if you can't find mine then look it up again
I know it's in there under the tried and the failed...

(from Away by Greg Macpherson)

... ever have a day like that?


And the discussion that comes out of that article is also thought-provoking. One commenter says:

If the peacemakers had persistently marched on Baghdad months ago - demanding the end of Saddam's government (rather than the end of the Bush administration) - I would see them as a true force for peace. As it is I often see them as a part of the isolationist left that is antiwar regardless of the ongoing abuses of Saddam.

and Hartung responds:

I totally agree that pacifists should not be passive when there is opportunity to free people from oppression. However, I am not sure on the particulars or how far they should go. Marching peacefully on Baghdad sounds more like suicide than peaceful intervention to me. The martyrs did not march on Rome, but they did not resist when the oppressive regime sentenced them to death for their beliefs.
A close friend of mine claimed that if my beliefs were followed we would inevitably be controlled by an evil dictator. While I cannot deny that as a possible result of my pacifism, I must say it is not the only conclusion possible. Is it too far of a stretch to imagine that displays of God's grace even in the face of losing rights or even death just may cause a turn of events in and of itself? Do we have such little trust in God's sovereignty that we cannot trust what He says is the right way to live?

Jordon points to a great article at the Ooze.

Right next door to the Boutique de Small Intestine


Wal-Mart rejects racy worship CD

ANAHEIM � The latest Vineyard Music worship CD, "Intimacy, vol. 2," has raced to the top of the Christian sales charts, but Wal-Mart is refusing to stock the album without slapping on a parental warning sticker.
From Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi (taken from introduction to 411)-

"While the world has suffered acts of terrorism for many decades, we discovered the evils of terrorism on September 11, 2001. And now we are so incensed by this act of arrogance that we are willing to destroy all those who oppose us. Grandfather said anger is like electricity-- very useful if treated with respect, but very devastating when abused. Imagine if the rest of the world reacted to terrorism the way we have; this world would have been destroyed centuries ago.

"How then should we deal with terrorism? After September 11, we should have done some honest soul-searching to find out why so many people in the world hate us so much. Waging a war on terrorism and threatening the world with dire consequences if they did not support us is a reaction that is fraught with arrogance and designed to make more enemies than friends. We may not care what the world thinks right now but imagine what life would be like if we were far too scared to travel. Then try to imagine where we would be if half the world was destroyed.

"Life is not simply about how many millions of dollars one has accumulated or how rich a nation is. It is about friends and relations. Are we loved by people or despised? Do we have true friends or only those who want to bleed us? Does the world respect us for the love, respect and compassion that we project or because we are a super power with the capacity to blow the earth to pieces? The difference between the two is obvious. No one likes a bully."

via David Hopkins


I've been absent for a while due to a hard drive crash. But everything is reinstalled now, so I will try to find something to say. We have been doing a lot with music and that is acuseing a dilemma for me in trying to figure out what to so with this page. See, the band name is Fatblueman, and we need a webpage but as it is, type that into a search engine and it all points here. So I am thinking that sometime in the future, this page will be replaced by the band site, and I will put a blog page on the band website.

Working on it.


More really sharp thinking from John Campea...

This is the classic question that it ALWAYS boils down to

To me, the Bible is clear. I must do to that intruder as I would hope he would do to me. Since I don't want him to kill me, I can not kill him. It's as simple (and unbelievably hard) as that. The Bible gives me no "out" from this. Christ commands I turn the other check, it's as simple (and unbelievably hard) as that. Once again the Bible gives me no "out" from this.

The question for me is this "Do I trust God enough to obey his commands even when my human mind is telling me to do something different?" For instance, the Bible does not say "DO to others as you would have them do to you... UNLESS they're about to hurt you or your family". The Apostles had to watch their Lord and Master be taken away to be murdered... and yet Jesus told them not to fight because His kingdom is not of this world (John 1.

Do we trust Him? When all our "common sense" says we can't walk on water, it's impossible, will we get out of the boat anyway? WHen our "common sense" says we can't cross the Red Sea! Will we walk into the water anyway? When our "common sense" says we can't allow ourselves to be thrown into a fiery furnace, we'll surely die! Will we willingly go in? When our "common sense" says rubbing a bunch of mud in our eyes isn't going to cure our blindness, will we rub the mud in anyway? When our "common sense" says we can't get blessed by giving our things away, will we give anyway? And when our "common sense" says I can't turn the other cheek and love this enemy who is now harming me and my family... will we do it anyway?

Will we trust Jesus? Will we OBEY Jesus? Or, will we tell Jesus that there are worldly circumstances that do not permit us to follow him? Will we tell Him the world is greater than Him, and He must not have taken OUR situation into consideration when he taught us these lessons.

It's hard, very hard. But Jesus never said following Him would be easy. However, even though it's hard (almost impossible really) it's also very clear. It's not up for debate. This is what Jesus taught... the question now is, will we follow or default back to our human way of thinking?


Brian, I forgot to get back to you about the Old Testament War thing. I remembered today when I was reading this at John Campea's sight. He pretty much states it like I see it (OT part at the end):

My final thoughts on Christians and killing and war

Ok I've had a lot of people email me asking what I specifically think about war and killing. Here's an outline.

1) There are 2 separate kingdoms. The kingdom of the world, and the new Kingdom of God that Jesus instituted. Christians are to live by Kingdom principals and NOT worldly principals. (John 18:36)

2) Christians should not judge World leaders. They live in a different kingdom than we do. We should not expect them to live by Jesus' kingdom principals. (Romans 13)

3) The West (U.S., Canada, England, ect.) IS NOT the Kingdom of God.

4) The West (U.S., Canada, England, ect.) IS NOT a new version of the Old Testament Israel.

5) The Kingdom of God transcends all worldly boarders and transcends ethnicity.

6) As Christians, our citizenship is Heaven and not the U.S. or Canada. Therefore, our allegiance to God's Kingdom principals MUST take priority over our "national" loyalties.

7) Jesus taught that the second most important command in the entire Bible was to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself". (Mark 12:30-31)

8) Jesus taught that our enemies are our neighbors. (Luke 10:25-37)

9) Jesus commanded that we "Love our enemies" (Matthew 5:43-46)

10) Jesus taught that loving your enemies means being willing to lay down your life for them. (John 13:34), (Romans 5:8)

11) Jesus taught that loving your enemies mean doing good to them when they hate us, praying for them when they persecute us and blessing them when they curse us. (Luke 6:27-30)

12) Jesus commanded that we should do to our enemies, as we would have our enemies do to us. (Luke 6:31)

13) Since I can't imagine myself ever WANTING my enemy to kill me, I cannot kill him if I am to be obedient to the command of Christ. (Luke 6:31)

14) Jesus commanded that if someone strikes me, I should offer him my other cheek as well. This command takes away my "right" to retaliate. If I am to be obedient to the command of Christ, I cannot strike them back. (Matt 5:39)

15) The Bible commands us not to even curse any human beings, because all humans bear God's image. If I cannot even curse them, what makes me think its ok to kill them? (James 3:9-10)

16) There is evil in the world. The Bible commands us to overcome evil with GOOD, not with more evil. (Romans 12:19-21)

17) The Saddams of this world are evil. However, the Bible teaches that all human beings are evil. Yes, that includes you and me (It's a good thing Christ died for us!) (Mark 10:18)

18) God uses worldly secular leaders to carry out certain things, such as punishing lawbreakers. (Romans 13:4)

19) The Bible makes it CLEAR that this is not the responsibility of those who live in the Kingdom of God, nor do we have the right to. (Romans 12:19-21)

20) To summarize, If I (as a Christ follower) were to ever kill an enemy, I would be violating multiple CLEAR commands of Christ, my supposed King:
a) To love my neighbor
b) To love my enemy
c) To do to my enemy as I would have them do to me
d) To do good to them that hate me
etc? etc? etc?

Just a quick wrap up thought here. Some people understandably feel some confusion over all the war in the Old Testament. A few things to keep in mind: 1) Jesus brought the new Kingdom of God. He is now the ultimate and complete revelation of God. Jesus completes and supercedes the Old Testament. 2) Israel was a Theocracy literally ruled by God, unlike any nation on the earth today. 3) In all the wars, the Old Testament made it clear that God himself was the warrior. Always going into battle short handed so the glory would belong to God. I don't see any other nations utilizing this particular strategy anymore. I.E. if the West really thought God was on their side, why send 250,000 troops to fight instead of just 5,000?

Jesus followers don't kill people because Jesus CLEARLY taught that in the new Kingdom of God it isn't done.

I would add that part of the clarity that John is talking about comes when Christ goes into the bit about "you have heard it said 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" but I tell you love your enemies...". He is taking a command right out of the OT law and giving a new "rule". Pretty clear indicator of the new way that has come. It's echoed in Christ's opening statement at the beginning of Mark, "At last the time has come!" he announced. "The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!". Oooh. Gives me chills.


I know that a hawk will just say that the hospital was bombed because Saddam was making WMD's in there, but man, these are real people who are really there seeing things first hand, not "embedded journalists". Who has a bigger motive to be telling lies?? This war is about justice and freedom and the primary concern is for the civilians? If you believe that... well, you must really love your country.

...they were able to open the doors on the top side of the vehicle and eventually were able to pull everyone out. Everyone was bruised, badly shaken, but all were conscious though it was clear that Weldon was badly injured, and Cliff was bleeding badly from a large gash in his head. The car was totaled, and the other two cars in the convoy were well out of sight down the road toward the Jordanian border and no one in the delegation had a satellite phone. Because of to the intensive US/British bombing, with very good reason, there were very few vehicles on the road between Baghdad and the Jordanian.

The group was just beginning to panic, when an Iraqi civilian car approached, pulled over and asked if he could help. Without a second thought, the driver packed the 5 additional passengers into his car and drove to the closest Iraqi town, Rutba, about 6 km from the site of the accident. Rutba is a city of about 20,000 people located 140 km east of the Jordanian Border. The group was astounded to see that this civilian town, with no apparent military structures had been devastated by US/British bombing three days earlier.

Much of the town was destroyed including the children's hospital in which two children were killed in the bombing. The group was taken to the only remaining functioning medical facility in town, a 20-foot X 20-foot four-bed clinic. The people of the town quickly gathered to inspect their uninvited foreign guests.

The group hastily offered everyone a copy the CPT hand-out, a description of the Christian Peacemakers Team's mission and work in Iraq, with English on one side of the page and Arabic on the other. Introduction in hand, the people of Rutba warmly welcomed the wounded stranded American refugees, just three days after their town had been destroyed by American/British Aircraft.

The next morning, Shane asked, "How do you think Americans would respond to Iraqi civilians accidentally stranded in their community three days after Iraqi aircraft had destroyed their town?"

When the doctor arrived, the group was in for an even bigger surprise. In this town of 20,000 in the middle of the Iraqi desert, the doctor who would treat them spoke perfect English, and without delay, he started his examinations.

Everyone in the vehicle was badly bruised, but Weldon Nisly had a broken thumb, several broken ribs and other possible fractures, while Ciff Kindy had a very bad gash in his head. The doctor was professionally embarrassed. Because of the embargo, and the Allied attack on their primary hospital three days earlier, many medications were unavailable. Some painkillers were on hand, but Cliff Kindy would have to get the 10 stitches he needed to close the gash in his head without anesthesia.

Under normal circumstances, the doctor explained, they would gladly have offered to take the wounded of group by ambulance to Jordan. But, he could not make that offer in the current situation. As was obvious from the bombed out ambulance not far down the road, it appears that even ambulances are at times considered legitimate targets of American/British bombing.

By the time everyone in the group had been treated, about two hours after they had arrived, the two other cars in the convoy had returned and found them. The group warmly thanked the people of Rutba for their hospitality, and tried unsuccessfully to pay the clinic and doctor for their services. "We treat everyone in our clinic: Muslim, Christian, Iraqi or American. We all are part of the same family you know," the doctor said.
Jordon points to this guy who drips with satire. Like it.
As you can tell from all the pictures, I had a great weekend. This weekend was the first of the Sakura time, when the cherry trees burst into full blossom. It is a very cool time to be in Japan, because it almost seems like Christmas. People wait in anticipation for the arrival of the cherry blossoms to signal the coming of spring, and then they set up lanterns around the castles and drink and barbecue meat and generally party together. And we get to be a part of it.

Life is really good right now.
A beautiful Saturday in the park in Nagoya


Music news:

A while back my CD got picked up by an American distributor. They just emailed today and said that the CD will be available nationally through Christian music outlets. If any of you are interested in a new CD, drop by your local Christian bookstore and order Think Again. Tell them to get it through www.grassrootsmusic.com. That would give me a boost. Tell your friends. Thanks!

Update: Canadians can still get it through www.vineyardmusic.ca


This is Bob Sapp. Warren's brother. He played for a while in the NFL and now he is K-1 fighting in Japan. He is something like 6'7'' and 380lbs, and he is all the rage in Japan right now. His fights are morbidly attrractive, like watching an execution. You should see what he does to his (much smaller) opponents. It makes boxing look kinda sissy.

In Japan these are called, "mansions" though I think apartment hell might be a more appropriate term.

They are still very rare, but here in the heart of Nagoya, you too can find the most massive SUV's on the market. Never know when that urban jungle is going to require a few hundred extra horsepower.

Give them a break - their name is Peace International, not Ecological Harmony International.

And peace is somehow connected to high fuel consumption, isn't it?

Good to see Canada's official sport catching on in Japan.
And the stadium food is a little different too...

The Nagoya Dome, home of the Chunichi Dragons (as baseball teams are named after companies, not cities - though interestingly enough, the dome is named after the city). And how about that for stadium washrooms? Beats the troughs at Winnipeg, er, Canad-Inn Stadium, eh?

Lady walking dogs in river park.
Ok, I'm back. First a vending machine. I only took the picture because they are making coke bottles completely out of aluminum now. Do we have that at home yet?? And peanut butter m and m's, which I love. Never saw those at home either.

I am going on a long bike ride today and I plan to come back with a lot of pictures...

Best new find...

Thanks, Steve.





A northern Iraqi rural FAMILY makes around $80 a month. The white house has estimated that the bill for this war will be around $75 Billion (cnn). If you take $75 000 000 000. Billion and divide it by the Iraqi Population of 24,001,816 it would come out to $3124.76 per person. I assure you that if we sent representatives of our country around and gave our $3125. to every PERSON (not family, every PERSON, meaning a family of five would receive $15,625.) the need for bombs and bullets falling on Baghdad would not exist.

From deathkills via dan.
Call me a cynic, but it looks like they are already getting anxious about dividing up the spoils. And this from the mainstream press!

Worried it could be shut out of business deals in postwar Iraq, France is drawing up plans to win French companies access to lucrative oil and reconstruction contracts, officials said Tuesday.

The government is determined that French companies will be part of rebuilding Iraq, despite President Jacques Chirac's vigorous opposition to the war, a Finance Ministry official said...

The Bush administration awarded a $4.8 million contract Monday to a Seattle-based company to rebuild Iraq's only deep-water port. Washington is expected to announce similar deals soon...

No, no John, don't be so cynical. This is really all about freedom and justice...


Chris Smith has good stuff to say. Nothing in particular, just generally like it.
Jordon posts something from Tony Campolo.

Nothing would destroy the authority of Saddam Hussein more than if we Christians provided a massive relief program of food and medicine to the people of Iraq. And if we are going to pave the way for missionary enterprise, we have got to do that. We've got to do that. I don't know who's going to do it; but somebody's got to organize the Christian community, and say we're going to load up freighters with food and medicine -- and we're going to send them to Iraq, and we dare the US Navy to stop us


Arguably the greatest meal in the history of humankind.

Yes! Finally, a movie theatre just like Silver City at home. But this one costs 20 bucks a pop.

On the side of a van parked next to me.

Let me play with your new toys. You can't enjoy them on as many levels as I can....
Lisa Martens, of Christian Peacemaker Teams, is sitting in a hotel in Baghdad and frequently calling home. You can keep up with what is going on with them here.

I truly admire what these people are up to threre. Their very presence in the city serves to weaken the "us vs. them" mindset that is so necessary for hating your enemies. Christ be with them as they testify to the possibility of there being another way.


What is bringing on this rant is the question that has been bugging for days now: how could "support democracy in Iraq" become to mean "bomb the hell out of Iraq"? why did it end up that democracy won't happen unless we go thru war? Nobody minded an un-democratic Iraq for a very long time, now people have decided to bomb us to democracy? Well, thank you! how thoughtful.

from Salam in Iraq
War is Sell

By this time next week, there will almost certainly be war in the Middle East.

The American government has justified this terrifying step with several pieces of evidence presented to a doubting world.

During the last Gulf War, the most spectacular example of Iraqi brutality � soldiers disconnecting baby�s incubators in Kuwait � turned out to be a colossal fabrication [see: San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center: Baby Killing Lies and the 1991 Gulf War].

Has it happened again? This week, Disclosure�s Gillian Findlay reports on how this war was sold � and asks how much was fact and how much was fiction.

From my buddy Brian.


"So yes, if you count crimes, it's an ugly record, but it's only the enemy's crimes that count. They're the ones we deplore and agonise about, and so on. Our own, which may be monstrously worse, they just don't enter into our field of vision. You don't study them, you don't read about them, you don't think about them, nobody writes about them...."

Thus, during the endless debate on Iraq over the last year there has been almost no media discussion on the suffering inflicted by the West. The idea that Western sanctions have killed a million people somehow does not register - it simply can't be true. It has to be the product of overheated 'loony left' imaginations, rather than the reason why UN diplomats who ran the sanctions programme resigned in protest. Their words don't count either - they can't matter because their view of the West can't be allowed to matter.

Noam Chomsky once again points us to the fact that, as we are the ones on top, we are not interested in truth.


This game is the Pong of the 21st century.

From the websurfing brilliance of sparky at snarky malarkey.
Rachael Corrie was the American girl who was run over by the Israeli tank yesterday. Here are some emails she sent to her parents in the weeks before she was killed.

I really can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be.

Found in a comment at AKMA's site.