Hello and welcome to Christian Carnival 99! It's an honor to host a collection of some of the best in Christian thought from around the blogosphere once again. We're on the precipice of a Christian Carnival milestone. But that comes next week when Carnival originator Nick Queen hosts the 100th edition next week at his site. Right now we're one edition short, but it's not short on good posts.
This time around, since it's the 99th edition of Christian Carnival, our theme of the week is "Famous 99's in History!" Now before you go wandering off convinced that this week's host is mostly insane, let me remind you that 99 is an important number throughout history and it remains so in contemporary thought. To prove my point, our entries this week will be grouped according to some of the most famous 99s in our culture. Some are recent. Others are ancient. But all share a respect for the largest two-digit number.
With all that contrived nonsense in mind, let us head straight to the posts in the 99th edition of the Christian Carnival.
#99 Wayne Gretsky
We'll start with the most famous wearer of the number 99, the Great One, Wayne Gretsky. Sure, we've seen Warren Sapp and George Mikan wear the number, but it's most associated with hockey's greatest scorer. In honor of the esteemed Mr. Gretsky, this section of the Carnival will deal with heroes, celebrities and quasi-celebrities.
At Notes in the Key of Life, Cindy Swanson posts her interview with Thunderstruck.org's Steve Beard. She describes Christian film critic Steve Beard's site as is kind of like a Drudge Report from a Christian world view.
Did you have a relative who really influenced you? Jim of Suldog-O-Rama writes a beautiful remembrance of his grandmother in "100 Years Old Today". (Mild bad language warning)
Nena's song, "99 Luftballoons"
99 Luftballoons is a protest song by German singer Nena which was a number one hit in Germany back in 1983. Unless you speak German, the lyrics sound like, well... someone singing in German! Forutunatly there was an English language version recorded and released as well, translated as 99 Red Balloons. Although the English version is not a literal translation of the German version, both songs tell a story of 99 balloons floating into the air, triggering an apocalyptic overreaction by the military. The point was that perpetual readiness for war becomes a dangerous "tinderbox" which even a trivial spark can ignite. My point in including the song in "Famous 99s in History!" is to lead off a group of posts dealing with political, military and academic struggles.
First is Future Man from Dignan's 75 Year Plan with an explanation of why he's not buying Intelligent Design in the post, "Intelligent Design, Roman Catholicism and the Supreme Court."
Meanwhile, cvw warrior from Christianity Is Jewish is on the other side of the ID debate. The post, "Why Intelligent Design Will Win" points the way to a Nancy Pearcey article about the importance of ID in a Christian worldview.
And back on the other side is John of /musing/struggling/dreaming who claims that in trying to find a place for God in science, ID throws away both God and science, and finds itself clutching an abstract Designer instead. Read "Flaws in Intelligent Design" for his reasoning.
Finally, a rather abrasive post at A Raving Conservative highlights Michael Newdow's efforts to have "In God We Trust" removed from American currency.
The 99 Sheep of Luke 15
OK, time to get biblical. In Luke 15, Jesus talks about leaving 99 sheep in the open country while going to find the one who is lost. Those 99 would be the Church Universal -- those of us who know Christ as Savior and Shepherd. This flock is ushering in a series of posts about the Church and Christians in general.
Diane at Crossroads: Where Faith and Inquiry Meet, is taking a look at the emergent church. She begins by asking the important question, "What in the world IS the emergent church?" Read her answers in The Emgergent Church: What Is It?
Should a church cancel services on Christmas Sunday morning? "No Christmas For You" discusses one church's decision and an strongly dissenting opinion from Matt Jones' Random Acts of Verbiage.
"A Healthy Dose of Fear" is recommended by Brad of Happy Mills . He wonders why so many churches tend to neglect the value of fear in our relationship with God Almighty.
Looking for a highly-rated church? At Adam's Blog, our host stumbled across a website which rates churches for those looking for a church home. Read his opinion of such a system in "Who Needs the Holy Ghost? This Church Got Five Stars."
What kind of excellence should Christians be striving for, and how should this excellence be measured? "Another Way of Excellence" by Alex Jordan at Jordan's View, expounds on how the church often lets the desire to be excellent overshadow it's call to make disciples.
Ivory Soap - 99 and 44/100 % Pure
It floats! Ivory soap is so pure it won't sink in a tubful of water. I can still remember the commercials from my childhood touting Ivory as being 99 and 44/100 % pure! I'm sure it was a sucessful slogan, but my warped mind always wondered what that other 56/100 of a percent was that was so impure! With that conundrum in mind, we'll look at entries concerning our ever present fight for purity and love.
We'll begin at Brain Cramps for God and the latest in the Back to Basics series. This one takes on the way we live our life. Read, "Back to Basics: Why Love Is the Great Command."
A pure heart. That's what David asked God for in his psalm of repentance. In "Recreating the Heart," David at all kinds of time examines the type of repentance King David was asking for in Psalm 51.
Over at Sharing Spirit, Kim relates an example of learning to trust God in her own life. She writes, "That’s how God is. He makes the control issue a simple one of trust. We trust Him and He gives us an automatic gain control over our lives meaning HE controls it for us." Read the rest in "Automatic Gain Control."
A mother of seven kids discusses her attempts and methods to bring up her children in a godly way in the post, "It's All Bible Time" from Life in a shoe.
A Penitent Blogger, Penitens reflects on the fragility of life and the message of advent in "Your _______ Is Grass."
"Foundations" explores the idea of God using our circumstances even when we are unaware. The Headmistress of The Common Room writes, "Sometimes what we think of as a transitional period is actually God building a foundation for us."
"99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"
Is this annoying little ditty still standard fare on long bus rides? My memory is seared with the nightmarish recollections of hearing this traveling song repeated into infinity, driving many into insanity. We'll use this wall of bottles as the introduction to a section dealing with a sinful world. And before you jump me about equating beer and sin, let me say that I don't believe one beer is a sin. However if you're involved with passing around 99 bottles of the stuff...
Should the language of a Christian differ from someone who doesn't claim the name of Christ? Barbara from Tidbits and Treasures thinks so. In "Profanity: Language of the Weak?" she says that if we are 'truly cleansed' in our mind and body, profanity should not be escaping our lips; otherwise, our mouth isn't lining up with the Word of God.
"Lord, give me patience and give it to me now!" If you've ever found yourself praying that prayer, then these insights from Xyba on "Patience" at Once More Into the Breach may be just what you need to read.
Most of you are probably unaware of this short highway in Pennsylvania. A precious few know about the arguments and debates which surround Interstate 99. A short history of the highway can be found here. For those craving the short version, I-99 is seen by many as "pork barrel spending" and the result of a politician calling in favors to get something to bring to his voters, er, constituants. There are plans to extend the 59 mile highway northward into New York and southward through Maryland and into West Virginia, however debates and clashes and lawsuits litter the path. We'll let I-99 be the thruway into some posts about opinions, debate and disagreements.
Martin from Sun and Shield is up first with a suggestion for the Christian Carnival itself. He wants to cut the number of posts each week in half to make it a little less formidable when trying to find your favorites. See what you think in "The Christian Carnival: A Proposal"
At Northern 'burbs blog, Ron is back with the sixth installment of his "NBB Theology: God" series. This time he tackles the fact that God is completely just while also being perfectly loving. A conflict? I don't think so.
The recent decision of the Southern Baptist Convention has sparked a fair amount of debate on tongues and the right of a group to hire only missionaries who do not practice this gift. In "SBC Restriction on Tongues: Hypocrisy?" Jeremy of Parableman takes on the charge of hypocrisy leveled against the SBC.
Let's talk sola scriptura with Phil Thirteen. Continuing in his discussion on the authority of Scripture, PhilThreeten suggests a more balanced view of the roles and authority of
Scripture, the church and the Holy Spirit in "The Final Authority."
The 99 names of God
The Koran claims that God has 99 names. While we might disagree on the exact number, the Bible lists quite a few. All debate aside, we'll allow the claim of Islam's holy book to introduce posts dealing with other religions and worldviews.
One doctor asks another, "Why do you pray before each surgery?" Dr. Bob answers that question and examines the nature of prayer as a conversation in "The Conversation" at The Doctor Is In.
Mark from Pseudo-Polymath submits this apologetic post which he prepared for the God or Not carnival on the subject of miracles. It's a great overview on the topic, "Amateur Apologetics: Miracle of Miracles."
Richard, of dokeo kago grapho soi kratistos Theophilos, who has been discussing repentance, now turns to the possible influence of Philo on Luke-Acts in his post, "Philo on Repentance."
Respond with confindence, not with fear. That's advice from Tom at Thinking Christian who reflects on the battle between secularism and Christianity at Christmas time In "Christmas and Holidays - Just a Reminder."
Finally, we come to Agent 99 from the old TV series, Get Smart! Fighting the evil forces of C.H.A.O.S. was second nature for 99, portrayed by the lovely Barbara Feldon. She and Maxwell Smart had to be ready for anything, any topic, any location. So we'll lift the Cone of Silence and allow Agent 99 to lead us to the final group of carnival posts which could be about any topic in any location.
Micahgirl gets us started by giving some proverbial advice for her little son’s choice in a wife—even though he’s only five. You can’t start too young! "Proverbial advice to a son" is well worth a journey to Musings of Micahgirl.
Rev Bill blogs about a devotional from a person who had remained in his faith in spite of many hardships. "Advent: God Is Still With Us" is a reminder that God is faithful even in the most difficult times.
A beautiful picture captures a "Sea of Tranquility" at Points of Light. Standing at the shore of a glass-smooth lake early in the morning reminds the photographer of the crystal sea awaiting in heaven.
Funky Dung of Ales Rarus offers this repost of "Discovering a Season" where he recalls the experience which really brought home what the Advent Season is all about.
Put yourself in Gabriel's shoes... er, wings in "Gabriel: The Advent Question" posted by Doulos over at Random Responses.
At HODOS, Harambe adds a new marker on the path of Hodos with his discussion of the importance of social justice in the life of a follower of Jesus with "The Role of Social Justice in Hodos."
It's all in the attitude. At Pursuing Holiness, Laura shows an example of the sense of humor displayed by some New Orleans residents in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in "Why I Will Always Love New Orleans."
Finally, Donna-Jean of Chapelccino recounts all that their church people were able to do to share in a Mississippi Christmas for Hurricane Katrina victims - in "What God's Love Looks Like."
Well, 99 down. Thanks to all the contributors this week for making Christian Carnival 99 a great way to expand your thoughts. Remember, Christian Carnival makes it's triumphant return to Nick Queen for the 100th edition next Wednesday, so get your entries ready for that celebration.