The First Time I Voted for President

Once an Independent, always an Independent... 

Left: The 1980 Reagan/Anderson Debate

Well... there's the first time I voted, and the first time I legally voted. No, this isn't a tale from Florida. Rather, the year was 1980 and I was in junior high. We ran a mock election like a lot of schools do, letting all the students vote for president. I guess it brings chuckles to compare the votes of children to the actual votes of their parents.

They picked three of us to represent the candidates: Ronald Reagan (Republican candidate), Jimmy Carter (Incumbent Democrat candidate) and John B. Anderson (Independent candidate). I didn't know anything about any of the candidates except for Jimmy Carter who had been president for the last four years. They picked me to represent John Anderson, the Independent, and I faithfully went to the library to do my research so that I could make my two minute campaign speech before the school. I guess that was slightly prophetic, too, since I am an independent today.

After we all three made our campaign speeches, it came time for the vote. When everything was said and done, Anderson (who garnered 7 million votes in the actual election--not too shabby for an independent) got about half a dozen votes (I guess I probably had a few faithful friends). Reagan came in second and Jimmy Carter won in a landslide.

Our votes didn't reflect the way the nation voted at all, but the whole process was a lot of fun. It was the first time I ever paid any attention to a presidential election. I even felt like I had something at stake in it. Even if my candidate didn't win, I believed I was part of the process.

I still choose to be a part of that process, but today my vote counts for something. Yours does, too. On Tuesday, go exercise your American privilege and vote for the candidate of your choice. 

Two Predictions Regarding Tuesday's Election

I'm not going to tell you who's going to win (although I have a pretty good idea--but that would make THREE predictions, and I don't want to go back and change the title). I'm not telling you who to vote for. Heck, I'm not even telling you who I'm voting for. But I will make two predictions regarding Tuesday's election.

1. There will be more people voting this time than have voted in a very long time--maybe even record numbers. If we learned anything last time, it's that every vote counts. People are going to come out of the woodwork for this one. And in Florida, some people may even get to vote twice.

2. The race is not going to be as close as the polls are showing you on television. What do I mean by "close"? Well, last time it was close. It won't be that way this time. There will be a clear winner, in spite of the fact that polls seem to show them neck and neck. There are still a large contingent of people who will vote, but will not answer pollsters. I've heard them. They say things like, "Who I'm voting for is none of your business, thank-you," before hanging up the phone.

I'm not a professional prognosticator, but these are my predictions based on what I know and feel. We'll know whether I'm right, soon enough.

Above: Recent polls such as this one from Zogby show the candidates neck and neck.
I don't think it's anywhere near this close. 


New Nickel

Okay, how did I miss this? 

Am I the only one who didn't know there was a new back on the nickel? I was making an illustration to my students today using the change in my pocket, and I said, "Look at that--I have a foreign coin in my pocket." Then I realized that it was actually a new design on the back of the nickel.

I read and watch the news just about everyday. How did I miss this? Half of my sophomores didn't know anything about it either, but that really doesn't comfort me that much.

Evidently, there are new designs for the front and the back for next year according to the US Mint website . Isn't this a big deal? I think this is the first time the nickel has been changed in my entire life. 


October Returns

"An Act of Grace" 

Have you ever lost something really important? Have you ever lost something extremely important to you, but with no real hope of ever finding it again? That was the situation faced by Bono, lead singer of the band U2, in 1981. Following closely on the heels of success with their first album "Boy ," the young band was playing in Portland when they let the wrong people backstage. According to the story, some women who were allowed backstage stole a briefcase owned by Bono. This wasn't just any briefcase. It contained notes and lyrics for U2's yet-unproduced album, October .

Bono was faced with having to rewrite the songs while the band was in studio to produce the album, an experience described by the band as their worst sessions ever. Evidently, letting strange girls backstage has even more consequences than originally thought...

For years, Bono, upon every return to Portland, made an appeal to concert audiences in regard to the briefcase. The most recent appeal was made in 2001. Evidently, the rushed and revised October didn't hold up to his original vision he had in mind.

Then in a surprise announcement this past week, Bono announced that the briefcase had been returned . Think about it...after twenty-three years the missing briefcase has resurfaced. Evidently it was found years ago in the attic of a rental house and held onto by someone who didn't recognize its significance. A friend of the person who discovered it has spent the last year trying to contact the right people associated with U2 so that the briefcase could be returned. Evidently, it's no longer as easy to access U2 as it was for the women who went backstage in 1981.

Bono seemed ecstatic over the developments, calling the return of the briefcase "An Act of Grace." Now, speculation is rising among U2 fans on the internet whether Bono will want to produce a revised October that is closer to his original vision.

With the return of the briefcase, another mystery in the history of Rock and Roll is solved. And so much for my theory as to the glowing contents in the briefcase retrieved by Vincent and Jules... 


Review: The Message//Remix by Eugene Peterson

I didn't originally intend this to be so much a review of The Message itself, but rather this new edition of it. However, sometimes what I write tends to go in a direction other than what I originally planned. So, here's a little bit of both. 

For the uninitiated, The Message is a paraphrase of the Bible by Eugene Peterson. What do I mean by paraphrase? Well, Peterson didn't try to do a word for word translation. Rather, he attempted to put the Scriptures in his own words with a flair for contemporary language. And, in my opinion, he did a very good job. You may be familiar with Kenneth Taylor's original Living Bible published in the early 1970's. That was a paraphrase, too, but this is so much better. When Taylor paraphrased the Bible, he didn't know the original languages. He took the 1901 American Standard Version and simply put it into his own words. What makes The Message different is that Peterson knows his biblical languages. He sat down with the Greek and Hebrew and created a paraphrase that is masterful in style and form. Truly comparable only to J. B. Phillips own British paraphrase a few decades ago, Peterson's version is clever, stylistic and begs to be read aloud. I enjoy systematically reading through different versions of the Bible, and reading through The Message has taken me longer than any previous copy of the Scriptures. I think it's because I get caught up in the wording. I become more reflective, and find myself reading and rereading passages. I call out to Kathy and say, "Listen to this" and read it to her.

I never recommend a paraphrase to be used as a sole Bible for study. I personally use the New American Standard Bible referenced against the Greek New Testament when I do serious study of the Bible. However, think of a paraphrase such as The Message as an aid, a Bible tool for insight into the meaning of the text. The obvious danger with a paraphrase is that as a person attempts to put the Bible into his own words, he will rely much more on personal interpretation. And, Like Taylor's and Phillips' previous works, paraphrases tend to be done by one person. The value of a true translation lies in the checks and balances of a committee that works together on the final product. I've read some negative critiques of Peterson's work, including some questions about the way a particular verse reads or what seems to be unnecessary insertions into a verse, but I think overall these concerns are minor. I tend to judge any version of the Bible, whether paraphrase or functional equivalent by what the translator(s) were attempting to do. The introduction to The Message states that "The idea is to make it readable--to put those ancient words that their users spoke and wrote into words that you speak and write every day." In regard to that, I believe that Peterson accomplished his purpose.

The Message has now been in complete form for a couple of years. However, it was initially released in portions. I picked up the New Testament in either 1993 or 1994. I remember taking it a number of times to an advanced masters level Greek class "Selected Passages from the New Testament" at Southern Seminary. I remember my professor, who will remain nameless, hated it. In particular, he hated Peterson's phrasings in Galatians. That's ironic because it was Peterson's paraphrases of Galatians from the Greek class he taught himself that first gained him notice and led to NavPress asking him to translate the whole Bible. But if my professor hated it, that's okay. Peterson wasn't writing for professors. He was writing for the regular guy on the street. The same way a missionary might translate the Bible to fit a foreign culture, Peterson seemed to be translating to reach the average American person at the turn of the 21st Century.

I've used The Message on and off for ten years now, usually either for devotional purposes or for public readings. I read selected passages from 2 Timothy when I gave my friend, Jason Snyder, his ordination charge. I've used it occasionally in my Bible study class on Sunday mornings to allow participants to hear familiar passages with "a different ear." I use it frequently with my students at Whitefield Academy , especially when assigning longer passages of the Bible. When I read a passage from The Message (in a loud and clear voice with lots of drama and annunciation), they soon figure out it's too difficult to follow along in their translations. So they put them down and look up to watch me. As I look at their faces, these teenagers seem to look like little children listening to Bible stories. Isn't that how we're supposed to approach God anyway, like little children?

When the entire Bible was released a couple of years ago, I gave away my portions to a friend and bought a hardback copy of the whole thing. That's what I've used over the past couple of years (in addition to a software copy of the text that I have in Accordance ). Then, the other day, I was going to speak in a chapel service at Whitefield and I wanted to use The Message as the version to speak from. Maybe I'm just funny this way, but when I use a Bible in front of a group, I like it to look like a Bible, not a book. You know what I mean... I want a leather cover (or something that looks like leather anyway), all floppy so that it hangs correctly in my right hand.

So I decided to see what leather editions of The Message were now available. That's how I came across The Message//Remix which evidently was released about a year ago. It comes in both a hardback printed cover edition and a funky blue alligator bonded leather edition . I got the funky blue one.

How is The Message//Remix different from previous editions? Well, it fixed the one thing that frustrated folks who regularly use it--they added verse numbers! Yes, I understand why the original edition (which is still being published) does not have verse numbers. The biblical writers did not include chapter and number divisions in the original works. We have added these to make referencing particular passages easier. Peterson wanted people not to get bogged down the by unnatural interruption caused by verse references. He wanted us to read it as it was meant to be read in one continuous train of thought. Yet, it was often frustrating not to have the references included, especially when using The Message in conjunction with other translations. But the little known secret is that verse numbers have existed for a while in software editions where they are absolutely necessary. In this new edition, the publisher compromised and took a cue from the New English Bible and put the verse references out in the margins rather than interrupting the text with them.

Like the original edition , The Message//Remix keeps a one-column format which I prefer in a Bible. Book introductions have been revised from the original ones written by Peterson. They tend to be a bit shorter, but still just as powerful. I still like how Peterson introduces Ecclesiastes: "Unlike the animals, who seem quite content to simply be themselves, we humans are always looking for ways to be more than or other than what we find ourselves to be. We explore the countryside for excitement, search our souls for meaning, shop the world for pleasure. We try this. Then we try that. The usual fields of endeavor are money, sex, power, adventure, and knowledge."

The Introduction has new information as well, or at least a new layout--a remix--of the information about the paraphrase found in the original edition. But it's in a a more reader-friendly format. There is a section called "Listening to the Remix" that asks the question, "Why does a two thousand-year-old book still matter?" This part of the introduction seeks to distinguish the Bible from other literature such as Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Catcher in the Rye. There is a section that asks "Who is Eugene Peterson? Most Bibles don't have a person's name on them. So who is Eugune Peterson and why does he get his name on the front page of this particular Bible?" The best part of the introduction, in my opinion though lies in an essay called "Read. Think. Pray. Live" which truly describes how the Christian should incorporate God's Word into his or her life. I've seen the essay starting to show up a few other places outside this Bible lately, too. I don't know where it appeared first--here or somewhere else.

Finally--and some of you may find this silly--this Bible feels good in the hand. This is very subjective, and I don't know if you will even get what I'm saying. I'm just eyeballing here, but it measures about 7 1/2" X 5" and 1 1/2" thick. That's really one of my favorite sizes for a book. If you look at a library shelf of books from fifty years ago or more, lots of books were this size--hand size, I call it. It fits in your hand well. The cover is limp so it hangs (at the least the leather edition) like a Bible is supposed to. When I was a kid, I had a Bible this size and when I was scared at night in bed, I would hold close to my chest. This Bible would fit that task, if I were so inclined today...

Here's a brief sample of selected passages from The Message itself. I recommend this version as a supplemental study aid and I recommend this Remix edition of it.



Three New Internet Tools You Should Know About

Yes, I've slightly changed the title... 

If you keep up with trends in technology, if technology is your thing, okay...if you're a geek, none of this will be new to you. However, I assume that most of my friends, family and co-workers who occasionally stop here, aren't all of those things. Therefore, this information may be of benefit to you.

There are three recent internet tools that I think everyone who uses a computer (and I guess that's anyone reading this) ought to know about: GMail, Firefox, and A9.

Think of GMail as email that's you can search the same way you search the internet through Google . In fact, GMail is provided by Google--it's where the G comes from. Having said that, you might be thinking, Why would I want to search my email like that? Well, haven't you ever wondered where that important message is from a friend or your mom or your boss, and you don't remember whether you deleted it or kept it or what? And then you search through dozens or maybe even hundreds of messages looking for it? Well, maybe you haven't, but I have. And it's a pain. Imagine that your emails were indexed so completely that you could search for a keyword or phrase and find what you were looking for instantly. That's the beauty of GMail.

If you've ever been a user of an internet-based email service such as Yahoo or Hotmail, you're thinking right now, Forget it. I have to delete my messages because I keep going over my limit. That's pretty easy with a 2Mb Hotmail limit. Well, that's another great thing about GMail--they give you a whole GIGABYTE of space for your email. Email takes up very little space. With a gig of space on their hard drive, you could store thousands, possibly tens of thousands of messages. In fact, one of the catch phrases from GMail is "Never delete a message again."

GMail has the standard features you would want in an email provider. They filter out a good bit of the spam (not all of it, but most of it), they allow you to create folders to organize your messages in (although you really don't need to since you can search them so easily), and you can create an address book of the people with whom you regularly correspond. Something you probably haven't experienced in email though is sorting your conversations in a thread. If you have ever used an internet newsgroup, you may be familiar with the idea of threaded messages where you see one continuous conversation in one window. This is helpful if you have ever emailed a person back and forth quite a few times over a fairly brief period. GMail can show you the entire conversation one one handy screen.

So what's the catch? Well, there are about three from my count. First, the reason Google is doing this all for free is because they want to sell you stuff. No live person is monitoring your messages, but the AI in their software is scanning your emails for keywords. Relevant (in the mind of their software) advertisements will show up to the right of your messages. If this doesn't bother you, no big deal. But if it gives you the creeps to think of anyone--even a computer--scanning your correspondence, you may want to look elsewhere for your email.

The second catch is that GMail is considered to still be in beta testing. What that means is that what you see is not the final product. It may have bugs. Feature sets may change. I haven't used it enough to know if this is a real issue, but anything in beta can be tricky sometimes.

Third, right now GMail is by invitation only. You can't go to their website and just sign up. However, invitations are pretty easy to come by. In fact, if you want to try out the service, email me at and I will send you an invite.

Am I using GMail as my main email account? No. I still like my dotMac service, but I'll hold onto the account just in case (just like I do with and're there in case I ever need them). But one postive to come from GMail is that all the web-based email providers have upped their limits. So if you use Hotmail or Yahoo's mail service and you recently got your limit raised for free, now you know why.

Real quick--what program are you using to read this blog? Odds are, you're using Microsoft Internet Explorer in Windows XP, the least secure combination in the computer industry.

First, a quick history. My first experience truly using the World Wide Web was in 1994 using a little internet browser known as Mosaic . I would connect to a closed computer network called CompuServe and then launch Mosaic to visit only a handful of beginning websites. In fact, back in those days, whenever I even heard that a company or organization had a website I would quickly investigate it through Mosaic. It was okay, but not great. Then a company called Netscape created a web browser that really was pretty good. So for a brief--very brief--while, if you surfed the internet, you probably used Netscape. And get even paid for it. I think it was about $30, but I'm not sure and I'm not going to look it up.

When Microsoft released Windows95 in...ummm...1995, it did not contain a web browser. That's right--NO Internet Explorer. Instead, they put an icon for it's new closed computer network, MSN, right on the desktop. In conjunction with the release of Windows95, Bill Gates "wrote" a book called The Road Ahead . I have the book. It was inspiring to read then and laughable to read now (due to the speed with which technology changes and technology predictions that often do not come to pass). In this book, Gates shows to what depths he initially missed the Internet boom with the release of Windows95. He clearly says in the book that the Internet would NOT be the Information Superhighway that everyone was talking about. He didn't say what it would be, but my hunch is deep down he thought/hoped that it was be MSN.

But very quickly, the Internet DID become the next big thing and Gates looked up and saw that Netscape--A NON-MICROSOFT ENTITY--was the dominant means of access to it. So Microsoft rushed Internet Explorer 1.0 and gave it away for free. Thus the "Browser Wars" began between Netscape and Microsoft. However, Microsoft was destined to win since it was a large enough company to develop, market and give away the product completely for free.

Well, you know what happened. Microsoft won the war. Netscape just about folded until AOL bought them not too long ago. They eventually fired the remaining staff and it is little more than a subsidiary company that provides inexpensive dialup, a bloated version of the original browser and other odds and ends.

But what happened after Microsoft won the browser war? They got lazy. Think about it for a second. The last major release of Microsoft Internet Explorer--version 6.x--was in 2001. They hardly update it any more at all except to plug a security hole. If you are a Windows user (and most of you are), then you are guaranteed to have spyware on your computer and most of you have one or more viruses. A large part of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of the weak security programmed into Internet Explorer.

Meanwhile, a large number of the original Netscape programmers got together and formed the Mozilla Foundation . If you go to their website, you will find that they actually have quite a few browsers, email clients, and calendaring programs that they are working on. They release them all in their early stages (betas) and let you, the user, test them and give feedback. One shining star of the bunch that has just recently gone from beta to Preview Release 1 is Firefox.

Firefox is everything you want in a browser and so much more. Here is a quick list of why you should download it and dump Internet Explorer:
1. It's SECURE. What that means to you is that it keeps spyware OFF your computer.
2. It BLOCKS POP-UPS much better than Internet Explorer which only recently added that feature in the WindowsXP Service Pack 2.
3. It has TABBED BROWSING. Tabbed browsing is the best thing to come along to using the internet in years, literally. Rather than opening up multiple browser windows to clutter up your screen and taskbar, you create tabs in one window and you can easily go back and forth between various sites. Look at my example below:

Tabs are easy to create. Simply type Ctrl-T (Windows) or Cmd-T (Macintosh) and a new tab appears in your window. Notice in my example above, I have pages open at GMail, Mozilla, A9, and my blog. Much easier than looking for the right window to select, I simply click on the tab. This is an incredibly fast way to browse through multiple websites or even different pages in the same website. The rumor had been that Microsoft was going to include tabbed browsing to Internet Explorer with the release of Service Pack 2. However, this did not materialize.
4. GOOGLE SEARCH built right into the top-right corner of the screen.
5. It's FASTER.
6. It's constantly being UPDATED as opposed to mere security patches as in the case of IE 6.

The ironic thing is that after everyone thought the browser war was over, Firefox is starting to gain quite a few converts and is starting to eat away at Internet Explorer's dominance. And this has been done by ex-Netscape programmers. Isn't that just the ultimate revenge?

Lot's of folks are recommending you switch for the sake of security for your computer. Get this...even which is owned by Microsoft recommended you use Firefox over Internet Explorer (although I can no longer find the link for the article...Coincidence?). Even the folks at US-CERT (United States - Computer Emergency Readiness Team), a division of the Department for Homeland Security, have recommended using Firefox over Internet Explorer (and if the government says it, it has to be true...).

Firefox is available for Macintosh, Windows, various flavors of UNIX and even obscure operating systems like the BEOS and OS/2 (does anyone still use either of those anymore?).

What if you could combine a search engine like Google with the customer knowledge of

I've been buying books from since about 1996. According to the little tab called "Rick's Store" when I visit their site, I've bought 296 items from them over the years. Should I even tell you that? When I was in school in the late nineties, I spent so much money with them on my textbooks that they used to send me Christmas gifts such as coffee mugs. That's not too shabby.

Anyway, the cool thing about Amazon is that they know me. When I click on that little "Rick's Store" tab, they have recommendations waiting for me--books in which they think I will be interested. At first this was hit or miss. But in the last few years, they are usually right on target. How do they do this? Well, first they keep track of everything I buy. Then they compare those items to things that other people bought who bought the same books I did. Does that make sense? It's really not a complicated concept, but it is very profound. Plus, a fairly new feature when I look at their recommendations is my ability to to say "No, I'm not interested in that book" or even check a box indicating I've already bought it (perhaps a local vendor). The more I buy from them and the more I tweak their suggestions, the better their suggestions are. I guess I should take my list of 2000+ books in my library and enter them all into the Amazon database and then just automatically buy anything they recommend. Okay, Kathy wouldn't let me do that.

Anyway, the smart folks at Amazon have designed a search engine that does something similar. Think about this for a second. Have you ever run a search on Google and had to scroll through entry after entry to find exactly what you were looking for? Well, what if someone applied the cross-comparisons technique at Amazon to a search engine. That's exactly what the folks at Amazon have done with their new search engine. After you log in to A9, they keep track of your searches. You can even save your searches to a diary (in case you didn't finish searching and need to search some more).

The more you use the search engine, the better it knows you. It pays attention to what you are searching for and which links you are clicking on. That's pretty nifty in my book.

Now, of course, rumor has it that Google is about to do something similar with it's search engine. That may be true, but for right now, A9 is the best search engine around in my opinion. Give it a try. 

GMail Accounts

I have a number of GMail account invitations available if you want one. If so, email and I will send one out to you.

Don't know what GMail is? Stay tuned. Later this week, I will be posting a new blog entry, "Three Recent Items of Technology You Should Know About." 

The Dumbest Knock-Knock Joke I've Ever Heard


Who's there?

Ummm.... I don't remember.


Faith Under Fire with Lee Strobel

Maybe there's something worth watching on television after all... 

(Note: You must have Quicktime installed to view the above trailer from Faith Under Fire)

Last Saturday night, I was on the Tyndale House website looking for a title of a book when I came across a reference to a new television show, Faith Under Fire. I saw that it was coming on in a few minutes, so I used the nifty RCA Guide Plus+ Gold system on my television to record it. I watched the show after it aired, and I have also watched the second installment which aired tonight. And I have to say, I'm impressed.

Two years ago or so, I pretty much gave up on television. I no longer have any television shows on my calendar that are "Must See." In my opinion there's just not a lot of quality on the old airwaves anymore. Case in point, earlier today Kathy and I decided to have our breakfast in the "sun room" (that's what she calls it) where our only television is. We couldn't sit at the kitchen table because I had papers to grade spread out all over it. As we began our breakfast, we turned on the television and surfed through over sixty channels twice and still didn't find anything that really interested us. We probably should have turned it off and conversed, but with both of us a bit under the weather, it was easier just to leave it on TVLand and watch an episode of the Andy Griffith Show that we had not seen in a long time (you know, the one where Barney finds the suitcase with $250,000 in it).

Anyway, as I said, there just doesn't seem to be much worth watching on television these days. I don't have anything that I rush home to see every week like in the old days when I just had to watch X-Files or ST:TNG. However, after now watching the first two installments of Faith Under Fire, that may just change.

Faith Under Fire is a debate show in the tradition of CNN's CrossFire, but from a decidedly Christian worldview. Last week's show and this week's contained around four segments in which subjects were debated by two people holding opposing view points. I've often noticed that on a lot of television shows when Christianity is represented, often the Christian perspective is held by someone who is just really a flake, for lack of a better term. Or sometimes the "Christian" viewpoint is held by someone who is so rigid that I squirm with the thought that if I were not a Christian, I would not at all be attracted to the faith based on the presentation I am watching.

I was very pleased to see that on Faith Under Fire, Christianity being represented by the likes of J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig, and even Cal Thomas (who continues to surprise me these days). And the individuals giving opposing viewpoints were no slouches either. All of them--well most of them, anyway (I might make an exception for "psychic" Rosemary Altea tonight who came across as a total loon) voiced their perspectives in an intelligent and coherent manner. In other words, the producers of this show did not simply pick easy targets to be quickly shot down, and thus making Christianity look good.

From the website at , here are the topics from last week and this week:

My only real complaint with the show is that I feel like the debates are a bit short. As soon as the participants seem to really be at the heart of the issue, time is up. I felt frustrated more than once because I wanted the conversation to go a bit longer. But I suppose that this is modern television and it fits the "Crossfire" model they are trying to pursue. Plus, I wouldn't want it to go to the other extreme. I remember watching the John Ankerberg Show over a decade ago where a number of the same kinds of topics were debated. However, with Ankerberg's format, the subjects would last for weeks and the participants would get into such minutia of the subject, even I got bored with it. Plus Ankerberg often used a good third to a half of the show urging viewers to send money or buy his newest book or video tape series. Thankfully there is none of that going on here. I even showed the first episode to my high school seniors this week, and it held their attention.

My other complaint stemmed from Lee Strobel's role when I watched the show last week. He seemed to contribute very little to the discussion other than, "Cal, how do you respond to that?" Well, a monkey could do that. Lee's a sharp guy. I wanted to see and hear more from him. This week my wish was granted as a "Hotseat" segment debuted in which Lee Strobel, by himself, interviewed and challenged a representative of the American Muslim community.

And, in reality, Lee Strobel is the perfect person to host a show like this. I first discovered him in 1994 when I read his book, Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary which was the book that was instrumental in changing the way I viewed the evangelistic mission of the church (but that's the subject for a later blog). If you don't know Lee Strobel, you should check him out. At one time Strobel was an atheist and reporter for the Chicago Tribune . After his wife became a Christian, he decided to use his skills as an investigative journalist to examine the claims of Christianity, primarily in hopes of debunking it. That led eventually to his becoming a Christian himself. Since then, he has served on staff at Willow Creek Community Church (Bill Hybel's church) in the Chicago suburbs and more recently at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California (Rick Warren's church). He has written a number of excellent books that have no doubt been partial inspiration for Faith Under Fire. These include The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith and most recently, The Case for Creation.

I heartily recommend this show to you, regardless of whether you are a committed Christian, atheist, seeker, or adherent of some other faith. Discussion guides are even available for download . All perspectives have been treated fairly in what I have seen so far. A number of the episodes forthcoming look interesting as well including a debate between Episcopal Bishop Shelby Spong and Dr. Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Faith Under Fire currently airs at 10PM EST/9PM CST on the PAX Network.