The New Face of Fundamentalist Christianity–Part I


New–fresh–change–connect–“love”–relate: all of these seem to be the main buzz words from the most popular preachers and largest churches; and frankly, from a large segment of fundamentalist Christians.  What was once a Christian nation at its founding has become a humanist/modernist nation with a sliver of “Christianity” left for nostalgia’s sake.  That sliver of Christianity is nothing of what Christ Jesus left with His apostles.  It’s almost as if a new Dark Age has swept across the world that has not been seen since the Roman Catholic “Church” had its iron fist around the world roughly from 500 A.D.-1550 A.D.  No, this time it is not the pope, inquisitions, indulgences, and persecutions.  In my opinion, something much worse has overcome our world.

This new “Dark Age” has come very quietly.  Churches and pastors are being swallowed up in the vices of something called compromise.  Compromise today calls itself things like: tolerance, connection, and contemporary. Speaking truthfully, compromise has existed since the very beginning of Christianity; but not in the manner as of today’s churches.

“Where has this come from?”, you may ask.  I could go into the history of what is called the New Evangelical movement, or the Emerging Church movement, but others have done that in a much more in-depth manner.  Please see David Cloud’s articles HAROLD OCKENGA AND THE NEW EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT HE FOUNDED , and THE EMERGING CHURCH: THE 21ST CENTURY FACE OF NEW EVANGELICALISM.  However, I would like to highlight how compromise has not-so-subtly worked its way into Fundamentalist/Separatist Baptist churches over the last twenty years or so.  A lot of things I will write on will be completely from my point of view.  I have seen some of both sides of the spectrum–and the sad results of compromise.

What I would like to focus on for the next few posts in this series are the fruits that come from this philosophy of compromise.  It may even take a few months, amidst other posts of family news and funny happenings, but I look forward to going in-depth.  The first topic I will write about is music–what I think can be the Trojan horse of compromise.  For example, it is sad how a young person from a church with good music standards can go off to a Bible college with “so-so” music standards, and return four years later with an appetite for Contemporary “Christian” Music that they never had before college.  That is no coincidence.  It is that college’s compromise.

Anyway, music will be my first topic next week that I look forward to posting.

Christmas Ponche — A La Americana

Well, while Dustin was studying recipes for Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza, I had a recipe search of my own.  I love hot drinks, but with a cold and sore throat, I have been trying to avoid milk-based drinks.  After a while, plain black tea or even herbal and flavored teas get old to me.  I had a taste in my mouth for PONCHE NAVIDEÑO, a hot fruit punch served at Christmas in Mexico.

I had looked around for recipes, and all or most called for the traditional ingredients of tecojote (a small fruit similar to crabapple) and cana (small pieces of sugarcane) among other things.  Needless to say, I had neither on hand, nor do they grow in our garden! –Not only would they probably not survive in the south-eastern Pennsylvania climate, but neither do we have a garden or yard outside our house!

I had read in one recipe that if you did not have a specific ingredient, it might be omitted from the recipe.  So I decided to simply try a punch with the fruits I had on hand.  I had about a pint and a half of mango syrup/juice from canned mangoes, a few frozen peach slices, some frozen blueberries, a chopped apple and a chopped pear, juiced one pink grapefruit and two large oranges, made a concentrated quart of cranberry-jamaica tea, and used one cinnamon stick.  I placed all the ingredients into a medium crockpot and turned on high since it was already after dinner, and I wanted to try some before the evening was over.

After about 2-1/2 hours, it was bubbling around the edges, and I decided it was ready.  After a quick taste, I decided to add a little brown sugar, and —Hmmmm!  It was yummy!  Even Dustin really liked it, and he is a bit leary of eating new things!  So instead of trying to search for all of the traditional Mexican ingredients, now I know you can use whatever fruit you have on hand, some cinnamon, and sugar or honey to taste!  (I would definitely advise using some kind of apple(s) for the rich, tart flavor, and a good amount of citrus juice at least, along with whatever other fruits you decide to add; and for myself I decided not to use rasberries or blackberries because of their seedy properties!)  

To serve, you may strain out the fruit pieces or serve them in the glasses as well!

The Creation of a Deep Dish Pizza

Wow!  What an afternoon!  You see, my wife and I tend to have strange cravings for food here and there.  Once it was baked pretzels, then it was brick-oven pizza, and of course southern style biscuits.  Yes, I know that you can buy these things in the frozen food section; but you know as well as I do that they could never compare.  So, today I had a day off from work, and we had one of those cravings.  This time it was the famous Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza.  Once that craving comes, however, it is near impossible to stop!

This time, it was my turn to fulfill the craving!  I went out shopping at one of our local markets for cornmeal, Italian sausage, and cheese.  Thankfully, every item I was looking for was on sale, which made the purchasing of it a lot easier.

I imagined that I should share the recipe with all of our readers.  Here it is (with some pictures that we took):

Pan Dough:

  • 1 cup warm tap water (110−115ø)
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1 teas. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Pizza Topping:

  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 lb. Italian Sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled
  • 8 slices sandwich pepperoni
  • 1/2 quart can of whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely crushed
  • 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 teas. fresh dried oregano
  • 4 tbls. Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast with a fork. Add 1 cup of flour, all of the cornmeal, salt, and vegetable oil.
Mix well with a spoon. Continue stirring in the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Flour your hands and the work surface and kneed the ball of dough until it is no longer sticky.Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, sealed with a wet towel, for 45 to 60 minutes in the oven with just the light on (the oven turned OFF!), until it is doubled in bulk.
Punch it down and kneed it briefly. Let it rise agian for another 30 minutes. Punch it down and press it into an oiled 15−inch deep dish pie pan, until it comes 2 inches up the sides and is even on the bottom of the pan ( about 1/8 inch thick). Let the dough rise 15−20 more minutes before filling.
Preheat the oven to 575 degrees. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Cook the crumbled sausage until it is no longer pink, drain it of its excess fat. Drain and chop the tomatoes. When the dough has finished its rising, lay the cheese over the dough shell.
Then distribute the sausage, pepperoni, and garlic over the cheese. Sprinkle on the seasonings and Parmesan cheese.
Top with the tomatoes.
Bake for 10 minutes at 475 degrees. Then lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 30 minutes longer. Lift up a section of the crust from time to time with a spatula to check on its color. The crust will be golden brown when done. Serve immediately. And that's that!
I will say that it was a blast making it; but it was by far the best eating it.  It turned out pretty close to perfect for us.  As you can see, at least someone liked it..
We also shared with some of our friends; one of which has never had Chicago-Style Pizza before!  We’ll see if they like it.  Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t offer you any…well, come out and visit, and we’ll be honored to share!
By the way, Andrea’s sister Sharon got us the pizza-themed plates for Christmas.  Yes, they’ve already been of good use!

Don’t Bite the Apple

This post is going to be a little out of the ordinary for me.  I feel that I have some experience with technology, so I want to share a few points of advice.  You can go to a lot of other places on the web to find more comprehensive “studies” and benchmark tests, but I just want to provide something helpful and simple to understand to our readers.

First off, I am no “fanboy” (A person who goes into an outburst every time something he likes is questioned).  I enjoy technology that is quick, efficient, and of good value: no matter what the brand.  My arsenal of computer technology is wide-spread.  I have a five-year old Dell desktop PC, a Dell netbook, an LG phone, an Apple iPod Touch, and a Nikon digital camera.  All I want to give is a simple opinion from my point of view…

Over the last ten years or so, Apple Computer, Inc. has risen from the dead.  During the 1990’s–with the release of Windows 3.1 (I actually remember that operating system!), Windows 95, and Windows 98–Microsoft captured and ran away with the computer operating system (OS) market.  In the late 90’s, Microsoft released a bug-riddled OS called Windows Millennium Edition, which gave a large segment of computer users a bad taste in their mouth.  At about the same time, a little toy called the iPod began to really show itself popular.  This reintroduced a large segment of people to Apple.  With different innovations for the iPod, people began to really look what else Apple really offered.  In the 2000’s Microsoft introduced Windows XP, which firmly solidified the Microsoft grasp with the average computer user.

However, with the introduction of another bug-riddled OS called Windows Vista in 2007, many users began to look else ware, specifically Apple.  Even after Microsoft fixed most issues through service packs within a few months, people still had a bad taste in their mouth.  Thus began the huge rise of Apple–helped, of course, by the release of the iPhone.

Now, doesn’t all of that make you want to go out and get an Apple instead of a PC?  Let’s think all of this through.  Here is a list of points that Mac users make on why their system is better…and my own explanations of why they are not good arguments.

  • “Mac computers don’t get viruses.”–Ha!  This is simply semantics and common sense!  Right now, Mac has about 8% of the computer market.  Microsoft has about 90% Reference.  Do you really think that malicious people are going to try to make viruses for 9% of the market, or will they focus on the larger piece of the pie?  The virus industry is all about money–stolen identities, advertising, and pop-ups.  They are naturally going to aim most of the time at the bigger market share.  By the way, did you know that cell phones can get viruses?  Guess which phone is the most likely to get one?  The Apple iPhone.  Reference
  • “Mac computers are faster and generally preform better”–A very blanket statement.  You can find several places on the internet that will say either way.  In general, if both have the same hardware or close to it, they will preform about the same. Reference
  • “Macs are simpler to use.”–Just try Windows 7.  That’s all that I have to say.
  • “Macs can run all of the same software that Windows can.”  Yes, this is true, but with a necessary piece of software called an emulator.  In layman’s terms, an emulator is like running 2 computers on one machine.  The performance goes way down.
  • “Macs don’t crash”–Just search on the web for “Mac crashes.”  You will find plenty.
  • “Macs have better exclusive software.”  There is a point to this argument.  I do think that Apple’s Safari internet browser is slightly better than Microsoft Internet Explorer.  I don’t like either of them myself; I prefer Google Chrome or Firefox in a heartbeat.  And if you are talking about a video editor, iMovie from Apple is better than Windows Movie Maker–by a long-shot.  Media players are up in the air: iTunes versus Windows Media Player.  For me, I don’t really like either very much.  iTunes is slow and clunky, where Windows Media Player is disorganized.  Just get Winamp, people–fast and organized (not available on Macs)!  With photo editing and organizing, again, I don’t like iPhoto or Windows Photo Gallery: get Google Picasa!  It runs a circle around Photo Gallery, and multiple circles around iPhoto.

Problems with Macs

  • Compatibility

Not all printers and cameras are Mac compatible.  You always have to look on the label to see if the product you are interested in is compatible–an issue that Windows users rarely have to deal with.  Productivity software for businesses is extremely hard to come by.  Apple is very touchy about their software coding and who has the right to make software for them.  For example, those of you with iPod Touches or iPhones, try to view a website that has Adobe Flash (about 70 percent of all websites).  Apple will not let Adobe produce Flash for their products.  Why?  Again, they are very touchy about letting people make things for their Operating Systems.  Macs are also not compatible with some of the newest Intel and AMD technology when it comes to fast and mobile processors.  The same goes with network devices.

  • Hardware Customization

This is a big issue for me.  It is very hard to upgrade aspects of your Mac hardware, like a video card.  With a PC, all you have to do is pop out the old one, install the drivers, and you are good to go.  If it is possible with certain Macs, you have to buy one of only a few choices that are way overpriced from their Windows counterparts, and usually don’t preform as well.  It’s the same thing with adding extra memory, hard drives, and optical drives.

  • PRICE!

For less money than a MacBook Pro ($1699.99), you can buy a Dell Studio ($749.99) with the same or better hardware specifications and overall performance.  That’s about double the price!  All for the Apple name and “coolness” factor, basically.


A friend of mine said this very well (not an exact quote): “Macs are oversimplified computers–watered down so art students and sorority girls from public colleges don’t have to know how to do anything. The premium you pay for the Mac is making up for your general lack of technological knowledge.”  If I had to buy a computer today, which I don’t, I would probably build my own anyway–Windows based.  Now there is the whole argument about Linux, which is another story.  That OS just seems like a big pain to deal with.  Also, Google is supposed to be coming out with its own OS later this year, which I am somewhat interested in for our netbook–mainly due to my like of the Google Chrome browser.  Plus, it’s free!

The bottom line is research all of this stuff out for yourself before you buy any computer: PC or Mac.  Do what fits your needs most.  Don’t just follow trends or the looks of a computer!  I guess that Macs look a little bit neat, but so do some PC’s.  Find the best overall value.  And believe me, you won’t always get what you pay for.