Bits O’ Stuff


Various bits of random thoughts:

Halloween is a contentious issue among Christians. I have a new theory that can accurately predict which groups of Christians will be against it and which will be for it.

If the denomination was founded in Europe (Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Traditional Baptist, etc.), then it is far more likely that adherents will be FOR Halloween, or at least less bothered by it.

However, if the denomination started in the United States (Assemblies of God, Church of God, Pentecostal, Foursquare, Restorationist movement, charismatic non-denominational, etc.), then folks in it are far more likely to be AGAINST Halloween.

That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it!


The local Christian radio station, which recently went to a format I call “All Casting Crowns, All the Time,” just fell massively short on their fund drive a couple weeks ago.

First, I have to wonder why Christian radio stations that advertise must also have a fund drive. If they have to pay such exorbitant licensing fees that your advertising receipts can’t cover them, why not dredge up some of the tunes of yesteryear and tell these big Christian record companies (and their painfully bland tunes) to take a hike? Hey, if it’s praise and worship they want, why not some Honeytree, 2nd Chapter of Acts, or a little Don Francisco?

After their fund drive tanked, the local station (which used to have no problem making their fund drive goals when they had more teaching programs–hint, hint), added one more day of fundraising this week and called it “Finish the Work,” supposedly based on 2 Corinthians 8:11.

I don’t know about you, but I thought “finishing the work” was fulfilling the Great Commission, not making sure a Christian radio station playing innocuous, “safe” (i.e. – “limp”) music reached its fundraising goal.

But hey, I’m a rebel anyway.


Popular Mechanics recently published a list of 25 skills every man should know:

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

Funny thing though: none of those are legacy skills, like being able to pass on historical knowledge or teach a child. No public service skills, either, like being a surrogate dad to a fatherless boy. No relational skills, either. And what about animal husbandry, hunting, or agricultural knowledge? Heck, whatever happened to being able to feed your family without a dependence on the grocery store? I would say that all of those I just mentioned are more worthy. And why the over-reliance on car stuff? Oh well.


I predict a bad economy hitting us hard very soon. Why? The quality of job listings at sites like, Monster, and CareerBuilder is way, way down in just the last couple months.


It always amuses me that products that advertise that they have less of something (fats, carbs, preservatives, fumes, environmentally-damaging chemicals, etc.) always cost more.

I went through the infamous MTBE era in California. MTBE was supposedly a smog-reducer. Ironically, it’s a byproduct of refining oil. So oil companies take it out in regular gasoline refining. But when California mandated it stay in, the oil companies charged consumers more at the pump to keep it in! Even worse, once it was determined that MTBE caused terrible enviornmental problems of its own, the oil companies charged more on top of what they were charging to leave it in to take it out again!



I don’t care what anyone says, sugar makes kids hyper.


You’ve got to spend a lot more money to eat food that is good for you, but it’s worth it. My son only gets organic milk and meats. I’m noticing more and more kids who are tall/huge for their ages, and I firmly believe it’s due to all the growth hormones in our food supply.


The last few weeks on the longer Daylight Savings Time schedule have been disorienting. I keep expecting it to be dark by 6:00 PM.


They keep having Godblogcon west of the Rockies, though most of the best Godbloggers I know live in the Midwestern and Southern states. Nashville would seem like the perfect nexus for the Godbloggers I routinely read. Why the obsession with the Far West?


I only live about 40 miles from the heart of a large city, but if broadband Internet access is any indication, I might as well live in a black hole!


Funny, but also painfully sad and true.


If you’re looking for children’s games for Christmas, try something less common. We really enjoy Rat-a-Tat Cat from Gamewright and Gulo Gulo from Rio Grande Games. Adults can play either game enjoyably, too. Few things beat playing a board game with friends and family. Turn off the TV and put away the DVD player, then play a game!


Heck, just turn off the TV anyway.


Few things beat sitting around a campfire with friends on a cool night, drinking hot cocoa or coffee, roasting up some marshmallows or weenies, and just talking about life.

Why not do that this weekend?

26 thoughts on “Bits O’ Stuff

  1. Halloween: I think Paul Washer would not fit in your theory

    Christian radio: haven’t heard a song in months! I’d rather listen to my SGM CD’s. Available here:

    Popular Mech: well, what else can you expect? It’s a magazine about cars! I would add this to that list though: 26. Cooking meals for your roommates/wife/etc

    Sugar: you’ve been watching “over the hedge”, don’t you?

    Healthy food: well, when it comes to junk food let’s say that self-control is hardly a word in many people’s vocabulary nowadays….

    Mere comments: I agree with you: funny and sad. I wonder how this plays out around the world…

    Games: Gotta love board games! I’ve no cable and I desire it not for it distracts me very much. And t.v.? No thanks. I’d rather read CS!

    Camping: did that two weeks ago. Great time. Wish I can do more of that in the future…This weekend? I can’t. I am under the weather πŸ™

    • Francisco,

      A lot of people are sick right now where we live. We’ve got some crud at the Edelen household right now. I’ve got a really sore throat (though it may be dryness in the house. That happens this time of year here.)

      Praying you feel better.

  2. 1. My church is “bapticostal” and um… we dressed up. LOL… ah well.

    2. I challenge you to Apples to Apples. I’ve never lost.


    oh and um… bonfire at my place saturday night! bring your musical noise makers and any food you want to share… lol… yeah like you’d really come… πŸ˜‰

    • Ronni,

      Considering that Apple to Apples is judged by different people, I don’t know how one person can win every time. When we play, just about everyone gets a win or two, simply because our judging is so different.

      We got our copy of Apples to Apples almost seven years ago, back before anyone had heard of it. Everywhere we took the game, people were so hyped up that they went out and bought their own copy. We were evangelists, I tell you! We still play it pretty consistently.

      There’s a new game we just got called What’s It To Ya? that has gameplay similar to Apples to Apples, but can be played with a partner (preferably a spouse for maximum hilarity) that requires you to rank a set of five items according to their importance (like broccoli, underwear, freedom, car, and house). When you play as a partnership, you only win points when your answer agrees with your partner.

      I’d like to come up for your bonfire except that we’ve got sickness here, so that won’t work.

      • Yeah its weird, for some reason I can read people pretty well… and I’ve always played with people I knew so I guess that is a big part of it… I knew what cards would make them laugh and that’s half the game…

        I’ll have to find What’s It to Ya? That sounds great!

        Oh there is this great card game called “discombobulation” that I highly recommend… its like uno but with these cards that make you do the most hysterical things and its interactive with everyone else… every time we play it, people who didn’t join in find themselves playing the next round… πŸ™‚

        There will be more bonfires… πŸ™‚

  3. Halloween = dressing up in demonic motifs and extorting unhealthy candy from strangers. (Never take candy from strangers…except on Halloween!) I wanted to take my sweetie’s sons trick-or-treating as long as they did not dress up in demonic costumes. Neither one wanted supervision, although I promised to stay at the curb while they went to the door. No trick-or-treating for them. They went to our church (which was Foursquare Gospel, now Assemblies of God) for the Halloween alternative “event.” Six people showed up: the youth pastor, the youth pastor’s wife, the pastor’s daughter, the pastor’s son, and my sweetie’s sons. They watched “Facing the Giants.”


    The Bible Broadcasting Network has a global network of stations, but a very small budget for its size, partly, I think, because they do not pay royalties for the music they play. It is very conservative, and most of the music is sleep- or guffaw-inducing. But hey…when it comes to leading people to Christ and teaching the Bible, BBN often gets the job done.


    Look at the Popular Mechanics skills from this perspective: How can you hunt if you cannot clean a gun or sharpen a knife? How can you fish if you cannot fillet a fish? Build a fire? Paddle a canoe? Rescue a capsized boater? How much respect would a fatherless boy have for you if you cannot fix his mother’s car or their computers? If you have no mechanical or building skills? The majority of Americans live in areas that forbid animal husbandry. The ones who do live out in the country often need to fix their own cars because they cannot ride their horses into town. And horses have been relegated to a recreational species in America, anyway. Who owns a horse for work anymore?


    Almost any time a company retrofits its equipment to do something different, the customer will pay for it. When oil companies removed MTBE and then were told to keep it, they had to retrofit. When they were told to remove it again, they had to retrofit. That costs money. Who will pay for it? You and me, brother!


    Godblogcan is infatuated with the West because that is where all the cool tech companies are; that is where all the celebrity action is; that is the life many Godbloggers want to live…millionaire techies and/or celebrities.


    Didn’t you complain about sprawl the other day? Now you complain there isn’t enough tech infrastructure to give you broadband! I tell ya, some consumers just can’t be satisfied.


    Yeah, a campfire weenie roast would be nice, if you can properly build a campfire. πŸ˜€

    • Michael,

      You are quite the contrarian, aren’t you?

      My church had a harvest party that was attended by probably half the church and everyone had a great time!


      Look at the Pop Mech skills from this perspective: Most of those skills you can pay someone who is better qualified to do them, but who will be the historian for your family? Who will be the father to the fatherless boy? Or treat others with respect and civility? No one pays for those roles and skills. There are a half dozen mechanics in town who can bleed brakes better than I ever could (plus have the facilities to dispose of the waste), so why concentrate on skills others are paid to do more effectively?


      I’m sure a lot of Godbloggers are lovin’ your comments about them!


      Plenty of non-sprawl-inducing broadband options exist, WISP for instance.


      Man, if you can’t build a campfire, you’re hurtin’!

    • pst… I was “Order of the Red Flame” in girlscouts… a very unknown movement of the girl scouts… we learned things that the real boyscouts learned (not the “i can’t get dirty” ones)… so yep. I can build a good fire. Granted we usually have 20ish people and I am IN the city… so I have to keep an eye on it (contained)… unless we go to the church and that is out in the country… lol… then we can make mega fires! muahahahah… (sorry the pyro in me just took over…).

      We sometime do weenies, and sometimes people bring veggies from home and we roast those… mmmmmm….. roasted zucchini and pumpkin… mmmmmm

      Okay now I’m hungry….

  4. Is the radio station WAKW? They are far better than they used to be back in the ealy 80s. Most of Christian radio is either very conservative and amateurish, or Top 40. I wish there were some Christian stations that were like the independent stations that play a more eclectic mix. Something like 2nd Chapter of Acts, Don Francisco, Keith Green, all the way to Reliant K, Anberlin, Derek Webb, etc.

    • Fred,

      I liked them more in the early 80s. πŸ˜‰

      And as for Christian radio stations, in general, I keep calling in to have them play Keith Green’s “Asleep in the Light,” but I’m told that song’s not positive and encouraging. πŸ˜‰

      Oh well.

      • They won’t play “Asleep in The Light”, but I assume they’ll play Casting Crown’s “If We Are The Body”? Same message, essentially.

        I love Casting Crowns (I’ve mentioned them here before, now I understand why you didn’t respond :D) but I agree that they get too much air play. I think it’d be great to mix in some old stuff, and some no-really-christian-but-positive-and-christianish music like U2 and others. There are plenty of good songs that aren’t really ‘Christian’, but you have to listen to secular radio to hear them. Why the divide?

        Oh, and I go to a Restoration Movement church (ICoC) and most of us let our kids trick or treat. πŸ˜€

  5. Bob Aarhus

    Yay Halloween. And, yes Dan, I think your “origination of denomination” chart works. But can you explain why?


    The secular man’s man, Ernest Hemingway, reportedly outlined four things one must do to be a man:

    1. Plant a Tree
    2. Fight a Bull
    3. Write a Novel
    4. Father a Son

    I haven’t done one of these, guess which one? (Hint: Not the one you might think.)


    Prediction of bad economy in the future confirmed. In fact, trouble has been brewing for a long time, but a lot of the indicators remained obscured. Over two years ago a colleague warned me of an imminent meltdown in the mortgage and credit markets. His prediction of when the first wave hit (e.g. in the NYTimes) was off by about 3 months. The next wave, he now says, is closer than anyone wants to admit.


    Family Games? Check out Tom Vasel, Dad, Pastor, Baptist Missionary in Korea, and game playing legend (his blog is at “Gulo Gulo” is #1 on his “Top Ten Games for Young Children”.

    For older kids, I’ve found “Settlers of Catan” to be a good introduction.


    Hope you have a great time around the campfire, Dan. Don’t forget the ‘smores. Is there such a thing as an organic marshmallow?

    • Bob,

      Hey, buddy, 45 is sneaking up on us!

      Quick responses…

      Halloween: The European churches were more influenced by the Enlightenment. In fact, many of the “Made in America” churches may even be described as anti-Enlightenment. The Enlightenment-influenced churches, in many cases, rationalized away the idea of the demonic. They went for a more intellectual take on the Faith. The American churches I mentioned were separationist movements within Protestantism that were looking for a more genuine faith. As separationist movements, they tended to accrue more persecution and be more willing to ascribe that persecution to the demonic. Many of those American churches are also charismatic, so they have a different view on spiritual warfare issues. Lastly, the American churches have largely been made up of poorer people than their European-based church counterparts. For this reason, they are also more attuned to oppression, ascribing it to wicked spiritual forces.


      I’ll go with the “Write a Novel” unless you’ve got something to tell me! πŸ™‚


      Man, I do not want to be caught in the position we are now if a bad economy hits. We’ve been through this too many times. I get tired of being the canary in the coal mine!


      Will check out that site. Gulo Gulo is a good one! I can’t get into Catan as much. We like Ticket to Ride and have some expansion kits. People have enjoyed playing our copy of Wits & Wagers, too. And I think at least a dozen families we know have bought Apples to Apples after playing it with us. Now it’s a common game to find even in discount stores.

      BTW, I have the original first edition of Avalon Hill’s Magic Realm. I hear it is going for big prices on eBay.


      We’ve become a sickhouse, I fear, for the weekend. Sadly, no going out for us! πŸ™

      Take care. Stay healthy! We’re not as young as we used to be.

  6. David Riggins

    Halloween as we know it was apparently created by the federal government in the 1930’s, and is known as the one of the most successful public service announcement in the history of PSA’s. It turned a night of hooliganism into a social event, which has since been turned, as these things inevitably will, into a commercial bonanza. Spiritually, I am mute on the issue, as I think there are far more important issues in life.

    Christian Radio is a joke, and I’ve thought so ever since being bombarded by Chiropractors, Personal Injury Lawyers, and Podiatrists in the 80’s on the now defunct KYMS.

    Things all men should be able to do? Take care of themselves, much less take care of their families. So many of the “men” I see coming of age have been catered to since birth…

    Sometimes I think the best thing that could happen to the world would be a global economic meltdown. Perferably one that causes us to rely upon one another to get by on a day-to-day basis.

    If I hear one more time about whether it’s better to buy locally, versus the efficiency of globalism, I will puke. Seriously. I just spent 48 hours on various planes, flying around this globe of ours, and I can only say that the fact that we buy junk from China, lead-coated or not, is not the fault of companies, corporations or governments, but rather is the fault of me and you and everyone else who opens their wallet at a store, Wal-Mart or otherwise.

    Ideas have consequences.

    Sugar is a drug

    I’ve just gotten back onto the local time, and now I have to change my clock again. It’s cruel, arbitrary, and aimed at making more money for retail outlets.

    The western US is the gathering place for all the opinionated nuts in the country who talk but do little. Hence Colorado Springs, home of more Christian ministries than deserve to exist, but only a 10% church attendance rate. Empty words, empty lives, empty hearts.

    I live in a so-called “Hi-Tech Zone” and DSL just came to my neighborhood three months ago. The home of the manhattan project is a technological backwater…

    Read “State of Fear” sometime. Truly insipid story, but consider Crichton’s theory of political and social control through the use of fear. In a society where it is impossible to know everything, one is limited to what one is told. If one is told to fear something, that is a powerful weapon. The mantra of the 60’s, “Question Authority” has been warped into “Question Everything” creating a paranoid culture that is highly open to suggestion. For instance, how many people today believe that the government had something to do with 9/11, versus 2 years ago? Nothing had changed, except that more celebrities, whose grasp of reality is about what one would consider from people who are chauffered from place to place, are coming forward with their “suggestions.” Given time, what was a slam dunk becomes a rim shot, becomes a baseball game. Nothing is certain. It makes us uneasy, afraid, and desperately searching for comfort, peace, and above all, certainty. “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

    Regarding TV, I shut off our cable some time ago, putting up an antenna. I now only get PBS HD. Aside from freeing up immense amounts of time for family and friends, it’s also broadened my view of the world. It’s amazing how much what is said and done on TV controls what we think, feel and believe.

    • David,

      Is what you just said about Halloween true or a joke? If true, I’ve never heard that take.


      I’m not keen on seeing a global economic meltdown. In light of things going on here at the homefront, my greatest trepidation right now is being as vulnerable as we currently are to a rapid-onset meltdown.


      Wheaton, IL, used to be the mecca of Evangelicalism, but Colorado Springs stole the trophy. I never quite understood that move. I understand it less given what you just told me about poor church attendance in that town.


      You’re in Alamogordo, NM?


      I haven’t watched a show on TV in five months.

      • David Riggins

        Apparently, as the poverty of the depression worsened, the “pixie tricks” of all-hallows eve turned nastier and more destructive. By the early 1930’s there were the usual calls by newspapers for a crackdown on “halloween hooligans.” With the Boy Scouts as point, a movement was fronted by states and the federal government, with famous and semi-famous people making radio and movie-fone appeals for a “sane halloween” which included boy scouts dressed as hobos, going door to door asking for food donations for the poor. (Before this, especially in the 20’s and early 30’s, Thanksgiving day was a time when children would go door to door asking “Food for the poor?”)

        By 1939 “Trick or treat!” showed up for the first time in print, and was in the dictionary by 1941. The costumed boy scouts soon became constumed children of all ages, and food for the poor soon became candy, fruit, and loose change. Trick or Treating probably reached it’s height in the 1950’s, just one generation from it’s invention. Today, Halloween is second only to Christmas as a favorite time for decoration and Americans spend more than the NASA budget on candy. 80% of Americans say they will buy candy to hand out, and 93% of children will go collect that candy, though few will actually go door to door anymore. One more cultural victim to fear.

  7. Cheryl

    Here in NYC there is a halloween parade that brings out alot of debauchery. I’m with the charismatic/pentecostals on this one.
    The reformed folks have very little awareness of demonology and how it inflitrates the church or culture IMO.

    • Cheryl,

      Yeah, I wonder about the poor demonology I see in some sectors of Evangelicalism. It’s almost as if the more intellectual the theological conversation, the less room there is for a balanced understanding of the demonic. It’s almost a corollary.

  8. Interesting theory about denoms and Halloween … of course some flavrs of Latheranism might disagree.

    Honeytree, 2nd Chapter of Acts, or a little Don Francisco

    … now there is somemusic that I can listen to … you must be old Dan πŸ™‚

  9. Ben

    A while ago I heard a Christian radio station seeking a similar motive (funds) with a request that its listeners take a “leap of faith” to give to it’s station. All I could think of was, “a ‘leap of faith’?…to give to a radio station?!” How about something like…witnessing to your neighbor as a ‘leap of faith’…or, in my case, actually meeting some of my neighbors?
    I hear you, Dan.

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