Thursday, November 20, 2008
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generelly prefer to think things out for
themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
I find that I am much more the INTJ than the ISTP, although I do like to have fun.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The book is The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard B. Hays. Because the first two paragraphs are primarily Scripture quotations, I am posting this:
Already in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, it is assumed that the ideals of sharing and unity of soul between friends are truisms: "All the proverbs agree with this: 'Friends have one soul between them' and 'Friends' goods are common property.'" Thus the Jerusalem community embodies in its life together the Greek vision of authentic friendship, not just between two people or within a small intimate circle but exponentially expanded into life of a community of thousands. Hostility, mistrust, and selfishness are replaced by a communal ethic of sharing that treats all members of the community as friends in accordance with the philosophical ideal.
I am supposed to tag five people, so I tag Nick, Doug Groothius, Stan, Brian, and James Gibson.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I think she is a little extrovert. I met her when she was almost two hours old, and she had been awake the whole time. She kept looking around. When I came over and looked at her in her holding container, she smiled.
Momma and baby are fine. God is good.
Here are a few pics.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight contains 236 pages including the back matter, and this book is published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008.
In The Blue Parakeet, McKnight seeks to offer a way of reading Scripture that remains faithful to the story of the text. In chapter one he shows how people tend to pick and choose which portions of Scripture are accepted and practiced. In chapter two, he discusses three ways of reading the Bible: 1) Reading to retrieve biblical ideas and practices for today, 2) reading through tradition, and 3) reading with tradition.
Chapter three reveals shortcuts taken in reading Scripture. In chapter four McKnight focuses on story and introduces the term Wiki-Story with the intention of focusing on one element: “the ongoing reworking of the biblical Story by new authors so they can speak the old story in new ways for their day.”
Chapter five discusses the plot of Wiki-stories and shows the story has a plot, characters, and many authors who together tell the story. He states that, “The unity of the Boble is this Story. It is this Story that puts the Bible together.” Reading the Bible through a relational approach is discussed in chapter six. McKnight states, “God gave the Bible not so we can know it but so we can know and love God through it.”
Chapter seven discusses listening to the Bible, and includes listening as love of God and others. “The Boring Chapter,” chapter eight, discusses missional listening. The missional focus of the story of the Bible gives us facts “so that we will move those facts into relationship, character, and action.” (And yes, “The Boring Chapter” is actually the name of the chapter.)
Chapters eight and nine comprise the section of the book on discernment. Chapter nine is a provocative chapter designed to get people to think about how they are actually reading the Bible. What one must discover is what principles are used to adopt and adapt the Bible. Chapter ten discusses the pattern of discernment, which McKnight states, "as we read the Bible and locate each item in its place in the Story, as we listen to God speak to us in our world through God’s ancient word, we discern—through God’s Spirit and in the context of our community of faith—a pattern of how to live in our world."
The final section of the book, which includes chapters eleven through fifteen, discusses women and ministry in the church. In this section McKnight explores WDWD (What Did Women Do?) in the Old and New Testaments. In his chapter on women in the Old Testament McKnight offers this nugget: “Deborah was, to use modern analogies, the president, the pope, and Rambo all bundled up in one female body!”
McKnight wraps up the book proper by discussing “Now What?” He states the major elements of the Story as being
1. God and creation
2. Adam and Eve as Eikons who crack the Eikon
3. God’s covenant community, where humans are restored to God, self, others, ad the world
4. Jesus Christ, who is the Story and in whose story we are to live
5. The church as Jesus’ covenant community
6. The consummation, when all the designs of our Creator God will finally be realized forever and ever.
McKnight states that “our task in reading the Bible is to ‘map’ the elements of the Story in each wiki-story. If we keep our eyes on the six elements of the Story as outlined above, we will have all we need for reading the Bible. These six elements govern the story of the Bible and each book focuses on one or more of these elements.”
The Blue Parakeet offers an excellent lay level introduction for reading Scripture, and serves as a balance for those reading academic exegetical works. I highly recommend it for church classes and small groups interested in discussing the reading of Scripture.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I have not been thoroughly consistent with this rule. In school, when writing, a paper I would highlight in commentaries. I do not do that as much. Gordon Fee has caused me to abandon this. I've accepted the fact that resistance is futile.
So, he makes me mad, but in a good way.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I'm trying to follow what my rep is doing on the bailout.
Update: I know how my rep voted, but the question remains. I'd like to follow along in the future.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Magazine Featuring Female Pastors Pulled From Shelves, 'Treated Like Pornography'
ATLANTA — The five women on the cover are dressed in black and smiling — not an uncommon strategy for selling magazines.
But these cover girls are women of the cloth, featured in Gospel Today magazine's latest issue, which the Southern Baptist Convention has pulled from the shelves at its bookstores, though the magazine is available for sale upon request.
The group says women pastors go against its beliefs, according to its interpretation of the New Testament. The magazine was taken off stands in more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores across the country, including six in metro Atlanta.
Published for nearly 20 years, Gospel Today is the largest and most widely distributed urban Christian publication in the country, with a circulation of 240,000. The magazine's publisher, Teresa Hairston, said she was just reporting on a trend, not trying to promote women pastors.
"They basically treated it like pornography and put it behind the counter," she said. "Unless a person goes into the store and asks for it, they won't see it displayed."
Click on the Fox News link above to read the rest of the article.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Can you feel the love?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
From the Fact Check Desk: Obama's New Spanish Language TV Ad Es Erróneo
September 17, 2008 5:53 PM
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has launched a new Spanish-language TV ad that seeks to paint Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as anti-immigrant, even tying the Republican to his longtime conservative talk-radio nemesis Rush Limbaugh.
As first reported by the Washington Post, Obama's ad features a narrator saying: "They want us to forget the insults we’ve put up with…the intolerance…they made us feel marginalized in this country we love so much."
The screen then shows these two quotes from Limbaugh:
“…stupid and unskilled Mexicans”
"You shut your mouth or you get out!”
The narrator then says, “John McCain and his Republican friends have two faces. One that says lies just to get our vote…and another, even worse, that continues the policies of George Bush that put special interests ahead of working families. John McCain…more of the same old Republican tricks.”
There are some real factual problems with this ad, which is titled “Dos Caras,” or two faces.
First of all, tying Sen. McCain – especially on the issue of immigration reform – to Limbaugh is unfair.
Limbaugh opposed McCain on that issue. Vociferously. And in a larger sense, it’s unfair to link McCain to Limbaugh on a host of issues since Limbaugh, as any even occasional listener of his knows, doesn’t particularly care for McCain.
Second, the quotes of Limbaugh’s are out of context.
Railing against NAFTA in 1993, Limbaugh said, "If you are unskilled and uneducated, your job is going south. Skilled workers, educated people are going to do fine 'cause those are the kinds of jobs NAFTA is going to create. If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people, I'm serious, let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do -- let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work."
Not one of his most eloquent moments, to be sure, but his larger point was that NAFTA would mean that unskilled stupid Mexicans would be doing the jobs of unskilled stupid Americans.
I’m not going to defend how he said it, but to act as if this was just a moment of Limbaugh slurring Mexicans is not accurate. Though again, certainly if people were offended I could understand why.
The second quote is totally unfair. In 2006, Limbaugh was mocking Mexican law, and he wrote:
“Everybody's making immigration proposals these days. Let me add mine to the mix. Call it The Limbaugh Laws:
“First: If you immigrate to our country, you have to speak the native language. You have to be a professional or an investor; no unskilled workers allowed. Also, there will be no special bilingual programs in the schools with the Limbaugh Laws. No special ballots for elections. No government business will be conducted in your language. Foreigners will not have the right to vote or hold political office.
“If you're in our country, you cannot be a burden to taxpayers. You are not entitled to welfare, food stamps, or other government goodies. You can come if you invest here: an amount equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage. If not, stay home. But if you want to buy land, it'll be restricted. No waterfront, for instance. As a foreigner, you must relinquish individual rights to the property.
“And another thing: You don't have the right to protest. You're allowed no demonstrations, no foreign flag waving, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our President or his policies. You're a foreigner: shut your mouth or get out! And if you come here illegally, you're going to jail.
“You think the Limbaugh Laws are harsh? Well, every one of the laws I just mentioned are actual laws of Mexico today! That' how the Mexican government handles immigrants to their country. Yet Mexicans come here illegally and protest in our streets!
“How do you say ‘double standard’ in Spanish? How about: ‘No mas!’”
But even if one is uninclined to see Limbaugh's quotes as having been taken unfairly out of context, linking them to McCain makes as much sense as running a quote from Bill Maher and linking it to Obama.
Asked for backup as to how Obama could link McCain to Limbaugh, the campaign provided this interview with McCain refusing to condemn the Minutemen from from the Kansas City Star:
Q: ‘Are they a good thing? The Civil Defense Corps, do you think -- do they help in the immigration fight, or not?’
A: ‘I think they're citizens who are entitled to being engaged in the process. They're obviously very concerned about immigration.’
Q: ‘Are they helpful?’
A: ‘I think that's up to others to judge. I don't agree with them, but they certainly are exercising their legal rights as citizens.’
Asked about the “lies” they’re accusing McCain of telling, the Obama campaign provided evidence that McCain in July 2008 told La Raza that he would have voted for the DREAM act, a bill that provides scholarships for the children of illegal immigrants, even thought he earlier in the campaign season said he would have voted against the bill.
Let’s delver further into this.
In the November 2007, Myrtle Beach Sun-News, McCain said of the DREAM Act, which he had cosponsored in the past, "I think it has certain virtues associated with it. And I think other things have virtues associated with it. But the message is they want the borders secured first."
The newspaper noted that McCain said he’d vote against a temporary worker program, even though he supports the idea. "I will vote against anything until we secure the borders," he said. "There is no way we're going to enact piecemeal immigration reform."
Before La Raza, McCain was asked by a young Latina if he’d support the DREAM Act, and he said, “Yes. Yes.”
The full exchange, however, goes like this:
QUESTIONER: Hi. I’m a part of One Dream 2009 and I am one of the 6 million who either have an undocumented parent or is undocumented and I wanted to know if you would support humanity all around the world and support our Dream Act that we are trying to pass.
MCCAIN: Yes. Yes. Thank you. But I will also enforce the existing laws of a country. And a nation’s first requirement is the nation’s security, and that’s why we have to have our borders secured. But, we can have a way and a process of people obtaining citizenship in this country. And, we cannot penalize people who come here legally and people who wait legally. And so, that’s a fundamental principle on which we have to operate. Thank you.
The Obama campaign also provided a number of seemingly conflicting comments McCain has made about offering greater funding for education programs in the No Child Left Behind act -- telling the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in June that he “would fully fund those programs that have never been fully funded,” while not suggesting any greater funding for the bill when he’s talked about education in front of whiter audiences.
That ignores the fact that McCain has suggested reallocating the way the $23 billion for NCLB is spent.
McCain has changed his rhetoric and his emphasis when discussing immigration after almost losing the GOP presidential nomination because of it.
He now says the borders must be secured before anything else happens. And in that, he’s opened himself up to charges of flip-flopping, though the Obama campaign is quoting him selectively and unfairly to make their points.
The greater implication the ad makes, however, is that McCain is no friend to Latinos at all, beyond issues of funding the DREAM act or how NCLB money is distributed. By linking McCain to Limbaugh’s quotes, twisting Limbaugh’s quotes, and tying McCain to more extremist anti-immigration voices, the Obama campaign has crossed a line into misleading the viewers of its new TV ad. In Spanish, the word is erróneo.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It seems that the United States and the church in the U.S. have a lot in common. Before I'm branded a heretic finish reading this. We are both hated until we are needed. Every time there is a crisis on the other side of the world, the response is "Call the Americans!" Every time there is a disaster or someone needs help, the response is "Call a church." In that way, we share a lot in common.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This put me on a quest for new headphone that would not slip and had good sound. The first pair I bought was from Altec Lansing. I thought it would work because they had the ear clip. Silly me was not paying enough attention to notice that it was ear buds and not the ones that go in your ear. Ear buds tend to hurt.
Then I bought the Sony headphones in the above picture. I tried them out today, and they were great. They are designed to withstand the moisture, so they don't slip. The sound great, even when the music is really loud.
So thank you Sony for helping my workout today and in the future.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
How do you differentiate between a Bible for church use or personal use? If I study at home for a class I'm teaching then is it for the church? If I study at home for personal growth, then does it not count? Does Lifeway really think our lives are so demarcated that we have no personal benefit from Bible study for church? Where is their line?
They really made me appreciate Cokesbury. When I shop there, the discount applies simply by pulling up my account. If there is a Y on the label, I get a discount; If there is a N, then I don't. Very simple without a grilling.
This encounter at Lifeway was so irritating that I really do not want to shop there anymore. This "minister discount grilling" is not the first I encountered there. It makes me wonder if their response would be the same if I were a guy wearing a sport coat. I was wearing a black T-shirt that says, "My imaginary friend thinks you have serious problems." Today my imaginary friend was right.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
It started that way, but when I read the special text on paper card stock it said: "Last Issue." It seems as though Christian History and Biography will no longer be published. They are going to make up the difference in my subscription with Christianity Today issues, but I am thinking of seeing if they will send my money back. It is nothing against CT; I just loved Christian History and Biography.
So sad. It is a good thing the NFL started tonight.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Anyway, here are today's purchases:
Apostolic Fathers Volume 1 and Apostolic Fathers Volume 2 in the Loeb Classical Library edited and translated by Bart D. Ehrman
The Surprising Work of God by Garth M. Rosell
A Woman's Place, House Churches in Earliest Christianity by Carolyn Osiek, Margaret Y. MacDonald with Janet H. Tulloch
IVocab Greek which does not qualify as a book.
Oh yes, and last week I bought:
Who We Are is How We Pray, Matching Personality and Spirituality by Charles J. Keating
Monday, August 18, 2008
I might be a bad Christian, because today I saw "Tropic Thunder." Oooooh....so funny. Yes, it is full of violence and profanity...that is the reason for the R-rating. I do not believe there was any sexual activity or nudity.
Robert Downey Jr. was awesome. I'm chuckling as I write. Ben Stiller was also great. He is so goofy. Tom Cruise has a small role, and you will be shocked at how funny he is. That's funny "ha ha" not funny as in Scientology. Even Nick Nolte was funny.
The soundtrack is a must have also.
The movie is too great to go into details. I don't want to ruin it for you. And, I even saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse. If you don't have a Drafthouse in your city, you may want to consider moving to a city where there is one. Uprooting your family for a movie theater is not too extreme, is it?
Friday, August 15, 2008
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct her/him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
You Are Probably The Family Dog!
Of course, I think it should be a cat.
The world's cutest cat is at the top and side of this page.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Farnsworth: "Good news everyone."
Dr. Michael Brown has a radio show with a blog. Audio of the shows are posted on the blog.
I have not listened to the shows yet, but there are some great topics:
Ten Reasons Why We Must Have Revival
The Error of Dual Covenant Theology
Debate with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
And much, much more.
Friday, July 11, 2008
So, Bibles are not on my restriction list.
That being said, I probably won't be blogging or reading many blogs for a short while. Being on the internet is too unproductive when I am supposed to be working, and too much like working when I'm supposed to be relaxing.
I have yet to decide if I'll be reading much. I'll probably just rent a bunch of movies.
Have a nice week.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
In warfare one must learn to be silent, still, stealth, until the perfect moment. In warfare, the plan often means more than brawn; it means brains. Unfortunately for my opponent, I had the advantage on both.
Compared to me, my opponent was a mere mouse. My intellect far superior. My reflexes fast as a cat. My speed quick and unmatched. My strength overwhelming. My cunning...unspeakable.
Preparing to make my move I thought, "When? Should I wait 'til he turns his head? Should I wait 'til he makes his move? When?"
My instincts took over. When I saw his ear twitch, I darted; he dashed; I dashed; he darted. Through the twists and turns I matched his moves with greater agility and speed until my claws came out, and SWIPE...victory was mine.
Ears for an appetizer, ribs for the main course, and whiskers to use for dental floss. You have not feasted until you have had mouse on a spit. This mouse would be tastiest with A1 Mouse Sauce. I had a feast.
For, I am Pascal the Cat!
Monday, July 7, 2008
If you only like books that are overtly scholarly, you will not like this book. If you like a book of stories, this book is for you.
Benson weaves stories of his life and finds connections between them. He has a way of writing that is personal, profound, and somewhat Buechner-esque. Chapters begin with quotes from Scripture and/or The Book of Common Prayer. Through his stories, the importance of unity and the pain of our division comes through clearly.
He concludes the book proper with:
The walls that have been built between us--the ones built out of fear or pride or ignorance--can be taken down. and we who sit on this pew must do exactly that. We are the ones who can stop the daily dividing up of th Body of Christ into pieces and, instead, make it more possible for the Christ to be seen in our world.
We must seek out the things that we have in common and at the same time learn to honor the things that make us different. We must learn to take the things that we hold dear--our sense of community, our love for the scriptures, our hunger for prayer, our capacity for worship--and work to make them wide enough and deep enough to include others rather than keep them at a distance.
We must be willing to cultivate humility along with certainty, to practice tolerance along with devotion, to seek patience along with piety.
We must learn to seek the face of the Christ in those who are different as readily as we do in the faces of those who are like us.
We must learn to love one another.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Joel seems like a tormented genius to me. He has struggled with alcoholism. When he was younger he attempted suicide by drinking furniture polish because of his affair with the wife of his drummer.
I find him to be a lyrical and musical genius. The depth of his songs is amazing. Here is an example:
Here are the lyrics:
In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along
I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense
And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose
But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break
And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows
So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Today, while reading Mr. Monk in Outer Space, I came across this:
"Have you ever heard the phrase 'the pot calling the kettle black'?" I (Natalie) asked him.Now isn't that weird?
"That makes no sense. Pots are inanimate objects that don't talk, and if they did, why would they talk to a kettle?"
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Being one of three Americans fluent in Martian, I understood the need. Uncle Sam's request was simple: Join the diplomatic envoy trying to secure peace with the Martians.
The war with Mars began early in 2082, when I was in kindergarten. I remember toward the end of fifth grade hearing about the loss of my uncle to a Martian Crostine Flier. The deadliest weapon on this ship of theirs is not actually a weapon. They use their tractor beam to take hold of their enemy's ship, and the tractor beam contracts until the ship is destroyed. It was a devastating time for our family.
Needless to say, I had mixed emotions. Yes, I wanted the three-decade war to end, but I also wanted revenge on these green, one-eyed monster, antennae bearing aliens. I wanted to take out some of the Martians, even if it was only a few.
But this was not my duty. I was going as a translator, and as a diplomat. The Martian language is not difficult to learn. What is difficult is tolerating the spit that spews from the Martian's mouths as they speak.
Upon entering their Hall of Diplomatic Discourse and Communication, we were required to remove socks and shoes. The floor was covered in a green ooze held sacred called Monsolatratum. It reaches the ankles and has a soothing, massage-like effect. It reminded me of those old shows from last century on a TV network called Nickelodeon. They showed us videopodtronics of it in history class.
Negotiations started harmless. We ate a Martian delicacy, Shmuttah. It is like a cross of Hispanic barbacoa and Saturn's chomista. It tasted fine, it was just difficult getting used to purple food that moved. After this, negotiations broke down.
As part of our talks, it became clear that the Martians wanted all of Europe, save France, to be declared their territory. We were only authorized to give up France. Tempers flared as no side could agree on who would get stuck with France. We took a break.
I went to use their indoor plumbing facilities, when I overheard their maniacal plot. Two Martian diplomats were kromunking (a Martian form of tuning) their antennae as they talked of their plans. Their plot to take over Planet Earth was actually to claim France. They were only acting like they did not want it so negotiations appeared fierce. We on the other hand really wanted to unload this tiny country.
They believed they could have us all at their mercy if they could gain control of the highly regarded French Fry. If they obtained a monopoly on French Fries, all the planet would be at their mercy.
This was my conundrum. I could not tell my colleagues of my newly acquired information. A diversion was needed. I did the unthinkable. I started swimming in their Monsolatratum. Outrage overtook the Hall of Diplomatic Discourse and Communication, and a scuffle broke out. We were immediately discharged and told to leave the planet.
As we boarded our spaceship and returned home, I informed my team of the evil plan and the information I acquired. That is how I saved our planet. That is how I saved the French Fries. Pass the ketchup.
I've written about a couple of books in this latest batch, but here they are:
On Pascal by Douglas Groothuis
The Joy of Repentance by Kerry Skinner
The Work We Have to Do by Mark Noll
They Like Jesus but Not the Church by Dan Kimball
Everybody's Normal Until You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg
As anticipated, Defending Life by Francis Beckwith is still in progress. The next stack includes:
The Body Broken by Robert Benson
The Body Broken by Jack Reese
Black Bodies and Quantum Cats by Jennifer Ouellette
Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity by Luke Timothy Johnson
Mr. Monk in Outer Space by Lee Goldberg.
My pastor asked me this morning (actually yesterday morning) if I planned on reading any brain candy. I told him a bit about Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, and he said books on physics do not count as brain candy. It sounds like brain candy to me. Oh well. So, I'm including the Monk book. I'll try and read fiction every other stack of five.
Now, down to the nitty gritty. I can buy two books. I'm thinking of The Onion's Our Dumb World. Do you have any ideas?
Monday, June 30, 2008
I have experienced blogs, where the owner pays little attention. A topic is thrown out, people discuss, and little or no moderation is encountered. (One Christian blogger I occasionally read has little interaction with the commentators until someone pays a compliment. Then a positive reply usually shows up.) I have experienced blogs where the blog owner approves every comment before it appears on the blog. And I have experienced blogs where there is a balance. The comment may appear quickly, but the owner remains involved.
Probably the most disappointing experience came from a Christian blog where profanity was used by commentators to describe a prominent Christian scholar. It was not removed for a very long time. I suspect it was only removed after complaints.
While I am the novice blogger, this would be my suggestion regarding comments:
- If the owner does not have time to oversee the comments, do not allow commenting.
- Regarding profanity: either have a filter, delete comments, or remind commentators that such language is not allowed.
- When dialog becomes inappropriate, call people on it either on the blog or via email.
- If you want an anything goes, mudslinging environment, place a disclaimer on the site. While this would not be the path I would prefer, there are those who find this "fun."
I will close with an example of an excellent blog owner. Scot McKnight of Jesus Creed is a blogger extraordinaire. He blogs often, and he keeps track of the blog. I believe he removes comments that are inappropriate, but I know he reminds people when the conversation is getting out of hand. When he is writing on a particularly volatile subject, he asks people to not be negative, rude, or engage in personal attack. Jesus Creed has created a community where people share their views, learn from each, and sometimes disagree with one another. But when there is disagreement, sarcasm and bitterness are usually left at the door. Two thumbs up to Scot McKnight and the Jesus Creed community.
Long Live the 80s!
Mark Noll's The Work We Have to Do, A History of Protestants in America was fabulous. Noll shows the vast diversity of Protestants in America and briefly looks at three noteworthy figures: William Bradford, Jonathan Edwards, and Phyllis Wheatley. Noll moves on to provide the beginnings of Protestantism in a concise background of the Reformation. He then explores the history of Protestants in America by exploring Protestants in Colonial America, 1607-1789 (ch. 3), Protestants in Charge(ch. 4), 17901-1865, Times of Trial and Renewal, 1866-1918 (ch. 5), Protestants in Modern America (ch. 6) , and he concludes with an epilogue(ch. 7) .
This book is well worth the purchase for the above reasons as well as two others. Noll's chronology and his further reading list following the appendix, a breakdown of Protestant denominations, are phenomenal. The reading list is broken down by topics and the time frames that guide the book.
I bought this book at Half-Price books for $4.98, but it would have been well worth it at list price ($12.95).
Friday, June 27, 2008
My confession is that I spend entirely too much time around Christians. With the exception of the health club where I work out, I'm not regularly engaged with non-Christians. When I am at the club, I go in, put on my headphones, and work out. Then I go home. So, I'm not engaging too many people there either. I live in a cul desac, and most of my neighbors are Christians. All I can say is that this book was a good smack upside my head.
Kimball shares the encounters he has with people who like Jesus but not the church, and he quotes them. The main issues covered that people don't like about the church are:
The church is an organized religion with a political agenda.With a glance at these issues, if we are honest we have to say, "I can see where that would be their perspective." What made this book so valuable was that Kimball is not trying to bash the church. He is not trying to compromise Scripture, and he challenges Christians to take theological thought seriously. He also offers solutions. To each of these views above we can strive to be:
The church is judgmental and negative.
The church is dominated by males and oppresses females.
The church is homophobic.
The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong.
The church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
The church is an organized community with a heart to serve others.Through his encounters, Kimball discusses how the world is studying the Bible in context and historically often to a greater degree than Christians are. He challenges us to study and have answers available in a respectful dialog that goes beyond "the Bible says it, that settles it."
The church is a positive agent of change loving others as Jesus would.
The church holds women in the highest respect and includes them in the leadership of the church.
The church is a loving and welcoming community.
The church is respectful of other people's belief and faiths.
The church holds beliefs with humility and strives to be thoughtful theologians.
I highly recommend buying or borrowing this book, especially for those in ministry whose engagement with non-Christians has diminished. Even sitting at a book store and skimming it will be of value.
*Picture taken from the Amazon.com web site.
Last night I read On Pascal. This little book packs a lot of punch. For an introduction to Pascal it is quite impressive. Somehow Groothuis manages, in 95 pages, to provide a biography and overview of Pascal's perspectives. Although it is a short work, it is very thorough. I had moments when I was reading and I would wonder if he was going to cover something, and he did. Groothuis offers enough nuggets from the Pensees to give insight into this great thinker and inspire the Pascal newbie to read the scientist/theologian's works.
Groothuis does not presume knowledge of scientific or theological terms and backgrounds from the reader. He manages to clarify things in short parenthetical statements. He also explains some items using modern examples. The pithiness of the explanations was impressive.
I love Pascal, and I get kind of warm and fuzzy just thinking about him. I even named my cat Pascal. (My cat is female, so her name is actually Sophia Pascal. She goes by Pascal.) I am not the highly emotive type; Mr. Spock is my favorite "Star Trek" character. Pascal is someone I truly consider a friend. When I read his writings the connection is almost unexplainable. It is like talking to a friend. That being said, I found moments reading this book where I got kind of misty. I could imagine what Pascal was doing. This amazing mind had such passion.
I get quite sad when I think about Pascal dying before he finished his work. It would have been great to have the completed project. I also wonder if it would have taken the mystery and some of the fun out of reading him. I cannot wait to meet him some day. Well, I can wait, but you know what I mean.
On a minor note, I was personally pleased that Groothuis used the A. J. Krailsheimer edition of the Pensees.
If you are interested in an introduction to Pascal, I'd highly recommend this work along with a couple of others: Making Sense of It All by Thomas V. Morris and Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft. And of course, you need your own copy of the Pensees.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
BryanL has recently posted on the frustration of interacting on blogs with people of a different theological framework. In it, he notes angry tones, name calling, and the polarization breaking down to the point of no communication. That does not sound like the path God has set for us in His Word.
Unfortunately on blogs we generally do not know the people with whom we interact. We are not going to see them at church or work, so the tones we take get ignored. We get angry with someone, write with an angry attitude, click "submit," and go on with our day. We have a negative mindset, but there is no intention or thought given to the fact that reconciliation is probably in need with our brother/sister blogger. (I am operating under the assumption that Christians are on Christian blogs. I know...BIG assumption.)
Is that the way we are told to handle our differences? Of course not. We read how Paul pleaded with Euodia and Syntyche to make up. We know the process prescribed to us on how to handle it when someone sins against us. I think it is safe to say that the attitudes in blogging are often sinful. How we treat fellow believers in the blogosphere may be just as important as how we treat each other when we gather at church. For when we gather at church, we are generally with other believers. Yet, with blogging communities there is no way to know when non-Christians are watching our behavior. If you were not a Christian, would you want to be part of a group that treated each other horribly? Probably not.
What should we do? First, I think it is important that we take the humble road. In a disagreement, we should do all we can to keep our conversation cool and reasonable. Second, when there is name-calling, we should remind Christian bloggers that such discourse in not advancing God's Kingdom or bringing glory to God. Third, and this is might be the hardest one, seek forgiveness or extend forgiveness. Finally, if we cannot go to a blog without getting in a blog-fight, I think it would be wise to stay away from it. To modify Paul: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, BLOG at peace with everyone.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Spiritual Theology by Diogenes Allen
The End of Reason by Ravi Zacharias
Proclamation and Theology by William Willimon
How to be Evangelical Without Being Conservative by Roger Olson
Jesus by Chuck Swindoll
My next stack of "to reads" includes the following:
Defending Life by Francis Beckwith
On Pascal by Douglas Groothuis
The Work We Have to Do by Mark Noll
The Joy of Repentance by Dr. Kerry Skinner
They Like Jesus but Not the Church by Dan Kimball
Because of the weight of the Beckwith book, odds are good that it will not be finished in this stack of five. I'll probably have started and finished other books before I am done with this.
I am also thinking of giving myself "two book credits" for books that are more than 500 pages. I fear putting those on hold too long if I don't give myself such motivation. One such book that I am quite excited about is Mark Noll's A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada.
Now I can buy a book, which means I can go into a book store without anxiety. I went into a Christian bookstore to buy some DVDs, and it caused great interior tension. I will be doing really well if I can finish five more without buying a book, for then I would have a two book credit.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Now the challenge. I am thinking of putting myself on book restriction. I cannot buy anymore books until I read five from my shelves. That's not counting the books already ordered from Amazon (Defending Life by Francis Beckwith and On Pascal by Douglas Groothuis).
Do you think this is a good idea or a bad one? Do you think I can pull it off? How long until I fall off the literary wagon? Should I have a special dispensation category such as a new book on Pascal or something I am studying for church?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A mother who decided to abort her son because he may have inherited a
life-threatening kidney condition is overjoyed that he survived the procedure.
Percival's first son Thane died of multicystic dysplastic kidneys — which causes cysts to grow on the kidneys of an unborn baby — and her second child Lewis was born with serious kidney damage and currently has just one kidney, the Daily Mail reported."I was on the (birth control pill) when I became pregnant," Percival, 25, said. "Deciding to terminate at eight weeks was just utterly horrible but I couldn't cope with the anguish of losing another baby."
A short time after the abortion, Percival felt a fluttering in her stomach. She went to the doctor for a scan and discovered she was 19 weeks pregnant.
"I couldn't believe it,' Percival said. "This was the baby I thought I'd terminated. At first I was angry that this was happening to us, that the procedure had failed. I wrote to the hospital, I couldn't believe that they had let me down like this.
"They wrote back and apologized and said it was very rare," she added.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor for FOXNews.com, said Percival's situation is actually quite common.
"Women that have early terminations in weeks six, seven and eight, many times the pregnancy is so small that doctors miss removing the baby," Alvarez said. "The danger is that the failed attempt can damage the baby. That is why these patients who get early terminations need follow-ups."
Another scan a week later confirmed the baby also had kidney problems, but doctors told the couple the baby was likely to survive, so they decided he deserved another chance at life.
In November, Finley was born three weeks premature. He had minor kidney damage but is expected to lead a normal life.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Tahts all I gonna say bout my laerning.
WESTLAKE, Ohio — A Cleveland-area principal says he is embarrassed his students got proof of their "educaiton" on their high school diploma.
Westlake High School officials misspelled "education" on the diplomas distributed this weekend. It's been the subject of mockery on local radio.
Principal Timothy Freeman says he sent the diplomas back once to correct another error. When the corrected diplomas came back, no one bothered to check the things they thought were right the first time.
Publisher Jostens has reprinted the new diplomas — a third attempt — and sent them to the 330 graduates.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
- Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
- Dictionary of Paul and His Letters
- Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments
- Dictionary of New Testament Background
- IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
- IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
- New Bible Dictionary
- New Bible Commentary
- Hard Sayings of the Bible
- The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
- New Bible Atlas
- New Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- New Dictionary of Theology
- Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek
- Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion
- Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies
- Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
My other fabulous purchase is Luke Timothy Johnson's The Writings of the New Testament, Revised Edition with CD-ROM. Frankly, I already had the first edition, but I purchased this version for the CD-ROM.
What works out well is that both of these work through the Libronix system. I am quite the happy camper.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Enjoy the following videos, and check out Kerry's web site.
Is Confession the Same as Repentance?
Are We Born Sinners?
Call me critical. Call me egotistical. Just don't use the phrase "thus and such" around me.
Let's be honest. Bloggers want to see a lot of comments to their posts because it means more readership. Generally, innocuous posts receive little response and controversial topics receive more comments. My concern is not with this aspect; my concern is with the tone of the comments.
I concede the fact that there is no guaranteeing that all comments come from Christians, but there should be a certain amount of Christian ethics involved in the response given by those who adhere to the Christian faith. It is not unusual to read responses from Christians that one would be surprised to hear in face to face discourse. Often there is childish, playground level, name-calling involved. Christian? Hardly.
Another unfortunate, yet common, form of response is distortion. One commenter states his or her case, and another blows it out of proportion simply with the intent to win an argument. "So what you're saying is...blah, blah, blah" when clearly that was never the intent of the first writer. Misrepresentation hardly seems to be an ethical way for Christians to respond.
Then there's avoidance. One commentator makes a valid point, and the person from the opposing view ignores it and brings up a different issue. Again, it reads like a kid's playground. "Oh yeah, well Billy did..." This does not appear to be the dialog of intelligent Christian discourse.
Another aspect, profanity. Words that would never be spoken with other believers is not uncommon on blogs. Sometimes abbreviations are used, but the intent is still there. Is it acceptable for Christians to abbreviate profanity if it is not acceptable to speak it? WTF is that about?
Ultimately, it seems to me that Paul's exhortation to speak the truth in love should also guide the discourse in written form. If we write in in a letter, post it on a blog, or speak it in a conversation, our goal should remain the same: truth and love.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Here is the trend that is bothering me: the discourse in Christian blogs seems sub-Christian. By discourse, I include the content of the post and the comments from the readers. I do acknowledge that there no way to monitor who comes to or creates blogs.
Let me unpack this.
Presumptions are made about others views with little effort or research to verify the veracity of such statements. Several months ago I was on a blog where a popular TV evangelist was being attacked for what was supposedly not in his book. I took it upon myself to go to a nearby Barnes and Noble and scan this book. Within five minutes of reading, I was able to refute the accusations. That is just one example of many I can think of.
Is it within acceptable Christian conduct to misstate another Christians views, attacking their faith, while having made little or no effort to ascertain the truth?
In the interest of your time, more on ethics and blogging will come in another post.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
That being said, the other day I got into the shower and saw this image in my wash cloth:
My cell phone was nearby, so I took a photo. Do you see the face of Jesus in my wash cloth?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
So...here is my deep thought in the form of a question: Do you think Elton understands that the phrase "cold as hell" doesn't really make sense?
Monday, April 21, 2008
I've noticed that many bloggers seem to place no effort in punctuation. Depending on how tired or cranky I am, I find it quite irritating. Because of this tendency, I did a search for blog punctuation and came upon a wonderful site.
Copyblogger.com is the site, and here is their description:
On their web site, I found this wonderful page on common punctuation errors. Their list is well described, and they offer excellent examples.
Content drives the Internet, and using the right words in the right way will determine not only how well your site converts visitors into sales, but also how well you rank in search engines and how many links you get.
Now that blogging has become the smartest strategy for growing an authoritative web site, it’s your copywriting skills that will set you apart and help you succeed. Copyblogger is all about helping you:
- get traffic
- gain subscribers
- attract links
- sell something!
All you need to do is write in a strategic, persuasive, compelling manner.
Please forgive me for any punctuation errors in this post. :)
Friday, April 18, 2008
According to the New York Sun:
“Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages,” a Yale spokeswoman, Helaine Klasky, said in a statement sent by e-mail to reporters. “The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.”
I ask you, how low has society become for this to become art?
How depraved have people come to even think of the project?
Is this the result of a society that has is in favor of abortion on demand?
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A student at Yale University, who for her "senior art project" says she repeatedly artificially inseminated herself and then took abortifacient drugs to induce multiple , plans next week to display her "art" – including blood from her own forced abortions – prompting reactions ranging from horror and disgust to suggestions of fraud.
Read the rest of the story at the above link. Warning...it is absolutely disgusting.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Roy H. Williams wrote in Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads:
(p. 116)Robert Frank's photography and Christianity hold a lot in common.
The edge of a picture is called the frameline. When an image extends beyond the frameline, the viewer's imagination reacts by filling in what was left outside the frame. This phenomenon is called frameline magnetism, and it's a powerful tool that has long been used by the world's great photographers, videographers, filmmakers, and illustrators to engage the imagination of a viewer.
Robert Frank is generally regarded as one of the greatest photographers the world has ever seen. In his legendary photo book, The Americans, Frank captures the unposed reality of 1955-56 America with such ruthless clarity that collectors now bid tens of thousands of dollars to own just one of his vintage prints...
Robert Frank was (1) unusual in his selection of an angle, (2) economical in his inclusion of detail, and (3) a master of frameline magnetism.
First, Christianity provides us with a number of unusual angles. The most unusual angle is the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection...God becoming man, taking on humanity's sin, and resurrected from the dead. The idea of a suffering God is utterly contrary to the ancients view of gods, yet it is the God we serve.
Second, Scripture is economical in its inclusion of detail. We are left with tensions with which to wrestle. We are free to choose, yet God foreknows. There is one God, yet three in one. Christ will return, but when?
Third, scripture uses frameline magnetism. An inclusio represents frameline magnetism.
In literature, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section, although whether this material should consist of a word or a phrase, or whether greater amounts of text also qualify, and of what length the frames section should be, are matters of some debate. Inclusio is found in various sources, both antique and new.We see this device used in Scripture as a way of framing the narrative. An event will be bookended by two similar themes, sometimes providing insight into the deeper meaning of the story. A very simple one to identify is in Genesis chapter 17, where the it begins and ends referencing Abraham's age.
Thus, we have some similarities in Scripture and faith and the photography of Robert Frank.