Blog Archives

Flotsam and jetsam (2/2)

  • This fun video explains the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England. Living in Scotland for a while, I quickly realized that these are important distinctions to get straight lest you accidentally tell a Scot that he/she is “English”.

What if I were to tell you that God’s mental states, too, were all in your mind? That God, like a tiny speck floating at the edge of your cornea producing the image of a hazy, out-of-reach orb accompanying your every turn, was in fact a psychological illusion, a sort of evolved blemish etched onto the core cognitive substrate of your brain? It may feel as if there is something grander out there . . . watching, knowing, caring. Perhaps even judging. But, in fact, that’s just your overactive theory of mind. In reality, there is only the air you breathe.

All this talk about civility is beginning to make me uncomfortable. Civility refers to courteous and polite behavior. But courteous and polite behavior is not, in and of itself, a religious value. At times, it is to be subordinated to other, more important values.

Orthodox Christians believe they have managed to preserve and pass down the traditions of the church from those days through the rest of the Ecumenical Councils, through the ‘great schism’ with Rome, despite pressure and persecution from Muslims, Crusaders, Communists and Protestants (!) without deviation; they see themselves as having faithfully managed Christ’s blueprint and agenda for his people to the present day.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/1)

Why were so many churches “requiring” a pastor to be married? Jesus wasn’t. Paul wasn’t. Almost all pastors were single until the time of the Reformation. Is it wise to “require” that our Evangelical pastors be married? Is it biblical?

We must teach [Baptist] views in order to be consistent in holding them. Because of these we stand apart from other Christians. We have no right thus to stand apart unless the matters of difference have real importance; and if they are really important, we certainly ought to teach them.

Any number of political and social factors underpins the current unrest in Egypt—and as always, economics figures in. The upheaval has shined a light on two serious problems facing the country: Most jobs pay too little, and most food costs too much.

Flotsam and jetsam (1/27)

Though most churches have a website, there is a divide between congregations that use their sites only for one-way communication and those that maximize their online presence with interactive technology.

Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters.

The 14 year old is ripe for the picking in terms of Augustine’s discussions of sin, God, prayer, etc. The narrative and reflective style of the book is perfect for having Socratic and mind-blowing moments with 8th graders.

  • And, the Old Spice Guy is back.

Flotsam and jetsam (11/30)

  • James McGrath had the students in his Revelation class evaluate a website and post their comments. He set up a blog for that purpose and is inviting everyone to check it out. I’ve only glanced at it so far, but it looks interesting.
  • Dane Ortlund offers a thought from Richard Baukham on why the Gospel writers thought history was so important.

Flotsam and jetsam (10/25)

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Some interesting links from over the weekend:

Psychologically, I think Halloween performs two important functions. First, Halloween allows us to collectively process our eventual death and mortality….Second, Halloween allows us to work through our fears of the uncanny, the things that go bump in the night.

  • Similarly, Patheos is hosting an interesting series addressing the question, Are demons real?

In this season of haunted houses and horror movies, we couldn’t imagine a better time to grapple with the subject of demons. In the Christian traditions, demons take center stage in numerous biblical stories and continue to chill us today as central characters in popular and religious culture. But do they really exist outside of our imaginations and nightmares? Are demons real, today?

  • Bryan Lilly argues in favor of a more profound materialism, offering four reasons that Christians should value the human body: (1) creation; (2) incarnation; (3) the sacraments; and (4) the resurrection.

Evangelicalism has teetered between a compete disregard for the body…, and a gnostic-inspired view that sees the material world, including our bodies, as something we would be better off without.

As Carnell wrote: “Fundamentalism is a lonely position. It has cut itself off from the general stream of culture, philosophy and ecclesiastical tradition. This accounts, in part, for its robust pride. Since it is no longer in union with the wisdom of the ages, it has no standard by which to judge its own religious pretense.”

Humanness is not an opponent in the story of attaining to God’s purposes for us, humanness is the goal of the story, and Jesus is the helper sent to take us there.

Book giveaway – The Theology of Martin Luther

As I mentioned after last month’s book giveaway, a generous individual has decided that he would also like to share the wealth (i.e. give away a book that he accidentally bought two copies of). So, this month we’re giving away a new copy of Paul Althaus’ The Theology of Martin Luther. Although this book was published in English in 1966, I think this is still one of the best books around for understanding Luther’s theology. So, if you’re interested in engaging Luther’s thought more closely, this would be a great place to start.

As with our previous giveaway, the rules are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, you need to do at least one of the following. Each different way that you enter the contest will increase your chances of winning. (Assuming that I don’t just decide to give the book to the person whose name has the same numerical value of the guinea pig I had when I was a kid.)

  • Blog about the giveaway and link to this post
  • Link to the post from Twitter and let me know in the comments
  • Link to the post from Facebook and let me know in the comments
  • Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
  • Come up with a list of 95 Theses that you’d really like to debate with someone. Write your theses on an old-looking piece of paper and making a video of you nailing your theses to the front door of some church (not your own). Bonus points if you can get the pastor to come out and yell at you.

Flotsam and jetsam (9/29)

Conserve water, or this fish dies!

 

Morning links (9/17)

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Romans commentary winner!

We had a great response for our giveaway of Doug Moo’s commentary on Romans. Sadly, though, I was only dumb enough to have acquired one spare copy. So, that’s all I have to give away.

The winner of our little contest was Kevin Sam who runs an interesting blog over at New Epistles. If you’re particularly frustrated that you didn’t win the commentary, you can probably go over there and leave him hate comments or something. I’m sure that’s what Paul would have done anyway.

I’ve also been contacted by someone who liked the idea of sharing the wealth by giving away duplicates of good books, and that person has contributed another really good book for us to give away next. Keep an eye out for that announcement soon.

Book giveway – Moo’s commentary on Romans

For some reason, I seem to have two copies of Douglas Moo’s The Epistle to the Romans from the NICNT series. At just over 1,000 pages, I can’t figure out how I managed to end up with two of them. But I did. And, being the cheapskate wise steward that I am, I was going to sell the extra copy. Then I realized that there might be some interest out there in a book like this and that it would be good for me to spread the wealth instead. So, I’m going to give it away. (But don’t tell God that I’m doing it publicly. I want to score some rewards in heaven for my generosity while I’m at it.)

As usual, the rules are simple. If you’d like a chance to win the book, here’s what you do (UPDATE – you only need to do one of the following, though you can do more if you choose):

  • Blog about it and link to this post
  • Link to the post from Twitter and let me know in the comments
  • Link to the post from Facebook and let me know in the comments
  • Comment on this post and indicate that you want the book
  • Make a video of yourself on a busy street, dressed like a Roman citizen, explaining to random pedestrians why the book of Romans is important. Post the video on YouTube and leave a comment here.

You can enter as many different ways as you’d like (bonus points for the YouTube video) and increase your odds of winning. I’ll accept entries through September 15, and then randomly select a winner.