- Thomas Kid discusses How Evangelicals Lost Their Way on Alcohol.
The temperance movement reacted to a real social and medical problem. We should not dismiss it as a product of Victorian prudishness. But then a focus on reducing alcohol abuse morphed into the conviction that it was a sin for any person to take a drink, period. This was a simpler approach, but it is not biblical.
Can a well-placed expletive positively stir the soul? If something is deemed inappropriate for children, should it not be sold through “Christian” distribution channels? Can Christian art impact us positively through things that offend us? Is the act of “offending” a counter-Gospel act?
- C. Michael Patton calls on people to stop saying that “the Holy Spirit changed my lesson at the last minute.“
My basic thesis is this: The assumptions required for such homiletic detours are irresponsible both to yourself and to your audience, and they misunderstand the way in which God works in the life of the church.
- Robert Miller sparked a lively discussion with his argument that human dignity should not be the ground of Christian ethics (see also here and here). I found the discussion particularly interesting for Miller’s argument that main competing ethical systems (utilitarian, deontological, virtue) are incommensurable and that theologians cannot pick-and-choose aspects of each without lapsing into incoherence.
- Michael Hyatt offers Six e-Book Trends to Watch in 2011.
- Thanks to Jonathan for pointing out that Queensland Theological College has a nice collection of lectures and sermons from people like Bruce Winter, Ben Witherington, and Mark Dever.
- And, here’s a list of 10 Book to Kick of the New Year.
In his famous essay “A Plea for Excuses,” the Oxford philosopher J. L. Austin complained that philosophers of art typically spent too much time focusing on beauty, when most people’s aesthetic interests are less grand. Austin expressed the hope that “we could forget for a while about the beautiful and get down instead to the dainty and the dumpy”! Maybe some creative theologian looking for a new topic could take a hint here and get down to talking about cuteness. Babies and kittens are cute, and they get a lot of attention from many people—the evidence is there at YouTube.
- K.C. Hulsman presents a pagan perspective on why Christmas is not the reason for the season. I happen to think that his presentation is wrong, but it’s a well-written explanation of the argument that Christmas is essentially a pagan holiday.
Most of the Christmas traditions that exist — gift-giving, the hanging of the evergreens, Christmas trees, feasting, Santa, caroling — all originated from Pagan practices. While I can understand that to some Christians this is a holy time of reflection as they celebrate their God, Christ, let us remember we were here first. And Christ is not the reason for the season. He’s just a latecomer to the party.
- John Shore explains how the Christian calendar demonstrates the sacredness of time.
Since ancient times, Christians have used the Christian calendar (also called the liturgical year) to orient themselves to the two most significant seasons in the yearly Christian cycle of time: Christmas and Easter. Within such a calendar, every day has a vital and traditionally sacred place relative to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Christ.
- Salon.com has a very helpful explanation of the new Google e-bookstore and how it compares to Amazon’s Kindle store. HT
- And, National Geographic has released its list of the 10 weirdest new animals of 2010.
Today, is election day, don’t forget to vote.
- Michael Hyatt explains why eBooks cost so much.
Second, physical manufacturing and distribution expenses cost less than you think. Some people assume that these two items represent the bulk of a book’s costs. They don’t. Together, they account for about 12% of a physical book’s retail price. So eliminating these costs doesn’t do much to reduce the overall cost structure.
- According to Carl Trueman, evangelicals are suffering from theological amnesia.
That is what mere Christianity evangelicalism is: a movement of ecclesiastical, historical, and theological amnesia.
- A South African pastor generates worldwide attention with a sermon series titled, “Jesus was HIV positive.”
Wherever you open the scriptures Jesus puts himself in the shoes of people who experience brokenness. Isaiah 53, for example, clearly paints a picture of Jesus who takes upon himself the infirmities and the brokenness of humanity.
- Brian LePort offers a nice roundup of links to recent posts on the NIV 2011. And, here’s a roundup of posts on the recent Lausanne Congress. HT
- Theology Forum is beginning a series on Kevin Vanhoozer’s Remythologizing Theology.
Here are some “helpful” (i.e. competely random) links for your Friday morning enjoyment.
- Joel points out some videos of Greg Boyd discussing eternal punishment.
- manybooks.net looks like a great place to go for free e-books. HT
- Apparently they’ve now developed a computer program that can translate ancient languages – starting with Ugaritic. HT
- James McGrath reviews James R. Edward’s The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition.
- Theres been a lot of discussion recently about the future of academic textbooks in a digital age. Mark Goodacre provides a nice roundup of links along with some comments of his own.
- I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Anne Rice has decided to quite Christianity. Apparently she still thinks Jesus is okay, but not the rest of us. Brian LePort, T. C. Robinson, Collin Hansen, Jim West, and Joe Carter, have all commented on this, and I’m sure many others have as well.
- Here’s a study finding that we tend to think people are less truthful if they have a foreign accent. That, of course, is because we’re pretty sure that foreigners are really trying to take over the world. HT
- Apparently there’s now a 1 in 1,000 chance that an asteroid will hit the earth in 2182.
- Here’s a list of the 100 Best Magazine Articles Ever Written.
- And, have you ever worried that the person next to you might be a zombie? No problem. Now there’s an app for that.