The classroom should be a consecrated place—a dedicated space for attending to ideas not normally addressed as ardently elsewhere. Strange, good, and serendipitous things happen there. Questions are newly formed, puzzlement gives way to intellectual pursuit, and insights arrive serendipitously. On the other hand, even after earnest preparations, professors can be greeted with vacant stares, wandering eyes, stupefied silences, or irritatingly inept comments. We struggle to win, keep, and enrich our students’ attention.
- The Guardian has an interesting piece on the place of libraries in the community, and what we’ll lose if we stop funding them.
The great untold truth of libraries is that people need them not because they’re about study and solitude, but because they’re about connection.
- Justin Taylor reports on a recent roundtable of pastors asked how they would explain the gospel in two different contexts. And, he shares the following story that Mark Stiles often uses when witnessing to Muslims.
Two men went to the mosque to pray. One was a rich man, the other a poor man. The rich man went through his libations and prayers as he did five times a day. As he was praying, he began to have a sexual fantasy about the young wife who lived next door to his home. But he finished his prayers and went home. The poor man stood off at a distance. He came so infrequently to the mosque, that he couldn’t remember the positions for prayer or his libations. But he looked up to heaven, beat his breast, and said, “Forgive me, O Lord, for I’m a sinner.” Who went home justified? [Mr Stiles says that every Muslim he has asked this question has answered “The rich man.”]
- Michael Bird discusses whether the Bible sees judgement as retribution or restoration.
We do not have to choose between retributive and restorative schemes of divine justice. The righteousness that brings judgment also fills the universe with God’s shalom….There can be no reconciliation without recompense otherwise the disorder, destruction, and decay of evil prevents peace from lasting. The incarnation and the cross achieve both: juridical judgment and relational peace wrought in the atonement.
- Lots of bloggers are reflecting on the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead and how Christians should respond. I won’t even try to link all of them, but here are some thoughts from Joe Carter, Denny Burk, Jason Goroncy, Christopher Morgan, and Doug Chaplin. And Mashable has a nice roudup of links if you just want to read more on the events surrounding his death.
- This month’s free audio book from ChristianAudio is Tim Challies’ The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion.
- Julian Assange claims that Facebook is a giant spy machine developed for US intelligence agencies.
- And, for those of you mourning Michael Scott’s departure, here’s a list of the Top 20 Steve Carrell Moments on The Office.
Inside Higher Ed had an interesting post today on the a recent study that was done to measure how much texting takes place in university classrooms. Here are some of the findings that they reported:
- 95 percent of students bring their phones to class every day.
- 91 percent have used their phones to text message during class time.
- Almost half of respondents said it was easy to text in class without instructors being aware.
- 99 percent said they should be permitted to retain their cell phones while in class.
- 62 percent said they should be allowed to text in class as long as they don’t disturb their classmates. (About a quarter of the students stated that texting creates a distraction to those sitting nearby.)
- 10 percent said that they have sent or received text messages during exams, and 3 percent admitted to transmitting exam information during a test.
First, fess up. Have you ever texted in a class? Second, what do you think about texting in class (never, sometimes, who cares)?
I’ll get things started by admitting that I’ve texted in class. And, it was my own class. (The class had just broken into small discussion groups, and I was momentarily free.) And, I’ve sent emails while sitting in a class many times. (Is there any real difference between texting and emailing during a class?)
- Justin Taylor has an excellent guest post from Andrew Cowan on What NT Wright really said.
In my judgment, however, the claim that Wright has changed his view on justification is misguided and results from the misreading of Wright that has been rampant in the Reformed world for quite some time.
- John Byron offers a good thought on celebrity-ism and the academy.
What are we doing? Our scholarship has become, in some ways, a celebrity sport. We stand in awe of speakers who are introduced as the author of twenty books, over one hundred articles and three video series. Bart Ehrman and NT Wright appear on the Colbert report, and while I admit I found their performance entertaining, I wonder why it is that these people are held up as the representatives of scholarship in our field?
- Richard Beck reflects on The Thomas Kincade Effect, or the problem of kitsch in Christian art.
it is worth wondering if Christians (or anyone for that matter) might be attracted to artwork that portrays a world “without the Fall,” a sweet, shiny, untroubled and Disneyesque existence.
- And, Bob Cargill’s SBL paper is now available, “Instruction, Research, and the Future of Online Educational Technologies”. HT
- The New York Times has another piece on how technology is affecting young people and their learning, “Growing up Digital, Wired for Disraction:
Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention.
- Michael Jensen argues for a restrained, biblical understanding of gender against both the angst-producing emphasis of “freedom” found in modern culture and the “thick” complementarian view.
More than ever before the issue of gender has become bound up with one’s own personal identity. Since the zeitgeist emphasises the freedom of the individual to self-create, especially over against any prefabricated notion of ‘roles’, the discussion of ‘headship’ is always going to jar with our wider cultural sensibilities.
- Daniel Harrell asks whether we can learn anything from Ambrose on the value of celibacy.
If marriage is a foretaste of the relationship between Christ and the church, and sex likewise a foretaste of our ultimate and intimate union with God, Ambrose deduced that devoted virginity simply dispenses with the appetizers and skips on to the main course.
- Perspectives in translation is discussing how best to translate ‘hilasterion’ in Romans 3:25, with Mike Bird arguing that it refers to a sacrifice that appeases divine wrath (propitiation) and Darrell Bock arguing that it refers to the place in which th sacrifice takes place (mercy seat).
- The Pope’s recent comments condoning the use of condoms in certain situations is still generating a lot of attention.
- Ben Witherington has posted his SBL paper, “In principio era verbum: sacred texts in an oral culture.” Ands here are links to two papers on biblioblogging: Jim Davila, “What Just Happened: The rise of “biblioblogging” in the first decade of the twenty-first century” and Chris Brady, “A Modest Proposal: Assessing Digital Biblical Studies.” HT
- And, Michael Patton offers a complete list of mega-churches in America.