As I mentioned a few days ago, I had to put flotsam and jetsam on hiatus for a while so I could focus on some other projects. But, after several appreciative comments and emails, I’ve decided to try a few evening editions. I still won’t be putting these out on a daily basis, but hopefully this is better than pausing the posts altogether.
- Leland Ryken has a very interesting piece on Justification and the Literary Imagination, looking at portrayals of justification from the Bible, the Merchant of Venice, Paradise Lost, and the Scarlet Letter.
Ordinarily when we speak of “the Bible as literature” we mean the literary nature of the Bible itself. My venture in this essay provides another angle on the concept of “the Bible as literature.” I have explored what the biblical teaching on justification looks like when it is transmuted into works of imaginative literature–the Bible as literature, that is, as imaginative literature composed by extrabiblical authors.
- Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article on Baylor University’s decision to open up more of its board to non-Baptists. (See also Al Mohler’s comments on the secularization of religious schools).
While a number of Baptist colleges and universities in recent years have loosened or ended ties to state Baptist conventions, the move by Baylor is notable because it is widely considered the flagship university of Southern Baptists. The move came despite opposition from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which last year voted down a similar proposal by Houston Baptist University to permit the election of a minority of non-Baptist trustees there, with church leaders arguing at the time that allowing non-Baptist trustees would dilute the university’s religious identity.
- The Guardian reports on the reinvigorated protest movement in Iran (In similar news, a reported 1 million women take to streets to protest against Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister).
Thousands of defiant protesters in Iran‘s capital have clashed with security officials as they marched in a banned rally. One person was reported killed, with dozens injured and many more arrested.
- Here’s a must-read article on the sexualization of young girls.
Push-up bras, pedicures, hip-hop dance classes: These are now the social currency of the under-10 set. What happened? And how can we help our girls stay girls for longer?
- Justin Taylor links to an article on how the church interpreted the 6 days of creation before Darwin.
- Brian LePort comments on how Michael Horton defines the Gospel.
- Daniel Kirk comments on the importance of understanding Greek accents, at least if you intend to write accurate papers.
- And, apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien was the first to coin the pluralization “dwarves.” Who knew?
Just 20 minutes after Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that President Mubarak had resigned, Egyptian filmmaker Ramy Rizkallah headed into the streets of Cairo with his camera. Here’s how describes it.
For the first time in 7000 years or more, egyptians peacfully were able to overthrow their Dictator. No one in Egypt could’ve imagined this happening.
I shot this 20 minutes after the VP announced the president’s departure, people are chanting that the army and the people are one hand and the army closed the road to help people celebrate.
I just witnessed history.
I shot this on a high ISO so please excuse the noise in the Video.
Bye Bye Mubarak.
And, here’s what he saw.
- Kevin DeYoung offers The Four Indispensable Qualities of Good Preaching: veracity, clarity, authority, and authenticity.
These four qualities are indispensable to good preaching, but some are more indispensable than others. The farther you go down the list, the harder the traits come. But the good news is it’s the top of the list that matter most.
- Scot McKnight asks, Are Denominations Broken?, and shares a letter calling for radical transformation in the PC(USA).
To say the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is deathly ill is not editorializing but acknowledging reality.
- Daniel Kirk engages the controversy surrounding new translations of “Son of God” that are more acceptable in muslim cultures.
If the phrase “son of God” is tantamount to blasphemy to Muslims, is it acceptable to translate the phrase differently into Arabic in the name of making the gospel known?
- Patheos is adding another new blog, and this one looks like it could be very interesting. Evangelical Crossroads features Mark Russell (Asbury), Allen Yeh (Biola), Michelle Sanchez, Michelle Stearns (Mars Hill), and Dwight Friesen (Mars Hill). (HT)
- Stuart comments on a new report estimating that there have been 270 new Christian martyrs every 24 hours over the last decade.
- Protests in Egypt continue to escalate as the US increased pressure on Egypt to end the emergency law.
- And, here’s a list of 102 words that we can thank Shakespeare for.
- 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”.
- Jesse Bering explains his argument that our belief in God is just a product of how our brains work.
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.
- Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie calls for more passion and less civility in public discourse.
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.
- Joseph Black discusses why Eastern Orthodox churches claim to be the one true church.
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.
- Jim West reports that the church in Laodicea may have been uncovered by archeologists.
- Rod over at Political Jesus is going to be blogging through Black History Month. That should be a fascinating discussion to follow.
- Mubarak says that he won’t run for re-election, the Egyptian army calls for an end to the demonstrations, and there are reports that the internet has been partially turned back on. But, all of this has done little to stem the demonstrations.
- Mark Almie asks, Are We Afraid of Single Pastors?
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.
- A Slate.com article explains how economic factors contribute to the crisis in Egypt.
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.
- The January 2011 Biblical Studies Carnival is up, with Jim West at his snarkiest best.
- Paul Helm offers some quotes from Calvin on preaching.
- At least a million people rallied across Egypt in continued demonstrations. And Sarah Topol offers a view of the crisis from the streets.
- And, here’s a list of 7 Myths Mythbuster Proved But We Still Can’t Believe They’re True. My favorite: you really can stick your hand into molten lead without injury…briefly.
I was going to include some links about what’s going on in Egypt in today’s Flotsam and Jetsam, but there were too many. So, here are some of the more interesting resources I’ve come across recently.
To start things off, here’s a video of a Saudi girl explaining what she thinks Mubarak should do.
Some other interesting resources.
- And, here’s a chart of what it looks like when a country turns off the internet.