Blasted post-modern liberal education

End of the Month Links: May

Silly TV, thinking is for other people

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship Leader

This is good news! Despite a new wave of buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.

Excerpt: “The Gallup survey found that people in the pews care far more about what’s being preached than who’s preaching it. Only half of Protestants (53%) and Americans overall (54%) said they attend because of “dynamic religious leaders who are interesting and inspiring.” Even so-called seeker sensitive churches have discovered that theological depth appeals to lapsed Christians and non-believers. Last year, Ed Stetzer cited several examples of congregations (such as Oklahoma megachurch Life.Church) that shifted toward more rigorous teaching once they noticed interest from the unchurched: “In other words, those for whom sermons were being dumbed down aren’t dumb. They are interested in the truth or else they’d be out golfing.””

Beware of Broken Wolves

Being authentic may be a very dangerous disguise for heresy.

Excerpt: “These are the false teachers who use their own authenticity, pain, and brokenness to attract believers who are also suffering and broken—and then using their “brokenness” to lead the sheep to turn away from God’s Word and embrace sin. They blend into the flock because Christians are not—and should not be—suspicious of broken people. They appear “in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves”

Ten Questions Christians Should Ask of Their Entertainment

I am so very tired of answering people’s questions on why X is bad for they to play or watch. As if discernment has a large burden of proof. Instead follow the advice of this article to ask is X good.

Excerpt: “Discerning media consumption needs more than a litmus test of saying we shouldn’t watch excessive violence and sexuality (which is true). We need to understand the complex and often subtle effects of media on our lives.

Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians

Just what do those people who say they are Christian (but who the majority do not attend church or have a Christian worldview) actually believe? Looks like a whole bunch of junk.

Excerpt: “In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, Christians are more aware of (and influenced by) disparate views than ever. But just how much have other worldviews crept into Christians’ perspectives? Barna’s research shows that only 17 percent of Christians who consider their faith important and attend church regularly actually have a biblical worldview1. So, if Christians are open to nonbiblical perspectives, what are they believing?

The Outraged Are Always Right

As Christians we need to avoid living in our own private bubble echo chamber. Don’t just be outranged to get attention like the world does. Instead be as Jesus said “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves”

Excerpt: “Polarization has become weaponized. Nobody wants to hear from people they disagree with. If I don’t like your Facebook posts, I’ll unfriend you. If I don’t like your column, I’ll boycott the paper until they fire you. I want to hear from good people who think and talk and live like me. That’s polarization. And polarization meets weaponization because many in our culture are willing to use whatever they have, whatever they can leverage, to make this polarization work for them–whether money, friends, jobs, hobbies, even sports. There are lots and lots of folks willing to blow up their lives to make sure there’s no presence of the people and ideas they hate.”

Afternoon Class

I’ve been there, yikes!

End of the Month Links: April

Pass the Popcorn!

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Episode 034: The Ethics of Modern Board and Card Games

A very interesting podcast episode from The Christian Research Institute about Board Games

For more reading (that I have written/posted on) check out these posts: Are There Good Christian Board Games? and Hidden Role Board Games and False Teachers

4 Ways Satan Uses Christian Generosity for Evil

When we are generous we need to be very careful that we are doing good and not harm.

Excerpt: “Whether it’s small-town churches scrapping funds together through bake sales and car washes for a short-term mission trip, or large foundations funding building projects around the world, Christians want to see their money used for good. Yet too often their donations have an unintended effect.”

The Particular Temptations of Young Men

Guarding the hearts and minds of Young Men is critical to the church. There is pressure on them from all sides to perform; “Even Jesus had no accomplishments—at least none that history has recorded—until he was in his thirties.”

Excerpt: “Young men have it tough. In so many ways, this world seems to have been custom-crafted to take advantage of their weaknesses, their flaws, their immaturities. Solomon lamented this in his day, telling of the seductresses and prostitutes who laid in wait for young men. He told as well of the immaturity and ungodliness of young men that made them especially prone to sadly blunder or joyfully sprint into the traps and snares laid for them. Today he might write about ever-present amusements, the proliferation of porn, the rise of sexting, the sense of meaninglessness that so often pervades the minds and spirits of young men.”

Why our churches need more gray hair

On the other side of the age spectrum, we need more mature men in the church.

Excerpt: “Churches desperately need their older men to exemplify being sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Churches need an army of laymen who believe well, love well, and suffer well. And churches need them because these older men are the pace-setters for the rest of the church.”

Canada is harvesting the organs of euthanasia patients

Speaking of Older people, the day of the horror in ‘Logan’s Run’ is quickly approaching.

Excerpt: “In Ontario, the first province to report data, 26 people who died by lethal injection decided to donate tissue or organs since the Medical Aid in Dying Act (MAID) came into effect last June, according to the National Post. A total of 388 people have chosen to die by lethal injection in Ontario, over half of the 744 total Canadians who have been euthanized. Proponents of linking organ harvesting to euthanasia point to the shortage of organ transplants readily available and the lower cost associated with euthanasia than with end-of-life care.

Hyper Jump

Ever can’t think of a thing to say… this is worse.

End of the Month Links: March

Still politics! The election ended months ago

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

What Tolkien Did So Well, What We Do So Poorly

When we neglect the past we do the opposite of the nobility Tolkien showed us.

Excerpt: “The characters in The Lord of the Rings know they are set within a wider drama that began ages prior and will continue ages hence. They are determined to act in ways that honor their forebears and leave a worthy example for their descendants. Their valor is motivated by their understanding that history has called them to this time, this place, and this set of circumstances. Their nobility is inseparable from their history. They speak and live as if every word of the mouth and every tap of the hammer will honor or dishonor those who have gone before and shame or bless those who will follow.

Is America’s Cult of Death and Free Sex on the Verge of Dying?

A good analysis of how science and truth are slowly wiping away any arguments left in the pocket of those who advocate cheap sex with no consequences.

Excerpt: “This is why the clerics of the cult are panicked, outraged, afraid. They dread seeing their god exposed to the harsh light of reality, its draperies of soothing rhetoric flung back to reveal a glaring, decaying creature of death. If the Supreme Court corrects, even partially, Roe v. Wade, access to abortion will become much less easy. That will require, at least among many younger men and women, greater sexual restraint. As they consider the consequences of their one-night mutual objectifications — babies — they will become not just more careful but more judicious in their conduct.

Christian Storytelling Should Be Both True and Beautiful

The Movie ‘The Shack’ came out recently. This older article is good because it reminds us that Christian storytelling ought to be true and not just emotional ear tickles. When we make true stories they also need to be beautiful.

Excerpt: “Art is indeed a powerful vehicle for expressing truth, but as Brian explains in the interview, when we use story merely as a tool to communicate a message, neglecting the beauty of the craft, we tend to end up with preachy propaganda.”

Sex, Lies, and Secularism

Just saying no does not work unless we teach a Christian worldview that gives reason for saying no.

Excerpt: “When even Christian young people are buying into the hookup culture, it’s clear that traditional ways of teaching biblical morality are no longer effective. “Just say no” is not enough. Young people don’t need simple rules; they need reasons to make sense of the rules. Which is to say, they need to be taught the worldview rationale for biblical morality. Otherwise it is possible for Christian young people to be sincere in their faith, yet thoroughly secular in their thoughts—and, consequently, in their behavior.”

Farewell, Jesus Junk? Christian Retail Finds a Deeper Purpose

I have mixed emotions about the closing of Family Christian Stores, but will not miss the inability to get the books I like while clambering over mints, toys, and Joel Osteen books.

Excerpt: “When America’s biggest Christian chain, Family Christian Stores, announced last month that it would be shutting its doors, a small number of Christian bookstore cynics brought up similar critiques over the shallower content its stores promoted alongside Bibles and Christian classics. The speculated silver lining: Did Family Christian’s closure mean consumers were turning away from the celebrity books, inspirational titles, and “Jesus junk”?

Lego Tape!

Repost – In Pursuit of Boredom

japan-train-phone

An interesting piece of research came across my attention the other day. It was research done studying when people are board by monitoring smart phone usage: http://pielot.org/pubs/Pielot2015-UbiComp-Boredom-Detection.pdf.

Here is an except from the introduction: (more…)

End of the Month Links: February

No matter what I watch, it is the same 3 people!

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Why Our Storytelling Nature Provides Evidence for God

The theistic worldview as the best explanation for the stories we feel compelled to tell.

Excerpt: “The theistic worldview seems to provide a much more robust answer: the reason we are so committed to stories is because we live in a meaningful world, we are made in the image of a personal God, and we are part of a larger story written by the Author of life. The story of our individual lives matters because we are part of a grander, meaningful story.”

Myth and the Universal Longing

Why the commonalities between mythic stories does not invalidate the gospel message.

Excerpt: “This eternal human longing, unspecified down the long ages, was nevertheless expressed in a multitude of legends, myths, stories, poems, and parables as people poured out their longings to one another, all the time longing that one day in some way one would come who would gather up all the great stories and make them come true once and for all..”

Don’t Confuse Spirituality with Righteousness

Feeling pious or following an emotional spiritual feeling is not the way to please God, in fact those can be idols taking us away from God.

Excerpt: “Spirituality and piety are not ends in themselves. In fact they are worthless unless they are means to a higher goal. The goal must go beyond spirituality to righteousness.

Why It’s So Hard to Resist Grieving on Social Media

There are always tragic events that happen in the world, why then do we feel that online solidarity helps those through the tragedy?

Excerpt: “More and more, we are looking to our screens for answers. Some say such convenience, such easy access to information and to people, deceives us into thinking that we can be part of the solution without lifting a finger. And while I do believe Americans in particular could use more political activism and involvement in real life, the lure of social media activism isn’t going away. Facebook and Twitter continue to entice us because they allow us to “tell it like it is” in real time. They feed our emotional hunger in an instant way that in-person outlets cannot..”

A Giant has Fallen — The Death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the Future of Constitutional Government

It is a sad day when the passing of any person happens and people rejoice over it. We need to mourn the passing and understand the legacy of what they left.

Excerpt: “Christians must also remember that Justice Scalia’s understanding of the proper reading of the Constitution as a text is directly relevant to the church’s proper reading of Scripture. The same liberal theorists who propose reading the Constitution as a “living” and “evolving” text also propose that the Bible be liberated from its actual text and from the intention of its authors. Ultimately, this approach to the Bible, common to theological liberalism, denies the authority of God as the ultimate author of the Scriptures. It is no accident that liberal theology and liberal theories of the constitution emerged together in American public life.”

Abortion Group Calls Doritos Ad Offensive

There were many Super bowl commercials that dealt with babies; from the chimera of puppy-monkey-baby, the Super bowl choir, and the Dorito ad. The later of which was criticized of “humanizing the fetus” which shows the way the pro-life cause can succeed.

End of the Month Links: December

So much on, so little time!

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Board Game Geek Gift Guide 2015

We, as a family, invite people over to play board games on New Years Eve. While this list may be a bit late it has a lot of great suggestions for family fun.

Are There Degrees of Sin?

In this season of resolutions, take this article under consideration.

Excerpt: “It’s not that we’re called to be lax on sin, for there are certain sins listed in the New Testament that are serious and ought not be allowed in the church. Adultery is serious. Incest calls for ecclesiastical discipline. Drunkenness, murder, and fornication are repeatedly mentioned. These sins are so destructive that they call forth church discipline when they are manifested. It’s clear that we have different degrees of sin when we consider the warnings of Scripture. There are at least twenty-two references in the New Testament to degrees of rewards that are given to the saints in heaven.”

Are Smartphones Making Christianity Too Convenient?

When things become too easy and at our fingertips we may not treat them with the value they deserve!

Excerpt: “There are clear perks to these methods, including the ability to reach people across the globe. And perhaps the efficiency of these methods frees up Christians to go deeper into Bible study and evangelism. But I worry that our motivation at times is not ministry or mission, but convenience itself. Are we actually trying to make Christianity as painless as possible?”

Chesterton Casts a Spell on Tolkien

My favorite author, G.K. Chesterton and how he influenced another great writer: Tolkien!

Excerpt: “The topic of that “night talk” was what I call Tolkien’s philosophy of myth, an understanding of the priceless truth to be discovered in myths and fairy stories. It was this underlying philosophy which would inform the works of both Lewis and Tolkien in the years ahead, thereby blessing civilization with literary gems, such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Although this “night talk” is rightly celebrated for sowing the seeds of such beautiful literary fruits, it is not widely known that Tolkien’s “philosophy of myth” is itself a fruit of the seeds planted by Chesterton in his work Orthodoxy, published in 1908, when Tolkien was sixteen-years-old.”

Star Wars, Super Heroes, and How Relativism Doesn’t Satisfy

Now that the movie is out, we can reflect on the message of this article written back in October.

Excerpt: “Clearly, the belief that morality is relative is increasing. It is the default position on college campuses today, and students are so entrenched in it they would rather say rape is OK than admit that there are objective values and duties to which we all must conform. The clear good/evil distinction seems out of place in such a world, so why are films that reflect is so incredibly popular, especially with the youth? I think the answer is a simple one. Moral relativism may sound great, but inside most people there’s a nagging suspicion that it isn’t true.”

A Fun Day in Roller Coaster Tycoon!

Now I feel guilty because I do this! I am glad Roller Coaster Tycoon craziness does not happen in the really world.

End of the Month Links: October

That one channel, must get around to it again!

Here are 6 of one or half-dozen of another posts I have found around the web (or are sent to me) that I have found interesting, funny, insightful, or thoughtful:

Why is God Unable to Forgive Sins Without Jesus Dying?

A pretty good lay discussion about Salvation. For my theology friends… is this a good answer, an incomplete answer or an inadequate answer?

The Rise of Victimhood Culture

Now for something scary for the coming holiday, what one writer sees our culture becoming: victims who lash out for imagined slights.

Excerpt: “As I ponder microaggressions as “a form of social control in which the aggrieved collect and publicize accounts of intercollective offenses, making the case that relatively minor slights are part of a larger pattern of injustice and that those who suffer them are socially marginalized and deserving of sympathy,” I certainly see their emergence on college campuses, but I wonder about other possible iterations.”

10 Obvious Superhero Weaknesses (That Supervillains Hardly Ever Exploit)

As we dress up our kids, perhaps we should also teach them about physics too!

‘Captive’ and the Christian Film Industry

When we make Christian films, preaching to the choir is not a good way to make a story nor does it help anyone. Just because we agree with something does not immediately make it good.

Excerpt: “This cinema appears to exist purely to exploit a market that, in the US, is quite ready to go and see a film if it affirms what they already believe. I wonder if it’s because Christian audiences feel that the rest of Hollywood seeks to undermine their faith, so they enjoy something that is on their side for once. The problem is, such congratulatory storytelling removes any drama or tension from cinema and is a fundamentally dishonest way of making films.”

Academic Calls for a Return to Eugenics (to Battle Global Warming)

Back to the scary, when we lift the importance of ideas above people to their conclusion we get things like this (of which I am still not sure if the original academic paper was serious or written for attention).

Excerpt: “the most innovative idea came from philosopher S. Matthew Liao (NYU) and pals. They propose re-engineering humanity. How? They want to monkey with your genes, kill your unwanted children, inject growth-stunting hormones into your womb, poison your food, and hook you permanently on oxytocin. But, hey: it’s for your own good. And it’s going to save the planet.

Groceries Only Take One Trip

I do this! If only I would learn and not carry everything in one trip, but it’s so faster that way. Note: my wife does help me bring stuff into the house.