Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ethics, Hermeneutics, and Headcoverings

This is my latest paper for school. I'd be very interested in your feedback.

Ethics, Hermeneutics, and Head Coverings

The Privileged Planet

The Iowa State University astronomer who helped put this together lost his tenure over it. Read all about it (Link1 Link2 Link 3)
This is not put together by creationists or even believers. But the DVD is fascinating. It's worth a look.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Casey Malloy Leads Music on

The folks at have put our tech manager Doug Porter's webcam into their most popular. This is cool. But beyond all that. If you click on archives from Doug Porter's webcam and select Sunday at 9:00 AM or 10:45 AM you can see my brother in law Casey lead music for our worship service.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Funny Commercial

You've probably seen this. But if you haven't. Funny stuff.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Absolute Perfect Birthday Present for Me: Seinfeld and Philosophy

For those of you who got me nothing on June 9th.

This is absolutely perfect. From a review:
Seinfeld and Philosophy is a book with an interesting premise: it examines various philosophical issues raised by the phenomenally popular sitcom Seinfeld. The conceit is to examine the show that examined the minutia, the trivia of everyday life and to analyze certain aspects of the show from a philosophical standpoint. Thus, those of us who like both subjects have William Irwin to thank for this book, which is essentially a collection of essays from contemporary philosophers about Seinfeld.

The book includes 14 essays, organized into four "acts", most of which are good. The first act centers mostly on the primary characters. There is one for each main character. Jerry is compared to Socrates and George to a "Virtueless man" of Aristotle. The weakest essay, perhaps, is the one examining if Elaine is a feminist. The strongest essay concerns Kramer and Soren Kierkegaard's Asthetic Stage of Life. Although I am not entirely familiar with the man's work, the essay lays out the central principles of Kierkegaard's theory and ties it all together perfectly. Act II contains specific analogies between Seinfeld and the work of Nietzsche, Sartre, Lao Tzu, and Wittgenstein. Act III has a fascinating essay on George's choice to do "the opposite", another on Peterman and reality in the media, and a weak essay on the "significance of the insignificant" which purports to know the secret of Seinfeld's humor but never tells it. The final act tackles the moral and ethical backgrounds of the four and also examines whether the law used to convict the four (the Good Samaritan Law) deserved to be on the books.

Any Seinfeld fan will appreciate this wonderful book, even if they have no philosophical background. The book allows fans to look at their show at a different angle. Similarly, fans of philosophy will not be disappointed. Most of the major philosophical figures of history are covered here, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Lao Tzu and a smattering of Eastern philosophy, Nietzsche, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Kant and others. This is basically an appetizer plate for those who like Seinfeld have an interest in philosophy and but don't know where to start. This is worth buying for the more bookish variety of Seinfeld fans.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Cross and Criticism

This is worth a read:

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its crew embarked on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. The most outstanding objective of the Challenger 51-L mission was the delivery of educational lessons from space by teacher Christa McAuliffe. A lesson was, indeed, delivered, but not one which anyone expected.

Just 75 seconds after liftoff, tragedy struck. Before a watching world the shuttle suddenly erupted overhead, disintegrating the cabin along with its crew. The debris of metal, blood and bones plummeted to earth, along with our nation's glory.

What had gone wrong? That was the pressing question everyone asked. As teams of researchers examined the wreckage, the specific cause was soon found. The problem was with the O-rings (circular rubber seals), which had been designed to fit snugly into the joints of the booster engine sections. Evidently, the O-rings had become defective under adverse conditions, and the resulting mechanical failure led to the tragedy. Was that the whole story?

The truth eventually got out. The New York Times put it frankly: the ultimate cause of the space shuttle disaster was pride. A group of top managers failed to listen carefully to the warnings, advice and criticisms given by those down the line who were concerned about the operational reliability of certain parts of the booster engine under conditions of abnormal stress. Just think: heeding criticism could have saved seven human lives.

As a pastor, church leader, and lecturer for Peacemaker Ministries, I am blessed with the opportunity to minister to people and congregations in conflict. Among the many things I've come to learn is the dominant role that giving and taking criticism has in exacerbating conflict. Yet, even more, I've learned that the remedy wonderfully provided by God requires us to return to the cross of Christ. For our present purposes, I want us to look at the problem of taking criticism.

Read on

Hamas TV makes a martyr out of Mickey Mouse double

In the final skit, "Farfour" was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while defending his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added.

Read on

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tony Jones on Orthodoxy

(ht: Justin Taylor)

Tony Jones recently gave a paper on "orthodoxy" at the 2007 Wheaton Theology Conference. A book will come from the conference, but the editors decided not to include Tony's paper, which Tony is not so happy about.

So he's posted the notes to the paper online. Denny Burk provides a few outtakes:

“While Vincent exhorts us to hold fast that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all, you’ll have about as much luck finding that elusive thing as you will be hunting Jackalope in South Dakota. No such universal, a-contextual orthodoxy exists” (p. 15).

“Orthodoxy is a happening, an occurrence, not a state of being or a state of mind or a state-ment” (p. 20).

“There is no orthodoxy out there somewhere, only here, in me and in you and in us when we gather in Christ’s name” (p. 23).

“There is no orthodoxy without orthopraxy. It doesn’t exist. People may talk about it, but they also talk about unicorns” (p. 24).

“There is no song until it’s sung—it’s just words and notes on paper. There is no strike until it’s called by the ump—’It ain’t nothing till I call it.’ And there is no orthodoxy until it’s lived. It is an event that happens when we gather to worship, when we change a diaper, when we read a book, when we present a paper” (p. 24).

Read on

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Doug Wilson has an interesting take. I'm not sure that I agree with it without qualifications, but I am sympathetic to its sentiments.
Of course, modern evangelicalism and liberalism are not identical. They have differing histories, traditions, customs, and so forth. As movements, they have compromised with worldliness in very different ways, and oddly enough, that particular difference reveals their internal similarities. Whatever the external distinctions, compromise driven by unbelief always ends up looking and smelling the same.

But first a few words about the word evangelical. In the Reformation, it was frequently a synonym for Protestants, and since that time historic or classical evangelicalism has had an honored position within the stream of historic orthodoxy. But within the last century or so, the situation has drastically altered. For various reasons, our evangelical institutions, magazines, colleges, seminaries, denominations, etc. have deteriorated into what I call modern evangelicalism, or modev for short.

Read on

Consider it this way. What form of theology emphasizes experience and sentiment over doctrine? What emphasizes feeling good over feeling right? What emphasizes God as one of us? What emphasizes a realm of experience that is neutral and can be employed however men decide it should be employed? What emphasizes the authority of the seeker over the authority of God?

Blogging exhausts me, because points which should be made in books are relegated to 100 word editorials. I see Doug's point, but I do also think that evangelicalism got some things right. A nuanced view is not helped by a form of media that only allows 100 words...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mohler on Cultural Discernment

Click to watch Al Mohler's application video on cultural discernment. If you haven't heard his message listen first.

NA has posted some other application videos

Craig Blomberg on Separation

One can scarcely reflect at length on verses 10-17 without raising serious questions about the history of Christian denominationalism. There have no doubt been times when certain wings of the church have become so heretical or disobedient that faithful disciples have often pointed to the Reformation as the classic example of this, although some church historians wonder what would have happened if Luther had worked more patiently within the Roman Catholic Church for another generation, given the winds of change heralded already by Erasmus and arguable stifled by Luther's tactical intransigence.

But surely the majority of Christian denominations, particularly the numerous subgroups into which most of the major branches of Protestantism have split, have been spawned at least as much by personal rivalry, animosity, and a spirit of intolerance, often along geographical or ethnic lines. As Snyder puts it, "Theological plurality has not been as much a problem as alienating behavior, a behavior which has developed a sense of uncompromising rectitude on the part of some people."

Although I'm enjoying this commentary on the whole, these types of statements from evangelicals really bother me. Not to mention what he might be implying about the need for the reformation...