Monday, December 31, 2018
Friday, December 28, 2018
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Ironic isn't it? We're taught the perspicuity of scripture (the belief that anyone can read scripture and understand its intent), yet when the Pharisees read it as it was originally meant, they miss the real meaning. How often do we do the same thing?
I'm not willing to give up the perspicuity of scripture, but it needs to be qualified with the way the early church read it: as fulfilled in Jesus. (Yes, even that needs some qualifications, but at least you're in the right ballpark!)
Monday, December 24, 2018
Ever wonder why government buildings are so large? Or why the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington Monument are so huge? Even the Statue of Liberty, for that matter. The architects subconsciously knew what they were doing!
For that matter, any public gathering with larger-than-life structures, statuary, or similar props would have the same effect. That has me thinking, would a Jumbotron in a stadium or auditorium have the same effect? That would be worth researching, wouldn't it?
Sunday, December 23, 2018
Christianity is not a set of abstract doctrines. It is a faith that lives—that loves God and neighbor actively and in every walk and work. Our final destination is not a disembodied heaven. It is a New Creation that takes up and perfects (we know not how) all human bodily and social flourishing. Christianity is so much more solid, and real, and human, than the “spiritual, but not religious” imitations of today. Christian faith touches every aspect of our lives—material, social, cultural. It does so because our God was born in a stable and nurtured by a teenaged girl named Mary.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
We can understand Donald Trump’s rise as a civil religion giving way to its cultic expression. Con man, cult leader, populist politician: Trump is all of these, rolled into one. He has become all-encompassing, even to nonbelievers. We all feel the fatigue of merely existing in the Trump era, the rapid-fire assault on all of our political and social senses. We want immediate solutions to the Trump problem. We want to beat reason into his followers, until they recognize how wrong they are, or at the very least, submit. We want to blame them—justifiably—for perpetuating his sham.
I want these things. I want them in my gut. But I also know that the cult’s pull is so powerful that it risks destroying its opponents, by eliciting a counterproductive reaction to it. If we want to bring members of the Trump cult back into the mainstream of American life—and there will be plenty of those who say we should move on without them—resistance means not only resisting the lure of the cult and exposing its lies, but also resisting the temptation to punish its followers.
“When the cultic behavior is on a national scale, [breaking it up] is going to take a national movement,” Lalich says. Such an approach promises no immediate gratification. But it also might be the only way to move forward, rather than continue a dangerous downward spiral. Andrés Miguel Rondón, a Venezuelan economist who fled to Spain, wrote this of his own country’s experience of being caught up in an authoritarian’s fraudulent promises: “[W]hat can really win them over is not to prove that you are right. It is to show that you care. Only then will they believe what you say.”
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Monday, December 17, 2018
We have a 1 in 364 billion chance of being murdered by a refugee in a terrorist attack, a 1 in 10.9 billion chance of being murdered in a terrorist attack by an illegal immigrant, while we have a 1 in 14,000 chance of being murdered by anyone, a 1 in 303 chance of dying in an auto accident, and 1 in 7 chance of dying of cancer. Immigrants and refugees in this country contributed $63 billion more than they cost this country over the last decade. Urban neighborhoods into which immigrants move often see a reduction in crime and revitalization.Now, I'm not naive; I know that those driven by fear (and that's what it is) either won't accept, will deny, or will simply ignore facts. Fear is irrational, and human beings are irrational at core. But, still, there might be someone at your family gathering who starts spouting fear of immigrants, trying to spread their fear. You can present these facts, not to change their mind, but to show those not yet infected by fear that the fear is irrational.
Or, you can feel better yourself, knowing that the truth is securely on your side (as is scripture, by the way!).
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Consider what might be involved in taking [Ken] Ham’s exhortation to just read the text and let it speak to you. The Bibles most of us use are translations from the original Hebrew and Greek. Translation is not simply a matter of finding equivalent words in two languages. The task of transposing material from one world of thought and language to another can be very complicated. These different worlds of thought require the translator to understand both cultures. This means that interpretation is already involved in the task of translation—grammatical and lexical decisions are made that allow the readers of translations to understand the Words of the text.—Early Christian Readings of Genesis One, page 73
Monday, December 10, 2018
Friday, December 07, 2018
Thursday, December 06, 2018
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
The second misunderstanding [of what salvation means] has been called by Dallas Willard a “bar code faith.” The scanner at the check-out line reads only the bar code on a product. If the bar code for ice cream is placed on dog food, the scanner will read “ice cream.” The content of the package is irrelevant.<idle musing>
Willard says a “bar code faith” operates much the same way. We take some action—we have faith, get baptized, join the church—and that gives us a new bar code. God then pays no attention to our actual sinful content. When we are scanned across the divine scanner, it reads “Christ’s righteousness.” We remain the same, only now we go to heaven. As Willard says, our present life “has no necessary connection with being a Christian as long as the ‘bar code’ does its job” (The Divine Conspiracy [Harper Collins, 1998], 37).
Mind you, that's a misunderstanding of what salvation means! Bonhoeffer would call it "cheap grace." I had never heard the term "bar code faith" before, but I like it (and will use it!). I guess I have never read Dallas Willard except for excerpts. Another book to put on my list of "must-reads."
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Sunday, December 02, 2018
The new paper from Walker also re-affirms that wearing a helmet was indeed associated with more “close” passes when you take into consideration that in some places, the law dictates more than one meter of room.And a month ago they posted about "helmet scolds":
If you’ve ever ridden a bike without a helmet, you’ve likely run into helmet scolds. They’ll tell you at length why you should never ride without one, about the risks and dangers. Don’t you know cycling is perilous, even for seasoned riders? They’ll come armed with statistics and tell you about that one time they crashed unexpectedly while pedaling around the block.Indeed. I've run into that many times over the last eleven years after ditching the helmet. So, what do I do? Well, I still don't use a helmet, although the newer designs have done a good bit to work on the problems of concussion (see my 2007 link). If they continue to make progress there, I might reconsider. One thing is certain: drivers now are more distracted. Despite laws against texting while driving, I still regularly see drivers doing so as we walk.
Because of that, I'm trying to do things to raise my visibility. I wear a fluorescent yellow jersey. When it's cold enough to wear a jacket, I usually wear my yellow one. Also, since moving to Red Wing, I have added a new strobe tail light that I use, even during the day; I seem to be getting more clearance when I have it—contrary to this post from 2015. But, it's a different culture here than on the North Shore, more traffic and more used to bicycles in general.
I have no delusions, though, that I will be seen. I'm always watching and expecting cars to either not see me, or try to run me off the road. Someone trying to run me off the road has actually only happened once in the last 15 years, by a couple of guys driving a pick-up truck, trying to prove they were "real men." On the whole, drivers have always given me enough room when they see me. My goal is to make sure they see me while also watching them assuming they don't!