Saturday, December 12, 2009

No More Theology Amplified

This will be my last post at TA. It has been a fun ride here, but it's time for a change. My new blog is called Coming Clean and you can access it by going to http://www.ryanphelps.net. That is also the RSS feed address.

TA will stay up indefinitely if you want to access any old material (there's currently no way to import this blog into the other one). The new blog already has a few posts and a GREAT video!

See you there!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"I said to Antoine Winfield on the sideline, 'I think he just broke his leg,' Erin Henderson said. 'That's my blood out there. My brother.' It took me a second, but I got it together and my brotherly instinct kicked in.

"When I got out there, I just kept saying, 'I'm right here with you, I'm here with you.' Don't know why I did this, but I'm telling him to breathe ... 'In your nose, out your mouth, in your nose, out your mouth.' He was in quite a bit of pain, so I said, 'Grab my hand. Squeeze my hand if you've got pain.' He squeezed so hard I thought he was gonna break my hand."

****

"But it is ethos—the persuasive appeal of one’s character—that is responsible for both his inflated reputation as an orator and the disillusionment and disappointment many of his supporters have after hearing him speak. Unlike logos and pathos, ethos is a property of communication that belongs not to the speaker, but to the audience. The listener, rather than the rhetor, determines whether the speaker’s ethos is high or low. Before the election, when he was the embodiment of hope and change, Obama’s supporters imbued him with a high ethotic value. Now that he is President, and making unpopular decisions based on the realities of governing, many of these same fans are finding him less persuasive.

"In some ways, conservatives should be pleased by Obama’s lack of rhetorical ability. Those of us who oppose much of his domestic agenda are relieved that he can’t simply go on a speaking tour and convince large segments of the skeptical populace to support his policies. But in some ways, his failure to persuade may be detrimental to the aspirations and objectives of the nation. As the elected political leader of the United States—and the unofficial spokesman for the West—the President holds the most powerful bully pulpit in the world."

****

"Generations of Sunday school teachers have turned Hanukkah into the story of unified Jewish bravery against an anti-Semitic Hellenic empire. Settlers in the West Bank tell it as a story of how the Jewish hard-core defeated the corrupt, assimilated Jewish masses. Rabbis later added the lamp miracle to give God at least a bit part in the proceedings.

"But there is no erasing the complex ironies of the events, the way progress, heroism and brutality weave through all sides. The Maccabees heroically preserved the Jewish faith. But there is no honest way to tell their story as a self-congratulatory morality tale. The lesson of Hanukkah is that even the struggles that saved a people are dappled with tragic irony, complexity and unattractive choices."

****

"Factory-farmed food is an elitist food; it's a food that's making hundreds of millions of dollars for CEOs of corporations at the expense of normal people. Yes, it seems cheap when we go to the supermarket, but that's because we're being lied to about the true costs. We pay for them in our health care costs, the destruction of the environment and our values. What we call cheap food is the most expensive food in American history."

Movie: To Save a Life

Church made teen movie; looks pretty good:

Change Your World for Orphans



HT: Z

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"Perhaps the greatest measure of Obama's declining support is that just 50% of voters now say they prefer having him as President to George W. Bush, with 44% saying they'd rather have his predecessor."

****

"Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behavior. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability.

"Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects."

****

"54 Senators voted to use your money to fund abortions; 45 voted to protect the unborn. Elections matter."

****

"As it turns out, the strain of the downturn hasn’t pushed the divorce rate higher; instead, economic stress seems to have made American marriages slightly more stable overall, as couples develop a “new appreciation for the economic and social support that marriage can provide in tough times,” as the study’s lead author, Brad Wilcox, puts it. Americans are also turning thriftier (saving more, cutting down on credit card debt, reviving home-based economies, etc.), which is good news for wedlock, since financial stability correlates with marital stability, and with marital happiness as well.

"Here’s the pessimistic take. Yes, divorce rates are dropping, but marriage rates are down as well. People aren’t getting divorced because they can’t afford it, not because they’re suddenly happier with their spouses."

The Black Keys/Blakroc w/ Mos Def

White people love Mos Def.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Got a Mac

Well, that's what it feels like now that I have Windows 7 installed. Night and day.

"Now...Barack Obama"

Neil Postman, writing in 1985, on the culture of TV news in America and the affect it has had on reason, context and presidential politics, in Amusing Ourselves to Death, p. 110:
My point is that we are by now so thoroughly adjusted to the "Now...this" world of news--a world of fragments, where events stand alone, stripped of any connection to the past, or to the future, or to other events--that all assumptions of coherence have vanished. And so, perforce, has contradiction. In the context of no context, so to speak, it simply disappears. And in its absence, what possible interest could there be in a list of what the President [of the United States] says now and what he said then? It is merely a rehash of old news, and there is nothing interesting or entertaining in that. The only thing to be amused about is the bafflement of reporters at the public's indifference. There is an irony in the fact that the very group that has taken the world apart should, on trying to piece it back together again, be surprised that no one notices much, or cares.
Is this not the perfect soil in which a President like Barack Obama could gain root? Beyond the difference one might have with him on policy is the glaring way in which he can say one thing and the opposite thing in the same sentence. There is firmly held liberal ideology, but then there is crass disinformation. And, sadly, this has little to do with Obama himself (though he perhaps is the grandest exploiter yet) but with we who vote for him. And lest you think that I am harping only on Obama, as Postman makes clear, it all began with Reagan (quoting from a NYT article in 1983):
President Reagan's aides used to become visibly alarmed at suggestions that he had given mangled and perhaps misleading accounts of his policies or of current events in general. That doesn't seem to happen much anymore.

Indeed, the President continues to make debatable assertions of fact but news accounts do not deal with them as extensively as they once did. In the view of White House officials, the declining news coverage mirrors a decline in interest by the general public.
Today news organizations do have "fact checkers" who pour over speeches and press releases. Some twelve AP reporters were assigned to fact check the new Sarah Palin book. But for all the fact checking going on no one seems to care. There is no outrage, no protesting. Presidents, senators and, God help us, preachers, relay contradiction after contradiction and we the people do not bat an eye lash. Unless, of course, they lie about sex.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Microphone Fail

So Many Links (08 DEC 2009)

Top ten book lists from Wax and Challies.

CT: Modern day lepers are sex offenders.


Five crazy over-achievers.

Gary Thomas on the most effective way to influence your children.

EW's best movies of the decade (I'm sorry, but #2, despite its subject matter, was a terrible movie).

Now I really want one.


Best Christmas decorations of the year:

epic fail pictures

One Sentence Movie Reviews

Four Christmases: The humor is strained at times (but decent), as is the plot (and yet it reminded me of my own life), but the subject matter is what makes this movie work (insofar as it is grounded in eternal reality).

Funny People: Though exceedingly crass, Apatow's movie pokes and prods well at what makes us happy, and, especially with this movie, what doesn't.

The Proposal: An old-school romance with modern sensibilities; it made me smile.

Quotes of the Day

"Theology pieces sometimes require heavy lifting by readers. Magazine consultants are wont to think that such pieces are a throwback—and too demanding for modern readers. Hogwash. First, good theology always looks forward. And second, many readers are tired of small thinking and blog logic."

****

"God is in the longest bad marriage in history."

****

"The key word in Mrs. Meyer’s dream is not “vampire” or “girlfriend” but “meadow.” The key confrontations in all four published Twilight books take place in meadows, usually a meadow in the Olympic Mountains. James the Tracker stumbles upon Bella there in Twilight, Victoria’s Newbie Vampires fight the Cullens there in Eclipse, and the epic final showdown with the Volturi in Breaking Dawn takes place there as well. Edward reveals himself to Bella in the “perfectly circular” meadow of Mrs. Meyer’s inspiring dream, and she sees Jacob Black, her Quileute buddy, as a werewolf for the first time in the same meadow in New Moon.

"'Mountain Meadows,' however, means something much less pastoral and positive and much more visceral and painful to American Latter-day Saints (LDS). The summer of 2003 saw the publication of three books that focused on the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which tragedy Mormon faithful in Southern Utah executed more than 120 men, women, and children on their way to California from Arkansas.

"All three books paint the Mormon faith as inherently bloodthirsty, violent, secretive, and abusive to women and non-believers. The Twilight novels, especially Breaking Dawn, can be understood as a response to the challenge they posed to Mormon believers like Mrs. Meyer. In brief, Meyer was inspired to write works in which she addresses and resolves in archetypal story the criticisms being made of Mormonism by atheists and non-believing gentiles."

****

"If you were able to go back in a time machine and witness the tomb of Christ only to find that Christ did not raise from the grave, what would that do to your Christian faith?"

Greed is Hidden Inside All of Us

In one of the most exposing and devastating paragraphs I have ever read, Tim Keller comments on greed and how it "hides itself from the victim." In Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters, p. 52-3:
Why can't anyone in the grip of greed see it? The counterfeit god of of money uses powerful sociological and psychological dynamics. Everyone tends to live in a particular socioeconomic bracket. Once you are able to live in a particular neighborhood, send your children to its schools, and participate in its social life, you will find yourself surrounded by quite a number of people who have more money than you. You don't compare yourself to the rest of the world, you compare yourself to those in your bracket. The human heart always wants to justify itself and this is one of the easiest ways. You say, "I don't live as well as him or her or them. My means are modest compared to theirs." You can reason and think like that no matter how lavish you are living. As a result, Americans think of themselves as middle class, and only 2 percent call themselves "upper class." But the rest of the world is not fooled. When people visit here from other parts of the globe, they are staggered to see the level of materialistic comfort that the majority of Americans have come to view as necessity.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thankful for a Brain Tumor

You may not know Matt Chandler (he's an up and coming preacher/teacher), and you don't necessarily need to to understand and be moved by a video he made for his 6000+ member congregation days before having a tumor removed from his brain.


He has since had the surgery and is waiting to find out if the tumor was cancerous.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why Does No Earthly Experience Satisfy?

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world [something supernatural and eternal].

Give the 50 Million Back If You Don't Want to Be Famous

I still think we all should leave Wood's marital struggles alone, but I still appreciate Shieffer's commentary.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Suffering Compared to Eternity is Nothing

Tim Keller:
Compared to the endless billions of "years" of eternity without suffering, our troubles are brief. If we think of our lives as only 70 years long, suffering will loom large; if we think of our lives as endless, suffering is a fleeting thing. A billionaire will hardly feel a theft of the $1,000 from his pocket. A middle class man will feel it sorely. Christians are billionaires in glory.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Privacy from the Enemy of Sin

C.J. Mahaney, reflecting on Tiger Woods:
Tiger cannot intimidate this enemy like he can Pebble Beach or any of the field of professional golfers. And there is no privacy he can claim from this enemy, regardless of his resolve, his silence, or the name painted on his yacht. It’s likely Tiger only perceives the press hunting him out of a vain “curiosity about public figures.” But Tiger is being hunted and hounded by a far greater foe: the consequences of his sin.

And this story should humble and sober us. It should make us ask: Are there any so-called “secret sins” in my life? Is there anything I have done that I hope nobody discovers? Is there anything right now in my life that I should confess to God and the appropriate individuals?

And this should leave us more amazed by grace because there, but for the grace of God, go I.
HT: Z

The Meaning of the Gospel: Depart from Sin

John Calvin, in his commentary on 1 John 2:1:
It is not only the sum and substance of the preceding doctrine, but the meaning of almost the whole gospel, that we are to depart from sin.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quotes of the Day

"People may use religious agents as a moral compass, forming impressions and making decisions based on what they presume God as the ultimate moral authority would believe or want," the team writes. "The central feature of a compass, however, is that it points north no matter what direction a person is facing. This research suggests that, unlike an actual compass, inferences about God's beliefs may instead point people further in whatever direction they are already facing."

****

"The scientific community is not infallible, which is why disagreements over data and its interpretation should be robust and thoughtfully engaged. While claiming that 'No true scientist believes X' or 'No true scientist doubts Y' may be the easiest way to dismiss dissenters, it is often counterproductive. The slow-witted and simple-minded may be dazzled by academic credentials and institutional affiliations but most thoughtful people are harder to fool. They recognize that No True Scientist should fear honest inquiry and solid arguments—even when their colleagues disagree."

****

"A good president is not obsessed with detail at the expense of the big picture. A president cannot master all the details needed to make rational decisions about the issues that cross his desk. He will need a well thought out political philosophy and experts he trusts in order to make good calls. As a result, he need not be a philosopher, Reagan certainly was not, but the president needs a carefully worked out governing philosophy that can guide his decision making. A good president also needs the ability to attract the loyalty of details people, the famed policy wonks, to help frame the issue.

"A good president does not ignore detail and can change his mind in changing conditions. Lincoln and Reagan both had to jettison advisers and generals under changing circumstances. If Lincoln had not been political sensitive to his conduct, he would not have won reelection and the Union would have been lost. He was able to see when a strategy had failed and change....

"A good president can make decisions in a crisis. A James Buchanan tries to wait out his time and does nothing. A Harry Truman acts and saves Greece from a communist revolution.

"A good president understands the complex, but can explain it to the rest of us. We no more want our president to be “like we are” intellectually than we want our heart surgeon to be like we are medically. We hope he has deep and sophisticated knowledge of the political system and of a philosophy of governance. As voters we are picking our representative in Washington and our hope is that he will represent our views better than we could.

"We want someone better at the job than we would be, but who can explain to us what he is doing.

"There are two kinds of bad leader: a bad leader who wonks out on everything and a bad leader who cannot wonk out on anything. The first is a tragic failure of the virtue of prudence and the second of either intellect or diligence.

"Given this, a sound conservative has reasons to worry about Sarah Palin."

So Many Links (02 Dec 2009)

100 Days in Glacier National Park (be sure to check out pic 76...stunning).


'12 Days of Christmas' gifts would run you $87k today.


Comprehensive, chapter by chapter review of Going Rogue and the final 10 thoughts (she's really not smart enough to be president, Reynolds concludes).



15 Bohemian Rhapsody You Tubes. The best of the bunch:



I don't think Piper owns snow pants.

How to Repent and Castigate the Media at the Same Time

Tiger Woods, under immense scrutiny and insane media attention since the Thanksgiving indecent, has released a statement. If he wrote it, I applaud him.
I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.
1. Open with repentance, end with repentance. Perfect.

2. Yes, even though you are the most famous athlete on earth, your "sins," as you rightly call them, are no business of ours. They are the business of your wife, your family, your church (let's hope you have one) and, most importantly, God.

3. "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions." Wow. So well said.

On a side note, what we're viewing is quite rare. Woods had made it to the top. Has is the life so many of us pine for. And yet, even that was not enough for him. Jeremiah 2:13:
For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Two Sentences on the Discipline of a Child

Chris Brauns today on two sentences that guide the way he disciplines his children:
In the context of discipline I have learned to say and think:

Message #1: I love you too much to teach you that you can make bad choices without any consequences. As someone has said, “Choose to sin, choose to suffer.” Don’t be deceived God cannot be mocked. You reap what you sow. (Galatians 6:7-8).

Or, when my children are upset with me because they think I am too protective, I say and think this:

Message #2: All your life, I have been willing to die for you. I can honestly tell you that it came down to your life or my life, I would give up mine on your behalf. So, if I am willing to die for you, then having you upset with me because I am protecting you is a relatively small thing in my world. If protecting you means you being mad at me, then so be it.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eddie Van Halen: Panama

I am watching President Obama speak at Westpoint. Thus, Panama. Turn it up:

Good Effort Video of the Day

Quotes of the Day

"Take a look at America's self-esteem curriculum or just watch "Oprah" once in a while and you'll see that deep down we're not so sure we are OK. At the very least, most of us need some convincing.

"As a minister, I've witnessed the worry and doubt firsthand. A mother of young children wonders if her house is clean enough and if she'll ever measure up. A cancer patient isn't sure if he prays and loves God as much as he should. A young man struggles to feel like a good person again after his affair. At the bottom of all these fears and anxieties, they are asking the same question....

"Most of us are desperate for reassurance, yet today a large and growing number of Americans are looking for answers to their deepest questions outside the church. Churches across the country are struggling to define their purpose in this postmodern and increasingly secular age. Many are de-emphasizing the Gospel and emphasizing social issues. Others are attracting crowds with self-help messages. And some are swimming with the cultural current, embracing doubt itself as a narrative.

"The problem today is that the "good news" is often replaced with good advice and good causes. Churches that should be talking about the work of Christ on the cross and the grace of God for sinners are stuck on recycled pop psychology, moral exhortation, or entertainment. But these fail to speak to the eternal question that haunts all of us: How do I know that I'm OK? We all want to know we are justified."

****

"Indeed, the closer you look at the scandal the more you realize it's all one big outrage. The same journalistic tribalism that allowed Dan Rather to destroy his career over "Memogate" keeps reinforcing itself. Rather picked sources who said what he wanted to hear, then he reported what they said as if it were indisputable. The same thing is happening on climate change. Ideological bias is a major factor in the news media's work as a transmission belt for the climate industry. But part of the problem is also that the journalists do a bad job when the majority of "respected" experts agree on anything complicated. For instance, it was pretty impossible for reporters to independently investigate whether Saddam Hussein had WMDs, and since the most established authorities agreed he had to have them, the news media reported the consensus, which turned out to be wrong."

****

"[I]f you want to hear honest talk about the realities of abortion, go speak with those abortion counselors and providers. Even the most radically pro-choice will tell you that the political discourse they hear about the subject, with its easy dichotomies and bumper-sticker boilerplate, has little correspondence to the messy, intricate stories of her patients. They hear about peace and guilt, relief and sin. And it is they who will acknowledge, whether we like it or not, that the rhetoric and imagery of the pro-life movement can touch on some basic emotional truths. Peg Johnston, who manages Access for Women in upstate New York, remembers the first time her patients unconsciously began to co-opt the language of the protesters outside. 'And it wasn’t that these protesters were brainwashing them,' she says. 'It’s that they were tapping into things we all have some discomfort about.'"

****

"I imagine when she approached the car with a club, he said: No, don't use a wood, use a nine-iron."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tim Keller/Redeemer in New York Magazine

"New York magazine ran this piece reporting on what is actually a fringe phenomenon in the city. In reality, this phenomenon is no more central to life in present-day NYC than is the pagan revivalist movement to Athens. It’s something freakish to note, but not to be taken too seriously."

That's how one commenter opined on a new profile of Redeemer Church and Tim Keller.

Christmas Album Honorable Mentions

We've done the top five of all time. Here are some honorable mentions (in no particular order):

1. Sufjan Stevens: Songs for Christmas: Broad, joyous, Sufjany.

2. Michael McDonald: This Christmas: Most of this won't be your cup o' tea, but several of the tracks are flat out amazing, especially "Wexford Carol" and " Peace." The way McDonald sings, you'd think he was a Christian (actually, I think he is).

3. Sojourn: Advent Songs: Christ-centered, musically varied, big. "Glory Be" and "What Child Is This" are must-downloads.

4. Salvation Is Created: A Christmas Record From Bifrost Arts: Already wrote about this here. Really excellent stuff.

5. Fernando Ortega: Christmas Songs: Pretty standard for Ortega, but standard Ortega makes for great Christmas music.

I would love to keep going, and there are some more out there that are bearable, but let's not press our luck.

Soon to come Best Christmas Singles.

Marriage is Like Christ and the Church

Three reasons from JP:
  1. It lifts marriage out of sordid sitcom images and gives it the magnificent meaning God meant it to have.
  2. It gives marriage a solid basis in grace, since Christ obtained and sustains his bride by grace alone.
  3. It shows that the husband's headship and the wife's submission are crucial and crucified. That is, they are woven into the very meaning of marriage as a display of Christ and the church, but they are both defined by Christ's self-denying work on the cross so that pride and slavishness are cancelled.

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Sentence Movie Reviews

Up: As down to earth as Pixar has been (the first 15 minutes are particularly touching); just wonderful.

The Taking of Pelham 123: What's a good word for contrived-edginess?

Valkyrie: The facts seem right, but there was little feeling to support them.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra: Like a big, athletic, dumb dog, and I love big, athletic, dumb dogs.

Merry Christmas!

Ah, Christmas. The magic begins yet again.


Some reflections:
  1. That is the kickenest slap bass I have heard in a long time.
  2. The girl on the right is dead. No, she didn't recently die. She was dead when they filmed this. Weekend at Bernie's style baby!
  3. If those two were the only heralds of Jesus birth left on earth, God would give up on earth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Muppet Rhapsody

This is bound to go viral, so I might as well get it out there now. Hilarious.

10 Things to Remember When Your Child is Disobedient

From GraceLaced:
1. You disobey the Lord…and He is the perfect Father.

2. His kindness leads us to repentance.

3. God disciplines those He loves.

4. Your child’s disobedience does not measure your value any more than his obedience showcases your achievement.

5. Your child’s disobedience teaches you dependence on God.

6. And sometimes it’s more than dependence He’s after, it’s complete desperation for Him.

7. Your child is clearly a sinner, and needs to hear the truth of the Gospel, and see it lived out through you.

8. Times of correction serve to remind, or establish within your child, his own sense of need for a Savior.

9. It’s not good behavior you really desire…you want his heart.

10. Your child is a person, not a project.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1001

This is my 1001st post. Might as well use it for good.

Quotes of the Day

“When we started watching his shows, we had intended to apply his advice toward our dogs,” said Amy Twomey, a blogger on parenthood for The Dallas Morning News who is raising three children under 10 with her husband, Matt. “But we realized a lot of ideas can be used on our kids.”

****

"Y'all well know that I really don't like Sarah Palin. In fact, more than one of you has yelled at me about this. And I find the whole schtick about how the media is just a bunch of elitist hooligans who are out to get her really grating.

"That's why I really wish the media wouldn't act like, well, a bunch of elitist hooligans who are out to get her. I've coined a new phrase to cover the situation: Palinoia. It's when you think people are out to get you, and then they do their best to justify your erroneous belief."

****

"Predominantly, Christians will need to consider the implications of having the most powerful woman in the world be a career woman who holds such a job despite having young children. While Christians will be pleased to be able to support a woman who is strongly pro-life, pro-family and pro-constitution, they will also wrestle with the fact that she will want to lead the country even as the mother of several young children. And Christians may wonder what she really believes and how strongly she believes it. She is anxious to win over evangelicals but in the end she offers little of spiritual substance beyond what we might expect from any American politician. After all, no President has yet denied being a Christian."

****

"The New Gospel...usually starts with an apology: 'I’m sorry for my fellow Christians. I understand why you hate Christianity. It’s like that thing Ghandi said, ‘why can’t the Christians be more like their Christ?’ Christians are hypocritical, judgmental, and self-righteous. I know we screwed up with the Crusades, slavery, and the Witch Trials. All I can say is: I apologize. We’ve not [given] you a reason to believe.'”

Gratitude

A Puritan prayer for Thanksgiving (from The Valley of Vision):
O My God,

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.
HT: MM

Monday, November 23, 2009

So Many Links (23 NOV 2009)

Paste's best soundtracks and best live acts of the decade.


Unbelievable story of a man, thought to be comatose for 23 years, who was actually cognizant the entire time.

A different kind of Christmas list.

Gospel-centered marriage resources.


No video today. I have been distraught most of the morning over these pictures of some of the world's impoverished children. Please (1) Pray for them and (2) Consider adoption. Now.

Hope To Prisoners

Piper recently went to Angola prison in Angola, Louisiana. His whole reflection on the experience is worth your time, but his words to the entire prison (via closed circuit TV) are especially affecting:
For 90% of you the next stop is not home and family, but heaven or hell. O what glorious news we have in that situation. And believe me it is not the prosperity of Gospel. Jesus came and died and rose again not mainly to be useful, but to be precious. And that he can be in Angola as well as Atlanta. Perhaps even more.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Five Christmas Albums Ever

You are legally allowed to start playing Christmas music in eight days, so you should probably be prepared. The five Christmas albums no human can live without:

5. Peter, Paul and Mary: A Holiday Celebration: This classic is haunting, warm and, despite PP&M's ignorance, Christ-exalting.

4. Andrew Peterson: Behold the Lamb of God: The first true Christmas album, it is, in reality, a history of salvation. From Abraham to Jesus, Peterson brilliantly makes the grandest meta-narrative a musical sight to behold.

3. Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas: The first Steamroller album (I think), and the only good one.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Jesus seriously considered postponing his incarnation to coincide with Guaraldi's 1965 masterpiece.

1. Holiday Songs And Lullabies: Hands down, the best Christmas album ever. There's just no way they could have produced this thing with any more creativity or beauty. All Christmas albums should aspire to be what this one is.

Quotes of the Day

"A lot of Christians, especially people who have had dramatic conversion experiences, go sailing out of the harbor with wind in their sails. They are so confident in Christ and what he has done for their salvation, and that gospel wind is in their sails. Yet after two years, they have heard just one imperative after another. They have lots of course plotting, lots of books on how to do this and that. They've read every manual on spiritual disciplines. They have heard their pastor tell them they need to pray more, to read the Bible more, to evangelize more. Now they are dead in the water. There's no wind in the sails."

***

"Not only will we be right back where we started, it will expose the federal trial as nothing more than a show trial. Show trials are conducted by despots and dictators to give only a thin veneer of legality to political detentions and executions. If the state isn’t prepared to abide by the decision of the court, including dismissals and acquittals, then the use of the trial system is worse than useless. It demeans the federal system needed for Americans to seek unbiased justice."

***

"He’s a little on the short side, neither fat nor thin, and he wears jeans and a sports jacket, not a shiny suit and an oily smile. With his goatee and what’s left of his graying hair trimmed close to his head, he looks mostly like what he is—a well-groomed, middle- to upper-middle-class American professional. But when he runs out onstage and starts dispensing financial advice, you realize that he could have been a great preacher."

Wii...Mass?

This just has to be a joke. It has to.


HT: First Things

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is Jesus Your King?

Tim Keller, in his small group study on Mark, says that there are five things you must do to make Jesus King of your life:
A. Obeying. (Not like Jonah. He thought that if he did what God had said that it would ruin things.) The evaluation question: “Am I willing to obey whatever God says about this life-area?” Symptom: guilt and “covering up”.

B. Accepting. (Not like Job. He thought God was unfair, and that he knew how to run history better.) The evaluation question: “Am I willing to thank God for whatever happens in this area?” Symptom: worry, self-pity, or bitterness.

C. Relying. (Not like Abraham. He made Isaac an idol, something he had to have along with God to be happy.) The evaluation question: “Is there something instead of God I am relying on for self-worth?” Symptom: insecurity (people-approval as an idol), “drivenness” (success or achievement as an idol), self-indulgence (comfort as an idol).

D. Expecting. (Not like Moses. When called to do a great deed, he was sure he was not competent.) The evaluation question: “Are there problems or limitations in my life I think are too big for God to remove?” Symptom: boredom and discouragement.

A fifth, overall evaluation question:

If you ever say, “I’ll obey Christ if…” then you are still on the throne of your
life, determining when and whether you will take a course of action. Are there
any if’s in your life?

Uh Oh: New Sara Groves

And, darn it, I am two days late. If you're like me, you know better than to pass up a Saint Sara CD.

Buy it: Fireflies And Songs. CT review here (five stars, of course).

The Poor Creatures Are Hardening Their Hearts

I have avoided reading John Owen for a long time. For two reasons: (1) He has been dead for 300 years, and (2) His English is so bad that getting anything from his writing requires monumental effort. For two reasons, however, I finally started reading Overcoming Sin and Temptation: (1) J.I. Packer calls Owen the best English-speaking theologian ever, and (2) Lately I have been struggling with perfectionism. That is, though I love Jesus and trust that he has paid the penalty for my sins, I am not always sure that I have done enough. Paul calls us to "obey the gospel." Am I actually obeying the gospel? Am I holy enough? Owen, in his first section of the book, soundly defeats this idea that we can be perfect. And yet, at the same time, calls vehemently for personal holiness like no other author I have read. Though Jesus has freed us from our bondage of sin, there still remains in us "indwelling sin," as Owen says. Our task then as believers is to "mortify," or "kill," that sin. He writes,
The choicest believers who are assuredly freed from the condemning power of sin, ought yet to make it their business all their days to mortify the indwelling power of sin.
It is a stunning appeal and one that is lacking not only in our culture but in our churches as well.

For what it's worth, Owen is not nearly as hard to read as I was led to believe (part of this owing to a great, new edited version). And, more important, he is incredibly helpful and uplifting. All of his exegetical and theological assertions are meant always to help Christians.

My favorite quote so far (perhaps all year) came on page 57. In a section on the necessity of the constant mortification of sin, he speaks to those Christians who have not taken it upon themselves to actually try and defeat the indwelling sin in their lives. For all intense and purposes, these are "elder brothers."
It hardens them, by begetting in them a persuasion that they are in as good condition as the best [professing Christians]. Whatever they see in them is so stained for want of this mortification that it is of no value with them. They have zeal for religion; but it is accompanies with [lack] of forbearance and universal righteousness. They deny [reckless extravagance, especially with money], but with worldliness they separate from the world, but live wholly to themselves, taking no care to exercise lovingkindness in the earth; or they talk spiritually, and live vainly; mention communion with God, and are everywhere conformed to the world; boasting of forgiveness of sin, and never forgiving others. And with such considerations do poor creatures harden their hearts in the unregeneracy.
Clearly Owen, a committed Calvinist, deems these people not actually Christians. And yet, I can't read that paragraph and not ashamedly relate to the "professors," as he calls them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marriage is a Mirror

Oh man, this is so good:

Sin Always Seeks Its Ultimate Outcome

John Owen, in Overcoming Sin and Temptation, p. 53:
Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could; every covetous desire would be oppression, every thought of unbelief would be atheism, might it grow to its [ultimate outcome].

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama's Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

Most Stressful Jobs That Pay Squat: Music Ministry Director?

I'm just sayin':
5. Music Ministry Director

Median pay: $40,800
% who say their job is stressful: 67%

You may not think of people who plan, direct and conduct performances for religious services as being under a particularly high amount of stress. But they also choose the appropriate psalm or hymn for every wedding and funeral -- only some of the most important events in a family's life. And those stressful situations can create some demanding clients.

"Every now and then you'll get a strange request," said Dan Fenn, Music Ministry Director at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minn. "A couple of years ago I got a request to play the Beer Barrel Polka at a funeral. You have to ask yourself, is this appropriate for a worship service?"

On, Do You Presently Trust Christ for Your Salvation?

In a particularly ominous statement on eternal security, Wayne Grudem asks what your response should be when God asks you why you should be let into heaven (in Systematic Theology, p. 803):
If I were to die tonight and stand before God's judgement seat, and if he were to ask me why he should let me into heaven, would I begin to think of my good deeds and depend on them, or would I without hesitation say that I am depending on the merits of Christ and am confident that he is a sufficient savior?
The difference between those two answer is razor thin and, at the same time, world's apart.

So Many Links (16 NOV 2009)

Fake John Piper (e.g. "Check out this week's 'Taste & See' article: http://tinyurl.com/5wf4tm Wrote it while I was on the commode b/c it's a sin to waste time.")

Real John Piper LIVE!


"Now the thing is this—if this were not vampire fiction, but rather, say, premill rapture fiction, there would be all kinds of artsy fartsy Christians apologizing for it from here to Toledo. But because it is the kind of thing that might upset James Dobson, we give the writing a pass."

Shirt I would pay a lot more than 20 bucks for (based on the infamous original).

For your Christmas shopping, recommended books from The Resurgence, from Redeemer, from Desiring God.

Went to a marriage conference on Saturday with Gary Thomas. He's world class and, more importantly, his understanding of marriage is spot on and will...wait, should...revolutionize any marriage. Read Sacred Marriage.

Best stuff ever thrown on the ice during a hockey game:

Sure, You Have Free Will

Piper, via Twitter:
The fallen human will is free the way a sky diver is free until he discovers he has no parachute.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A-Punk on Letterman

We're less than two months away from Vampire Weekend's new album release. Suffice it to say we'll be playing a lot of them around here at ThAmp until it arrives.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Christmas Music: Sting and Bifrost

There's life's struggle to bring the message of salvation to the world. And then there's life's struggle to find decent Christmas music. I'm not sure which one is harder. Two new albums, however, might just be worth your mula.

Sting: If On a Winter's Night...

Sting is hopelessly, insufferably self-important. And at some level, his latest album exudes that (especially the CD's liner notes and pictures...sigh). But even self-importance can't completely mask Sting's God given talent, or those musicians he brings along for the ride. If On a Winter's Night follows just about every "How to make a good Christmas album" rule.

1. Use some standards, but only the good ones (no "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" please).
2. Don't screw up the originals. Make them your own, but don't reinvent the wheel.
3. Make it warm and inviting. That is, make it feel like it's Christmas in the dead of winter and you are happily sipping hot cider by a fire.
4. Simplicity reigns. Sound nothing like the Transsiberian Orchestra.
5. Don't avoid songs that point to reason we celebrate Christmas (Christ).

Most of the arrangements on If On a Winter's Night are well thought out, simple and support the vocals well (even if Sting sounds a bit strained here and there). Favs include "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming," "Hounds of Winter" (which is a redo from a previous album) and "Cherry Tree Carol."


Salvation Is Created: A Christmas Record From Bifrost Arts

My conversion to "Indy" music has been a long one. I have accepted "Indy" so many times I don't know which one stuck. I think what finalized my conversation was the realization that, not unlike grunge music in the early 90's, Indy music is transforming music culture for the better. Thankfully, the crap music that we had to bear in the late 90's and early 2000's is slowly being replaced by high culture (notice that much of the live music on the late night shows is Indy).

Such is the case with a new music label called Great Comfort Records. But unlike the "mainstream" Indy scene, Great Comfort is ostensibly Christian. Created by Daniel Smith and family (of the inherently bizarre Danielson), their goal is to "[look] for and [find] those melodies, those poetic lyrics, those honest expressions, captured in song: the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs… sacred music for the invisible church." They are not timid in their goals, hoping to "completely change the course of the old gospel ship." (See the CT article on their label here.) Though it is doubtful they will actually be able to turn the ship around, I'll be happy listening to them as we all sink.

They have produced two albums so far. Come O Spirit! Anthology of Hymns & Spiritual Songsand Salvation Is Created: A Christmas Record From Bifrost Arts. The first I have yet to get into, but the second, the Christmas album, is good. And I of course mean that in all the ways previously mentioned with respect to the rules of Christmas albums. It is standard, but new. Warm, inviting, and simple. And, boldly, they point to Jesus. Now this album might not be for everyone. Indy music, it seems, is bound together only by its behemian weirdness, and that is definitely the case with Salvation is Created. But whereas some Indy is just unlistenable, this latest release from Great Comfort is very accessible. Favs include "O Come O Come Emmanuel," "Let All Mortal Flesh," and "Out of Heaven."

Returning Soldiers Surprise Their Kids

I think heaven is going to be a lot like this.


HT: CB via Z

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Forced Abortions in China

Kathleen Parker on the consequences of China's one child policy:
Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of the Frontiers group, told the commission that China's one-child policy "causes more violence against women and girls than any other official policy on Earth."

I met Littlejohn for breakfast the day before the hearing. A petite wife and mother -- as well as a Yale-educated lawyer -- Littlejohn gave up her intellectual property practice in San Francisco after a life-altering illness to become a full-time activist for Chinese women. She is remarkably buoyant, considering the knowledge she has absorbed. Action, she says, is her way of coping with the unconscionable.

Here's the question Littlejohn insists we consider: What really happens to a woman who doesn't have a "birth permit" and has an "out of plan" pregnancy?

The answer is simple and brutal: A woman pregnant without permission has to surrender her unborn child to government enforcers, no matter what the stage of fetal development.

[...]

The violence of these procedures doesn't only kill the child in some instances. In two of the cases described in a document leaked this past August, the mothers died, too. Those who dissent, meanwhile, are persecuted.

Such has been the fate of activist Chen Guangcheng, who is serving a four-year sentence after exposing 130,000 forced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong province, in 2005. Named by Time magazine as one of 2006's top 100 people "who shape our world," Guangcheng, who is blind, was severely beaten and denied medical care the following year, according to an Amnesty International report.

The one-child policy has created other problems that threaten women and girls. The traditional preference for boys has meant sex-selected abortions resulting in a gender imbalance. Today, men in China outnumber women by 37 million, a disparity that has become a driving force behind sex slavery in Asia. Exacerbating the imbalance, about 500 women a day commit suicide in China -- the highest rate in the world, which Littlejohn attributes in part to coercive family planning.
I don't see how this is going to help anything:
[Littlejohn] is also calling on Planned Parenthood and NARAL to speak up for reproductive choice in China.

Be Acquainted With Repentance

J.C. Ryle:
He that desires to be a true Christian must be experimentally acquainted with repentance and remission of sins. These are the principle things in saving religion. To belong to a pure church, and to hear the gospel, and receive the sacraments are the great privileges: but are we converted? Are we justified? If not, we are dead before God.

Happy is the Christian who keeps these two points continually before his eyes! The brightest saint is the man who has the most heart-searching sense of his own sinfulness, and the liveliest sense of his own complete acceptance in Christ.

There is No Sunday "Worship Switch"

R. Kent Hughes, in Worship by the Book (p. 141):
Because worship is a way of life, you cannot worship corporately on the Lord's day if you haven't been worshiping throughout the week--apart from repentance! Christians don't have a Sunday "worship switch," despite what is sometimes portrayed on television. Neither must we be allowed to think that "worship" is only part of the service--as if singing and praise were worship in contrast to the preaching. And "worship leader"? What an odd term! Does the worship end when his or her part is done?

Heaven Isn't Appealing to Me Because I Won't Be Married

Piper responds to that common (and understandable) statement:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All of Life Worship v. Corporate Worship

In a paraphrase and direct quote of John Frame, Keller explains in Worship By the Book the difference between "all of life" worship of God, and corporate (the gathered church) worship of God (p. 205):
If you serve the king in his palace, you are doing so all of the time. Yet certainly when the king himself comes into the room where you are working and has a conversation with you, "your service takes on a different character...becomes somewhat ceremonial. You bow, and you remember as best you can the language of homage.... Something like this happens in our relationship to God. All of life is worship...but when we meet him, something special happens."
(The Frame quote was taken from Worship in Spirit and Truth, p. 33)

Say What?!

Perhaps the best Photobomb ever.

Wilco and Feist

So Many Links (10 NOV 2009)

"The conversation in the first few days after the massacre was well intentioned, but it suggested a willful flight from reality. It ignored the fact that the war narrative of the struggle against Islam is the central feature of American foreign policy. It ignored the fact that this narrative can be embraced by a self-radicalizing individual in the U.S. as much as by groups in Tehran, Gaza or Kandahar...It denied, before the evidence was in, the possibility of evil. It sought to reduce a heinous act to social maladjustment. It wasn’t the reaction of a morally or politically serious nation."



He's not a terrorist. He's a traitor.


Having kids boosts happiness.


What is the Gospel?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moldovans are Macedonians

Eating to Survive

As I picked at my own food (if you could call it that), I stared at the orphans around me. Coming in ordered droves, they ate like utilitarians, quickly, efficiently. I could see some desperation in their eyes as they shoveled food into their tummies.

We were in the dining hall in a little orphanage in a little village called Tocuz. Meals were basic--some bread, chicken soup perhaps, always some sort of oatmeal--and came at least twice a day, as far as I could tell. Interestingly, the kids spoke very little to one another as they ate. They were all business, you could say, no pleasure. Ranging from 7-16, these kids would never sip on soda or get dessert if they ate everything on their plate. They always ate everything on their plates. As I stared at the devouring, it dawned on me that, for them, eating was a means of survival. Though meals came with some regularity in Tocuz, they could not be depended upon. The eyes of the kids said resoundingly, "This meal could be my last for a while."

I don't understand that in the slightest. I have gone hungry for, maybe, half a day. The only dilemma I have when eating is whether or not I will eat enough or way too much (I usually choose the latter). What a dilemma. The kids in front of me, however, would never experience true bounty. What they had before them was all that they had and, as far as they knew, all they would have for a while. And it was in this context that I saw, perhaps for the first time, true sacrifice.

A Macedonian Before Me

It was nearing the end of the meal and I was watching one girl eat her food. She was one of the matriarchs of the orphanage, probably 14 or 15 years old. She had only finished half of her meal when she promptly stood up. She grabbed her plate, walked briskly across the room, and scraped the rest of her food off on to the plate of a girl much younger, who quickly began inhaling it. The girl had done this before, I'm sure of it, probably every day. Though she needed the food as much as anyone there, she had taken it upon herself to care for the younger ones. Where there was no mommy to provide, she would be the mommy.

As I tried hopelessly to grasp the enormity of what I had just seen, I thought about the Macedonians. The Macedonians, as we learn from Paul, gave when they had nothing to give. 2 Corinthians 8: 1-2: "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part." This girl was a Macedonian. Generosity had flowed not out of the abundance of her riches, but out of the abundance of grace.

Generosity is not Easy to Come By

Tim Keller says that if you really want to give, you must give sacrificially. That is, you've got to give in a such a way that it hurts. But few of us do that. Very few of us would give the way that girl gave. Why? Several reasons, and they are interconnected.

1. The more we burden ourselves with stuff, the harder it is too free ourselves to actually give any of it away. The show Hoarders is about people who are literally incapable of throwing things away. For a multiplicity of reasons, they collect and collect and collect. And usually, their collection of food or clothes or things grows to such a great degree that getting rid of any of it would prove to be impossible. The same goes for those of us who have plenty. There comes a point when you gather too much stuff to give any of it away. Mountain climbers, for example, rid themselves of anything that isn't useful to them. If they burdened themselves with the extraneous, they'd never make it to the top. How many of us are loaded down with the extraneous? Though it is counter-intuitive, the less we have, the more will give away.

2. There is a direct correlation between wealth building and stinginess. I have spoken to numerous people who believe that giving will come as a result of accumulating money and things. What I have found, however, is that the building of earthly wealth serves as a dandy memory eraser. The more we collect, the more we forget that everything we have is a gift from God. Consequently, the more we collect, the more we believe that what we have is a result of our own ingenuity and discipline. We are owed what we have. So we could say that wealth building reinforces our self-righteousness, the belief that we are our own saviors. And rarely are the self-righteous able to give sacrificially. Giving sacrificially requires faith in something outside of ourselves.

3. The degree to which you give generously will depend on the degree to which you understand how generous Christ was with his own life. Paul does not say that the Macedonians gave out of the goodness of their hearts. Contrary to that, their generosity was a result of the "grace of God." And what is the grace of God? "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." It's pretty simple. The more deeply you understand what Christ gave up for us, the more you will give up for others. But if your generosity is not rooted in the work of Christ on the cross, you will never be sacrificially generous.

The girl was a Macedonian. At 14 years old she had little but gave much. I am 30 now. Will I finally follow her lead?

The Berlin Wall Comes Down

"Twenty years ago, on November 9, 1989, the most visible symbol of totalitarian evil, the Berlin Wall, tumbled down. Two years later, the Soviet Union officially dissolved on Christmas Day 1991. The fall of the Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union transpired in relative calm, but they followed decades of repression, cruelty, and murder by the Soviet regime.

"The trumpet blasts that finally destroyed the Berlin Wall in a peaceful revolution and brought freedom to millions in Eastern Europe were political, economic, diplomatic, and military in character. But it became evident to us in working on our new documentary, Nine Days that Changed the World, that spiritual factors were decisive, as Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan rallied the West to a defense of freedom and human dignity."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Review of Chapman's Album: Beauty Will Rise

CT:
Throughout his storied 20-year career, we've mostly heard upbeat praises from Steven Curtis Chapman—though he's known for his relatable public persona. But on Beauty Will Rise, the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling artist's twenty-first and arguably most-anticipated release, he lets listeners into the dark night of the soul he's experienced since the death of his 5-year-old daughter, Maria, on May 21, 2008.

The tragedy so devastated Chapman that he was unsure if he would ever perform again. But over the past 16 months, on the "United Tour" with Michael W. Smith, he used makeshift studios—hotel rooms, tour buses, and dressing rooms—to record 12 cathartic "psalms" of worship and lament, producing his most honest and acoustic effort to date. So honest, in fact, it's impossible not to join Chapman on a veritable roller coaster of emotions.
[...]
All in all, it's a graphic tribute of amazing depth, a privileged glimpse into the veteran singer's heavy heart. Moments of hope shine bright, but fans reluctant to enter into a father's anguish should think twice before they buy.
Buy it here.

Orphans

It Shows That You Don't Believe If You Don't Pray

If you don't subscribe to Kevin DeYoung's blog, you should. His post today on prayer is great. He opens:
Prayer is essential for the Christian, as much for what it says about us as for what it can do through God. The simple act of getting on our knees (or faces or feet or whatever) for 5 or 50 minutes every day is the surest sign of our humility and dependence on Father in heaven. There may be many reasons for our prayerlessness—time management, busyness, lack of concentration—but most fundamentally, we ask not because we think we need not or we think God can give not. Deep down we feel secure when we have money in the bank, a healthy report from the doctor, and powerful people on our side. We do not trust in God alone. Prayerlessness is an expression of our meager confidence in God’s ability to provide and of our strong confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves without God’s help.
Whole thing.

He Is Now Our Enemy

Joe Carter, on how Christians must respond to mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan:
During times of tragedy, it is often easier to talk about praying than to take time out to pray. But I hope that all of us truly will take the time to pray for those involved in the recent massacre at Fort Hood.

We should pray for the dead, pray for the wounded, pray for the victim’s families . . . and pray for Nidal Malik Hasan.

Although he swore an oath to protect his homeland against all enemies—foreign and domestic—Hasan became a traitor to his country and a murderous enemy to his fellow soldiers. His actions make him an enemy of the state and an enemy of his fellow citizens. He is our enemy now. As such the duty of those who call ourselves Christian is crystal clear: We must love and pray for Hasan.

As Christ’s commanded, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” We can be angry, we can grieve, and we can expect Hasan to pay for his crimes. But we must also love and pray for him, remembering that we were once enemies of a God who, though angered and grieved, paid for our crimes with the blood of his only begotten Son.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I've Got Friends

I've posted this Manchester Orchestra song before, but it's so killer that I figured you needed another version.

So Many Links (05 NOV 2009)

Just what I want to see while I'm watching TV: Abortion ads.

7-Eleven has wine!

Raw, real, heartbreaking interview with Steve Curtis Chapman.


What is the glory of God, and why should it be central?


Are guardian angels real? Randy Alcorn says yes.

Fail of the week:

epic fail pictures

Win of the week (year?):