Friday, June 23, 2006

Pensées from NFLC

Here are some of the more memorable thought-bites I've heard so far:

Dr. Peter Kreeft (Philosophy, Boston College)

  • Death is either a hole, or a door.
  • The first task of the evangelist is not to preach the gospel. It is to encourage the seeking of the seeker. There is nothing more pointless than an answer to a question that has never been asked.
  • The one remedy for all the ills of man is silence. (Kierkegaard)

Dr. Paul Marshall (Senior Fellow, Center for Religious Freedom)

  • The term "fundamentalist" is used to encompass both Osama Bin Ladan and the Amish -- any term with such elasticity is of course meaningless.
  • Religions are like the tectonic plates, and wars are the earthquakes.

And the Dancer Said . . .

The comments on the previous post were Hall-of-Fame material, if I had a Hall-of-Fame.

abe said...
started singing "do tha conga" by miami sound machine.

melissa said...
Depends on the type of dance s/he was a professor of:Modern - "Oh that's fantastic! The natural movement of children is dance at its purest form!"Ballet - "Fool! Never allow a child to ruin our sacred art. They must be properly trained in technique, choreography...":)Am excited to hear the actual reaction.

Bdub said...
If he was quick-witted enough, maybe he told a story of how is three-year-old makes stuff with Lincoln-Logs.

I think Bdub wins.

So how did the dance professor react?

He was judicious and understanding, but obviously annoyed. I could see the years of frustration bubbling behind his visage -- years of not being taken seriously by the church. We as evangelicals tend to see such artistic pursuits as auxiliary "hobbies" rather than serious, Kingdom pursuits that involve genuine knowledge and truth.

On a side-note, I don't know if he was modern or ballet, but from Melissa's comment, I might guess ballet. He talked a lot about training and technique. And he was wearing a tutu.

The Dance of a Child

I'm at the National Faculty Leadership Conference for the next few days, so I'll try to jot down a few ideas.

Last night during a reception time, I happened upon a conversation between a professor of dance and a professor of engineering. (Maybe this should start: "An engineer and a dancer walk into a bar . . .") The engineer, in his good-natured desire to relate to the dance teacher, began relating a story about his own 2 year old son. "He just loves to move to the music. We've worked out a little routine to Peter and the Wolf. I think dance is so wonderful."

What do you think the reaction of the dance professor was?
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Millesecond of Foreknowledge?

John DePoe has (what I think) is a lucent post on a possible dilemma for Open theists. If your first name starts with the letter "Derek," you should be sure to check this out.
Monday, June 19, 2006

Bored with Your Radio?

While I think it is healthy to drive in silence from time to time, I often look for ways to redeem my time in the car. Talk radio, classic rock, worshipful music, or books on tape are all great, but my absolute favorite: Mars Hill Audio. What is it? Well, I'm hoping your curiosity leads you to follow the link. If you're already a fan, leave a comment as an endorsement for the unconvinced.

If you like Eugene Peterson, click here. Tolkein fan? Click here.
(Be patient, these can take a minute to load.)
Sunday, June 18, 2006

Library Thing

If you haven't noticed the "Random books from my library" thing over on the right under "Deep Thought," you should check it out. You can even browse my library (I haven't entered everything -- most of the really good stuff is still missing) by clicking on "my library."

If you've ever wanted to catalog your books, Library Thing is a great way to do it without buying expensive software like Brent.

It might be hard to tell at this point, but I own a large number of old books. Here's a post I wrote a while back on the importance of imbibing ancient tomes. I followed it up with a suggested reading list (many of which are available online).
Saturday, June 17, 2006

How Long Should a Blog Post B

I've concluded, for now, that a blog post's length should be proportional to the author's writing ability.

Satanic Suds?

Apparently, the Southern Baptist Convention still has it's you-know-what up it's you-know-what. Here's a well-written post commenting on their recent affirmation of legalism, i.e., condemning the use of alcohol. You can also find a link to the actual resolution at that same site.

Am I being too hard on the SBC? My journey with Christ began there, and I owe them a debt of gratitude. My name is probably still in the books at good ol' Celebration Baptist in Tallahassee. The SBC is full of godly men and women, but they have been blinded to their legalism because of the cultural milieu in which they exist -- the South.

The blogger I linked to actually quotes John Piper on the subject. Now, I'm no Piper-fan, seeing as how I'm neither a piper nor a fan, but he does make some sense. Luther, known to quaff a brew or three, is also quoted.

Personally, in my tradition, partaking of the fruits of fermentation is essential. (Hint: in England, "pissed" means drunk.)

(Hat Tip to Joe at Evangelical Outpost)
Friday, June 16, 2006

Yet Another Confirmation . . .

NY Times article backing up biblical accounts of ancient civilizations.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pablo Francisco -- muy divertido

This is side-splitting, eyes tearing up funny. Best Arnold impression I've ever heard.

(Hat Tip to my friend Josh)

God's Foreknowing Love

Pain cries out for explanation. When bad things happen, a scream of "WHY?!" erupts from our deep places. The question is not generic -- it is directed at God. How could God allow such things? Such considerations, I believe, drive us to rethink our theologies.

Open Theism, or the idea that God does not have exhaustive foreknowledge, is born from pastoral concerns like suffering. It helps soothe the throbbing feeling of abandonment we often experience during our pain. But in embracing such a balm, do we forfeit a more powerful grace?

In the upper room, hours before his arrest, Jesus delivers the shocking news to Peter: You will deny me three times. Peter is incredulous. Me? Never! But he is so wrong. The pain will be overwhelming.

Now, I must ask, as a faithful student of Scripture, "Why did Jesus reveal this fact to Peter in advance?" and, "Why did Matthew, Luke and John feel it was important enough to record?"

Here's my best answer: Jesus' prediction allowed Peter to experience security in God's love. It is a powerful truth that God's acceptance of us is grounded in a knowledge of us that is utterly unbounded. You cannot surprise God; you cannot disappoint God. There is no sin you can commit that will change God's estimation of you. The day He welcomed you into His kingdom -- that very day -- he already knew your entire biography. Past, present and future.

Imagine you are Peter. You have just betrayed your Lord and friend. Then, a cock crows, and mercifully, Jesus' words fill your consciousness: You will deny me three times. You realize the shocking truth: He already knew, and yet he loved me.
Sunday, June 11, 2006

Demise of Naked Guy

The year is 1993. I travel to Berkeley, CA to visit a friend over spring break and go skiing in Tahoe. My friend, Jasper, has some last minute business on campus, so I spend the afternoon following him around the infamous campus. We saw a few of the colorful characters who make Bezerkeley what it is: Rick Starr (the wanna-be bar singer who serenades co-eds by a large gate adjacent to the free-speech zone) and the Angry Guy (also popular in the free-speech area). Then as Jasper went into an administrative office, I sat on a bench outside the building. Just sitting there, minding my own business, when a guy jogged by. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes. And nothing else. Upon Jasper's return, I was informed that this was the "Naked Guy." Apparently he is also a fixture at Berkeley -- seen just about everywhere. (Ponder that phrase for a moment.)

Well, I recount this experience because I recently read on another blog that the Naked Guy met a tragic end. I don't mean to be humorous at his expense, but I don't suppose he went around naked in order to avoid attention. I suppose some lessons about human nature can be learned from this, like, maybe public nudity isn't normal behavior.

Top 3 Memorable World-Cup Moments

This has little to do with the actual games. It's more about my viewing experiences.

#3 -- Watching what was probably my first World Cup during soccer camp one summer. I think it was 1982.

#2 -- Sitting in the bar of the Four Seasons restaurant in the Ritz Carlton in Chicago watching the Brazil win the 1994 Cup. A buddy and I were on our way back from a summer mission project in Yellowstone, and came through Chicago on the day of the final match. The Ritz was the only place we could find to watch the game -- seriously. I think we had been in the car for about 6 or 7 hours and we looked like crap. Shorts, flip flops, baseball caps. They served us nuts I had never seen before. During halftime, two other business men sitting nearby struck up conversation. When we told them we worked for Campus Crusade, they remarked, "Wow, that's great that they put you guys up at the Ritz!"

#1 -- Being in Paris during the 1998 World Cup opening day. Brazil vs. Scotland. Now that was a party. Drunk Scots in kilts carousing like beskirted fraternity boys. Saw one passed out in the Metro -- hard to tell if it was a stiff drink or a stiff uppercut. Brazilians celebrating with their drums, horns, dancing, and spectacularly colorful regalia up and down the Champs-Elysees. Of course, we didn't watch the game, but the atmosphere was electric.

Ich liebe Fußball

I can't wait for tomorrow's match between USA and the Czech Republic. The American side is predicted to do well this year -- perhaps even top their 2002 quarter-final appearance!

Here's a preview of the match.

I've always loved soccer -- somehow that was the sport I fell into as a lad. My soccer-story is a bit of a tragedy. Played all my life, but couldn't make my high-school team! Of course, I was competing with 200 other hopefuls for 25 spots, and I was #28 my junior year. That team went on to win the 4-A state championship. I would have given my left ______ just to sit on the bench. Still ranks as one of the 5 biggest disappoinments of my life. Played some club soccer at Florida State, but it was no consolation. Unfulfilled dreams (sigh).
Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Da Vinci Code and the Debate over the Bible

If The Da Vinci Code and it's claims fascinate you, and you've wanted to find out more about the facts of early Christianity, then sit down with a cup of your favorite beverage and read this transcript of a debate between two PhD.s (one of whom is William Lane Craig) over the historicity of the New Testament.

Now, it might sound daunting, and if you click the link, it might look daunting, but . . . ok, it is daunting. But consider this a mental workout that can help melt away unwanted intellectual flab. Do you want a flabby mind? Of course not! Now drop and give me twenty (mathematical proofs)!
Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Kickin' It Old School

If you're an old school trekkie, check this out for laughs.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why Legalism Doesn't Work

Reading Christ Plays In Ten-thousand Places, by Eugene Peterson, I came across this clear-sighted passage:

But the fundamental inadequacy of codes of conduct for giving direction in how to live the spiritual life is that they put us in charge (or, which is just as bad, put someone else in charge of us); God is moved off the field of action to the judge's stand where he grades our performance. The moment that we take charge, "knowing good and evil," we are in trouble and almost immediately start getting other people in trouble too. (p.43)

Peterson puts it as only he can. Legalism (or the belief that good behavior earns points with God) moves us from relationship to rule-following. God is not a set of rules. Furthermore, Peterson actually connects it to the same idea that enticed Adam & Eve to turn away from God -- the desire to "take charge" of ourselves and the universe.

Now, don't go thinking I'm a libertine. I believe in a moral law. It's just that my goal in life isn't to try and keep from messing up, any more than the goal of basketball is to avoid committing a foul.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Quick Muse -- Poetry at High Speed

If you like poetry, you should give this site a look-see. They give a poet 15 min. to write a poem on some topic, and get this -- you can even play back the keystrokes to see how they wrote it. I've never seen anything like it.

I wish we could do this with Michelangelo paintings or sculptures -- play back the brush strokes.

(Hat Tip to Unlocked Wordhoard)

(Also at Unlocked Wordhoard: professors agree that knowledge of the Bible is essential to understanding Western lit., Bertrand Russell -- idiot, and intimidating professors.)
Friday, June 02, 2006

Mathematical Faith

In preparing for my first graduate course in logic, I was halted in my tracks when I happened upon this statement from the author of my textbook:
"Mathematics, which had reigned for centuries as the embodiment of
certainty, had lost that role. Thus we find ourselves in a situation where
we cannot prove that mathematics is consistent. Although I believe
in my heart that mathematics is consistent, I know in my brain that I will not be able to prove that fact
, unless I am wrong."

Why is this way of thinking acceptable when it comes to math, but scorned in matters of religion? I.e., I also believe very strongly that God is real and Jesus is his Son, even though it is impossible to prove such things. Should unprovable beliefs be abandoned?

Note: the author displays a rather confused understanding of belief -- we do not believe some things with our heart and some with our brain (in fact, brains do not believe anything). Either you believe something, or you do not. That belief may be either strong or weak, justified or unjustified, and reasons or sources involved in forming the belief may vary. Additionally, all my beliefs reside in my mind.

Real Christians of Genius

Funny, and a little sad, because I know people like this. See it here.