30 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 30, 2011

Too young for a cell phone--Apparently, the average age for a child to get a cell phone is 11 according to one study and 9 according to another. Kids don't need cell phones that young, in my opinion. Al Mohler comments upon this trend with his typical wisdom.

Don't take the Christ out of Christmas--I know, I know. Many of you probably assume that I mean that we should not replace "Christ" with "X" in Christmas, but that is not what I hope to convey. I agree with Jared Wilson (and Burk Parsons whom he linked to) that as Christians, we must be careful that what we say to people is gracious and kind. Wilson writes, "Boycotting or petitioning to make store salespeople confess Christ to us does nothing to truly honor Jesus. It just puts our preferred religious gauze on what is very often (though not always) moralistic or consumeristic idolatry. It might make us feel better but it does not truly adorn Christ's gospel." Rather than telling people how sinful it is to replace Christ's name with an "X" (technically, it is the Greek letter "chi" which has been used for centuries to represent Christ, not an X) love them with the love of Christ. 

29 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 29, 2011

Unapologetically Theological--Kevin DeYoung (along with Tim Challies and Tullian Tchvidjian) is one of my favorite 3 young Christian leaders. He wrote an excellent essay today sharing six reasons for the importance of theology for the church. Here is one of the reasons: "Theological categories enable us to more fully and more deeply rejoice in God’s glory.  Simple truths are wonderful.  It is good for us to sing simple songs like “God is good. All the time!”  If you sing that in sincere faith, the Lord is very pleased.  But he is also pleased when we can sing and pray about how exactly he has been good to us in the plan of salvation and in the scope of salvation history. He is pleased when we can glory in the completed work of Christ, and rest in his all-encompassing providence, and marvel at his infinity and aseity, when we can delight in his holiness and mediate on his three-ness and one-ness and stand in awe at his omniscience and omnipotence.  These theological categories are not meant to give us bigger heads, but bigger hearts that worship deeper and higher because of what we’ve seen in God."

Carl Trueman on John Stott--I am including this primarily because it is well written and persuasive. Trueman shows wisdom when he suggests a more balanced approach to eulogizing our heroes. He writes, "The death of John Stott has led to a veritable flood of accolades and uncritical adulation over the last few months. A recent example was the memorial service for him at Wheaton College which raised a number of questions in my mind. One was the issue of what Stott himself would have thought of it. I never met him but he seems to have been a modest and unassuming man by all accounts; it was thus probably a relief to him not to have to be there and listen to the hyperbolic claims being made for him and his ministry by others.  We can presumably assume that one who did not live for the praise of men during his lifetime is probably not too bothered about it afterwards either."

A Slight Change in Wording--Denny Burk a telling, unfortunate way in which doctors may change their wording when faced with a prenatal problem.   

My wife is five months pregnant.  Last month we went for an ultrasound to see the baby and have the doctors check to make sure everything was progressing nicely.  We had done this three times before and were excited.  As we met with the doctor and ultrasound technician they referred to what they saw as “your child.”  They must have said it 50x during the ultrasound as they referred to “your child’s hand,” “your child’s heart,” etc.

But then something changed.  

Another doctor was brought into the room and for 5 minutes he stared at the baby’s heart.  The room was completely silent.  He then began to tell us that there was a tumor on our child’s heart and started to run down all the scenarios we were now faced with.  Then the doctor said to us: “If the fetus is abnormal and that is management problem for you, you have the option to terminate your fetus.”  The slight change in wording tells the story.

28 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 28, 2011

Home Team Huddle--Last week, I shared a link from Clint Archer on doing family devotions. He wrote again about some of the specifics about how to make this work. Admittedly, ours does not look just like this, but I do agree with keeping it short and interactive.

Was Paul Married?--Denny Burk makes an interesting case for the possibility that the apostle Paul was married. A few months ago, he provided 7 reasons to think that Paul might have been married, and now widowed. Today, he added one more reason. Truthfully, we know little about the lives of the apostles because they were rightly focused upon Christ and, secondarily, Christian living. .

The Devil's Playbook--Ray Ortlund has a good post on the strategies of the devil over at the Gospel Coalition. According to Ortlund, the devil seeks to defeat us with: 1) a judgmental attitude, 2) normal human instincts, 3) a spirit of accusation, and 4) lying in order to win.

A Heavenly Focus--Randy Alcorn writes of the importance of Christians focusing on heaven, challenging the frequently heard, "don't be so heavenly minded that you're of no earthly good." I particularly liked this quote from CS Lewis, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither."

27 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 27, 2011

How "A Charlie Brown Christmas" came to be--I would agree completely with Bill at The Thinklings that this show is a glorious achievement and I cannot imagine it having been done differently. 



Myths about Christmas--I think I saw this post by Paul Copan last year, but it is really worth considering. Basically, we need to remember Jesus was not kicked out of the Bethlehem Hilton, saying "no crying he makes" represents an old heresy, and the wise men probably weren't there when Jesus was first born.

Ravi Zacharias responding to a Muslim--I posted this to Facebook yesterday, but if you haven't seen it, it is worth watching.

26 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 26, 2011

Advent starts on Sunday-My friend Rick Brannan put together a series of advent readings for his church a few years ago. "The Advent season is simply a time of reflecting on Christ's coming. Originally, Israel longed for and was awaiting the Messiah ... and so, in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ was born. We also long for and await the return of our Savior ... and this anticipation is captured in the Advent season." If you have had some trouble doing family devotions, this may be a great way to start.


Growing into definite convictions-Trevin Wax shares a quote from GK Chesterton about dogma. Chesterton writes, "The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas." Read the rest here.

25 November 2011

Book Review: Unfashionable

It is no secret that I like Tullian Tchvidjian. He is probably one of my top 3 current writers. I picked up Unfashionable: Making a difference in the world by being different (2009) at a recent conference. Tchvidjian issues a call to people to return to some of the basics of the faith that we have lost by the wayside. For example, he strongly encourages involvement with the church, not just the building, but the body of believers. He expounds upon the importance of relationships for believers by closely examining the book of Ephesians in the later parts of the book. He also makes the case for Christians to rebuild society rather than wait expectantly for a heavenly society. Although I can see his point, I am not sure he builds his case well biblically. Interestingly, I went back and read Tim Challies review of this book afterward and see that he shared a similar concern to mine, though expressed much eloquently, which is no surprise. Now, onto Jesus + Nothing Equals Everything. 3 stars.

Daily Morsels-November 25, 2011-Black Friday Edition

The only thing I am posting today is a link to Tim Challies rundown of Black Friday deals of interest to Christians or theology geeks like me. There are some spectacular deals here. I will be purchasing a few things from Ligonier, but I will also be chomping at the bit to purchase the Theology Program from Credo House. I would love to do something like that at church, if there were an interest.

Otherwise, I have a pretty bad cold today. I am not sure if I will get out hunting or not. Time will tell.

24 November 2011

Book Review: Come Let Us Reason

Come let us reason: An introduction to logical thinking by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks (1990) was more detailed than the book I read earlier in the week, Being Logical. I appreciated the additional depth, though Being Logical will be a great go to resource. With that said, the first several chapters of Come let us reason were difficult to understand. The complex notation of categorical syllogisms were challenging for me to grasp. As he began to flesh these thoughts out in the later chapters, however, I really found the initial information to be an important foundation. I will probably need to read through this book a few times to understand logic and be able to spot it in daily life. All in all, the authors not only establish the importance of logic for the Christian but the inherent logic of the Bible. 3.5 stars.

23 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 23, 2011

8 reasons single guys should work in the church nursery--Good stuff here from Mark Driscoll.  Here was my favorite of the eight. It helps you learn how to be a good father. Some guys are afraid, repelled, or ignorant of kids. Get over your fears and prejudices by hanging out with someone else's kids a few hours a week, and learn how to interact with kids well.


What Wilson learned from Lewis--C.S. Lewis was a gift to literature and a gift to reasonable Christian faith. Jared Wilson shares the things that Lewis has taught him.

ESVs on Sale--WTS books has all ESV Bibles on sale--45% off. If you don't have a Bible, may I encourage you to head over to WTS and buy one of these (I prefer the ESV Study Bible--if you want to get me one, here is the link to the one in calfskin leather).

22 November 2011

Are You Worried You're Too Bad for God?

Often when I am getting down on myself for my own sinfulness or talking with others about their self-perceived depravity, I am reminded of Hebrews 11. This chapter chronicles several heroes of the faith.  Let's consider them each individually.

We don't know much about Abel except that he was a shepherd and was faithful to God. Enoch walked with God. Hebrews 11 says that he "pleased" God. So far, we read of two righteous men commended for their faith. But, if you are a sinner like I am, you will draw encouragement from some of the others. They were sinners, like us (to be clear, so were Abel and Enoch. We just don't have enough info about them).

Noah was a guy who found favor, but we don't necessarily know why, though he was described as blameless in his generation. After he got off the ark, however, he planted a vineyard, made wine, and passed out naked and drunk in his tent.

Next up is Abraham, the father of nations. Abraham was scared of getting killed by the Egyptians, so he pretended his wife Sarah was his sister. It says in Genesis 12:15 that "she was taken in to Pharaoh's house."  To be clear, she did not go there for tea--you will need to read between the lines here a bit. Lest you think this was a one time thing, Abraham does it again in Genesis 20. He lies to Abimelech, king of Gerar saying that Sarah was his sister. Abimelech also takes her into his harem, but God keeps him from touching her. Abraham has given his wife away--twice--because he is scared. Oh yeah, he also slept with his wife's handmaiden, Hagar, because Sarah told him to.

Which brings us to Sarah, Abraham's wife. She seemed to lead when Abraham didn't want to. She told him to sleep with her servant, so he did. She became bitterly jealous of her servant and sent her away. Abraham didn't prevent her saying, "your servant is in your power. Do as you please."

Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, loved one of his sons more than the other. But catch this...he and his wife Rebekah settled in Gehar, the same place Abraham and Sarah were. Isaac tells the same lie to Abimelech about Rebekah (that she was his sister) that Abraham told about Sarah.

Isaac's son Jacob is next. He regularly lied to his father and deceived his brother Esau, often at the request of his mother, once to steal the rightful birthright of his brother. He then becomes a bigamist, marrying two sisters.

Joseph is next in line. He had dreams about his brothers bowing to him. His brothers saw him as arrogant. He later lied to his brothers in their time of deepest need.

Moses was a murderer. And he hid the body. He was also a coward who didn't believe God even when he was talking to him face to face. He asked God to send someone else so he didn't have to do what God asked of him. He actually questioned God a lot.

Rahab was a prostitute.

Gideon, one of the judges, had a 70 sons because he had "many" wives. So, he was a polygamist. He also doubted God and put him to the test--twice--because he didn't believe God's miraculous sign the first time.

Barak, another one of the judges, appears to have been a pretty good warrior. But he only would go to war if Deborah promised to go with him.

Samson, remembered for his hair and his strength was another judge of Israel. He was disobedient to his parents, marrying against their express wishes. His wife was then given to his best man and he became mad, so he burned their city. He then hooked up with a prostitute before meeting Delilah. He lied to her several times about the source of his strength. He was excessively proud. If you want to take it that far, he was also cruel to animals.

Jepthah was the son of a prostitute. He made his virgin daughter as a burnt offering because of the tragic vow he made to God.

David, the man after God's own heart, was at least an adulterer and perhaps even a rapist. In any case, he appeared to use his position of power to seduce Bathsheba. He then covered it up by having her husband killed.

Samuel, the final one mentioned does not seem to have the egregious sins mentioned with some of the others either.

The list of sins in these heroes of the faith is profound. We read of murder, cover-up, drunkenness, lust, adultery, cowardice, bitterness, lying, jealousy, favoritism, prostitution, polygamy and a host of other things.

To me, this list of people reminds me that God loves those who are faithful to him, even though we sin egregiously..  He counts our faith as righteousness, as we read in Romans 4.  Hebrews 11:1 reads, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  Our only hope is faith in the One who does not sin, who does not falter, and who does not leave us or forsake us.

If you are a sinner, find comfort in this passage. The Bible is full of stories of God forgiving murderers and rapists and adulterers and sinners of every stripe. He will forgive you too if you have the faith to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9)

Daily Morsels-November 22, 2011

He killed the duck--Tullian Tchvidjian writes another post helping us to understand grace. Near the end, he writes, "This story told by my friend and former professor, Steve Brown, illustrates well the radical discrepancy between the ways in which we hold other people hostage in their sin and the unconditional forgiveness that God offers to us in Christ.
Do you remember the story about the little boy who killed his grandmother’s pet duck? He accidentally hit the duck with a rock from his slingshot. The boy didn’t think anybody saw the foul deed, so he buried the duck in the backyard and didn’t tell a soul.
Later, the boy found out that his sister had seen it all. Not only that, she now had the leverage of his secret and used it. Whenever it was the sister’s turn to wash the dishes, take out the garbage or wash the car, she would whisper in his ear, “Remember the duck.” And then the little boy would do what his sister should have done.
There is always a limit to that sort of thing. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore-he’d had it! The boy went to his grandmother and, with great fear, confessed what he had done. To his surprise, she hugged him and thanked him. She said, “I was standing at the kitchen sink and saw the whole thing. I forgave you then. I was just wondering when you were going to get tired of your sister’s blackmail and come to me.”
 If you fall, get up--"for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity."-Proverbs 24:16


Advice for Thanksgiving--David Mathis at Desiring God has some wonderful advice for Thanksgiving with unbelieving family members. It is well worth considering.

Do you want Christmas music?--Amazon has over 100 Christmas albums at 5 bucks each. If you are unsure what to buy, get Natalie Grant's "I believe." (HT: Z)

21 November 2011

Book Review: Being Logical

I decided about a week ago that I wanted to study the field of logic more directly than I have. As someone interested in apologetics and philosophy of religion, logic is a necessary field of study. The first book I picked up is a basic primer, Being logical: A guide to good thinking, by D.Q. McInerny (2005). This book is a mere 130 pages. It is written clearly and concisely, the author deliberately seeking to write after the fashion of Strunk and White (which you should also read, if you have not).

McInerny lays out the basic building blocks of logic, quite simply. He dedicates a few pages to each basic argument, a useful form to expose the reader to logic, but lacking the depth of coverage if you really want to dig in deeply.

The author suggests that logic is a basic educational component missing from nearly all of our schools in modern society. I think he is right on. Given that, this book would be good for Logic 101. 4 stars.

Brief Reflection on Psalm 8:5 use of Elohiym

Yesterday, one of our pastors shared an extended reflection on Psalm 8. I really enjoy walking through a passage in this way as it can really deepen our learning of Scripture. We came upon verse 5, and I was left with some questions.  In the ESV, the first part of Psalm 8:5 reads, "Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings."  Heavenly beings is from the Hebrew word Elohiym. Here's where the rub comes in, however. Although NIV sides with ESV in interpreting this as "heavenly beings", NASB (traditionally the most literal interpretation) and NLT translate this word as "God." KJV renders it as "angels", which is closer to the ESV/NIV.

In the Old Testament, the word Elohiym is nearly always translated as "God", though there is precedence for other renderings as well, including "heavenly beings." I have two reasons, one scriptural and one philosophical, to favor interpreting this as "heavenly beings" or "angels" rather than "God."

First, with regard to Scripture, Psalm 8 is cited in Hebrews 2 and the writer of Hebrews interprets this as "angels" (ἀγγέλους). The interpreters of the NLT and NASB also render this "angels". Furthermore, in the Greek Septuagint, which is the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, Elohiym is translated as "angels" (also ἀγγέλους).  So it would seem that the precedent, even for the inspired biblical author of Hebrews, was to interpret this as "angels."

Second, with regard to philosophy. It is a clear and consistent teaching of the Christian church that God is infinite in a number of divine attributes. A complete understanding of infinity would suggest that one cannot be made a "little lower than" something infinite. Because there is no point at which God becomes limited, it is meaningless to say we were made a little lower than Him.

For these reasons, I favor the interpretations made by ESV, KJV, and NIV.

Daily Morsels-November 21, 2011

Slacking on Family Devotions--Clint Archer shares many of my feelings about family devotions. I have long felt like a slacker for being inconsistent about leading my family in devotions, though for the time being, doing them before I go to work seems to be the ticket. We read from the book Long Story Short and pray together.



Archer writes, "Devo’s were getting drowned in a swirling flood of diaper-change > bath > PJs > spaghetti-dinner > bath-again > clean PJs > bedtime-milk > spill > more clean PJs > drive-by prayers with summarized Samson stories as daddy rushes out to teach a 'real Bile study' to his 'other flock.' Why? Because I’m a slacker. My spineless lack of discipline was the only problem."  Dad's, man up, you were called to this!


Real Love Multiplies-John Mark Reynolds writes a thought provoking essay on the importance of being together with the one you love. "Lovers would never be content with a virtual relationship. You must meet or you will miss the beloved. Sadly, merely being next to each other is not enough for real love. I cannot gain wisdom by sitting next to my friend. Proximity can breed distance if it leads to taking the beloved for granted. How can this be? I can remain just as trapped in my own thoughts, paying no attention to Hope, next to her as much as if we are far apart. I can fail to look at her even if my eyes are pointed in her direction, if my mind is elsewhere."

20 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 20, 2011

Wesley on Reading-What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear to this day, is want of reading.
I scarce ever knew a preacher read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety, there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian.

O begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not: what is tedious at first, will afterwards be pleasant.

Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you in particular.

- John Wesley to John Premboth on August 17, 1760, quoted in Ben Witherington’s Is There a Doctor in the House?: An Insider’s Story and Advice on Becoming a Bible Scholar, pg. 71. (HT: T-Wax)

100+ Books on Apologetics-Bob Kelleman has a list of books exploring the case for Christianity. I think I have read less than 10 of this list, so I should keep it around!


Theological Swingers-Michael Patton has a great article about "theological swinging." His basic notion is that some people pursue theologies based upon their novelty and intrigue. If you have an interest in theology, there are wise exhortations to consider.


A Thankful Husband

Today, I have been contemplating my wife's character, which regularly astounds me. Her deepening character has been observable to everyone who knows her, though her growth has been particularly true since she had cancer, two years ago. As her husband, I have been deeply encouraged by the way people are drawn to her. Younger women regularly seek her counsel or comfort and she is gracious with her time. She finds a way to balance the demands of motherhood with meetings. She loves widely and deeply.  She is peaceful and gracious.

I have been working on a certificate in biblical counseling, which is largely focused on personal discipleship. As I study, I see my wife living out the lessons I am learning with practical wisdom. She teaches me a lot and I am thankful to call her my wife.

Heather, I love you.

18 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 18, 2011

True biblical decision making--Yesterday, the newest issue of Solid Ground, the newsletter from Greg Koukl and Stand to Reason, showed up in my inbox (subscribe to read it. It's free). He addressed the issue of discerning the voice of God. Although there are disparate views on this issue, he seems to have thought through it more than most. Koukl has concerns that the encouragement to hear the voice of God, as it is traditionally taught and explained, finds little biblical grounding in the normative Christian life. Another great resource in this area is the book Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung.

Why we love C.S. Lewis--Michael Patton writes, "he had some non-'evangelical' leanings. Besides not believing in inerrancy, he also believed in the theory of evolution, denied substitutionary atonement in favor of a 'ransom to Satan' view, bordered on a Pelagian idea of human freedom, seemed to advocate baptismal regeneration, and regularly prayed for the dead. To top it all off, he held out hope for the destiny of the unevangelized, believing that Christ might save them outside of direct knowledge of him (inclusivism). With all of these foibles, I seriously doubt any evangelical church would take a second look at his resume were he to apply at their church. In fact, this list alone would be enough for many to call him a heretic. However, we still love him. We still read him. We still defend him. We still hand out his books by the dozens to friends and family who are struggling with their faith. This man who had his Christianity affirmed by Dr. Bob Jones but questioned by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is beloved by just about everyone and is off-limits for serious criticism. Why?"

God gives more than you can handle--Micahel Kelley addresses the common statement "God will never give you more than you can handle." That statement is not biblically supported. I wrote about this same issue 2 years ago, right after Heather was diagnosed with cancer.

Discipleship requires relationship--Travis Else, a friend from college, hasn't been blogging all that long, but he writes wonderfully and thoughtfully. Most recently, he wrote about the importance of relationship in discipleship. He writes, "That is the call of the church: Find, love, lead to Christ that they too may find, love, and lead others to Christ. The beginning and the end, the way and the means, the aim and the fulfillment is Jesus Christ." Well said.


17 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 17, 2011

Does Calvinism make God a Moral Monster?--This short article by Michael Horton, one of my favorite authors, was pure brilliance. This paragraph alone was exceptional: "Hyper-Calvinists and hyper-Arminians share the same impatience with mystery. Neither position bows reverently before God’s revelation, acknowledging its clear affirmations of divine sovereignty and human responsibility without answering all of our philosophical questions. Contradictions are abhorrent to the faith, but every important docrine in Scripture is shrouded in mystery. Hyper-Calvinism and hyper-Arminianism are willing even to set Scripture against Scripture, rejecting some clear teachings in favor of others, for the sake of rational satisfaction. Yet both, in different ways, represent deadly errors—indeed, blasphemies—against the character of God."  Please read the whole thing.

Using Your Circumstances to Rescue You--Serena Woods is an amazing writer.  She is truly gifted. She has a beautiful essay about God's sovereignty. "I am trying to get you to see that you cannot look at your circumstances, at the people who wrong you, or at your own failures and think that this is all there is. This is a moment in a lifetime of moments. In all of it, there is never a point where things get out of God’s hands. He’s God. Nobody wins against Him.  He’s not going to rescue you out of your circumstances. He’s using your circumstances to rescue you."


William Cowper's Depression--William Cowper, a committed Christian, struggled with deep despair for much of his life. Here are some exceptions from his letters. 


16 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 16, 2011

Three Questions to Ask when Reading the Bible--
The first question we must ask of every biblical text is simply this—what does it tell us about God? What does it say about who he is and about what he does?
The second question is: what does this text say about us human beings? What are we meant to be and what has gone wrong?
The third and final question is: what has God done about this and what does he expect of us in the light of what he has done?
A Judeo-Christian America--John Mark Reynolds writes an interesting essay on why America is Judeo-Christian and not Islamo-Judeo-Christian or Secular-Judeo-Christian. There is definitely meat to chew on here for believers and nonbelievers alike.


Eight points of encouragement for those who are doubting their faith--Whether you completely agree with these thoughts or not, these points by Michael Patton are worth considering and thinking about.
  1. Focus only on the issues that make or break Christianity
  2. Doubt your doubts
  3. Make sure you don't lose fellowship with other believers
  4. Realize that the presence of other possibilities does not equate to the presence of other probabilities.
  5. Don't think you can ever be an expert in everything
  6. Be careful not to make individual emotional preference a decisive benchmark of truth
  7. Don't stop living out your devotion to Christ
  8. Realize that doubt is not a bad thing
Two online magazines you should be reading--The first, Themelios, is actually more of a journal. Credo just came out and is also really good so far.

14 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 14, 2011

Flesh Made Word-I toyed with the idea of a tattoo for a while, though perhaps never with any seriousness. I have seen some tattoos that are beautiful, others disgusting or just plain silly. Timothy Dalrymple shares some great thoughts on tattooing amongst evangelicals. I enjoyed this line, "Of course, Anderson appreciates the irony.  Young people use tattoos to declare their individuality — because that’s what everyone else is doing."


Read Hard Books-Rather than continuing to feed only on milk, try wrestling with something that makes your brain hurt. John Piper encourages the reading of hard books by Christians so that we may become wise.

13 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 13, 2011

Sit Up, You're Falling Asleep--This post about kids falling asleep during devotions from Stephen Altrogge, who blogs together with his father Mark, was a great encouragement to me when I read it this morning. It has to do with his father leading him in devotions. I can relate to so much of what he writes here. And I am encouraged by the outcome.

The Mark of a Christian--Francis Schaeffer was one of the most important influences upon 20th century evangelicalism. His writings demonstrate a deep, well-developed knowledge clothed in humility. I have read his "The Mark of a Christian" several times, which deals with the twin themes of love and unity. If you are not distracted, you should be able to get through this in less than a half-hour.

12 November 2011

Book Review--Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air

I just finished reading Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Beckwith and Koukl (1998). Written 13 years ago, this book was at the height of post-modern relativism. Although the clay feet of relativism are becoming increasingly evident, it's tendrils continue to influence many people today. Relativism is the idea that truth and morality are relative to the person--in other words, subjective. The basic idea is that whatever feels right to me is what is true and correct, if they acknowledge truthfulness at all. However, relativism cannot live consistently within its own system.

In the center of the book, the authors point out seven fatal flaws of relativism:

  • relativists cannot accuse others of wrongdoing.
  • relativists cannot complain about the problem of evil.
  • relativists cannot place blame or accept praise.
  • relativists cannot make charges of unfairness or injustice.
  • relativists cannot improve their morality.
  • relativists cannot hold meaningful moral discourse. 
  • relativists cannot promote the obligation of tolerance.
The authors rightly point out that if relativism is true, if morality is truly self-governed, the hero of the viewpoint is a sociopath who has no regard for absolute morality or moral oughtness.  As you talk with people who claim this viewpoint, it's flaws are easily revealed by attacking their hot-button issue through a process of "taking the roof off."

All in all it was a good book. Some chapters were better than others, but if you are looking for a book to better understand the problems with relative morality, this is a good place to start. 4 stars.

Daily Morsels-November 12, 2011

An Imperfect Guy Can't Demand Something That He Can't Give--I really liked this article from Boundless. The author rightly argues that men must fight the tendency to expect perfection from future spouses.  The author writes, "I was like a lot of single, Christian guys. I just wanted to follow God's will in finding a wife — that's all — oh yeah, and I also wanted a modest version of the Cosmo girl. And, well, I didn't want her to be too needy. Oh, and she also needed to be smart — really smart — but not, like, so smart that she made me feel stupid. And, of course, she needed to be spiritually mature (you know, like me). And one more thing: I wanted her to have a cool and fun personality (whatever that meant)."

Calvinism is the Natural Reflex of the New Man in Christ--Erik Raymond shares some thoughts from the perennially wise JI Packer, the elder statesman of evangelical theology, about Calvinism. Packer writes, "The Calvinist is the Christian who confesses before men in his theology just what he believes in his heart before God when he prays. He thinks and speaks at all times of the sovereign grace of God in the way that every Christian does when he pleads for the souls of others, or when he obeys the impulse of worship which rises unbidden within him, prompting him to deny himself all praise and to give all the glory of his salvation to his Savior." The whole thing is worth considering.


A True Christian Apologetic-I love the field of apologetics. I think Christianity is robustly defensible over and above all other worldviews. I believe that Christianity is a true contender in the marketplace of ideas, as Greg Koukl likes to say. However, as this article points out, a true Christian apologetic must be grounded in love.  All the philosophical proofs for the existence of God are meaningless if not grounded in love (1 Corinthians 13:1-2). It is interesting that this article cites Francis Schaeffer, who was in my opinion one of the greatest Christian apologists of the last century, but he was deeply grounded in love and respect for the people he interacted with. 

10 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 10, 2011

Many Calvinists Make Bad Calvinists--I agree heartily with Michael Patton on this one. He points out what lousy Calvinists many Calvinists make. It is no wonder that people reject the doctrines of grace when they run up against ungracious Calvinists.  No matter your position, try to practice humility and grace toward others.

Are Relativists Allowed Outrage?--Travis Else writes a wonderful piece here that stands out amidst the many recent posts about Penn State University and Joe Paterno. I think he hits on an angle I have not seen thus far--the moral outrage that has been expressed. He rightly asks, "why the indignation? Relativism is the belief that any truth, moral, or aesthetic value is not universal or absolute, but varies by individuals and cultures. What makes Sandusky's action and the administration's failure to act reprehensible to the degree that Paterno has been fired (not on legal grounds, but because he failed to fulfill his moral obligations)? What obligations? What morals? Outrage! Outrage! Outrage! Are relativists (i.e. the media) allowed outrage?"  If relativism is true, if evolution is true, nothing that Sandusky, Penn State, or JoPa did is objectively wrong and there are no moral grounds on which to complain.  

Unity with Theology--Tim Challies has a good post about the importance of unity, but cautions that we should not abandon central tenets of theology. "The teaching ministry, carried on today by the pastors of local churches, is a ministry of unity (as if the pastoral ministry was not already difficult enough!). Pastors are to teach their people sound doctrine which in turn will inspire unity among true believers. The solid foundation of sound doctrine will prevent people from being tossed to and fro and being carried about by every wind of doctrine. It is a lack of doctrine that promotes false unity and a strong, biblical theology that promotes true unity."

Wallace vs. Ehrman--Michael Patton shares an excellent summary of a recent debate between Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman on the topic of "Can we recover the original text?" Wallace apparently did very well in the debate, which is available for purchase.  He made the following points: 1) the New Testament has vastly more manuscripts than any other ancient author, 2) the New Testament has far more manuscripts in the early centuries than any other ancient author, 3) there are two attitudes that rational people will avoid: absolute certainty and radical skepticism [Ehrman fits the latter], 4) New Testament copying was not like the telephone game, 5) the Alexandrian family had roots that almost surely went back to the first decades of the second century, and 6) Wallace argued that if Ehrman's argument was correct, it would refute the nature of all of his recent books.

Hot Wires--Interesting clip here on how men today are in hot pursuit of arousal, which has had a significant, negative effect upon relationships.

People of the Second Chance--This is a very moving video. (HT: Challies)

09 November 2011

Five Songs that Choke Me Up

In Christ Alone


World's Apart


I'm Going Home for Christmas


How Great Thou Art


Homesick


Daily Morsels-November 9, 2011

Horton and Smith on Catholicism--On the way home yesterday, I listened to a conversation between sociologist Christian Smith and theologian Michael Horton on the White Horse Inn. Smith has written a book about his conversion from evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism. This conversation with a champion of the reformation is well worth a listen. Though they clearly disagree, the conversation is a respectful one.

The Richard Dawkins-William Lane Craig (un)debate--Richard Dawkins, author of the God Delusion, was invited to debate the world-reknowned apologist Craig. Dawkins was given until the last minute to show up. He didn't, so Craig lectured to a packed house. 

Open Letter to Occupy Wall Street--Good thoughts here from Frank Turk that should challenge all of us.  "That's right: the problem is not that 'they' are greedy - whoever 'they' are (the bankers, the capitalists, the stock traders, but apparently not the movie moguls, the actors, the politicians and pop stars) -- but that we are greedy.  We want things we didn't earn, and we can't imagine that we might have to live on less than we think we are entitled to.  We certainly couldn't live on what the average Englishman lived on in1800, and may God forbid we have to live on what the average Russian or South African lives on today.  There was a time when we would say it isn't 'fair', but today we say it's actually an injustice -- as if 'justice' has anything to do with us getting something we didn't actually earn.

Backsliding--I was talking with our pastors yesterday about perseverance of the saints and backsliding. This is a good article on that issue.

The Columbo Tactic--Learn this if you want to be more effective in discussing your convictions.

08 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 8, 2011

Why Do We Hate Tim Tebow-Fox Sports ran an interesting story about the criticism that Tim Tebow so commonly faces. I don't know much about him, but it does seem he faces more criticism than most professional athletes. Perhaps more broadly, the article addresses the double standard that exists between Christianity and other religious systems. Floyd-Engel asks, "What if Tim Tebow were a Muslim? Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns. Now imagine if Detroit Lions players Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened Sunday. I know what would happen. All hell would break loose. Stinging indictments issued by sports columnists. At least a few outraged religious leaders chiming in on his behalf. Depending on what else had happened that day, they might have a chance at becoming Keith Olbermann's Worst Person In The World.
And there would be apologies. Oh, Lord, would there be apologies — by players, by coaches, possibly by ownership with a tiny chance of a statement from NFL commish Roger Goodell. You cannot mock Muslim faith, not in this country, not anywhere really."

Two Links from Stand to Reason:  The first addresses pluralism, the second addresses the problem of evil

Eyes Toward Home

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her-Ephesians 5:25

Over the past several weeks, I have been thinking about starting another master's degree program. I have been enamored with the Master of Arts in Science and Religion program at Biola University. Admittedly, I already have several degrees. I am also currently completing master's level work toward a certificate in biblical counseling. All this is to say that the challenges of academia are a siren song to me. I enjoy pushing myself to learn, though a darker part of me also must admit to the draw of the recognition that comes with the degree. I prefer not to acknowledge that part, but it is there. My wife has been faithfully at my side every step of the way.

When I asked my wife a few days ago to begin praying about this possibility, her response lacked enthusiasm. She sounded tired, as if she wanted to say, "not again." Thankfully, we had the opportunity to talk about it last night. It turns out that while I am peering off into the distance seeking to conquer the next big thing, she plods along at home, managing the household and educating our children. She often feels alone in this task and I suppose that in many ways, she is.

As I laid in bed last night thinking about what she said, I realized that my gaze is too often on the horizon. I think about the possibilities "out there", but my calling is to home. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 calls fathers to their homes: "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." God's word is to be consistently before my family and in our home and I am to take the lead in teaching them about Him. I cannot lead well when my focus is often directed elsewhere.

So, for now, Biola will be moved to the back burner. If I profess to love my wife and my children and if I claim to trust God's word for my life, I need to do a better job of turning my eyes toward home. My family does not care if I earn another master's degree, they want papa at home and engaged.

Now, a brief note to the men (of which I hope I am still included): there are so many things that mess with our priorities and we are great at justifying them. We cover our hobbies, jobs, and other activities with a false veneer of righteousness. We tell ourselves that working every evening, burying our noses in a book, or spending time away from home with other believers is ministry. Sometimes it is, but I would argue that often it is not. If we are not defending our homes, if we are not actively and consistently pouring ourselves into our kids, we are missing the mark. God calls us to "give ourselves up" for our wives.  That means spending time at home and getting to know our wives and kids and what is going on in their lives. I know more about current apologetics arguments than I do about what my kids are doing in math.  Other men know football stats, or deer movement patterns, or stock market fluctuations better than they know about their children's friendships.  Men, our primary ministry is to our families. Other activities are not inherently bad, but we must ask ourselves "where are we planting our flags? Where are we directing our gaze?" I have a good friend who is fond of saying, "men, we are in a fight." Let's make sure we know what we are fighting for. 

07 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 7, 2011

Ten Pounds of Information--Every day, Doug Wilson shares choice quotes from others, or from books he has written. I have read enough morsels from his book Letter from a Christian Citizen to move it up on my Amazon wish list. Here was his quote from today, "Scientists who have their satellite dishes pointed toward the sky in the hope of hearing from intelligent life out there know how to distinguish incoming messages from background noise. Otherwise, there would be no point. We know what information looks like, and we know what kind of source it comes from. This is because information is not made out of matter -- rather it is matter that is organized in a particular way. If a scientist studying static from solar flare activity was to discover that all his printouts kept repeating the St. Crispin's Day speech from Henry V, his conclusion would not be that 'given infinity and randomness, this was bound to happen sooner or later.' And one strand of DNA is not just one speech from Shakespeare -- it is the whole library."

5 Signs of Spiritual Maturity--The five are: 1) an appetite for meat, 2) an imperviousness to personal offense, 3) a conscience informed by Scripture, not opinion, 4) a sense of humble surprise when used by God in ministry, 5) tendency to give credit for spiritual growth to God, not people. I particularly appreciated this quote, "It’s good to enjoy the milk of the gospel with every meal. But some Christians pride themselves on focusing only on the gospel, snubbing the offer of deeper doctrines. The love of doctrine may need to be acquired over time, but it will always be there in a mature believer."

06 November 2011

Daily Morsels-November 6, 2011

It is Done--Tullian Tchvidjian writes about how many modern preachers focus on a "to do" list rather than reminding believers what has been done.  He writes, "Preachers these days are expected to major in “Christian moral renovation.” They are expected to provide a practical 'to-do' list, rather than announce, 'It is finished.' They are expected to do something other than–more than–lift up before their congregations eyes Christ’s finished work, preaching a full absolution solely on the basis of the complete righteousness of Another. To be  sure, preachers need to “load their guns with the best powder when aiming at unrepentance”, but far too often a preacher’s final word to Christians is law and not Gospel. To finish a sermon asking 'What would Jesus do?' instead of announcing 'This is what Jesus has done!' is to betray the final word God speaks over Christians."

What Not to Say to Single Women--Advice following up on a recent Kevin DeYoung post. 

Think Like a Calvinist, Preach Like a Calvinist--There is a common misperception that Calvinists lack urgency in their preaching.  Some probably do, though I suspect the same can be said for many non-Calvinists as well.  McKiddie writes, "But to pray for someone to be saved is thoroughly Calvinistic. Why? Every prayer for God to save someone is at least an implicit confession that they can't respond to the gospel in their own power, whether or not we explicitly acknowledge this to be the case. When you pray for God to save someone, you say, 'God, you must do the work to save this person, because otherwise, they won't turn to you.'"

05 November 2011

Book Review: When Skeptics Ask

I read When Skeptics Ask as a part of an apologetics course that I am taking through Biola University. It is a good overall introduction to apologetics and reasons for the faith. It covers several different areas such as morality, questions about Jesus, questions about evolution and so forth.  Geisler is a good communicator.  Other books are better suited for specific questions, but as a general overview, this is a good start. 3.5 stars.

03 November 2011

Apologetics Program Reviews: A summary

I must first say that there I have been blessed to take advantage of many fine apologetics training programs.  They vary in cost, they vary in content, but all are quality in their own way.  The Biola program is the Cadillac program, but certainly the most costly with regard to money and time.  Keller's Reason for God DVD perhaps should not even be classified as an apologetics training set, but it serves it's own niche in showing how conversations could go with non-believers.  The Foundations of Apologetics Course from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries is different from the others, I suspect due to the European background of the presenters, which certainly carries with it advantages in broadening our understanding of apologetic issues, particularly as the US begins to mirror Europe's post-Christian mores.  Dr Sproul's Defending the Faith Series is both philosophical and theological, a worthwhile resource.  My personal favorite, all factors considered, is Greg Koukl's Ambassador Basic Curriculum.  Though they are all good, I think that for most people, this series will be the most useful, educational, and enjoyable.

Down the line, there are other programs I would like to pursue.  Ligonier Ministries offers an advanced level certificate in apologetics that takes several years to complete.  This program clearly is not for the faint of heart.  There are also master's programs at Biola and Southern Evangelical Seminary that I would I would really enjoy tackling if I ever have the time and money.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us, "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect".  Apologetics may not be for everyone, but we are called to defend the faith.  These programs will all provide you with increased confidence when you talk with others about the hope that is within you.

Daily Morsels-November 3, 2011

A bit late in coming, but alas, here it is.

More Grandpa; Less Captain Jack--It seems like this has been a recurrent, painful theme in the past few years.  Men are disappearing from the church.  The ones that are there are often too busy with other activities to care much about being real men.  I almost hate to post this, but I feel the need to because we need more men.   DeYoung writes, "Men, you don’t have to be rich and you don’t have to climb corporate ladders. You don’t have to fix cars and grow a beard. But it’s time to take a little initiative–in the church, with your career, and with women. Stop circling around and start going somewhere. It’s probably a good idea to be more like your grandpa and less like Captain Jack Sparrow. Even less like Peter Pan. Show some godly ambition. Take some risks. Stop looking for play dates and–unless God is calling you to greater service through singleness–start looking for a wife."

Jesus was a Communist?--There have been numerous suggestions recently that Jesus would have been a socialist. Apparently, Matthew Modine has a short movie coming out entitled "Jesus was a Commie."  Really?  Terrell Clemmons shares some useful insight into this issue and this short film.  What I found particularly telling was who the advocates of the socialist Jesus, cited by Clemmons, are:  a liberal actor (Matthew Modine), a liberal talk show host who has been vitriolic toward Christianity (Bill Maher), and a theology professor who no longer believes in Christ (Bart Ehrman).  (HT: Z). 


Get Religion Follow-up:  If you read the Get Religion piece I posted yesterday, Mollie has a great follow up today.  Good stuff. 

2 Ways for Dealing with Sin:  Erik Raymond shares his insights on 2 ways for dealing with sin: devotions and mortification. 

02 November 2011

Biola University Certificate in Apologetics

I am currently working my way through the Biola University certificate program in Christian apologetics.  Biola university is a hub for Christian apologetics with such well known faculty members as JP Moreland, Gary Habermas, Kenneth Samples, and William Lane Craig as well as many others.  Their master's degree in Christian apologetics is probably the finest program in the nation.  For us regular folk, they have developed a certificate training program, which I am currently about 1/3 of the way through.  The certificate is comprised of 24 lectures, each about 2 hours in length, covering a broad range of topics.
  1. The Case for Faith: A Personal Exploration
  2. The Absurdity of Life Without God
  3. Arguments for the Existence of God
  4. Solving the Problem of Evil
  5. Defending the Gospel Accounts of Jesus
  6. Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ
  7. Christianity and the Problem of Popular Culture
  8. Responding to Relativism
  9. Christianity and the Nature of Science
  10. The Historical Jesus
  11. Contending for the Christian Worldview
  12. Reading Scripture with All Your Mind
  13. Responding to the Cults
  14. What About Those Who Have Never Heard?
  15. Christianity Among the World Religions
  16. Miracles and the Modern Mind
  17. In Defense of the Soul
  18. The Case for Moral Absolutes
  19. Answers to Bioethical Challenges
  20. Darwinism in Crisis
  21. Key Issues in New Testament Textual Criticism
  22. Jesus: The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived?
  23. Successful Tactics in the Defense of the Faith
  24. Apologetics and the Spiritual Life
Lecturing faculty include: Francis J. Beckwith, John A. Bloom, John Coe, William Lane Craig, Garrett DeWeese, Alan Gomes, Gary Habermas,Craig Hawkins, Craig J. Hazen, David Horner, Phillip E. Johnson, Clay B. Jones, Greg Koukl, Kevin Lewis, JP Moreland, Scott Rae, John Mark Reynolds, Ron Rhodes, Walt Russell, Os Guinness, Hugh Hewitt, Alvin Plantinga, Lee Strobel, and Dallas Willard. This is a veritable who's who of apologetics.  The lectures thus far have been top-notch.  I am learning things now that I have not encountered in any of the previous courses I have taken.  I cannot speak highly enough about this program.  I had emailed Greg Koukl about this program and he simply responded, "it's excellent."  I could not agree more heartily.

In addition to the audio lectures, there is also supplemental reading.  For this first module, I am reading When Skeptics Ask by Norman Geisler and Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-air by Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl.  At the end of each module, there is also a quiz, again to demonstrate learning.

Summary: If you are not as concerned about cost, this is definitely the way to go. This program is amazing in its depth and breadth.

Here is the beginning of the Dr Craig's lecture, "The Absurdity of Life Without God."

Daily Morsels-November 2, 2011

Herman Cain, the Washington Post, and eugenics--If you don't follow the blog GetReligion.org, you should.  There are several contributors, typically writers for major news outlets, who look at the presentation of religion in the media.  There is a wonderful story today about the failure of the Washington Post to fact check regarding Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. She was undoubtedly a eugenicist, calling for racial cleansing.  Planned Parenthood, as an organization, does not seem to have veered far from its founder's roots.  If you proclaim to love people of all races, please take a serious look at Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood and ask yourself if there is a contradiction in your thinking.  If you have time, read Frank Turk's open letter to the 7 billionth baby as well. 

Joel Osteen's God--Michael Patton writes a thought-provoking piece on whether he and Joel Osteen worship the same God.  Though he may bear the same name, the attributes are much different.  In fact, the god that Osteen proclaims bears little resemblance to the God of the Bible.  

An Atheists 10 Commandments--Apparently, Glenn Beck has challenged atheist Glenn Beck to write an atheistic 10 commandments.  Amy Hall at Stand to Reason has suggested what would have been a better question.  She writes, "Morality just isn't at home in an atheist worldview.  Atheists can behave morally, discuss morality, recognize moral vallues.  But they can't explain them.  That would have been a more challenging and interesting question for Jillette." 

Interview with Katie-I'm posting this for my wife.  It is an interview with Katie Davis, a young girl who moved to Uganda to care for orphans. 



01 November 2011

Review: Defending Your Faith-RC Sproul

As a reminder, I have been reviewing apologetics training courses over the past several days.  Today, I want to review the lecture series, Defending the Faith, put out by RC Sproul, one of the elder statesmen of Reformed theology and the head of Ligonier Ministries. Dr Sproul is well trained as a philosopher and theologian and is a wonderful apologist.  I picked up this series on a $5 Fridays deal about a year ago.  It was well worth that price.  There are 32 lectures, as follows:
  1. Introduction
  2. Why Apologetics
  3. Pre-Evangelism
  4. Four Steps Backward
  5. Law of Contradiction
  6. Law of Causality
  7. Reliability of Sense Perception
  8. Analogical Language (2 lectures)
  9. Contradiction and Paradox
  10. Mystery
  11. Natural Theology (2 lectures)
  12. Aquinas vs. Kant
  13. The Case for God
  14. Four Possibilities
  15. The Illusion of Descartes
  16. Self-Creation (2 lectures)
  17. Self-Existence
  18. Necessary Being
  19. God of the Bible vs God of Philosophy
  20. Kant's Moral Argument
  21. Vanity of Vanity
  22. The Psychology of Atheism
  23. The Bible and Apologetics (5 parts)
  24. The Deity of Christ
  25. Questions and Answers 
 Sproul's philosophical training is evident in his selection of topics and his logical presentation of the material.  However, it is also evident that he is first and foremonst a biblically committed pastor-theologian.  His wisdom and knowledge is enhanced by his wonderful sense of humor.  This series has the advantage that you can also watch or listen, depending on your preference.  I listened to it as I drove to work and will probably work through it again when I am done with the Biola Course (watch for it tomorrow).

Summary:  Sproul is an excellent teacher.  This is a fairly comprehensive, though philosophically slanted, approach to apologetics training.  It is worth the money, especially if you get it for 5 bucks.  

You can watch the first lecture for free:


   
   
   
   
   



Dail Morsels-November 1, 2011

Well we survived another Halloween.  Grace trick-or-treated with some friends; afterward the engaged in what is called a candy exchange.  She traded for nearly all chocolate.  That's my girl.

The Sloppy Rhetoric of Mob Rule--Thomas Sowell writes of the current mob mentality taking over in many large cities.  He is specifically addressing the folly of their methodology and their lack of intellectual sophistication.  He writes, "Sloppy words and sloppy thinking often go together, both in the mobs and in the media that are covering them. It is common, for example, to hear in the media how some “protesters” were arrested. But anyone who reads this column regularly knows that I protest all sorts of things — and don’t get arrested.  The difference is that I don’t block traffic, join mobs sleeping overnight in parks, or urinate in the street. If the media cannot distinguish between protesting and disturbing the peace, then their education may also have wasted a lot of taxpayer money." (HT: Challies). 

Income Inequality--Father Gregory Jensen quotes J.E. Dyer about the biblical view of income inequality.  "God addresses the topics of income and wealth as matters of personal virtue, not social morality. The only thing He explicitly says about other people’s incomes and wealth is that we are not to covet them."

Leaving racism behind--Here is a really cool story about a husband and wife leaving behind a life of racism.  The pictures alone are worth a look, but the story is similarly encouraging.  (HT: Challies)

Challies on Jobs--No, not opportunities for employment.  Steve Jobs.  He reviews Walter Isaacson's biography of the iconic man.  Challies writes, "Let’s get one thing out of the way up-front—the thing that has been the subject of thousands of articles and blog posts in the week since the biography was released. Steve Jobs was not a nice person. In fact, he was often downright horrible."  Read the whole thing here