Flotsam and jetsam (8/1)

How to get your kids to do their chores.
How to get your kids to do their chores.

Good Reads

  • Writing a Thesis Is Like Weaving on a Loom: Writing a thesis is like weaving on a loom. The balls of wool and other material available are the data gathered from the literature, the research and thinking about the topic. The finished material is the thesis. The mechanics of weaving the material are like the processes of putting the thesis together.
  • 5 Myths about Reformed Theology: Calvinists can be pains in the neck. I should know—I’ve been one myself on occasion. Yet, it is a terrific irony that a theology that so exalts God and lays human beings low before his majesty and grace should be championed sometimes with a spirit that contradicts it.
  • Jesus Existed: Contrary to some circles on the Internet, very few scholars doubt that Jesus existed, preached and led a movement. Scholars’ confidence has nothing to do with theology but much to do with historiographic common sense. What movement would make up a recent leader, executed by a Roman governor for treason, and then declare, “We’re his followers”? If they wanted to commit suicide, there were simpler ways to do it.

[Read more…]

July’s Top Posts

Since I started a new series on the image of God this month, it’s not terribly surprising to see several posts on that topic in this month’s list. But the top spot goes to an interesting graph that I found on the history of philosophy. And I’m glad to see at one post on my trip to Slovakia.

Last Month’s Top 5:

The “Image of God” Is a Verb

The girl hammers in nail a shoe

What is a hammer? That may sound like an odd question, but think about it for a second. How would you explain a hammer to someone who’d never seen one? You could try to describe what a hammer looks like, probably saying something about its handle and the shape of its head. But, of course, you’ll immediately run into a couple of problems. First, not every hammer has the same shape. And second, something with the proper shape but made out of shaving cream would hardly qualify as a hammer in any meaningful sense (though it would be fun to watch you try and use it).

Your other option is to focus on what a hammer does, its function. Thus, a hammer is anything that can drive a nail (or similarly pointed object) into something (e.g. your own finger). Granted, this means that a book, a screwdriver, and even a shoe might qualify as “hammers” at various times. Not very effective hammers maybe, but hammers nonetheless.

hammer and nail, image of god

As we work our way through our series on the image of God, the “structural” approach tries to explain the image like the first hammer definition. It locates the essence of the imago in the shape/structure of the human person. And it runs into a similar problem: what do you do with people who don’t have that same shape/structure?

So others have argued for a different approach. Don’t view the image as something that humans have, but look at it as something humans do. This is the “functional” approach to the imago Dei.

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24 Things I Learned at Seminary

Here is your “must read” of the day. Over at Transformed, Sol Rexius reflects on 24 things he learned at seminary. And it’s a great list. Here are a few of my favorites:

I learned that there are a lot of people in this world doing a lot more courageous things than I am.  I know this because I had class with them.

I learned that a pastor who doesn’t pray is like a chocolate Easter bunny…he might be sweet and pretty, but really he’s hollow, seasonal, and sooner or later, he’s gonna get eaten up.

I learned that you can’t be a bad husband and a good pastor at the same time.

I learned that motivational-speaking can help, encourage, and even transform people, but only gospel-preaching can bring dead people to life.

Read the rest here.

Flotsam and Jetsam (7/30)

Pavlov's Dog

Flotsam and jetsam is back!

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Good Reads

  • Chick-fil-A Deserves to Be Punished: Move over, chicken sandwich — Chick-fil-A has invented a new meal. It’s the hate burger, and it comes with an extra side of hate sauce. (This one should provide you with enough sarcasm to last all day.)
  • Syria’s Christians, Caught in the Middle of Worsening Chaos: Members of Syria’s diverse Christian communities are finding themselves engulfed in the fog of war and increasingly targeted, both as pawns of the regime and armed rebels as well as by the rising (if still limited) presence of al Qaeda-linked and other foreign militants in the conflict.
  • Preaching “One-Time” Sermons: I should end with my bias. I don’t like single messages. I prefer series because I find I can present a clearer picture of scriptural teaching on an issue. But, do not despise the single message–nobody ever preaches a series in the Bible, and we don’t see it much until John Chrysostom in the 4th/5th century. Be faithful with the small things… even the small sermons.
  • Could ‘Awe Therapy’ Make Us Nicer? Moments that make us feel small — like gazing out over the Grand Canyon or glimpsing the northern lights — can do a world of good for our mental health

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