Hats off to Dustin Ahkuoi for this creative combination of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and corny church signs. Four minutes of the kind of hilarity that only comes from basking in the awkwardness of reader boards.
- When you wonder if you’re qualified for ministry: Don’t tell me that holy dirt beneath the fingernails doesn’t look like blog posts, carpool, science projects, teaching Sunday school. Don’t put a box around my calling, my audience, my seven days a week of holy Sundays breaking the bread and spilling the bloody sweat of serving out the determination to like my kids and not just love them right there in the discount aisle of my local grocery store. (Lisa-Jo Baker)
- Not Just a New Testament God: It’s the severity of God that frightens us, and the Old Testament is rife with it. Sure, the Lord is Israel’s shepherd, but when he steps off his throne and places his foot on the mountains, they melt under the heat of his anger (Mic. 1). How exactly does a “rod” comfort me? (Christianity Today)
- The Origin of ‘Liberalism’: When Adam Smith and a group of fellow Scots first used the word in a political sense, it meant something very different than it does today. (The Atlantic)
- The End of Charity: How Christians are (not) to ‘Remember the Poor’: I call attention to…the commonplace presumption by Christians that we are a people of charity. We are supposed to care for those less well off. Almsgiving is constitutive of what it means to be a Christian. Yet how Christians have cared for those who have less has recently come under severe criticism. I want to explore that critique and hopefully provide a constructive response. (Stanley Hauerwas)
Just for Fun
- If Sochi was Hoth. Best Winter Olympics video ever!
If you or your significant other is an academic, you’ll appreciate this: 75 of the best #AcademicValentines. Some of them are specific to particular disciplines, but many would work as a perfect valentine to/from any academic. Here are some of my personal favorites, check out the post for the rest.
HT Steve Holmes
Here’s an interesting infographic from the Public Religion Research Institute (no idea what that is, but it has a very official-sounding name) that breaks down America’s religious affiliations by age group.
I have to admit, though, that I’m a little skeptical on the size of the “Unaffiliated” group among younger Americans. I wonder if there’s a possibility that reflects more an unwillingness to self-identify with a particular group rather than a reflection of religious practice in general. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the results of at least one survey.
- Is Philosophy inherently evil? Colossians 2:8 is often misunderstood to say that all philosophy is bad and Christians should not engage in the discipline. It is a little thing in translation, but one word can carry a lot of meaning. (Bill Mounce)
- Evangelicals, Pop Culture, and Mass Culture: The issue of populism in the Evangelical ethos raises a concern for the need to differentiate between pop culture as folk culture and pop culture as mass culture. At its best, Evangelicalism seeks to preserve and foster folk culture and the critics of Evangelical piety need to recognize this strength, because it is through the ongoing propagation of folk culture that the disenchanting effects of modernity will be overcome ultimately. I say this knowing full well that the strong temptation within Evangelicalism is to traffic in the forms of mass culture, and it has succumbed to that temptation on more than one occasion. (First Things)
- The Anabaptists: The rise of Anabaptist thinking in contemporary evangelicalism — like David Fitch and Greg Boyd and others — needs to be set into context of Anabaptism itself. (Scot McKnight)
- I Love a Church That Sings Badly: But one reason they sing so well is that there are very few among them who are new to the faith….They sing so well because they evangelize so poorly. (Tim Challies)
Coming up with a highfalutin title for your next theology paper has never been easier. Just work your way through this handy flowchart and you can’t go wrong. Of course, you’ll still have to write the paper. But coming up with a good title is the hard part.
You’ll need to click on the image to make it readable, but it’s worth it. In my trial run, I ended up with “The Fecundity of Desire: Image and Being in the Thought of Hegel.” That’s not bad. It’s complete gibberish, of course. But it’s smart-sounding gibberish.
And this just in, I will now be accepting doctoral proposals for papers on “Remythologizing the Sacred Ploughshare: Experience as Imagination in Adele and Steve from down the road.”
- Teaching religion: my students are trying to run my course: Academic rigour, research-inspired teaching and independent, critical thinking are the hallmarks of today’s university culture. And yet many of us have found ourselves diluting or softening the topics of our modules, and the intellectual and critical content of our lectures, for fear of poor student feedback (which is carefully monitored by the university). And to take account of the personal preferences of our evangelical students. (The Guardian)
- Considering seminary? Get ready for the unexpected: There are things I wasn’t taught in seminary. But there was plenty I did learn — some of them unexpected. (ABP News)
- Children and parents ‘unaware of Bible stories’: Widespread ignorance exists among children and parents about the contents of the Bible, research has suggested. (BBC News)
- But There Is a Problem….: In scripture, there is a richness of response to evil and suffering, of which the assertion of divine sovereignty is simply one part. (Carl Trueman)
The earliest anglo-saxon poet whose name we know, Caedmon was apparently famous for the vivid hymns he composed while living at a monastery in Whitby during the 7th century. Unfortunately, very few of his songs have survived, and we know about his life exclusively through a near contemporary, the English historian Venerable Bede.
Caedmon died in AD 680. Since we don’t know the precise date of his death, I thought we would just go ahead and recognize his life and ministry today. So here is Caedmon’s Hymn of Creation.
Now we must praise the ruler of heaven,
The might of the Lord and his purpose of mind,
The work of the glorious Father; for he,
God eternal, established each wonder,
He, holy creator, first fashioned the heavens
As a roof for the children of earth.
And then our guardian, the everlasting Lord,
Adorned this middle-earth for men.
Praise the almighty king of heaven.
Every good villain needs an evil lair. That’s just how it works. Here are some of the more notorious villain hideouts arranged by size. I have to admit that I would not have expected Mega Maid to top the list.
- 10 Reasons to Know a Little Bit of Church History: Who was Athanasius? In what century did the Protestant Reformation occur? Why was Jonathan Edwards important? What was the Second Great Awakening? In most churches, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could answer these questions. Indeed, the study of church history has fallen on hard times. But here are 10 reasons why the average believer’s walk with Christ would be enriched by learning a bit of church history. (BibleMesh)
- Toxic Leaders in Our Ranks: Ten years ago, the United States Army decided to explore a previously forbidden subject: toxic leadership. What they learned could have far-reaching ramifications for their organization, but also for others, including the church. (Hermeneutics)
- Where Is Biblical Counseling’s Ken Ham? If our worldview is so sure and strong, why can’t we more frequently recognize, praise, and use findings, advances, practices, and even meds that secular scientists and psychologists have discovered and have used to help others? (David Murray)
- Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline: Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape. (New York Times)
- Archaeologists Find Major Bible Discrepancy. Great example of a title that is way overstated.