- The surprisingly badass birds of the Bible: They fly all over the Bible – from beginning to end – and they have a prominent place in the founding narratives of almost every culture and religion. They are not just bones and feathers. They are strength or hope, omen and oracle. (CNN)
- What crisis in the humanities? Interactive Historical Data on College Majors: Clearly we should be doing more to counter the perception that the humanities—and by extension, the liberal arts—are in crisis mode. My own experience in the classroom doesn’t support this notion, and neither does the data. (Sample Reality)
- 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living: though I feel utterly unqualified to give “advice” in that omniscient, universally wise sense the word implies, here are seven things I’ve learned in seven years of making those choices, of integrating “work” and life in such inextricable fusion, and in chronicling this journey of heart, mind and spirit — a journey that took, for whatever blessed and humbling reason, so many others along for the ride. (Brain Pickings)
- Fellow Christians: I’m Rich and I’m Sorry: Do pastors owe apologies for getting rich? That’s the way we’d prefer to word the question, especially to avoid examining our own stewardship responsibilities. (Hermeneutics)
Star Wars fans everywhere got a treat last week when a Star Wars blooper reel hit the internet (see below). But not content with just a random collection of bloopers, someone has now transformed that blooper reel into a fantastic Star Wars ”trailer.”
And here’s the original blooper reel. (The sound doesn’t come on until 0:48. So don’t think there’s anything wrong with your computer when you can’t hear anything.)
Check out this stunning recreation of what St. Andrews Cathedral would have looked like if it hadn’t fallen into disuse during the Scottish Reformation. I may be a little biased since I did my doctoral work in St. Andrews and used to walk by the cathedral ruins every day, but I thought this was quite well done.
And here’s what the cathedral looks like today.
- Is youth ministry killing the church? The young people at my current congregation—a church that many families would never join because “it doesn’t have anything for youth”—are far more likely to remain connected to the faith and become active church members as adults, because that’s what they already are and always have been. (Christian Century)
- ‘Happy’ Reformation Day? Of course, the recovery and foregrounding of crucial gospel truths should be remembered…but is Reformation Day not as much a time to mourn our divisions, to fast and pray that all who are baptised in the triune Name may together confess one Lord, one faith, and one gospel, and share one Eucharist around one table? (Steve Holmes)
- Study Theology, Even If You Don’t Believe in God: This lost liberal art encourages scholars to understand history from the inside out. (The Atlantic)
- How Monsters Point Us to God: Our uncanny fears tell us about ourselves, and are signs of something more. (Christianity Today)
- Forbes has released its annual list of the Most Powerful People in the World.
- Your iPod (Most Likely) Won’t Bring Down the Plane. Oh sure, now that I’m flying less, they finally change the stupid rule.
Just for Fun
- The Honest Movie Trailer guys are at it again, this time with a trailer for Thor – or, as they call it, the movie that only exists so non-nerds will recognize the blonde buy in the Avengers.
Anyone who writes a book has to wrestle with one painful question: Does the world really need another book on this? And browsing the categories on Amazon, it’s hard to answer that question with a “yes.”
That’s particularly true with introductions to systematic theology, where we already have solid contributions from people like Millard Erickson, Michael Horton, Shirley Guthrie, Stan Grenz, Daniel Migliore, and Alister McGrath, among others. And that’s not even counting Wayne Grudem’s perennial best-seller. So why would we need another introduction to systematic theology?
According to Mike Bird’s new Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction (Zondervan, 2013), there’s one simple reason: we still need a systematic theology that is truly centered on the gospel.
I’m working my way through Bird’s book and will eventually post a full review. But it’s a long book, so it’s going to take a little while. And there are some great snippets that I thought we could chew on along the way. This is the first.
I used to have a page where people could access information about my books and download some of the journal articles and conference papers I’ve written, but for some reason I took it down a while back. I think the plan was just to do some maintenance and then put it back up, but I never got past the maintenance stage. Oops.
Anyway, that page is now available again from the menu at the top of the page, with updated information about my two books and 11 downloadable articles/papers. All of the material on this page is of a more academic nature, so if that’s not what you’re looking for, don’t waste your time. But for those of you who find academic theology interesting, feel free to peruse at your leisure.
I’ll keep this updated as new material becomes available.
- Watching TV can make you a better person: New research provides tentative evidence that it can—but only if viewers take time to reflect on the personal implications of what they have just watched. (Salon)
- Of Gods and Cubicles: Religion, the Office and the Law: issues of religion in the workplace are becoming more fraught and complex. Experts cite immigration, more frank conversations about faith and spirituality and growing assertiveness among workers as reasons for the number of complaints. (Wall Street Journal)
- 9 Things You Should Know About Persecution of Christians in 2013: Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. As we pray for the persecuted church, here are nine things you should know about the plight of believers around the globe. (Gospel Coalition)
- The Neuroscience Behind How Sleep Cleans Your Brain: We know that getting even a measly extra hour of sleep a night can have major benefits for us–like more memories, less anxiety, and happier genes. But scientists have tested another hypothesis for why we need to spend so much time horizontal: Sleep cleans our brains. (Fast Company)
To do lists are daunting. It’s easy to arrive at your desk in the morning already overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done. So productivity experts suggest spending a little time every morning identifying the most important thing you need to do that day. At least then you’ll make sure that the most important stuff gets done.
That’s a great idea. But, as I found out today, there’s one thing that can make sure even this doesn’t work: productive procrastination.
If you’re not familiar with that phrase, it’s a good one. Everyone needs to know about it, but I find it particularly important for students everywhere. It’s the one thing most likely to keep you from finishing your research paper.
According to the urban dictionary productive procrastination is:
n. Doing stuff to keep busy while avoiding what really needs doing. When all is said and done, your room is clean, your laundry is folded — but you haven’t started your English paper. (via )
Productivity experts say you can defeat this problem by identifying your most important goal first thing in the morning. Today I realized that this isn’t enough. Here’s why.