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Is the Incarnation a Contradiction?

thinker (300x320)Expressed simply, the incarnation looks like a pretty straightforward contradiction. After all, traditional theology claims that the following set of propositions are all true.

  • God is immutable (unchanging).
  • Humans are mutable (changing).
  • Jesus is both God and human.

Er? How can it make any sense to say that Jesus is both immutable and mutable at the same time? Isn’t that a little like saying that I’m in Illinois and Washington at the same time? I may have put on a few pounds over the years, but I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t gotten that bad yet.

Looking at “logic” like this, many draw the conclusion that the incarnation, one of the central beliefs of the Christian faith, is more than just paradoxical; it’s absurd, a contradiction, a logical impossibility. It’s like believing in square circles, straight curves, or a good VMA awards show.

It’s no wonder that people think Christians are idiots.

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30 Dr. Seuss Quotes That Can Change Your Life

Well, I don’t think they’ll actually change your life. But that’s the title of the infographic. And I suppose that if you read these quotes you’ll be doing that instead of something else for the next few minutes. So these quotes really will change your life. Kind of.

Anyway, if you can get past the usual Dr. Seuss belief in the absolute awesomeness of me (despite my rather obvious shortcomings) and my amazing ability to do whatever I want (despite significant evidence to the contrary), these quotes are still a great way to start the day. I’ve always loved “It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.” And it is a good challenge to hear, “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I shall be remembered,” though it seems a bit presumptuous to think that any of my days will be remembered for very long.

dr-seuss-quotes-life-infographicvia ChurchMag


Flotsam and jetsam (8/28)

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Good Reads

  • How To Be Polemical Without Being a Downright Nasty Person: There was a time, of course, when every theologian, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, was a polemicist. Later, polemics became merely a distinct position on a theological faculty. Finally, it disappeared altogether in a spirit of congenial tolerance. (Michael Horton)
  • Duck Dynasty’s Cultural Christianity: Here’s the dilemma – what the show presents is a good life, but it is not in any specific way the Christian life. It is cultural Christianity of the kind that still characterizes much of the South. (Thomas Kidd)
  • Creating an Assessment Culture: When we speak of the need for an assessment culture, we want churches and Christians to avoid making claims that are unsubstantiated. We, above all others, need to be trustworthy, and we can do that with accurate assessment of where we are as individuals and a church. (Ed Stetzer)

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6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart

You don’t want a grumpy teacher. It’s as simple as that. A grumpy teacher grading your paper is like a dentist with a migraine working on your teeth: painful for both of you.

teaching (450x300)

So, as you get this near school year started, it makes sense to spend a little time reflecting on how to keep the professors in your life happy. You could always try some of the more time-honored techniques for maintaining professorial happiness–e.g. bribes gifts, flattery, random acts of service. And those might work on some professors. But if you really want to worm your way into the heart of your favorite teacher, here’s what you need to do.

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The Omnipresent Smart Phone

Here’s a creative look at how the ever-present smart phone changes the way we experience life. It’s a good reminder that sometimes you just need to put the phone down and live your life. (The birthday scene at the ending is priceless.)

Flotsam and jetsam (8/26)

usb position

Good Reads

  • Race Equality Is Still a Work in Progress, Survey Finds: Though gaps in life expectancy and high school graduation rates have all but been eliminated, disparities in poverty and homeownership rates are about the same. Compared with five decades ago, imbalances in household income and wealth, marriage and incarceration rates have widened. (New York Times)
  • Make the Bible Your Native Tongue: Our limitless access to prepackaged devotional, inspirational, and theological insights from others can unwittingly give us a BSL — Bible as a Second Language — status with God. But intimacy with him is better reached via a firsthand relationship through his word than through someone else’s translation of it on our behalf. (Desiring God)

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A Prayer for Sunday (Augustine of Hippo)

Augustine (200x310)The famous North African bishop Augustine of Hippo was so influential in theology, philosophy, and history, that he hardly needs introduction. A prolific author and creative thinker, Augustine’s writings shaped Western society and continues to impact Christians today.

Augustine died on August 28, 430, while his beloved city of Hippo was besieged by the invading Vandals, ending Augustine’s nearly 40 year ministry in that city as priest, bishop, and theologian. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.

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Saturday Morning Fun…Parenting with Guilt

Parenting-with-Guilt-SMBCFrom SMBC via 22 Words.


The Trajectory of Biblical Literacy

Bible3 (250x227) biblical literacyGeorge Lindbeck, longtime professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, once commented on the trajectory of biblical literacy during his decades-long teaching career. Phil Ryken, who attended the meeting, recently shared Lindbeck’s comment. According to him, Lindbeck lamented the fact that evangelical students at the end of his teaching career know less about the Bible than the non-Christian students he taught at the beginning of his career. That’s a remarkable transition in just one lifetime.

People often lament that today’s students just aren’t like they used to be. Apparently students in earlier generations wrote like Hemmingway, reasoned like Aristotle, read 1,000 pages an hour with total recall, and never complained about doing homework. I think they could also capture moonlight with their hands and weave it into magical cloaks that would let them fly to the stars. They were impressive beings.

Obviously I’m a little skeptical about some of the criticisms often leveled at today’s students. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with this one. The overwhelming consensus of those involved in biblical education, whether in the church or in academia, is that we have witnessed a monumental shift in biblical literacy in just a few decades.

People often say that the church is only one generation away from losing its commitment to the gospel and the Bible. Lindeck’s comment is a powerful reminder of how true that can be.

Flotsam and jetsam (8/23)


Good Reads

  • How to Keep the Faith on Campus: Those going off to college this time of year are in the midst of the most significant transition of their lives….Often overlooked in the transition to college are the spiritual and religious dimensions of the change. (Washington Post)
  • The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want to Life Forever: Of all the things money can’t buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan. (The Daily Beast)
  • The lingering, devastating impact of bullying: Children who are bullied are more likely to have serious mental and physical health problems as adults and less likely to hold steady jobs or develop meaningful relationships with family and friends, according to a new study on the lingering effects of bullying. (The Week)

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