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Flotsam and jetsam (4/10)

Good Reads

  • Why Playing Outdoors Makes Children Smarter: It is through unstructured, open-ended creative play that children learn the ways of the world. While playing outside, children explore with all their senses, they witness new life, they create imaginary worlds and they negotiate with each other to create a playful environment.
  • Snap Judgments: Our Societal Obsession With Taking Pictures: The danger of using photos as markers is that images appeal to our vanity. We become quickly obsessed with accumulating experiences, capturing them in photos, and publicly displaying our photos as trophies. If we aren’t careful, our Facebook pages and blogs can become trophy cases of our own accomplishments.
  • Why Mentoring Matters: To be clear, I am not opposed to programs. Well-designed and well-implemented programs can be an effective step in disciplemaking.  My concern is that programmatic discipleship built solely around small groups and directed studies misses the most obvious New Testament means of disciplemaking: one-to-one mentoring.

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March’s Top Posts

These were our top five posts for the month of March. I’ve decided to include only one post from The Big Bible Bash tournament. Otherwise, they would have comprised almost the whole list. Instead, we have an infograpic, the tournament announcement, and several posts related to seminary and/or the Th.M. program. All in all, it was an interesting month.

Saturday Morning Fun…60 Second Adventures in Thought

Check out these great 60-second introductions to classic intellectual puzzles/questions like Zeno’s Paradox, Schrödinger’s Cat, and Hilbert’s Infinite Hotel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zVaFjSxAZs

The Big Bible Bash: Round of 16

Sixteen more books have fallen in The Big Bible Bash. And only sixteen remain. Two of our 2-seeds are out, and one of the Gospels has now been eliminated. The tournament has begun to favor NT books, with only 6 OT books remaining. But that includes heavy hitters like Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms. So this round of voting should prove very interesting. (Update: Voting is now closed.)

The Upsets

All of the number 1 seeds cruised to relatively easy victories in the Round of 32, winning with an average of 90.5% of the vote in their races. But it was a tough day for the 2-seeds. (2) Mark fell to ( 7) Philippians (41.3% vs. 58.7%); and (2) Proverbs fell to (7) Revelation (32.6% to 67.4%). Even (2) Matthew struggled for a while against (7) Exodus, before winning with 61.6%.

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The Big Bible Bash: Round of 32

The first round of voting is over, so we’re on to the Round of 32 in The Big Bible Bash. And, as expected, the first round favored the top seeds. Indeed, somewhat surprisingly, the higher seeds won every single contest. Even the close races between the 8 and 9 seeds ended up in a victory for the 8 seeds.

As you may know, we’re giving away almost $500 worth of commentaries and other great books from Zondervan, IVP, Baker, Eerdmans, and Crossway. All you have to do to participate in the giveaway is cast your vote for your favorite books of the Bible. If you  missed out on the earlier rounds, no worries. You can still vote in the later rounds and be eligible for the giveaway. So cast your vote now! (Update: Voting is now closed.)

Tournament Highlights

Although it’s time to put the first round behind us, we can take a few moments to reflect on the most interesting developments from the first round. Here’s the updated tournament bracket. But, if you’re just interested in the highlights, here you go!

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Saturday Morning Fun…The Science of Aging

A Prayer for Sunday (Polycarp)

martyrdom polycarp st. saint martyrOne of the most famous martyrs in church history, Polycarp was burned at the stake around A.D. 155 for refusing to reject the Christian faith. According to the story, though, the Romans were  a tad surprised when the fire didn’t hurt him at all. So the executioner had to stab him instead.

In addition to his martyrdom, Polycarp is best known as one of he last people to have direct contact with the apostles. Several early authors report that Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle in his youth. Combined with his long life–he was approximately 86 when he died–Polycarp thus served as an important point of connection between the New Testament church and the church of the second century.

In honor of Polycarp’s life and faithful death, here is the prayer that he his reported to have prayed right before his death.

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Saturday Morning Fun…All the Best Picture Winners in 4 Minutes

If you want to get up to speed on all the Oscar Best Picture Winners before tomorrow night’s award ceremony, here you go!

http://vimeo.com/60050642#

Our Second Big Announcement: Moving to Wheaton!

Sadness and excitement. Some emotions fit well together. Others, not so much. I can be happy and nervous at the same time (e.g. at my daughter’s piano recitals). And holding anger and fear together is pretty easy too (e.g. my usual reaction when reading You Tube comments). But sadness and excitement? It’s hard to do both of those simultaneously. Instead, you jump back and forth between them like a middle schooler struggling with adolescent mood swings.

To be honest, I’ve been that middle schooler for the last few weeks.

Yesterday I announced that this would be my last year as Academic Dean at Western Seminary. That announcement contained only excitement. (Well, to be honest, there was a lot of joy, exuberance, and impatient anticipation in there as well.) Today’s announcement comes with much more mixed emotions. And, although the title of this post makes the actual announcement somewhat unnecessary, here it is anyway:

I’ve accepted a position at Wheaton College (Associate Professor of Theology), where I’ll be teaching mostly in their M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

As you can anticipate from an announcement like that, the sadness comes from what we’re leaving behind, and the excitement from what lies ahead. Let me explain.

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Our First Big Announcement: I’ve Been Un-Deaned

I spent a while trying to figure out what to call it when you stop being a dean. Have you been un-deaned or dis-deaned? At first I liked the latter, but once I realized that the former looks like undead (which is cool) and the latter sounds like disdained (which is not), the choice was clear. So here’s my big announcement:

This is my last year as an Academic Dean.

Some of you understand why this is a big deal, others are less certain, and quite a few stopped reading as soon as they saw the word “dean.” For those who are left, let me explain.

Some of you are also probably wondering what the opening picture has to do with being a dean. Answer: not much. But I liked the idea of a dean having the magic power to fling color from his fingers to splash paint on a drab world. Kind of like being a life vandal. Of course, being a dean is nothing like that, but that’s besides the point.

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