A prayer for Sunday – Ambrose of Milan

O Lord
teach me to seek you,
and reveal yourself to me
when I seek you.
For I cannot seek you unless
you first teach me,
nor find you unless
you first reveal yourself to me.
Let me seek you in longing,
and long for you in seeking.
Let me find you in love,
and love you in finding.

The Expanding Tree of Western Philosophy

This expanding structure is great for seeing how certain areas of thought are connected to each other in Western philosophy (here).

Saturday morning fun

This was too much fun to pass up. If you’re  a fan of the Road Runner cartoons, you’ll enjoy this.



The best essays of 2010

Give Me Something to Read has posted a list of the best essays of 2010 (HT). So, if you’re looking for something to read over the weekend or the upcoming Christmas holiday, check it out. The post provides links and the beginning of each essay, but here are the essays that were cited:

  • What Makes a Great Teacher (The Atlantic)
  • Can You Disappear in Surveillance Britain (The Times)
  • No Angel, No Devil (Nasvhille Scene)
  • What Happened When I Went Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp (Alternet)
  • The Wrong Man (The Atlantic)
  • Whodunnit? (The Guardian)
  • Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How it Works” (Wired)
  • “Boom (GQ)
  • The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain is Always the High (The Morning News)
  • Dog Beat Dog (Phoenix New Times)
  • Washington, We Have a Problem (Vanity Fair)
  • The Deadly Corruption of Clinical Trials (Mother Jones)
  • The Brain That Changed Everything (Esquire)
  • What Killed Aiyanna Stanley-Jones (Mother Jones)

Handel’s Messiah in a food court

Why doesn’t anything cool like this ever happen when I’m in the mall? Oh wait, that’s probably because I’m never in the mall.



HT James McGrath

Flotsam and jetsam (12/3)

A Klingon Christmas Carol

A lot of good links over the last couple of days. Here are some of the more interesting.

  • PZ Myers points out that Answers in Genesis has been guilty of using history jacking (hijacking your browser history to discern what sites you’ve been visiting) and using that information to categorize visitors. Interestingly, although they have a distinct category for “Christian” users, if you’ve visited creationmuseum.org, joelosteen.com, or beliefnet.com, you get categoriezed as “other.” HT James McGrath and Stuart.

Let me suggest, in fact, that whenever we communicate to non-Christians that we have found it and that they have not, that we have been chosen and that they have not, that we are the apple of God’s eye and that they are not—whenever we assume that stance, consciously or not, we are communicating something other than the gospel, the Good News.

Sometimes with good apologetic and evangelistic motives we will point to all the OT prophecies about Christ and then run down a list of all the NT fulfillments. There is truth here, but if we set things up as “here’s the prediction; here’s the prediction come true” we are bound to confuse people. We may even cause people to doubt the prophetic witness rather than trust it.

These Pentecostals are widely read in biblical and theological studies, immersed in the latest trends in missiology, even leading the way in some areas of theological reflection such as the Holy Spirit and world religions.

Our attempts to read Paul, in other words, will come up short to the extent that we either (a) neglect the narrative flow within which the cited verse occurs in its original OT context, or (b) allow that OT context to be entirely determinative for what the verse means in Paul.

Today, the monastery is a vibrant stronghold of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism. And at first glance, it even seems impervious to modern Ethiopia’s fast-changing society. But it, as do all facets of Ethiopia’s monastic culture, confronts new realities and an uncertain future.

Texting in class

Inside Higher Ed had an interesting post today on the a recent study that was done to measure how much texting takes place in university classrooms. Here are some of the findings that they reported:

  • 95 percent of students bring their phones to class every day.
  • 91 percent have used their phones to text message during class time.
  • Almost half of respondents said it was easy to text in class without instructors being aware.
  • 99 percent said they should be permitted to retain their cell phones while in class.
  • 62 percent said they should be allowed to text in class as long as they don’t disturb their classmates. (About a quarter of the students stated that texting creates a distraction to those sitting nearby.)
  • 10 percent said that they have sent or received text messages during exams, and 3 percent admitted to transmitting exam information during a test.

First, fess up. Have you ever texted in a class? Second, what do you think about texting in class (never, sometimes, who cares)?

I’ll get things started by admitting that I’ve texted in class. And, it was my own class. (The class had just broken into small discussion groups, and I was momentarily free.) And, I’ve sent emails while sitting in a class many times. (Is there any real difference between texting and emailing during a class?)

Moses and the raw deal


The 20 Worst Nativity Sets

Mark Oestreicher has posted a list of the 20 Worst Nativity Sets (HT). And, it’s hard to disagree that his first one is pretty bad.



Cats? Seriously? I could see using cats to symbolize the fall, the ten plagues, or various scenes in Revelation, but not the nativity. That’s just wrong.

And, although this one wasn’t about the nativity, it’s disturbing enough to warrant mention. What kinds of people actually put these things in their lawns?



You’ll have to check out his post to see the rest. But, although he did a great job compiling this list, I think he missed one. What Christmas would possibly be complete without a bacon and sausage nativity?



Flotsam and jetsam (12/2)

“Glee” is conversational. The show succeeds, I think, because it examines the pressing issues of our day in a humorous, pop-song inundated way. “Glee,” like most good art, doesn’t dictate, it discusses. As Christians especially, we ought to join this discussion.

  • Here’s an interesting post on  Christian ghostwriting. I guess I’m not surprised, but I didn’t realize how common ghostwriting was in the Christian world.

I believe Christian ghostwriting is a scandal waiting to explode. If we in the Christian community don’t clean up our act soon, we’re going to face widespread loss of credibility.

It is interesting to me that there in the last couple of weeks I have happened across several different takes on what is commonly being called ‘the New Calvinism’. The range in perspectives has been interesting to observe.

  • HuffPo has an interesting post on a Buddhist view of the self and the way that memory constrains our freedom to experience the world and fully be our “true” selves.

For most people, realizing that most of what you think, do and feel is nothing but the activation of stored memory is unsettling, for it smacks the popular notion of who we think we are right in the face. This truth not only exposes that we are not as free as we like to believe, but that we are not fully present to the people and things in our life as well.