Name the best selling albums of the 1980s

Okay, here’s a quiz for everyone who grew up in the 80s. How many of the 10 Best Selling Albums of the 1980s can you name? You only get three minutes to finish the quiz, and I didn’t do terribly well – only three.

Flotsam and jetsam (12/8)

I’ve been busy wrapping up the fall semester for the last couple of days, but here some interesting links you might want to check out.

  • Brian LePort is wrestling with his Christmas Conundrums. (I vote “no” on lying to your kids about Santa, “yes” on Christmas trees, and “sort of” on buying gifts).

Catholic dogs go to heaven

If you haven’t seen this yet, you should really check out Scot McKnight’s post on “Church Sign Wars,” showing a Catholic church and a Presbyterian church having a “discussion” about whether dogs go to heaven – via their church signs. And, whoever was doing the signs for the Catholic church has a great sense of humor!

My favorite Presbyterian sign: “Converting to Catholicism does not magically grant your dog a soul.”

Outstanding Catholic response: “Free dog souls with conversion.”

Check it out.

The failure of evangelical ecclesiology

The personal presence of God in the ecclesia, by virtue of his covenant promises, his Word, sacraments and Spirit, invests the ecclesia with an ontic weight that does not obtain with merely human organizations and assemblies. In practice, it seems that ordinary evangelical Protestant concepts of the church reflect notions that are more sociological than theological, more functional and pragmatic than ‘mystical’ and ontological, more Pelagian that Pauline and pneumatic—that is, an eviscerated ecclesiology in which the church is viewed as a voluntary human organization gathered for certain activities.

John Jefferson Davis, Worship and the Reality of God (IVP, 2010), 63.

Happy Hanukkah!

Diversity in the biblio-blogsophere

Near Emmaus has certainly been busy lately. First, they added Joshua Smith (a first year student at Western Seminar) to their team, decision that sparked some interesting discussion. And today, they added Ishta Kutesa, a journalism major at Coventry University. So, way to go Near Emmaus for really working on diversity and breadth in your blogging community. I’m looking forward to seeing what Near Emmaus has to say in the near future. If nothing else, it should be fun.

Foucault and the Drugging of Society

"You feeling nice and dopey? Good...."

(This post is part of a series that the Th.M. students at Western Seminary are doing this semester on understanding the relationship between philosophy and theology.)

When I lived in San Francisco I worked as an overnight counselor in a lock-down facility housing adolescents with various social and/or psychological disorders. It was rough. There was a reason these kids-who-were-adults-too-early were not allowed to wander around in society. Whenever they were “free” they were incontrollable.

Many had horrible experiences as children–verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, watching day after day of domestic abuse from one parent toward another, drug abuse. This causes nights to be a source of angst for many. Nightmares were normality. I saw teens who would act like adults at 9AM turn into fearful children at 9PM.

One way to help these people cope was to provide them with drugs. I will admit, I often wanted these kids to take their drugs. When they were drugged they were “normal”. Some would do it. Some hated it. Those who hated it knew it doped them up, it slowed their thinking, it calmed them down while taking away their sense of control, their sense of autonomy, their sense of “being”. Nightmares or dopiness? What a choice.

One philosopher/sociologist/historian we encountered in our reading is Michel Foucault. I do not know enough about him to pretend that I can summarize his views on matters, but I do know he was skeptical of modern systems of control like the place I worked and the pharmaceutic companies that provided the drugs. We “knew” what was best for these kids and our “knowledge” was “power”….if they took the drug. I saw the decision as an easy night at work or a hard one. They saw it as their humanity or robotics.

Foucault noticed this. Those of us who do not suffer with mental trauma want those who do to take the drugs because their instability challenges our way of life. We want them drugged. We want them locked away. We would rather pay $200,000 annually to have them taken away then wandering our streets. Is Foucault right? Is our “knowledge” of what they need “power”?

If it were you who had to chose between fearful humanity or numb robotics which would it be? It is easier for those giving the drugs than those asked to take them. Some are not even asked as our love for diagnosing children with ADHD has shown over the years! Is this moral? Are we in “the right” when we drug to control? Or is this mere power disguised as “rightness” and “truth” and “order”?

What do you think? As a Christian theologian what do you say to the drugging of society? What is our response to madness? Should we support it because it is “good” in a utilitarian fashion or should we oppose it because all too often the drugs are not for the worst case scenario but for the control of those whom we find uncontrollable?

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.