Flotsam and jetsam (7/18)

xmen

Good Reads

  • Fantasy and the Buffered Self: the porous self is open to the divine as well as to the demonic, while the buffered self is closed to both alike. Those who must guard against capture by fairies are necessarily and by the same token receptive to mystical experiences….Safety is purchased at the high price of isolation. (Alan Jacobs)
  • Wonder and the Ends of Inquiry: Wonder is not only a peculiarly human passion; it is also one that, at least on this account, underscores the limits of human knowledge. The more we know, the less we wonder. (The Point)
  • Being a Better Online Reader: The digital deficit, they suggest, isn’t a result of the medium as such but rather of a failure of self-knowledge and self-control: we don’t realize that digital comprehension may take just as much time as reading a book. (The NewYorker)
  • Want to Love Your Job? Church Can Help, Study Says:  Regular attenders who frequent a church that teaches God is present at your workplace, work is a mission from God, or that faith can guide work decisions and practices is a good sign for your career, according to a recent study from Baylor University. (Christianity Today)

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A Common (But Bad) Reason for Rejecting Penal Substitution

Crows-Celtic-CrossAs a theology professor, I routinely hear people claim that Anselm  invented the penal substitution  view of the atonement. This is the idea that Jesus bore the punishment that we rightly deserved because of our sin, and that this was necessary for us to be reconciled to God.

Before Anselm, the church had a view that focused almost exclusively on ideas like victory—i.e. on the cross Jesus defeated the enemies of humanity like Satan, death, and sin—and healing—i.e. the entirety of his incarnate life healed our broken humanity and made it possible for us to resume the path to godlikeness. (If you’d like some examples, see here  and here .)

And people often use the relative newness of the theory as a reason for rejecting it. If the early church didn’t think of the cross as some kind of vicarious punishment, if that was just a medieval invention, let’s get rid of it.

There’s just one problem with this: it’s wrong. And it’s wrong for two important reasons.

[This is the beginning of my newest post over at Christianity.com. Head over there to check it out, and let me know what you think.]

Flotsam and jetsam (7/16)

holding signs

Good Reads

  • My God. My Enemy. My Eating Disorder: I was raised with the understanding that I must better the world in order to enter the pearly gates of heaven. And if the world could not accept me for the overweight child that I was, there was no hope that I could change the world. Therefore, how could I be good in the eyes of this God? (On Faith)
  • Books Are Alive: The worst thing about prophets of inevitable technological progress, besides their obvious myopic tendencies, is their fondness of universalizing the particular. It’s not enough to observe that more people are reading books on their smartphones; you need to announce that The Future of Reading is Smartphones. Meanwhile, 42 percent of American adults still don’t even own a smartphone. (The Baffler)
  • Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense:  Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They’re for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they’ve heard of. They’d like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn’t run anything. (The Atlantic)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/14)

brain is full

Good Reads

  • Is Evangelical Morality Still Acceptable in America?  And this is a basic tenet of evangelical Christianity, too: Faith must be lived out in the public square; a privatized faith is no faith worth the name. Because of this, the real debate isn’t about whether morality should be public or private; it’s about about figuring out what kind of moral impositions are tolerable and fair in a pluralistic society. (The Atlantic)
  • When Belief and Facts Collide: Mr. Kahan’s study suggests that more people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views. (New York Times)
  • How Evangelical Christians Do Money: On Tithing:  He doesn’t need my money. The church will continue to exist without my measly portion of income. But my heart needs to give it, to help me grow deeper in trust, and to extricate myself from the clutches of greed and vanity that pull at me. (The Billfold)

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5 Affirmations on Inerrancy

inerrancy-197x300Inerrancy continues to be one of those hot-button theological issues that frustrates some and fascinates others. In some contexts, denying inerrancy will get you fired, labeled a heretic, or possibly both. In other contexts, affirming inerrancy will get you disregarded, labeled a fundamentalist, or almost certainly both. And many of the books on inerrancy slide annoyingly toward one extreme or the other. So I’ve been looking forward to reading Zondervan’s Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy since it came out last Fall, hoping that it would offer a more nuanced exchange of perspectives on such an important issue. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Since quite a few reviews of the book have already been written (see esp. Gavin Ortlund’s review), I thought I’d do something a little different. As I was reading through the book, I was struck by the fact that each of the five essays offered something important to the discussion about inerrancy, even the ones that were most critical of the concept. So I’d like to focus on five affirmations that we can and should make about inerrancy, drawing from each of the five essays.

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A Prayer for Sunday (John Wesley)

john wesleyA famous Anglican ministry in his day and ours, John Wesley‘s ministry, the accompanying revivals, and the subsequent rise of Methodism all combined to reshape the church in the English speaking world. For that alone Wesley would be worth remembering. But when you add in his impressive theological contributions and social efforts, his life becomes even more notable.

John Wesley died on March 2, 1791, fifty-three years after the famous Aldersgate experience that shaped his approach to Christian life and ministry. In honor of his amazing life and impact, today’s prayer comes from him.

Forgive them all, O Lord:
our sins of omission and our sins of commission;
the sins of our youth and the sins of our riper years;
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies;
our secret and our more open sins;
our sins of ignorance and surprise,
…..and our more deliberate and presumptuous sins;
the sins we have done to please others;
the sins we know and remember,
…..and the sins we have forgotten;
the sins we have striven to hide from others
…..and the sins by which we have made others offend;

forgive them, O Lord,
forgive them all for his sake,
…..who died for our sins and rose for our justification,
…..and now stands at thy right hand to make intercession for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday Morning Fun…14 Highly Intellectual Jokes You Probably Won’t Understand

Check out the original post from Mashable to see all 14, but these are my favorites. And just in case you read through these and are tempted to think about how smart you are compared to all those “stupid people,” make sure you read the bonus cartoon at the bottom from http://xkcd.com/1386/.

extrapolate

fish

gigs

oedipus

And here’s your bonus cartoon.

people_are_stupid

 

 

 

Flotsam and jetsam on vacation

Travel PosterFlotsam and jetsam will be going on hiatus for a couple of weeks while I spend some time with my family on the West Coast. We’re currently in Northern California (Monterey) for a family birthday celebration, and then we’re heading up to Portland for a week so I can teach a class on the Greek Fathers for Western Seminary’s ThM program. Very much looking forward to being back in the great NW for the first time since we left last summer, and how can you complain about spending a week discussing theologians like Origen, Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Maximus the Confessor with some terrific ThM students? Should be great fun.

I have some other posts scheduled while I’m gone, so the blog won’t go completely silent. But since there’s no way to schedule Flotsam and Jetsam posts in advance, those will need to shut down in the interim. They should start up again later in July.

Have a great summer!

The World Cup of Everything Else

World FootballThe World Cup is well under way with quite a few teams having already qualified for the next round. But if you’re curious about how the countries participating in this years’ World Cup stack up in other areas, here’s a great interactive chart comparing all 32 countries across a range of measures: The World Cup of Everything Else.

You’ll have the peruse the chart yourself to see all the data, but here are some of the results I found most interesting.

  • The US pops up in quite a few places, of course, but some of the more ignominious include highest obesity rate, most McDonalds per capita (as well as the most Starbucks per capita), and most CO2 emissions.
  • Some of the other expected results included France having the most total tourists, Russia being the biggest drinkers, and Honduras having the highest murder rate.
  • Ghana spends the most on education as a percentage of GDP.
  • Algeria has the highest military spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Japan has the most forest as a percentage of total land.
  • The highest percentage of internet users lives in the Netherlands, which also the most water as a percentage of total land.
  • Iran gets both the highest inflation rate and the highest traffic death rate.
  • The team with the most Twitter followers is Mexico.
  • Costa Rica has the highest percentage of women in government.

There’s more, but you can read it for yourself.

Flotsam and jetsam

England fan

England fan

Good Reads

  • Their Blood Cries Out: Rupert Shortt and John Allen want readers to wake up. In books chock full of details—names, dates, places, circumstances—they document violence against Christian believers that in various forms has been building steadily in many parts of the world. (Mark Noll)
  • When Words Mean What They Don’t Mean:  As I like to say: “language is the stringing of one ambiguity after another.” There is so much more to communication than merely words….Our words create pictures, and those images communicate and fill in the blanks (and at times straighten out the absurdities of the words we use). (Bill Mounce)
  • Understanding Millennials: 3 Pillars of the Millennial Generation:  As you can imagine, there is a LOT of diversity within the Millennial generation, which is the case with any generation to be sure, but it could be argued that diversity defines Millennials. In fact, because of the widespread diversity in the Millennial generation, the predominance of diversity is one of the only definitives of this people group. (Millennial Evangelical)
  • Putting Religion in its Place: The Secular State and Human Flourishing – A Debate:  Few topics are as contentious today as the role of religion in political debate and public deliberation. Rival positions rely on differing accounts of history, conceptions of “religion” and convictions about the role of the state. Russell Blackford (University of Newcastle) and William Cavanaugh (DePaul University) have both written extensively on this topic, and thus their wide-ranging exchange represents an uncommonly sophisticated treatment of the issues at stake and why they matter. (Religion and Ethics)

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