According to the commercial I just saw, Toyota really cares about my safety. So much so, in fact, that they’re investing one million dollars every hour of every day just to keep me safe. That’s amazing! I don’t even own a Toyota. And still they’re trying to keep me safe. You’d think they’d be concerned about things like money, profits, and stock prices. But, no. They just want to make sure that I’m okay. That’s lovely. They must be very nice people.
A few days ago I blogged about the trailer for Rhonda Byrne’s The Power. A comment on that post came from the official web page for The Power. And, apparently, they aren’t concerned about developing more humility. Here’s their description:
The knowledge contained in The Power can and will change lives instantly. And the profound revelations are amplified by the book’s breathtaking illustrations – the book’s beauty is truly astounding.
Oh, is that all?
Sufjan Stevens just released his newest album. I just found out about this and haven’t even had a chance to listen to it myself. But, Stevens is one of the more creative indie artists around, and his stuff is always worth checking out. You can buy the entire album for only $5 at Stevens’ web page, or you can stream it for free here.
If your family was made up of famous people from church history, what would your family reunion look like? For a recent church history project, one of my students used the metaphor of a family to explain what he thought about various figures in church history. He gave me permission to pass it along, so here’s what he came up with:
- The family members he gets along with the best: Jerome, Wycliffe, Susanna Wesley, Finney, Spurgeon, Chesterton, William Seymour, Dostoyevsky, Jim Elliot, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Family members that just rub him the wrong way: John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards
- Family members that he just flat doesn’t like: The Crusaders
- The embarrassing uncle of the family: the snake-handling preacher
I liked the idea, so I thought I’d put together my own family:
- Parents (formative early, even if we may not get along now): C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Frank Peretti, Charles Sheldon
- Wise uncles (mentored me as I got older): Augustine, Maximus, Luther, Calvin, Dostoyevsky, Barth
- Weird uncles (part of the family, but embarrassing): televangelists (e.g. Jim and Tammy Faye Baker), many Christian “artists” (e.g., Kinkade), TBN
- Siblings (closely related, but we fight a lot): Rick Warren, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur
- Cousins (related to me, but I don’t know them very well): Isaac Backus, Walter Rauschenbusch, A.H. Strong,
- Bob (that one family member you wish would stop coming to the reunions): Joel Osteen
And, if that’s my family, I can only imagine what the family reunion would look like:
C.S. Lewis and Tolkien are outside smoking their pipes and drinking a couple of beers. Peretti is standing a few yards away, desperately wanting to join in but afraid that they’ll make fun of his books again. Augustine is out back sneaking peaches from the peach tree. Meanwhile, Luther is busy spiking the bunch bowl to see if he can get the folks from TBN drunk, and Thomas Kinkade is waiting for him to finish because he’s thirsty again. Barth’s off in the corner discussing socialism with Sheldon and Rauschenbusch, while trying to explain the inadequacies of the social Gospel. Osteen’s there too, nodding his head regularly, though he has no idea what they’re talking about. Warren, Driscoll, and MacArthur tried to ignore each other for a while, but accidentally ended up going for food at the same time. Now they’re standing around the food table having a loud argument about whether it’s okay to put mustard on hot dogs. In a little while, they’ll probably end up wrestling on the floor and knocking several lamps over. Isaac Backus and A.H. Strong are sitting on the couch listened in horrified fascination as Jim and Tammy Faye Baker tearfully explain why God really wanted them to have all that money for their ministry. And, Maximus and Dostoyevsky are watching the whole thing from the kitchen while having the most fascinating discussion about what all of this means for understanding human nature.
One of the things that I appreciated about this whole exercise was the reminder that we are all part of the same family (though I’m pretty sure Osteen is actually an alien impostor switched at birth with a real family member). Although we might be distantly related in places, we certainly don’t get along all the time, and I may not have gotten to know all of them very well yet, we’re still part of the same, big, messy, obnoxious, often embarrassing family – united to the same Christ, empowered by the same Spirit, glorifying the same Father.
I won’t try to turn this into a meme, but I would be curious to know about your family. Feel free to comment on what your family looks like. Or, if you choose to blog about it, drop us a link so we can follow along.
Just a few quick links for your Saturday morning reading enjoyment:
- Slate.com has a great review of a new biography of Jack London. It opens with, “The United States has a startling ability to take its most angry, edgy radicals and turn them into cuddly eunuchs.” And, it goes on to call London “the most-read revolutionary Socialist in American history,” whom we remember primarily for writing “a cute story about a dog.” Good reading.
- Jim has posted his review of Getting the Reformation Wrong by James Payton.
- LEGOs have been voted the most popular toy ever made, right ahead of Barbie. And, in honor of that, here’s an article on recreating famous buildings using LEGOs.
- NYT has an interesting (albeit obnoxiously long) article on whether we should view “twentysomething” as a distinct stage of development – emerging adulthood.
- And, they’ve reached the “maze race” stage of the humans vs. rats contest. I think rats have an unfair advantage here because they get significantly more maze practice time than humans do.
Thanks to Jim for pointing out this debate between Christopher Hitchens and John Haldane (a professor of philosophy at St. Andrews and an amazingly intelligent individual). I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but Jim seems to think that Hitchens gets pretty well schooled in the process, and Jonathan seems to agree.
Joe Carter has published his list of the 50 Most Influential Religious Figures in American History. I won’t reprint the list here, but it’s an interesting list. Unfortunately, he gives the list in alphabetical order. I would have liked to see him try to rank these people in order of influence/significance. That’s always an impossible task, but it’s fun to watch people try.
I did notice some surprising omissions.
- American liberal theology was noticeably underrepresented. What about William Ellery Channing, Harry Ward Beecher, and Harry Emerson Fosdick?
- And, since we’re talking about American religiosity in general, where are the Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau?
- What about U.S. Hispanic religious leaders? Certainly figures like Padre Martinez or Virgilio Elizondo are worthy of consideration.
- And, of course, let’s not forget Gary Larson. I think my generation learned more about religion from the Far Side cartoons than any of the above combined.
Is there anyone that you would want to see included in a list like this?
Here’s a fabulous animated video portraying Google’s descent into evil as it invades privacy, conspires with Verizon (the Devil) to take over the internet, and basically carries out its plan for world domination.
- John Barber argues that evangelicalism is dying, but that there’s hope for revival.
- Kevin DeYoung offers some words from Dorothy Sayers on the importance of theology in her day (and ours).
- A new study confirms that poor people are more generous.
- A Methodist church in the UK has backed off from its plans to celebrate communion via Twitter.
- Denny Burk offers 6 reasons to try the Olive Tree Bible app.
- The BBC interview NT Wright on his impending retirement and move to St. Andrews. HT
- Apparently there’s a new FB scam targeting Justin Bieber fans. Of course, if you’re a Justin Bieber fan, you probably deserve it.
- And, some guy was such a big Ayn Rand fan that he drove across America, plotting his course with a GPS system, so that when he was done it would spell out “Read Ayn Rand.” I’m sure that was time well spent.