How to open a book

Boing Boing has an interesting infographic on how to loosen the binding of a new book properly. I wonder how long it will take before we’ll need to have instructions on “How to open a book” because kids will have forgotten that there used to be a time when you actually had to “open” a book.

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Flotsam and jetsam (Labor Day edition)

To celebrate Labor Day, here are some of the more interesting recent blog posts from around the internet on the theme of work and labor.

Wake Forest church uses WTF to attract college students

A church in Wake Forest has decided to build its logo around the acronym WTF (to them it means “worship, teaching, friends”). A picture of the church has recently received lots of attention on the web, with most people assuming that the church is clueless and has no idea what the acronym actually stands for. But, according to the church’s blog, they’re well aware of its usual meaning, but have used the acronym as part of an intentional strategy to market the church to college students. (Don’t you love it when we use the words “market” and “church” in the same sentence?) So, the church is pretty excited about all the attention that they’ve received from this photo.

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Born with a black hat

Why do I do the bad things that I do? Because I was born with a black hat, of course.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axgUW8B8KBw&feature=player_embedded

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I’m sure you could use this as a good discussion starter for talking about things like original sin, total depravity, fatalism, etc.

Richard Hays’ convocation address

Thanks to Daniel Kirk for pointing out that the convocation address from Richard Hays’ installation as the new Dean of Duke Divinity School is now available. The address, “I Have Set Before You Life and Death,” is also available through iTunes U.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeGA0L-Pr0E&feature=player_embedded

Flotsam and jetsam (9/5)

A prayer for Sunday…Gregory the Great

September 3 is the traditional day to remember Gregory the Great (540-604). We’re a couple of days late, but still close. So, today’s prayer comes from him.

O Lord, You received affronts
without number from Your blasphemers,
yet each day You free captive souls
from the grip of the ancient enemy.
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You did not avert Your face
from the spittle of perfidy,
yet You wash souls in saving waters.
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You accepted Your scourging without murmur,
yet through your meditation
You deliver us from endless chastisements.
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You endured ill-treatment of all kinds,
yet You want to give us a share
in the choirs of angels in glory everlasting.
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You did not refuse to be crowned with thorns,
yet You save us from the wounds of sin.
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In your thirst You accepted the bitterness of gall,
yet You prepare Yourself to fill us with eternal delights.
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You kept silence under the derisive homage
rendered You by Your executioners,
yet You petition the Father for us
although You are his equal in Divinity.
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You came to taste death,
yet You were the Life
and had come to bring it to the dead.
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Amen.


O Lord, You received affronts
without number from Your blasphemers,
yet each day You free captive souls
from the grip of the ancient enemy.
You did not avert Your face
from the spittle of perfidy,
yet You wash souls in saving waters.
You accepted Your scourging without murmur,
yet through your meditation
You deliver us from endless chastisements.
You endured ill-treatment of all kinds,
yet You want to give us a share
in the choirs of angels in glory everlasting.
You did not refuse to be crowned with thorns,
yet You save us from the wounds of sin.
In your thirst You accepted the bitterness of gall,
yet You prepare Yourself to fill us with eternal delights.
You kept silence under the derisive homage
rendered You by Your executioners,
yet You petition the Father for us
although You are his equal in Divinity.
You came to taste death,
yet You were the Life
and had come to bring it to the dead.
Amen.

Being poor with a rich imagination

Should I burn my mother-in-law?

In April I flew to Iowa to meet my family and bury my great Aunt.  She was an amazing woman who grew up on a farm during the depression, won a state basketball championship in high school, and was one of the most honest, spirited persons I have ever known.  She loved the Lord, served her church faithfully, and upon her death was cremated.  Since then several people in my family have talked of being cremated when they die.  This includes my mother-in-law who asked me about this very subject last night.  I have given it some thought but wanted to see where others stood on the issue.  John Piper gives several reasons why he does not counsel people to be cremated:

1. Burning people was associated with pagan religions in Scripture.  “The biblical pattern is that burning your children is pagan and burying your loved ones is a sign that you believe in the resurrection.”

2.  Scripture speaks of believers who die as though they are asleep.  This is most symbolically represented by the placing of a body in a casket and then burial in the ground.  You want to symbolically put it to rest, not destroy it.

3.  The bible has such a high view of the body.  It is God’s creation.  God will redeem it upon his return.  It is the temple of God while the believer lives on earth.  All of these truths should lead every believer to treat the body with respect, and Piper does not feel that cremation necessarily does this.

4.  Although the financial cost may be cheaper, the emotional cost on family members who don’t want to see this happen to a loved one may outweigh the material cost.

He makes good points here, but there are arguments on the others side as well.

1. The Bible never explicitly states that cremation of a deceased loved one is a sin.  When Piper says that “burning your children is pagan,” he is referring to child sacrifice in the OT which was murder and an abomination.  Those who speak of cremation are dealing with a person who is already gone, although a funeral is a religious ceremony as well.

2.If our desire was really to follow biblical patterns for burial, we should be placing bodies in catacombs wrapped in linen and spices.

3. In a hundred years it will be as though the body had been cremated when it returns to the dust of the ground.  Furthermore, many people have died in various ways that have affected the body and this will not hinder God in creating a new-redeemed body for the believer.

So my question is whether or not this issue is more a matter of preference, or if there is clear biblical teaching and principles that should be followed?

Just because…scaring people is funny

All I can say about this video is that I hope some of these people are carrying lots of insurance and know some good therapists…especially for the children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFKdBPEunRM&feature=player_embedded