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Showing posts from October, 2009

Commenting at...Ethics and Salvation

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Faith Autopsy distinguishes between salvation and ethics. I replied, I don't have references in mind right now, but the Bible itself does not seem to separate salvation and ethics. There seem to be sins that, if one partakes in regularly, one should question their salvation.
Arminians would consider this losing one's salvation and Calvinists would call it never truly having salvation.
God is good
jpu I'm frequently misunderstood, so I followed up with this.
Image by Loci Lenar via Flickr
I was thnking more along the lines of James 2. Faith without works is dead. I did not claim that every time I sin I lose my salvation, although that theology does exist. If you are a serial killer, you might not want to presume God has saved you and sealed you for salvation, if you can't stop killing. It's the ongoing bigger sins that are mentioned repeatedly in the sin lists throughout the epistles into revelation that we need to be concerned about, because God is concerned about them …

cinema review: I am David (2003)

I think I came across this film as a recommendation by Netflix. I had never heard of it before. However, it is a Walden film, and I usually like the stuff Walden puts out. Despite the title leaving me with low expectations, or maybe because of that, I was surprised by how good this movie is. It's based on Anne Holme's 1963 children's novel of the same name. Apparently, it was not enjoyed by the professional critics but it did win several awards. It's a piece of fiction about a boy who escapes from a communist work camp in Bulgaria. He carries with him a sealed envelope and is told to find Denmark to deliver the letter. He learns that there are good people in the world, that some people can be trusted. But he also learns that if one only fears wolves in sheeps clothing one will never trust and never smile and never have peace. I enjoyed the use of flashbacks to unveil a mystery. I watched this with my children who also enjoyed the story.



I glimpsed Jesus in this movie, w…

book report: Atheist Delusions by Hart, part 5

The ultimate aim of Hart in his book Atheist Delusions : The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies is to refute the weak claims of the new atheists including books like Christopher Hitchens's God Is Not Great : How Religion Poisons Everything. Can Hitchens's hyperbolic claim be taken seriously? Hart writes,
Even in purely practical terms, to despise religion in the abstract is meaningless conceit. As a historical force, religion has been neither simply good nor simply evil but has merely reflected human nature in all its dimensions. For our remote ancestors it was the force that shaped society, law, and culture by pointing to one or another "higher truth" that could fuse individual wills into common aspirations and efforts. In its more developed forms it has functioned as a source of prohibition and injunction, burning moral commands into obstinate minds with visions of hell and heaven, endless reincarnation or final repose in God, or what have you, fashion…

book report: Atheist Delusions by Hart, part 4

This quote from Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart is a corollary of his assertion I shared previously that the definition of humanity comes from Christian thought.
I cannot help but wonder, then, what remains behind when Christianity's power over culture recedes? How long can our gentler ethical prejudices - many of which seem to me to be melting away with fair rapidity - persist once the faith that gave them their rationale and meaning has withered away? Love endures all things perhaps, as the apostle says, and is eternal; but, as a cultural reality, even love requires a reason for its preeminence among the virtues, and the mere habit of solicitude for others will not necessarily long survive when that reason is no longer found. If, as I have argued in these pages, the "human" as we now understand it is the positive invention of Christianity, might it not be the case that a culture that has become truly post-Christian will also, ultimately, become postman? p.215
Wha…

Electra Royal 8i - my latest bike crush

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I really like this bike.
Let me tell you why.
I like the step through. It's not a ladies bike to any chauvinists out there.I like the internal hub. I mess up my derailleurs.Upright biking posture which takes the pressure off my wrists.Mud guards for all weather riding that I do.It comes with lights.It's less than 1000 bucks.It's classically styled.It will get me to work in all weather.The chain guard keeps the grease off me.If money were no option I'd go for Scrap Deluxe by Velorbis or Workcycles Secret Service Bike. Good quote about the differences in these European bikes and the Electra knock offs at the Dutch Bike Co. blog.
The Townie is a modern interpretation of a hybrid, aluminum “comfort bike”/cruiser design with some Dutch bike-like features. The Electra’s main ergonomic feature and claim to fame is that it is designed with such a relaxed seat tube angle, that riders can place their feet flat on the ground whilst still in the saddle. This makes for a more secure …

African Yurts

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These topics came up on the Yurt Yahoo group I belong to, and I just love round homes.
I started at nomadic yurt camping on the Serengeti. These people credited the inventor of the Zip Yurt for their African, nomadic needs. The claim to fame of these yurts by Mike Jessop is that a 14Image via Wikipedia footer can be assembled by one person in a couple minutes. A pop-up camper of the yurt world. Then someone else mentioned rondavels in Southern Africa. These are traditional structures made from dung, short
Image via Wikipediastraight branches and a thatch roof.

book report: The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

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I read a good book, recently sent to me for review by Thomas Nelson, called The Search for God and Guinness: A biography of the beer that changed the world by Stephen Mansfield. His purpose for writing the book is best summed up at the end in the bibliography. Mansfield writes, ...my purpose has been simply to describe the faith and generosity of Guinness. Details of brewing, controversies over geneaologies, and gossip about the Guinness elite I have left to others. pp. 265-6 The reader learns plenty about the beer brewers in the family but also about the clergy branch and the banking branch. We don't learn as much about the banking/political branch, but we learn so much about the clergy branch. One Guinness in particular stands out because of his enormous influence on the religious revivals of the 1800's. Mansfield asserts that HenryGrattanGuinness was a contemporary of D.L. Moody and as effective, if not more so, than Moody in winning souls to Christ. He and his wife trained…

book report: Atheist Delusions by Hart part 3

Here is one of Hart's explosive claims about the revolution that Christ brought to humanity, the concept of human.
However, one phrases it, the essential intuition of the great churches remains the same: that Christ is one divine person, who perfectly possesses everything proper to God and everything proper to humanity without robbing either of its integrity, and who therefore makes it possible for every human person to become a partaker of the divine nature without thereby ceasing to be human. The rather extraordinary inference to be drawn from this doctrine is that personality is somehow transcendent of nature. A person is not merely a fragment of some larger cosmic or spiritual category, a more perfect of more defective expression of some abstract set of attributes, in light of which his or her values, significance, legitimacy or proper place is to be judged. This man or that woman is not merely a specimen of the general set of the human; rather, his or her human nature is only …

Commenting at...Can you really hate the sin...part 5

This is part of an ongoing conversation at Faith Autopsy. This in response to part 5, where Ben elevates my comments to blog-postdom. Is HtS,LtS (hate the sin love the sinner) a distillation of Jude1:22-23 " 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. "?
We are to show mercy (love) while ***hating*** the things stained by the sins of the flesh.
I haven't been searching for answers to this topic, but I thought of this conversation when I came across these words this morning in my devotions.
That's the ESV. Here is the Message, " Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven." That's pretty good as well.
I read it first in the New Century Version. '23 Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes whi…

book report: Atheist Delusions part 2

Here is another delicious quote from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart.  
the result of the fourth ecumenical council convoked at Chalcedon in 451 was a fragmented church - divided for the most part by terminology rather than by faith. At the same time, the evolution of Christological dogma must also be remembered as one of the most extraordinary intellectual achievements of Christian tradition. Again the principal engine of dogmatic definition was the theology of salvation, and again the chief concern was ho the church might coherently affirm that, in Christ, the divine and the human had been perfectly reconciled and immediately joined. That Christ was wholly God had been proclaimed by the Council of Nicaea; but, in order for his incarnation to have created a truly divinized humanity, he must also have been wholly man. Gregory of Nazianzus stated the matter in a rather elegant aphorism in his "Epistle to Cledonius":…

book report: Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart

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I picked this one up in the new books section of my local library. New books are only lent out for 2 weeks. I needed to renew it because each paragraph demands careful reading. This book is like an amazing cheesecake, rich and dense and altogether delicious. Unlike cheesecake, this book is nourishing for the soul as well. I highly recommend Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart. A collection of his articles can be found at this blog.

His main contention is the the new atheists either don't know church history or have raised up strawmen to knock down. Hart shows, from primary sources, a true portrait of the early church. His other contention is that the new atheists are not honest about the trajectory of their philosophy. He points to Nietzsche as the post-Christian exemplar. I will share quotes later from him that draw the conclusion for the only possible post-Christian philosophy is nihilism. But I have several quotes to shar…

Setting of John 21:1-17

This is actually an attempt to demonstrate in our home school how to discuss the effect of setting in a story. We read John 21 this morning in our family devotions.

John sets the last chapter of his gospel by the sea of Tiberias, v.1. He notes Peter's companions on this post-resurrection fishing trip, v.2. He includes the detail that they were fishing at night, v.3. As experienced fishermen, they know that the night time is the right time to bring in the keepers. Even modern fishermen know this. However, their efforts were for naught. At dawn, they have nothing to show for their endeavor. Perhaps there is mist rising off the lake, because when Jesus calls out to them, they don't recognize him, v.4. His suggestion is the sort of advice non-fishermen would give, as if the fish don't sense the difference in net 10 feet to the other side. Yet, it's on the other side that the huge catch is landed. John emphasizes the size of the catch by noting the immense weight, so great …

Exhibit review: Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Exhibit

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What if a museum commissioned artists and gardeners and neighbors and authors and illustrators to build faerie houses on its grounds? Would anyone come? The Florence Griswold Museum opened such an exhibit yesterday and the crowds had to park on the street to come. But the only crowds were at the ticket counter and the craft barn. With over 30 houses, see their Flickr stream, to observe in the Wee Faerie Village, and an expanse of grounds full of trees and gardens on the bank of the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, CT, there was abundant elbow room.

My worry was, would the exhibit hold the attention of my 14 year old daughter, 11 year old son, and 9 year old daughter? It sure did. In fact, with so many exhibits, it wore us down.

They were all so cute, like this one.


They were tucked into monster trees like this beech. It made my wife and me happy.


It had little faerie baskets hanging from its branches.


Some were at the base of the tree and some were at eye level, like this one.


The kids liked t…

Commenting at...When Experiments Fail @ Sonlight

I wrote...

As the scientist in the family, my job is to teach math and science to the kids. When science experiments fail, i get excited because that's my reality at work.
God is good
jpu

at When Experiments Fail on the Sonlight blog. We buy our home school curricula from them.

Round Home of Love146.org

I like yurts, but here is an example of the round home built intentionally, for the holistic healing of girls rescued from sexual slavery, by a group called Love146.

The founders of this group went to a brothel in SE Asia to see for themselves the monstrosity of the sex industry. Posing as potential customers they were led from room to room to select a girl from the "collection." These girls were watching cartoons with vacant stares. They did not have names, only numbers. No. 146 was different. They figure she was new because she stared back at them with anger and fire. It was for her, #146, that they named their organization. A short video about this history can be watched by clicking here.

This is their philosophy regarding the round home.
The first thing a child needs after being liberated from sexual slavery is a safe place. Love146 is committed to increasing the number of safehomes worldwide for survivors of child sexual exploitation and trafficking.

The Love146 Round Home…

Commenting at...Where do we go from here? at Urbanfaith

I wrote

Abortion kills 1,000,000 babies a year, more than lack of insurance does. What kind of moral calculus can fund abortion to kill 1 million babies to save 50,000 adults with taxes on citizens of a country whose majority opposes abortion on demand?
God is good
jpu

at Where do we go from here? on Urbanfaith.com
See the varied voices in this post who are believers from all over the political spectrum.

Wallace reviews Wright

Wallace weighs Wright's latest book and finds it lacking. But some of the best scholars on Romans—including F. F. Bruce, Joseph Fitzmyer, Otto Kuss, Otto Michel, Douglas Moo, Sanday and Headlam, Adolf Schlatter, Tom Schreiner, and many others—are not mentioned at all. And C. E. B. Cranfield, whose linguistic work on δίκαιος and its cognates is some of the strongest defense of the ‘old perspective’ of Paul’s view of justification, is mentioned twice (pp. 16, 54 [33, 73]), both off-handed comments that involve zero substantive interaction with Cranfield’s exegesis. Wright is of course right to emphasize that there is more to the gospel than individual salvation, but what he puts above it is so abstract and so politically oriented that it really does not answer some of the basic questions we as human beings have about our standing before God, let alone our potential relationship to God.

Commenting at...Confronting Health-care hysteria

I wrote, European constitutions are very different from America's. Obama has vowed to uphold our constitution, which really does not provide for a socialist system. If he doesn't like it, he can lobby for amendments, but he can't ignore it. Americans practice voluntary and even state socialism, but those are constitutionally viable options. Ignoring the constitution gave us Jim Crow laws and Roe v. Wade. It could also give us socialized medicine.
Context and comment can be found at UrbanFaith, Confronting Health-Care hysteria part 3.

building with rice

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Not loose rice, but compressed into a 30lb block like a Lego, which is superinsulated, easy to assemble and strong. Check out this new technology at Oryzatech. I love simple products for simple people like me.

Big government healthcare spoof ad

this made me grin

Breezepods: New Zealand alternative housing

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Breezepod learned its stuff from boat manufacturing. Now they can make houses in a mold. I really like model no.2 because it can be elongated as needed. Model no. 1 is a yurt-like dwelling. Although not expandable, they can be connected in a yurt cluster. I like round houses, look at these other posts. Although these homes are small, McMansions are passe. Small is the new big. If you don't believe me, go enjoy the homes at the Tiny House blog. The round, all-in-one kitchen unit in a recent TH post might be perfect in a yurt like this one. Small helps lower expenses such as climate control, taxes, insurance, and construction waste. The performance characteristics of a Breezepod are worth considering for the discerning alternative home buyer.

Unfortunately, the pictures on the site are huge, so I won't post them here, but I encourage a visit.