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Showing posts from November, 2009

Biblical heroes or biblical failures?

I've been thinking about the Bible. I tend to do that. 
I've been thinking about the heroes of the Bible. I define heroes as the ones who are mentioned repeatedly in the children's Sunday lessons. When my kids get to grown-up church, they will learn how much those heroes sucked. This is partly why we are reading through the Bible as a family. They need to know there is only one hero. 
God. 
God is the one who constantly has to swoop in and rescue these losers. That's the thing. He always does. What makes God the hero is his grace and mercy. 
Our best efforts to please him are no more than fingerpaintings he hangs on his fridge. We tend to run out of his house and jump in the mud and get covered in poison ivy and ticks and end up getting stuck in a thorn bush, and he is the one who is right there as soon as we cry for help. He brings us inside and cleans us up and washes us and heals us and puts band aids on us and kisses our boo-boos and puts new clothes on us. Most of us …

Twilight and LDS communion

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I think the case can be made that for LDS author Stephenie Meyer, Twilight is written within the milieu of Mormonism. Thus, much of its symbolism can be seen to have derived from LDS theology. I think there are many points of contact, too many for one blog post, so I will touch on them, bit by bit.

Let me assert that the vampire Cullen family are the good guys in the series. They may have weaknesses, but overall, they are the best. In fact, Bella Swan practically worships them as wellImage via Wikipedia as her boyfriend, Eddie [Munster] Cullen.

I think they represent an ideal family to Meyer. Their marble white skin has echoes of LDS theology as well, but that's for another time. One thing that sets the Cullen clan apart from most vampire clans is there "vegetarianism." They abstain from human blood. They derive their sustenance from the blood of predators like grizzlies and mountain lions.

In the first book, they encounter typical vampires who get thirsty when they meet Be…

Mormon temple marriages

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The LDS church played a role in California's political fight last year against gay marriage. They have taken much heat for this. However, their alternative to gay marriage is a little different from what non-Mormons may assume. A marriage not sealed in their temple as faithful Mormons is temporary, but faithful Mormons can be sealed together for eternity in a temple marriage, from About.comImage via Wikipedia Temple Marriage is Forever: Being married in a temple means being together for all time and all eternity and having an eternal family. When a couple is sealed to each other on earth (with the proper authority) they are also sealed to each other in heaven. Through this sealing power families can be together, after death, in the next life. For a marriage to be eternal a couple must be sealed together in God's holy temple and by his holy priesthood power, if not their marriage will only be "until death do you part." "The divine plan of happiness enables family re…

book report: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

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What would drive me, strong, brave, intelligent, to read the superficial, thick, vapid teen novel, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer? Was it because I happen to enjoy romance novels? Is it because I Cover of Twilight (Twilight, Book 1)can't resist a loquacious, materialistic, vapid author who never met a noun with multiple adjectives she didn't like? Did I long to re-live the emotional quagmire of adolescence from a dysfunctional, emotionally unstable, female viewpoint?

No. No.

Rather, I happen to parent a young adolescent daughter who has a voracious appetite for novels after cutting her teeth on Rowling's Harry Potter series over and over again. She is perpetually in search of something equal to Rowling's opus in the adolescent market. A popular 500 page novel based on the occult life of a teen girl in high school has come onto her radar, mostly due to the cinema success and a few breathless recommendations by her fellow readers.

Therefore, I decided to preview the book to se…

Stem Cell Research Facts

Great new website on the successes of non-neonatal stem cell treatments.
Nearly everyone inside and outside of the medical and scientific community agrees that stem cell research represents one of the most exciting and promising frontiers for treating people with a myriad of diseases and conditions. Stem cell research and treatments represent perhaps mankind's greatest opportunity to fulfill that ancient call to "heal the sick," relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for untold millions of people. This website provides scientific facts and concise information for those of us who are not scientists, researchers or medical professionals. You will learn answers to questions like ..."Who is benefitting from stem cell research and therapies today?" and "What types of stem cells are working?" In addition, basic questions such as "What is a stem cell?" "Why do we need stem cell research?" are answered.

Shed and Shelter

This site, Shed and Shelter, rocks! It puts to shame everything I've linked to on this blog in the "houses" category. My favorite part of his site, is the temporary shelters. My new favorite, from his page, is Intershelter.

At the bottom of his page, I saw he also had a beach cruiser bike page. I hang my head in defeat. I don't hold a candle to his sites. What an excellent resource.

book report: Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart; part 7

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This is the last quote from Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart. I don't think his "prediction" is anymore than an observation of cultures that have already entered a post-Christian phase. It may well be that, when Christianity passes away from a culture, nihilism is the Cover via Amazoninevitable consequence, precisely because of what Christianity itself is. Once, ages ago, the revolution that the gospel brought into the ancient world discredited the entire sacred order of the old religion. Christianity took the gods away, subdued them so utterly that, try though we might, we can never really believe in them again. The world was in one sense demystified, even as it was imbued with another kind of sacramental splendor. And so powerful was the new religion's embrace of reality, and so comprehensive and pervasive its effects, that even the highest achievements of antique pagan wisdom were easily assumed into its own new intellectual, aesthetic, and ethical synthesi…

Christian rock industry conspiracies

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A friend of mine likes to share on Facebook videos of the Christian hair metal we used to listen to 20 years ago. I think all hair metal videos are embarrassing these days but the more egregious part is how much they emulated/imitated/ripped off the sound of secular bands. He posted one video of Iron Maiden's and that of another Christian band that sounded just like them, showing the obvious rip-off.
I responded that I wanted the Maiden sound without the devil worshiping of the other guys. It turns out, they didn't do any devil worshiping. But I didn't find this out for years. I just believed the information fed to me by traveling church authorities who wrote books and gave lectures and played albums backwards to convince kids like me, and our parents, that the rock and roll industry was conspiring with Satan to bring us to hell. Certainly, many bands do sing mostly about the pleasures of the carnal life, but that's not the same as advocating devil worship. And I'm …

book report: 5 Cities that Shaped the World by Douglas Wilson

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I received this complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson for my review. Douglas Wilson is a very smart guy, in fact, he and Christopher Hitchens took their atheism debate on the road and made a documentary about it called Collision. When I saw a new book of his out, 5 Cities that Ruled the World, I looked forward to reading it. But it wasn't what I expected. He enjoys sharing vignettes from the histories of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York, and, with the exception of New York, how Christianity affected and was affected by the cultures of those cities. The New York outlier makes this book read more like a collection of essays than a coherent whole. None of the essays follow a common pattern, in regards to what makes each city a ruler of the world. None of the essays make an argument for the superiority of each city over it's contemporary pretenders. The assertions he includes offer a curious distraction to what he leaves out. I don't find it helpful for him to ass…

Review: A Weekend to Remember by Family Life

"Love like you mean it" is the slogan for Family Life's weekend marriage seminar called A Weekend to Remember, WtR. Every year, couples from my church go to this conference. As a family with 3 children, finances and housesitters don't come easy. But this year we started supporting a friend of mine going on staff with Family Life, Brian Winkler, go to his website and support him here, and we received hugely discounted passes to a WtR conference. So we committed. We are glad we did. If nothing else, we were glad to get away, eat at a nice restaurant, and enjoy a beautiful and unusually warm Connecticut autumn weekend.

We don't consider our marriage in trouble or on the rocks, but, we reasoned, we aren't perfect and could always use encouragement and reminders on things we may have neglected. We did get good refreshers on communication, expectations, and spiritual communion with each other and our kids.

One of the spiritual disciplines I am weakest at is prayer. I…

who is this generation's Steve Taylor?

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Periodically, like this morning on the bike ride, I sing Steve Taylor tunes. Who is Steve Taylor, a Image by smallritual via FlickrChristian musician from the 1980's with the ministry of a prophet. He wasn't the kind of prophet who predicted anything, other than 1990, but the kind who held a mirror up to the American evangelical church and asked, "What's wrong with this picture, we do not resemble Jesus at all."

This morning I was singing the song I Just Wanna Know from the album pictured here, On the Fritz, released in 1985! I love the end of the song
Search me, Father, and know my heart
Try me and know my mind
And if there be any wicked way in me
Pull me to the rock that is higher than II just wanna know
Am I pulling people closer?
I just wanna be pulling them to you
I just wanna stay angry at the evil
I just wanna be hungry for the trueI want my kids to listen to orthodox, prophetic music. As a bonus, I'd like them to hear original music, that doesn't suffer fr…

book report: Atheist Delusions by Hart, part 6

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Here is my penultimate quote selection from Hart's Atheist Delusions. Hart does not try to hide the warts of the church. However, while acknowledging the rotten fruit he also notes the fruit of secularism.
In purely arithmetic terms, one cannot dispute the results. The old order [Christianity-jpu] could generally reckon its victims only in the thousands. But in the new age, the secular state, with all its hitherto unimagined capacities, could pursue its purely earthly ideals and ambitions only if it enjoyed the liberty to kill by the millions. How else could it spread its wings? p.223 As I've noted in previous book reports, atheist regimes in the last century made up for lost time with emphasis in the previous century. See my reports on Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, two big time communists, 20-70MM killed by each of the first two and a small player who still managed to wipe out a million of his own people. I've linked to the numbers a few times here and here, as well as talked …