Friday, October 30, 2009

Commenting at...Ethics and Salvation

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
I'm frequently misunderstood, so I followed up with this.

The Anointing of the Holy Spirit (Poetry)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 as well as ignoring the positive ethics repeated throughout.

I know that if I went out and lived a prodigal life, my prodigal Father would accept my repentance. What I don't want to presume though is what happens if I die in my prodigal waywardness. James seems to disagree with "once saved always saved" by saying like yourself a few words and an altar call do not mean anything. Words and deeds go hand in hand, as much as we are capable.

I don't believe in a works righteousness or an earned salvation. Nor did I suggest that earlier. But I take James to mean the ethics prove the salvation, but mean nothing without the response Peter gave to the crowd in Acts 2, Repent and be baptized, so that we'll receive the Holy Spirit.

In summary, we need to live out what we believe. If we don't believe, it doesn't matter how we live. If we don't live it out, with the Biblically-specific-NT-ethical-lists in mind, then did we ever believe?

God is good

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, well, Jim Caviezel anyway. He doesn't have much screen time, but he does act as the voice of hope for the child and demonstrates personal sacrifice so that the child will succeed. The main character, well-played by newcomer Ben Tibber, was the representative of all who leave the darkness and come into the light, whether from communism to freedom, slavery to freedom, orphaned to reunited. It's these universal themes that made the story so good in my eyes. I hope others watch this one as well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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, fashioning conscience by breaking and binding inflexible wills, applying now the cautery of fear, now the balm of hope (we may not much like this, but - to paraphrase Freud - inhibition is the price of civilization). In its even more developed forms, it has encouraged love or compassion or peacefulness in numberless souls, even if it has also inspired or abetted sanctimony and intolerance in others. And the more imaginatively stirring the spiritual longing it has awakened in various peoples, the more extraordinary the cultural accomplishments it has elicited from them. Both the most primordial artistic impulses in a people and the most refined expressions have always been indissolubly united to visions of eternal order. In the end, to regret "religion" as such is to regret that humanity ever became more as a species than a collection of especially cunning brutes. p. 221
As far as Hart is concerned the New Atheists can't hold a match to the brutally honest and well considered atheism of Neitzsche, who had no delusion that an atheistic humanity would retain such weak ideals like compassion and service. I will quote from Douglas Wilson's essay debate in the HuffPo which I linked to yesterday.
So if the universe is what the atheist maintains it is, then this determines what sort of account we must give for the nature of everything -- and this includes the atheist's thought processes, ethical convictions, and aesthetic appreciations. If you were to shake up two bottles of pop and place them on a table to fizz over, you could not fill up an auditorium with people who came to watch them debate. This is because they are not debating; they are just fizzing. If you were to shake up one bottle of pop, and show it film footage of some genocidal atrocity, the reaction you would get is not moral outrage, but rather more fizzing. And if you were to shake it really hard by means of art school, and place it in front of Michelangelo's David, or the Rose Window of Chartres Cathedral, the results would not really be aesthetic appreciation, but more fizzing still.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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

What does a post-human culture look like? Probably like those cultures that have never received the gospel of Jesus Christ or have outright rejected it. It's not nice to name names, but I look at Maoist and Stalinist countries, where the concept of human or individual rights are stripped away for the benefit of the collective. But the collective is usually a euphemism for the ruling elite, much like organized crime. I also think of pagan cultures. They are typically primitive in their technology but their brutality could only be enhanced with technology.

By the way, I encourage everyone to read the dueling essays in the Huffington Post between Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson over atheism in anticipation of their debate documentary. Trailer below for Collision.

Facebook friends, I will post the video there for you all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Electra Royal 8i - my latest bike crush

I really like this bike.
Let me tell you why.
  1. I like the step through. It's not a ladies bike to any chauvinists out there.
  2. I like the internal hub. I mess up my derailleurs.
  3. Upright biking posture which takes the pressure off my wrists.
  4. Mud guards for all weather riding that I do.
  5. It comes with lights.
  6. It's less than 1000 bucks.
  7. It's classically styled.
  8. It will get me to work in all weather.
  9. 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 feeling for inexperienced riders when starting or stopping. Great for riding wheelies though not the best hauler.

For those considering a less-expensive, recreational (i.e., you mostly ride in fair weather and rarely haul groceries/cargo/friends) bike with all the benefits of the Shimano Nexus 8-speed and roller brakes, or for those with adaptive needs or new to cycling, the Electra can meet your needs.

Friday, October 23, 2009

African Yurts

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 14

A Southern African rondavel (or banda)Image 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

A rondavel at Khutse Kalahari Lodge, BotswanaImage via Wikipedia

straight branches and a thatch roof.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

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

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, 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 Henry Grattan Guinness 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 missionaries to continue the work of Hudson Taylor in China and Livingstone in Africa. They hosted Moody on evangelistic tours through Ireland and England. He researched and wrote rebuttals against fellow countryman Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution he considered a "pseudoscience that sought to wind the day in England - and the church was largely unequipped to give an answer." p. 194 He also researched astronomy and wrote about the harmony of astronomical cycles and Biblical prophecy, titled The Approaching End of the Age in Light of History, Prophecy, and Science, that went through fourteen editions. His eschatology was also informed by his affiliation with the Plymouth Brethren, which means, he might have enjoyed the Left Behind series. In his understanding, he predicted, in his book Light for the Last Days, that 1917 would be a significant time in prophetic events as well as 1948. In 1917, Jerusalem was taken over by a Christian commander. "Yet Henry Grattan Guinness, writing nearly sixty years before the event, predicted the miraculous event of 1948 when Israel again became a nation. This remains one of the most prescient works of an author in history." p.196

I love all this stuff. I also enjoy drinking Guinness. I appreciated the historical context for beer drinking, not only in the home, it was healthier than water, but also in the Church, the clergy were allotted a gallon of beer a day. Wow! He also finds great Luther quotes on beer and drinking.

This was a fun history to read. I think any Christian beer drinker will especially enjoy it like I did.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

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 one manifestation and one part of what he or she is or might be. And personality is an irreducible mystery, somehow prior to and more spacious than everything that would limit or define it, capable of exceeding even its own nature in order to embrace another, ever more glorious nature. This immense dignity - this infinite capacity - inheres in every person, no matter what circumstances might for now seem to limit him or her to one destiny or another. No previous Western vision of the human being remotely resembles this one, and no other so fruitfully succeeded in embracing at once the entire range of finite human nature, in all the intricacy of its inner and outer dimensions, while simultaneously affirming the transcendent possibility and strange grandeur present within each person. p.211
It is this philosophy of personhood that resulted, even before it was defined, in a group that rescued orphans and abandoned babies, that provided for widows, that opposed slavery, that sought to bring dignity to the dying, that aided the leprous (at their own health's expense), that sees humanity in all humans, from the unborn to the deformed to the dying. For specific examples of many of these claims, go read Atheist Delusions.

update: This article by Chuck Colson jumped out at me in response to the anonymous commenter below. [I don't normally publish anonymous comments but I made an exception here.]

Likewise, Matthew Parris, another well-known British atheist, made the mistake of visiting Christian aid workers in Malawi, where he saw the power of the gospel transforming them and others. Concerned with what he saw, he wrote that it "confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my worldview, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God." While Parris is unwilling to follow where his observations lead, he is obviously wrestling with how Christianity makes better sense of the world than other worldviews...
Students quickly see that only Christianity teaches that humans are created in the image of God, thus protecting their dignity. It's no coincidence that Christians have waged most of the great human rights campaigns.
Or take the question of sin. If people are good, as French political philosopher Rousseau argued, problems can be solved by creating a utopian state. Yet all of history's utopian schemes have ended in tyranny. Meanwhile, Eastern religions see life as an endless cycle of suffering. There's no way for sin to be forgiven. And grace is an unknown concept in Islam.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

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 which are dirty from sin.'

God is good

I think Romans 12 is very good as well.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.... 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Everything in the middle is important as well. But let's talk about some who claim to believe in Jesus but are very offensive, the crew from Westboro Baptist.
Can't we be vigorously opposed to the evil they are doing, in fact, hate it? Can we also try to love them? Can we overcome their evil with good?
God is good

Monday, October 19, 2009

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": "That which [Christ] has not assumed he has not healed, but whatever is united with his divinity has been saved." That is to say, if any natural aspect of our shared humanity - body, mind, will, desire - was absent from the incarnate God, then to that degree our nature has never entered into communion with his and has not been refashioned in him. So it was that, pursuing this logic to its most radical consequences, the theologians who participated in the Christological debates were led into an ever-deepening consideration of what it is for any of us to be human, and into an ever more precise investigation of all those hidden realms within where God (they believed) had united us to himself.

It is no exaggeration to say that what followed, over the course of centuries, was the most searching metaphysics of self undertaken to that point in Western thought. p.209

Hart is a Chrisitian of the Orthodox flavor. He also is well read in the Eastern church's writings. For that, we are all better off. If you want to show the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses where they err, explain Jesus to them this way. Their wrong for has been explained 15 centuries ago.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

book report: Atheist Delusions by David Bentley Hart

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 share.

I will include some excerpts over the next couple days. It was really hard to select any paragraph, for they are all good. Here is today's.
p. 164
Christian teaching, from the first, placed charity at the center of the spiritual life as no pagan cult ever had, and raised the care of widows, orphans, the sick, the imprisoned, and the poor to the level of the highest of religious obligations. thus, in the late second century, Tertullian could justly boast that whereas the money donated to the temples of the old gods was squandered on feasts and drink, with their momentary pleasures, the money given to the churches was used to care for the impoverished and the abandoned, to grant even the poorest decent burials, and to provide for the needs of the elderly. The Didascalia, a fascinating Christian document of the third century, describes the duties of a bishop as encompassing responsibility for the education of orphans, aid to poor widows, and the puchase of food and firewood for the destitute, as well as strict vigilance over the money flowing through the church, lest it issue from men guilty of injustice or of the abuse of slaves, or lest it find its way into the hands of persons not genuinely in need. In 251 the church in Rome alone had more than fifteen hundred dependents on its rolls, and even small local churches kept storerooms of provisions for the poor, such as oil, wine, and clothing (especially, tellingly enough, women's clothing). In this way the church, long before Constantine had created a system of social assistance that no civic or religious office of the pagan state provided; once Constantine became emperor and shifted patronage to his new religion, storerooms became storehouses, and the church became the first large,

St. Francis of Assisi renounces his worldly go...Image via Wikipedia

organized institution of public welfare in Western history. It was a great repository and redistributor of goods, alms, state moneys, and bequests; it encouraged the rich to give, beyond the dictates of prudence, even in some cases to the point of voluntary poverty; it provided funds for hospitals, orphan asylums, and hostels. Even when the established church neglected or fell short of the charitable ideals it professed, it still did far more for those in need than the gods of old had ever done.

Who needs the church? Everyone in need, needs the church. Before the church, there was little to be done for the needy. Christ's bride changed the world.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

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 that seven men couldn't land it at first. This happened at the beginning of their relationship with Jesus, as recorded by Luke 5:4-6, which jogged John's memory.

No longer was the mist or distance an impediment to identifying Jesus. The repeat miracle was sufficient. Peter had stripped down earlier, perhaps due to warm weather or to keep his clothes dry while helping haul in the fish, .7. Apparently he was a strong swimmer because he could swim with his garment on for 100 yards. He left the other six fishermen to row the boat in while holding onto the big catch, v.8.

They pulled up on the beach finding a cooking fire with fish and bread to eat. Jesus was providing physical nourishment but also symbolically provided for their livelihood v.9. Nevertheless, Jesus invites them to participate by contributing to the meal, v.10. Peter eagerly returned to the boat to drag in the haul, v.11. They weren't fishing for pleasure, they had been fishing for business. After Jesus' departure, their donations must have dried up a bit. They were trying to make money. Jesus blessed them with an over-abundance, so great it was noteworthy that the net hadn't broken. His departure was not the end of their meal ticket, but the continuation of the excitement of trusting Him for their needs.

He did provide for them. He fed them breakfast, v.12, 13. After their second encounter with him, they still weren't sure how to live in the light of his resurrection. Now, this was the third time, v.14, and he was establishing their faith.

Peter's betrayal of Jesus, the night before his crucifixion, was not a secret. John himself had witnessed the trial and probably knew what had happened with Peter. So, publicly, in front of the 6 other disciples, he restores Peter. It was humiliating, but redemptive at the same time. He also wants Peter to change his mindset from fishing to shepherding, vv. 15-17.

Exhibit review: Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Exhibit

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 the non-fairy, massive sapling installation by Patrick Dougherty.

The Mrs. and I liked it as well.

The kids spent over 20 minutes on the free craft.

We highly recommend picking a gorgeous New England autumn afternoon to explore this exhibit. Don't make our mistake and forget to see the indoor exhibit of Dougherty's work. Here is a link to a video of the installation at the FloGris.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

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

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Round Home of

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 is uniquely built and designed to facilitate the restoration and holistic health of every child entering its doors. The approach to running the home is attuned to the needs of the exploited and traumatized child, which include both the needs of ordinary children as well as children who have been wounded in many ways, lack hope, are broken, lack opportunities and self-worth. Therefore, the Round Home is characterized by efforts to keep the child safe and well provided for, instill hope, effect healing and restoration, promote growth and development, facilitate the release of potentials, and enable the child to come full circle, liberated from their traumas and sufferings, to realize their innate worth.

Here is a great video about the round home.

Their blog is here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

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

at Where do we go from here? on
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.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

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.

Monday, October 05, 2009

building with rice

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.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Breezepods: New Zealand alternative housing

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.
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