Showing posts from September, 2010

Shed home

This past weekend, our family went to one of those large greenhouse and shrubbery places and looked at pumpkins and such. But what really got our attention were those neglected big sheds for sale for several thousand dollars each. Somehow, my influence over my kids about tiny houses has filtered down and they realized they would like to have their own sheds to live in. This sounds like a set up for some Series of Unfortunate Events book, where the cruel parent builds small prisons for the children. But that is not the case. I think it inspiration.
My son even drew up a site plan for the new Umland compound which resembled the camp my daughter went to this summer. A semi-circle of sheds with a dining room/shower house/school room at the center of the arc. The parents either end up with their own shed or live in the conference center, perhaps in a loft over the communal part. The sheds only get electricity, but no running water, which complicates things both with zoning and with skills b…

book report: Stuff Christians Like (2010) by Jon Acuff

Between the heavy duty books I read, it's nice to cleanse my brain's palate with something light and salty, like when I went to a team building exercise from work where we tasted wines and ate saltines between each swallow. Stuff Christians Like is that saltine, but shaped like a Jesus fish, and likely to induce a spray of crumbs out of your mouth every few pages.
I started reading Acuff's blog early into it's history, not because I'm some sort of trend spotter, but because a few other blogs recommended him, and he's funny. Where Lark News was the Christian type of The Onion, sarcasm turned to 11 but presented as fact which leads some Christians new to the internet to forward the latest "unbelievable church news," Acuff is like a Christian version of Bill Simmons's at ESPN, when he used to write columns instead of podcasting and writing intermittently. Although not long winded like Simmons, or me in that previous sentence. I only regret Acuff has …

book report: The Heresy of Orthodoxy (29010)

When my family needs something from Amazon that doesn't qualify for free shipping, I'm always willing to help them out by adding something from my wish list to reach that 25 buck threshold. This time I happily added to our cart, The Heresy of Orthodoxy by A. J. Kostenberger and M. J. Kruger. This book is for you if you are someone daunted by Bart Ehrman's books which explain why he has such little confidence in orthodox Christianity, doubt which he hopes to ensnare his readers with as well. But even if you haven't even read Ehrman, our post-modern American churchianity, christian-lite, is a product of historical speculation by Walter Bauer, Koine Greek linguist extraordinaire. His weak speculations were that what we now call orthodox, was just one option among many, that eventually prevailed in the Constantinian world that produced the Nicene and Chalcedonian creeds. These speculations were confined to the academic theologians who could read German until Bauer's wo…

high stakes dialogs

I think religious conversations can be very pleasant with anyone other than conservative Christians and militant atheists. A cocktail party full of Buddhists, Hindus, Daoists, liberal Christians, even unorthodox christian splinter group members, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons, and perhaps Jews and Muslims, could all discuss religion dispassionately, but adding a conservative Christian to the mix is like tossing a grenade into the crowd.
Because everyone else has room in their theology for everyone else in the afterlife, or the non-afterlife. A conservative Christian takes Jesus' words conservatively, that no one comes to the Father [which means not just sitting on God's lap but all the heavenly afterlife stuff] except through the Son, JC himself, see John 14:1-7. The flip side for this is that those who reject Jesus go to hell, described by Jesus several times, with plenty more detail in John's Apocalypse, see Rev. 20:11-15. Every other belief system either lets everyone…

freedom of speech and religion: rights vs. consideration

I agree that Muslim New Yorkers have a protected right to build a huge mosque in an area damaged by the 9/11Image via Wikipedia terror attacks, the Cordoba House/Park 51, but I think it obnoxious and provocative.
I also agree that a pastor of a tiny church in Florida also has a protected right to publically burn Korans, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, but I think it obnoxious and provocative.
Perhaps both groups can learn from each other.
Why do I think the mosque location is obnoxious and provocative? Because Muslims killed 3,000 people in the name of Islam, and having such a large mosque in a building damaged by those nuts reeks of a victorious army monument. Additionally, the original name, Cordoba house, is offensive because of the history it represents, Muslim invaders building a mosque on top of a church in Spain after their invasion in 784 AD. It's simply insensitive at best, malicious at worst.
Why do I think the Koran burning is obnoxious and provocative? Beca…

book report: The History of the Church by Eusebius300s AD

Eusebius was the Bishop of Caesarea from 314 to 340, having survived horrible wavesImage via Wikipedia of Christian persecutions, until the rise of Constantine. This 400 page translation by G. A. Williamson, was engaging not only in the words of Eusebius, but also in the footnotes of Williamson with his occasional jabs at the modern claims of Catholicism.
Eusebius references so many other works and commentaries and essays by the great early leaders of the church, which he had copies of in his possession, that he leaves me jealous for his luxury of time and resources. There is so much more that I want to read, stimulated by the extended quotes Eusebius makes of these great apologists and teachers of the young church.
Several things stuck out to me in this history. It doesn't take long for screwed up people to screw up theology.Some of the screw ups do it for money or sex or fame.Some things never change.Some bishops were great, some just were, some turned out to be screw ups.There w…

book report: The Lotus and the Cross by R. Zacharias (2001)

I really enjoy Ravi Zacharias when I hear him on the radio. I've read, and reviewed, one other book, edited by him, Beyond Opinion, that I also enjoyed. He has published a few dialog, style books, so I bought four of them. My wife and oldest daughter also read this book and the other ones, so I am late to the party. The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus talks with Buddha, is a brief, hypothetical discussion between Jesus and Buddha.
The book is barely 94 pages, but not every page has text more than one sentence, functioning as a call out. It's written to be read quickly, less than an hour, which is partly why my oldest daughter gave these book a shot. But, she warned me, Zacharias is not strong as a narrative writer. I have to agree with her, which surprises me, because he is a great story teller in the debates played on his radio show. He just doesn't sound like I hear Jesus in the gospels, who tends to answer questions with questions, and respond to questioners with something t…