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Showing posts from March, 2011

book report: Grant and Sherman by Flood (2005)

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It's been a while since I've read some Civil War history. This one came recommended on an article at Salon on the top 12 Civil War books, and I can say I recommend it as well. Charles Bracelen Flood focuses on the deep and sometimes strained friendship between U. S. Grant and W. T. Sherman, the great Union generals from the West. If this book were a meal, I'd call this a chicken pot pie lunch, comfort food, satisfying but not too filling. You won't get that many details on actual battles. You will get the big delicious parts though. This is less about blood and guts and more about relationships. Flood gives plenty of ink to their marriages, their in-laws, and their occupations between wars. Their inter-war (Mexican and Civil) lives were gaps in my knowledge and quite interesting to me. Flood seems unabashed in his support of the Union position. He does not subscribe to the "lost cause" historical mirage. Image via Wikipedia This is a book of anecdote before an…

new looks for the blog

Google has new ways to look at the blogs on blogger, which this one is part of. I really like this one, the sidebar. For whatever reason, the mosaic does not work well. I think it might have to do with my pictures are usually links and not hosted in the blog posts. But you can try different views to see what works for you, unless you are like me and only read through rss.

more quotes from The Emergence of the catholic tradition (100-600) by Pelikan

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Part of the resolution over the divinity of Jesus came from received liturgy among the church catholic. Liturgy carried an authority akin to tradition but distinct from it. Jaroslav Pelikan describes its important role in his great church history book, The Emergence of the catholic tradition. ...Theology had to come to terms with liturgy.
Of special interest in the liturgy was the language being used about the Virgin Mary, who had come to be called "Theotokos." [Greek for "Mother of God"- jpu] Despite the effort to find evidence of it elsewhere, there is reason to believe that the title originated in Alexandria, where it harmonized with and epitomized the general Alexandrian tradition. The earliest incontestable instance of the term Theotokos was in the encyclical of Alexander of Alexandria directed against Arianism in 324. Later in the fourth century, the emperor Julian, in his polemic against the "Galileans," asked the Christians: "Why do you incess…

quotes from The Emergence of the catholic tradition (100-600) by Pelikan

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I finally finished Jaroslav Pelikan's first installment of his massive 5 volume series on The Christian Tradition: A history of the development of doctrine. He covers the first 500 years, before the East and West split. The end of the book focuses on Augustine and how the church worldwide interacted with and rejected his fatalism. That was new information to me, but that's why I read history books. Part of the rejection had to do with his inconsistency with the received tradition and teaching of the fathers before him. In light of recent controversies among the evangelical Christian reading public. Pelikan explains the united church's perspective so, The apostles had ruled the church by their proclamation, and now their place had been taken by others who continued to rule by the same proclamation. The succession was uninterrupted and the continuity unbroken.Yet the norm of antiquity did not automatically elevate to authoritative status every theologian of the past, regardl…

book report: Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer (2009)

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Stephen Meyer hopes this book has the impact that Darwin's Origin of Species has had on the world. I don't think Signature in the Cell stands alone in the way Origin does, but in concert with all the other books (Darwin's Black Box by Behe) from practicing scientist supporting Intelligent Design, it is a major player. Will intelligent design be the next scientific revolution as Kuhn describes them? I hope so. Scientifically, Meyer's arguments are tight, but the philosophical hurdle may be too much for predominantly agnostic and atheistic scientific high priesthood. According to one worldview, mind is the primary or ultimate reality. On this view, material reality either issues from a preexisting mind, or it is shaped by a preexistent intelligence, or both. Mind, not matter, is, therefore, the prime or ultimate reality - the entity from which everything else comes, or at least the entity with the capacity to shape the material world. Plato, Aristotle, the Roman Stoics, …

book report: Keep Your Greek by C. R. Campbell (2010)

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I had all sorts of intentions to re-read my Greek New Testament this year, but it's March and I haven't. I was feeling the guilt when I saw Zondervan was running a blog tour for this book, Keep Your Greek by Constantine R. Campbell, I signed up for a review copy.
When it arrived, I was surprised at how thin it was, less than 100 pages in a medium sized font. When I started reading it, I was surprised that it wasn't entirely written by Campbell, a Greek and New Testament lecturer at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Australia, but also by commenters on his blog where the essays were originally posted. At first, I thought some of the comments included were extraneous, just page fillers, but themes emerged, including the recommendations of other Zondervan books for the study of Koine Greek, some of which I own already. I am not saying this short book is merely a promotional vehicle for Zondervan's other scholastic products. In fact, I am encouraged to resume reading aga…

As the soul is to the body, so the Church is to the world

This is from a very early Christian writing called the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetes. I read it this morning as part of my Lenten reading this year. Chapter 7 struck me with it's relevance to today's environment and our cultural debate.
CHAPTER V -- THE MANNERS OF THE CHRISTIANS.For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wo…

bike review:men's Simple 3 by Giant

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It's been two years since I bought a bike. Every two years or so, I tend to buy a new bike. At least they've been coming down in price. Last time I bought a Townie 7D and loved it, see my review. Back then I finally admitted that my recumbent was not good for winter commuting. I found out that the Townie's had a mild pedal forward design and found a local bike shop selling them, Niantic Bay Bicycles. I shop in the winter when sales are slow, it's my birthday and I have a little extra cash in my pocket, and the previous year's models are marked down to make room for the new year's. I put big metal baskets on the back of the Townie and rode happily for two years. When I dropped in for a complimentary tune-up at the shop I saw a marked down bike with a couple things I've been coveting in the Amsterdam flavor of bike. The Simple 3 was solid, had wider tires, had a rack that took panniers, had fenders, had an internal hub (3-speed), and pedal brakes. This is des…