Sunday, July 31, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
As a UConn alumnus, there is much to be proud of. Multiple basketball championships in both men's and women's teams. A degree program that got me into a career related to my major. And a sociology professor who has written a second winner, Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World, by Brad Wright has proven once again that this particular field of study is not for those students who can't pick a major. I really enjoyed his first book, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites...and Other Lies You've Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media, which came out last year. Not only did I feel better as I read the first book but I learned a great deal. This new book does all that but allows more of Wright's voice, sardonic and self-deprecating, in the presentation of the data. This new book also presents vignettes of individuals and groups acting altruistically, as Christians, to make the world a better place. I love data, but I'm a scientist who makes and interprets graphs everyday. The only drawback for me, then, was the poor distinction between the different lines on the graphs. I'm sure Wright made large, colorful graphs but did not enjoy the shrinking of them into a third of a page in black and white with minuscule graphing points, nearly indistinguishable. But after reading this book, poor graph presentation is only one of the few things to despair over in our current world.
I couldn't put this book down. It lifted the negative clouds that the news on the radio spews out at me. There is no doubt that there are terrible things going on around the world right now, but Wright shows that in many dimensions of our lives, the terribleness is not as bad or as much as it used to be one or two generations ago. The sky hasn't fallen. More babies make it past their first birthday than ever before. Our air and water are cleaner than ever. We have more leisure time than ever. The world is more politically free than ever. Wright does not claim that we have entered Utopia, but he demonstrates that we are further away from Dystopia than ever before. If you don't believe it, read the book.
Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you've ever personally witnessed?My first response is, "what a #%&*." But Rachel Held Evans was more polite and simply called him a bully. For some reason, someone like Anthony Bradley, of all people attacked her for libeling Driscoll in the comments and in an article in World Mag. Why would one Christian defend the "right" of another to pile on a third Christian who doesn't look like them, especially when brother one spends so a great deal of effort explaining the american black experience to clueless white americans? Driscoll admitted his elder board called him out on it and confessed he "erred." But that's not a confession if he doesn't tell us what his error was. Part of his error could be his endorsement of violent cage matches in the MMA, something Tony Jones could not find more ironic. I love irony, thanks Tony. But Driscoll, according to a former MMA fighter, Matt Morin, could not understand MMA less than he proclaims.
And perhaps this is the main reason that I bristle when Driscoll begins to opine on MMA, because he is the type of fan that fighters despise. If you go to any live event, you will know why: the fans are there for blood. Well, more accurately, they are there to get drunk, whistle at ring-card girls, and bullshit about why they would fight if some circumstance outside of their control were different. But mainly, they are there to see blood. If you can count on fans yelling anything during a fight, it is the cry, “Elbow him! Elbow him!” An elbow that is delivered properly can be much more destructive than a fist. One well-timed elbow can end a fight—or a career. By their cries, many fans make it clear that they are there for one reason: to see someone get hurt.
Fighters regard these types of fans as—to borrow a term from the armed services—chickenhawks. A chickenhawk is a person who endorses war with all the belligerent bellowing of a drill sergeant, yet when the time comes to enlist, they are nowhere to be seen. So the MMA churches and their MMA pastors can rail all they want against the “fat, lazy” men who critique MMA, but I, as a former fighter, have a great deal more respect for the person who is willing to interrogate my sport for the well-being of its participants than one who, from an equally distanced vantage point, deceives himself into thinking that he is a fighter and speaks so self-assuredly about what MMA is.
(HT: Joe Carter) This author has left the sport and entered the ministry before the sport destroyed his body and mind. Driscoll seems to hold up these guys as role models, but I just read in the same Bible he reads,
7:20 Let each one remain in that situation in life in which he was called. 7:21 Were you called as a slave? Do not worry about it. But if indeed you are able to be free, make the most of the opportunity. 7:22 For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman.In the same way, the one who was called as a free person is Christ’s slave. 7:23 You were bought with a price. Do not become slaves of men. 7:24 In whatever situation someone was called, brothers and sisters, let him remain in it with God. (NET)
10:5 But Jesus said to them, “He wrote this commandment for you because of your hard hearts. 10:6 But from the beginning of creation he made them male and female.13 10:7 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother, 14 10:8 and the two will become one flesh. 15 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (NET)
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, 5:23 because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body.5:24 But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her 5:26 to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, 5:27 so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. 5:28 In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 5:29 For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, 5:30 for we are members of his body. 5:31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 41 5:32 This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (NET) [my bolds]
19:6 Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a vast throng, like the roar of manywaters and like loud crashes of thunder. They were shouting:
For the Lord our God, the All-Powerful, reigns!
19:7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him glory,
because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
19:8 She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen isthe righteous deeds of the saints).
19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (NET)