Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get Better at Contextualization

Jonathan Dodson gets all historical on us over at the resurgence.

The Faith of Obama

Here is a very telling interview on Obama's faith.

Hat Tip: Tim Challies

Monday, November 17, 2008

Suburbanism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice in a Liberal City?

I would not agree.  Southerners are the only people you can always berate and ridicule and never worry about the repercussions but this is a good argument.

hat tip: Subtext

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Simply Missional

One of the best articles I have read in a long, long time.

ESV Study Bible Going Mobile

This is awesome news for those of us with an iPhone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Culture Making: Quote from Chapter 3

"The only meaningful use of the phrase "the culture" is embedded in a longer phrase: the culture of a particular sphere, at a particular scale, for a particular people or public (ethnicity), at a particular time.  And even this much more careful way of speaking needs to always be accompanied by the awareness that the culture we are describing is changing, perhaps slowly, perhaps quickly." - 60

(Check out the Culture Making website.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Religious People Angry

Scott Thomas over at the acts 29 blog discusses one of the more provocative paragraphs in Timothy Keller's phenomenal new book The Prodigal God

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Culture: Quote from Chapter 3

from page 58

" earthquakes, revolutions are much better at destroying than building.  There is an important asymmetry here, whose roots go all the way down to the laws of physics: It is possible to change things quickly for the worse.  It only took two hours after the collision between a 767 and the South Tower of the World Trade Center to destroy it.  But no one can build the World trade Center in two hours.  the only thing you can do with Rome in a day is burn it.

The revolutionaries - and terrorists - of the world put their hope in cataclysmic evens.  But they are likely to be disappointed by the long-term effects of their actions.  After the 2005 bombings in the London Underground, the Economist observed, No city ... can stop terrorists altogether.  What can be said, though, is that terrorists are unable to stop cities, either."  the attacks of September 11, 2001, undoubtedly set in motion huge, and very likely tragic, changes.  But they did not change as much as all of us who witnessed them thought they would.  At the largest scale of culture, even horrific revolutionary events cannot easily destroy.  All the more so, the most beneficial events possibly have little positive effect in the short run." (emphasis mine)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quitting Church: A Short Review

So it only took a few sittings to finish Julia Duin's Quitting Church.  While not all was wrong I struggled to not...well struggle through her observations.  Full interesting and lots and lots of polls and stats, there was a lot to digest.  But the gist of the book is that people are quitting church.  OK.  So I am not sure that would be a surprise for anyone besides those who have just emerged form the cave.  Duin couches what I can only assume are suggestions for improvement in chapters, each with an observation.  I think it would be easy to say that Duin longs for a church with the community of the Jesus Movement (which she was a part of) that is Charismatic (she is) where women (like her) can be ordained.  She would like for churches to be more mindful of singles over 35 (like herself) and I think she would prefer good teaching but I was not sure.  The catch 22 of her criticism is that she rails against seeker-sensitive churches while being more specific than any other person I have ever heard about what she wants.  The book only "works" if you really listen to the reasons people are leaving.  Therein lies a huge assumption.  If you dare to criticize the thinking behind anyone who leaves, you then become further proof of the reasons they left in the first place.  The unsatisfied customer reigns supreme.  

All that brings us to what is not even on the radar of Julia Duin and her friends and family. First, all the complaints she puts forth are born of living in a place where there is choice in where you worship.  There may be this problem in China but their lack of choice makes such worries and complaints ring a tad bit hollow.  Second, there was no discussion but the glory of God for which we were made and saved (Eph. 3:21).  This book was in no way a metaphysical discussion. Third, the cross was absent except for her (veiled) complaint that, physically speaking there was no cross displayed in many churches today.  It really made it hard for me to listen to her complaints when the very thing that beget the church was for the most part a tertiary given(1 Cor. 1:2; 8:11; Eph. 5:25).  Fourth and lastly, I appreciated her looking at Mars Hill in Seattle but she gives no indication she talked with any of the staff.  And she never mentioned the Acts 29 network and os of course dialogued with no one involved in it.

Because of the above reasons I just can't commend this book as being helpful.  A more helpful book would be this one.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In God We Do Not Trust

Mark Driscoll waxes upon the election.

Making Culture: Quote from Chapter 2

"So when we speak of "ethnic" culture we are referring to these extraordinarily complex, rich collections of traditions of culture making, each rooted in a particular set of times and places.  But we should not be misled by the common associations of the word ethnic.  In many American supermarkets you can still find and "ethnic food" aisle - as if only some kinds of food participate in a cultural tradition. Nonsense - all food is "ethnic"(41).

OK, so the first time I read this quote something struck me as odd.  And here is why.  When he discusses the word ethnic, I know what he means by the term.  And when he discusses the "ethnic food aisle" at a grocery store, I also know what he means.  But I also know what he means he discusses the ethnic food aisle and he assumes I and others know what he means.  So, how can he call it "nonsense" for us to call it that simply to differentiate that aisle form the aisle with chips?  In our culture that is what we call it!  To call it nonsense is to assume a culture's understanding of the term "ethnic food aisle" is without sense.  Actually it has immense sense.  Or does he mean something by "nonsense"?  ;)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama is My President

It is the height of unbelief to not have a category for being thankful for what happened last night.

1. We should be glad and thankful we do not live in the country we lived in 40 years ago where Jim Crow laws were still in effect.  The fact that a biracial man has been elected to the highest office in the land when just a few decades a job would have been hard for him to find is simply incredible.  Christians more than anyone should be glad to see this.

2. We should be thankful to our Sovereign God who is always doing his people good.  Romans 8:28 says, "All things work together for good for those love him and are called according to his purpose."  And just to make it more specific, Paul says 5 chapters later in Romans 13, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities, resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment...for he is God's servant for your good." 

3.  For those who fear hard times because of oppression or economic difficulty, let me ask you one question, "Do you really think ease and wealth are the best soil for which the gospel to grow and flourish in our land and world?"  Again, God is working for our good, and our good should be the propagation of the gospel and the exaltation of the name which is above all names.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Culture Making: Quotes from Chapter 2

"Culture requires a public: a group of people who have been sufficiently affected by a cultural good that their horizons of possibility and impossibility have in fact been altered, and their own cultural creativity has been spurred, by that good's existence.  This group of people does not necessarily have to be large.  But without such a group the artifact remains exclusively personal and private.  it may be deeply meaningful to its owners...but it has not reshaped the world for anyone.  At least not yet.".

"Until an artifact is not shared it is not culture."