Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stuff I found interesting

I've been drowning under the amount of information that comes at me in a given week. Tomorrow is blocked out for clearing my email inbox, but tonight I multi-tasked by clearing out my Hulu queue in one tab while pounding through my Google Reader items in another. The only problem was that I had so many cool shared items that it would have absolutely overwhelmed my Shared Items feed. So here's a punchlist of stuff I found interesting between 10 and 11:30pm on Thursday night. Skip a link at your own uninformed peril.

THIS is COMMANDMENT. A 10 Commandments move "in the style of 300."

Atheists offer to care for Christians' Pets After the Rapture. Now there's a great idea for a new business.

"Nocebos": Like Placebos, but for bad stuff. Learning about the side effects of medication can give you the side effects even if you're on a sugar pill.

Niki's Choice: Here's what happens when you make Christianity "Jesus plus X" instead of just "Jesus."

The Surprising Truth About Shepherds: Margaret Feinberg argues that they're always drawn from the weakest members of society. Spiritual application seems obvious.

Fun (fake) interview with J.Edwards: Who, by the way, is not my homeboy. First three questions are absolutely great, though.

Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule: If only I could figure out which one I am.

An interesting take on flu vaccine. I'm pro-vaccine in general, but I never get the flu vaccine. Now I don't have to feel bad about it!

The latest Pomplamoose cover is out! Go watch it immediately unless you've not already watched Single Ladies, Mrs. Robinson, and My Favorite Things.

I'm not linking to because who knows what will be on the front page when you click the link. Search at your own peril. Let's just say that it's hilariously awful and leave it at that.

Learning with Lawrence. Start watching now so you'll be able to say "I watched those guys when they were still on YouTube!

Tim Keller (one of my current favorites) says I shouldn't spend more than 6-8 hours per week on preaching. Glad I got that one right, Tim!

And, to top it all off... weirdest ad campaign I've ever seen.

I think it goes without saying that you're missing out if you're not on Reader. For extra credit, try following my shared items. Why would you watch CNN when you could be getting real news instead?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You keep using that word...

I do not think it means what you think it means.

The sky calls to us.

A still more glorious dawn awaits: not a sunrise, but a galaxyrise. A morning filled with four hundred billion suns: the rising of the Milky Way. The cosmos is full beyond measure: elegant truths, exquisite relationships and the awesome machinery of nature. We float like a mote of dust on the morning sky.

When I was a kid, Sagan was a guilty pleasure. I loved the guy but knew he was a big believer that the earth was billions and billions of years old, which obviously meant he didn't believe in God. Obviously I couldn't take his word for anything! (New readers: that's sarcasm. Check the archives). I still read his novel Contact, though, which was amazing. It contained all of the science/religion dichotomy of the movie it was made into, with one twist: it ends with a (fictional but possible) proof of God. The ending earned Carl some scorn in "legitimate" academic and scholarly circles and was cut from the movie, but it was his only way to resolve the amazing nature of the beauty he'd found in the universe. With such an amazing Creation, there must certainly be a Creator. Changing the ending changed the meaning of his book, but the movie was written and produced after his death.

And when viewed with that backstory, the autotuned video mashup takes on a whole new meaning.

The sky calls to us. A still more glorious dawn awaits.

You weren't wrong, Carl.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Sufficient" Depravity

Alternate title: Confessions of a Zero-Point Calvinist

I read an amazing quote while cleaning my office today. If you don't get a laugh out of this you're not a theologian.

That's not intended as a compliment, but you're welcome to take it that way.


From Ortberg's recent article in Leadership Magazine:

Somebody asked Dallas Willard once if he believed in total depravity. His reply was that he believed in "sufficient depravity." Never having run into that doctrine before, the interviewer asked for clarification. Dallas said "I believe that every human being is sufficiently depraved so that no one will ever get into heaven and say 'I merited this.'"

Absolutely priceless. I love Ortberg and Willard both, so this a duofecta (almost a trifecta).

I'll leave a lengthy analysis of Calvin's shortcomings as a theologian to more patient persons, choosing here only to note that he, alone of all the Reformers, was not trained as a pastor. He was a French lawyer. That doesn't mean he can't be a good theologian, but it does go a long way towards understanding the theological position he constructed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So long, William

I've been meaning to put this out for a week, but sick kids put everything else on hold. William Safire passed away last week, and it simply didn't seem right that the popular press focused on things like his political opinions instead of his greatest contribution to the English-speaking world: William Safire's Rules of Witing. Without further ado:

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid clich├ęs like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
6. Be more or less specific.
7. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
8. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
9. No sentence fragments.
10. Don’t use no double negatives.
11. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out or mispeld something.
12. Eschew obfuscation.