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Showing posts from August, 2009

Making sense in retrospect

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him." (John 12:20-26 ESV) These are Jesus' words the day before his crucifixion. The Greeks visiting Jerusalem, and requesting an interview, would certainly be an open door for wider ministry into the Mediterranian world. Yet he knows he must turn away -- his earthly mini
From the Hubble website: This image of the core of the nearby spiral galaxy M51, taken with the Wide Field Planetary camera (in PC mode) on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows a striking , dark "X" silhouetted across the galaxy's nucleus. The "X" is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun. The darkest bar may be an edge-on dust ring which is 100 light-years in diameter. The edge-on torus not only hides the black hole and accretion disk from being viewed directly from earth, but also determines the axis of a jet of high-speed plasma and confines radiation from the accretion disk to a pair of oppositely directed cones of light, which ionize gas caught in their beam. The second bar of the "X" could be a second disk seen edge on, or possibly rotating gas and dust in MS1 intersecting with the jets and ionization cones. The size of the image is 1100 ligh

Sunday quotes, "Our Creative God"

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." (Psalm 19:1-6 NIV) “The ancient covenant is in pieces: Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance." (Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity , 1970) “The cosmos is all that there is, or was, or ever will be.” (Carl Sagan, Cosmos ) “That man’s….origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; …that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, …all these things…are … so nearly certain that no philos

Rose River

This is a photo my wife took of the Rose River in Madison County this summer.

Lutherans Gone Wild, a report from Uwe in Minneapolis

Uwe Siemon-Netto comments from the ELCA national assembly in Minneapolis... To state it bluntly, there is nothing Lutheran about what has happened in Minneapolis. We have witnessed 19th century cultural Protestantism gone wild --the view held that Christ and the highest expressions of aspirations of culture are in agreement. But what are at any given time the highest expressions and aspirations of culture? Do they not come across as Zeitgeist, or spirit of time? And were not Nazism and Communism powerful murderous manifestations of a Zeitgeist? The genocidal “choice” ideology that has slaughtered more than 50 million unborn children in America since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 certainly falls into this category. Aghast, faithful Lutherans wonder: “Lord where shall we Lutherans go?” Why is it that we Lutherans so often lose our way just at a time when no message is more needed then ours? Let it be known that there is a paradoxical tension between Christ and culture:

Currently reading...

The book of Genesis. According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible , by Graeme Goldsworthy (IVP) The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made , by Mark Dever (Crossway Books)

our tools shape us

This is a quote from Marshall McLuhan, educator and media scholar of the 1960s & 70s. He said, "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us" , namely that advances in media through technology increase our extension, but ultimately change us. We are ultimately communicating ourselves, and our extensions become part of us and our self-identity. He said, "With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is sent." What was once face to face communication changed with the advent of the telephone and TV. There's a greater reach, but it is only our voice or image. We gain extension, we lose dimensions. McLuhan said, "When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body." Other insights from McLuhan, who also coined the term "global village": "The future of the book is the blurb." "The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially." "At the speed of light, polici

raising the bar

Here's an interview with David Platt , who discusses how he raises the bar for biblical understanding and practice in his church. His "secret church" is an interesting idea. A couple of quotes... We have severely dumbed down the Word, and shown a lack of trust in the sufficiency of the Word in the way we preach. We find it necessary to supplement it with entertaining stories and quips or good practical advice for living the Christian life that are not based in the Word. This deficiency transfers into people content with a little "Word for the Day," in a devotional book at best, as opposed to deep knowledge of Scripture. ... The purpose of God's Word is to transform us into the image of Christ. The Word radically changes the way we live. This is why it's more important for me to preach Leviticus than to give them tips on parenting. The reality is that Scripture is not a guidebook for a lot of the things folks are going through. It's given to us for

"I can't do what only God can do"

Here's an interesting interview with Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu on "faith, fatherhood and football." Good to see large space given to an open discussion of his involvement in Greek Orthodoxy: In order to properly meet Polamalu where he lives, this is the requisite, the grounding force that gives meaning to everything he does, every play he makes. Polamalu's evident gratitude to the one who made him is marbled throughout our talk - from his training regime to his travels to Mount Athos, a monastic site in Greece, a place he calls "heaven on earth." When asked, "How would you define the spiritual struggle you referred to earlier?" he answers, It's the struggle of good and evil, and with that comes the struggle with greed, jealousy, materialism, sexual morality, pride, all these types of struggles that we face every day, in every second of the day. Yet one thing seems missing to me... the gospel. Not that I expect him to be an evangelic

the importance of worldviews

“But there are some people, nevertheless — and I am one of them — who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.” — G. K. Chesterton, Heretics , in The Complete Works of G. K. Chesterton, ed. David Dooley, vol. 1, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 41.

"Building Bridges", Jeff Graf's notes

A bridge-building God --He spoke in a known language A “heart” language --Began to explain the inexplicable Answered humanity’s most fundamental questions Is there a God, and if so, how do I relate to Him? Why am I here, and how do I relate to the people living with me? God’s starting points --Story Origins Provision Relationships Sin, grace, and atonement --Anchored firmly within the culture of the day Kingdom Culture --Relationship to earthly culture Above it (√úberkultur) Vestiges remain in every earthly culture Biblical culture and not Western or Eastern --Three missionary goals Find what remains of Kingdom Culture Build a bridge from it to the Kingdom of Heaven Give way to the Holy Spirit to work Kingdom Culture in the Old Testament --Ten Commandments First four – our relationship with God Last six – our relationship with one anothe

working on one of these

...in my spare time...