I'm going to try to dust off an old thing I used to do - a link list called "Around the Jollysphere." I used to do this and then let it fall by the wayside. I have accumulated quite a lot of links in my del.ici.ous folders and saved rss feeds so I think I can make a go of this. As I do this I'll try to separate it into categories and share with you some of the best things I have read. I'm not going to have set categories, but you can expect that each time I do this I'll have some theology/biblical/Christian living links, cultural stuff, and a bit of sports stuff (especially during football season). I also will share some stuff on diet and fitness as this something I have been very consumed with over the last few months and have quite a bit of material on. So, without further ado (or is it adieu?) . . .
John Barlow has a good quote from Samuel Johnson. It wasn't written in a theological context but is too good not to mention here:
"Hume and other skeptical innovators are vain men and will gratify themselves at any expense. Truth will not afford sufficient food to their vanity, so they have betaken themselves to error: Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull."
Glenn Lucke gets caught quoting the Bible on the the gospel and the kingdom. Some of the brethren are troubled that some of the brethren seem to be defining the gospel in terms of the Kingdom of God. So, Glenn does the unthinkable and searches the Scriptures on the matter. Be sure and read the post and then look at a few other comments that Glenn made in response to me. I understand the fear - some have used the "gospel of the kingdom" as an excuse to abandon the historical (biblical) teachings on justification. But an errant understanding of the relationship of gospel and kingdom does not mean we abandon that which the Scripture plainly teaches - the gospel is the gospel of the kingdom
“In general, I don’t think we’ve done a good job at developing ways of communicating the gospel that include both salvation from wrath by propitiation and the restoration of all things. Today, writing accessible presentations of the gospel should not be the work of marketers but the work of our best theologians.” Tim Keller, The Gospel and the Supremacy of Christ in a Postmoderd World (pg. 111)
This is what gets to me - Christians just love to fight over things that shouldn't be fought over. The "gospel is the kingdom" guys want to deny or downplay propitiation in favor of the redemption of all things. The propitiation guys are afraid that the restoration guys are going to lose propitiation so they don't want to talk about it. The gospel is both - let's run with it.
And here's a good quote from Michael Bird that sets a correct trajectory for discussing the gospel:
"When Christians speak of salvation, they telll a story. It is a story that stretches from even before the creation of the world to its final redemption, when the plan of salvation conceived by God from eternity is to come to fulfillment. While God's dealings of old with God's chosen people, Israel, play an important role in this story, ultimately it revolves around Jesus Christ and his death on the cross."
David Brondos, Fortress Introduction to Salvation and the Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress, 2007), p.1.
Culture/Movies/Phillip Pullman/Golden Compass/Killing God and stuff like that
My buddy Keith Plummer's blog The Christian Mind would be a good first stop in your journey around the "Phillip Pullman/Golden Compass/Killing God-o-sphere" as he's got his usual wisdom on the matter on display, plus links to some of the major articles/posts on the subject. Keith quotes Darrel Bock on how we might properly engage things like this and then he adds:
The reason Dr. Bock has to urge us to employ our imaginations to envision this kind of equipping is it happens so rarely. What a contrast this vision is to the several emails I've received urging me to boycott the film The Golden Compass. I'm sure those who circulate such missives mean well but hopefully we will not think that we are satisfying our calling to be redemptive agents in the world by trying to organize mass protests via the Internet. Clicking "forward" and "send" is certainly less time consuming and mentally taxing than the activity Darrel Bock commends but it is not nearly as effective in advancing God's kingdom.
If the movie is going to fulfill it's aim to overthrow Christianity in our generation and it's going to have to do better at the box office.
The Golden Compass
- Production budget: $180 million
- Opening Weekend: $26,125,000 (estimated)
- 3,528 theaters, $7,405 average
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Production budget: $180 million
- Opening Weekend: $65,556,312
- 3,616 theaters, $18,129 average
Like Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, "The Golden Compass" (an atheist's stealth attack on faith) was unleashed on December 7.
Unlike Yamamoto's attempt to sink the U.S. Pacific Fleet, there isn't much bang to "The Golden Compass." The $150-million blockbuster is as flat as cola left in a glass overnight.
(Just curious - I'm with Don on this but I gotta know what more experienced smack talkers have to say about the "flat as a soda left in a glass overnight" comment - was that good smack talk or a little cheesy?)
Narnia scholar Devin Brown is probably well-positioned to talk smack about the Golden Compass and Pullman but he'll have to wake himself up long enough to finish the books:
I've read The Golden Compass and I know it pretty well. I have not read the other two, and the reason I stopped reading them was not any inappropriate spirituality that drove me nuts. I just didn't find the reading to be as engaging as other things I might have read.
Brown isn't threatened or uptight about this, and thinks a lot of folks need to untighten themselves about the whole thing:
I just have to wonder if there aren't some people out there who make a living by being incensed and outraged by certain elements in fiction. That gets them talking points on shows. Then there are some people who find some significance in being terrified for the youth of today and that the Pullman Compass is going to turn them all into -- this is one of the ones I read on the Internet -- 'Satanists and atheists.' Really, I think you're one or the other, because I don't know any atheists who believe in Satan. But this woman I was reading was terrified kids would go to this movie, which she hasn't seen, based on a book she hasn't read, and they'll be turned into Satanists and atheists. I don't see that happening.
Diet and Fitness - warning, I'm the new Carb/Sugar Nazi
Dan Edelen speaks of some weighty matters here and has a nice spiritual application. Dan lost 22 lbs in a month and drew closer to God while doing so.
Do you really have a slow metabolism? Mr. Low Body Fat says probably not.
You are not what you eat, you are what your body does with what you eat . . . and it's not what you think. Regina Wilshire reports:
Metabolic syndrome is a condition afflicting one quarter to one third of adult men and women and is an established pre-cursor to diabetes, coronary heart disease, and other serious illnesses. Patients have long been advised to eat a low-fat diet even though carbohydrate restriction has been found to be more effective at reducing specific markers, such as high triglycerides, characteristic of the syndrome. Now, a new study indicates that a diet low in carbohydrates is also more effective than a diet low in fat in reducing saturated fatty acids in the blood and reducing markers of inflammation.
Jimmy Moore has more on that here. In the study that Wilshire and Moore cited there were two groups of people involved. One group was fed a diet with 24% fat, 20% protein and 56% carbs and the other was fed a diet with 59% fat, 28% protein, and 12% carbs (VLCKD - very low carb ketogenic diet). The result:
Total saturated fatty acids in the blood actually DECREASED in the VLCKD group while the anti-inflammatory markers also "significantly decreased." Meanwhile, the LFD group, which consumed two-thirds less saturated fat than the VLCKD group, saw an INCREASE in total saturated fat in the bloodstream despite reducing fat intake. In other words the group that had diet made up of almost 60% fat lowered their fatty acids in the blood while the group which ate minimal fat and lots of carbs increased the saturated fat in their blood.
Gary Taubes explains that it is insulin which causes the body to store its food as fat and also slows down the metabolism of fat for energy. Carbs in general and sugar in particular increase the levels of insulin - hence the more sugar you eat, the more you store your food as fat. The more fat you eat in place of sugar the less your body will store fat.