Saturday, December 31, 2016

God Helps Those …

One strategy ...

... or another?
Does he? Really? Does God help those who help themselves? Is the key to spiritual victory simply staying in motion at all times?

Some Christians recoil at the notion. “They that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,” they reply. Sit tight, pray hard, and all will be well. Or at very least, it will be as God wills it.


At the other end of the spectrum lie those who quote the same adage to justify a flurry of activity for its own sake, with or without God’s involvement. They just can’t bring themselves to sit still, and need a sufficiently spiritual rationalization for their own impatience.

Perhaps neither extreme is quite correct.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

No Guarantees

For the Christian, winning is not guaranteed.

Oh, of course it’s guaranteed in the long-term. We’ve read the ending of a story that has already been written, edited and published to the world. It is a done deal. All is to be summed up in Christ, and those of us who belong to him are destined to be glorified with him and united with him for eternity.

That’s definitely what you’d call a win. Might not happen in your lifetime or mine, but our long-term prospects are guaranteed.

Short-term is another story. Today may hold what appears to be a resounding loss.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tax Collectors Do the Same

Living involves action after action, choice upon choice, day after day.

Those of us who are children of God find ourselves regularly involved in what appear on the surface to be exactly the same kinds of daily interpersonal transactions as everyone else. “Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” the Lord asked his would-be followers. “Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Yeah, they do. Thus, when a Christian loves his enemies and prays for his persecutors, he stands out from the crowd. When he simply and normally loves his family and greets his friends, he doesn’t.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Truth by the Bucketload

We have a lot of truth available to us, almost surely more than at any previous period in human history. We certainly have everything we need for the purpose of pleasing God during this present era. We have truth by the bucketload. Truth by the truckload. Torrents of cascading truth.

But we do not have it all. Not by a long shot.


Relax, I’m not talking about revisiting the question of inspiration in the Apocrypha or credulously skimming pseudepigraphal volumes in hopes of finding hidden spiritual gems. Some of these ancient sources may indeed preserve words that originated with God, but sifting such gold out of all the inauthentic dross in which they now reside would be a task no scholar, however spiritual, could credibly presume to undertake.

Monday, December 26, 2016

It May Be the Armor

“Then David said to Saul, ‘I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.’ So David put them off.”

There was nothing wrong with Saul’s helmet and coat of mail; they worked just fine for Saul.

There was nothing wrong with Saul’s intentions; at the time he thought well of David. He had no desire to sabotage David’s efforts and every reason to hope he might succeed against Goliath.

And there was definitely nothing wrong with David; Saul’s armor just didn’t suit him.

Sometimes other people’s methods don’t work for us.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Peace Rules

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Dreams, White or Otherwise

I had a dream.

No, not like MLK. That’s more of what we call a vision than a dream. Mine was nothing inspiring or quotable. Just a regular dream, the ordinary kind where your mind drifts randomly.

The Grand Entrance

In my dream I went to Hallowby Hall. I had heard that it had the most amazing Christmas decorations on the planet. Everyone said so. And I couldn’t wait to see them.

So I went there. And even as I approached I must say I was impressed. Rich, red carpets led the way up the front stairs. Gold gleamed from towering archways. Tall trees of blue and green framed either side, and from beneath each bough multi-coloured lights winked mischievously. Banners of satin crowned the entranceway, and from underneath gleamed the golden light of a dozen shining chandeliers. Such a glorious sight I had never seen.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Shut Your Trap

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Did God Invent Slavery?

If the ongoing debate over the appropriate Christian response to the institution of slavery is not the single touchiest subject currently batted around by evangelicals in multicultural societies, it has to be at least Top Five.

Some Christians, perhaps wisely, dodge the issue entirely if at all possible: “Are there slaves today anywhere in the West? Have there been any for over a century? No? Well then, it’s irrelevant what I think about it. Next question!”

Most of us wouldn’t put it that baldly, but we would be just as happy discussing something else.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Visceral Atheism

Atheists contend their position is so intellectually robust as to be unassailable.

In Psychology Today, Satoshi Kanazawa makes the argument that atheists are more intelligent than religious people because “humans are designed by evolution to believe in God”, meaning that those who have become aware of this are smarter than those who have not.

That view makes atheism the red pill and the rest of us benighted Matrix-dwellers, if you’ll excuse the metaphor.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Quote of the Day (29)

Fred Reed is a smart guy. Definitely smarter than me. Closing in on seventy and anticipating the economic, cultural and political disasters looming over the United States, the former journalist bolted to Mexico to write away his retirement, mostly online.

Fred is that special sort of smart that sees the holes in both sides of an argument. The great thing about being alert in that particular way is that it generally means you are humble enough to say “I don’t know” on a regular basis, something you never hear from the majority of scientists, politicians and media pundits.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Why Are We So Easily Shaken?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Harlequin Romances, Detective Fiction and the Essence of Prophecy

Christendom is packed with a bewildering array of denominations, sects and cults, each with its own emphasis.

God has his own emphasis, and seems to go to great lengths to make it clear. Somehow or other, large segments of Christendom manage to regularly miss it, despite the fact that they have taken the name of Jesus as a fundamental part of claiming to be Christian.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Yes, They Both Start With ‘D’

It occurs to me that — very occasionally, of course — I may have been the tiniest bit more dismissive of other believers than I ought.

Christian X’s wife runs the show, my youthful self noted. Scratch him from my list of potential spiritual advisors. Christian W has three kids who are off the rails, IMHO. Or at least they’re not very friendly in youth group. Christian Y’s car is awfully expensive: obviously too worldly. And Christian Z? Sure, he and his new wife use that cottage for the Lord, but wouldn’t that money be better invested in missions? Not to mention that divorce. Can you even be saved and do that?

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: I Thought It My Way

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Let me set this up for you, IC.

Dr. Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto professor whose struggle against political correctness we discussed at length here a few weeks ago, gives an extensive interview with two writers for the Winter 2016 edition of C2C Journal about the assault on free speech in Canada.

So one of his interviewers asks him about what it was about his refusal to buckle to the forces of “social justice” at U of T that has set off such a firestorm and his answer is that “There was something I said I wouldn’t do. That took the general and made it specific.”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Falling Down Together

The Battle of Gibeon is a perplexing episode in Israel’s history.

Let me set the stage: Saul, the first king of Israel, is dead. The nation has not formally acknowledged a new king but instead is slipping back into tribalism. David has the anointing of God, but lacks a unanimous mandate from the people. His kinsmen in Judah formally recognize David as rightful king, but that probably says less about their spirituality than it does about their sense of family loyalty.

Of course you’d want your guy at the top of the heap. Everybody does.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Forgiving Jesus

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

A strong desire that can never be legitimately sated is a huge distraction. This remains true even if we can’t currently explain where the feeling comes from. Whatever its origin, like any other source of intense motivation, same sex-attraction complicates the Christian life and needs to be managed.

For reasons I can’t quite nail down, blaming God for unfulfilled desire is becoming a regular thing in Christendom.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

God Made Me This Way

Thomas Nelson publishes a board book promoted on Amazon with this little blurb:

From a monkey’s swing to a zebra’s stripes, God made all of us just the way we are!

Using adorable animals, this book from Make Believe Ideas explores how fearfully and wonderfully God has made all of His creations. Parents and grandparents will be able to show little ones that God made them just the way they are for a purpose.”

When intended to encourage small children to be thankful for the divine ingenuity of their design, the phrase “God made me the way I am” is quite harmless and even helpful.

On the other hand, when I hear it from adults as an excuse for sin, I cringe.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Show’s Over

It’s the devil’s show I’m talking about, not God’s. I mean this present world.

The fact that it is the devil — Satan, Lucifer, Abaddon, Beelzebub, the Serpent of Old — who is running the show here on earth is not well understood in or outside religious circles, possibly because so many have difficulty with the notion of personal evil. Social evil, sure. Patriarchal evil, definitely. We’ll even maybe sorta kinda acknowledge that once in a while there comes on the scene a man or woman so virulently depraved that even a bad upbringing, lack of education, racism or poor social conditions do not fully account for it. Who would blame Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, after all?

But an invisible supernatural being pulling the strings behind the scenes? A bit of a stretch. For the source of all the bad news in this world, let’s look elsewhere.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Any Story But Their Own

“ ‘Will any more harm come to her by what I did?’

‘Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.’ ”

— C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

I’ve always liked that last line.

Aravis asks the Lion about the fate of the slave she drugged in order to make her escape. Lewis does not tell us whether her question is prompted by guilt, compassion, fear or curiosity. All are possible.

But the Lion’s answer is simply, “No one is told any story but their own”.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Getting Reoriented

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Quote of the Day (28)

“ ‘Ruff, I talked to a mom in there who is going to give up everything for her kids, even her life. I also talked with a man who did not see the point of keeping one’s word. I want to be in her world, not in his.’

Ruff said, ‘You’d live longer in his.’

Gil said, ‘And be just as dead at the end and be called to account for my life.’ ”
— John C. Wright, Swan Knight’s Sword

See, now THERE’S a sentiment I’d want my kids to read and internalize.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Islands Shouting Lies

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”
— Rudyard Kipling, The Light That Failed

The public life that we lead is a façade; a mask we wear that is in large measure demonstrably false, primarily because it is an incomplete representation of who we truly are in private.

There are three reasons for this division between the public and the private life.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Don’t Be Outdone

Nowadays we don’t like to hurt anybody’s self-esteem. The solution? Give out prizes, ribbons and accolades just for showing up. My youngest son once brought home a trophy for participation.

“Hey Dad, look, I was there!”

No, actually, he didn’t say that. He rightly recognized even at the age of six or seven that there was little value to an award received for no particular effort. For merely dignifying an event with his illustrious presence. For managing to breathe and stand upright without any unanticipated side-effects.

I don’t know where the trophy is now and I suspect neither does he. If you ask me it was kind of pathetic.

Monday, December 05, 2016

The Commentariat Speaks (6)

“Socialism is basically Christianity without the divine power. Socialism is man’s attempt to bring utopia to reality.”

Uh ... not really. I mean, yes on the utopian bit, no on the comparison to Christianity.

It’s not just the absence of divine power, though that’s certainly one reason socialism reliably fails. As Margaret Thatcher noted, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tracking True

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

God’s Man of the Hour

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Will Science Survive Our Politicized Culture?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Doubling Down

KFC makes the single best sandwich in the history of the world, in my humble opinion.

If you haven’t heard this, prepare to be appalled: A Double Down is 541 calories of pure brilliance: bacon, two different kinds of melted cheese and the Colonel’s secret sauce in between (here’s the best part) two KFC Original Recipe chicken fillets. No bun. Just an artery-clogging, heart-stopping quantity of tasty deep-fried meat.

Fortunately the sandwich only shows up erratically on the KFC menu, usually for four weeks every year-and-a-half or so. If you need to justify consuming one, I recommend fasting the day before. And the day after. Or maybe for a week.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Quote of the Day (27)

It was Epicurus who first posed this famous paradox around 350 BC:

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”

At least we think it was Epicurus. Some believe the lines were misattributed to him by later philosophers like David Hume. But it hardly matters who said them and when: the fact is that men have struggled to explain suffering as long as men have been thinking about their place in the universe, and this particular formulation is one of the ways they have attempted to deal with the question.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Down the Road

Every day of our lives, by means of the Holy Spirit’s agency, God is steadily working away to achieve in each of us the character of his Son.

Transforming us involves both IN-forming us and RE-forming us — but there is often a fair bit of time that elapses between the two.

Sometimes that means today’s lesson is only understood later this week. And sometimes full understanding of any given piece of spiritual information is years or even decades away.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Are We Teaching or Just Speeching?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Too Far Gone

Does your church need an ... er ... equalizer?
“You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”
— Korah’s Rebellion, Numbers 16

Christian women are priests just as Christian men are priests; therefore Christian women should be able to do everything in the churches that Christian men have traditionally done.

So goes the modern argument, and it’s dead wrong.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Priests and Priesthood

If all believers are really priests, why is it that some churches still don’t allow women to exercise the priestly role of teaching the Bible publicly?

Martin Luther famously referred to a general priesthood in his 1520 tract To the Christian Nobility of the German NationLuther did not actually coin the phrase “priesthood of all believers”, and the idea itself obviously did not originate with Luther but rather with the writers of the New Testament. Still, the fact remains that the doctrine we know by that name has been a significant feature of Protestantism for almost 500 years.

This being the case, you’d figure any questions about the status of women in a universal priesthood must have been asked and answered hundreds of times.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: E-dification

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Rights and Freedoms

In the wake of the U.S. election, Crawford Paul muses on the role of the church in a democracy. Here’s his setup:

“The dilemma comes when the church, which is NOT a democracy, exists in a nation that IS a democracy. How does the church uphold a democracy that would ensure their right to follow the teachings of the Bible while at the same time grant rights to those who contradict the Scriptures?

Hmm. I agree with much of what Crawford says in his piece, but I have a very different take on a few of his assumptions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Enemy Within

In modern English usage, the difference between jealousy and envy is not clear-cut, as this Merriam-Webster article helpfully points out. In fact, the two terms have become so muddled that three major language guides from the mid-20th century disagree about their respective meanings.

For convenience and to avoid making the confusion worse, I’ll use “jealous” to describe the anticipative emotions that arise over losing something you have, and “envious” to describe the desire to possess what belongs to someone else.

But I won’t pretend to have the final word on the subject.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Omission (Im)Possible

It’s Star Trek time again.

Relax, I’m into the third season of the original series; my fascination with this particular retro-pop culture diversion will wane shortly. In the meantime, I found this exchange instructive:

Claudius Marcus: I believe you all swear you’d die before you’d violate that directive. Am I right?

Spock: Quite correct.*

Dr. McCoy: Must you always be so blasted honest?

Ah, honesty. It’s one of the Ten Commandments. Sort of.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mismeetings of the Christian Church

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Motion Granted

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”
(Isaiah 53:10, KJV)

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
(Matthew 3:17, KJV)

Not only the King James Version but many English translations of the Bible, old and modern, use the word “pleased” in both verses, accurately reflecting the meanings of the relevant words in each original language. Both the Greek and Hebrew words translated “pleased” have wide semantic ranges and are frequently rendered as “pleasure” or “delight”.

Still, it seems obvious to us that there are two very different kinds of pleasure in view here.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Canadians Under Siege

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Yesterday, Immanuel Can and I discussed the potential fallout from Donald Trump’s election to the office of president of our esteemed neighbor to the south. For the most part, I think we’re actually pretty upbeat about being evangelicals in a country strongly influenced by a cultural environment that temporarily excludes compulsory politically correct gender pronouns and open hostility against all things Christian.

For Canadian Christians, our situation will probably turn on whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes his cues and influences from The Donald or from the inevitable moral drift of the last eight years of Leftist dominance.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: The Trump Years

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Anybody bristling at the thought of one more word about last week’s U.S. election is advised to turn back here. But I promise this two-parter is absolutely our final discussion of the subject for a while — at least until President Trump actually assumes office and does something worthy of commentary.

Assuming, of course, we are allowed to comment.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nobody Says ‘Meh’

The dromedary is singularly unimpressed.
One handy-dandy Oxford definition:
Expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm:
‘meh, I’m not impressed so far’

Tayyab Babar wants to help people speak persuasively — a highly useful skill whatever your subject. Theoretically, if you follow Tayyab’s rules, fewer people will say “meh” when you’ve finished expressing yourself.

For public speakers, this would be a good thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I Got Your Back — For What It’s Worth

“What a great idea!”
“Sure, run with it.”
“I trust your judgment.”

Some people need approval more than others. Some don’t really care one way or another. But nobody — and I mean NOBODY — is truly averse to hearing others enthuse about their ideas, even if the humbler ones among us sometimes find it a little embarrassing.

Three times in 1 Samuel 14 somebody gives positive feedback about the plans of another. In one case the approver is clearly right; in another the approvers are clearly wrong; and in the third instance it doesn’t seem to matter much either way.

It’s a good reminder that over-reliance on the encouragement of others is pretty dubious practice for the follower of God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bringin’ the Crazy

I’m watching a bunch of crazy people. Or at least they’re acting that way.

YouTube is full of videos of disappointed young liberals screeching out their rage and fear at the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. Mainstream media outlets run pictures of crowds carrying signs that read, “If you don’t REVOLT, you can’t complain”, “Not my president” and “I’m afraid for my country”.

I’m reminded of the proverb that says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

Monday, November 14, 2016

No More, Eleanor

I know more than a few lonely people.

There’s no single — or simple — explanation for their loneliness. There are those who, often through no fault of their own, are social misfits, unable to successfully relate to those around them. There are those whose days are solitary as a result of their own life choices, and those who are housebound because of disability or age, and those who have lost a life-partner whose companionship cannot be replaced. Then there are people who, despite being surrounded by caring friends and family, feel a deep-seated and abiding loneliness because they cannot make one particular relationship work, and that absence matters to them so much that every other blessing in their lives pales into insignificance beside it.

Add it all up, and more than a few of us feel very much alone in this world, and those who are not lonely now may well be lonely later.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

More Use from His Enemies

“A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
― Baltasar Gracián

I can’t help but notice that all through the trial and execution of Jesus — at least seven times in Matthew 27 alone — enemies and bystanders cannot seem to avoid testifying to the exemplary character of the one they are busily engaged in putting to death, a fact that is both remarkable on its face and corroborative of Gracián’s adage.

If such a thing has ever happened before or since, I’d be more than a little surprised.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Inbox: Richard Carrier’s Moral Philosophy

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Evangelical Idiots and the Death of America

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

It’s the end of the world as we know it ...
Tom: Immanuel Can, today I’m feeling the urge to talk about Craig James.

Craig is the author of the book The Religion Virus: Why We Believe In God (he doesn’t). He is a blogger with a site also called The Religion Virus. I’m not so much interested in his atheism (because we’ve done that, and recently), but in his enthusiastic mischaracterization of the beliefs of Christians.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nothing to Worry About

The other day I happened across a series of comments responding to a post that referenced in passing the words of the Lord in John 17. You remember: the part where Jesus prays, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me”.

What did the Lord mean? I have rarely encountered greater diversity of opinion about just a few words. One person even not-so-tentatively floated the proposition that the Father has answered his Son’s prayer in the negative.

I’m thinking Eh, not so much.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Point of the Exercise

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Commentariat Speaks (5)

One feature of this election cycle that will stick with me is the Christian reaction to revelations of venality and outright criminality in the lives of public figures.

Sure, a few expect it. I’m afraid I’m among them. While mildly disappointed, we are rarely surprised. We shake our heads and carry on, thinking “There they go again” and “There is nothing new under the sun”.

But a large number of believers — whether because they are low-information voters or just good-hearted souls — have such difficulty processing the facts that they lag behind even uber-liberal actress Susan Sarandon, who concedes that the Democratic National Committee is “completely corrupt”.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Quote of the Day (26)

I have great appreciation for people who stick to the sola scriptura principle; people who are willing to go to the wall for what they believe the Bible teaches. It shows sincerity and courage, qualities that are most admirable.

But what do you do when, year after year after year, the facts on the ground stubbornly refuse to conform to your theological schema, a system of thought you are convinced is entirely scriptural?

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Everybody, Take a Holiday

Unless the political process degenerates even further (and we certainly can’t rule that out given the revelations of the last few days), by Tuesday we MAY have some idea who will serve as the next president of the United States.

Many commentators have expressed concern that even if, against all odds, Donald Trump should somehow win the presidency, he will be unable to deliver on the numerous promises he has made on the campaign trail — the “big, beautiful wall” comes to mind — because even if the House and Senate retain Republican majorities (which is by no means guaranteed), neither legislative branch will agree to forward a Trump agenda.

To which I reply, “Uh ... so what?”

Saturday, November 05, 2016

C.S. Lewis Goes YouTubing

Embedding is disabled by request on these C.S. Lewis videos posted on YouTube, but I’m happy to be able to link to them. They are way too much fun.

If you haven’t seen a “doodle” before, it’s a video enhanced with what looks like an animated chalkboard scrawl that illustrates the content being narrated for you. Someone has gone to the trouble of doodling at least thirty readings from the beloved Christian apologist.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Crossing Jordan

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Coming soon in your size and mine
Those of our readers who don’t live in Canada — which will be most of you — may be unfamiliar with the current plight of University of Toronto professor Jordan B. Peterson. Professor Peterson is under the gun — protested by students and censured by his own administration — for refusing to address his students with gender neutral fake pronouns like “zhe”.

Tom: U of T trans studies instructor Nicholas Matte has called on Peterson to “stop abusing students”. But the threat of having to appear before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal doesn’t seem to bother Professor Peterson. He’s drawn a line in the sand: “If they fine me, I won’t pay it. If they put me in jail, I’ll go on a hunger strike. I’m not doing this, and that’s that. I’m not using the words that other people require me to use. Especially if they’re made up by radical left-wing ideologues.”

A tempest in a teapot, Immanuel Can? Or something more serious?

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Here, Let Me Fix That For You

The always-delightful Doug Wilson (and I say that without a trace of sarcasm) engages with the work of Russell Moore in this piece about building “collaborative majorities” in the Christian community for the purpose of politically engaging the broader culture, as the U.S. religious right has (often unsuccessfully) attempted to do.

As I have mentioned many times before, Doug, despite being postmillennialist Calvinist Reformed (is any of that redundant?) is one of my favourite Christian bloggers. He’s been on a tear lately about unity in the Body of Christ; a very reasonable concern that is close, I suggest, to the heart of our Saviour.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Threatened by Intelligence

A series of studies done at University of Buffalo, California Lutheran U. and the University of Texas, Austin, appear to show that while many men say they would like a partner who is smarter than they are when the question is purely hypothetical, when confronted with the reality they really … don’t.

“Six studies revealed that when evaluating psychologically distant targets, men showed greater attraction toward women who displayed more (vs. less) intelligence than themselves. In contrast, when targets were psychologically near, men showed less attraction toward women who outsmarted them.”

This is surprising? Seriously?

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Rare In These Days

Northern hairy-nosed wombats are rare.
What was ubiquitous at one time and in one place may be exceedingly rare in others. This may be a bad thing, or a good thing ... or just a thing.

The writer of 1 Samuel notes that in the days before Samuel was called, “the word of the Lord was rare ... there was no frequent vision”.

Now, the Holy Spirit is not for a moment suggesting that the people of Israel lacked necessary direction from God for their lives, or that it was impossible to please God because nobody had the slightest idea what he wanted.

Not at all.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Just Play the Hits

Bear with me. This is trivial. And then maybe it isn’t.

Last night I dreamed I drove down a long, winding highway in the dark to a great lodge, festively lit. Upon parking, I was greeted deferentially and shown to a huge stage with sound, lights and seating for thousands. People with tickets and drinks in hand were gradually being seated, talking among themselves. A crew was wiring up mics and amplifiers, a sound man was testing levels. A buzz was in the air.

I looked at my watch: it was 7:25. My host said, “You’re on at eight.”

Sunday, October 30, 2016

From the Ash Heap

I love this line:

“Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”

Hannah, who would become Samuel’s mother, is deeply grieved that she is unable to conceive. She has gone up with her husband to the house of God in Shiloh, and she has prayed for a son, vowing that if her prayer is answered, she will raise him as a Nazirite and give him wholly to the service of God. Then she gets up, relieved of her distress, and goes her way — not yet having received an answer to her prayer.

Seems a bit counterintuitive, doesn’t it?