Flotsam & Jetsam (2/28)

Oscar Winners 2011 – Well, the winners of the 2011 Academy Awards have been announced. I’m glad Inception (2010) was among the winners, but I still can’t believe that True Grit (2010) was passed over. Such a shame.

More Awards – In the spirit of the Academy Awards, hop over to Man Against World to see which film won “Best Gif”.

Normalization of an Abomination [Caution: Mature] – Dr. Albert Mohler warns Christians to prepare for the normalization of gay marriage. “”I think it’s clear that something like same-sex marriage is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture. It’s time for Christians to start thinking about how we’re going to deal with that.” (HT Gene Vieth)

Conan the Calvinist – An honest, thought-provoking “cage-stage confession” from Persis, and one which I can most certainly sympathize with.

Hummingbird Drone – This one’s for the technology geeks.

A Disturbing Trend [Caution: Mature] – This writer points out a growing, disturbing trend in modern video game design: the fact that more and more games involve violence being done to children. “… increasingly, I’m getting uncomfortable with how comfortable game developers have become with putting children in peril and, often, allowing them to be gruesomely killed.” (HT Challies)

How To Raise Boys That Read (As Much As Girls Do) – Sad, sad, sad.

“A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.
You live several lives while reading it.”  ~ William Styron

Vivaldi and Housework

Wake up this morning. Crawl reluctantly out from under the covers. Pull on clothes. Try to shake off the icky feeling that still clings after a week of illness. Walk out to greet the other disheveled members of the family. The house isn’t exactly tidy. Far from it. So what do we do? Turn on Vivaldi’s Gloria in D. And get to work.

Truth for the Individual, Not the Universe

One of the books currently on my bookshelf is The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. Today, I came across this passage in a chapter by David Wells. Read it and chew on it because it perfectly describes the prevalent worldview in today’s society.

An outside God, such as we find in biblical faith, is comprehensible because He is self-defined in His revelation; the inside god is not. The inside god is merged into the psychological texture of the seeker and found spread within the vagaries of self. The outside God stands over against those who would know Him; the inside one emerges within their consciousness and is a part of them. Religions have their schools of thought and their interpreters, and always the debate is over who most truly understands the religion. Spirituality, in the contemporary sense, spawns no such debate because it makes no truth claims and seeks no universal significance. It lives out its life within the confines of private experience. “Truth” is private, not public; it is for the individual, not the universe.

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats

“An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

“The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

“My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.

“No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

“Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

“Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When ‘many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,’ I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’

“No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

“In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

“After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are’.

“No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.

“Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

“The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

“Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!”

~ C.H. Spurgeon

HT Grace Gems

Flotsam & Jetsam (2/24)

Cheap Grace – Eric Rauch shares how a lesson on mercy and grace was illustrated through… a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. “This simple cartoon gave my son an illustration of what I was talking about, and it further helped him understand God’s mercy and grace to us through His Son. It also showed me how I often tend to ‘over-engineer’ the Bible with my kids.”

John Piper Runs Out Of People to Dedicate Books To – Funny stuff from Stephen Altrogg over at The Blazing Center: “Sometimes when I get bored I like to think about what the Christian headlines of the future will be. What will magazines like Christianity Today be saying in 25 years?”

Organizing the Bookcase – A very cool video, with very cool effects, and very cool music. (HT Challies)

Quarrelsome – “You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the nice Nazis to believe that quarreling is wrong. You only have to believe the Bible (James 4:1). Hot-headed, divisive Christians are not pleasing to God (Proverbs 6:19). We are told to drive them out (22:10) and avoid such people (Rom. 16:17). This doesn’t mean we only huddle with the people we like. We are not talking about awkward folks or those who disagree with us. We are talking about quarrelsome Christians–habitually disagreeable, divisive, hot-headed church people.”

Boys Wrestling Girls – An excellent piece (one of the best I’ve read) on the recent controversy over Iowan Joel Northrup refusing to engage a girl in a wrestling match.

What Did Jesus (Not) Say About Truth and Love? – At the Pyromaniacs, Dan Phillips writes, “So would Jesus ever have tolerated a notion of love divorced from a specific, set doctrinal framework? Fantasy-Jesus, yes. Fantasy-Jesus thinks all sorts of things, largely things that will keep the world’s good graces. The actual Jesus, however, the one who really lived and lives — He would never have conceived of such a view.”

Papal Audience – Before you leave, why don’t you step this way for a moment and enjoy a laugh, courtesy of The Sacred Sandwich.

“God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand.
If you understand you have failed.”  ~ Saint Augustine