Friday, May 20, 2011

CC--Christianese 18f: Sin (part 6 of ?)

--We’ve already seen that the Bible uses metaphors for sin (the ruined condition of mankind) such as a stain, a disease, a debt, a defacement, and a burden.

Metaphor 6: A separation
--Here we start to see again some of the way in which sin as a concept is sometimes divided up into the causes of sin, it’s condition or ontology, and it’s consequences. And in that approach, separation from God is sometimes mentioned as the result of sin. This isn’t wrong, but it can mislead us a bit.
--Think about it this way. Imagine a man cheats on his wife with another woman without being caught for two months. Then, at the end of two months, he is discovered and they separate.
--The question is, at what point did their separation occur?
--You could certainly argue that it was when they physically separated and that this was a result of his adultery.
--But I think a better way to look at it is that this external separation is really just the final alignment between their behavior and his own choice to separate from her by beginning the affair. When he joined with another woman, he left his wife in the most dramatic way possible.
--In the intervening months, they really are separated, she just doesn’t know it yet and he is not fully acting as if that is true, trying to have both the separation and his marriage at the same time.
--Likewise, even though sin leads to separation from God as ultimately represented by hell, sin is really the internal reality of us having already separated ourselves from God by our unfaithfulness to Him. And so, it’s not as though sin leads to separation from God.
--Sin in a much more fundamental sense IS separation from God. And when God condemns unrepentant sinners to hell, all He’s really doing is making completely and externally real what is already internally true.
--In this way, you could say that the separation of sin is actually hell already, just on hold or held back or partially realized. So hell isn’t the result of sin, just its fullest manifestation. Sin, then, is pre-hell.

2+3+4PM Does Harold Camping glorify God?

At first, to be honest, I had forgotten all this nonsense about the rapture coming on Saturday since the billboards went up several months ago. But then a friend reminded me of it, and we talked about how it’s difficult not to just be snide about this “ridiculous” notion that seven thousand years to the day after the flood is going to be tomorrow and, hence, the rapture. And given how foolish this makes Christianity look to outsiders, it’s understandable to be angry at Camping and his followers for making the task that much harder for the rest of us. But then a friend sent me a link to a wonderful (though somewhat snide) blog post on how Harold Camping glorifies God. It’s worth reading on its own, but the basic idea is that everyone and everything glorifies God somehow, so nuttiness like this can’t NOT glorify God. But in particular, this helps highlight many aspects of Biblical wisdom that, if heeded, would avoid such nonsense. For instance, the Bible warns against pride and self-certainty. It warns against people who argue about dubious and divisive things. It warns us to heed rebuke from fellow Christians. It warns us to have robust church government composed of sober men who can teach with honor and humility. It also warns those of us who presume to become teachers of the Bible to do so very carefully and humbly because the condemnation for doing so wrongly is great. And, among several other things I’m not listing (but you can reed in the post), it warns us of the dangers of focusing on anything other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, the return of Christ and the Judgment certainly are part of that Gospel, but since the Bible is so overwhelmingly clear that we can’t know the precise time of that event, we are to be constantly working as if it may come tomorrow and yet also as if it may not come for another two thousand years.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Various Current Events

US should stop preaching human rights (People Daily—China)
Sex, lies, and arrogance
Remarks by the President on Middle East/Africa
(White House)
Harold Camping
Sports announcer fired over pro-marriage comments
Children getting cosmetic surgery to avoid bullying
Atheists offer dog-sitting for the rapture
Chuck E. Cheese gateway gambling?
Botox girl removed from mom’s custody
Marriages occur less but last longer
(Wash Post)
Extinction rates exaggerated
(Live Science)
Why family-values pols adultery
(Gail Collins)
Making Israel whole again
Who are you calling grandma?
Suns president comes out

CC--Christianese 18e: Sin (part 5 of ?)

Metaphor 5, continued: A Burden
--Of all the metaphors the Bible uses for sin, that of a burden is one which modern people should understand the best, but often we don’t comprehend,.
--Modern people are continuously bothered by this profound sense of guilt and regret and failure everyone feels, a heaviness which philosophers talk about as sorrow or nausea or angst and how to rid ourselves of it.
--The world’s way of solving the problem is to basically either deny the weight (by trying to talk people out of believing they have sinned) or else try to do away with it yourself (by performing some adequate task to alleviate the weight). But none of this works because the weight is both real and far too heavy for us to lift ourselves.
--But God’s way is to take the weight off of you by having Jesus take it upon Himself on the Cross.
--Biblically, the word sin connects with a weight, and this is what leads to the scapegoat concept, which is a “beast of burden” that carries the sin burden of the community symbolically outside of the city. And since we know Jesus is the ultimate truth the scapegoat points to, we see that He carried our burden symbolically in carrying his own cross (representing the death-bringing mechanism for punishing sin).
--So when the Gospel comes in, it doesn’t negate any of the evil we have done (or might do in the future), but it does liberate us from the weight of those things. So we become free to be honest about them and grateful for the alleviation, even as we no longer feel any of the burden they convey.
--And so, the lightness of Jesus’s burden is really meaning the ease of being that He deserves for having lived a perfect life, which He transfers to us in exchange for the massive burden we all deserve. This transfer of load or weight is what the Gospel accomplishes and which He made possible on the Cross.

4PM Marijuana wastes energy?

Okay, get ready for a mind-boggling number. According to research reported on in the New York Times by Evan Mills of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, indoor cultivation of marijuana plants consumes enough energy to power 2 million U.S. homes, which means about 1% of all energy consumed in the country. It’s because the high-intensity lights used to grow it are about 500 times more powerful than an ordinary reading bulb. He goes on to explain that this is clearly bad on the production side, but the consumption side also means a tremendous increase in environmental impact because of the carbon dioxide (which I personally don’t care about, but also it would seem that this is CO2 captured from the environment by the plant in the first place, so a net zero change aside from the energy use). I just found that number staggering. For every 100 watts of power used in the U.S., he thinks 1 goes for marijuana production. Amazing. Of course, the story also explains that with modern agricultural technology (and decriminalization, which would permit outdoor growing), lowering this energy consumption dramatically would be fairly easy.

3PM The Bible shouldn't be easy

In a fascinating article from Denmark, Jakob Holm argues that the recent “modern Danish” translation of the Bible is not just a bad one, it’s entirely aimed in the wrong direction. The translation is meant to make the Bible more accessible to children, but he argues that the Bible has complicated words because it expresses complicated concepts. “Belief and religion are something that people must learn” by studying. “Not everything must be easily understandable.” Some of the translation issues include rendering “blessed” as “lucky” and “meek” as “shy.”

2PM Liposuction’s misfire

University of Colorado researchers have verified something that will bring great schadenfraude to some and great anguish to others. Apparently, when you have liposuction performed, the fat stays off permanently in that particular area, since even the cells that manufacture fat get removed. But the body still wants you to have fat at a certain level, so it begins to manufacture and store fat in other areas instead to make up for the difference. The lower abdomen and thighs (common lipo targets) stayed thin, but fat reappeared within one year in the upper abdomen, shoulders, and triceps. The new deposits aren’t just unseemly but also dangerous because they can be deep inside and cause heart disease. Even more amazing is that when these results are explained to liposuction candidates, only half decided against having the procedure while half went ahead. So, “This isn’t going to work, it may be dangerous, and it’s certainly going to be expensive. Do you still want to go ahead.” “Of course!”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wacky Wednesday--Marriage is a dying institution

We’re going to try something a little bit different this week. Instead of me doing my normal Wacky Andrew role and making arguments for a misguided view, I’m going to let someone else play himself. Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and contributor to Fox News, recently amplified comments by Cameron Diaz in denouncing marriage. He wrote a fascinating piece about it, and I’m going to read it on the air and let you respond to his arguments. So the only real prep for the show would be to read the op-ed and think about what you would say to him. You can read it here.

CC--Christianese 18d: Sin (part 4 of ?)

--Once again, remember that sin is the catchall phrase for everything that’s wrong with the world and the Gospel is God’s comprehensive plan for rescuing the world from every aspect of sin.
--And we’re looking at metaphors to understand what sin it.

Metaphor 5: A burden
--As we discussed yesterday, if you view sin as a massive debt we owe to a very wealthy person whose prized possession we have ruined, then it’s pretty easy to see that the condition of living under the constant worry of having to pay back that debt or of being sold into slavery or thrown into jail for it would be a tremendous burden. And sin is precisely this sort of burden.
--But even apart from the debt, one of the key aspects of sin is the guilt of knowing you have failed to measure up to God’s design for your life and the shame of living with your evil choices.
--As these psychological pains accumulate, they become quite a load to carry, what some people these days would describe as “baggage.” Well, carrying around that sort of properly deserved moral baggage weighs you down.
--Think of how a man feels who has killed someone while drunk and gone to jail. He feels horrible about what he has done, and even after he is released, he knows that he is still responsible for causing great pain and suffering to others.
--The same is true when we betray those we love or when we cause harm to even ourselves. There is a great burden in knowing you have only yourself to blame. And it is this sense of being weighed down and depressed by shame that is a vital feature of sin.
--So when Jesus comes and says “My burden is light,” it must mean that our intended way of existence was to be free and unencumbered.
--So although sinful temptations often promise to liberate us or deliver us from something, they always wind up making us ever-more burdened.
--That’s part of what sin means.

2+3+4PM The importance of clothing logos

One could say that life is the art of making risky judgments based on limited information. This is nowhere more true than in our interactions with other people, where the tiniest markers of data can be treated with ridiculous significance. In particular, it turns out that the logos we wear on clothing are just such status markers. Dutch researchers wanted to find out whether logos mattered for our judgments of people and how much. They did a series of experiments, most all of which are jaw-dropping.

1. They showed people pictures of men wearing polo-style shirts. The pictures were identical except that the logo was altered digitally to either be designer (Hilfiger or Lacoste), no logo at all, or ordinary (Slazenger). Then they asked viewers to rank the man on a five-point scale for status and wealth. Results? Hilfiger scored 3.47/3.94 (status/wealth), Lacoste was 3.50/3.4. No logo at all scored 2.91/2.78, Slazenger was 2.84/2.80.

2. Women conducted surveys in a mall by asking strangers to participate. One day she wore a sweater with a Hilfiger logo and the next day no log at all on the same sweater. An astounding 52% of people participated with the Hilfiger logo and only 13% (!) without it.

3. Researchers showed people the same man being interviewed for a job, in one video he wore no log and in the other he had one. When wearing a logo, observers rated him as more suitable for the job and even recommended 9% higher salary.

4. Women posed as charity workers and went collecting door-to-door either with or without logos, with an almost double donation amount per answered door when they wore the label/logo.

5. In an experiment on trust, people were willing to trust a stranger based on his photo with money 36% more if his picture was of a logoed shirt versus not. But when specifically informed that the shirt was given to the person by the researchers, they treated him no different than the no logo stranger. So people are cognitively able to differentiate whether the shirt belongs to the person or not as a clue to these social variables.

Now while all of this looks extremely superficial, and perhaps it is, the underlying revelation is that we are all very well-conditioned first to recognize logos and to decode their meaning as markers of higher social status or expense. Of course, the assumption that this correlates with character or competence is fantastic, but it certainly means that clothes matter, perhaps substantially, in our interactions with others. So much for those who would like to say that it doesn’t matter how you dress. Also, if you’re despairing that you can’t afford the better branded clothing, I assure you that you can always find brand names at thrift stores.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Theological Tuesday: "King's Cross"

In his most recent book, “King’s Cross,” Tim Keller tells the story of the Gospel through the entire Book of Mark. Since I almost never do book reviews, I thought it might be an interesting experiment to try last week. The response was so overwhelmingly positive, that I decided to complete the project and try finish the book tonight. As always, your calls and comments are highly encouraged.

CC--Christianese 18c: Sin (part 3 of ?)

--Sin is the catchall word for everything that’s wrong with the world God made, and yesterday we saw that two useful metaphors for sin include a stain and a disease. Here are two more :

--Metaphor 3: A debt.
--The Bible uses debt as a metaphor for the condition of sin, partially because it helps clarify the nature of the condition, but also because it so usefully illustrates the transformation that takes place in salvation. Most of the time, a debt is something you incur because you have borrowed with a promise to repay. This actually isn’t a very good metaphor for sin because many of these debts can be repaid (whereas our sin can’t be paid off so easily) and also because we borrow with the agreement of the lender. So a different sort of debt might work a bit better here, the debt owed as a result of damaging someone, or what lawyers would call a tort. If I am walking through your house, in which you have some artwork, and I either fall and damage it or else actively set out to destroy it, I have wronged you and I am obligated to pay you back to make you whole again. Until I do so, I have a debt. But what if the artwork was priceless, irreplaceable, and precious to you? There is literally no way to pay off that debt. Perhaps I can temporarily appease you with lesser artwork, but this will not do permanently. So, I walk around with this crushing obligation to repay what I cannot repay or else be thrown into jail or slavery. But then one day, you contact me and offer to forgive the debt. I am relieved beyond measure, and that relief is the experience of salvation, the removal of this debt.

--Metaphor 4: A defacement
--To continue a similar line of thinking, the experience of the one who destroys the art is to be indebted, but the experience of the owner of the art is the loss of beauty and satisfaction which beholding the art rightly brings. And although many people think of sin as us destroying the art on God’s wall, we sometimes miss the fact that what makes this all the more terrible is that we ourselves are the art, unique, precious, and irreplaceable yet damaged beyond repair. We are a work of art that decided to deface and destroy itself. And this condition of being ruined only leads to us continually ruining ourselves more and more because, as should be obvious, self-ruining artwork is in no position to restore itself. Only someone with comparable skill to the original artist can return the wreck to its intended glory.

--Sin is thus a kind of self-ruination of the artwork we are, which ugliness is carried in us and the debt we owe the Owner for having so ruined ourselves.

4PM Pew: Views on Democracy in Middle East

Fascinating research on the views of democracy and the role of Islam and extremism in the Middle East.

3PM Trump quits

In a sudden announcement yesterday, the fears of millions of political commentators were finally dispelled when Donald Trump said he would no longer be seeking the Presidency. Even while quitting, Trump managed to be as irritating as ever:

“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately the general election,” Mr. Trump said Monday in a statement. “Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion, and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

So, in other words, “I could have won if I had played your silly little game, but I don’t really want the Presidency anyhow. It’s beneath me. I’m into greed. It’s what I’m good at.”

If you ask me honestly, I think this was all a publicity stunt, to generate bargaining position/media buzz for The Apprentice and his giant ego. If so, then Trump is trying to make a profit off of what some people might consider a relatively serious business: selecting a President. Can you tell I’m not impressed?

2PM Pakistan by the numbers

Fascinating and discouraging survey results on attitudes in Pakistan from this story in The Economist. One big element of the story is that when two different reformers proposed revising the anti-blasphemy laws, they were killed and much of the local population supported this.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The War On Terror/Al Qaeda

In preparing for a discussion/lecture presentation for this morning at The Heritage Tradition, I have discovered some things about Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the War on Terror that were completely new to me. So I thought we should spend tonight talking about what Al Qaeda has historically been and what it is trying to accomplish. In general, I believe most Americans (myself included) have either been uninformed about the goals Al Qaeda has or else refused to learn them in what may only be described as political negligence. If I’m right, this means we’re really in a terrible position for deciding what to do in the future and even assessing what we’ve done in the past.

CC--Christianese 18b: Sin (part 2 of ?)

--As we saw previously, sin is really the counterpart of the Gospel, it’s a broad way of labeling everything that’s currently wrong with God’s Creation. As such, everything the Gospel intends to fix is in some way or another connected to sin, whether its origin, its condition, or its effects. In other words, sin is an extremely large topic. That’s why some metaphors may help illustrate sin.

Metaphor 1: A Stain
--A stain is what you get when some foreign substance is spilled onto something of value and can’t be easily removed. Even when you remove a lot of it, something still remains that mars or tarnishes the beauty of the thing. Although many stains are difficult to clean, perhaps the most difficult ordinary stain is blood spilled on a white fabric. And since the Bible talks a lot about whiteness as purity and the wearing of white as a condition of perfection, sin can be visualized as the spilling of blood on our pure, white natures as human beings made in God’s image. As the Bible explains, nothing we do can ever remove that stain from ourselves, which is why we needed a Savior, whose perfect and pure self-sacrifice actually functions like anti-blood to cleanse the stain of our sin.

Metaphor 2: A Disease
--When some foreign germ enters your body and propagates itself, you become infected with some sort of disease. As the infection spreads, it will go through various phases, depending on the particular microbe. But several features are common to most diseases. They usually spend some time incubating prior to showing major symptoms, which eventually manifest and are often connected with the chance of contaminating other people through contact. Some diseases are vulnerable enough to the body’s own natural defenses or else not serious enough to merit medical care, but others are deadly and can kill slowly or rapidly if not treated properly. Similarly, if sin is a disease, there are some ways of treating the symptoms, but only one way to eradicate all the germs and cure the disease permanently: the Gospel.

4PM LA schools may ban chocolate milk.

According to the story, LA schools Superintendent John Deasy is pushing to remove flavored milk from school menus because it is too high in sugar content. But as the story points out, the concern is that the kids who currently drink chocolate milk won’t just switch to white milk but rather to something else altogether and therefore miss out on the calcium, Vitamin D, and nutritional value of the milk. Remember, the key for any proposed change in something you don’t like is to make sure that there’s actually a plausible superior alternative. I know that for our boys, they like milk, but Ethan in particular loves chocolate milk and will drink as much as we give him. Interestingly, a friend of mine actually told me recently that chocolate milk has become the fad rejuvenating drink for kids who play sports because it replenishes everything they sweat out when exercising, particularly carbs for muscle energy. Good enough for athletes, good enough for school kids, I say. Plus, it’s yummy.

3PM LSU student decides not to burn flag

Just hours after the news broke that Osama bin Laden had been killed, a student at LSU allegedly took the American flag from the campus’s War Memorial and burned it, doing about $7,500 worth of damage. When charged with the crime, another LSU student planned to publicly burn a flag as his way of protesting the decision to charge the other student with a crime. But on the day he had announced, thousands of locals and students showed up shouting him down and throwing water balloons and ice at him, making it impossible. Ironically, he wasn’t even going to burn a flag since he had discovered he needed a city burn permit to do so, so he was only reading a statement. But even that proved too difficult as he had to flee the area. The ice and water balloons are certainly over the top, but the idea that such a large group would show up in protest of his flag-burning to deter him almost makes me proud of Louisiana. Outrageous expression and the threat to engage in it should have social consequences. Accountability is what makes fools think twice before acting.

2PM Texas makes some Big Fish stories illegal

In what you might think is itself a tall tale or at least an example of government intruding on things it really shouldn’t regulate, the Texas legislature recently passed a bill to the governor making it illegal to misrepresent the size of fish in sporting contests or to do anything to falsify the weight of the fish. The reason is that since the prizes in these contests have grown fairly substantial, anglers have been caught doing all sorts of things to win without actually winning. At first, I thought this was an overreach of government, since the operators of the tournaments should be the ones handling this. But then I realized that there’s some justification for the state to be involved since it’s a fraud issue. And also, how much leverage do the tournament officials really have over people to discourage this sort of behavior on their own? Not much. But if they can let it be known that there is a criminal penalty for people who try to engage in this sort of fraud…maybe it will be deterred. Sometimes the community is vital to reinforcing a moral sanction that individuals just don’t have enough weight (sorry) to effectively enforce themselves.

Friday, May 13, 2011

CC--Christianese 18a: Sin (part 1 of ?)

--If the Gospel is God’s comprehensive plan for making everything that’s wrong with the world right again, then sin is the word we use to describe every facet of that wrongness. --And naturally we need to understand the nature of the problem before we can understand the solution properly.
--Sin is actually a word which has a pretty large range of related but not identical concepts.
--And the problem is that sometimes we talk about sin as a condition which beleaguers individuals or all of humanity, but sometimes we talk about sin as individual behavior.
--In general, sin is four things:
1. It begins as a failure or refusal to love God fully.
2. This creates a condition in us which ruins us compared to what we were meant to be.
3. This ruination manifests as evil behavior in violation of God’s commands.
4. These violations create suffering in a wide variety of forms, including fractured relationship with ourselves, others, the world, and God.
--Looking at the account of sin the Bible gives us in Genesis 3 is the best way to see all these aspects functioning as one.
--Adam and Eve were living perfectly. They were in right relationship with God, each other, themselves, and their environment, Eden. They found themselves tempted to disobey God and yielded to that temptation by putting God second in their hearts. This led them to violate His command about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Afterwards, they suffered guilt and shame and found themselves at odds with each other, the Earth, and cast out from the presence of God.
--In other words, everything that is supposed to be true of man is lost by the presence, nature, and effects of sin.
--Man is supposed to be in harmony with God, and sin forfeits this.
--Man is supposed to be in harmony with other people, and sin prevents this.
--Man is supposed to be in harmony with himself, and sin frustrates this.
--Man is supposed to be in harmony with creation, and sin pollutes this.
--That, in a nutshell, is sin.

4PM Dallas PD keeps returned money.

In what can only be described as a tremendous letdown for decency, the Dallas police department has decided what to do with $2,000 which 15-year-old Ashley Donaldson gave to them when she found it at a local shopping center: keep it. They claim they have tried for three months to find the actual owner, to no avail. And now they’re going to keep it and put it into the Dallas City general fund rather than returning it to the finder, as used to be the policy. Said police spokesman Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse (must-watch video, btw) “We appreciate your honesty. We’re going to put the money to good use. It’s not going to be wasted, but put to good use for the City of Dallas.” Well, yes. That certainly sounds fair. To add irony to the injury, Ashley’s family was living in a one-bedroom apartment with two parents and four brothers and sisters when she found it, but she decided not to keep the money because maybe the money meant more to someone else! I’ll be shocked if this doesn’t get corrected quickly. You need to watch the video of the family here, pretty cool.

It turns out there’s been some slight shift in the stance of the department. Plus, an anonymous donor came forward with a check for $4,000 to reward her for her honesty, and Chase has even set up a fund account locals can use to donate to her.

3PM USPS issues error stamp.

In what can only be described as a pretty colossal flub, the USPS recently issued a Statue of Liberty stamp with a picture that had only one problem: it wasn’t actually a picture of the Statue of Liberty. What was it of? The Statue of Liberty replica from Las Vegas, which is half the size and looks quite different in small details. But rather than fixing the problem (discovered by a stamp enthusiast), the USPS just went ahead with it and said they’d try to vet future stamps more effectively. And besides, they would have made this error even if they had known… “We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.” Really? Even if you’d known it was wrong you would have used it anyhow? But you’re still going to revisit your protocols for selecting stamps? Now I’m confused. Wasn’t it Kennedy who said, “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it?” Personally, I think Ed Koch said it best, “It simply means the post office is doing a stupid thing.”

2PM The Donald lashes out at Seth Myers

So, in a preview of the sort of composure and dignity we might expect from President Trump (it gives me shudders even to write it down), The Donald recently reacted pretty assertively to the roasting he got from Seth Myers at the White House Correspondents Dinner last week. After sitting there stone-faced while both Obama and then Myers skewered him repeatedly with lines like, “Donald Trump often talks about running as a Republican, which is surprising. I just assumed he was running as a joke.” Trump sat there stone faced but left the room and the following day told Fox, “"I thought Seth Meyers —- his delivery frankly was not good. He's a stutterer." Also, to the New York Times he explained why he didn’t enjoy himself more by saying, “I am not looking to laugh along with my enemies.” But by far my personal favorite assessment was this quip from Trump: “Seth Meyers has no talent. He fell totally flat. In fact, I thought Seth’s delivery was so bad that he hurt himself.” Why is it that every time someone disagrees with the Donald, he suddenly has “no talent?” I mean if there’s anyone at SNL that actually has talent other than Tina Fey (when she’s around), it’s obviously Myers. Say what you will about his politics or his values, but no talent? Please.

Various Current Events

Boeing defends itself against NLRB (WSJ)
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and bin Laden (Thomas Friedman)
PCUSA to ordain gays (NYT)
PCUSA votes to ordain gays (LAT)
Egypt: 12 churches burned, 12 killed (CP)
Church burning deepens tumult of Egypt transition (Yahoo)
Egypt in crisis talks after Muslim mobs attack Christians (Telegraph)
Fears of a grave future for Egypt’s Christians (CP)
Schwarzenegger/Shriver to divorce (NY Daily News)
Christian counselors advise Schwarz/Schriver (CP)
Late-life divorces not rare (CSM)
Burst of the silver bubble (IBT)
“Most likely to succeed” burden (WSJ)
Dallas pockets $2000 returned by girl (WFAA)
“Brain dead” woman wakes up in hospital (Fox News)
President talks about immigration in El Paso (White House)
No more chocolate milk in LA schools? (CSM)
Demanding answers from Pakistan (NYT)
Education isn’t their goal (NYT)
TX big fish stories to be illegal? (NYT)
LSU student decides not to burn flag (Fox News)
How the oil industry saves $4.4 billion in tax breaks (AP)
Christian weatherman fired for opposing strip club story (CP)
KERO fires chief meteorologist after protesting strip club story (MediaBistro)
Cameron Diaz: “Marriage is dying” (CP)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wacky Wednesday: Mothers should work outside the home.

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

--Why else would a woman then need to go to college or become highly educated?
--It’s necessary in today’s economic environment.
--We need the money.
--The government taxes us so heavily that you can’t support a family in a decent neighborhood on even an above average income.
--Motherhood clearly doesn’t require so much time that you can’t have a real job. Just look at how many millions of women do both.
--Don’t you think women should be pulling their weight in the relationship instead of just loafing around and sponging off of their men?
--If you want a world where men and women are viewed as equal, you can’t say that only men have an obligation to work, but women don’t.
--How dare you stay home and deprive the community of your productive potential!
--There’s more to women than just cooking and cleaning.
--Are you really going to say that moms who work are depriving their children of something?
--Moms need a vacation from their children or they’ll go crazy.
--A woman needs to keep her options open in case of divorce. A fresh resume is essential.
--How else do you show your daughter that she can grow up to be more than just a productive uterus?

CC--Christianese 17f: Gospel (part 6 of ?)

--Yesterday, we saw that there are really three different kinds of Gospels.
--There are the four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are officially validated parts of the canon of Scripture and, as such, can be taken as the very Word of God and fully reliable.
--Then there are millions of unofficial gospels, which are the accounts of how Jesus has transformed individual believers over the course of history. These may or may not be written down, but every time you tell someone else the truth about Jesus as you understand it, you are conveying a gospel to that person, your account of The Gospel. Such accounts are true and extremely important, but they are not secure to anything like the degree of the Biblical Gospels.
--Then there are false gospels. These are stories about Jesus that aren’t merely different from the accounts in the Bible, but they are in some aspect fundamentally incompatible with the Gospel those accounts reveal.
--Think of it like this. If I wrote a biography of Abraham Lincoln in which I recounted some personal encounter he had with an ancestor of mine, that could be true or false. And as long as the character revealed by that encounter jibed with what we know of the historical Lincoln, no one would mind very much. On the other hand, if I wrote an account that showed him to be a liar or an adulterer, that would be a false biography.
--Moreover, if I wrote a biography of Lincoln in which he wasn’t the President or didn’t oversee the Civil War or wasn’t assassinated, I would be lying. But even if I wrote an account of Lincoln in which I simply failed to mention any of these things, most historians would say that I had lied by omitting the most important things about his life.
--Similarly, when someone (now or in history) tells a story about Jesus which omits a major element of the Gospel (remember the nine basic points I mentioned a few days ago), we should be worried about that account. But if it denies any of these main points, we would call that a false Gospel.
--So if someone tells a story about Jesus and say that He didn’t come in the flesh or that He wasn’t actually killed or that He wasn’t really God or that we don’t need His sacrifice or (and this is a really big one historically) that His sacrifice isn’t sufficient to reconcile us with God, this would be what we call a false gospel.

--So there are the Four Gospels which are in the canon and reliable, there are numerous unofficial gospels which are true accounts of the saving power of Christ in His believers, and there are false gospels which omit or deny fundamental aspects of the actual Gospel and hence lead people astray from God.